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Dark Witch
Cover of Dark Witch
Dark Witch
Cousins O'Dwyer Trilogy, Book 1
From #1 New York Times bestselling author Nora Roberts comes a trilogy about the land we’re drawn to, the family we learn to cherish, and the people we long to love…
Book One of The Cousins O’Dwyer Trilogy
Dark Witch

With indifferent parents, Iona Sheehan grew up craving devotion and acceptance. From her maternal grandmother, she learned where to find both: a land of lush forests, dazzling lakes, and centuries-old legends.
Ireland. County Mayo, to be exact. Where her ancestors’ blood and magic have flowed through generations—and where her destiny awaits.
Iona arrives in Ireland with nothing but her Nan’s directions, an unfailingly optimistic attitude, and an innate talent with horses. Not far from the luxurious castle where she is spending a week, she finds her cousins, Branna and Connor O’Dwyer. And since family is family, they invite her into their home and their lives. When Iona lands a job at the local stables, she meets the owner, Boyle McGrath. Cowboy, pirate, wild tribal horsemen, he’s three of her biggest fantasy weaknesses all in one big, bold package.
Iona realizes that here she can make a home for herself—and live her life as she wants, even if that means falling head over heels for Boyle. But nothing is as it seems. An ancient evil has wound its way around Iona’s family tree and must be defeated. Family and friends will fight with each other and for each other to keep the promise of hope—and love—alive…
Don’t miss the other books in the Cousins O’Dwyer Trilogy
Shadow Spell
Blood Magick
From #1 New York Times bestselling author Nora Roberts comes a trilogy about the land we’re drawn to, the family we learn to cherish, and the people we long to love…
Book One of The Cousins O’Dwyer Trilogy
Dark Witch

With indifferent parents, Iona Sheehan grew up craving devotion and acceptance. From her maternal grandmother, she learned where to find both: a land of lush forests, dazzling lakes, and centuries-old legends.
Ireland. County Mayo, to be exact. Where her ancestors’ blood and magic have flowed through generations—and where her destiny awaits.
Iona arrives in Ireland with nothing but her Nan’s directions, an unfailingly optimistic attitude, and an innate talent with horses. Not far from the luxurious castle where she is spending a week, she finds her cousins, Branna and Connor O’Dwyer. And since family is family, they invite her into their home and their lives. When Iona lands a job at the local stables, she meets the owner, Boyle McGrath. Cowboy, pirate, wild tribal horsemen, he’s three of her biggest fantasy weaknesses all in one big, bold package.
Iona realizes that here she can make a home for herself—and live her life as she wants, even if that means falling head over heels for Boyle. But nothing is as it seems. An ancient evil has wound its way around Iona’s family tree and must be defeated. Family and friends will fight with each other and for each other to keep the promise of hope—and love—alive…
Don’t miss the other books in the Cousins O’Dwyer Trilogy
Shadow Spell
Blood Magick
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Excerpts-
  • From the book Chapter Three

    County Mayo, 2013

    The cold carved bone deep, fueled by the lash of the wind, iced by the drowning rain gushing from a bruised, bloated sky.

    Such was Iona Sheehan's welcome to Ireland.

    She loved it.

    How could she not? she asked herself as she hugged her arms to her chest and drank in the wild, soggy view from her window. She was standing in a castle. She'd sleep in a castle that night. An honest-to-God Irish castle in the heart of the west.

    Some of her ancestors had worked there, probably slept there. Everything she knew verified that her people, on her mother's side in any case, had sprung from this gorgeous part of the world, this magical part of this magical country.

    She'd gambled, well, pretty much everything to come here, to find her roots, to—she hoped—connect with them. And most of all, to finally understand them.

    Burnt bridges, left them smoldering behind her in the hopes of building new ones, stronger ones. Ones that led somewhere she wanted to go.

    She'd left her mother mildly annoyed. But then her mother never rose to serious anger, or sorrow, or joy or passion. How difficult had it been to find herself saddled with a daughter who rode emotions like a wild stallion? Her father had just patted her head in his absent way, and wished her luck as casually as he might some passing acquaintance.

    She suspected she'd never been any more than that to him. Her paternal grandparents considered the trip a grand adventure, and had given her the very welcome gift of a check.

    She was grateful, even knowing they belonged to the out-of-sight-out-of-mind school and probably wouldn't give her another thought.

    But her maternal grandmother, her treasured Nan, had given her a gift with so many questions.

    She was here in this lovely corner of Mayo, ringed by water, shadowed by ancient trees, to find the answers.

    She should wait until tomorrow, settle in, take a nap as she'd barely slept on the flight from Baltimore. At least she should unpack. She had a week in Ashford Castle, a foolish expense on the practical scale. But she wanted, so wanted that connection, that once-in-a-lifetime treat.

    She opened her bags, began to take out clothes.

    She was a woman who'd once wished she'd grow taller than her scant five three, and curvier than the slim, teenage boy body the fates had granted her. Then she'd stopped wishing and compensated by using bright colors in her wardrobe, and wearing high, high heels whenever she could manage it.

    Illusion, Nan would say, was as good as reality.

    She'd once wished she could be beautiful, like her mother, but worked with what she had—cute. The only time she'd seen her mother close to genuinely horrified had been just the week before when Iona had chopped off her long blond hair to a pixie cap.

    Far from used to it herself, she raked her fingers through it. It suited her, didn't it? Didn't it bring out her cheekbones a little?

    It didn't matter if she regretted the impulse; she'd regretted others. Trying new things, taking new risks—those were her current goals. No more wait-and-see, the mantra of her parents as long as she could remember. Now was now.

    And with that in mind she thought, the hell with unpacking, the hell with waiting until tomorrow. What if she died in her sleep?

    She dug out boots, a scarf, the new raincoat—candy pink—she'd bought for Ireland. She dragged a pink-and-white-striped cap over her hair, slung her oversized purse on cross-body.

    Don't think, just do, she told herself, and left her warm, pretty room.

    She made a wrong turn almost immediately,...

Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    September 30, 2013
    Bestselling contemporary romance and women’s fiction author Roberts (the Inn Boonsboro trilogy) ventures into paranormal territory with the competent first segment of the Cousins O’Dwyer trilogy. Iona Sheehan has come to Ireland in search of her roots. From her distant cousin Branna O’Dwyer, Iona learns she has inherited the “magick” of the legendary Dark Witch Sorcha, who sacrificed herself to destroy the evil wizard Cabhan. Sorcha passed her powers on to her three children, and Iona, Branna, and Branna’s brother, Connor, are the latest group of three descendants to wield them. Unfortunately, Finbar Burke—Connor’s best friend and possibly Branna’s lover—has inherited the taint of Cabhan, though the evil has not yet affected him. Between magick lessons, Iona falls in love with handsome Boyle McGrath, “cowboy, pirate, wild tribal horseman... three of her biggest fantasy weaknesses all rolled into one big, bold package.” Her happiness is threatened by frightening visions of a wolf and other hints of Cabhan’s encroaching evil. The magick is never quite convincing, but Roberts’s focus on romance will satisfy her core audience.

  • Kirkus

    Starred review from November 1, 2013
    Seven hundred fifty years after an evil sorcerer attacks the Dark Witch Sorcha and leaves her children orphans, he comes back, and her descendants must depend on magic, friendship and love to repel him. Iona Sheehan has sold most of what she owns and left everything she knows behind in America, convinced that Ireland is where she belongs. Her beloved Nan has directed her to County Mayo and the cousins she has there after filling her ears and imagination with tales of magic and family legends of an ancient, evil enemy. Once she meets her cousins Branna and Connor, they all realize that she is the final piece of an ancient power triangle designed to confront the magical enemy Cabhan, who killed their ancestor Sorcha, the Dark Witch, but only after she vanquished him for a time and imparted her power to her three children. Now, centuries later, when the three cousins are united, it is clear that they are each powerful in the ways Sorcha's children were, and they have identical animal guardians. Something about Iona's appearance seems to beckon Cabhan, and Branna, Connor and their three best friends will work to teach Iona everything she needs to know about magic in order to fight Cabhan when he confronts them--an event they can all feel is coming. At the same time, one of those friends, Boyle McGrath, may just be the man Iona's been waiting for all of her life. If only she can convince him he loves her and they can both stay alive to savor a long and happy future. Roberts brings her A-game to this textured, expertly plotted magical romantic adventure. The author manages to create a flawed heroine who must learn she deserves the best from love, not a man who doesn't know what to do with her magic, which is as much a part of her as her ability to work with horses or her newfound love of Ireland. Fans will be thrilled with the author's return to Ireland and with the magical themes. Magical, romantic, compelling and appealing--Roberts at her best.

    COPYRIGHT(2013) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Library Journal

    October 15, 2013

    Centuries ago, dark witch Sorcha spurned, marked, and nearly destroyed the evil sorcerer Cabhan as she gave her life to protect her three children. But Cabhan still lived--and waited. Now, with Iona Sheehan's arrival in County Mayo, the descendants of those offspring are finally together, and the time is right for Cabhan to take his revenge. But Iona and her cousins Branna and Connor O'Dwyer are far more powerful than Cabhan had imagined, as he discovers when he sets his sights on neophyte witch Iona. While this is definitely Iona and stable owner Boyle McGrath's romantic story, the other characters, including assorted friends, relatives, and animals (especially a brilliant horse named Alastar), are important elements in the mix, beautifully setting the stage for the stories to come. VERDICT Combining myth, magic, and legend with Ireland's wild beauty, Roberts spins a mesmerizing tale of good vs. evil, providing another trio of addictive romances that readers who love her trilogies--especially "Born In" and "Three Sisters Island"--are sure to enjoy. Roberts (Whiskey Beach) lives in Keedysville, MD.

    Copyright 2013 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Booklist

    October 1, 2013
    With the support of her maternal grandmother, Iona Sheehan arrives in County Mayo intent on finding out more about her family's history and legacy of magic. She has more than her share of the luck of the Irish when she meets her cousins Branna and Connor O'Dwyer on her first day. Not only do they welcome Iona into the family fold, they also don't think she's crazy when she tells them that she's had dreams about an evil sorcerer named Cabhan. More than 800 years earlier their ancestress, Sorcha, the original Dark Witch, thwarted Cabhan's plan to steal her powers, and he has been plotting his revenge ever since. After moving in with Branna and Connor and taking a job working for cranky but incredibly sexy stable owner, Boyle McGrath, Iona begins putting down roots in Ireland. But her newfound happiness may be short-lived unless she and her cousins can find a way to harness their powers and defeat Cabhan. Best-seller-extraordinaire Roberts works her own brand of literary magic as she begins a new trilogy featuring the cousins O'Dwyer.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2013, American Library Association.)

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