Mar 24 2014 4:30pm

First Look: Nora Roberts’s Shadow Spell (March 25, 2014)

Shadow Spell by Nora Roberts

Nora Roberts
Shadow Spell
Berkley / March 25, 2014 / $17.00 print, $9.99 digital

With the legends and lore of Ireland running through his blood, falconer Connor O’Dwyer is proud to call County Mayo home. It’s where his sister, Branna, lives and works, where his cousin, Iona, has found true love, and where his childhood friends form a circle that can’t be broken…

A circle that is about to be stretched out of shape—by a long-awaited kiss.

Meara Quinn is Branna’s best friend, a sister in all but blood. Her and Connor’s paths cross almost daily, as Connor takes tourists on hawk walks and Meara guides them on horseback across the lush countryside. She has the eyes of a gypsy and the body of a goddess…things Connor has always taken for granted—until his brush with death propels them into a quick, hot tangle.

Plenty of women have found their way to Connor’s bed, but none to his heart until now. Frustratingly, Meara is okay with just the heat, afraid to lose herself—and their friendship—to something more. But soon, Connor will see the full force and fury of what runs in his blood. And he will need his family and friends around him when his past rolls in like the fog, threatening an end to all he loves…

In the second book of Nora Roberts's O’Dwyer trilogy, cousins Branna, Connor and Iona, with the help of their friends, Fin, Meara, and Boyle, will use the magic connection of three by three to fight against Cabhan's black magic. Cabhan has been trying to possess the O’Dwyer family’s magic since the first Dark Witch, Sorcha, passed her magic to her three children, Brannaugh, Eamon and Teagan. When dreams start to blur the lines between the past and the present, will the magic of the first three, combined with the power of O’Dwyer circle, which will finally destroy Cabhan?

Shadow Spell finds two of the six drawing into a tighter circle, and their love will increases the magic of their circle. With the exception of Iona, their cousin from America, Branna, Connor, Meara, Fin, and Boyle have been mates since they were children. They have always been a part of each other’s lives and that connection gives a depth to their magic that evil cannot understand.

“My mouth’s occupied at the moment.”

“You put it on mine once.”

“Really?” Iona pushed her plate aside, leaned in. “Tell all.”

“I was but twelve.”

“Just shy of thirteen.”

“Just shy of thirteen is twelve.” She feigned stabbing him with her fork. “And I was curious.”

“It was nice.”

“How could I tell?” Meara countered. “It was my first kiss.”

“Aw.” Iona drew in a sighing breath. “You never forget your first.”

“It wasn’t his.”

Connor laughed, gave Meara’s braid a tug. “It wasn’t, no, but I haven’t forgotten it, have I?”

As the six work together to draw on the O’Dwyer magic, Cabhan has been working on some surprises of his own. He is putting his energy into a shadow spell which is allowing him to wait, hidden in the shadows, until an opportunity presents itself for an attack. He is so hidden from sight even our witches cannot feel his presence until it is too late. When Connor is severely wounded by Cabhan’s ambush, Connor and Meara finally realize that they are hiding more feeling for each other than just their years of friendship.

“What’s the risk?”

“We have sex—“

“A grand idea. I’m for it.”

Though she shook her head, she had to laugh with it. “You’d be for it on an hourly basis. But it’s you and me now, and with you and me what if there are complications, and the kind of tensions that can happen, that do happen, when sex comes through the door?”

“Done well, sex relieves the tensions.”

“For a bit.” Though just now the thought of it, with him, brought on plenty. “But we might cause more—for each other, for the others when we can least afford it. We need to keep ourselves focused on whats to be done, and keep the personal complications away from it as much as we can.”

The power of love can only strengthen the magic of the group as a whole, but its Connor’s own strength which is drawing Cabhan’s attention to the more vulnerable Meara. With no magic and only her wits and her blade to protect her, Cabhan begins focusing his attacks on Meara. Harming her will not only weaken their circle, but would destroy Connor and make him careless if he acts recklessly in a need for revenge.

Meara is not just under attack from Cabhan. Falling in love with Connor is making her fight her own inner demons. Her parents were once deeply in love, but that didn’t stop Meara’s father from abandoning his family a decade ago. She now carries the fear that happily ever after is only in storybooks and movies. As far as Meara is concerned, admitting her love for someone like Connor, who goes through women like Guinness at the pub, can only lead to heartache and the loss of one of her closest friendships.

“You’re right.” She brushed a hand through his hair. “How many, do you think, are where we are tonight who have all those years and memories between them?”

“Not many, I expect.”

“We can’t lose that, Connor. We can’t lose what we are to each other, to Branna, to all. We have to swear an oath on it. We won’t lose even a breath of the friends we’ve ever been, whatever happens.”

As the circle attempts to build their magic for a final confrontation with Cabhan, will blood, love and friendship provide enough strength to destroy the black magic which has been growing steadily for centuries?

Learn more or pre-order a copy of Shadow Spell by Nora Roberts, available March 25, 2014:

Buy at AmazonBuy at Barnes & NobleBuy at Indiebound



Lucy Dosch writes book reviews for her blog Her e-reader has turned her love of reading into an obsession. When she is not reading, she likes to spend time with her husband and two daughters.

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