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Authors: Pamela Montgomerie

Amethyst Destiny

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PRAISE FOR

SAPPHIRE DREAM

“A compelling tale of magic, betrayal, and romance ... Will keep readers spellbound.”

—Romantic Times

 
“One of the best time-travel romances I’ve ever read.”

—New York Times bestselling author Mary Jo Putney

 
“Edge-of-the-seat suspense, heart-stopping passion, and poignant emotion make
Sapphire Dream
a fantastic, roller-coaster read. I dare you to put it down before you finish it.”

—Anna Campbell, award-winning author of Tempt the Devil

 
“An action-packed, passion-filled tale by a master story-teller. An excellent read.”

—Laurin Wittig, award-winning author of The Devil of Kilmartin

 
“An ingeniously plotted time travel. Pure reading magic.”

—Amelia Richard, Single Titles

 
“A fabulous time-travel paranormal romance starring an intriguing lead couple. The story line is fast-paced from the onset and never decelerates even with several terrific plausible twists and spins. Readers will enjoy
Sapphire Dream,
but set aside time because putting it down before completion is not an option.”

—Genre Go Round Reviews

PRAISE FOR THE NOVELS OF PAMELA MONTGOMERIE WRITING AS PAMELA PALMER

“[A] romantic, magical, and terrifying story. A compelling debut”

—Library Journal

 
“[A] tale of supernatural danger and spine-tingling suspense ... Pamela Palmer twists the supernatural tension, then twists it again in this story of ancient magic and newly minted love.”

—USA Today bestselling author Rebecca York

 
“I loved this story! Pamela Palmer certainly delivers a riveting out-of-the-ordinary tale of paranormal suspense and romance. I couldn’t put it down.”

—USA Today bestselling author Robin T. Popp

 
“Scary, sexy, and with a truly disturbing villain ... A real page-turner.”

—Bestselling author Laura Anne Gilman

 
“Exciting ... Combines sexy characters with an intense, riveting plot.”

—Romantic Times

 
“The enchanting magic, passion, and danger hold the reader spellbound during every totally captivating scene ... Takes paranormal romance to unbelievable heights.”

—CataRomance

 
“The characterization, motivation, and development of Autumn and Kade are marvelous ... Edgy, yet charming—that last due to the exceedingly likable heroine.”

—Romance Reviews Today

 
“Solidifies Pamela Palmer’s place as one of the top up-and-coming authors of the paranormal romance and dark fantasy genres! Without a doubt, Dark Deceiver ranks among the top books I’ve read.”

—CK
2
S Kwips and Kritiques

Berkley Sensation Books by Pamela Montgomerie

 

AMETHYST DESTINY
SAPPHIRE DREAM

THE BERKLEY PUBLISHING GROUP
Published by the Penguin Group
Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014, USA
Penguin Group (Canada), 90 Eglinton Avenue East, Suite 700, Toronto, Ontario M4P 2Y3, Canada
(a division of Pearson Penguin Canada Inc.)
Penguin Books Ltd., 80 Strand, London WC2R ORL, England
Penguin Group Ireland, 25 St. Stephen’s Green, Dublin 2, Ireland (a division of Penguin Books Ltd.)
Penguin Group (Australia), 250 Camberwell Road, Camberwell, Victoria 3124, Australia
(a division of Pearson Australia Group Pty. Ltd.)
Penguin Books India Pvt. Ltd., 11 Community Centre, Panchsheel Park, New Delhi—110 017, India
Penguin Group (NZ), 67 Apollo Drive, Rosedale, North Shore 0632, New Zealand
(a division of Pearson New Zealand Ltd.)
Penguin Books (South Africa) (Pty.) Ltd., 24 Sturdee Avenue, Rosebank, Johannesburg 2196,
South Africa

 

Penguin Books Ltd., Registered Offices: 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England

 

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental. The publisher does not have any control over and does not assume any responsibility for author or third-party websites or their content.

 

AMETHYST DESTINY

 

A Berkley Sensation Book / published by arrangement with the author

 

PRINTING HISTORY

Berkley Sensation mass-market edition / May 2010

 

Copyright © 2010 by Pamela Palmer Poulsen

Handlettering by Ron Zinn

 

All rights reserved.

No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission. Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights. Purchase only authorized editions.

For information, address: The Berkley Publishing Group,
a division of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.,
375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014.

 

eISBN : 978-1-101-40424-9

 

BERKLEY® SENSATION
Berkley Sensation Books are published by The Berkley Publishing Group,
a division of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.,
375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014.
BERKLEY® SENSATION is a registered trademark of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
The “B” design is a trademark of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

 

 

 

http://us.penguingroup.com

To Anne Shaw Moran

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

Huge thanks to Laurin Wittig and Anne Shaw Moran for your wisdom, humor, and wonderful friendship. I’d be lost without you two.

Thanks also to my editors, Allison Brandau and Kate Seaver. And to Robin Rue, Kim Castillo, Emily Cotler, and Misono Allen for all your effort on my behalf.

As always, thanks and love to my family for your endless support.

PROLOGUE

SCOTLAND 1668

Talon MacClure spat upon the brown heather, blood and dirt ribboning his spittle as he stumbled away from his home, holding his arm against his aching ribs. The cold winter wind swirled around him, whipping beneath his mud-caked plaid and shirt to chill the bruised flesh of his bare legs. At fifteen, he was barely the size of his mum, his arms and chest no more muscled than a lass’s.

A worthless piece of shite.

Snowflakes swirled in the frigid air as he trekked over the heath and prayed he’d caught a rabbit or two in his traps. If he had, they’d eat tonight. If not ... he’d be hurting more than he was already. The thought of rabbit stew did little to stir his appetite, but no longer was he able to shoot his bow to bring down anything bigger. Not for nearly a year now. Not since his arm healed so poorly from the break last spring. Twice since then, a shank of venison had arrived at their door, a gift from one of his mother’s kinsmen. But the gifts only infuriated his da, and at his mum’s pleading, they’d stopped coming.

Talon knelt in the snow beside a thick bush and pushed aside a snowy branch. There, in his trap, was a fine rabbit. He removed the wee beast and went to check the others he’d left last eve. Two were empty, but the fourth held another rabbit, scrawny, but large enough to please him.

Satisfied and relieved, he bent to gather his treasure. Tonight they would eat. But as he reached into the trap, his crippled arm twisted the wrong way, sending pain shooting up into his shoulder. Talon cried out, then clamped down on the sound even as hot tears gathered in his eyes and spilled. He tried to wipe his damp cheek on the plaid draped over his good shoulder, but only managed to get an eyeful of mud.

Blinking furiously, he finally gave up the fight and let the tears roll freely as he knelt on the soft ground, spitting the blood and grit from his mouth as pain ran up his arm and into his shoulder on wave after wave of fire. Misery pressed down upon him, the weight of it feeling like it would shatter his scrawny shoulders. If only he’d grow as big as his cousins. As big as his da.

Big enough to protect his mother and himself.

Talon slowly fought back the shameful tears, found an unsoiled bit of plaid to wipe the dirt and moisture from his face, then rose, rabbits in hand. He turned to head for home.

And froze.

Standing on the rock above him, watching him, was the strangest creature he’d ever seen. A little man who, were he to stand at Talon’s side, would not even reach Talon’s shoulder, he was certain. Though small, he was no child. His stocky build was that of a man grown. His face had lost its youth. But perhaps the most intriguing thing about him was his hair. The riotous mass of orange stuck out from his head as if he’d stepped into a whirl-wind.

The sight almost made Talon feel like smiling. Until he saw the sympathy in the wee man’s eyes.

Talon scowled. “I dinna need yer pity, sir.” He turned toward the path and home.

“Who hit ye?”

Talon brushed self-consciously at the mud on his cheek with his free hand, wincing as his arm pained him yet again.

“Come here, laddie. Let me see that arm of yours.”

Talon ignored him, moving slowly, painfully away. But the man wasn’t deterred. Despite short legs, he caught up to Talon easily and fell into step beside him.

“Got you in the ribs, too, did he?”

“I dinna wish to speak of it.”

“I’ve a healing way, lad. It’ll only take a minute and I can help you.”

Talon glanced down at him. “My arm has healed. ’Twill not be improving.” He let his curiosity get the better of him. “Who are ye? I’ve ne’ er seen ye before.”

A cheeky grin split the man’s face, mischief dancing in his eyes. “The name’s Hegarty.”

Part of him wanted to turn away, but there was a kindness in those eyes he’d seen little of in his life and he was pulled against his will. “Are ye an elf, then?”

“Nay. A dwarf. Of sorts.”

Talon nodded, accepting the explanation.

Hegarty motioned to a large rock. “Sit ye down, laddie.”

Talon hesitated, gripping his rabbits tighter.

“I’ve no need for yer food, lad. Now sit.”

Talon hesitated, then did as bade, lowering himself to the rock. Hegarty reached for him. Talon tensed, but did not jerk away as one small, thick hand curved around his elbow.

From so close, Talon could see the faint lines around Hegarty’s eyes and no sign of stubble on his face, as if he had no facial hair.

Hegarty closed his eyes. Odd words came from his mouth in a rush of sound.

Almost at once, Talon’s arm began to tingle and seep with warmth. “What are ye doing?” he asked, amazed and a little frightened.

“Hush, laddie.” Hegarty resumed his odd chanting.

The warmth sank into his flesh, traveling up into his shoulder and down through his body as if a soft, warm wind blew inside him. The aching in his ribs ceased. Even his eye began to lose its swelling.

As quickly as he began, Hegarty stepped back and nodded as if satisfied. “Would that I could rid ye of the mud as easily.”

Talon blinked, his vision once more clear. “What have you done?” he asked breathlessly.

“Straighten that arm o’ yours, lad.”

“I canna ...” But he raised his poor right arm and reached it out straight as an arrow. With nary a hint of pain. Talon’s eyes widened, a grin slowly lifting the corners of his mouth. “Yer an angel.”

Hegarty cackled. “An angel. That I am not. Just gifted with a wee bit o’ magic.”

Talon didn’t question the claim. He knew all too well he’d been given a miracle. “My thanks, sir.”

“What’s your name, lad?”

“Talon. Talon MacClure.”

“Ha!” A youthful voice shouted from the rocks above. “Talon
Manure,
ye mean.”

With a sinking gut, Talon looked up at the three large youths staring down at him from above. His cousins.

The largest, Dougal, leaped down from the rock to land at his side, towering over him. In a flurry of whipping plaid, the twins joined him. Though only a couple of years older than Talon, all had gotten their growth four or five summers before and were strong, braw lads.

With a quick move he should have seen coming, Dougal snatched the two rabbits from Talon’s hand and tossed them to one of the twins.

“Looks like we found dinner.”

Talon stared at the rabbits, his stomach cramping from the hunger pains as much as the thought of the beating that would come.

Dougal grinned at Hegarty, a cruel look in his eyes Talon recognized all too well.

“What is he?” one of the twins asked, disgust dripping from his words.

“A rodent, by the looks of him.” Dougal grunted, an ugly look entering his eyes. “I say we drown him.”

“Nay!” Talon feared his cousins would do just that. He shoved himself in front of Hegarty. “Leave him be.”

“Talon
Manure,”
Dougal said with mock dismay. “Have ye not learned yer place, laddie? ’Tis beneath my boot.” His meaty hand slammed into Talon’s chest and sent him flying past Hegarty, into the snow and mud. Then he grabbed for the dwarf.

Nay.
In a fit of desperate fury, Talon launched himself off the ground and leaped at the far bigger lad. His useless fists managed only to clip Dougal on the chin before a hammer of a hand smashed into his middle, stealing the air from his lungs, knocking him to his knees.

“Leave him be,”
Talon gasped. Hegarty had helped him. Healed him. He would not let them hurt him!

But as he struggled to his feet, he watched with disbelief as the three bigger boys sank to their knees in pain, clutching their stomachs as if they, too, had been slugged in the belly.

Hegarty stood over them, his arms crossed, his toe tapping. “Ye’ll be apologizin’ to Talon, lads.”

Dougal spat on the ground. “That be my apology to Manure.”

He cried out and doubled over, his long dark hair swinging down to obscure his face.

“And ye’ll be givin’ me yer waistcoat, laddie. I’ve an eye for sheepskin.”

“Go to the ...
devil,”
Dougal gasped.

Again he cried out, moaning in obvious agony.

Talon stared at his hated kinsman. “What are ye doin’ to him, Hegarty? Are ye killin’ him?”

“Nay, laddie. Just teaching him his place.”

One by one, the twins rose and lurched away, running as fast as the pain allowed them.

Dougal tried to rise, but collapsed again with a piteous moan. “Make it stop,” he wailed. “I’ll give ye the damned waistcoat.”

“Apologize to Talon, lad.”

“My ... apologies, Talon Manure.”

“Lad...”

“Talon ... MacClure. MacClure!”

Dougal’s tense body relaxed with a suddenness that took Talon by surprise. Would that his own pain would disappear as easily.

Gasping for air, Dougal rose slowly to his feet. But as he stared at Hegarty, his face turned into a mask of fury and his hand balled into a fist.

Hegarty faced him calmly. “Yer waistcoat.”

Dougal lunged, but before he could swing, fell once more to his knees with a cry of pain.

Hegarty winked at Talon. “He doesna learn quickly, does he?”

Talon laughed for the first time in as long as he could remember.

Dougal shrugged off his plaid and struggled out of his waistcoat, tossing it onto the ground. “Let me go, ye devil.”

“Go, then.”

Dougal stared at the small man, his eyes spitting hatred even as they glistened with fear. Slowly, warily, he struggled to his feet, his face lined with pain. He stared at the two of them a moment more, his breathing hard and uncertain, then turned and stumbled away.

Hegarty picked up the waistcoat and put it on, the garment falling nearly to his knees. He adjusted the shearling, plucking at his own shirt beneath, preening a bit before he turned to Talon and held out his hand.

Talon wasn’t certain what the dwarf wanted, but placed his hand in Hegarty’s without hesitation. Almost at once, the pain in his middle washed away.

“I wish I could do that,” Talon murmured.

Hegarty’s lips compressed thoughtfully. “Mayhap ye can.”

“I can?”

Hegarty released him and pulled something off his finger and handed it to him.

Talon opened his hand and Hegarty dropped a thick silver ring with a square-cut stone the color of blooming heather into his palm.

“’Tis an amethyst,” Hegarty said. “The ring is magic, laddie. Put it on yer finger and wear it always. When ye be needin’ something, anythin’, rub the stone and make the wish, either out loud or silently. The ring will hear either way.”

Talon made no move to put it on. “I canna keep it.”

Hegarty continued as if he hadn’t spoken. “I’ll be warning ye, the ring has a mind of its own.” He scowled at the thing. “It’ll be givin’ ye what ye need, lad, but not always in the way ye want, aye?”

Talon thrust his hand at the dwarf. “My da will not allow it. If Dougal sees it, he’ll take it from me. I’m not worthy of such a fine gift, Master Hegarty. Ye should ken that.”

Hegarty looked at him, his eyes clear and kind. “Ye be worth more than those three wicked lads combined, young Talon. Someday, mayhap, ye’ll believe it. But until then, the ring is yours.”

Slowly Talon closed his fingers around the gift and drew it close. With slow, deliberate movements, he lifted it from his palm and slid it onto the middle finger of his right hand.

It fit him perfectly. And disappeared.

He gaped at his hand. “’Tis gone!”

Hegarty cackled. “Nay, ’tis not. Feel it”

He could indeed feel the weight of the ring still on his finger. “You hid it?”

“The ring hides itself. None will take it from ye, wee Talon, for none will know ’tis there but you and me. Ye cannot have it forever. When yer grown, I’ll return for it.” Hegarty nodded to the east. “Now be off with ye before this snow settles in. Godspeed to ye, laddie.”

Talon looked down at his bare hand, marveling at the invisible ring, then up again.

Hegarty was gone.

“Godspeed to ye, Hegarty.” Talon picked up the two rabbits the twins had left behind in their hurry to escape. His step was light, his body strong and without pain, and he ran nearly the entire way home. But as he neared his small, sorry cottage, he heard the thuds of his father’s fists and his mother’s pained cries.

The old, familiar helplessness tore at his innards, clawing at him with hatred and anger. He made a sound like an animal deep in his throat, part plea, part growl. “I wish he would leave us
and never return.”

He swallowed hard, shaking inside, hating that he couldn’t help his mother. Knowing that if he went in there now, if he tried, the bones that had been miraculously healed would only be broken again.

As he stood in the yard, the snow swirling around him, the bitter cold piercing his skin, he felt it. That same odd, warm tingle that had danced upon his skin as Hegarty healed him. Was the healing not done, then?

An eerie silence washed over the glen. The sounds of the beating had ceased. Then a heavy thud sounded in the silence and terror pierced his breast.

He’d killed her!

BOOK: Amethyst Destiny
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