In the Tower of the Wizard King
Age of Wizards
Genre: Epic Fantasy with Romantic Elements
Publisher: Michelle Miles
Date of Publication: Sept 1, 2016
Number of pages: 242
Word Count: 112,000
Cover Artist: Erin Dameron-Hill
In the Age of Wizards, Time is a commodity more valuable than gold. When Aoife (EE-fa) stumbles upon an antique trunk in the attic, it calls to her with an ancient magic. Inside she finds a stairway leading into darkness and cannot resist stepping onto that first stair. It leads her to dark truths her mother never wanted her to uncover and love so powerful she walks through time to save it.
Her magic is dormant.
When Aoife Burke rushes home after the unexpected death of her father, she discovers her mother has vanished amidst inexplicable circumstances. She returns to her childhood home to search for clues of her mother’s whereabouts but another shock awaits her. Sean O’Connell, the object of her girlhood crush, has purchased the family home. She senses Sean is hiding something from her, refuses to let her inside and does everything he can to keep her out. A determined Aoife breaks inside and stumbles upon an antique trunk in the attic. When she opens it, instead of the normal musty clothes and ancient letters, she finds a stairway leading into darkness. It calls to her and she cannot resist stepping into the trunk and onto that first stair where it leads her to magical truths her mother never wanted her to discover.
His magic is dangerous.
Sean O’Connell has been assigned by the Inter-dimensional Portal Protection Agency to keep Aoife and her mother out of Faery. But when she breaks into the house and disappears through the portal in the trunk—like her mother—he has no choice but to follow her, even though stepping into Faery will force him to face his past. Keeping her safe and out of the hands of the Wizard King also becomes a fight to save Aoife’s life from her own mother, who has discovered a time portal in Faery leading her back in time to alter her past mistakes, putting Aoife’s life in peril. Sean is willing to do anything to make sure she’s safe. Even if it means he has to tap into his dangerous magic to do it.
She halted mid-reach, gasping for breath and shoving back against the wall. She couldn’t. She’d been forbidden her entire life to go into the attic. Her mother made that painfully clear. She was not allowed and neither was Sunnie.
So why then did she have the uncontrollable urge to pull down the attic stairs and go up?
Do it, Aoife. Go up into the attic.
The voice whispered inside her skull. She had no idea whose voice it was. She didn’t think it was her own. She was compelled to open the attic and take that first upward step.
So she did. With her heart pounding in her throat, she ascended and paused in the darkness listening to her ragged breathing. She stood on forbidden ground.
Again that voice. She scanned the darkened room, only barely able to make out shapes. There were the holiday decorations on one side. An old desk on another. She headed for the desk.
The trunk. The trunk.
She pressed her palm against the side of her head and rubbed. She was hearing things.
The desk was coated in a thick layer of dust that had been disturbed not so long ago. There were several cubbies with papers sticking out of them in a chaotic and untidy way and two books that had finger and handprints left behind in the dust.
“Hidden Dimensions and Fae Time Travel,” she read aloud.
She picked up the second book, A Hypothesis of Fae Magic in Other Realms, and flipped through it. She understood none of it as it was written in a language she couldn’t comprehend. She dropped the book and reached for one of the scrolls when her fingers brushed one that felt different than paper. Curious, she pulled it out and untied the faded red ribbon, letting it roll open. Despite the flawless handwriting, the words were of a language she couldn’t understand. Except for the two words in English scrawled across the top.
She dropped the scroll and shoved it away as something dark gripped her. Like she’d touched something forbidden or evil. With her heart pattering a quick beat, she reached for another scroll. The parchment fell open on the desk revealing a drawing of an ancient map. The ink had faded. When she peered at it closer she couldn’t make out the words, which were in the same language as the book. Something flowery with lots of squiggles and she had no idea what it said. A small compass was drawn in the lower left hand corner with north pointing to the right.
Aoife reached for a second piece of paper. It had been folded and looked as though it was a page that had been ripped out of a book. Again, the language was strange. Like nothing she’d ever seen before. As she stared at the faded ink, the words and letters re-arranged and morphed into words she could read.
A wizard of both Fae and Wizard blood will come into power and rule from a silver throne.
“A wizard of both Fae and Wizard blood…?” Her voice was quiet in the darkness.
Something behind her glowed. She dropped the paper and turned to see a symbol on the top of the trunk had lit up, like a beacon in the darkness.
The trunk. The trunk. The trunk.
It called to her. She was certain she had heard her name coming from it. In a fog, she walked toward it and dropped to her knees. It was an old steamer trunk. She had never seen it before in the house. Where did it come from? Was it her mother’s?
The glowing symbol on the top was an intricate Celtic knotwork circle with a sword through it. The light pulsed, beckoning her.
The trunk, Aoife.
“Yes,” she heard herself say. “The trunk. Of course.”
Her fingers brushed over the Celtic knotwork and suddenly the interior illuminated. Light pushed out around the lid. She gasped and opened it. When the blinding light faded, there in the trunk was a stone staircase leading down into darkness.
“What the heck…?”
Downstairs, she heard a door slam and then Sean’s voice. “Aoife? Are you here?”
Step into the trunk, Aoife.
“Yes, I must.”
She stood and stepped onto the first stone step. Her racing heart thumped a wild beat and the next thing she knew she was on the second step. Then the third.
Glancing up, Sean appeared at the top of the attic stairs. She sucked in a sharp breath, grasped the lid and slammed it closed above her head. She was instantly plunged into total darkness and hunched down on the step, waiting for Sean to open the lid and come after her. She heard nothing. No sounds above.
Panic seized her. She reached above and her hand brushed against smooth, cool stone. She pushed and pushed and pushed but the stone would not give. She flattened her trembling hands against where she thought the lid was but again met cold stone instead of smooth wood. The lid had disappeared. Where did it go?
A cold tingling sensation went through her as she realized she was trapped. Gasping for air, she banged the side of her hand against the stone until it hurt, shouting Sean’s name as hot tears stung her eyes. Her voice bounced off the stone walls around her, echoing through the shadows. It was useless. He couldn’t hear her. Sean didn’t follow her because Sean couldn’t follow her. She was trapped.
There was no going back and there was no way she could get out. Her only option was to go down. With her pulse racing, she descended into the shadows.
About the Author:
Michelle Miles grew up in North Central Texas in a rodeo town but was far more interested in nerdy things like Star Trek and Star Wars. She started writing fan fiction in high school. When being an archeologist like Indiana Jones or a Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader didn't work out, she decided writing was her gig and has wanted to write her own stories ever since.
Her love of romance started when she picked up Victoria Holt and Daphne du Maurier and was immediately smitten with the genre. But she also found another love in the fantasies of Patricia A. McKillip and Anne McCaffrey. Since she couldn’t decide which genre to pick—and because she’s a true Gemini—she decided it would be super fun to write contemporary and fantasy romance. She is a member of Romance Writers of America and has served on the board of several chapters as president and treasurer.
In her spare time, she enjoys listening to music, reading, cross-stitching and watching movies. A Native Texan, she loves castles, dragons, fairies and elves and is an avid Game of Thrones fan. She can be found online at Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Goodreads.
Website and Blog: http://www.michellemiles.net
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