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Hope in a Bottle. Marial Barnsworth's last chance for happiness rests in an alchemist's promise. Will this final suitor be beguiled or will he see the truth? When Jerrod fails to make an issue of her imperfection, suddenly miracles seem possible. But miracles are short lived when her husband ceases to desire her. How can she change his mind and his heart? More importantly, how can she keep her own heart from breaking? There's something different about Marial. Though Jerrod Hawkwood is delighted with his bride, he can't allow himself to be ensnared in her spell. He's a warrior. He has to keep his mind on an upcoming tournament and not let a slip of a girl take advantage of his weakness for her. But Marial persists in making him mad with desire. Forcing himself to keep her at a distance, how long must he wait until she seduces him?

A Hard Shell Word Factory Release

Elizabeth Taylor George

     Elizabeth Taylor George loves to live in the past whenever possible. Give her a knight in shining armor and she's hooked. Though currently working on a contemporary thriller, it's those Medieval times that keep her reading Historical romances. She lives in western PA with her brilliant husband, Tom, and her adorable Sheltie, Max. An avid cook and needlepoint addict, she also enjoys lighting candles and watching Shakespeare in Love for the nine-hundreth time.Write Elizabeth at: P O Box 1085 Wexford, PA 15090.


4-1/2 Stars

"Spellbinder is a wonderful, truly romantic tale ... RT Top Pick!"

Susan Mobley -- RT

4 1/2 Stars

"Ms. George has written a wonderfully funny, passionate romance here. The romance between Jarrod and Marial is powerful, sweet and enduring. The message comes though loud and clear - beauty is definitely in the eye of the beholder and comes not from the outside, but from within. This is a fantastic novel - one that should not be missed."

Melissa M. Curran -- www.scribesworld.com

"This is a wonderful medieval romance, filled with knights and ladies and a realistic look at life back in the medieval period. There is even a tournament with jousting involved in the plot of the story. Since both the hero and heroine were both flawed, this is a more realistic story and that just made it more enjoyable. It was amazingly tender watching Jerrod change from the hard man he was in the beginning of the story, to the tender loving husband that he became at the end. This story definitely leaves one with the "warm fuzzy" feeling at the end, along with the heartfelt sigh. This is a wonderful tale, full of love and heroism, along with abuse, both physical and sexual. This is a book that I definitely recommend reading."

Chere Gruver -- Escape to Romance


AN AROMA NOT CREATED by the hand of an ordinary man filled the cold room. In the corner, a venerable sorcerer, an alchemist by trade, stood beside a table consulting an equally ancient tome. A flickering candle, carelessly stuck atop a human skull, cast shadows on the mud daubed walls. Dank smelling water seeped through a hole in the ceiling and dripped to the floor in a steady rhythm. The alchemist's bony finger underlined a formula on the page. On occasion he glanced over his shoulder, as if expecting a visitor. Seeing no one, he returned his attention to the text.

A mouse scuttled across the dusty floor. With lazy insouciance, the black tomcat lying on the table opened his one good eye to watch. He licked his whiskers, then rose and stretched every muscle in his supple body. All the while his intense gaze never strayed from the mouse.

With instinctive ease, the cat leapt to the floor, landing on velvet paws without disturbing so much as a particle of dust. He made no sound. Belly to the floor he watched every movement of the mouse. The cat inched forward, ever so carefully. A deliberate twitch developed in his crooked tail, the slight movement camouflaged by his body. The mouse paused for a moment. Balancing on hind feet, he surveyed the room, his nose quivering nervously. Satisfied he could resume the journey unhindered, he continued on his way.

The cat's whiskers trembled. The muscles in his hind quarters stiffened for the strike. Fangs bared, he sprang. In a blur of motion, he seized the mouse by the throat. Two or three quick shakes and the mouse was reduced to a palsied hunk of fur as life drained out of him. Batting at his prey with predatory indifference, the cat soon tired of the game.

Glancing down, the alchemist saw his companion walk away from the dead mouse. The cat rubbed against his master's legs several times, then sat down to groom its whiskers.

"Good puss," the alchemist murmured. He returned his attention to the formula. Convinced the elements and proportions were exactly right, he set to work.

He disturbed the cobwebs clinging to several cracked crocks as he shoved them aside. Moving an immense marble mortar and pestle to the center of the table, he took a deep breath.

"First poppy powder, blended with ginger and nutmeg to delude men's eyes and distort perception." He poured finely ground powders into the mortar. "Then camomile and comfrey for gentling knights. Sweet cicely to entice them. Crushed pearl for enlightenment, bay leaf for calming thoughts. Cinnamon for cleansing the spirit. Pungent clove to make it burn."

The air grew more fragrant as he stirred the ingredients together. He held up two flasks of amber liquid. "Oil of musk rose for tender yearnings. Elixir of sage for dreaming dreams." He poured the precious oils into the mortar.

Finely grained substances sifted through his fingers as he recited the formula. "Powder of walrus tusk to arouse and powder of ram horn to prolong."

The cat leapt up to the table top.

"Finally essence of ambergris for intensity, followed with a touch of cinnabar to tint the mixture red for the passion it will incite." He poured the final ingredients into the mortar and blended them together. "There we have it, my brave tom. The transmutation of these elements will create a potion more powerful than any I ever made before."

The cat meowed.

"Aye, my pet. We shall bottle this in fine crystal and instruct the lady to apply precious little. She wanted a fragrance that matched her spirit. This one that will do that and much more!"

The cat growled.

The alchemist scratched the tom's ragged ear. "You see, the lady is flawed. However, this potion will veil her imperfection from men's eyes. While they are deluded, they will see only the true gentle spirit of the lady and will come to love her well. Women will be insensitive to the power of the fragrance, thinking it only pleasant smelling. Since females, as a rule, are the kinder of the species, they are less apt to call attention to her scar. But most men, my friend, will be profoundly affected by the fragrance. Any man possessing a true and brave heart will be unable to resist this potion."

The tom hissed.

"The lady confided to me she's been contracted in marriage. Once exposed to this scent, her husband will love her as no man has ever loved a woman. The closer they become, the more intense the potion will grow until he is blind to anything but his love for her."

The cat curled itself into a ball of fur.

The alchemist filled a delicate crystal bottle with the redolent mixture. In the candle's glow the liquid glimmered like a ruby struck by a jolt of lightning. He inserted the stopper, then turned the bottle around in his hand.

"I will deliver this to the lady and instruct her on its use."

He placed it on the table with care, regarding the bottle thoughtfully. "And warn her of the danger of ceasing to use it, else the spell she binds be broken."