A "New York Times"-bestselling author takes readers back to the magical town of Spellbound Falls, where Duncan MacKeage is about to uncover a great love with hidden dangers. Original.
"New York Times" bestselling author Janet Chapman takes you back to the magical town of Spellbound Falls, where Duncan MacKeage is about to uncover great love with hidden dangers... All Duncan MacKeage wants is to keep his crew building roads and bridges up the mountain to the fancy resort overlooking Spellbound Falls' new inland sea. He doesn't want anything to do with his own family magic or with the beautiful widow, Peg Thompson, and her tribe of little heathens. But when Duncan is tasked with keeping an eye on the widow Thompson, trouble starts. Because of a family curse, Peg fears that giving in to her desires will mean killing off another lover. But Duncan—the strong, handsome man buying her gravel—is unbelievably tempting and determined to take care of her. Torn between her head and her heart, will Peg find the strength to break free of her black-widow curse? Or will pursuing their attraction put these lovers in harm's way?" "
A native of rural central Maine, Janet Chapman lives there in a cozy log cabin on a lake with her husband. Three cats and a stray young bull moose keep them company. The author of the hugely popular Highlander time-travel series, she also writes contemporary romances.
"Chapman continues her magical Spellbound Falls series in this fun story featuring widowed-mom-of-four Peg. The only magic Peg has experienced is the curse she is convinced kills all men that the women of her family love. She is not willing to take a chance with Duncan...who has come to build a road and needs Peg's gravel pit. He is drawn to the strong woman and her children and protects them from attacks on her property.....Peg, her children, and Duncan are vivid and funny characters and readers will very much enjoy this story and the entire series. Chapman continues to maintain a great blend of magic, romance, and realism in a small-town setting, tales in the style of Barbara Bretton's popular books." --Booklist"Heartwarming....Readers will enjoy the enchanting town and characters." --Publishers Weekly
"Janet Chapman can turn the ordinary into the extraordinary while making even the most outrageous situation feel real. These are just two of the many, many reasons why we love this author. And her Spellbound Falls series, chock full of sorcerers, time travel, single parents and needy in-laws is the perfect vehicle for showcasing Chapman's amazing talents." --Romantic Times
Chapter Two Peg rounded a curve in the peninsula''s winding lane and gasped in surprise when she spotted the strange man striding across the parking lot with Jacob thrown over his shoulder. Even from this distance she could see the sheer terror in her son''s eyes as Isabel skipped backward in front of them, trying to get the man to stop. Peg started running even as she sized up her adversary: tall, athletic build, short dark hair. Yeah, well, instead of traumatizing defenseless little children, Claude the mad scientist was about to find himself on the receiving end of a healthy dose of fear. "I swear I''ll kick you if you don''t put him down, mister," Peg heard Isabel threaten. "He wasn''t hurting your stupid machine none. He''s just a baby!" And then the six-year-old actually did kick out when the guy didn''t stop, only to stumble backward as he merely sidestepped around her. "Charlotte! Peter!" Isabel screamed as she scrambled in front of him again. "Come help me save Jacob from the scary man!" Alarmed that the guy would go after her daughter when she saw him hesitate, Peg didn''t even stop to think and lunged onto his back. "Put him down!" she shouted, wrapping her arm around the bastard''s neck as she tried to pull Jacob off his shoulder with her other hand. "Or I swear I''ll rip out your eyes!" The guy gave his own shout of surprise and suddenly dropped like a stone when Peter slammed into his right knee. "You leave my brother alone, you scary bastard!" Peter shouted as he rolled out of the way, dragging Jacob with him. Peg reared up to avoid Charlotte''s foot swinging toward the guy''s ribs, although she didn''t dare loosen her grip or take her weight off him, fearing he''d lash out at her children. He suddenly curled into the fetal position with a grunt when Peter landed on him beside her. "Get away from him!" she screamed over her shouting children, trying to push them off when they all started pummeling him. "Run to the--" Peg gave a startled yelp when an arm came around her waist and suddenly lifted her away. "Sweet Zeus," Mac muttered, dragging her up against his chest as he took several steps back. "You will calm down, Peg, and control your children," he quietly commanded even as he tightened his grip against her struggles. "Ohmigod, Jacob, come here!" she cried, holding out her arms. Jacob and Isabel threw themselves at her, actually making Mac step back when he didn''t let her go. "You''re okay, Jacob. You''re safe now," she whispered, squeezing both trembling children. "You''re a brave girl, Isabel, and a good sister." Charlotte called out, and Peg saw the girl pull away from Mac''s father just as he also released Peter. Both children ran to her, giving the bastard rising to his hands and knees a wide berth. Peg took a shuddering breath, trying to get her emotions under control. "You can let me go," she told Mac over the pounding in her chest. Holy hell, she couldn''t believe they''d all just attacked the giant! Mac hesitated, then relaxed his hold, letting her slip free to protectively hug all four of her children. "Mind telling me what incited this little riot?" he asked the man who was now standing and wiping his bleeding cheek with the back of his hand. The guy gestured toward the lower parking lot. "I was taking the boy to find his parents, because I caught him inside my excavator not five minutes after I''d just pulled him off it and told him to go play someplace else." He shrugged. "I figured his mother or father could explain how dangerous earth-moving equipment is, since he didn''t seem to want to listen to me." He suddenly stiffened, his gaze darting from Jacob to Peter and then to Peg. "They''re twins." His eyes narrowed on the boys again. "Identical." Pushing her children behind her, Peg stepped toward him. "I don''t care if they''re sextuplets and were driving your excavator or stupid submarine." She pointed an unsteady finger at him. "You have no business manhandling my kids. And if you ever touch one of them again, I swear to God I''ll--" "Take it easy, mama bear," Mac said, dragging her back against him again. "He was only concerned for Jacob''s safety. As well as yours, apparently," Mac said quietly next to her ear. "Did you not notice he didn''t defend himself when you and your children were attacking him? Duncan''s intentions were good." Peg stilled, a feeling of dread clenching her stomach. "D-Duncan?" she whispered, craning to look at Mac. "He . . . he''s not Claude, the scientist?" She lifted her hands to cover her face. "Ohmigod, I thought he was the guy who scolded Jacob for climbing on the submarine yesterday." She peeked through her fingers at the man she and her kids had just attacked, horror washing through her when she saw the blood on his cheek and scratches on his neck. "Ohmigod, I''m sorry," she cried, jerking away from Mac and rushing to her children. Even though he was over half as tall as she was, Peg picked up Jacob and set him on her hip as she herded the others ahead of her, wanting to flee the scene of their crime before she burst into tears. "C-come on, guys," she whispered roughly, her heart pounding so hard it hurt. "Let''s go to the van." Mac''s father plucked Jacob out of her arms and settled him against his chest, giving the boy a warm smile as he smoothed down his hair. "That was quite a battle you waged, young Mr. Thompson," Titus Oceanus said jovially, shooting Peg a wink as he took over herding her children away when Mac pulled her to a stop. "I''ll have to remember to call on you young people if I ever find myself in a scary situation," Titus continued, his voice trailing off as he redirected them toward the main lodge. Damn. Why couldn''t Mac let her slink away like the humiliated idiot she was? "It will be easier to face him now rather than later," Mac said, giving her trembling hand a squeeze as he led her back to the scene of her crime. "Duncan''s a good man, Peg, and you''re going to be seeing a lot of him in the next couple of years." Wonderful. How pleasant for the both of them. "Duncan," Mac said as he stopped in front of the battered and bleeding giant. "This beautiful, protective mama bear is Peg Thompson." God, she wished he''d quit calling her that nickname. "She''s not only Olivia''s good friend, but Peg is in charge of keeping the chaos to a minimum here at Inglenook." He chuckled. "That is, when she''s not creating it. Peg, this is Duncan MacKeage. First thing Monday morning, he and his crew are going to start building a road up the mountain to the site of our new resort." MacKeage. MacKeage. Why did that name sound familiar to her? All Peg could do was stare at the hand her victim was holding out to her, feeling her cheeks fill with heat when she saw the blood on it. Which he obviously only just noticed, since he suddenly wiped his hand on his pants, then held it out again. Peg finally found the nerve to reach out, saw his blood on her hand, and immediately tucked both her hands behind her back. "I''m sorry," she whispered, unable to lift her gaze above the second button on his shirt--which she noticed was missing. "We . . . I thought you were the man who scared Jacob yesterday. He had nightmares all night and I barely got him back here today." He dropped his hand to his side. "I''m the one who needs to apologize, Mrs. Thompson, as I believe you''re correct that I shouldn''t have touched your son." She saw him shift his weight to one leg and noticed the dirt on his pants and small tear on one knee. "I assumed he was the boy I''d just told to get off the excavator. And having a large family of young cousins, I thought nothing of lugging him off in search of his mother or father." He held out his hand again. "So I guess I deserved that thrashing." Damn. She was going to have to touch him or risk looking petty. Mac nudged her with his elbow. After wiping her fingers on her pants, Peg finally reached out, and then watched her hand disappear when Duncan MacKeage gently folded his long, calloused fingers around it. Oh yeah; she had been a raving lunatic to attack this giant of a man. Not that she wouldn''t do it again if she thought her kids were being threatened. Okay, maybe she was a protective mama bear. It seemed he had no intention of giving back her hand until she said something. But what? Nice to meet you? I look forward to bumping into you again? Have we met before? Because I''m sure I know someone named MacKeage . Damn. She should at least look him in the eye when she apologized--again. But Peg figured the first three times hadn''t counted, since she''d mostly been sorry that she''d made a complete fool of herself trying to gouge out his eyes with her bear hands. But looking any higher than that missing shirt button was beyond her. "I''m sorry!" she cried, jerking her hand from his and bolting for the main lodge, her face blistering with shame when she heard Mac''s heavy sigh. Duncan stood leaning against the wall of Inglenook''s crowded dining hall, shifting his weight off his wrenched knee as he took another sip of the foulest kick-in-the-ass ale he''d ever had the misfortune to taste, even as he wondered if Mac was trying to impress his guests by serving the rotgut or was making sure they never darkened his doorstep again. He did have to admit the ancient mead certainly took some of the sting out of the claw marks on his neck, although it did nothing to sooth his dented pride at being blindsided by a mere slip of a woman and her kids. Hell, if Mac and Titus hadn''t intervened, he''d probably still be getting pummeled. Duncan slid his gaze to the bridesmaid sitting at one of the side tables with her four perfectly behaved children, and watched another poor chump looki