Tuesday, December 20, 2011
A Feast For the Senses
THE FEAST OF BEAUTY will appeal to anyone who has read my Magic Knot Fairy series or who loves Celtic mythology. In the first book in my series, The Magic Knot, King Esras is mentioned. When I was asked to contribute a novella to The Mammoth Book of Irish Romance, I decided to give him his own story. A combination of Celtic fairytale and paranormal romance, the book is based on Irish mythology about the sea god Lir and his rainbow people.
Kate’s grandmother’s dying wish is that she should return her pearl pendant to Knocknapog, the tiny fishing village in Ireland where she was born. As production assistant at a television company, Kate is able to book a shoot at the village’s mysterious Midsummer Feast of Beauty. She and her colleagues stay with the wealthy local landowner Esras Mac Lir, who organizes the midsummer celebration. But he is not what she expects. With his unearthly silver hair and emerald eyes, there is something magical about him, something compelling and seductive that mesmerizes her and invades her dreams. And when he claims to have been waiting for her all his life, she doesn't know whether he's a romantic, or living in a fantasy world—until he proves that they share a magical heritage and that she truly is his Feast of Beauty Queen.
(Originally published in The Mammoth Book of Irish Romance.)
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County Cork, Ireland
Surprisingly, wrap-around sunglasses looked rather good with a top hat, but Kate wasn't sure about bare feet and board shorts with a tailcoat. The combination made the man look only half dressed. But he was so mouth-wateringly gorgeous she decided the fewer clothes he wore the better.
He stood on the front steps of Knock House and raised his arms to attract attention. The gesture was unnecessary. Every woman in the vicinity was already staring at him, along with most of the men.
"Welcome to my domain, my friends. I'm Esras Mac Lir, descendant of the sea god Lir, and Fairy King of County Cork and the Celtic Sea."
Incredulous silence fell over the crowd, broken only by the birds twittering in the roses covering the front of the Georgian mansion, and the distant rumble of waves breaking against the rocky headland on which the house stood.
"I'm delighted to welcome the London based Barthurst Production Company into my domain. They're going to film an episode of their award-winning travel show Claudia's Magic Carpet at my Midsummer Feast of Beauty. I can assure you that tomorrow's feast will be a magical experience for everyone."
Peter Hurst, the producer and Kate's boss, leaned closer to Kate and whispered, "You sure this guy isn't a retired rock star? He's got that touch of megalomania that usually goes with too much money and a lifetime of sex, booze, and drugs."
"As far as I know he's just a wealthy eccentric with an interest in Irish mythology. He sounded fairly normal on the phone when I set up the shoot," she replied. Although she'd have booked to film at the Feast of Beauty no matter how weird he'd sounded. She had her own reasons for wanting to visit this part of Ireland.
"If the Barthurst TV people would like to come forward, my right-hand man Faelan will show you to your rooms." Esras then doffed his dove-gray top hat and bowed with an elegant sweep of his arm. He sported just-got-out-of-bed hair, as though a woman had been clutching it in the throes of passion. The spiky strands were light brown, but as he moved, his hair gleamed with unusual silver highlights.
Peter started forward while Kate hung back, checking her clipboard for the long list of jobs that she as production assistant had to complete before the shoot the following morning. She had at least two hours of typing to do, what with Claudia's script changes and the shot cards. And it was vital she found time this evening to go down to the little village of Knocknapog half-a-mile away.
Her grandmother had been born in the village and had lived there until she'd married and moved to England. Kate cradled the teardrop pearl pendant her grandmother had left her, rubbing her thumb over the smooth pink surface. Grandma's last wish had been that Kate should bring the pearl back here. The trouble was, Kate had no idea what she was supposed to do with it now she had arrived.
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