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The Witch Thief Mass Market Paperback – April 17, 2012

5.0 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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About the Author

Lori Devoti grew up in southern Missouri and attended the University of Missouri-Columbia where she earned a Bachelor of Journalism. The author of two contemporary romances and half-a-dozen paranormal romances Lori makes her fantasy debut with Amazon Ink.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

"Where is the chalice? What did you do with it?" Joarr Enge picked up the dented metal lantern and peered through the glass. Amma, the witch whose spirit was trapped inside, refused to answer.

He shook the lantern. The needle that he'd used to pull Amma's spirit from the body she'd occupied rattled against the glass windows. The body hadn't been Amma's. A misguided princess, thinking she would gain the witch's powers, had forced Amma's spirit into her body, but she had underestimated Amma's stubbornness. Just as Joarr had. Amma would still be there, annoying her hostess, if Joarr hadn't used the needle to pull her free. But he had and now he had her where he wanted her…or where he had thought he wanted her. Things were not going exactly as he had planned.

He glowered at the lantern. He should roast it, let an explosion of fire escape from his lungs until the object was no more than a bubbly puddle of melted metal and glass.

He let his thoughts pour from his eyes.

The witch inside the lantern stayed firmly hidden.

His fingers tightened around the metal handle and he dropped it to his side, hiding his frustration from her in case she was watching without his knowledge.

She is in there, he assured himself. She just refused to come out, had refused for the past month since he'd brought her back to his home. A home he hadn't seen in over one hundred years, in great part because of this witch.

He cricked his neck from one side to the other, his mood growing darker as he remembered where he'd been, the state he'd been left in.

One hundred years stuck in his dragon form in a room that barely allowed him space to breathe much less turn around or stretch his wings. Nothing to look at but a blank stone wall. Nothing to smell but dirt and the hapless beings locked in the room he guarded. Nothing to taste…at all.

He blamed the witch for the experience. The least she could do was tell him what she'd done with the damn cup she'd taken from his cavern one hundred years earlier.

He growled and pulled back his arm. He was about to toss the lantern against the limestone fireplace when a knock sounded at his door.

Slowly, he lowered the lantern and placed it on the table. He tapped his finger against the top. "Saved for now, my witch thief, but not for long. Dragons' memories are neverending, but their patience is short. And mine is about used up. I want my treasure returned."

With a muffled curse, he strode to the door. Whoever was waiting on the other side had already lifted the knocker again and was in the middle of pounding the hunk of iron once more against the door. Joarr yanked it open.

Rike Nyhus, his dark brows drawn together in a V, stared back at him.

Without bothering with a greeting, Joarr turned and walked back into his small home's main room, to the table and Amma. Let her hear what the representative of Ormar, the dragon army, had to say. In her current state, she wasn't going anywhere or talking to anyone—not even him. Besides, he had no loyalty to the Ormar; he wasn't obliged to keep their secrets.

He flung one leg over the worn wooden bench and waited for Rike to follow his lead. The lieutenant paused, the wind whistling behind him and snow blowing into the room around him. Finally, he stepped into the house and pulled the door closed.

Joarr folded his hands on the top of the table and waited. The Ormar had been harassing him since his return, insisting he pay the past century of taxes. Warm, fuzzy group that they were, not one had asked where he had been for the past hundred years. Not one had expressed concern, joy or even dismay at his return. He'd walked into his home and been greeted with their threats.

Not that he'd expected anything less from their cold, reptilian hearts.

Rike stopped beside the table. His dark gaze was steady. Joarr returned it with the same bored confidence he'd shown at each of their visits. But this time something was different. Rike looked tired…worried.

"It is good to see you, Chalice Keeper," the lieutenant said.

Joarr cocked a brow, instantly wary. No dragon used his official title. He'd thought…hoped…they'd forgotten it.

"Rike," he responded.

The lieutenant glanced around the room. "You have been gone awhile."

"I explained why when you were here the first five times seeking your taxes."

"Yes, the taxes." Rike looked around again. Giving Joarr the distinct feeling he was looking for something. Though tempted to glance to the side, Joarr kept his gaze away from Amma's lantern, instead staring steadily at the older dragon's face.

"Have you had a change of heart?" Joarr asked. It was an asinine question. It was hard to change a heart that didn't exist. "Have you come to remove your demands?"

Joarr expected the lieutenant to laugh. To his surprise the other dragon didn't. Instead he leaned forward. "As I said, you've been gone a long while. Has anything gone missing in your absence, like, say, the chalice?" There was a flash of fire in his eyes.

Joarr's lips formed a line. How could they know?

He laid two fingers against his brow, as if Rike's question bored him. "I know how important the chalice is. Don't you think I'd have mentioned it if it had gone missing? I am the Keeper."

"A job I know, since being orphaned, you take seriously," the lieutenant replied.

Joarr kept his expression bland. They both knew Rike's words were far from the truth.

Joarr hadn't asked to be entrusted with the dragons' damned holy artifact. Hadn't asked for anything except to be left alone. He'd inherited the job as a child when his father's death had left him orphaned.

His fingers twitched. Again he resisted glancing at the lantern. He had every intention of getting the chalice back, would have had it by now if the witch had cooperated just a little.

Rike touched one hand to his own shoulder and jerked the dragon-army badge off his tight-fitting shirt. Joarr's gaze traveled from the bare place where the patch had been back to Rike's face. This time it was harder to keep his expression blank.

"I am not here as a representative of the army," Rike said. He angled a brow. "Am I still welcome?"

Joarr flipped both hands up. "More so." He leaned back, his gaze on the lieutenant. This conversation was not going where he had expected. It at least might prove interesting.

Rike followed Joarr's example and straddled the other bench. "Will you produce the chalice now?"

Joarr didn't reply. It was obvious the lieutenant knew he'd lost the thing.

Rike let out a breath, a hiss actually. "It's true. You've lost it. How? For how long? Has it been missing the entire time you've been gone? Are you that irresponsible to leave us unguarded?" He stood up, knocking against the table, shoving it into Joarr and causing Amma's lantern to rattle.

Joarr placed his hand over the top of Amma's lantern, stilling it, then replied, his words calm and controlled. "What makes you think it is missing? What great catastrophe has befallen the dragons? I've been home a month and no one has asked about the relic, no one has come to me with tales of apocalypse. Are you saying I missed this massive disaster, or that you just forgot to mention it until now?"

Personally, Joarr didn't believe the legend that surrounded the chalice; he never had. His desire to get the thing back had nothing to do with its supposed power and everything to do with the Ormar believing in its power. If he had been able to find a fake that would have satisfied their skeptical eyes he would have tossed it where the original had been and gone on.

But an ancient artifact, with or without real power, was hard to fake, especially when dealing with dragons.

Rike placed his palms flat on the table and stared into Joarr's eyes. "Things have happened. We didn't see reason to tie them to the chalice since we believed it here, safe. We believed the Keeper would have told us, if it wasn't."

Tsk-tsk. Joarr had been a very bad Keeper indeed. He raised both brows. "I repeat—it couldn't have been that bad or—"

Rike leaned across the table, grabbed Joarr by the front of his sweater and jerked him close. "A dragon died—a young, strong dragon—for no reason. No wounds, no tales of glory-seeking heroes. He. Just.

Died."

Joarr closed his lips, cutting off the rebuttal that had already started to form in his mind. Dragons didn't just die. Yes, they were killed, like his father had been, but even that was rare. Dragons were the most magical and strongest of all the beings in the nine worlds. They feared no one.

Seeing that his words were having an effect, Rike loosened his grip. "And yesterday, there was a second. Exactly the same—young and strong. No battles, no wounds." He let go of Joarr and fell back onto his bench. He turned to the side and stared at the dishes still piled in Joarr's sink from breakfast. There were shadows under the older dragon's eyes, and his hand trembled when he reached up to run it over his face.

"About five years ago, the first one, one of our youngest, went off to play—roamed the nine worlds. He was gone for a year, nothing unusual, but when he came back he was tired and stayed to himself. We left him alone, until we realized it was more than that. He had seemed normal at first, was able to shift, to fly, make fire, everything, but as time went on he grew weaker and weaker. He lost one ability after another until he was nothing but a shadow of himself. Our physicians could find nothing wrong with him, and we couldn't tie what was happening to anything he'd encountered while gone. He'd been to all the worlds, been in fights, stolen treasure, done all the things the young do before settling down. We didn't even know if it was...

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Harlequin (April 17, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780373618835
  • ISBN-13: 978-0373618835
  • ASIN: 0373618832
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 0.8 x 6.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,539,724 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

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I wanted a book to read while waiting for a book to be released. I found this one and decided to give it a try. I am surprised I like it as much as I did. I knew this book wasn't meant to be deep and to be honest that's why I chose to read it. Sometimes it's nice to just set and read a book like this. However this book is a bit deeper than what I had though it would be. They couple in this book had a unpleasant past together and had a lot of trust issues to work out. The verbal play between them was charming and slightly funny. For me the heroine starts out selfish and uncaring of how she hurts others to get what she wants. Thankfully they both grow while on thier adventures and I began to understand more of why the heroine behaved as she did. The only problem I had was toward the end. Some of it was just gross and a bit on the disturbing side but still I enjoyed reading this book. Other than that this was a fun book to read while passing time.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
For the sixth book taking place in the unique world constructed for the Unbound series, many of the details are new and the main two characters find themselves tackling one difficult dilemma after another. With none of the previous characters being present in this story, the hero and heroine will have to depend upon each other in Lori Devoti's latest creative paranormal tale. THE WITCH THIEF has an original storyline for its particularly likable couple.

A quest to learn about her past leads to Amma stealing a chalice from Joarr Enge, a dragon-shifter. The witch believed he would not even notice one small cup is missing from his disorganized pile of hoarded treasures. What Amma did not know is Joarr is the Chalice Keeper for the dragon army, and although he is uncertain as to whether the ancient artifact actually does have any powerful capabilities, he wants the piece back. When he is able to trap her spirit, he plans to keep her under his control until she tells him what happened to the stolen item.

Although Amma found Joarr to be a tempting man and passionate lover, she felt stealing from him was necessary and disregarded any feelings she had for him. Now she finds herself working with the commanding dragon to retrieve the cup, but knows their child that she carries must remain a secret or her dreams of being part of a family will never be reached.

Every paranormal detail in a book by Lori Devoti is continually innovative. From characters to settings to plots, each aspect is cleverly inventive and lets the reader visit a world like no other. The Unbound series has always been very distinctive in its own way, and THE WITCH THIEF takes Ms. Devoti's frequently matchless stories to another level.
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By A Customer on April 17, 2012
Format: Mass Market Paperback
A century and one year ago Amma the witch stole a chalice from its guard dragon shifter Joarr. She left the Chalice Keeper trapped in his dragon form in a room in which he could barely move slightly. She traded her booty to a dwarf.

In the present Joarr needs the chalice to save his race from a deadly plague that kills the fledglings. Joarr captures Amma's spirit inside a lantern. He demands she tell him who she sold the chalice to or else. Like she did with the princess who stole her spirit, Amma plans to remain patient and in hiding from her frustrated captor who considers burning her and the lantern. Rike arrives accusing Joarr of losing the chalice as disaster has struck their race as he explains the young are dying including his son. The possessor of the chalice leaves a note to the dragons to meet this unknown individual if they want it back. Joarr knows he must venture into the lair of their enemy; Amma comes out of hiding and joins him.

This is superb romantic fantasy starring two strong protagonists who make the world of Lori Devoti seem real. Fast-paced from the moment Amma tricks Joarr and never slowing down, fans will enjoy this engaging tale as the heroes fall in love but partial redemption (each knows they cannot bring back those who died) is what they seek.

Harriet Klausner
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