Palace of Pleasure

The deadliest earthquake in history is about to strike.

Although the Ming dynasty province of Shaanxi appears elegant and serene, nothing could be further from the truth. Summer and her team land in a nest of intrigue and high-stakes politics. When the search for the second Fae crystal takes them to the regional palace, the governor’s wife takes a special interest in Summer and her mates.

But the imperious lady isn’t the only one spying on their every move. The Wiccan cultists are on their own search. Determined not to fail their master but without a head start, the cunning and violent crew are happy to use Summer and her team—and then kill them.

I can't believe the mind behind this series. Plot twists galore and the flow from book to book is seamless. If you haven't started the series then you need to get reading ASAP.Anita Hanekom, Goodreads Reviewer
Sooo moving, gripping, steamy, intriguing! I LOVED the detail of the past put into this book. Simple things like the bath at Meng's house, and the palace and it's rooms. I love how Elettra and Shelton are getting closer. Will they finally get together, even just once? Kelly, Goodreads Reviewer
This book is wonderful. Every book in the series has some new plot twists and the characters doing interesting things that test their abilities. I love the myth, magic, action, fantasy and sensual rhythms of the book/series and recommend it. t really lives up to its name. I could hardly put it down.Alana, Amazon Reviewer
This series really just keeps getting better and better. I am completely drawn in from the first sentence and I can not wait until the next book comes out. I was never one for series that have cliffhangers but this author, oh my. She is really quick to get the next installment out. If you love adventure and fast paced stories you will really love this.Vicki, Amazon Reviewer
I love this series, every single book has Grabbed me from the start and this one is no exception. It's spooky and had me on tenterhooks until the very end, couldn't put it down. As always the writing is wonderful, the plot beautifully constructed. You can't go wrong with this one is you like steamy paranormal stuff. De Le, Goodreads Reviewer

We came back in time to save the world, not to die trapped in Pompeii.

Summer Lautner backed away from the window of the jail cell. The long-dormant volcano inside Vesuvius had erupted, pouring millions of tons of its fiery heart into the sky. The fifteen-mile-high plume had just collapsed, and now raced down the mountain’s slopes in an enormous, gray and black cloud of death. The surge made no sound, appearing only as a massive billow of smoke and ash. Yet Summer knew in a few moments the superheated tephra would entomb her and every living thing in the city. That included the two men she loved, two Templars she didn’t trust, and a Fae woman who had already survived being buried alive in a diamond crypt for ten thousand years.

We are not dying today. Not while I still breathe.

Power surged through Summer as she turned from the horrifying sight, and held out her hands.

“Form a circle, now, quickly.”

Michael Charbon nodded to Elettra GemSage, who took his hand and Troy Atwater’s. The men clasped the hands of Lemuel Bowers and Cyrus Shelton, the two Templars, who then moved to flank Summer. When she took their hands she channeled her power through everyone, completing the circle.

As the volcanic surge reached the city, the stone floor beneath their sandals shook and cracked.

Summer could feel bits of pumice pelting her face as it flew through the window. The inside of their cell suddenly became like an airless blast furnace. Closing her eyes, she cast the time-traveling spell.

“From this time we must flee, take this circle of travelers to Shaanxi, the day ninth, the month January, the year fifteen fifty-six A.D. So may it be.”

The time portal opened above them just as the volcanic flow engulfed Pompeii’s forum. But Summer kept her mind and power focused on the circle. The unbearable heat blistering her skin vanished, and a moment later she stood in cool, silent darkness.

Shelton’s large, hard hand tightened on hers.

“Are we buried, then?” he asked. But his deep, gruff voice echoed slightly. She felt him shift. “In a cave?”

“Be still, Templar,” Elettra said, and muttered something in an ancient tongue.

Tiny white stars showered over her petite, ordinary-looking body, and changed it into Elettra’s true form, which was that of a towering, golden-haired goddess. As Shelton gaped the Fae woman conjured a dozen small, floating amber light orbs which illuminated their surroundings.

“You are not wrong, Brother,” Bowers murmured. “It’s a yaodong, I think, a cave that serves as a home.”

Summer glanced around her. The cave-house seemed very tidy, with sparse furnishings that had been neatly made from wood. Along the edges of one wall stood a row of baskets and clay pots filled with uncooked rice and dried fruit. Herbs had been hung to dry from a long rope made of woven vine. Large straw hats stood stacked beside a heavy drape of patched, worn fabric. It all seemed appropriate for medieval China, but the air smelled dry and musty, as if the yaodong had remained empty for some time.

“Let’s see if anyone else is here,” Bowers said.

He gestured for Elettra to lead the way, followed by the bigger Templar. But neither Michael nor Troy joined them. Summer looked up to find Michael’s jade-green eyes and sooty, muscular body glowing with one of Elettra’s golden lights.

“Come here, Beauty,” he said.

Summer hadn’t realized how badly she was shaking until he pulled her against him and wrapped his strong arms around her.

“I’m sorry,” she whispered. “That was too close.”

“You kept us alive,” Troy said, embracing them both. His vivid blue eyes looked deep into hers. Then he kissed her brow. “That’s enough.”

For a moment she allowed herself to take comfort from their embrace. Troy and Michael had been destined to become her sentinel mates, but since they had bonded they had become much more than that. Summer loved her men so much she could no longer imagine life without them. In times of great danger, she often had to act to protect them, but they were her partners as well as her guardians.

“I was careless,” she said, holding on to both of them, “and we underestimated Wickerman. That can’t happen again.”

She needed to focus on their quest, as impossible as it seemed. All they needed to do was chase a murderous rogue warlock through time, and find four hidden Fae crystals before he destroyed the world with them. She let go a heavy sigh and rested her face against Michael’s warm chest. Wickerman had already stolen RainLance, the crystal of water concealed in the tip of a spear. It had been lost along with Pompeii. But she also felt convinced that the killer and his cultists had somehow caused Vesuvius to erupt prematurely.

“What is done is done,” Michael said, his deep voice rumbling in his chest. “It does no good to dwell on it.”

Summer slowly nodded. Through the telepathic link that she, Troy, and Michael shared, he had heard her thoughts.

“We’re in sixteenth-century China now,” Troy said, his gentle voice just behind her ear. “The cultists left just before we did. We stand a fighting chance of finding TerraCairn before they do.”

The crystal of earth would be swallowed up in the worst earthquake in human history. But if Wickerman managed to find it first, and moved through time to collect the other two, there would be no future for any of them.

“There is no one here,” Elettra announced.

As the room brightened, Summer reluctantly separated from her men. She turned to watch Bowers and Shelton pull aside a drape and look out of a long, brick-lined opening. Beyond it were other buildings.

“We cannot leave,” Michael said, and tugged at his own tunic. “We are still dressed like Romans, and our satchels are now buried with Pompeii.”

Elettra peered outside. “I see no one out there. I will go and find proper clothing for us.”

Another shower of stars changed her back into her mortal guise. Before anyone could speak she walked outside. Shelton gave Summer a pointed look before he followed after the Fae.

“I have some knowledge of China in this era,” Bowers said, as he moved to the back of the room. “The people live in caves they excavate out of the loess cliffs. They are not made of stone, but a wind-blown silt that has accumulated over the centuries. It’s why so many are going to die in the Great Shaanxi Earthquake.” He reached out and raked his hand down the wall, sending bits of yellow gravel and dust raining down. “Loess is little more than hard-packed dirt.”

“How many will die?” Michael asked.

The short, fair-haired Templar exchanged an unhappy look with Michael.

“Our records indicate only an estimate. But the quake will destroy more than five hundred square miles, and kill over half the population.”

“How many is that?” Summer asked.

Bowers grimaced. “Over eight hundred thousand souls.”