Enchanted Page 1

Author: Nora Roberts

Series: The Donovan Legacy #4

Genres: Romance


Dark as the night and fleet of foot, the wolf raced under a hunter's moon. He ran for the love of it, and he ran alone, through the grand tower of trees, the purple shadows of the forest, the magic of the night.

The wind from across the sea spewed across the pines, sent them singing songs of the ancients and spilling their scent into the air. Small creatures with eyes that gleamed hid and watched the sleek black shape bullet through the lacy layer of mist that shimmered down the beaten path.

He knew they were there, could smell them, hear the rapid beat of their blood. But he hunted nothing that night but the night itself.

He had no pack, no mate but solitude.

A restlessness lived in him that not even speed and freedom could quell. In his quest for peace, he haunted the forest, stalked the cliffs, circled the clearings, but nothing soothed or satisfied.

As the path rose more steeply and the trees began to thin, he slowed to a trot, scenting the air. There was- something in the air, something that had lured him out to the cliffs high above the restless Pacific. With powerful strides he climbed the rocks, his golden eyes scanning, seeking.

There, at the topmost point where the waves crashed like cannon fire and the moon swam white and full, he raised his head and called. To sea, to sky, to night.

To magic.

The howl echoed, spread, filled the night with both demand and question. With power as natural as breath.

And the whispers that flickered back told him only that a change was coming. Endings, beginnings. Destiny.

His fate was waiting for him.

Again the rogue black wolf with gold eyes threw back his head and called. There was more, and he would have it. Now the earth shook, and the water swirled. Far over the sea a single spear of lightning broke the blackness with a blinding white flash. In its afterglow for an instant-a heartbeat only-was the answer.

Love waits.

And the magic trembled on the air, danced over the sea with a sound that might have been laughter. Tiny sparks of light skimmed over the surface, bobbing, twirling to spin into the star-strewn sky in a gilt cloud.

The wolf watched, and he listened. Even when he turned back to the forest and its shadows, the answer trailed after him.

Love waits.

As the restlessness in him grew, beat with his heart, he shot down the path, powerful strides tearing the fog to ribbons. Now his blood heated with the speed, and veering left, he broke through the trees toward the soft glow of Lights. There the cabin stood sturdy, its windows shining with welcome. The whispers of the night fell quiet.

As he bounded up the steps, white smoke swirled, blue light shimmered. And wolf became man.


When Rowan Murray got her first look at the cabin, she was filled with a sense of both relief and fear. Relief that she'd finally come to the end of the long drive from San Francisco to this sheltered spot on the coast of Oregon. And fear for the exact same reason.

She was here. She had done it.

What next?

The practical thing, of course, was to get out of the four-wheel drive, unlock the front door and give herself a tour of the place she intended to make home for the next three months. Unpack what belongings she'd brought with her. Make herself some tea. Take a hot shower.

Yes, those were all practical, reasonable things to do, she told herself. And she sat exactly where she was, in the driver's seat of the two-week-old Range

Rover, her long, slender fingers gripping white-knuckled on the wheel.

She was alone. Completely, absolutely alone.

It was what she wanted, what she needed. What she'd pushed herself to accomplish for months so that when the offer of the cabin had come, she'd snatched it as if it were a tree limb and she'd been sinking in quicksand.

Now that she had it, she couldn't even get out of the car.

"You're such a fool, Rowan." She whispered it, leaning back, closing her eyes for just a moment. "Such a coward."

She sat, gathering her energies, a small, slenderly built woman with creamy skin that had lost its sheen of rose. Her hair was straight as rain and the color of polished oak. Now, she wore it pulled back, out of the way, in a thick braid that was coming loose. Her nose was long and sharp, her mouth just slightly over wide for the triangle of her face. Her eyes, tired now from hours of driving, were a deep, dark blue, long lidded and tilted at the comers.

Elf's eyes, her father often said. And thinking of that, she felt tears welling up in them.

She'd disappointed him, and her mother. The guilt of that weighed like a stone on her heart. She hadn't been able to explain, not clearly enough, not well enough, why she'd hadn't been capable of continuing on the path they'd so carefully cleared for her. Every step she'd taken on it had been a strain, as if every step had taken her farther and farther away from where she needed to be.

What she needed to be.

So in the end she'd run. Oh, not in actuality. She was much too reasonable to have run away like a thief in the night. She'd made specific plans, followed concrete steps, but under it all she'd been fleeing from home, from career, from family. From the love that was smothering her as surely as if its hands had been clamped over her nose and mouth.

Here, she'd promised herself, she'd be able to breathe, to think, to decide. And maybe, just maybe, to understand what it was that kept her from being what everyone seemed to want her to be.

If in the end, she discovered she was wrong and everyone else was right, she was prepared to deal with it. But she would take these three months for herself.

She opened her eyes again, let herself look. And as she did, her muscles slowly relaxed. It was so beautiful, she realized. The grand majesty of trees shooting up into the sky and whistling in the wind, the two-story cabin tucked into a private glen, the silver flash of sun off the busy little steam that snaked to the west.

The cabin itself gleamed dark gold in the sunlight. Its wood was smooth, its windows sparkled. The little covered porch looked perfect for sitting on lazy mornings or quiet evenings. From where she sat, she thought she could see the brave spears of spring bulbs testing the air.

They'd find it chilly yet, she mused. Belinda had warned her to buy flannel, and to expect spring to come late to this little corner of the world.

Well, she knew how to build a fire, she told herself, glancing at the stone chimney. One of her favorite spots in her parents' house had been in the big sprawling living room beside the hearth with a fire crackling against the damp chill of the city.

She'd build one as soon as she was settled, she promised herself. To welcome herself to her new home.