In honor of St. Patrick's Day, I'm posting two of my Celtic Legends books. It's not really a series, since the books don't have anything to do with each other. They're each set in Ireland at some point during the mid-to-late1800s (for no other reason than that my grandparents were born in Ireland in the late 1800s) and they each (being as they're Fantasy Romances) feature fantasy creatures found in Celtic legends, faeries, demi-gods, selkies, bird shifters. Only two of the four have been written yet, but you can see all the covers on the series page: https://www.pgforte.com/celtic-legends
Nineteenth century Ireland. Blacksmith Gavin O'Malley is a bitter man, with a heart as hard as the iron he forges. He wants his life back--the one that was stolen from him the day his wife died in childbirth, taking their firstborn son with her.
When Aislinn Deirbhile, an immortal, shape-shifting fae, arrives on his doorstep, he knows he's in luck. For Aislinn can give Gavin everything he's been missing: A devoted-seeming wife in the image of his beloved Mairead, and children who are sure to outlive their father. Now, all he has to do is find a way to keep her--without losing his immortal soul in the process.
But Aislinn has an agenda of her own. On the run from a vengeful fae lord who's vowed to either make her his or end her existence, she knows the iron that allows Gavin to take her captive will also keep her pursuers at bay. In order to put herself permanently beyond her enemy's reach, however, Aislinn will need something more. She'll need to win Gavin's heart and convince him to willingly part with a piece of the very soul he's trying to save.
Previously published as The Oak King.
Twice each year, Aine Murphy ventures into the woods to hold ceremonies to honor the Oak King and the Holly King, never dreaming these Lords of the Forest could be anything more than myth. When the legends spring to life in front of her, how can she help but fall for the sexy demi-gods she's loved all her life?
From midwinter to midsummer, Fionn O'Dair rules the Greenworld as the Oak King--a role he feels is beyond his abilities, and one that dooms him to a loveless future, forever craving the one man he can never allow himself to have. How can he resist what Aine offers--the sweet devotion that soothes his aching soul, and the slim chance to live a "normal" life as her husband, if only for half a year?
Holly King Kieran Mac Cuilenn never desired a human lover--until now. Seeing Fionn and Aine together fills him with longing for the love he threw away and awakens feelings he thought he'd buried with the last Oak King. Is there enough magic in the solstice to correct the mistakes he made years ago? Or is he doomed to be forever left out in the cold?
Excerpt from Iron:
“Would you like to see it?” she asked, sitting up in bed with her legs crossed beneath her, wanting suddenly to give something back to him, to make him smile again.
The blankets slid to her waist and Gavin quickly averted his eyes. “Eh? See what?”
“The Summerland. You need only lie back and close your eyes and I will sing ye there.”
“Sing me there?” Curious eyes swung back up to her face. “Ye can do that?”
Aislinn shrugged. “Of course. It is just your mind I’d be transporting. Your body would remain here, in peaceful slumber.”
“Aye, no doubt,” Gavin muttered, his gaze turning suspicious. “But for how long will I slumber? That’s the question, is it not?”
“A night,” she answered. “No more than that. I promise ye, you’ll not travel outside of time tonight. When ye wake up tomorrow morning, safe in your own bed, neither you nor the world will be more than a single day older. Will ye not trust me?”
“Might I not come to harm there? For I’ve heard stories.”
“Not tonight,” she said, leaning closer to smile temptingly at him. “If I give you my word, O’Malley, that I’ll not allow you to suffer any harm tonight, will that not suffice?”
“And have ye the power to make such promises, I wonder?” he asked as he studied her expression but finally he nodded and closed his eyes. “Go on then, Fae. Do your worst.”
Aislinn took a moment to gather her power, humming quietly until the air shimmered and rippled around her and time itself began to shift and there she stopped it, mindful of her promise not to take him outside time tonight. But someday I might, she thought, and smiled at the sleeping form before her, someday, indeed, I might.
And then, still smiling, she began to sing...
Gavin sighed as Aislinn’s voice settled over him as welcome as a soft, warm blanket on a cold night; and he’d have gladly snuggled into it, if his body did not seem too heavy to move. His mind, on the other hand, felt light as air, rising higher and higher until, at last, it broke free of the bonds that had kept it tethered within him. And then, like a caged bird suddenly set free, it took off, winging its way westward over a bleak, black sea toward a flicker of light on the horizon.
The light grew as he approached until he realized it was not a light at all, but rather the reflection cast by the rising sun upon the tall, white cliffs of an island.
Gulls swept past him, crying out a greeting; and then he was soaring above the island itself. Gentle, rolling hills stretched below him as he flew and the low, throbbing tones of Uilleann pipes rose up from among them, as though calling him home.
Dipping closer to the ground, he spied horses racing each other for the sheer joy of it across vast, verdant pastures. The sweet, mingled perfumes of a thousand flowers filled the air and a light mist kissed his skin as he landed in a sunny glen.
Deer, browsing amid the trees, paused in their foraging, their tails flicking as they scented him, but they showed no fear. He was aware, too, of a thronging crowd of people that seemed to exist just beyond the edges of his sight and who studied him just as curiously as the deer did. But he paid them no mind for there was a sound that tugged at his consciousness, bidding him follow it.
He found her, at last, seated atop the bent branch of a willow tree that had extended itself over a clear and sparkling stream, paddling her feet in the crystalline water and singing sweetly.
She broke off as he approached and smiled in greeting. Gavin paused on the sandy bank and stared at her. Though the water appeared cool and refreshing and he was suddenly aware of a great thirst, he was loath to partake.
Laughing, Aislinn jumped down from the branch to stand before him. “’Tis quite all right, you know. The water will do naught tonight but quench your thirst. Although, on another occasion it might, indeed, do more. But did ye not believe me when I promised to protect thee here? What is it that’s made ye so suspicious, O’Malley? What have the fae ever done to thee?”
“I doona know,” he answered with a shrug, trying not to notice the sweet smell of sunlight on her skin and in her hair. She was dressed in a simple, diaphanous gown of shimmering white without so much as a single ornament, but even with her feet bare and her hair undone she looked more elegant, somehow, than any woman he had ever seen.
No wonder her fool of a sister was so worried, he thought, for sure and she has the look of one who should be queen.
“But how is it you’re here?” he asked. “For I thought you were banned from the place.”
“Aye,” she answered, casting a sad glance at the landscape that surrounded them. “From the Summerland itself, I am still in exile. But no one can remove me from my memories of it. This is but a shadow of the place. I could have sent ye there alone, had I wished to. But without accompanying ye, I could not have guaranteed your safety. Nor could I have transported ye into the past without breaking my promise not to take ye out of time. But I thought this would do to show ye what it’s like and why I’m so loath to give it up. Do you not find it beautiful?”
He nodded. “I do. But what of the other place? Will you be showing me that as well, that I might compare the two?”
“Nay,” she replied with a shake of her head. “Perhaps another time. I’d not wish to trouble your sleep with such a thing. You’d not thank me for it if I did. Now, come,” she said, smiling once more as she took hold of his arm. “Let me show you something of my home.”