WHY WHISTLE IN THE DARK...
There are very few days off when you're on an epic quest. Believe me, I know. I'm Hedi Peacock-one half Fae, the other were-and if being a half-breed with one foot in each world isn't tough enough to manage, there are the four chambers of my heart to consider. The one who holds the strings? Robson Trowbridge, the Alpha of Creemore. If I had my way, he and I would be locked in a bedroom, for eternity, but a pressing family matter needs my attention. It's true what they say: A woman's work is never done.
WHEN YOU CAN HOWL AT THE MOON?
My twin brother is being held captive by the Old Mage in another realm. Lo and behold, as soon as Trowbridge and I arrive in Merenwyn, we're separated in spectacular, dramatic fashion-and I'm left to figure out how to maintain the fragile balance between my Fae magic and my wolf's blood in a realm that cries to both. Not easy, particularly when I'm keeping an iron-grip on my temper so as not to dispatch with extreme prejudice the odd wizard or smart-mouthed mutt servant who crosses my path. My mama never told me there'd be days like these, but I'm not going down without a fight...or my mate.
About the Author
Leigh Evans was born in Montreal, Quebec but now lives in Southern Ontario. She's raised two kids, mothered four dogs, and herded a few cats. Other than that, her life was fairly routine until the day she decided to write a book about a half-Fae, half-Were girl who's a magnet for trouble. The first Mystwalker novel was grabbed by St. Martins, and released as THE TROUBLE WITH FATE in 2012. Second and third books quickly followed: THE THING ABOUT WERES and THE PROBLEM WITH PROMISES. At the age most people start thinking about retirement, Leigh is slinging words and pummeling plots. Leigh's destiny has finally been met: she's a writer. A little tardy, but then again, her mum always said she was a late bloomer.
Read an Excerpt
The Danger of Destiny
By Leigh Evans
St. Martin's PressCopyright © 2015 Leigh Evans
All rights reserved.
APPROXIMATELY FIVE STINKING HOURS AFTER THE PORTAL SPAT US OUT INTO MERENWYN
I've made a few quiet and unsettling personal discoveries.
Sad fact: I've always thought I was a nature lover. Partially because I like flowers and butterflies and the scent of woods — spruce, maple, pine, earth, bark — invariably gives me the warm fuzzies.
Guess what? I'm not Hedi, the tree hugger.
After a while, no matter its girth or its magnificence, a tree is a tree. And a gorge fades from an awe-inspiring visual to a thing placed there with the sole intent of frustrating the shit out of you.
Other things this city dweller has placed high on the hate list during her first day in Merenwyn: almost invisible flying bugs that make a peculiar humming noise as they zoom in for a snack of my Fae-sweet blood; heat rashes in sensitive places; prickers that try to pierce my baby-soft soles.
Believe it or not, I'm starting to miss Creemore.
And cars. Those I really miss.
You see? This is the problem with epic quests. No matter what's on the list, the damn things seem to come with gritty realities that just drain all the epic out of them. For instance, the necessity of wrapping my shoe-deprived feet with the sleeves torn from my mate's sweatshirt because Trowbridge and I traversed the Safe Passage into the Fae world without any travel preparations — my shoes, a box of matches, an industrial-sized bottle of DEET, a case of PowerBars, a roll of toilet paper — or, for that matter, any discussion.
There'd been no time for it.
I'd vaulted through the Fae portal first, all hell-bent on rescuing my twin, Lexi, and the world. Since then, I've had a few hours to think about that leap. And I've asked myself — was that a piece of heroism or what?
Unfortunately, the answer is "hell no."
My hop, skip, and jump into Merenwyn was 80 percent guilt fueled
I left my brother bearing the burden of my own mistake: being the Old Mage's nalera was no walk in the park. Plus there was the whole save-the-world issue. Foul magic dripping through the portals and polluting everything that is good and fine and untouched in my home world.
People will get hurt. Like Cordelia, my mom-that-isn't, and Anu, my niece.
I can't have that either.
But here's the element of doubt. Would I have been struck by the pressing need to protect the innocent if the goons with the guns hadn't been giving me the buh-byes? After all, St. Silas had made it impossible for me to not take that step.
Turns out, I'm not heroic at all.
On the other hand, Robson Trowbridge came to Merenwyn because he's heroic and he loves me. Any doubt I had on the subject of my mate's devotion was wiped out the instant I'd recognized the cacophony coming from the portal for what it was — the metallic shriek of a chain-link fence scoring the passage walls as it was dragged willy-nilly into the land of the Fae.
St. Silas, one of the big woofs of the werewolves' Great Council back in our world, had handcuffed my mate to such a fence. The asshole should have cuffed the Alpha of Creemore to a Chevy. My Trowbridge simply brought a six-foot panel of chain link with him, as well as a fence post, a set of handcuffs, his scent, and — not to overwork the phrase — his love.
Trowbridge loves me.
I turned my head slightly to regard my beloved. After enveloping me in a breath-defying hug that had quickly evolved into a truly memorable and searing kiss, my lover had divested himself of the handcuffs. Then, he'd taken care of what was left of the fence by rolling it into an untidy cylinder, which he'd stashed behind a handy outcrop of rock. After that, he'd performed a quick scent test of the air and a squint-eyed examination of the forest below. Finally, he'd turned to look at me. For four long seconds he'd stared at me, his expression inscrutable, but in the end he'd swallowed down whatever sermon he'd entertained delivering and all he'd said was, "Ready?"
I'd smiled back and said, "Born ready."
Though his mouth had tightened, he'd never thrown that back at me, not once, during the last few hours.
Now my Trowbridge lay supine on his flat stomach beside me, propped up on his elbows, his eyes narrowed on the scene below. As visual feasts go, what he was frowning at was the ultimate photo op — literally a landscape of improbable beauty. Two thick wedges of old forest framed the green valley. Diamonds of light glinted from the winding blue river, and the tops of the grasses on its banks swayed. Add to this perfection the requisite background of wooded hills rolling to oblivion and beyond —
Goddess, Merenwyn would have given Ansel Adams a chubby.
Yeah, yeah, yeah. Not a tree hugger, remember?
Let's go back to talking about Trowbridge.
Normally, I'm all about the splendor of his face: eyes that were as blue as the Mediterranean, cheekbones that could cut glass, a lower lip that could be hard or tender. But at the moment, he was scowling again, so I allowed my eyes to rove over and my nose to enjoy the other totally Trowbridge delights. Like his body and the totally appealing scent of his sweat.
If I blurred my eyes a bit, he was naked Trowbridge. Which, by any personal measure, is a better thing than a paper bag filled to bursting with Cherry Blossoms, Kit Kats, Skittles, and chocolate fudge.
My mate had come through the gates wearing the clothing he'd been given before his trial in front of the council: a pair of jeans that were too large and a sweatshirt that was too small. That's it, except for the fence. Nobody had coughed up a T-shirt for the doomed Alpha of Creemore. Also — and this was crucial — nobody had thoughtfully tossed him a pair of tighty whities either, because he was wearing his jeans commando.
I knew this because I'd been watching his back all morning, enjoying the "now you see it, now you don't" scenery as those jeans tried to shuck themselves off his narrow hips, then biting my lips every time he'd jerk them back up again with a hiss of annoyance that I found inexpressibly endearing.
One man's pain, another woman's gain.
When he'd gone down on his belly to case out the valley, those faded jeans had already been sailing at very low mast. Now they rode so low, I could see the dimples at the base of his spine and the upper swell of his tight ass cheeks.
And the small of his back.
I'd become fixated on that patch of skin. I wanted to tramp-stamp it with the words "Hedi's property." I wanted to lick it and stroke it, and press my cheek to it so I could absorb his heat, and breathe in his scent — woods, salt, sex, and yum. I'd do all those things right now except my bone-liquefying exhaustion had placed all lustful thoughts into a holding pattern.
That's when I'd satisfy my need to claim that patch of skin. If one didn't dwell overlong on the sub-goal list, I had lots of "laters" in my future, during which I could explore every slope, plane, swell, and groove of his body. He's mine. I exhaled, glorifying in the awesomeness of him and me, and my breath bounced back, slightly sour and definitely metallic.
Right now, we were trekking to the rendezvous point — a place named Daniel's Rock — where Trowbridge and I were supposed to meet Lexi. Though time differences between this realm and the other are vast, we had lots of time.
We were early.
I mean, really early. I don't know precisely how early, because one Earth hour is the rough equivalent of eighteen Merenwyn hours and that is a bitch to figure out without a calculator and piece of paper.
But Trowbridge and I had crossed far earlier than instructed. Which meant we were way ahead of schedule and at this moment Lexi was betwixt worlds, still going through the unenviable process of having his addiction torn from him.
I tried to imagine what it felt like for my brother. Waking and realizing that you're trapped inside a fog-filled portal passage. Slowly recognizing that you're a prisoner — you can't go forward to Merenwyn, and you can't go back to Creemore. And worse, your transit plans are hostage to your own addiction. There'd be no freedom until such time as a mage — and Lexi has no fondness for them — pronounced you clean of your cravings for sun potion.
It would suck balls.
It had to be worse than being stuck in LaGuardia for an indefinite layover, your only company the walls, the clock, and an evangelist preacher.
Goddess, Hedi, when you screw up, you screw up.
I cleared my dry throat and nodded toward the river. "This looks like a good place."
"Uh-huh." Trowbridge scratched his nose, then looked up at the mid-day sun with a scowl. The thin wedge of maple he'd fashioned into a homespun toothpick gave another bob. He'd given me my own stick to chew earlier. Apparently, they keep the hunger pains at bay. Mine had fallen out of my back pocket when I squatted behind some bushes. No way was I putting that back in my mouth.
I pushed the tall grass aside to get another look at the river below. Its banks were pebbled, the center of its span an undeniably traversable froth of water.
I closed my eyes and rested my forehead on the crook on my arm. No more tramping along the escarpment, trying to exude resolute calm while inwardly being piddle-pants scared about the very real possibility of toppling into the River of Penance's churning water below. No more —
"My gut's not happy," he said.
Neither was mine. It kept squeezing, making clear its expectations that I should hustle and find a honey hive or five for its satisfaction. The handful of berries we'd nibbled on a couple of hours ago were naught but a faint memory.
Don't think about food.
"No," he repeated thoughtfully, "it's not happy at all."
I worked up a reply for that.
Normally, I'm quick with the quip and observation. I'd started our journey through the Fae realm leaking exclamations — "the sky's so blue, Trowbridge!" — but my general enthusiasm had naturally ebbed as the realities of being in Merenwyn had worn in.
We needed to cross the River of Penance. Because the two places high on my must-see destination list were on the other side of it and because its deafening roar had battered my right eardrum all morning. It had been nothing but rapids and waterfalls.
Finally, it had shut up and calmed the hell down.
I was done with the River of Penance and all its frickin' tributaries.
Merry slid down the inside crease of my elbow, snaring her feet in my tangled hair. I slit my eyes open and watched her through my lashes. She landed near my nose in a tiny puff of dust, then stalked along the inside of my curved arm.
My best friend was a sentient being, enchanted and imprisoned inside an amulet that hung from the chain I wore around my neck. She was an Asrai, like Ralph, the amulet that Trowbridge wore. "Merry and Ralph are hungry. We should feed them," I said, pointedly adding, "when we get to the other side."
"Mmmph," my darling man said.
With frayed patience, I carefully scratched around an insect bite. "Tell me again why we didn't cross the river where the Gatekeeper did."
I'd hated parting from her trail. Without the Gatekeeper, we were stuck in the land of the sneaky biting midges, because I didn't know the sequence of words and secret hand gestures to reopen the Safe Passage. The portal had closed itself while Trowbridge was occupied hiding the crumpled chain-link fencing. I'd tried to stop it from sealing, but the stone I'd quickly rolled into the doorway had been crushed into pea gravel.
The only plus? I hadn't followed up on my first instinct of shoving my foot into the doorway.
Ralph unwound two long golden strands from his setting and re-formed them into two long legs. He pushed himself upright, his bright blue stone winking with a self-satisfied light, then trotted to the end of his chain, so that he could take a gander at the old River of Penance. The line of grasses edging the outlook obscured his view so he hopped onto Trowbridge's forearm and started to prance upward.
My guy swatted Ralph off like he was annoying ant. Indignantly, the Royal Amulet righted himself, then whipped out two more strands of gold, presumably to fashion them into something sharp and pointy with which he could demonstrate his outrage.
Trowbridge's lip lifted enough to expose his teeth and the chew stick clamped between them.
And just like that, the fight went out of Ralph. He lowered his pincers, and he stood down, save for the little blip of insolent white light bleating from his jewel.
My mate removed his toothpick and said softly, "When you travel with an Alpha, you don't get in his line of vision. Ever. You watch, you listen, you try to be helpful, and if you want your Alpha not to leave you swinging over the gorge you make an extra effort to stay still so that your chain's not sawing away at the back of his neck. But most of all, you keep your shiny ass out of his line of vision. Got that, Ralphie?"
Point taken. Ralph picked up the slack in his chain and sidled out of the Son of Lukynae's sight line.
"Who's the big bad wolf?" I murmured with only a little bit of sarcasm. "Now, returning of the question of why we ditched the Gatekeeper, your answer is ..."
"If we followed her across the river, we'd be walking right into the Fae's hands. We've got time. It's smarter to play it safe."
True. We'd journeyed into this world a day earlier than anticipated, so we were ahead of the game, considering there was a time limit on my epic quest. Time considerations only became crucial once Lexi finished his passage between the two realms. If the old man's soul wasn't wrenched from Lexi's by my twin's third sunset in Merenwyn, their soul merge became permanent.
Don't think about it. Just do one thing at time.
Get to Daniel's Rock.
Though, you see, there it was — another tiny crack in the mental image I'd held of what Trowbridge, aka the Son of Lukynae, Hero Alpha of the Raha'ells, would be like in Merenwyn. I'd figured he'd be impatient. Feral. Violence simmering, glinting eyes showing hints of his undomesticated masculinity, musk so strong that it made me damp.
He was ... pragmatic. Calculating. And mostly, very damn quiet.
I listened to the sound of the water running over the river's rocks. It was clean and fresh, a cheery chortle versus an outraged thunder. Merry's chain tightened, signaling she was on the move again. I could feel the pinch of her little vine-tipped feet as she minced down my arm for a better view of the valley.
Why was Trowbridge balking now? For the first time in a couple of hours, we were on a section of cliff that had great handholds. We could make it down to the valley below without loss of limb and life. And even more important, the freakin' River of Penance had worn out some of its anger. Sure, it was moving fast, but we could ford it. And even if we lost our footing, the other side could be reached in a few determined strokes — after all, the river didn't look that wide.
I kept my eyes closed, careful not to look at him. "Is this because you're afraid of water?"
"I'm not afraid of water."
"I'm a great swimmer," I told him. "If you lose your footing, I'll tow you."
"That's. Not. Going. To. Happen."
"So it is about you drowning."
"You do remember that I'm an Alpha, right?" I heard Trowbridge murmur mildly. "And that I'm used to —"
"Ordering people about like a puppet master." The sun was pleasant on my back.
"Choosing the correct path for my pack." He shifted, releasing a thread of scent that slid along my arm in an invisible caress. "People used to jump when I spoke."
"Not. Going. To. Happen." My empty stomach rumbled.
Trowbridge's head swiveled, his blue eyes narrowing on me. "Where's your chew stick?" he demanded.
"It was bitter."
"Chewing it will make your belly hurt less."
"I'm not hungry." But my words came out sharper than I meant — he loves me — and so I softened my tone. "I'm tired. That's all."
He chewed on his toothpick for a thoughtful moment, his gaze roving over me. His eyes missed nothing. My bundled feet, my sweaty hairline, the pulse at my throat, the sunburn that made even smiling hurt.
Excerpted from The Danger of Destiny by Leigh Evans. Copyright © 2015 Leigh Evans. 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.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Another great story in the Mystwalker Paranormal/Fantasy/urban fantasy/sci-fi realm- is it the end? Stay turned ***A gifted copy was provided by NetGalley for an honest review*** This is book 4 in the Mystwalker series. In this book we FINALLY get to see Hedi and Robson working together instead of apart. I enjoyed getting to see them as a unit instead of them being apart. Now, saying that, they aren’t fully together the whole book. (sad face) In this book Heidi’s twin brother is being held captive by the old mage in another realm. As soon as they arrive in that realm, they are separated BUT they work together. Finally, Heidi accepts all parts of her and owns who and what she was born as DESTINY takes place mostly in the FAE realm, and is the only book to do so. Not only are there new challenges - they speak a whole “nother” language - but there are new/old enemies and a totally different, completely unfamiliar land and culture as well. Just to mention, this story picks up about hours after the previous story left off, the author provides just enough back story dusted in so , as the reader, I wasn’t having to go back and re-read. But if you are one of those people who have to wait until a series has a conclusion to go back and read , there isn't SO MUCH back story sprinkled in that it gets old. Heidi and Robson still have that chemistry that make reading this story wonderful and the fact you know they are *mates*, makes this even better. I just wish that they could spend the WHOLE book together without being separated. I would have given this a 5 star rating if they hadn’t kept separating them. Overall, still a very good paranormal/fantasy read and I will still continue to read the series. My rating: 4.0 stars ****
4 stars--THE DANGER OF DESTINY is the fourth (and final?) instalment in Leigh Evans Mystwalker paranormal, urban fantasy series focusing on Hedi Peacock –half fae/half Were-and all alpha female. Her continuing story finds Hedi and her alpha mate werewolf Robson Trowbridge in Merenwyn-the land of the Fae –where the Were are nothing more than vermin and prey. As this is the fourth and final instalment in the series, I would strongly suggest reading the series in order. There is a copious amount of background and history leading up to The Danger of Destiny. Told from first person point of view (Hedi) the focus of the storyline finds Hedi and Robson returning to the ‘other realm’-the realm of the Fae known as Merenwyn- where Hedi’s twin brother Lexi has been held a virtual prisoner in both mind and body since a young boy. While Hedi returns to Merenwyn to free her brother, Robson returns to free and lead the Rahaells Were Pack to human civilization. The relationship between Hedi and Robson continues to be loving, caring and at times combative as Hedi continues to venture along her own path. THE DANGER OF DESTINY sees our couple working together towards both individual and common goals. Hedi is part Fae ; her magic is strong combined with her Were genes and in this she is a threat to both the Fae and Weres. Hedi and her brother are considered mutts because they are neither full Fae nor full Wolf, and in this they are persona non grata on both sides of the divide. Robson, on the other hand, is in love with his mate but knows that she must complete the journey that she began months before. The numerous secondary and supporting characters are colourful, energetic and direct a good portion of the storyline. Hedi’s tortured and misdirected brother Lexi is a character whose actions have placed him on a fine line straddling right and wrong. As a puppet for the evil Old Mage, Lexi is not always in control of his actions-in this, his ability to be redeemed is questioned by both Fae and Were. THE DANGER OF DESTINY forwards the series but a few days from the previous installment. The storyline is awash in magic, mystwalking, Fae, Weres and a war between good and evil. There is some graphic violence but not as graphic as in previous storylines; the sex is mostly implied but the reader is aware that Hedi and Robson are deeply in love. Leigh Evans’s style of writing is detailed, comprehensive and descriptive. She is an amazing story teller where the narration heightens the finer points of history, background information and storyline premise. Hedi’s thought and mystwalking adventures reveal plenty of detail and character history. I had mentioned that THE DANGER OF DESTINY is the final installment in the series but I am hoping for Hedi’s brother Lexi’s story to unfold. The Mystwalker series is a series about Hedi and her search for the truth about her past, present and future but the details surrounding Lexi are limited to Hedi’s observation and what little truth has been revealed by her brother and the Old Mage. Here’s to uncovering the who, what and why of Lexi’s missing years.
The fourth book in the Mystwalker series, The Danger of Destiny was a little confusing for me. Since I have not read the previous books I was a little lost, but that did not take away from the story at all. Hedi is half fae and half were. Her twin brother is being held captive by the Old Mage in the fae realm. Hedi goes there and makes a pact with the Old Mage to have her brother released. Her were mate, Robson, follows her to fae land and they are challenged with many obstacles. The beginning of the book is slow and full of so much back story. It really helps for someone (like me) who has not read the rest of the series. The pace picks up at mid-point and the story really takes off with action, magic, sexy romance, and suspense. I really like the push/pull dynamic between Hedi and Robson. Their mating is intense, but that doesn’t take away from Hedi’s strong will. Lexi, Hedi’s twin brother, is a mess and their relationship was interesting and well developed for a secondary one Overall, this is a really good book that makes me want to go back and read the rest of the series. I received a complimentary copy of this book for review.
THE DANGER OF DESTINY is by far and above my favorite of the Mystwalker books. We FINALLY get to see our hero and heroine work together instead of apart, and Heidi accepts all parts of her and owns who and what she was born as. It was extremely refreshing to see after the previous three books had her unsure of herself and her place in the world. While this story picks up (kind of) just hours after the previous story left off, there is still enough back story sprinkled in so I wasn't totally lost. But if you are one of those people who likes to wait until a series has a conclusion, there isn't SO MUCH back story sprinkled in that it gets old. These would be great books to binge on. DESTINY takes place mostly in the Fae realm, and is the only book to do so. Not only are there new challenges - they speak another language - but there are new/old enemies and a totally unfamiliar terrain and culture as well. Heidi up until now just cannot catch a break ... other than snagging Trowbridge as her mate! And it really is a good thing too, he makes a fantastic and sexy guide through the forest. I don't want to say too much, because this is the best series you have never heard of, and while this is a review for the last book in it, I don't want to give away any more from the previous books! Give it a shot, and let me know what you think!