Read Boadicea's Legacy Online

Authors: Traci E Hall

Boadicea's Legacy

Accolades for
LOVE'S MAGIC
by Traci E. Hall

“Hall's take on medieval life is rich in history and deep in mystery. The flashbacks of her hero's imprisonment are dark but add much to his development, while the heroine is a gutsy young woman with spunk.”

—Karen Sweeny-Justice
,
Romantic Times BOOKreviews

“A very interesting story … entertaining and the characters were fleshed out wonderfully.”

—Rista Tompkins, The Romance Readers Connection

“Love's Magic
is a well-written, enjoyable story for anyone who likes their romance tinged with fantasy and the hint of the impossible. A stubborn man and a proud woman make this a delightful romantic tale to while away the hours with.”

—Novelspot

“Love's Magic
is a well-written story filled with interesting characters, intrigue, and romance. Set during a treacherous time in England's history, the author will keep you guessing about the mystery while enchanting you as Galiana finds her own magic.”

—Rho
,
A RomanceReview.com
(October 2009)

 

Accolades for
BEAUTY'S CURSE
by Traci E. Hall

“Beauty's Curse
is a delightful story that charms and entertains while teaching a moral about all that is truly important in life!”

—Heather Graham
,
New York Times
Bestselling Author

“Chock-full of royal intrigue and wry humor, hall weaves a deft, not-to-be-missed interpretation of Arthurian-era Britain.”

—Nina C. Davis
,
BookList
(September 2009)

“4 Cups. Traci E. Hall enables the reader to step into another time. I was ensnared by the wonderful historical details that the author worked so hard to provide.
Beauty's Curse
is a detailed and thrilling novel that is worth the read.”

—Delane
,
CoffeeTimeRomance.com
(November 2009)

“5 Blue Ribbons … a very sweet romance. I'm looking forward to more in this series.”

—CinLee
,
RomanceJunkies.com
(December 2009)

“If you are a romance fan, you will like this book. It is full of drama, mystery, and passion.”

—Tricia C.
,
bookbargainsandpreview.com
(February 2010)

DEDICATION:
To Greg, my enduring love and best friend.

Published 2010 by Medallion Press, Inc.

The MEDALLION PRESS LOGO
is a registered trademark of Medallion Press, Inc.

If you purchased this book without a cover, you should be aware that this book is stolen property. It was reported as “unsold and destroyed” to the publisher, and neither the author nor the publisher has received any payment from this “stripped book.”

Copyright © 2010 by Traci E. Hall
Cover design by Arturo Delgado

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without written permission of the publisher, except where permitted by law.

Names, characters, places, and incidents are the products of the author's imagination or are used fictionally. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

Typeset in Adobe Garamond Pro
Printed in the United States of America

ISBN: 978-160542078-3

10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
First Edition

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS:

Sheryl McGavin. Girl, without you, Easy Cheese, and Triscuits, this book never would have made deadline. I hope you know how important your friendship is to me. After six books and countless bottles of wine …

Trena, Becky, Rhonda, Cherry, Leanne, and Ames—for being great friends and sounding boards. I am blessed in my friendships, so even if you don't see your name here, know that I adore you and that there is only so much ink in the world.

To all the wonderful people who put information on the Internet. Remembering what Web page I've browsed is not one of my skill sets, so I'll give a shout out here.

To my family—I love you guys! The reason I get a kick out of writing about families is that I have a great one.

And to the staff at Medallion Press. “Thank you” is not enough. The artwork is phenomenal, the editors terrific.

Montehue Manor
May 1200

Chapter
One

E
la raised her face to the moon, accepting benediction from the Crone in the night sky before the light disappeared behind a cloud.

She slashed her arms down, fingers pointed to the ground. Lightning skipped from grass to tree to her very fingertips, setting her long auburn hair spinning like ribbons around a maypole. Her scalp tingled as she bowed her head to nature's show of might.
I'm ready
.

The eve was dark as a witch's cauldron. She inhaled the heavy earth scent of coming rain. The air crackled with suppressed energy, and it took all of her courage to stay when her instincts bade her bolt.

I'm no coward
.

Ela lifted her chin and glared at the cloud-covered moon.

What she attempted now was for the good of her kin, her sisters' children, and someday, mayhap, her own. Meg said that Beltane eve was one of great natural power. Blessings and curses abounded as the veil between the worlds
thinned. And who but a wisewoman trained to read the secrets of the earth could be so sure of that?

Lightning zigzagged across the ebony sky, and Ela's blood quickened.

She was no sorceress to be playing with magic, yet Boadicea's burden was a drowning force. Dark dreams came with more frequency. It chafed her entire soul to be ruled by a specter of a long-dead past.

By God and all the saints, Ela thought with a determined exhale, she was a woman at the beginning of a new century. She should be shackled or nay to whomever she pleased without fear of losing her gifts. Stretching her arms to her sides, Ela tossed back her head, her unbound hair whipping at her ankles. The Moon Crone's aura pulsed blue with despair.

There was much angst since England had a new king. Like a bully, John Plantagenet took what he wanted without thought to what lay broken in his wake.

But that is not my battle
.

Not this night
.

Thunder boomed with enough force to rattle her teeth, yet she wasn't afraid. She laughed into the oncoming storm, drawing nature's energy.

Ela needed all of the earth magic she could absorb for this spell. Only Andraste would be strong enough to rescind the curse Boadicea had laid on her daughters, and theirs, and theirs. To wed without love meant forfeiting personal power—whether it was healing, seeing auras, or divining the future.

Thunder raged—a drumbeat reverberating throughout her body. She shouted over the blasting wind. “Andraste! Hear me, Goddess of War.”

A crack whiplashed across the sky, followed by a torrent of skin-pelting rain. Ela refused to cower beneath the stinging drops.

“Mighty warrior-goddess! Release my family from Boa-dicea's curse. Grant us free will.”

She dropped to the ground in supplication, her knees splashing mud in the sodden grass. The chilled water brought goose bumps to her naked flesh, but this was Beltane, and Meg swore that no other night would do if she were to reach the ears of the ancient Celtic goddess.

The wisewoman said that only Ela, as a direct recipient of the curse, could plead for respite and hope to reach the battle-hardened goddess's heart.

No spirit answered her call.

Ela wondered, as she blinked away the rain, if her bare-arsed prayers to a dead Iceni queen and a Celtic goddess in the middle of a spring thunderstorm would send her to hell. Father Harold might think so—not that she had any intention of confessing her folly. Her teeth chattered. Mayhap the old goddess was too far back in time to care about the descendents of Boadicea.

Imagining her nieces trapped solidified her purpose. Unless she risked everything this night,
they
would always be tied to the damned curse.

Ela struggled to her feet in the mud and threw her
arms parallel to her body. Her hair lashed at her raw skin as she shouted against the wind. “Andraste! Boadicea! Our family honors the gifts you've given us. If there was a debt owed, surely it has been paid.” Ela bowed her head, offering the one thing that made her whole as a worthy sacrifice. “If not, then let me return my gifts to you, if you will but grant freedom to the rest of my kin.”

The notion of not being able to read auras made her physically nauseated. Putting her hand over her bare belly, she thought of her family. They'd be well placed under King John if she swallowed her pride—along with a good deal of bile—and wed Thomas de Havel. For certes, the Montehues would be much safer in this new regime once she wed a member of it.

Ela spluttered as a fat, foul-tasting raindrop landed on her lip.

Her father was a strong warrior. In these turbulent days, that wasn't enough. It couldn't matter that the price of her family's safety was her magic. Ela raised her voice so that it could be heard over the thunder and beyond time. “Andraste—you can't ignore me all night!”

Osbert Edyvean leaned over the neck of his steed, his eyes intent on the swishing tail of the horse in front of him.

“Come back, fool.” Os clenched his jaw, determined to stay in sight of the disappearing horse's ass. He was at
a disadvantage, since the man on the horse in front of him obviously knew the dark, winding roads, whilst he was a stranger to these lands.

A year into the quest for his liege, Os was not fond of wet, dark roads or inhospitable peasants who were loyal to their lords. He much preferred the toads who spit information after an ale or two. An accomplished knight and a man of business for the Earl of Norfolk, Os hated to be outwitted by a peasant with one tooth.

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