I’m here to interview Carrick, and find out what this hunky Druid thinks about this special place. He’s been gathering wood for the ceremonial fire in a few days. Samhain will be upon us, and the circle will be filled with Druids.
Here he is! I lean against the large stone at my back, thinking it will make me look more at ease, but inside, I’m a little nervous. Carrick is so…primal.
Kerry: How’s the firewood collecting?
Carrick: (sitting down across from me) Not easily. We need a lot of wood for the Samhain fire and we’re having to gather it from nearby woods and drag it all the way.
Kerry: Looks like you have a pretty big pile.
Carrick: *stretches* Well, the fire has to burn from sundown to sun rise. It takes a lot of wood.
Kerry: *nods* At least you have help.
Carrick: Some help. I really should be preparing the herbs but I’m needed here.
Kerry: Herbs? For dinner?
Carrick: No, for the fire. The scents keep the Fey out of the circle. *looks around* They come into the circle at night—and cause mischief.
Kerry: Like what? Do they make crop circles or something?
Carrick: What? No, they steal livestock and play little tricks. They once took Erik’s clothes when he fell asleep with a girl out behind the entrance stone. She ran home and left him to walk back to town unclothed. *laughs*
Kerry: *laughs* Well, that doesn’t seem too scary. I thought you meant they stole babies or something.
Carrick: *frowns* I hope not. But you can never predict what the little tricksters will do. Best to not give them a chance.
Kerry: Yes, I can see that. Can you tell me about what an Ovate is? I’ve researched Druids and it was a bit confusing.
Carrick: It’s secret knowledge.
Kerry: Surely you can give me some idea. It can’t be all secret.
Carrick: *rubbing his arm*. Well. An Ovate is a healer and a seer. They can talk to spirits in the past and also see the future. In some ways, they can transcend time.
Kerry: Ah, that makes a lot of sense. I can see why time travel would be helpful.
Carrick: You can? What do you know of time travel?
Kerry: Nothing, really. I just find it interesting.
Carrick: *nods* It is. It is also dangerous.
Kerry: I’m sure.
Carrick: The sun is low in the sky. I need to finish preparing for tonight.
Kerry: Yeah, we don’t want any fairy folk slipping in.
I stand and turn to thank him, but he’s already back at the firewood pile. A cool breeze lifts up through the stones and I swear I hear someone calling my name…
by Kerry Adrienne
heat level: 4
Anya’s wish for a normal date—away from the old man she is caretaker for—comes true in unexpected ways when she finds herself whisked to an ancient Irish stone circle on solstice eve.
Carrick’s decision to follow the path to become an Ovate druid has not come lightly, and he plans to spend the solstice eve in meditation unless fairies or evil spirits disrupt the circle. When a feisty girl walks right up to the fire, more than sparks fly.
They each seek healing and a connection, but the darkness of summer is short, and once the solstice sun breaks through the circle at dawn, the magic of the night will be over. Even Madame Eve can’t stop the day from rising.
Maybe I’m the first person Madame Eve can’t find a match for. And how was it any better than just picking someone up from one of the dozen bars along the street?
Bile filled her throat. Being caretaker for the old man had filled her days but left her empty inside. I’m lonely. I need this 1Night Stand. She stifled a sob. Crying wouldn’t help anything. She had chosen her path knowing full well what the consequences would be. Maybe she hadn’t foreseen how deeply alone she’d feel, but she’d known what she was getting into, work-wise. She used to be a risk taker, impulsive and willing to try new things. Why was she so willing to settle for security now?
The town’s few buildings rose in shadowed relief in the dusky twilight around the city center like tall stones. Guardians, perhaps. Behind them lay the mountains, the wild unknown. She sat straight and leaned into the faint spray from the fountain. The cool mist spread across the back of her arms. Closing her eyes, she lifted her long hair so the moisture could reach the back of her neck.
Anya dropped her hair.
“Hello?” No one.
“Aine. Let’s go.” The voice floated on drops of water and fell through the air.
“What?” No one was near.
“I’m here.” The voice settled softly like dew on her skin. The air wavered over the fountain and the water slowed.
I only had one beer.
“Come. He awaits.”
For the briefest moment, a golden light eclipsed the edge of Anya’s vision then darkness slid over her.
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