Friday, June 20, 2008

Author Spotlight: Melissa Mayhue

Today's author in the spotlight is Melissa Mayhue, with her new novel Soul of a Highlander, available from Pocket Books. To visit Melissa, check out her website: http://www.melissamayhue.com/ or friend her at MySpace, www.myspace.com/MelissaMayhue


Nine years ago, Faerie Magic saved Mairi MacKiernan at the cost of her dreams of happiness, snatching her from her life in 1272, and depositing her in the twenty-first century. Now, she must save the last Daughter of the MacKiernan family...who was murdered in 1295. Transported back in time at her request, Mairi finds herself captured by the same evil men as before! Is this the price the Faerie magic requires of her this time?

Ramos Servans has dedicated his dreams to service as a Guardian, but when he discovers the evil unleashed on the Mortal Plain by his father and their people, he swears he will atone by ridding the world of Nuadian deceit. Part of his mission involves rescuing a lovely Highland lassie, and in the passion that grows between them, Ramos and mairi find a new dream.

But falling in love can be dangerous when Faerie Magic is involved. Dreams may not be the only cost...



“Are you sure you don’t want to reconsider?” Ramos Servans looked into the eyes of the man who offered to champion his cause. The man from whom he’d very nearly stolen everything. “After all, you better than most know what I really am.”

“Aye, that I do. And for that reason alone I stand as yer sponsor.” Ian McCullough shrugged. “Besides, my Sarah vouches for yer character. That should be enough for anyone.”

They stood deep in the forest, in the same clearing where only a short time ago they had faced one another as enemies. Now this man, this Guardian, had forgiven him. If only he could forgive himself.

“It’s certainly enough for me.” Dallyn nodded his head in agreement. The High General of the Faerie Realm stood with them. He had come to hear Ramos’s decision. “Well, young man, what will it be?"

“You offer me an avenue to offset some small portion of the damage I have done. I am eternally grateful. And wholly unworthy. I will do my best to serve you in any way I can.” Ramos bowed his head, guilt eating at his soul. He would never be able to right all his wrongs. The wrongs of his father.

Dallyn arched an eyebrow, trading a look with Ian before answering. “Eternity is a very long time, my young friend. A very long time. Welcome to our ranks.”

Ian grasped his wrist, shaking his hand. “You’ve made a good choice, Ramos. I’m sure you’ll do well.”

“I don’t know how I can repay your kindness.” Ramos stopped. What could he say to this man? “But know that I consider myself in your debt.”

“There’s no need for that. You’ve showed yer true colors. Now go on. You’ve work to do.” Ian clapped him on the back before turning and striding away down the path.

“You’re ready then?” Dallyn held out a hand, inviting him forward toward the large rocky embankment in the dense trees.

“I am.”

He was ready to leave this place.

Being here brought it all back, the pain and humiliation stark and fresh as if it had been yesterday. The physical wounds might have healed, but it would take more than time to heal the emotional wounds.

He had entered the clearing that day, his arm around Ian’s throat, a knife held there. The first thing he’d seen was the rage distorting Reynard’s features, revealing a side of his father he’d only rarely experienced.

“You think to defy me? We’ll see about that,” Reynard had threatened Sarah. “Ramos, bring him.”

Surprisingly, Ian hadn’t struggled as they’d moved forward.

“It’s very simple, mon petit,” his father had said to Sarah. “Take me to the Portal now, or Ramos kills him. You can watch the mighty Guardian, sworn Protector of the pitiful mortals, die, his life blood spilled out on the ground. Here. In front of your very eyes. Is that what you want?”

What had his father said? “Sworn protector of the mortals? Is that true? You never told me that.” He couldn’t believe his ears. It flew in the face of everything he’d ever been taught.

“There are many things I’ve not told you. Many things you’ve no need to know,” his father had dismissed.

“Is it the truth?” he had demanded.

“Aye, it’s true.” Ian had answered. “I’ve spent the last six centuries protecting them from the ravages caused by yer people. Those who murder mortals at random for nothing more than the energy released when their soul is forced from its host before its time. Thousands upon thousands of lives lost to those monsters. Those same monsters who would capture the Fountain of Souls for their own purpose, throwing the cycle of life out of balance again, risking what’s left of humanity in both worlds.”

“Father?” He’d wanted desperately to have his father deny the horrendous accusations.

“You doubt me son? You’d listen to the words of a Guardian? A creature who’s no more than a lap dog to the enemies of our people?”

But that was no denial.

Instead Sarah had confirmed his fears. “Ian doesn’t lie to you, Ramos. What he tells you is the truth. I attest to that. It’s as I told you before.”

“Father? Is what the Guardian says true?” He had to know. Had to hear the words from his father’s own mouth.

A cruel smile curled Reynard’s lip. “In a manner of speaking.”

“We’re responsible for all those deaths?” This couldn’t be happening.

“Deaths which were of no consequence. Mortal deaths. Once we retake the Faerie Realm, once you taste the power of the Fountain, then you’ll understand why all of this has been necessary.” His father had turned his attention back to Sarah then, demanding again she take him to the Portal.

“Of no consequence?” How could Reynard say that? “Father, have you forgotten that I am as much mortal as I am Fae? That those lives you so easily dismiss are my people too?”

When Reynard had answered, he hadn’t even bothered to look at his son. His words, the words which cut Ramos to the quick, delivered with no more care for his son than a complete stranger.

“No. I haven’t forgotten what you are. Nicole, kill one of the men. I don’t care which. Perhaps that will help our little Sarah to understand how serious we are.”

“You can’t mean that. He’s your son.” Sarah had sounded incredulous.As incredulous as Ramos had felt.

Reynard shrugged carelessly. “He’s also a mortal.”

His father had lied to him, used him his whole life. And at that moment as he had looked into his father’s eyes, he had seen nothing. No compassion, no care, no love.

Ramos had done the only thing he could think of at the time. He had taken the bullet meant for Ian.

All those years of training to fight the Fae because they were the monsters who threatened the world of Mortals. And they weren’t the monsters at all. It was his people.

That betrayal had nearly driven him mad until he had been offered this opportunity. Yes, he was ready. Ready for a new life. One he didn’t deserve, but one he would spend in attempting to atone for the atrocities his people had caused.

Dallyn placed his hand on Ramos’s shoulder and urged him forward, directly into the solid rock face tucked between two large, gnarled trees. One moment he thought he’d slam up against the boulder, the next he stood in a sylvan glen, a place more beautiful than any he had ever seen. The clarity of the colors stole his breath away. He glanced back the direction from which he had come and stopped in amazement at the sight of a huge carved rock door.

“Where did that...” He hadn’t seen it before.

Dallyn smiled. “You will always be able to find this Portal now. That’s how it works. Once you have been through a Portal, you will always be able to see it. Come now, you have much work to do before you’re fully prepared.”

They walked side by side on a wide rock path toward a massive building just ahead of them. Sunlight glinted off the doors and roof of the structure as if it were coated in gold. Ramos stared about in awe at the spectacular beauty. No wonder his people missed it so much.

“Here we are. Our quarters are inside.” Dallyn swept an arm toward the door, which slowly swung open ahead of them. “Let me be the first to officially welcome you to the Hall of the High Council in the Realm of Faerie and to the next chapter in your life.”

Ramos nodded his head respectfully and then squared his shoulders. With a deep breath he readied himself for that next chapter. For the work and the training that would be required of him to prepare him for his new position.

As a Guardian, Protector of the Mortals and of the Fountain of the Souls.

Where can you buy it?

Simon & Schuster or Amazon