Call of Fate

It’s only a dream team if the dream is a nightmare.

Summer and her sentinel mates have their hands full when the Magus Corps calls for help. Not only has a band of rogue Wiccans embarked on a bizarre killing spree, they seem intent on a hidden agenda. Although Michael and Troy stand firmly at her side, the Corps doesn’t make it easy. They insist that she take help with her.

Michael comes face to face with his past when the Corps demands that Summer’s team includes Templars. Not only has the ancient brotherhood been victims of the rogue Wiccans, they possess arcane knowledge that will help find them.

Likewise Troy is suspicious of the final team member. Though he had heard of the Fae, he had never met one—until now. Her ancient ties to artifacts of immense power may turn the tide, but her true motives are as inscrutable as her race.

Another “slam dunk” for the masterful Hazel Hunter and her band of magical beings! Am I the only one asking why the heck this has not been made into a weekly television series?Goodreads Reviewer
This installment is another winner in the Silver Wood Coven series! The trio of Summer, Michael, and Troy are getting stronger together. New characters are introduced. There's danger and twists. The sex is hot. I just can't get enough and am awaiting the next installment!Goodreads Reviewer
I always enjoy the dynamics among them and they really have become a sold team now. Her men are just as protective as she is of them.Goodreads Reviewer
The latest question is…will their new assignment make them or break them?Amazon Reviewer
Holy crossover Batman!Amazon Reviewer

Late June transformed the White Mountains of New Hampshire into a cornucopia of lush colors, from the brilliant greens of maple, birch and spruce trees to the rainbow fields of wildflowers blooming in the sun. The garnet glow of wild raspberry clusters vied with the dusky ultramarine of blueberries waiting to be picked, and both contributed a sweet ripeness to the warm air. In one meadow, weather-smoothed white stones formed a wide circle around one flat-topped boulder, upon which a red-checked picnic cloth had been spread.

As Summer Lautner began unpacking the basket of food she’d brought, she kept holding her face up to the sun. After returning from her native Canada she couldn’t seem to soak up enough light. Every day she spent hours outdoors gardening, hiking, or just sitting and basking in the bright warmth. It had been her idea to have a picnic to celebrate Litha, the summer solstice sabbat to venerate the longest day of the year. Practicing her Wiccan faith was important to her, but so was being with those she loved. Aileen Atwater, Summer’s slender, dark-haired sister-in-law, sat down in the grass by the stones.

“Please tell me you brought some of that wonderful mint iced tea you make,” she said as she settled her squirming six-month-old daughter, Eve, on her lap and unbuttoned her blouse. “Because someone besides me needs a nap.”

Summer poured a cup and handed it to her, as she smiled at the nursing baby.

“How can you tell? She never cries.”

“She never has to,” Aileen said, and rolled her smoky gray eyes. “Her father and I are her personal slaves, of course, and she’s enchanted everyone else in the coven. All Eve has to do is hiccup and even her grandfather comes running.” She took a sip of the tea and sighed. “I’ve missed this. No, I’ve really missed you and the guys.”

“We’re glad to be home, too,” Summer said, and glanced over at Troy Atwater and Michael Charbon, who were working with Aileen’s husband, Wilson, to put the finishing touches on their Litha altar. Her pulse danced as Troy and Michael glanced back at her and smiled, but her sentinel mates always made her heart beat a little faster. “Now tell me everything the baby did since last week.”

Aileen pretended to think. “We tried oatmeal, which she hates, but apple juice was a big hit. She’s gotten very touchy-feely with everything, including my earrings, Wil’s beard, and dirt of any kind. Naturally she’s the most beautiful, intelligent child in the universe, but charming, not so much. On our last trip to town she socked an admiring old lady in the nose.”

“Ah, then stranger shyness has arrived,” Summer said, and sat down beside her. She couldn’t help leaning over to breathe in the baby’s wonderful soft scent. “She always smells so good. I love her new little teeth, too. They’re so cute when she smiles.”

“You’re not breast-feeding her,” Aileen said, and then looked horrified. “Oh, Summer, I’m sorry—I shouldn’t have said that.”

“It’s okay,” she said. Since miscarrying her own daughter last winter Summer still felt blue occasionally, but time had helped heal most of the wounds. “Someday we’ll be blessed again, Aileen, and then you’ll have to listen to me gripe about spit-up and diaper rash.”

“Which reminds me, I’m saving Eve’s best, unstained baby clothes for you,” her sister-in-law said as she buttoned her blouse, and smiled down at her daughter, who had dozed off.

There was no question that Summer would have a daughter. The women of her bloodline only had one child, and it was always a girl to carry on their legacy. Safeguarding the Emerald Tablet, the oldest grimoire in the world, sometimes seemed daunting even now. The spell book had attained consciousness, and transferred itself to the mind of Summer’s oldest ancestor. Since that time every guardian had given birth to the next, who was always female and always destined to take two mates to protect and help her with her responsibilities.

Those obligations had proven to be a complicated mix of blessings and burdens. Over time the Tablet had grown so powerful that it bestowed on Summer almost unlimited magical abilities. But it was also capable of taking her over to pursue its own agenda. Yet since she had become the guardian Summer had found not one love but two. Their winter trip to Canada had made her realize that she could be more than the grimoire’s caretaker. She and her two sentinel mates could work together with the Emerald Tablet and use its power for good.

A kiss on the back of her neck drew Summer out of her thoughts. She leaned back against a hard, muscular chest, then wriggled into someone’s lap.

“What a nice chair,” she said, smiling.

“If you’re looking for furniture,” Troy murmured against her hair, “I’d rather be a bed. Just don’t ask me to be an altar, or Wil might pound nails in my head.”

“Very poetic,” Summer said, and turned around to link her hands behind her mate’s neck. His cool, dark scent filled her head. “You’d make a nice couch, though.”

With his mane of silky black hair framing his handsome features and intense blue eyes, Troy took tall, dark and handsome to a whole new level. She still felt a little thrill whenever she heard his melodic voice. And every time he touched her Summer’s body responded as passionately as her heart.

“Save that thought for tonight,” Troy said, and kissed her brow as he wrapped his long arms around her. “Aileen, your daughter is the nicest, laziest baby I’ve ever seen. All she does is smile and coo and sleep.”

“Please feel free to come over any time around three a.m.,” his sister-in-law told him. “You’ll know she’s awake when the windows start rattling, and our familiars start howling.”

“That’s why we’ve never needed a baby monitor,” Wilson Atwater said as he brought a bouquet of sunflowers, which he presented to his wife. “My Irish Setter comes racing in to jump on our bed and paw off our covers, while Aileen’s Sheltie tries to herd the crib.”

“Primrose doesn’t herd the crib,” his wife scolded. “She guards it. And Robbie only wakes us up because he knows what will happen if he tries to get past Prim.”

“Which reminds me,” Wil said. “If your familiar nips me one more time when I go to get our kid for you, I’m making that dog sleep in the barn.”

“That’s funny,” Aileen said. “Because that’s where Primrose thinks you and Robbie should sleep.”

As the brothers laughed Summer smiled at Wilson. Shorter and slimmer than Troy, the high priest of Silver Wood Coven had shrewd dark brown eyes. He sported a piratical goatee that complimented his foxy features. A talented carpenter and tracker, Wilson had once been deeply jealous and resentful of Troy. It had taken a terrifying attack by an insane Templar to reunite the brothers. But now it was as if the years of estrangement had never happened.

Summer liked Wilson, whose dry humor and quiet strength had made him an effective coven leader, as well as a trustworthy ally.

“How is Silver Wood celebrating the solstice this year?” she asked.

“We’re having a cook-out tonight,” Wilson said as he carefully eased Eve out of her mother’s arms and lowered her onto a soft blanket they’d spread beneath a sunshade. “I thought Father might rip my head off when I told him we’d honor the day with a barbecue in place of the usual bonfire, but he was fine with it. He even insisted on handling the grilling.”

The biggest of the three men joined them, and presented Summer with a basket heaped with sun-warmed berries.

“For dessert,” he murmured in deference to the sleeping baby.

She looked up at her other sentinel mate, who appeared like a gilded statue of some ancient warrior hero. Since his fair hair had grown past his shoulders, Michael had taken to wearing it in a short ponytail. Working outdoors had streaked it white, but darkened his smooth skin to a light bronze. His jade-green eyes glowed with a luminous beauty against his dusky tan, and when he smiled at Summer she felt her insides melt. She took the fragrant basket of fruit from him.

“I can smell those from here,” Aileen said, as she finished unpacking the picnic hamper.

Michael asked everyone to join hands before he said, “Lord and Lady, we thank you for those we love, the bounty you provide, and the day that brings us together in your light. Blessed be.”

Echoing his last words with the others, Summer had to blink back her tears. Since returning home from their trip to Canada, the former Templar had shed the last doubts instilled in him by the order. He had completely immersed himself in his birth heritage. That he embraced being Wiccan as deeply and passionately as he did everything else didn’t surprise Summer, but the change in him did. Michael had finally made peace with himself, his fate and the world. There was an unshakeable serenity to his aura of strength. His Wiccan ability over the earth had grown so much in the last six months that it bordered on an elemental power.

“I’m definitely grateful that it didn’t rain,” Aileen said as she handed out plates to the men. “The last thing we need is a soggy barbecue.”

After the men made short work of Summer’s chicken sandwiches and Aileen’s herbed salads, they went to put the finishing touches on the Litha altar. Summer nibbled on the berries as her sister-in-law stretched out beside Eve for a nap. As she watched the sleeping mother and baby, she wondered when the Goddess would again bless her and Troy and Michael with a child.

Maybe tonight, she thought, and pressed her hand against her flat belly, and imagined it swelling with their daughter. Litha was a time of fertility and sacred to the Goddess. As the land flourished with the bounty of the harvest, maybe she would too.

Michael and Troy both stopped working to look over at her, and Summer blushed a little. Their mating bond included the ability to read each other’s thoughts, and from the frank, carnal images in their minds both of her men were more than ready to get her pregnant—or just enjoy trying.

Not in front of the baby, Summer scolded, and then laughed along with her mates.

Wilson frowned at his brother. “What’s so funny?”