Cover image for Enchantress
Title:
Enchantress
Author:
Jackson, Lisa.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Pocket Star Books, 2003.

©1993
Physical Description:
x, 388 pages ; 18 cm
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780743480918
Format :
Book

Available:*

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Central Library X Adult Mass Market Paperback Central Library
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Summary

Summary

Dear Reader,Enchantressis a special book to me as it allowed me my first glimpse into the beauty of medieval Wales. With this book I created a very magical place -- my own unique world of castles, dark heroes, strong women, fleet horses, and rumors of curses. I found the experience fascinating. Writing the book consumed me.The heroine, Morgana of Llanwynn, is a beautiful, headstrong girl whom many consider a sorceress. She's known to see into the future, a gift she considers a curse. One night when the moon is high and the mist rises off the sea, Morgana experiences a vision of darkness and deceit. She sees a dark and deadly warrior appear and hears the omen rushing in her ears: There will be death. It comes to the house of Wenlock from the North.Days later, Garrick of Abergwynn, the dark lord of a vast castle to the north and the embodiment of the fierce warrior appears. Seductive and brooding, he demands that Morgana help him locate his missing son.Morgana is loath to trust this destroyer from the north...and yet she finds it impossible to resist him.Enchantressis a story close to my heart, and I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did writing it.-- Lisa Jackson


Author Notes

Romance author Lisa Jackson grew up in Oregon. She graduated from Oregon State University and started working in the banking/investment industry. In the early 1980s, she stopped working in order to become a stay-at-home mom and started writing romance novels at the suggestion of her sister and fellow romance author Nancy Bush. She published her first novel, A Twist of Fate, in 1983. Her books regularly appear on the New York Times, USA Today and Publisher's Weekly bestseller lists. In April 2011 Lisa Jackson's title Devious hit the Publisher's Weekly bestseller list and in Aug 2012 her title You Don't Want to Know made The New York Times Best Seller List. In 2014 she continued this trend with her book, Close to Home.

(Bowker Author Biography)


Excerpts

Excerpts

Chapter One Castle Abergwynn, North Wales May 1286 As God is my witness, I'll not stop until I find my boy!" Garrick, son of Maginnis and baron of all of Abergwynn, slid from his mud-splattered mount, his boots sinking into the wet earth of the inner bailey. His clothes were grimy, his hair unruly, his beard in need of cutting -- evidence of days of riding and searching and finding nothing. Nothing! Not one bloody trace of the boy or the nurse. A scowl as dark as the thunderclouds gathering over the north tower creased his face, his harsh features ruthless and set. Tossing wet hair from his eyes, he swore a silent oath at the fates, or God, he didn't care which. His knights, brave souls who had ridden with him on his luckless quest, dismounted, avoiding him, leading their horses to the stable. Loyal men, they knew when to leave their lord to his foul moods. This was the foulest, blackest humor ever to have darkened his soul. Only George, an ungainly boy of barely fourteen summers, whose skin was pockmarked and reddened, dared speak, and this was only because, as Garrick's vassal, he had no choice. "I will see to your steed, my lord," he squeaked out, snatching the rain-swollen reins from Garrick's gloved hand. Barely hearing the boy, Garrick strode forward, shoulders hunched against the wind, but head unbowed. He would not be broken. He would not fail. As long as there was some trace of breath in his body, he would search for his son. For the first time in his life he didn't care about his destrier, his castle, or his lands. All that mattered was Logan. With a rattle of heavy chains, the portcullis clanged down, sealing off the castle, as if anything worth protecting remained inside. Garrick snorted at his own vanity. How prideful he'd been. How he'd found pleasure in the thick stone walls, the massive towers, the curtain wall wide and long enough to stand his entire army. God's teeth, what a fool he'd been, thinking this castle, this miserable fortress, was so valuable! Glaring up at the slate-dark heavens, he muttered a curse to a God who had not only taken his wife away from him three years ago but had now stolen his boy as well. As if in answer, lightning streaked the sky, a jagged sizzle that flashed white against the square northern tower. Thunder clapped mockingly over the land, as if God himself were laughing. Garrick threw back his head, and rain drizzled down his neck and face, leaving cold droplets to run beneath his shirt. "I'll find him. By all that is holy and that which is not, I'll find my boy or die trying!" Again thunder cracked. Angrily Garrick stalked through the mud to the great hall at the far corner of the inner bailey. Castle Abergwynn was perched high on a cliff. On three sides the fortress stood atop sheer cliffs that fell a hundred feet to treacherous rocks and raging surf. Yet even the thick stone barricades hadn't been protection enough to save his son from harm. Walking briskly through the forebuilding he didn't bother pausing at the chapel. Let Friar Francis stew in his own sanctimonious juices. Though Garrick heard the chaplain murmuring prayers, he wasn't in the mood to face a man of God, and he'd prayed enough as it was. What good had it done? Had God seen fit to lead him to his son? No! His boots rang sharply against the stone steps as he climbed toward the great hall, his pride, his home, and now not much more than an empty, dark chamber with no laughter, no warmth, no quick little footsteps. He strode to the hearth and warmed his hands, though the coldness would never leave his heart. Servants, accustomed to his black moods, made themselves scarce, finding work elsewhere. Smoke from the hearth curled lazily upward and out through the few recessed windows, leaving a layer of soot on the stone walls. The dogs that had been with Garrick, as if sensing their master's mood, slunk into the shadows, growling over a bone or scrap of meat that had fallen into the rushes. Garrick shouted at the hounds until they lay quietly in the corner, their ever-vigilant eyes turned toward him. It had been ten days since he'd last seen Logan, his son, and although Garrick was lord of the manor, baron of Abergwynn, he was frightened that he would never lay eyes upon his boy again. Curse and rot the souls of those who would steal his child! Blood would surely be spilled if any harm came to Logan. Scurrying footsteps stirred the rushes covering the floor. Garrick didn't bother looking up. "You're back, m'lord!" the plump woman servant, Cailin, exclaimed. "Did you find..." But her voice trailed off when she noticed his grim expression. Quickly she crossed her ample bosom before disappearing in the direction of the kitchen. "Garrick!" Ware's voice echoed off the heavy timbers supporting the high ceiling. Garrick's head snapped up, and he narrowed his eyes against the smoke from the fire as his younger brother, his shoulders square, his blue eyes bright, his chin thrust forward defiantly, climbed down the curved staircase toward the great hall. A good-looking lad, Ware would soon be a man. His chest was thick, his pride great, though he had not yet seen his first battle. "There's been no word?" Garrick growled, knowing the answer before the question passed his lips. "No." Ware stood before him, his arrogance visible in the angle of his head. "No ransom demands?" "None." Garrick's jaw hardened, and his eyes turned flinty gray. "The knights who guarded Logan. Have they told you nothing else?" "Nothing, Garrick." Ware's eyes slid away from the power of his older brother's gaze, and his skin seemed to lose some of its dark color. Garrick's mouth twisted downward. The boy had no stomach for lashings, and in truth, neither did Garrick. Yet sometimes he had no choice but to beat the truth from those whose loyalty was in doubt. "Did Strahan use every means of making them remember?" Ware grimaced, as if he were holding on to the contents of his stomach at the memory. "Aye," he whispered, his teeth clenched. "When it was over, they pledged their fealty yet again. They are loyal men, Garrick. You did them an injustice. 'Tis not their fault that Logan wandered off, perhaps over the cliffs -- " A massive hand clenched over the front of Ware's tunic, and Garrick yanked hard, lifting his brother off his feet and forcing Ware to meet his gaze. "I blame no one but myself," he muttered, "but I must know that my men were not a part of this treasonous plot to capture my son." Ware, true to his Maginnis spirit, lifted his chin and met Garrick's gray eyes rebelliously. "Perhaps it was not treason. Mayhap the child ambled off, his nursemaid after him, and they both lost themselves in the forest. They could have drowned in the river or fallen from the cliffs into the sea -- " "Nay!" Garrick snarled, shaking his brother yet again. "No bodies have been found. I will not believe Logan to be dead. The boy did not wander off." He dropped Ware to his feet and turned back to the fire, hoping the red-gold flames would stave off the cold that had seeped into his soul. "There is still much unrest here. Though Edward is king, there are those who would see him dead and spit on his grave. Since they cannot reach him, they test the very spirit of all those who are loyal to Longshanks. 'Tis not many winters since Llywelyn was killed, less time since the rebellion failed." Garrick rubbed his chin. "Make no mistake, the rebellion is not yet over. It still simmers in the hearts of Welshmen." His nostrils flared in anger. "Aye," he muttered, "and those who were loyal to Llywelyn will stop at nothing to rid themselves of Edward. They would take the life of a child for their cause." "So you think the culprits be Welshmen?" Wearily Garrick shook his head and clenched his fists as if closing his hands around the throat of one of Logan's abductors. "If only I knew." Ware glanced at the fire. "What of the guards who were to watch Logan?" "Banish them." "But -- " "Banish them, I say!" Garrick ordered savagely. "Let them know they are lucky to leave with their lives!" "You're making a mistake." The insolent pup. Garrick glowered at his younger brother. "I am baron of this castle. I shall do as I please." "Yes, m'lord," Ware replied, mockery filling his voice as the door to the castle creaked open and footsteps rang on the stairs to the great hall. Garrick was in no mood for idle conversation. Strahan of Hazelwood, Garrick's cousin and most trusted knight, entered. Tall and broad-shouldered, with a nose that hooked and eyes as brown as the robes of an almsman, Strahan bore little resemblance to his cousins. One look at Garrick and he frowned. "You did not find Logan." Beneath his wet tunic, Garrick's shoulders bunched. "No." "Perhaps now you will consider my suggestion." Garrick scowled darkly and ground his back teeth together. "You are speaking of the witch." "She is not a witch but a sorceress -- one who talks to the wind," Strahan explained. "Then she is daft." "She has found others who were lost," Strahan argued. "Logan's trail is no longer fresh. Even the dogs know not where to look." Garrick couldn't argue the point. His jaw grew tight, and he threw an angry glare at the dogs lying restlessly in the shadows. Strahan spoke the truth. Logan and his nursemaid, Jocelyn, had been missing too long already. Each day that passed increased the chances that Garrick would never see his son again. "Have you any other plan?" Strahan pressed. Garrick shoved his wet hair from his face, leaving a streak of mud on his forehead. "I have sent spies to Castle Pennick and Castle Hawarth, whose barons once allied themselves with the rebellion. My men will mingle with the peasants and servants and learn what they can." His nostrils flared. "If the barons have done my son harm," he pledged, his deep voice ringing to the crossbeams overhead, "they will pay with their lives." "What if your men find nothing?" Strahan asked. Garrick felt cornered, but he had no choice. As Strahan had pointed out, he would be soon out of options. "If Calvert and Trent return with naught, I shall seek out the witch." The thought of a sorceress -- a woman with a talent for magic and the black arts -- bothered him. Though he was not deeply religious, he did not like going against God. Noticing Cailin sweeping the rushes, he growled at her to bring him a cup of ale. When her eyebrows sprang upward in surprise, he barked still louder, and soon she returned with a silver cup for each of the men near the fire. Garrick drained his in a single swallow. He considered what the chaplain might say if he did indeed go forth in quest of a witch, then decided he didn't really give a bloody damn what the good man thought. Leave Friar Francis to his useless prayers. It was time for swords. Calvert returned at nightfall. His face was white, and his shoulders slumped as he approached Lord Garrick, who was seated at the trestle table in the great hall. Kneeling before his baron, Calvert said, "I have failed, my lord." Garrick motioned for him to stand. "I found no trace of Master Logan at Castle Pennick." Calvert, a short man with a bulbous nose and red eyebrows, struggled to his feet. "You questioned all the servants?" Garrick asked, his spirits sinking ever deeper. "Aye, and some of the soldiers whose tongues were loosened with ale." "Know they nothing?" Calvert shook his head. "If the boy is at Pennick, he is hidden deep and the secret is kept only by the baron and his most trusted knights." Garrick turned this over in his mind. He had often met the lord of Pennick Keep, Nelson Rowley. "I think not. Rowley is known to brag. Had he my son, his entire castle would know it," he surmised. "Aye, and Rowley would have made the fact known to me as well." Garrick's eyes focused again on his knight. "You have done well, Calvert. You may take your leave." Ignoring the pheasant and shoulder of venison on his trencher, Garrick glanced from Strahan to Ware. "We will wait for Trent and see what says he about Castle Hawarth." Strahan nodded, his dark eyes glinting a bit. "A wise decision." Ware didn't agree, and his gaze challenged that of his older brother, but he held his tongue and bit off a healthy chunk of meat. The next morning as Garrick was walking to the stables, the sentinel's voice rang through the yard. "Sir Trent approaches!" Garrick braced himself. With dread thundering through his brain, he ran to the outer bailey. Trent's lathered stallion galloped into the yard, the man astride huddled far over the neck of his steed. Garrick reached the war-horse as the mighty beast slid to a stop and Trent, reins and bits of mane clutched in his fingers, toppled onto the ground. "See to the horse," Garrick commanded the stableboy as he knelt down and gathered Sir Trent into his arms. Blood stained the knight's shirt and encrusted the corners of his mouth. George gulped. "He -- he is not -- " "Quiet!" Garrick said. He glanced up at Roger, a young page who had run from the great hall. "Summon the priest!" he ordered the boy, fearing that Trent's end was near and he should receive last rites. Garrick lifted the young knight and carried him toward the castle as George, wide-eyed, led Trent's horse toward the stables. Trent groaned in Garrick's arms, his body convulsing in pain. "Hold steady," Garrick said gently, though he felt the life draining out of his young charge. He'd been foolish to send one man on so dangerous a mission. "Master Logan is not at Castle Hawarth -- nor is the maid Jocelyn." Trent swallowed with difficulty. His breath rasped and rattled in his lungs. "Get him some water and have a bed made ready," Garrick ordered Cailin as he carried Trent through the hallway. "Shh, man, hold on to your strength." "I'll tend to him, my lord," Cailin whispered gravely. "Until Lady Clare returns..." Desperate, Trent grasped Garrick's shirt and whispered in a breath-starved voice, "I was caught by Lord McBrayne." "Hush, Trent. 'Tis time to save your strength -- " "Nay, my lord, listen," Trent cried, his face twisted in agony, his bloodless lips sucking in air. "I was with a wench in the House of McBrayne. She knew naught of a captured boy." "Osric McBrayne found you -- lying with a wench?" Garrick asked as a white-faced page scurried forward, offering a cup of water. "Aye," Trent admitted, his eyes glazing. Garrick scowled as the page forced the cup to Trent's lips. Water drizzled down the knight's dirty, beard-darkened chin. "We will talk more when you are stronger." "Nay! Now!" Trent insisted, slapping the cup anxiously away as his fingers grappled over Garrick's tunic. "I spoke with others, too -- soldiers with loose tongues, craftsmen...freemen, and peasants." He struggled, words coming hard to his cracked lips. "None knew of the boy...none." "And still McBrayne did this to you?" Garrick whispered, rage tearing through his soul. "Aye...He said he would have no spies from the House of Maginnis in..." Trent's last rattling breath tore through his lungs and he slumped in Garrick's arms as the priest rushed through the huge oaken door. "'Tis too late, Father," Garrick stated flatly. "He's gone." "Let me have him, my lord," Strahan said, wresting Trent's body from Garrick's unwilling arms. Pain knifed through Garrick's heart, for he cared for his men and he felt a blinding stab of guilt for having sent so loyal a knight to his death. His fists clenched, and he swore furiously despite the chaplain's look of reproach. Ware, who stood near the stairs, had heard the entire conversation. His young face was lined, his eyes dark and threatening. "Will there be war with Castle Hawarth and McBrayne?" "Not yet." "But Trent -- " "Trent's death is my fault," Garrick said heavily, his soul as dark as midnight. Trent, trustworthy Trent, was gone. Killed because of Garrick's blind obsession with finding his son. He was lucky Calvert had survived. He glanced down at his hands, still sticky and soiled by Trent's blood. Mindful that his men were watching, he strode to the table where less than a fortnight ago his child had eaten with him. He took the towel offered him by a page and scrubbed his hands, revenge burning hot in his mind. If there were any servants about, they had vanished to safety, although a cup of ale was waiting. Dropping into his chair, Garrick leaned forward and braced his forehead against his fists. For the first time he considered the possibility that Logan and his nursemaid might be dead. Squeezing his eyes shut, he told himself to be strong, to accept the fate that God had dealt him, but his jaw grew tight with anger and his soul sick with misery. What kind of a test was God giving him? How much longer would he suffer the pain of not knowing what had happened to his only son? Hearing the scrape of a boot, he reached instinctively for his sword and swung his head around, only to find Strahan, his face set, standing rigid on the other side of the table. "What is it?" Garrick demanded. "'Tis time to put this matter to rest," he said. One of Garrick's dark brows inched upward. "Now you are giving orders?" Strahan's lips tightened. "Not orders, my lord. Advice." "Aye, and I need advice now, do I?" "I think so, yes." "Strong words, cousin." Strahan didn't back down. "The men are ready to ride." "Ahh." Garrick stretched his long legs under the table. "To Castle Wenlock and the witch." "The sorceress -- and even she does not deign to call herself such." Garrick's eyes narrowed on his cousin. He motioned with his fingers. "And tell me of this woman -- of her powers." A gleam appeared in Strahan's sod-dark eyes. "She is the elder daughter of Daffyd of Wenlock and a beauty at that. Her grandmother, Enit, is supposedly a Welsh witch, and rumor has it that Morgana has inherited her powers." "But you claimed she wasn't a witch." "They say she can see into the future. She hears the fates speaking in the wind." Garrick snorted disdainfully, then swallowed most of the ale in his cup. "I do not believe in witchcraft or sorcery or talking to the wind." "Aye, you are a God-fearing man," Strahan said with more than a little mockery. Garrick slid him a cold glance. "You doubt my convictions?" Strahan shook his head. "I only want to help you find Logan." "If the witch refuses to help?" "She cannot. You are her lord." Garrick studied his cousin. He sensed that Strahan wasn't being completely honest with him. Though Strahan was his most skilled knight, he was as shrewd as he was loyal. He'd often made his ambitions known and was anxious to possess the castle and lands that Garrick had promised would someday be his. As soon as Logan was found, it would be time to give Strahan his due, Garrick thought. "The witch's father may protest the taking of his daughter." Strahan's lips slid into a sly smile. "I am prepared to marry Morgana of Wenlock." "Are you? Even though you think her a devil-woman? What kind of a wife would she make?" Garrick asked, amused. He took another swallow of ale. "During your first argument she might become angry and curse you, causing your member to shrivel or your hair to fall out." Strahan caught his cousin's humor and laughed heartily. "Nay, cousin. I will keep the witch so satisfied that she will use her powers only to keep me in her bed." "Then she must truly be a sorceress," Garrick replied, as he knew his cousin's need for the company of women. Strahan propped one booted foot on a bench and leaned forward, closer to Garrick. "I want this woman, Garrick. I met her only once, but I have not forgotten her. She will find your son for you." Garrick had no choice. Remaining at the castle, waiting, was doing no good, and he could not bear to sit idly by as time passed -- time that might mean his son's life. "If I go, you and Ware must remain here to defend the castle. There may be word of Logan, and Lady Clare will need protection, though I doubt she'll want it," Garrick said, frowning as he considered his strong-willed sister. Even now she wasn't on the castle grounds but had gone to visit someone who'd been taken ill in the village. Against her judgment, however, she had taken two of the baron's best knights with her. "Keep my sister safe," he muttered to his cousin. "As you wish," Strahan agreed, though his eyes clouded a bit and Garrick suspected that his cousin might have his own reasons for wishing to go on the journey. He was obviously taken with this witchwoman, though why he had not mentioned her before was a mystery. It had been three winters since Strahan had ridden to Tower Wenlock, and at that time, his visit had been brief, only to assure Garrick that Daffyd of Wenlock was loyal to Edward. Garrick rubbed the stubble on his chin in frustration. If indeed this Welsh witch could help him locate his son, then nothing else mattered. He would use her. And if she couldn't find Logan, he'd have the satisfaction of proving her a fraud, though in truth it mattered naught. Whether she be witch or woman wasn't his concern. All that mattered was that he find Logan. He took a long swallow of ale and felt a welcoming warmth in the cold pit of his stomach. But the pleasure of drink did not ease his mind. For the first time in his life, Baron Garrick, son of Maginnis, felt absolutely powerless. After draining his cup, he slammed it onto the table. "We ride at dawn." Copyright © 1993 by Susan Crose Excerpted from Enchantress by Lisa Jackson All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

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