The Cauldron Stirred
Guardians of Erin, Book One
by Judith Sterling
YA Fantasy, Paranormal
Ashling Donoghue never dreamed moving to Ireland would rock her perception of reality and plunge her into a mystery that brings legend to life.
At seventeen, she’s never had a boyfriend, but she feels an immediate connection to Aengus Breasal, the son of the wealthy Irishman who’s invited her family to stay at his Killarney estate. For the first time in her life, a guy she likes seems attracted to her.
But Aengus is secretive, with good reason. He and his family are the Tuatha Dé Danann, ageless, mythical guardians adept at shifting between this reality and the magical dimension known as the Otherworld. Evil forces from that world threaten the Breasals, the Donoghues, and all of Ireland. Ashling must open her heart, face her fears, and embrace a destiny greater than she could ever have imagined.
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The Stone Awakened
Guardians of Erin, Book Two
Since moving to Ireland, Ashling Donoghue has tackled one challenge after another. Now the mystery of her parents' disappearance seems unsolvable. Are they dead or only missing? No one—not even the godlike Breasals—has a clue. Hope and fear war inside her, but she's determined to find answers and stay strong for her siblings. Even as she hones newfound powers, her banshee-in-training sister Deirdre needs her support.
Ashling could use a little help herself. She's struggling to navigate her first romance, and while Aengus Breasal stirs her body, mind, and soul, his nemesis Lorcan does too. Both men harbor secrets about her past life as Caer. One has ties to Aoife, the scheming wind demon whose influence is on the rise.
As the Stone of Destiny awakens, so does the conflict within.
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That same night, I found myself back inside Muckross Abbey, surrounded by the cloisters’ arches. I stood two feet from the quadrangle’s yew, exactly where I’d been before. I looked down at my pink, satin pajamas and bare feet. Winter’s chill had no hold on me, and all was twilit.
Okay, I thought. This is either an astral trip or a dream. But which one?
My gut told me I’d left my sleeping body. How better to discover what Aengus hadn’t wanted me to see in the Otherworld version of the abbey’s graveyard? Then again, I did have vivid dreams.
A sudden gust whistled along the deserted corridor to my right. I turned as a robed figure disappeared up a winding stairwell.
Startled, I whirled back around toward the velvety voice. Lorcan! Clad in black like a character out of a 19th-century romance, he peeked out from behind a stone pillar.
“He’s merely a monk. That is, he was.” His ice blue eyes were intense, even in the soft light.
I swallowed hard. “Why are you here?”
“Why are you?”
“I don’t know.”
“Don’t you?” Leaving the cloister, he sauntered toward me.
My pulse quickened. He was every bit as handsome and alluring as Aengus, and my mutinous body knew it. No. Aengus is the one for me. Only Aengus. I grasped for an explanation, an excuse that would lighten the weight of guilt dragging me down. I’m asleep, and this is all just a dream.
Lorcan stopped an arm’s length away. “You’re here because I was thinking of you. And I’m here because earlier, you stood right in this spot thinking of me.”
I regarded him through narrowed eyes. “You spied on us?”
“Don’t you think I could’ve felt it?”
“That’s not a straight answer. And I don’t know you well enough to guess what you could or couldn’t feel.”
His pupils encroached on the lighter blue. “Your soul knows me.”
Unquestionably. But what history did we share? “I’m not sure I can trust you.”
“I realize that. But you can.”
I cleared my throat. “Well, I think I came back here to see what I didn’t before. The graveyard, as it looks in the Otherworld.”
“A worthy goal. Among the buried are ancient chieftains, including the O’Donoghues, and the last King of Desmond. Aengus stopped you, didn’t he?”
“He said he was protecting me.”
“Ha! From what? The mysteries of the night? Dark and lovely, they are.”
Again, my eyes narrowed. Did he know the paranormal fascinated me? Maybe he’d sensed my excitement over the Wild Hunt on Halloween night. “Mysteries?”
“There are many associated with this place. Have you heard of the Brown Man?”
I frowned. “No.”
“He was a newlywed whose bride found him here, in this very graveyard, feasting on the flesh of a dug-up corpse.”
“Then there’s the religious hermit who lived here all by himself for a decade in the eighteenth century.”
“That doesn’t sound too strange.”
Lorcan arched an eyebrow. “No? Every night, he slept in a coffin.”
He nodded. “Then there was Herbert, a local landlord who ordered his servants to dig up some of the graves, burn the remains, and scatter the ashes in his garden.”
“Okay. Now you’re just making stuff up.”
He gave me a sidewise look. “Am I? Later, a woman in white attacked Herbert, right outside the abbey. Tales like these inspired Bram Stoker when he visited the area.”
“Bram Stoker? The author of Dracula?”
“The very same. He was often seen wandering these ruins at night.”
“After what you’ve told me, I can see why. Some people fear the unknown, but I’ll bet it fascinated him. I mean, you’ve got a ruin like this and a graveyard. When darkness falls, it’s the perfect setting for a gothic story, or the inspiration for one.”
He inched closer. Silky and seductive, his energy reached out to me. I could almost imagine he was touching me. My face. My shoulders and arms. My waist.
“Then you feel it too,” he murmured.
His eyes smoldered. “The lure of the dark.”
The Sword Unsheathed
Guardians of Erin, Book Three
Ashling Donoghue is no closer to finding her parents than she was the night they disappeared. But hope returns as her brother Kian channels the Sword of Light, revealing past-life secrets and truths long suppressed.
The more she learns, the greater she fears the darkness that drowns the Netherworld also drives her. Is Aengus her true love, or is it Lorcan? Does her future wait in shadow or the light?
One point is clear: the threads of her past-self are woven inextricably into the tapestry of her soul. An impossible choice looms before her, and all the while, evil is poised to strike.
Judith Sterling is an award-winning author whose love of history and passion for the paranormal infuse everything she writes. Whether penning medieval romance (The Novels of Ravenwood) or young adult paranormal fantasy (the Guardians of Erin series), her favorite themes include true love, destiny, time travel, healing, redemption, and finding the hidden magic which exists all around us. She loves to share that magic with readers and whisk them far away from their troubles, particularly to locations in the British Isles. Her nonfiction books, written under Judith Marshall, have been translated into multiple languages. She has an MA in linguistics and a BA in history, with a minor in British Studies. Born in that sauna called Florida, she craved cooler climes, and once the travel bug bit, she lived in England, Scotland, Sweden, Wisconsin, Virginia, and on the island of Nantucket. She currently lives in Salem, Massachusetts with her husband and their identical twin sons.
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