(Highland Celts Series, #1)
Publication date: January 31st 2017
Genres: Adult, Historical, Paranormal Romance
This is a standalone, historical/paranormal romance. Its mature themes – violence, religious war, and pagan rituals – might not be appropriate for audiences under 18.
When ancient gods ruled and Druids kept Faith alive, the Celts thrived as a democratic, matriarchal society. Then savage Roman soldiers swept across Europe, killing and enslaving. The Celts did not succumb without a fight. Their Old Ways survived centuries of ruthless domain until another menace loomed: a tortured god worshiped in cold stone buildings. The sacred shores of Avalon began to drift away, the mists threatened to hide the island from mortal eyes forever.
Against the bleak backdrop of war, the gorgeous Scottish Highlands stood tall, sheltering its inhabitants from greedy invaders. Yet the reach of the eagle banners was long and the highlanders turned to the Goddess for protection. However, the sacred groves felt silent and grim as Avalon faded away. Once sad, pealing bells began to sound strangely comforting while the high walls of monasteries offered an alluring barrier from violence. Caught in the middle of this centuries-old war, a young High Priestess might be Avalon’s last chance.
Wise beyond her years and powerful like no other Priestess in her lifetime, Rowen had served the Goddess faithfully, forsaking her family and the company of her soulmate. When the Lady of the Lake asks for another sacrifice, it might be one too many for her scarred heart. How could she obey the Goddess without betraying Caddaric? Could she trust Eochaid, who embodied everything she despised and hated? Would she be able to fulfill her duties without losing her soul?
Caddaric had been Rowen’s companion in countless lives; but, now, they existed in different realms. Beautiful Rowen lived in the mortal world while sweet Caddaric remained in the sacred isle of Avalon, watching over her. Could he step aside to allow another man – a flesh and blood man – to become her protector?
Eochaid had sworn to protect the Old Ways. The rude warrior never quite understood his faith yet his loyal heart belonged to the Goddess. A gorgeous, fiery High Priestess was not in his plans. He would risk his life to protect Rowen; but, would the Goddess safeguard his heart? Could he defend the bewitching maiden from himself?
When stakes were so high that a simple mistake could cost their very world, a priestess, a Druid, and a warrior must learn to trust each other and the mysterious ways of the Goddess. Their success would save Avalon. Their failure would tear the island from the human realm forever, condemning it to oblivion.
Failure was not an option.
Although my heart is heavy and my thoughts are gloomy, I take a deep breath and focus on the task at hand. I search for the sacred oak, the oldest tree in the grove. Finding it, I lie on the ground, face down, in front of the revered tree. Earth’s energy radiates from the ground, traveling through my body and limbs, filling me with a potent magnetism, and making my skin tingle as I say my prayer.
“Forgive me, Great Mother. I have failed you yet again. I am your vessel on this realm and as such I should never doubt your ways. Nevertheless, when the time came for Caddaric to go back to Avalon, I despaired and fought against the inevitable, as I always do.
Please, give me strength to control my weak heart, wisdom to understand your signs, and courage to do your bidding.”
The wind picks up around me making the dry leaves and little twigs swirl. Faint whispers come in the breeze. A thousand gentle fingers move over my body caressing, soothing me.
“Oh, Mother, you are too kind and never abandon me. I promise to serve you faithfully and perform my duties accordingly from now on.”
The wind blows stronger, molding my clothes to my body, covering me in dry leaves. I feel faint and when I open my eyes, I’m not in the sacred grove any longer. I’m lying on a sunny field, there’s a gentle breeze blowing from the distant line of apple trees, bringing the sweet smell of their flowers in full bloom. Recognizing my beloved isle of Avalon, I get up and look around. I see the Lady of the Lake standing just a few feet away. I go to her and offer a curtsy. The Lady gently holds me by my shoulders, smiles serenely and holds my gaze. Not for the first time, I wonder if her eyes can read my soul.
“Rise, Rowen, my child. And do not cry. You should rejoice over your successes instead of mourning what you perceive as failures. Your apprentices look up to you and seek your guidance, because your advice is wise and respectful. The villagers worship the Great Mother according to the old traditions, because they follow your firm yet kind leadership. Despite being so young, my beautiful Rowen, you are wise and your people respect you.”
I am touched by her words. I never expected the Lady of the Lake herself would answer my prayer and come talk to me, comfort me.
“You are too kind, my lady. I am honored and, although I think I do not deserve your comfort, I am thankful.”
“I speak only the truth, Rowen, as all true servants of the Goddess shall do. Now, you will not like what I need to tell you. You have always been loyal to your vows and I count on that loyalty to see you through the task I need you to undertake.”
“You frighten me, my lady. What do you need from me? You know I would never deny you, or the Great Mother, anything.”
International best-selling author Liz Gavin, has accomplished much in her short career. Her books have made to #1 and Top Five best-selling ranks in her home country Brazil and others as diverse as Japan, the UK and the US; both in English and Portuguese, collecting 5 and 4-star reviews. Nominated for a Summer Indie Book Award in 2016, and again in 2017, this RWA member constantly seeks new opportunities to improve her craft.
This thirst for knowledge propelled Liz to leave the comforts of family and friends in Brazil and move to California to pursue a Master’s degree in late 2015. She lives in sunny SoCal, where she’s researching the writing process, for her thesis, in hopes to figure out why she creates in English instead of her native Portuguese.
Liz Gavin writes in contemporary, paranormal, and historical genres. In her sexy stories, one finds smart, independent women, who don’t need rescuing by knights in shining armor, but indulge in steamy action with swoony Alpha males with big hearts. She also writes about women discovering their sexuality and finding happiness in unconventional setups.
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