Reliquary’s Choice by Melissa Macfie

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Book Description:

Brenawyn knows loss. Her mother, her father,  her husband…that bastard. She can’t let Alex die, too.

With the Coven closing in, Alex flees with Brenawyn to Tir-Na-Nog, even though he knows he is setting her on a path of no return. Brenawyn must say goodbye to her family forever and traverse time. She is the only one who can fulfill an ancient prophecy.

But what is Alex hiding? Has he condemned Brenawyn to serve the gods forever? Or will the depth of his sacrifice bring salvation to them both?

In Book Two of The Celtic Prophecy, Alex prepares Brenawyn to travel to ancient Scotland to claim her rightful place.

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About the Author:

For most of her life, Melissa Macfie has pursued artistic endeavors such as drawing, painting, and sculpting. She holds a M.Ed. in English Education from the Graduate School of Education at Rutgers University, and has spent the last sixteen years as a public school English teacher. She also spent a short time serving as the co-host of Alpha Centauri & Beyond, an Internet talk radio show about science and science fiction. She lives in New Jersey with her husband, Donald. Their children, Elizabeth and Donald, are grown and pursuing their own dreams.

https://www.facebook.com/celticprophecy

@melissa_macfie

https://melissamacfie.com/

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14547285.Melissa_Macfie

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Reliquary’s Choice Excerpt:

Alex paced the room, but Brenawyn didn’t return. Keeping an ear to the hallway, he strode over to the fireplace and sifted through the ashes. A soot-covered portion of a photo lay in the debris. Should he look at it? He hesitated. The photo had obviously disturbed Brenawyn. He didn’t want to pry into her private life, but considering the dangers they still faced, it seemed necessary.

He stopped and plucked the photo from the fireplace, turning it over in his hand to see the two faces there. He drew a surprised breath. He should have expected this. Centuries may have passed, but Alex would always remember the face of James Morgan. Hatred boiled up from his gut; he needed to hit something.

He got some satisfaction as the brittle paper crumbled in his fist. He wished it were that easy. Jamie never gave him the opportunity. Coward.

I found some unexpected things. He paused. Was Jamie her husband? No, it cannae be. She had always called him Liam. A common enough name: he had never connected it with James Liam Morgan McAllister.

Damn him.

He needed to hit something.

Always one step ahead.

A soft cry from the hallway pulled him back into the present and he flexed his clenched fist.

Alex stopped at the open doorway to see Brenawyn reaching for a wrapped gift on the nightstand. She fumbled with the paper, ripping at the seams with her teeth until the box was dented. She found purchase and wiped the bit of paper from her lip with one hand as the other pealed the paper away to reveal a black velvet jewelry box. Closing her eyes and holding her breath, she opened the box. He couldn’t see what was inside but the facets of the stones spread sparkles across the ceiling as it caught the first rays of the day.

Brenawyn carefully removed the necklace and held it up. Dangling the medallion from its chain as she approached the mirror, she traced the detailed design. She looped it around her neck, letting the medallion fall between her breasts.

“Years later I’m still finding stuff you left for me? This is why I couldn’t live there anymore. I’m trying to move on with my life.”

It was only then that she saw him in the doorway. She jumped. “Jesus, you scared me!”

“Lass, what’s wrong? Is thaur anything I can dae ta help?”

“It’s nothing.” Sniffling and wiping her eyes with the back of her hand so hard that she saw spots. “My husband…,” shaking her head, “my late husband would give me things, presents, jewelry and other pretty things.” She carried the medallion to him, “Three years after his death, I am still finding gifts.”

She dropped the necklace in his open hand and whirled to gather the rest of the items back into the box.

An exquisite medallion of gold Celtic knot work with ruby, sapphire, emerald, diamond, and topaz gemstones glinted up from his palm. He knew this necklace, could trace the pattern from memory if he needed more proof to convince him of what he already knew.

“T’is verra beautiful. It reminds me o’ another. Come haur. Thaur is something…,” Brenawyn straightened and met him, “I am curious about.” He looped the necklace around her head, lifting her hair so the chain fell again her skin. He stepped back and looked unsatisfied, “The medallion needs ta be in contact with yer skin,” and he went to make it so. Brenawyn pulled away blushing, his fingertip losing contact with her collar.

“Okay, I’ll do it, thank you.” And she dropped the medallion in her cleavage. “This is very strange. Necklaces are supposed to be worn outside….”

“Humor me.” His face must have given something away because her eyes grew wide. “Turn around and leuk in the mirror.”

Her reflection showed glowing sigils across her clavicle, dimming slightly across her shoulders to almost nothing as they tracked down her upper arms. He saw recognition reflected in her eyes. He knew she was remembering his explanation, “It is called Interlace; its path represents the thread o’ life eternal, the crossings between the spiritual world o’ Tir-Na-Nog and our own.”

These were the same iridescent markings that were present after her recitation of the Lughnasadh thanksgiving incantation in Salem. Alex came up behind her and held her about the waist and the dimmed tracings burst to life, racing down her arms in matching intensity.

“What does this mean?” she asked as she searched his face reflected in the mirror.

“The necklace, or rather, the medallion, the chain, has nay power, is Eiliminteach—it means elemental. It is a mythic piece, one o’ five, drenched in Druid lore. Five pieces, scattered, hidden, until the one is revealed. Foci most powerful for the priestess just as the torc is for the Shaman.

“Why are my markings activated by it? And why do they glow brighter at your touch?”

“The medallion is a sort o’ antenna ta focus yer abilities.” Eyes burning with desire, he swept aside her tresses and dipped his head so his lips brushed her ear. “My touch is different … are ya sure ye want ta ken, Brenawyn?”

She turned to face him and stepped back to look into his eyes, careful not to touch him.

“We are two halves ta a whole,” he continued. “Shaman, priestess, man, woman, yin, yang, if ye will; we represent balance, and because o’ that balance, the gods favor our union.”

“If it is as you say, why would my husband have it amongst his belongings?”

Everything stopped as the weight of her words beat on his heart. “I ken yer husband a while sin.” The words were out of his mouth before the decision to tell her registered in his mind. How he would explain his connection to James he had no clue. The truth? Hadn’t she had enough of that?

Brenawyn looked at him, mouth agape. “How … how did you know Liam?”

“He never deserved yer loyalty. He wasnae a kind man.”

“What? You knew him?” Her arms uncrossed so that the robe gaped open. “When?”

“Brenawyn, I shouldnae ha’ mentioned it. T’was a long time ago. Perhaps he changed.”

“No. Tell me what he was like when you knew him. Please.”

“T’was a long time ago. Please. Ye ha’ good memories o’ him. Mine aren’t so. I’d rather no’ say.”

She moved to bar the door, “No, damn it. Tell me.”

“Liam and I were friends. I ken him as Jamie—James Liam Morgan McAllister. It doesnae matter now. A woman came between us. We weren’t friends any longer. End o’ story.” Alex brushed by her on his way out of the room, knowing that she was right on his heels.

“Your story lacks detail.” Brenawyn caught his arm, “Please, tell me. It’s been three years; I can’t get over his death. My memories are fading but instead of making it better and allowing me to move on, I feel anxious and panicked, as if there is something important that I’ve forgotten, but I can’t recall it.”

“Brenawyn, if ye’ll agree ta let it wait, I’ll tell ye everything in time.”

The back door opened with a squeak and Spencer bolted through the room, stepping on Brenawyn’s bare foot. She hobbled, hopping on one foot; Alex grabbed her forearm to keep her from falling.

“Brenawyn, yer question, ask yerself this: why would he ha’ the Eiliminteach?”

She stared at him for a moment before silently leaving the room.

Alex softly closed the door behind him, “Why, Jamie? Damn ye.” He could have lived with the betrayal; eventually he would have stopped hating them so much if it had been true. Perhaps it was on her part. He’d never know after what Jamie had done to her. Now here he was centuries later with another woman whose memories were violated and altered by the same depraved animal.

Damn him.

All for power.

Not this time.

Alex would give Brenawyn the truth even if she hated him as a result.

Jamie—Liam was dead.

It was time the façade died too.

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