Tenzing grew up with stories regaling the healing powers of a flame-haired woman known as the Red Mother, Baba Akaga. To save the royal line, Tenzing’s beloved sends him on an urgent mission - to find Baba Akaga and bring her back to the Empire. What he finds will change his life forever.
Odharnait is a monster who longs to be human, on the run all of her adult life. She is a cursed rarity, an albino, known as the Oni Shiro. Her innate forbidden earth magic makes her dangerous to the Crown. She maintains a semblance of humanity, hiding in plain sight, safe as long as she doesn't use the very thing that protects her. She's escaped Lord Malagon, a scheming Duke fascinated with unsanctioned magic, once already. If she uses magic, she may not be so lucky again. Oni Shiro's peace is thwarted by a handsome stranger on an improbable quest.
Will she risk her heart to save his life?
Kalevala is an awkward village girl living in the shadows of frosty Skaptaholt. Her unerring physical prowess and remarkable skill with a sling make her a target for evil Lord Malagon, a collector of oddities, who sends mercenaries to collect his "prizes" across the Realm. When she unwittingly releases a shapeshifter from a curse, it sets in motion a series of events that threatens a return of the war between the races ...and reveals Kalevala's true nature, ready or not.
Calix Corax is a classically-trained Master Magician from the capital city. Caught spying for the High King during the Winter Wars, the shapeshifter was doomed to live forever in his raven form by Louhi, Witch Queen of the Frost Giants. His only hope - a kiss from a true princess. Unexpectedly, Kalevala set him free. Now the Crown, the Witch Queen and Malagon all want her at any cost.
Can Calix and Kalevala overcome their mutual dislike to save the Realm - and each other?
Baba Akaga, the Red Mother, is the name given to the mysterious flame-haired woman who appears in the Empire from across the Far Seas to save the Emperor's wife during childbirth. She agrees to stay and share her skills with the foremost adepts of the Palace under the watchful eye of the irritating Pal Din, careful not to give away all of her secrets, and most definitely not her heart. Pal Din, the head of the Emperor's Elite Guard is tasked with watching over the foreigner with the flashing eyes and impertinent smile. He is steadfastly loyal to the throne. Pal Din doesn't trust the woman's methods or her motives. He's determined to uncover her treachery. After all, in the old stories, the demons always had red hair.
Tannith is a crofter's daughter who lives alone, barren. The village crops are failing. The fields are flooded with brackish water, ruining the plants. In place of her childhood friend, Tannith agrees be sacrificed by the priests as a harvest offering to appease the Marsh King. She is resigned to her fate, happy to save Ara's life. Preachaun is the Marsh King, an ignoble title given to him by the capricious far darrig fairies after he loses a wager based on foolish pride. He lives at the edge of a swamp by the sea, cursed to remain there forever until a mortal woman professes her love for him, unbidden. Preachaun was trained to fight, not to woo. Where will he find a mortal woman, and if he does, can he manage the impossible?
Beautiful Alys refuses an arranged match with the arrogant Lord Viggo. As punishment, her wealthy merchant father sends Alys to the cloister steps rather than pay for her tattoo. He wants Lord Viggo to chose Alys for the fertility rite, forcing the issue. Only it's the older sister, a honey-eyed acolyte, who stands before Viggo once they are in the Sanctuary.
Lorisa will do anything for her sister, even switch places to keep Alys from a loveless marriage. She begs the saturnine man to complete the rite with her instead, pretending it was Alys he bedded. Lord Viggo agrees on one condition - that Lorisa continue to warm his bed as his wife in place of Alys. If she breaks her sacred vows, will he break her foolish heart?
Lord Jesper Kyr doesn't know what to make of the prickly Iaso upon encountering the country lass in her back garden. When Hektor throws down the gauntlet - successfully court and bed the bookish blue-eyed shrew within a fortnight or forfeit the game - he gladly accepts the challenge ...and Jesper never loses to his cousin. Iaso lives with her drunk of a father, a minor noble of no importance. He often gambles away what little Iaso earns with her beer-brewing skills. She is resigned to a life of spinsterhood after an embarrassing scandal years ago ruined her reputation. An opportunity presents itself to pay off all of her father's debts. Will Iaso find the price too high?
It started off as business , but now it's something more. They've never met in person, but Bryony and Enzo are the closest of friends. They worked in different states on the same project two jobs ago, staying in touch through calls and text. Enzo feels like he can share anything with her. Soon, Bryony is all he can think about. So why won't she meet him? From their late-night conversations, Bryony knows she's not what Enzo envisions in a woman. Wrong shape, wrong hair, wrong everything. He's brilliant, funny and off-limits for someone like her. Bryony is determined to preserve their long-distance friendship, even if it means sacrificing her heart.