Keepers of the Flame [Summoning Series Book 4] [Secure]
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by Robin D. Owens
Description: Two sisters born to serve.... The sorcerers of Lladrana have already Summoned three women to help fight the evil attacking their world. Yet their fourth Summoning brings the unexpected--twin sisters. And ones with strong ties to Earth. Both have a special gift to heal. But while Brigid Drystan has explored that gift through unorthodox means, Elizabeth has poured herself into getting a medical degree and denying her powers. Now, stuck in a strange land, fighting a plague sent by the Dark to weaken Lladrana, they must use all their resources to save lives. And one twin will risk her own on an experiment that might doom them both....
eBook Publisher: Harlequin/LUNA, 2008
eBookwise Release Date: January 2008
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Available eBook Formats [Secure - What's this?]: OEBFF Format (IMP) [753 KB]
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Denver, Last of May, early afternoon
He wasn't worth it. Elizabeth Drystan stomped down the grocery store aisle, pushing her metal basket hard. The damn thing had a wonky wheel, of course, and Elizabeth reveled in the necessity of using force.
The man wasn't worth her heartbreak. Heartbreak? More like her heart had been ripped out, leaving a horrible, bloody, aching core. As a newly board-certified doctor starting a job in Denver Major Hospital next month, she knew her physical heart still beat. But, oh, her emotional one was shredded into pieces.
The jerk, Cassidy, had said she was "crowding" him. He "needed space." Just when she thought she could plan the rest of her life—starting with a wedding. After a year, Cassidy had broken their engagement. Because he needed space.
Elizabeth had told him to go to Wyoming.
And the inexplicable auditory illusions—chanting, gongs and chimes—were taking her to the edge of temper and sanity. Even now she had to block the sounds from her mind.
She took a corner fast and crashed into another cart. The jolt sang up her arms. She opened her mouth to spew and saw her twin sister, Bri, who was supposed to be in Sweden—purple-streaked hair and all. Elizabeth burst into tears.
Bri reached for her, hugging and soothing. "I knew something was wrong. I had to came back."
Elizabeth didn't care where her free-spirited sister had been, only that she was holding her. Her tears were dripping down Bri's fallen earbuds and she wondered if salt water damaged them. The silliness of that thought made her gasp, choke, and stifle the water flow. Digging into her cart for one of the already opened boxes of tissues, Elizabeth wiped her eyes and blew her nose. "God, am I glad you came."
Bri patted her on the shoulder. "I knew you were sad." Her jaw tightened. "Man problems, right? That Doctor Medical-Prodigy-Slick-Hunk-Son-Of-A-Bitch. I told you he was an arrogant snob of a bastard. Finally showed his true colors."
Elizabeth hugged her again. "I'm glad you're here."
"Actually, I'm back for good."
That was startling and Elizabeth welcomed the distraction, even if she didn't believe it. "Really?" She stepped back to scan Bri's face under her spiky hair of brown and purple. There was an unaccustomed seriousness in her hazel gaze along with…uncertainty?
Shrugging, Bri flushed. "No place like home, right?"
"So they say." But lately Elizabeth had begun to feel a change of venue might be good. She could reconsider her decision about starting at Denver Major Hospital. Take a long break, call around to some of her other offers. Her feet were actually tingling. She wondered if that was what Bri called "itchy feet."
"Elizabeth?" Bri was smiling. "You went away on me."
That was usually Elizabeth's phrase to her twin.
After one last blow into her tissue, Elizabeth tucked it away into a plastic baggie in her purse, took out an antiseptic towlette packet, opened it and wiped her hands.
Looking amused, Bri rolled up her earbuds and slipped her player in her purse. "Feel better?"
"Always, when you're here."
Bri looked away, then back, hunched a shoulder. "You know why I've been gone. I had to see if other places were more accepting of…our talent."
Elizabeth never wanted to talk about that subject. "The folks will be glad to see you. They were hoping you'd come home for Dad's birthday."
"This time the favors I called in were solid. Got here this morning. Everywhere's been interesting. Denver and home is better."
Touching the puffiness under her eyes, Elizabeth winced. "My God, look at me, breaking down in a grocery store!"
Bri glanced around, "You wouldn't be the first, and you picked an appropriate place. Supplies all around. Tiger Balm's right behind your shoulder and aspirin on my side of the aisle." Bri grinned. Elizabeth always thought Bri had gotten the prettier smile. Bri said since they were identical, Elizabeth had it, too. That wasn't true. Bri's smile was special. Maybe because she was such a free spirit.
"'Scuse me," said a tall, wiry black woman with salt-and-pepper hair, walking down the aisle. Her face showed irritation—that part which wasn't covered with a package of frozen baby peas. "I need one of those instant ice packs." Her visible eye rolled to other items on the shelves. "And one of those herbal sinus pillows, too."
Bri moved her cart. "Let's see," she said. "I'm a massage therapist." She tilted her head toward Elizabeth. "And she's a medical doctor. What happened?"
A corner of the woman's mouth quirked as she walked past Bri to Elizabeth. "Volleyball." She took the peas from her face.
Elizabeth winced in sympathy, checked the woman's eye, then carefully felt around the bone. "No other head injury?"
"Looks like a big black eye."
The woman snorted. "Got that."
"Here," Bri said, ripping open the box and twisting the instant ice compress to initiate the cold. She placed the pack on the woman's face.
Then Bri did the unthinkable. Elizabeth saw an aura of green pulse from Bri's hand through the pack and bathe the woman's face for long, long seconds.
"I think you'll find it looks worse than it is," Bri said, releasing the compress after the woman dropped the peas in her basket and held the pack herself.
"Thanks. It feels better already."
"Here's your sinus pillow." Elizabeth hoped her voice was less stiff than she felt.
"Thanks again." The woman nodded and left.
Copyright © 2008 by Robin D. Owens.