Enchanted Island [From the Sea]
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by Temple Hogan
Description: Irish Princess Treasa longs for Prince Ailin who is soon to be her sister's betrothed, but the fates have something else in mind for her. Kidnapped by the sinister Prince Queran, she's to be used as a pawn against Cearnach, King of Ballyshand and the enchanted island of Cahir. With a spell cast over her so she cannot tell Cearnach the truth, Treasa has no other choice than to become his mistress. Soon, she finds herself in love with him. Caught up in an malevolent spell that divides his kingdom, Cearnach struggles against the invading rivals who seek to defeat him, unaware that the biggest threat is an unknown enemy from within his castle. He's stunned to find the beautiful Treasa is a virgin and not a seasoned courtesan as he was led to believe. When Queran whispers doubts in his ear, he's unsure of whether to trust Treasa or not, but love and desire for his beautiful mistress rules his heart. Cearnach soon discovers they must fight together if they are going to save their enchanted castle before it's too late.
eBook Publisher: Resplendence Publishing, LLC, 2011 July
eBookwise Release Date: January 2012
2 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [142 KB]
Reading time: 91-128 min.
Lost in a beautiful dream about Prince Ailin, Treasa sighed and turned in her bed. He'd just declared his undying love and preference for her over her hateful, older sister, Brynna.
Treasa had worn the most beautiful gown that had ever existed. Its silvery tissue folds floated around her, glowing with reflected light. Her face was luminous, her hair as bright as a crown. She was beautiful, more beautiful even than Brynna. Prince Ailin smiled at Treasa, his eyes shining as he reached for her. He was more dazzling than she'd ever seen him, and he looked only at her.
"I love you, my fair princess," he said. "I want you for my bride." His voice echoed throughout the great hall.
She heard Brynna's gasp of dismay. The court clapped with approval at this turn of events.
"So it shall be!" her father, King Arthgallo, called out.
Brynna shrieked like a banshee and ran from the hall, only her fading sobs left to remind anyone she'd been there. Treasa's smile was victorious. She was no longer the younger sister to be ignored and forgotten. She was to be Prince Ailin's bride.
Then the wind woke her. She lay for a moment trying to bring back the dream, wanting it to go on forever, but it was gone, and with it, the bitter acknowledgement that it would never be a reality. Prince Ailin loved Brynna, and her sister was arrogant with the triumph. Brynna knew how Treasa felt about Ailin and found a dozen ways each day to taunt her with the fact that her love was not returned. Treasa retaliated by hiding Brynna's belongings, a beautiful comb, a ribbon, a petticoat, but it was not enough to assuage the pain in her heart.
The wind rattled the shutter again. Treasa threw aside the covers, wrapped her arms around herself against the chill and ran on tiptoes to the window. Opening the shutters a crack, she gazed out at Dingle Bay. The night was dark and stormy. The waves pounded against the rocky shore, and the wind roared its displeasure at something flattening the long sea grass against the sand. Dark clouds hid the moon, but an occasional flickering light cast a glow on the angry waves. Treasa shook back her long, golden hair and peered more intently. There seemed to be a large hill rising from the waters of the bay. Surely a trick of her eyesight, she thought and blinked. But no, it was still there. It seemed to have grown larger, blocking all view of the sea, leaving only a river of water between it and their own shore.
Treasa stood for a long time, trying to sort out the shadows, but even the smallest bit of light seemed to have disappeared and only an ominous darkness greeted her. Remembering her dream, she latched the shutter, hurried back to her bed and lay shivering, her covers pulled high beneath her chin. To dispel her discomfort, she concentrated on what her dream had revealed and wished it were true. Soon, she was warm and fell asleep, but her pleasant vision did not return.
Instead, she saw a looming mound cutting them off from the sea and a dark-haired man with fierce eyes and a warrior's face. Suddenly, she was afraid and tried to push away the darkness, but it seemed the frightening warrior had seized her dreams and made them his own. He stalked toward her and she tried to run away, but her legs were caught in a quagmire, and she was sinking.
"Come," he shouted in a mighty voice. "Take my hand, or you'll perish."
She didn't want to do as he said but not to, meant she would dip below the sucking sands and die.
"Hurry," he cried, holding his hand closer.
It was a broad hand, brown and calloused as that of a laborer, yet nothing else about him suggested such a position. His gaze caught hers, and she saw his eyes were as black as midnight, the lines of his face seemingly hacked from granite, his lips chiseled stone. There was no softness about him, not like Ailin with his fine, graceful lines and smiling demeanor.
"No," she cried to the man, too afraid of him.
"You little fool," he roared and leaned closer to grip her shoulder and yank her forward.
The sand pulled at her legs and skirts, but he was much stronger, and she was soon free, her feet once more on solid ground. The man had disappeared, but she knew he would return. He would return for her.