Midnight's Surrender is an exclusive e-novella by New York Times bestselling
author Donna Grant
A new tale of The Dark Warriors—powerful Highlanders who are bound by the gods and have taken their battle from ancient Scotland to the modern world, where a woman's love is the most dangerous lure of all…
Dale has been on the run—from himself and from the demons who haunt him. But when he comes across a stunningly beautiful woman he cannot resist, he knows that he must do whatever it takes to possess her. She is a Druid with secrets of her own, but he is drawn to her like no other. Even when danger closes in around them, Dale knows that the true threat is to his very soul, which he will sacrifice in order to save her…
Don't miss the next novel in the Dark Warriors series! Midnight's Promise is now available from St. Martin's Paperbacks.
Praise for Donna Grant and her Dark Warrior novels:
"Grant delivers plenty of dark doings and dangerous magic, all while providing memorable characters."—RT Book Reviews
"These are some of the hottest brothers around in paranormal fiction."—Nocturne Romance Reads
"A handsome stranger, laughter, mind-blowing sex...a steamy read."—Heroes and Heartbreakers on Midnight's Master
About the Author
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Donna Grant has been praised for her "totally addictive" and "unique and sensual" stories. She's written more than thirty novels spanning multiple genres of romance including the bestselling Dark King stories, Dark Craving, Night's Awakening, and Dawn's Desire. Her acclaimed series, Dark Warriors, feature a thrilling combination of Druids, primeval gods, and immortal Highlanders who are dark, dangerous, and irresistible. She lives with her husband, two children, a dog, and four cats in Texas.
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Donna Grant has been praised for her “totally addictive” and “unique and sensual” stories. She’s written more than thirty novels spanning multiple genres of romance including the bestselling Dark King stories, Dark Craving, Night’s Awakening, and Dawn’s Desire. Her acclaimed series, Dark Warriors, feature a thrilling combination of Druids, primeval gods, and immortal Highlanders who are dark, dangerous, and irresistible. She lives with her two children, a dog, and four cats in Texas.
"Dark, sexy, magical. When I want to indulge in a sizzling fantasy adventure, I read Donna Grant."
--Allison Brennan, New York Times Bestselling Author
Read an Excerpt
By Donna Grant
St. Martin's PressCopyright © 2013 Donna Grant
All rights reserved.
Isle of Coll, Inner Hebrides
Rennie placed the small, gold, glittered star atop what was a poor excuse for a Christmas tree. She stepped back and grimaced.
"Charlie Brown's tree looks better than mine," she said as her silver tabby meowed up at her. "Don't worry, Felix, your present will be there. It'll be the only thing under that pitiful tree, but at least there will be a present. I'd rather a wish. How about someone I can spend the rest of my life with?"
Rennie turned away from the Christmas tree with a derisive snort and looked out the living room window. Everything was gray. They sky, the water, the very air. A snowstorm was coming, but the weathermen had been saying that for days.
Not that there was much excitement on the small isle of Coll. Life was as ordinary and dull as it could get. It was a mantra she repeated to herself every day, but she couldn't seem to leave. There was something holding her — she just hadn't figured out what that was yet.
Felix wound around her legs, rubbing against her and purring loudly, hoping to get a treat. "It's been two years since Aunt Marta died, Felix. I was supposed to sell this place and leave. Why can't I seem to do that?"
And she had made up her mind a couple of times to put the land up for sale. Then she would step out onto the white sand beach of Feall Bay with its stunning blue-green water and folded rock formations with the seals playing and she couldn't do it. Or she would stand upon the hills and watch the sunset and she would change her mind.
She might have been born in Missouri, but she wasn't all that keen to return. Somehow, she had found a place on Coll.
Felix bumped his big head against her leg again. "All right, all right. I'll give you a treat," she said with a laugh as the cat darted into the kitchen and pawed at the door where she kept them.
The likelihood of Rennie finding a husband on Coll was slim to none for two reasons. Eligible men rarely came to the remote isle, and the few unmarried men already on Coll had a line of women to choose from.
It was better that she was alone. Then she didn't have to explain the odd things she could do just by thinking of them. Like shutting a door, lighting a candle, or stirring her tea.
More importantly, she didn't have to worry about people touching her and having visions. If the cattle or Felix had visions when she touched them, they kept it to themselves.
Out in the wilds of Coll, she was free to be who she was — a Druid.
* * *
He had finally reached Coll. Though he wasn't sure if this would be his final destination or not. For months, every night he was assaulted by dreams of magic, magic he was undeniably drawn to. And every day when he woke, he followed the feel of that magic as if some unseen string was pulling him west, right to the shores of Coll.
It wasn't just the dreams or the magic that pulled him. It was the inexplicable, undeniable need, a longing he couldn't ignore or explain in the magic that called to him.
Dale kept his head low as he hurried off the ferry. He made sure to keep among the crowds, and as soon as he was in the small village, he ducked behind a shop.
It had been two days since he had eaten, and hunger made his stomach growl. He could go days without food. The smell coming from a nearby pub, however, caused him to halt. He closed his eyes and fought to put the magic he was following on hold.
It was disturbing how easily he followed the magic. As if he expected to find some answers when he found the source. That is if he actually allowed himself to find the Druid. Perhaps it would be better if he didn't.
He snorted. As if he could ignore such exquisite, soul-stirring magic.
Dale would rather lose himself on the isle and never talk to anyone. Coll was small enough that everyone would know everyone else. He had come here to hide. But first he had to find the source of the magic that he couldn't ignore.
Once that curiosity was satisfied, then he would disappear and the world could forget all about Dale Alexander and the awful things he had done.
He looked into the pub window and stared at a face that he didn't recognize. His beard had grown out, covering most of his face in dark hair. Dale ran his hands over the hair growing out atop his head. It felt odd to have hair after keeping his head shaved for so many years.
The beard and hair would help disguise him, but that didn't mean Dale liked any of it. However, his options were slim.
Dale winced and rubbed his arm where one of the many selmyr bites had been. Those evil, magical creatures had seemingly come out of nowhere after having been locked away for thousands of years.
It had been a Druid who accidentally released the creatures into the world. The selmyr fed off magic, and they sought out the Druids first, but they found a taste for Warriors.
Dale took a deep breath when he felt his god, Shomi, howl with fury as he recalled how the selmyr had tried to kill him. Claws began to sprout from his fingers, and it was only Dale's quick thinking and concentrating that reined Shomi back under control.
Dale might look like a man, but he had a primeval god inside him that had been dragged from a prison in Hell by Druids when Rome invaded Briton. The Druids had called for the gods and put them in the strongest warriors from each family to battle Rome.
Those same gods traveled through the bloodlines generation after generation after the Druids bound them when the gods refused to relinquish their hold on the men.
Dale hadn't always made the right decisions in his life. Time after time, he fell in with the wrong people, but he never expected to find himself made immortal and working with an evil Druid, or drough.
Jason Wallace stunk of evil. It was the first thing Dale remembered after Jason had found him and released his god. As a Warrior, Dale could sense Druid magic, and drough magic was cloying, debilitating.
Jason had made Dale's choice easy: work for Jason or die.
Dale hadn't been ready to die. He didn't enjoy his time with Jason, though he remained because of Aisley. Dale had fallen for Jason's cousin the instant he saw the pretty brunette. For her part, Aisley never returned his affections.
With one more look at his reflection, Dale strode inside the pub and slid into a booth. He ordered and then found his mind returning to Aisley once more.
The only good thing he had done was save her. When the selmyr attacked after Jason had led them into a trap by the Warriors and Druids from MacLeod Castle, Dale did all he could to get Aisley out alive.
There were nights he woke, drenched in sweat as he relived how the selmyr with their ash-colored skin, stringy hair, and skin stretched taut over their bones had fallen upon him. They drank the blood of their victims, and their bites were like acid.
Dale hadn't been able to call up his god or use his strength and speed as a Warrior to get away from the creatures. Their bites rendered him useless. He'd known he was going to die, and he used that to turn the selmyrs' attention from Aisley to him.
Only after he saw her drive away did Dale give up. He wanted to die, to get away from the evil that was Jason Wallace and somehow let his soul redeem itself in whatever Purgatory or Hell awaited him.
Except Dale didn't die.
He had lived, yet he wasn't sure how. Amid the hundreds of selmyr bodies, Dale had clawed and dragged his body off Dreagan land to die in peace.
That night, as he watched the sun sink behind the mountains in the Highlands was the first time he dreamed of the magic — a magic unlike any he had ever encountered. It was special, potent, yes, but extraordinary and unique.
And like a siren's call, it had captivated him, fascinated him.
All without seeing a face. He knew the magic belonged to a female Druid, but that's all he knew.
He wasn't sure how many days passed as he dreamt of the magic and his body fought to stay alive. When he finally awoke, he was weak as a newborn and starving.
Somehow he managed to hunt for his food and gradually build up his strength. But if he thought the poison of the selmyr was gone from his body, he was wrong. It was still there, stinging his blood and attacking his organs at odd moments.
His only moment of peace was when he dreamed of the magic and imagined the unseen Druid's hands gently caressing his body. The magic eased his suffering and stirred his blood until he couldn't think of her without going rock hard.
How long he would live was anyone's guess. Only when he was strong enough did he leave the woods. It didn't take him long to learn that Jason had been defeated and Aisley had found happiness with another Warrior — Phelan.
That's when Dale realized he had nowhere to go. He was immortal, so couldn't live amongst mortals because there would be questions. He had to go somewhere to lose himself — and to make sure if Jason Wallace ever returned that he wouldn't find him.
As if sensing his indecision, the magic that had haunted his dreams could suddenly be felt. No longer was it just in his dreams, but it was real and urging him to find it. It was faint, barely discernible, but there was no denying it was the same magic.
Without a second's hesitation, Dale began to follow the magic toward the west.
His search of the magic had brought him to Coll. Now that he was here, the magic was stronger than ever before. And still it called to him, tempting him with its power, enticing him with its purity.
Seducing him with its allure.
After his meal and two ales, Dale paid and left the pub. He didn't leave the village however. Years of training, and months with Jason instilled a need to learn about his surroundings. With only the one village to study, Dale kept to the shadows and spent the day learning about the village and its inhabitants.
All the while, the magic begged him to follow it, implored him to find the source. He worried it was a trap, especially after all he had been through — and done. So he remained. Even as his body fairly hummed with the mesmerizing magic.
It was mie magic. There was no denying that. It felt too good to be anything else but the pure magic a Druid was born with. Who did it belong to, and why had it drawn him here?
When night began to fall, he was surprised to see brightly colored lights hanging over the street every few hundred yards. He had been so intent on the people he failed to notice small details. Like the fact it was Christmas.
Christmas had long been one of his favorite holidays. His mother had always done a big meal during the holidays, and even when money was tight, she had managed to make the day special.
His mother had liked the old ways of decorating their trees with strung popcorn, candles, and ornaments each of her five children made themselves.
Dale longed to return home, but his mother wouldn't be waiting for him. She'd died of a heart attack while he had been serving in the Royal Marines.
The Christmas he yearned for was no more. It had died with his mother. His siblings were scattered to the four winds. His mother had been the glue that held the family together, especially after his father was killed in action in the Royal Air Force, and without her, they were no longer a family.
Dale listened to the sound of carols filling the streets from the shops and cars passing. The multicolored lights that adorned the town reflected upon the snow, bringing an almost otherworldly feel to the isle.
He learned all he could from observing. It was time for him to listen. A pub in the evening could deliver all sorts of information.
Dale fisted his hands when the call of magic intensified. His cock ached with need, a longing he knew wouldn't stop as long as he put off finding the source of the magic. But he had made too many bad mistakes in the past to go rushing off again. No matter how badly he craved to give into the desire swarming him.
He stepped out of the shadows to walk the two blocks to a different pub. This one was crowded, but he found a place in the back. Dale used his enhanced hearing to listen to the many conversations taking place.
Just as he expected, there were places on Coll where few ventured on a daily basis. They would be perfect places for him to hide for a decade or two.
The longer he remained on Coll, the more he felt like it was a good match for what he needed. Not to mention he could finally discover the Druid and why her magic had summoned him. Then he would vanish. He didn't wish to bring evil to the isle. If it followed him, Dale wouldn't hesitate to do what he had to do, but he prayed none of the people would ever know what he was.
He was tired of doing the bidding of evil. Before that, it had been whatever the British government wanted from him.
For once, he just wanted to do whatever he wished to do, make his own decisions, eat when and what he wanted. Sleep when he wished, wake at whatever time he desired.
They were simple pleasures, but ones he longed for.
He ate his meal in short order, but lingered over a glass of whisky as he watched the townspeople interact. There was a lot of laughter and uncensored ribbing.
It made him feel more alone than ever before.
He might be immortal with unimaginable strength and speed as well as enhanced senses, but he was lonely. In fact, he had been lonely for a long time. He just hadn't realized it.
There was no family for him to go back to, no friends he could call. He was on his own as he'd always been.
And always would be.CHAPTER 2
Rennie slowed the old Land Rover as she made her way up to the house. She might prefer to keep to herself, but there were times she had to go into town. Today had been one of those times. She might have been able to put off the trip for another day, but with the snowstorm about to hit, she hadn't wanted to chance it.
Already the wind whipped the snow at a vicious angle that hampered her vision and had her wipers going across the windshield at a furious pace. Once she was parked, she hastily brought her groceries inside and ran back out to check on her cattle.
One of the gates had managed to come open and the cattle she herded closer to the house were now out. Rennie walked into the wind, and in a short time managed to get the cattle into the pen once more.
That is, all except for one who refused to move. With a sigh, Rennie trudged through the snow toward the cow. Only when she got closer did she realize the animal wasn't moving because its calf had fallen amid snow-covered rocks and was stuck.
"Great," she mumbled and carefully made her way down to where the calf was.
The only way to get the calf free was by lifting it up and over. With no other choice, Rennie took hold of the mewling animal.
* * *
Dale sunk his claws that sprouted, unbidden, from his fingers when the magic overtook him, surrounded him. It felt ... beautiful. And the power of it was nothing like he had experienced in his dreams. The closer he had gotten to Coll the stronger it had grown.
Once on Coll, the Druid's magic had subdued everything else until all he could feel, all he could think about was her magic. It sizzled over him like a current of warmth, bright and hot.
He had known it was her when she drove up, and though he tried to get a look at her, he could tell nothing with the thick coat, hat, and scarf. So, he hunkered down in the snowbank and watched the woman, taken completely aback at his visceral reaction to her.
Need pounded ruthlessly, relentlessly within him for one woman — the Druid. He fought to stay hidden instead of taking her in his arms and discovering what she looked like as well as learning her taste as he kissed her at his leisure.
Fortunately, the Druid had been so intent on the cattle and the storm that she hadn't noticed him, which was just as he wanted it until he could get himself under control.
His reaction to her had been instant and astonishing. Every fiber of his being was locked on the Druid. He was rooted to the spot, watching her and learning her. Her magic felt as soft as a cloud, as clean as a summer's rain, and as beautiful as a clear midnight sky.
His thoughts halted as she hefted the calf next to its mother. A second later she began to climb up when she suddenly fell backward.
Dale's body jerked when he heard her grunt as she landed. And then nothing. He counted to five before he jumped up from his hiding place and ran to her, panic making his heart pound in his chest. He couldn't have finally found her only to lose her.
He spotted the ice-covered stone she'd slipped on, but it was the angle of her body as she lay amid the rocks and snow that caused his anxiety to ratchet up several notches.
Dale hunkered next to her once he saw she was unconscious. He reached for her, pulling her body into his arms to protect her, but also because he had to have her close. No sooner did he have her cradled against him then he staggered back, nearly losing his footing, as images flashed in his mind — images of him.
Excerpted from Midnight's Surrender by Donna Grant. Copyright © 2013 Donna Grant. Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I liked this character slot. I am glad he got his happy ending as well. It is those side characters you ask yourself about in the end of the stories.
A short and sexy story!! Midnight’s Surrender is a holiday novella for the Dark Warriors series. This is a standalone so it is not necessary to read the other books in the series. This is my first book I’ve read from the series and the author gave just the right amount of information so I was able to follow along without any problems. Now that I have been introduced to the Dark Warriors I want to start the series. This was a quick story with only 60 pages. Even though it was short it had everything that I love about Donna Grant’s books – great characters, steamy romance and exciting action. My only complaint is that I wish it was longer! I want more of Dale and Rennie! This is a must read for all her fans and for readers who want a quick and exciting story!
A sexy story
Just when I got over crying that one of my favorite series has ended Donna Grant throws in a special Holiday Novella book on the evil warrior Dale who we all thought had died in Midnight's Captive. Dale is not what we think and though he is ready to die, other forces have a different end to his story that has redemption and a great love. I love this book and what a way to end the series. This is a must read and I highly recommend you start with the 1st book Midnight's Master and read the whole series so you can cry along with me as this series ends. Donna has informed her fans that we will still see these characters in the Dark Kings series. Start with book #1 Dark Craving. I am going to reread all mine so I can get up to speed with the new release Darkest Flame coming out on on my birthday April 29, 2014. What a great birthday present from an admired author!
I received a copy from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for my honest review, so here it is. I had not heard of this series before and was not sure what to expect. The synopsis sounded good so I thought I would read it. And I am glad I did. This is a great story. Rennie has come to Coll to sell her aunt's property and move on with her life. But something is keeping her from doing just that. Dale is a warrior and is being pulled to Coll by Rennie's magic. Rennie has put up her Christmas tree that is smaller than Charlie Brown's and all she wants is to not be alone anymore. When Dale shows up at Rennie's place, he watches her and sees he fall and not get up. He helps her and he has a vision when he touches her. This is the main reason that Rennie is alone. When people touch her, they have visions and it scares then. And when Rennie can't tell them what the visions mean, they leave her. But not Dale, he is drawn to her and the attraction is nothing he has ever felt before. Will Rennie learn the truth about her magic? Will Dale stay or leave when he can't help her? This is the first for me by Donna Grant and I loved it. I have put all her books on my TBR (To be Read) list. Can't wait to read more from her.
Title: Midnight's Surrender - A Dark Warriors Holiday Novella Author: Donna Grant Publisher: St Martin's Press Published: 11-5-2013 ISBN: 9781466847118 E-Book ASIN: B00DK42O66 Pages: 60 Genre: Romance Tags: Time Travel, Paranormal Rennie MacBeth, a druid, inherited her Aunt Marta's home and had come to Coll Island to sell it and move on. Yet something kept her from going through with it. Dale Alexander came to Coll Island following a trace of magic that had called to him from the moment he was fatally wounded by the selmyr, a mythical creature with ashen colored skin, stringy hair and lots of teeth. After all he had done and seen during the war between Jason Wallace and the Druids & Warriors he welcomed death to escape Wallace. Dale knew he was dying and crawled to the woods and was surprised when he lived and lived and lived. All without aging a day. When Dale arrives on Coll and finds the source of the magic is the beautiful Remmie, he finds the first inner peace he has known for years. After a fall he carries her into the house and receives a vision of him growing old with someone. He must get Remmie to tell him what this vision means. Is it what could have been or what still might be? She helps him control his Warrior. What evil is after Dale? Or is it really after Remmie? Why? What can they do? What does the future hold for them? Does either have a future? Read Midnight's Surrender to be pulled into the lives of Dale and Remmie. You will dread the last page only because it brings a close to this great novella. Well done Ms. Grant. Thank you for the enjoyable few hours of escape from the daily grind.
Glad to see Dale get a happy ending but this story.could have been longer. it was a bit unrealistic, which took away from what it could have been. it was cute and sweet, but too short.
I really enjoyed Dale's story. It gave you insight as to how he was forced into servitude with Jason, but he really was not evil. I was glad that he found his druid (Rennie) and can finally have what he was seeking. Donna's books are great and I can't wait for the next one with the Dragon Kings.
This is a wonderful series and I always look for the next one.
This book was so good, I went out and bought two more of Donna Grants books. It had intrigue, sexy characters and hot love scenes all wrapped in an interesting story In a well written package. Grant has pinache and style that appeal to readers of all types of romance books.. Donna Grant packs a big story into a little novella and she does it so well you are amazed that you didn't see how short it was until your finished reading. The stories don't seem rushed or chopped up, and at the end, you feel like you just want to read more of the talented writing. Grant is one of those consistent writers that you can count on for a great relaxing read. Read the full review and find more information on authors and new releases at my blog Romance Readers Bookshelf
Dale is a warrior and he has been following the pull of some unknown magic for months. He had to figure out why the magic pulled him. He ended up on the tiny Isle of Coll, determined to find the magic and then carry on with his life. As Dale got even closer to the magic, he realized that it was mie magic. The kind of pure magic that only a Druid can posses. Rennie is a Druid who doesn't realize how strong her magic is. When Dale arrives at her farm, he finds her hurt and outside in a snow storm. As the storm rages the couple talk and become very close to each other. As if they were drawn together. Harriet a drough came to the farm to convince Rennie sell her land. The magic in Harriet was so evil that Dale had to struggle to get his god Shomi under control. Dale and Rennie search the land to figure out why Harriet wants it so bad. As they do Dale feels the pull of a very old magic that Rennie can't feel. The pair discover a cavern and realize that this was where her family gathered. The ancients of her family had been waiting for her. They were waiting for a Druid that could grant someone freedom. Rennie realizes that the freedom she can grant is to Dale, to bind his god and make him mortal again. This book was another wonderful read from Donna Grant and part of her warrior series. I loved this book. The way that Ms. Grant writes, pulls you to another place full of magic. I recommend this book to all the lovers of magic.
I gave this a four since I can't do three and a half. I did like knowing what happened to Dale. Just a bit more to end series?!?
This is a nice read to fill in my empty gaps in my day. I have read some other of Donna' s stories before and she killed them-figurally and literally. Dale has been forced to do things he hasn't wanted to do. Rennie actually hasn't any idea who she is. Dale has followed her magic and is trying to tell who and what she is. She has an enemy in town who is greedy and wants her magic. I was a bit surprised at the ending. Not exactly what I thought but even better. I wish it could have been longer but it will be a good book to read over again. Try it and enjoy!
Perfect for the holidays, whether it's Christmas or the Winter Solstice is the just released (5 November 2013), Midnight's Surrender: A Dark Warriors Holiday Novella. If you were curious about Jason's warrior, the former British military man Dale, well here is his story. We last saw him at the battlefield defending Aisley with his life, defying Jason. Now he's in search of magic that has called to him from his almost deathbed. He finds the source of the magic in a Druidess called Rennie on the Isle of Coll in the Inner Hebrides. Rennie is someone who thinks of her magic as minor, but if anyone touches her they may see their own future without her knowledge. To prevent this, she's chosen to isolate herself at her aunt's home on the island. Phelan finds her and when he touches her sees an image of himself he finds impossible to believe could ever occur, but that's another story (or part of Midnight's Surrender, actually). Of course we find that there is a drough Druid on Coll who threatens Rennie, but this time it is not Jason. I really enjoyed this short novella that combined suspense, romance, magic, and some wonderful holiday cheer. I'd advise any paranormal romance fan to make sure that Donna Grant's books are in the library on your e-reader or on your bookshelves (though some of her books, like the novella, are only available electronically at this time). I vote five bunches of mistletoe for this series of three spellbinding tales by Grant that help to round out a fabulous series. I received an eARC of Midnight's surrender from the publisher through NetGalley for use in this review.
Rennie's druid abilities has always kept her somewhat detached from society. Now that she has inherited her family farm on an isolated island, she might just have found the perfect place to hide her “curse” ability. Little did she know that her destiny was coming at her full speed ahead. Dale is literally being magically pulled to this remote island. The draw fills his waking and dreaming thoughts. When he comes face to face with Rennie, he must maintain his control...because all he can think about is making her his. Finding acceptance in someone like Dale's arms is a dream come true for Rennie, but when evil comes knocking will Dale be tempted or choose redemption in Rennie. Midnight's Surrender is a short story that provides a quick, easy, entertaining read. The chemistry between Dale and Rennie is immediate and since this is a short story it contains an instant love plot...giving me just enough of the Dark Warriors series to make me want more. A must read for every Dark Warriors fan, you can't miss Dale's story. I received this ARC copy of Midnight's Surrender from St. Martin's Press in exchange for a honest review. This book is set for publication November 5, 2013. Written by: Donna Grant Series: Dark Warrior Sequence in Series: 8.5 Pages: 60 ISBN-13: 9781466847118 Publisher: St. Martin's Press Publication date: 11/5/2013 Series: Dark Warriors Sold by: Macmillan Format: eBook Rating: 4 Stars Genre: Paranormal Romance, Short Story Age Recommendation: Adult