Stolen Magic (The Guardian Trilogy #2) Read Online M.J. Putney, Mary Jo Putney

Categories Genre: Fantasy/Sci-fi, Paranormal, Romance Tags Authors: , Series: Mary Jo Putney
Series: The Guardian Trilogy Series by M.J. Putney

Total pages in book: 139
Estimated words: 126403 (not accurate)
Estimated Reading Time in minutes: 632(@200wpm)___ 506(@250wpm)___ 421(@300wpm)

Heir to an ancient title, Simon Malmain, the Earl of Falconer, is well known among the Guardians, humans with magical powers derived from nature. Well known, but not always well loved . . . for those who enforce the law are rarely embraced by those whom they protect–and this is equally true whether the law is magical or mundane.

A routine mission to confront a rogue Guardian who has misused his powers turns disastrous when Simon’s quarry, Lord Drayton, captures his pursuer in a transformation spell that can only be released by Drayton–or death. Aid arrives in the form of Meg, a fey young woman who first traps Simon, then frees him.
As they flee together, Simon recognizes that Meg is also a victim of Drayton’s evil enchantments, and he restores her nature and innate magic. Though her memory is still clouded, she is freed at last from a shadowy world of fear and lost identity. She agrees to help Simon bring down Drayton.
The need for each other’s magic binds them together–and releases the more ancient magic of passion. But desire cannot be satisfied until the rogue mage is stopped. For Drayton has a diabolical plan that will profoundly alter the course of Britain’s future. Even the combined power of Simon and Meg may not be enough to stave off catastrophe. Only a desperate act of love may win back the future–or destroy all they hold dear.


Chapter One



As the Earl of Falconer, Simon Malmain traveled with an entourage of carriages and coachmen and most certainly his valet. As the chief enforcer of the Guardian Council, he walked alone, a darker shadow in the night.

The sky was dark with clouds, perfect for secret deeds. Simon wore black, even his fair hair covered by his tricorne hat. Not that he feared Lord Drayton, whose powers were less impressive than his ambitions, but a wise hunter left nothing to chance.

His horse had been left in a convenient field so that Simon could approach Castle Drayton unnoticed. He’d studied the castle from a distance and spoken with a former servant, who had fled Drayton’s service in fear of his soul. The master of the house was in residence, recently returned from London, where Drayton held a cabinet post. Simon had considered confronting him in the city before deciding that this remote area was better. If there was a magical battle, the fewer who might be affected, the better.

The castle stood on a rocky rise cradled in the bend of a small river that ran into the Severn. The original building had been updated and expanded over the centuries, but its site remained an imposing hill chosen to repel attacks. Soldiers would have a hard time penetrating the castle. Simon didn’t.

He met the first barrier near the top of the hill. It was a warning shield of surprising competence. Drayton must have been practicing. Simon sketched a series of symbols with one hand. A man-sized hole opened in the energy shell. He stepped through and closed the portal behind him, undetected. Though he could have taken the wards down entirely, there was no reason to warn Drayton prematurely.

The next barrier was the closed gates. Luckily a small side door cut through the wall, its position largely concealed by overgrown vegetation. Its bespelled lock was no match for Simon. He hushed the squeal of the door and closed it soundlessly behind him. Best to leave it unlatched. He doubted he would have to leave in a rush, but he never took anything for granted. Enforcers of Guardian law who made assumptions were unlikely to die in bed.

In the shadow of the wall, he used his inner senses to study the courtyard. A pair of bored guards stood watch in the turret that loomed above the castle gates. In a peaceable England, that marked Drayton as a most suspicious man. The product of a guilty conscience, no doubt.

Before entering, Simon scanned the keep. At this hour most servants were asleep in the attics or the stables, a separate building behind the castle. He wrinkled his nose in distaste as he felt the energy of the establishment. It was crude, corrupted, with most of the residents either fearful or brutish. He felt the quicksilver touch of a lighter female energy, perhaps a very young maidservant. He guessed she would soon have reason to curse her parents for putting her into service under Drayton. Perhaps literally under. Still another reason to confront the man, before he could do more damage.

A corner chamber on the second floor was brightly lit, and he sensed that Drayton was working there. The man’s energy was untroubled; he didn’t realize his castle had been breached.

Cloaking himself in a don’t-see spell, Simon crossed the courtyard and ascended the steps to the keep. There was no reaction from the guards in the turret. If they noticed him, it was only as a shadow.