Where does magic end and love begin?
Oliver Evans spent his youth spinning one tall tale after another until it got him over his head in trouble. Now he has returned to his grandmother's cottage in Aberdaron, determined to put his past behind him and settle down. But the misty Llŷn Peninsula hides dangerous secrets and Olly is torn between the Longing, a powerful force driving him away from the only home he has ever known, and the growing conviction that the prince of his childhood make-believe is real and in need of Olly's help.
There is more truth in Olly's stories than he realises. If he is to have any chance of righting past wrongs and rescuing his prince, Olly must navigate the truth in his old stories and discover the magic right in front of him. But Olly has a powerful enemy on the Llŷn, an ancient king who would like to end Olly's story-telling permanently.
Written for the M/M Romance Groups 2015 Don't Read in the Closet event, Deep Magic was produced with the support and effort of members of the M/M Romance Group. You can find out more about the event and discover hundreds of other free stories here. Cover art produced by Bree Archer. Deep Magic does contain adult material.
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Publisher: Independently Published
Heat Level: 3
Romantic Content: 3
Ending: Click here to reveal
Character Identities: Gay
Protagonist 1 Age: 18-25
Protagonist 2 Age: Ageless/Immortal
Tropes: Amnesia, Beach Romance, Coming of Age, Cultural Differences, First Time, Friends to Lovers, Second Chances, Slow Burning Love, Star-Crossed Lovers, Wide-Eyed Innocence
Word Count: 112,000
Languages Available: English
Series Type: Continuous / Same Characters
“Can’t you howl any louder? I don’t think they can hear you in Cardiff!”
There was a definite gloating note to the wind that had blown up mid-afternoon. Though, if I was entirely honest, it wasn’t the wind that rattled me. As I set the last spilled tin back into the pantry, I’d discovered a strand of seaweed below it.
It wasn’t the first. There had been other pieces of weed in the living room, even a few shells. Even harder to explain was the fact that while cleaning up, I’d discovered that the water dripping from the kitchen bench was salt. Against all common sense, I was starting to believe Rhys.
“What on earth is wrong with me?”
Believing Rhys was only a few steps above willingly consorting with Joanne. “Is this my life now?” Caught between anti-social and odd curates, overly friendly eccentrics and fairy tales… Ugh. I stood, dropping the seaweed in the bin.READ MORE
The crucifix lay on the kitchen table where I’d left it. I picked it up. It was cold and heavy with the sort of patina silver acquires if you don’t look after it properly. I should never have let him leave it behind. The cross was far, far too valuable. And that itself was a problem.
I breathed out, trying to think logically. Rhys wouldn’t have left it if he didn’t believe in the King beneath the Cliffs. But without the priest present, the certainty of his conviction was not enough to convince me. All it meant was that I was dealing with two nut-cases, the curate and whoever broke into the cottage while we were walking.
I dropped the crucifix into the biscuit tin and set it on the bench. Out of sight, out of mind. If only Rhys himself was as easily dealt with! I thought longingly of a biscuit tin big enough to stow a curate. The man seemed to have a knack for getting to me that was entirely disproportionate to what he was. No, I told myself as I climbed the stairs to my room. I’d have to be very careful of Rhys.
I snorted as I eyed the mess in the bedroom. Rhys was perfectly happy to sit and spin strange tales, but the moment it came time to do any real work, he vanished, leaving me to tidy up all by myself. “Typical.” He was, as Nan would have said, ‘only useful so long as you didn’t want him to do anything.’
Then again, was I any better? Somewhere in there was my phone, once my constant companion, now left behind to be burgled without a second thought. “You’ve changed, Olly.”
The contents of my suitcase were mixed in with those of the cupboards. In addition to the detritus I’d acquired over successive summer holidays (endless jars of pebbles from the shore, notebooks where I’d started a diary, kept it up for a day or two before abandoning the attempt until the next year, unidentifiable metal bits scavenged from the shoreline, ragged looking feathers and other small boy treasures), were things of Nan’s, put away for storage. The woollen jerseys must have once belonged to my grandfather, carefully parcelled up to protect them from moths and damp. Textbooks used by my mother. Glass jars, set aside to be used for making jam. A mini-cassette recorder.
I put everything back in the cupboard except the cassette recorder. I didn’t remember seeing it before. It seemed strangely incongruous among my notebooks and the dog-eared copy of Welsh Fairy Tales. I wiped the dust off it and discovered that when I hit rewind, it buzzed into life. Couldn’t have been used much before being put away. I turned it over for any clue as to why it might have been set among my things and as I did, the tape finished its rewind.
I sat motionless for a long moment. Did some echo from the past stop me from pressing play? Was it something I’d inherited from my grandmother? Maybe something deep inside me remembered what my mind had forgotten.
The wind rose again, as if mocking my indecision.
“Fuck that.” I hit the button.
A static-y crackle, then a voice I knew very well spoke. “And this tiny box will really catch my voice and send it to Olly?”
Hearing the voice that haunted my memories speak as clearly as if he were in the room with me gave me a shock. The cassette recorder slipped from my fingers. “How—” Even without the sound of the waves and the echo of the cave behind it, the voice was unmistakably that of my summer time companion.COLLAPSE