by Meg Benjamin
Grim Morrigan, Guardian of the Ward and part-time private detective, polices the Folk, the clans of fairies who live in the foothills outside Denver. But his main job is concealing their true nature from the mortals around them.
Enter mortal Annie Duran, who hires him to look for her brother Richard, missing and presumed dead for ten years. Annie has seen Richard in the parking lot of the nightclub where she works. Now she wants answers, and Grim’s supposed to find them.
The quest for Richard ensnares both Grim and Annie in a sinister conspiracy involving kidnapped women and outlaw magic. But they also discover their own overwhelming attraction to each other.
When Annie herself disappears, Grim’s need for answers becomes even more urgent. With the help of a dissolute prince and a motley crew of unlikely fairies, Grim confronts a rebellion among the Folk.
And it may take more than just magic and luck to save both Annie and Grim this time.
He leaned toward her, slowly, slowly, and she moved to meet him. His lips were softer than she remembered, gentle, brushing against the side of her throat. She took hold of his sleeve, her hand closing on the cool smoothness of the leather.
He pulled away, stripping off his coat, then edged in closer, catching her chin between his fingers. Not a gentle kiss this time, but a claiming that burned her skin, set her pulse racing. His hand cupped the back of her skull, holding her tight so his tongue could plunge deep into her mouth. She moaned, fumbling with the buttons on his shirt, feeling the coarse crinkle of hair and the heat of his skin. Her own desire built like a drumbeat.
And then he was lifting away, resting his forehead against hers, panting. “Wait.”
Wait? With every cell in his body screaming for her, he’d suddenly grown a conscience? Why the hell had his long-lost ethical sense decided to reappear now? Wretched timing, Grim. Just your style. He closed his eyes, catching his breath while he worked out what to say to Annie Duran that wouldn’t sound either insulting or insane.
“Wait?” She was staring at him, eyes shining with desire—and confusion.
He was such an idiot he felt like moaning.
Q&A WITH MEG
-Which of your characters would you go out for drinks with?
Oddly enough, a lot of the characters in Away spend time in bars around the Denver foothills. Annie Duran, my heroine, is a barmaid at a club near Lookout Mountain called the Threshold. My hero, Grim Morrigan, is a Guardian of the Ward, which is a fancy way of saying he’s a cop for the Folk, the groups of fairies who live in the Denver suburbs. Part of his job is making sure the Folk customers at the foothills bars don’t do anything to call attention to themselves or their magical nature since he’s tasked with keeping the Folk secret from their mortal neighbors. He meets Annie at the Threshold and, well, adventures ensue.
But the Folk character I’d most like to have a drink with would be Prince Bertilak, known to the other members of the Folk as Prince Bertie. Bertie’s position is somewhat ceremonial—the Folk are actually ruled by the heads of their clans rather than by their monarchy. But he’s a real prince, the son of Queen Alcina of the Mountain Folk. When we first meet Bertie he seems to be a decadent playboy, but a playboy with a definite difference as we find in the very first paragraphs of Away:
Around ten o’clock, a man at one of the front tables began to glow.
Annie blinked, trying not to gape. The glow seemed to be coming from the man’s shoulders, encircling his dark curly hair, almost like a halo.
The Threshold could be a very weird place, even on weeknights. If the tips hadn’t been so good, she might have quit. But being a barmaid paid the rent, at least for now.
She checked the tables near Mr. Glow. Nobody else seemed to notice him.
Mr. Glow is Bertie, or rather the playboy version of Bertie. But the prince turns out to be far more interesting than he seems at first. And he has his unexpected side, too.
“Bertie,” Annie called, her throat suddenly tight with fear. “Are we going the right way?”
“No way to know for sure, is there?” Bertie’s voice sounded absurdly calm. “Trust to Anu. And to luck.”
Annie had no idea who Anu was. If by some miracle they survived this evening, she’d ask Grim. “Please get us out of here,” she whispered. “Whoever you are.”
Grim rolled down the window. “Ready?”
“Yeah.” Bertie nodded. “Come on, Annie. Time to walk.”
The chemlight sticks cast their light around six feet ahead. Annie paralleled Bertie at the side of the road, keeping her gaze on the dirt beneath her feet, watching for sudden drop-offs. A few seconds later, she heard a rich baritone warbling the opening lines of “Margaritaville.”
She gaped, thunderstruck. Bertie was singing.
So why would I want to have a drink with the prince? Really, I think he’d be a very interesting person to talk to. He’s a old-style romantic hero, sophisticated and debonair. And he knows more about the Folk that any of the other characters do, both by heritage and inclination. If I wanted the inside dope on anyone or anything, I’m sure he could supply it, along with a perfectly lovely evening (of course he’d know the best champagne to order). The question isn’t “Why would you want to have a drink with Prince Bertie?” Instead, the question should be “Why on earth wouldn’t you want to have a drink with Prince Bertie?”
I liked Bertie so much that I made him a major character in book 2 of the Folk series, Unseen. And he’s the hero of Book 3, Found. I hope you’ll find him as charming as I did.
Meg Benjamin is an award-winning author of contemporary romance. Her newest series, the Folk, is a paranormal trilogy set in Colorado. Meg’s Konigsburg series is set in the Texas Hill Country and her Salt Box and Brewing Love trilogies are set in the Colorado Rockies (both are available from Entangled Publishing). Along with contemporary romance, Meg is also the author of the paranormal Ramos Family trilogy from Berkley InterMix. Meg’s books have won numerous awards, including an EPIC Award, a Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award, the Holt Medallion from Virginia Romance Writers, the Beanpot Award from the New England Romance Writers, and the Award of Excellence from Colorado Romance Writers. Meg’s Web site is megbenjamin.com. You can follow her on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter. Meg loves to hear from readers—contact her at email@example.com.
Meg Benjamin will be awarding a $20 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.a Rafflecopter giveaway