A big welcome to fellow Kiwi author Gillian St. Kevern as part of her blog tour for her new release Morgen Prince.
Thank you, Anne, for letting me visit Drops of Ink with Morgen Prince, my new release. Morgen Prince is the fourth book in my Deep Magic series, which is set in North Wales, and blends myth and legend with contemporary reality. While previous books in the Deep Magic series have fallen within the realms of gay romance, Morgen Prince has more of a YA feel—mostly because the main character, Duhywynt, has a lot of growing up to do.
To show you what I mean, here is an exclusive excerpt from Morgen Prince:
“I was marvellous as usual.” Myrhydion’s cheeks were flushed and his eyes shone. “I ran into that poisonous Mrs Jones in the main street. She commented that I must be doing well for myself and congratulated me on my promotion to judge—is that not wicked of her?”
“Terrible.” Olly tapped his fingers on the bench as he waited for the microwave to finish.
“You would have been so proud of me! I did not say any of the many things that I wished to say, and I did not scratch her eyes out. I merely smiled—nicely—and said that I was very busy.”
I bit my lip. While I did not wish misery upon my brother, it was going to be difficult to persuade him to foreswear his new life and return to the ocean if he was enjoying himself.
Myrhydion dropped his satchel and sat at his usual chair. “And Dewey’s new friend?” He leaned over to ruffle my hair.
I pushed his hands away. “He is not my friend!”
“There was some misunderstanding.” The microwave beeped. Olly placed the leftover shepherd’s pie on the table. “Incidentally, we should talk about that—”
I scowled. “We have talked enough. The matter has already been dealt with, and Rhydi has been working hard all morning. There is no need to trouble him.”
Myrhydion put down the serving spoon. “What did you do?”
I gulped. “I did not do anything. In fact, I am dismayed at your immediate assumption that I have done something. It is most unbrotherly of you.”
“You do not usually consider whether your actions will trouble me.” Myrhydion eyed me from across the table. “That you have means you know I will not like what I am about to hear, which makes me even more anxious to hear it.”
“Very well—if only to prove to you that the entire matter is of no consequence.” I shot a look at Olly, helping himself to the leftovers. “I will tell him.”
“Be my guest.” Olly was unruffled. Trusting, no doubt, to the strength of Myrhydion’s unaccountable partiality for him.
I took a deep breath. Fortunately I’d had the entire morning to plan how I would present the facts. “It is like this. Myfanwy and I were at the beach at Porthor, which as you well know has strict rules about dogs and leads, rules which are much to the benefit of the animals of the sea over which we are guardian…”
I dwelt at length of the potential hazards posed by Drew’s carelessness, the false charges laid against me by him and his mother, and feigned admiration for Olly’s skills as mediator. “And so we drank tea together, putting an end to any bitter feelings, and acquitting me of any obligations.”
Myrhydion nodded. “It certainly sounds like the two of you handled the situation adequately. I hope you offered to make friends with this Drew?”
I spluttered indignantly. “You too? Why does everyone imagine I need friends? Especially with a…a hopeless case like that!”
Myrhydion paused. “You did not—”
“He did.” Olly sounded resigned.
Myrhydion drew a deep breath. “We have talked about manners—”
“You are too late. Olly has already punished me.” I scowled. “I have been forbidden the ocean, depriving me of friends and entertainment both.”
“If you are so destitute of friends, perhaps this Drew—”
I shook my head vigorously. “He is the last person in the world I would be friends with! Do you not remember how he blatantly accused me of harassing him?”
“You do not need to yell at everyone who brings a dog to the beach!”
“I will yell at anyone I care to yell at! And I will befriend who I choose—and it will not be ill-mannered tourists who do not respect the safety of animals!”
“At least you would have a friend!” Myrhydion slammed his hand down on the table. “You are not in any position to be so choosy.”
“What is that supposed to mean? I have friends!”
“A slip of a witch and a seal who by your own admission is—”
Olly cut in, handing Myrhydion the serving spoon. “Perhaps Duhywynt is right. We have talked enough about this topic.”
Myrhydion hesitated, but I was still annoyed at Olly’s punishment. “I am a morgen. I do not need friends. Also, you should pass me the salt.”
Olly did. “You remember you’re living in a human world?”
I brightened. “I had almost forgotten! Olly, Myrhydion, I have a request to make of you.”
Myrhydion served me a large dollop of the shepherd’s pie. “Do you think you are in any position to make requests? It’s not even a day since your latest shameful behaviour!”
“Myrhydion.” At Olly’s look, my brother caught himself. Olly turned to me. “What’s up?”
Would that I had Olly’s power of making Myrhydion listen to me! Convincing him of his foolishness would be the work of two seconds. “I desire to reconnect with my morgenau heritage. Since it is the holidays, and I am not forced to travel to Pwllheli every morning, I should like to live in the underwater city.”
Myrhydion frowned. “By yourself? Duhywynt, you know that is not possible. I am responsible for your safety. It is not fit that I should allow you to go off on your own for so great a period of time.”
That had not stopped him abandoning me to the care of our grandfather as he exiled himself among the humans for many, many years. “You could come with me. It has been a long time since we called the city our home. Do you not wish to revisit it?” I leaned toward him. “Remember how we could take our pick of all the houses in the city, choosing a new one as it took our fancy, falling asleep to the sound of the waves passing overhead.”
Myrhydion hesitated. I could see the longing in his eyes. “It has indeed been a long time… But I could not leave Olly!”
“Olly could come too. Thanks to the magic of his grandmother, he can breathe underwater.”
“Pass,” Olly said. “I prefer my dinner not to be damp.”
I thought quickly. “I do not see that I need a guardian at all. At my age you quit the city entirely to live amongst humankind. If you could trust your fate to an unknown world, why can I not spend a few weeks in the city of our birth? I will be among friends.”
It was a stretch of the imagination to describe Cedifor and Ieuan as friends. From Myrhydion’s frown I knew I had made a mistake. “Do not trust Cedifor and Ieuan. True, they have not caused any problems since Gurcant was imprisoned in the underwater cave, but that may only be their cunning. There are depths to Cedifor we have not yet any inkling of, and Ieuan—”
I snorted. “You do not expect me to believe that Ieuan has any depths!”
“He is morgen,” Myrhydion said simply. “And that is reason enough to fear him.”
I blinked. “That is a harsh thing to say of your own people!”
“You do not remember as I do. Truly, we can take pride in our heritage, but we would be foolish not to take warning as well. Morgenau are proud and fierce, and once angered, exceedingly difficult to placate. Cedifor and Ieuan have kept their word and injured no-one from the Llŷn, but I do not know that I could trust my brother’s safety to them.”
“Then trust me.” I placed my hands flat on the table. “You always tell me that I must think more and not ask so much for your help. How many times do you remind me that I am no longer a child and must take responsibility? How can I do that, when you do not let me?”
Myrhydion opened his mouth, but Olly spoke. “Duhywynt raises a good point. He needs to be allowed to stretch his wings.”
Myrhydion spluttered. “You do not imagine he is ready to leave home yet? Even by human standards he is young!”
“I’m not saying that. But it would be good for Duhywynt—and you—if he were allowed more independence.” Olly stood. “Duhywynt. You don’t mind if we talk about this a moment?”
I shook my head, too stunned to object. Olly agreed with me?
Myrhydion was equally surprised. He stood reluctantly. “I do not see that I have anything to gain from letting Duhywynt run amok as he pleases. It is my responsibility to take care of him!”
“A responsibility you are dedicated to.” Olly waved Myrhydion up the ladder that led to the loft above the garage. “Which is why I think—”
The trapdoor shut behind them. I did not hear what Olly thought. I was tempted to listen, but my pride as a morgen prevented me. Besides, I had not yet touched my lunch.
I had finished all the remaining shepherd’s pie and was wondering whether I dared help myself to what was left on Myrhydion’s plate—it was cold and obviously unpalatable—when they returned. I sat up. “Well?”
“You have cause to be grateful to Olly,” Myrhydion said. “He has made a strong case for your ability to take care of yourself and thinks you will learn much from the experience of fending for yourself for a short time.”
I did not dare risk upsetting Myrhydion by reminding him that I had spent years fending for myself without him. “Does that mean—”
“But while it would be novel to be able to have time to ourselves without you underfoot, I have my doubts.”
I sagged forward. “Rhydi…”
“Princes do not whine. Anyway. I have decided to grant your request—on one condition.”
I frowned. I knew my brother too well to think that I would like this condition. “What is it?”
“That you make a friend.”
I gasped, stung. “That is not fair!”
“A friend,” Myrhydion continued, “who is not an animal, a fish, or an inanimate object.”
I swallowed hard. That did not leave me much scope.
“The friend cannot be already known to you,” Myrhydion continued. “So you may not claim any of your classmates.”
I scowled. “I do not want to claim them.”
“Do not look so miserable! It is only one friend. That is not a matter of difficulty, even for you. The village is full of idle tourists. It will be but the work of a morning to befriend one.”
I pushed my plate away. “It is impossible and you know it. You have come up with this condition to prevent me going!”
“I give you my word, Duhywynt,” Myrhydion said seriously. “Find a friend and the city is yours.”
Duhywynt’s only weapon against the world will cost him everyone he cares about.
Duhywynt plans to spend his summer catching the legendary Ceffyl Dŵr and swapping make-up tips with his best friend, Myfanwy—until he discovers his older brother has traded his morgenau heritage for mortality. Worse, Myrhydion is far more concerned with Duhywynt’s lack of social life than his own untimely demise.Duhywynt will do anything to avoid losing him for ever, even if that means faking a friendship with Drew, a tourist.
As Drew’s fascination with Duhywynt grows, the prince discovers the deadly legacy of his morgenau heritage, emperilling his relationship with Myfanwy—a relationship with depths he is just beginning to understand. Can he overcome centuries of pain and embrace the unknown, or will his morgenau heritage claim another victim?
Gillian St. Kevern is the author of the Deep Magic series, the Thorns and Fangs series, the For the Love of Christmas series, and standalone novels, The Biggest Scoop and The Wing Commander’s Curse. Gillian currently lives in her native New Zealand, but spent eleven years in Japan and has visited over twenty different countries.
As a chronic traveller, Gillian is more interested in journeys than endings, with characters that grow and change to achieve their happy ending. She’s not afraid to let her characters make mistakes or take the story in an unexpected direction. Her stories cross genres, time-periods and continents, taking readers along for an unforgettable ride. Both Deep Magic and The Biggest Scoop were nominated for Best LOR story in the 2015 M/M Romance Groups Member’s Choice awards. Deep Magic also received nominations in Best Cover, Best Main Character and Best Paranormal, while The Biggest Scoop was nominated for Best Coming of Age.