Linda Windstead Jones
Harlequin Nocturne, Mar 1 2015, $5.75
After years of failing to control her always too late to help others visions, PTSD sufferer Echo Raintree the “Prophet” decides she needs help from an outside expert after her clan’s attempts failed. Thus she leaves her North Carolina Mountain sanctuary for Cloughban, Ireland to plead with Ryder Duncan the wizard to train her on how to turn her curse into a gift.
Struggling to find the remote village that GPS fails to locate, Echo, after several wrong turns, arrives in Cloughban. She enters the Drunken Stone Pub where at first sight Rye knows the outsider will destroy his blissfully predictable life. He wants this Raintree to leave him and his eleven year old daughter Cassidy alone. After discouragement from the wizard, Echo leaves the pub only to encounter and receive encouragement from Cassidy. When Echo reenters the pub, she collapses into a visionary fit. As the “Stray” and the “Princess” work on her affliction and at the pub, other visitors monitor the pair while planning to use Cassidy’s skills for their evil intent. In love with father and daughter, the Raintree Prophet risks her life to keep both safe.
After a several years hiatus, the return to the Raintree clan (see Inferno by Linda Howard, Sanctuary by Beverly Barton and Haunted by Linda Winstead Jones) is a charming romantic urban fantasy set in a terrific Brigadoon-like locale (though Ireland instead of Scotland). What makes the tale engage the audience is the fully-developed cast consisting of the magical lead trio, the eccentric villagers, malevolent meanies, and in very small roles her concerned clan.