As head of the Border Patrol's Paranormal Operations Unit, Clay Chiles has found a place where he can function and a surrogate family to replace the one he never truly had. He keeps hidden a lot of secrets, and both fears and longs for the day he may share them with one special man. Before he can do that, he has to face some surprising facts about himself and deal with some horrific enemies. Though not weak man, alone he'll never have the strength to confront all those demons. But who can help him?
Arondel Wanderer is a son of the ancient Elven royal clan. He obeys his Queen's orders to visit Earth and find what is going wrong. Aron, long a loner and solitary emissary from Elvenheim, never expected to find his soul mate on this mission but surprises, both good and bad, have always been part of his long and adventurous life. He'll take anything good he's given and once he sights the partner he always wanted, the most extreme danger isn't enough to deter him.
Still, when two lifelong loners try to merge their lives, hearts and minds, an occasional conflict is bound to arise.
Publisher's Note: Bond of the Runes (Duet) contains the previously published novellas Part 1: Runes Of Revelation and Part 2: Runes Of Redemption. Substantial edits and additions have been made to the stories since their original releases.
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Praise for Bonds of the Runes (Duet)
"If you like paranormal action/adventures, if you want to see two loners who are destined for each other struggle to figure things out, and if you�re looking for an action-packed read full of dangerous enemies, betrayal, and a friendship growing into love, then you might like this collection of two novellas."
-- Serena Yates, Rainbow Book Reviews
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Bonds of the Runes (Duet)
All rights reserved.
Copyright ©2016 Deirdre O'Dare
Excerpt from Runes of Revelation
Aron materialized in the deepest shadows within a small grove of trees along the San Antonio River Walk. He took care no one saw him appear suddenly out of nowhere. There wasn't too much he could do to alter his appearance without exerting a constant flow of intense energy, but perhaps he could pass as human. He'd done it before, although not recently.
Gliding with confidence from the shelter of the cluster of trees, he found the sidewalk rambling along the edge of the stream and followed it, orienting more by instinct than a clear idea of where he was headed. His quarry's townhome perched on a bluff above the stream, probably no more than a half mile from the spot Aron had chosen to appear on Earth for the first time in a number of years.
At two o'clock in the morning, few stirred. The tourist boats were beached for a few hours, and the revelers who frequented the pubs and nightspots nearer the center of town had called it a night. The few folk who followed the walkways hurried along, heads down, intent on their business, whatever it might be. No one seemed to notice him at all.
The world hasn't improved. The stench is worse, and the atmosphere carries even more pain, worry, sadness and stress than the last time I was here. Pah, what have these damned humans done to their world? We should never have let them take it over, but what choice did we have? And for that matter, what choice do I have now?
Arondel Wanderer would stand out in almost any crowd, even among his own Elven kind. He stood six-foot-four, slender and proud in his carriage, pale ash brown hair worn rather long over his distinctive pointed ears, and piercing silver-gray eyes that seemed to look through to the heart of anyone on whom he fixed their gaze. He knew he looked every inch the prince he was, descendant of a long line of Elven royalty, just far enough from the direct line to the throne that some deemed him expendable.
Thus the current reigning queen had made him ambassador to New Earth to investigate and deal with issues potentially severe enough to demand intervention. This time he was to combine two missions into one. Both involved a half-Elven human who, perhaps, wasn't aware of his ancestry. Despite that, the Queen saw him as a key player in averting a potential disaster threatening the Earth. Not that humankind was doing all that well with their heritage, but if the new wave of invading enemies were to overwhelm them, the older denizens might as well bid the whole planet farewell.
Although Middle Earth was now far removed from the current Terran plane, the Elven held their original home world dear and wouldn't surrender it without a fight. The Elves' old enemies, the Trogues, were said to be forming an unholy alliance with disaffected Latinos and some terrorists groups bent on bringing down the United States. Cunning and totally amoral, the Trogues weren't particular about what allies they could use to further their plans.
Rumor had it they'd agreed to help the Latinos create their Aztlan, although Aron doubted they'd told their naive allies such victory would be brief, for the Latinos would soon be enslaved. In a few short centuries -- or even less time -- the Trogues could control the world. Queen Maevelle refused to let that happen. She had sent Aron to plumb the situation and, if it was as desperate as some indications hinted, he could stay and help the humans, even take a handpicked party of Elven warriors to add their powers to the effort.
Shoving aside his thoughts on the mission, Aron paused at the foot of a flight of stairs leading upward from the river's edge. He sent his senses questing, following a faint, illusive thread of identity. He started up the stairs with a strong, swift stride and didn't pause until he reached the top. The stairway ended on a kind of balcony where wooden walks led off to several townhomes perched on the brink. Upscale neighborhood, he realized, so his quarry was no ordinary working man. Well, the Elven liked their comforts so it wasn't unexpected to find him in such a place.
Unerringly, he turned to the right and followed the fragile trail of his contact to the last home in the line. Of course, the door was locked, but that gave him only a moment's pause. When he traced a fingertip over the lock mechanism, it gave a soft click and opened. He entered with cat-footed hush and found his way around the rooms on the bottom floor.
Yes, this is the place. The scent of the human or part human pervaded the structure. The odor seemed cleaner than that of most humans, with a hint of the subtle spice Elven blood imparted. It made Aron feel comfortable, almost as if he were home.
Aron made himself a cup of tea from the stash in a cupboard of the tidy kitchen and sat down to wait for the man to awaken. From what he had learned, that would happen early. He knew Clayton Chiles wasn't one to linger abed much beyond sunrise. In June, that came early. Since today was Saturday, Chiles might plan to go in to his office for a few hours if work was backed up or he might intend to go golfing, getting an early start to beat the heat and crowds.
Either way, Aron's arrival was likely to change his plans. Aron smiled in the dark. Forcing plans to change tended to be a habit of his... For a moment his thoughts drifted back to the evening before he left for this trip. Miradel, his elder sister, had insisted on casting runes for him. Her set was hand carved, milky white stone that warmed to the touch. Three slipped from the velvet bag to gleam on the small table she used. Perth, Beorc and Mannaz. Individually they stood for secrets, new beginnings and self-acceptance.
What did they mean together? he wondered, but didn't speak aloud.
Miradel looked at him, her gray eyes luminous yet somber.
"Revelations," she murmured. "In this group and pattern I see secrets revealed, accepted and bringing about change, new beginnings. Be careful, brother, but expect good, as well."
He tended to brush such things off although he knew his sister and many among the Elven took them as sacred omens and insights provided by higher powers. Was his life not already set in stone? He wandered and worked behind the scenes, tasks best accomplished alone. What could be revealed?