"Double Delight, Magical Love in a Futuristic Setting!"

The story takes place on the planet Celta, 400 years after colonization. The planet's name is derived from the Celtic background of the settlers who had fled persecution because of their Flair (psi ablilities).

Druida City

Rand T'Ash, 37, is head of, and sole survivor of the GreatHouse of Ash, one of the twelve First Families. At the tender age of six his entire family had been murdered by a rival family. He had escaped to the city's ghetto, Downwind, where he had met his familiar Zanth (a cat he is psychically connected to). Together they had survived and exacted revenge. He had gone on to regain his title and family home.

He had once touched the mind of his HeartMate (the woman who is the other half of his soul) during his last Passage (the change during which one's particular Flair becomes manifest), but only that once. Eighteen years had passed. Rand had turned his flair from revenge to the fashioning of remarkable jewelry. Yet he was still very much alone. This morning however his specially crafted divination dice had given him the prophecy he's yearned for, "Today you will meet your HeartMate".

T'Ash's thoughts turn to the HeartGift he had crafted during his Passage, imbued with the passion and sexual energy of a virile twenty year old male. It is then that he realizes who his HeartMate must be. He had been playing an exhilarating game by proxy with a female client he has not met. He had discovered her preferences and had been fashioning jewelry to tempt her. Now this had become more than a game. She would see the HeartGift and be instantly attracted to it. He would be bringing his mate home this very night.

When Danith Mallow arrives at her favorite shop, T'Ash's Phoenix, she is greeted by the intimidating owner rather than the usual proprietor. She feels threatened as the enthusiastic noble urges her to try on what appears to be a rather expensive necklace. His rough manner, acquired on the streets, is off putting and she refuses. Frustrated he insists. Danith is a commoner, an orphan, with little recognizable flair. She knows she can't afford such an item, but nevertheless is attracted. When she notices his pheromones radiating from the piece she misinterprets his motives and leaves him with scathing words.

Several other customers had entered the shop during the encounter, and after they leave a frustrated Rand discovers that his HeartGift has been stolen. He is not a man to give up, he contacts other nobles for courtship advice and decides to force anther passage in order to make a new HeartGift, one that will reflect the man he is now. He is certain of his HeartMate's taste and still believes she will not be able to refuse him. At the advice of his friends, he floods Danith's home with romantic offerings, driving her crazy.

Having lived a lonely and loveless life in an orphanage after her parent's death, Danith had wanted a simple relationship and a large family. She had met a man, who already possessed a large and warm family, and was considering his proposal. The two did not share a grand passion, but Danith is convinced she doesn't need that. Danith also just happens to be on Zanth's food scavenging route. She appears to have an affinity for animals, and kindly feeds the strays.

Finally Danith having enough of T'Ash's persistence, she confronts him, hence learning the cat's identity. Danith had been tested as a child an determined to have little Flair the which of course determines prestige on the planet. Rand is convinced that the test had been wrong and retests her. It is then that they discover her Flair as an animal healer, a rare gift which will be greatly valued by their people. Rand reports the results and arranges for her training.

Danith enjoys using her gifts, but the world of a noble is very foreign to her. She relishes her independence, and though she is coming to care for Rand, she cannot imagine living the life she would live as his consort. But when Rand's closest friend, the Holly heir, calls in a debt of honor, the pair and the cat find themselves back on the streets of Downwind. The crisis forces her passages on her in rapid succession. Only Rand can help her through this dangerous time. But just when she realizes exactly the kind of man he is and that she can't, nor wants to, live without him, he comes to the conclusion that he is not the right man for her. Because he loves her he will let her go. Now it is up to her to convince him that they belong together.

What I found particularly poignant is the class structure that has developed on Celta over four centuries. As so often occurs when a group flees persecution and establishes their own colony, they somehow manage to forget the very reasons they fled in the first place. The wide social gap between the noble families and those relagated to the violent streets of Downwind, is a reflection of the society they left behind. Those with great Flair now look down their noses at those who possess little or none. It is truly sad to see the desperation of the youth of Downwind, expressed in a soulless gang mentality, casualties of that faulty memory. If T'Ash is a hero, his heroism lies in the fact that he recognizes the disparity and forces his peers to recognize it and do something about it.

This story is magical, the foundation of which is founded in what we now call paganism, but the magic goes beyond mere spells, they have mastered more complex abilities like transporting from place to place in the blink of an eye, etc. The reverence for nature is expressed in the family names, ie. Ash, Holly, etc. The Celtic background of the people is even evident in their greetings. This aspect makes the tale doubly delicious as it will appeal to both lovers of fantasy and futuristic romance. Much room has been left for sequels which will no doubt involve cats as well as dynamic heroes and independent heroines.

I personally would like to see the Holly heir find his HeartMate, as he rather enjoyed T'Ash's romantic woes as only a rakish rogue can. I must say that it did my heart good to find a futuristic included in the Jove Magical Love romance line. We certainly can use more of them.

Copyright 2001

Reviewed by Leslie Tramposch
Posted September 18, 2001


2002 RITA Finalist

T'Ash rolled the divination dice. The spun and stopped: "Today you will meet your HeartMate."

T'Ash has avenged his dead family and carefully crafted his life. He knows Danith is his future and the future of his clan. Danith, an orphaned commoner, wants life easy too. But one look at T'Ash tells her that he's going to make her life quite difficult. She knows he is noble, powerful and dangerous. Not for her. Then there's the second prophecy: A woman surrounded by blasers, in peril...

This is a reprint.

Read an Excerpt


(Celta series: Book 1)
by Robin D. Owens

Berkley Pub Group (Sensation)
August 1, 2006
Available: August 1, 2006
ISBN #0425212408
EAN #9780425212400
352 pages
Paperback (reprint)
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Other Books by
Robin D. Owens

Enchanted Again
Enchanted No More
Heart Journey
Heart Change
Echoes in the Dark
Heart Fate
Keepers of the Flame
Heart Dance
Protector of the Flight
Heart Quest
What Dreams May Come
Sorceress Of Faith
What Dreams May Come
Heart Choice
Guardian of Honor
Heart Duel
Heart Thief

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