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TOUCHED BY MAEN LLIA By Tracy Cooper-Posey

Once and Future Hearts. Book 8.1

Ancient Historical Fantasy Romance

More books by Tracy Cooper-Posey
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Caught between magic and truth…

Catrin is a handmaiden to the old Queen of Dyfed, whose husband and king, Geraint, has died without an heir, leaving the kingdom ripe for plucking.  Yet Dyfed is the birthplace of King Arthur’s enchanter and adviser, Prince Merlin, who travels to the troubled kingdom to settle the question of who should be king.

Marcus Jorath is a newcomer to Camelot and wants only to serve King Arthur, whose peace has brought such a difference to the life and prospects of his family.  Yet he is assigned to travel with Merlin to the out-of-the-way kingdom of Dyfed instead.

When the Dyfed mage, Ianto, declares it is mid-summer’s day, the maids of the kingdom visit the Maen Llia to make a wish. Catrin disputes it is the solstice, for she can read and is learned in the ways of tracking seasons and more, but no one listens to her, and she is forced to visit Maen Llia with the other women.

Merlin’s company of armed men come across the women, and Marcus finds himself drawn to the fiery redheaded Catrin and her blunt, direct way of speaking and thinking about the world.

Their attraction puts them in the path of Ianto, who is more than the kingdom’s inadequate mage, and has plans of his own he will not let a mere slip of a girl interfere with…

This story is part of the historical fantasy romance series, Once and Future Hearts, set in Britain during the time of King Arthur.

1.0 Born of No Man
2.0 Dragon Kin
3.0 Pendragon Rises

3.5 Once and Future Hearts Box One
4.0 War Duke of Britain
5.0 High King of Britain
6.0 Battle of Mount Badon

6.5 Once and Future Hearts Box Two
7.0 Abduction of Guenivere
8.0 Downfall of Cornwall

8.1 Touch by Maen Llia
9.0 Vengeance of Arthur
10.0 Grace of Lancelot
11.0 The Grail and Glory
12.0 Camlann

A Historical Fantasy Romance/Ancient Historical Romance series

{Also see: Fantasy, Historical Fantasy, Historical Romance, Fantasy Romance, Romance, Novels}

~ Maps for the Series ~

Who’s Who and What’s What for the Series

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Touched by Maen Llia
Average rating:  
 10 reviews
 by CM25
Another fun visit to the world of King Arthur

In this latest Once and Future Hearts novella, the plot revolves around Merlin deciding to visit his old home of Dyfed, to check up on things and finally settle the overdue issue of royal succession. This is quite a shift from most of the books in the series, since we don’t even see King Arthur, but don’t worry, there’s plenty of excitement!

Dyfed is also home to Catrin, the bastard child of Queen Eira’s favorite lady-in-waiting (now deceased). One day, Catrin makes the mistake of publicly challenging the king’s mage (Ianto) when he claims the summer solstice is on the wrong day. This action earns her a beating, but there’s nothing she can do except silently wonder why he made such an error.

Shortly afterwards, Merlin and his men come upon the ladies of Dyfed laughing while playing in the river to celebrate the faux solstice; Marcus, a favorite of Merlin, is asked by the wizard to persuade the ladies to escort them to Dyfed, which Catrin agrees to do. The two find each other intriguing and enjoy one another’s company, before terrible danger strikes Dyfed. Catrin will have to look deep within, to find the courage to stand and fight for the kingdom.

So, go visit the world of King Arthur in Touched by Maen Llia, where you’ll find mystery, intrigue, and a little bit of romance - what’s not to love? You’ll find yourself rooting for Catrin and Dyfed, in this quick read. Although these books are best enjoyed in order, each engaging tale easily stands on its own.

 

 by Beth
Magical Book!

This book is the story of Catrin. It is an interesting tale set in the period of King Arthur. Touched By Maen Llia is the latest story by Tracy Cooper-Posey.
I found myself loving the character of Catrin. Catrin meets Merlin and from there things get interesting. I recommend reading this book after the previous books in the "Once and Future Hearts Collection", though it isn't necessary.
I read an advanced readers copy, in exchange for a honest review.

 by Sonia Choto
Touched By Maen Llia

Tracey Cooper Posey is an incredibly talented story teller! I loved this book, Catrin and Marcus are the main characters. She is a servant to the queen and one day accompanies the Ladies to the magical river. That is when she and the ladies come across Merlin and his soldiers. As the storyline progresses it may be fast paced but so detailed.

Such a wonderful and magical read!

 by Dina Bushrod
Merlin knows many secrets, as the heroine discovers much to her surprise.

What a great short story; it's not only a love story, but a story of a women's courage and strength during a time when women, unless you were one of very high standing, were taught to clean, cook, and follow orders. It's also a story of a man who looked beyond that to see a woman like none he's known before. All this was not a surprise to the one called Merlin for he knew things that would shock and surprise them. If your one of those that think a book has to be long to tell a good story, no, an amazing story, well you're wrong. Again, the author, with such extraordinary details, has brought this story to the level of "did this really happen, or not". Be sure to read the series as each and every book is sure to surprise you.

 by Marilyn C Putman
Exceptional story-telling

Touched by Maen Llia is an entertaining and involving novella that pulls the reader, only too willingly, back again to the time of the legendary King Arthur and his kingdom. This entry to the “Once and Future Hearts” series is set in the city where Merlin was born. Some old friends (Merlin and Bedivere) are here, but the story’s main focus is on Catrin and Marcus, whose story gives us insight into a different level of that era’s society than we usually see. It’s a fascinating look into ordinary lives, the lives of those who were not royalty or part of the nobility.

In this corner of Arthur’s realm magic still rules and is both revered and feared. Set during the midsummer solstice, one of the most important events of the year, superstition and adherence to tradition are important factors in the story. I received a complimentary copy of Touched by Maen Llia and am giving my honest opinion. The exceptional story-telling skills, exquisite attention to detail, and endless imagination of Tracy Cooper-Posey are evident throughout this enthralling tale.

 by IngSav
A delightful short & intense story.

Strong and vibrant characters bring King Arthur's Britain to life!
This was a wonderful addition to the Once and Future Hearts series, a short, intense and complete tale.
This is a very satisfying tale about an interesting and exceptional female who comes into her own power in this delightful novella.
Her male lead is equally captivating and worthy of her attention shown by his dedication to truth and his service of King Arthur and Britain.

I highly recommend this novella to anyone who has been reading the Once & Future Hearts series.
The rest of the books of the series create a lot of background knowledge which add depth to this novella but I think it would be a great stand alone romance too!

 by Michelle
Worth the read

Touched By Maen Llia is a wonderful Novella to read. I couldn’t put it down because the female lead, Catrin, is resilient, intelligent and resourceful. Tracy Cooper-Posey is a master at creating strong, believable women characters who think for themselves and Catrin certainly does that.

 by Karen
Touched by Maen Llia

Touched by Maen Llia is set between the Downfall of Cornwall and Vengeance of Arthur in the Cooper-Posey’s “Once and Future Hearts” series. Catrin is a delightful character with intelligence and willingness to know what is right and then to do it, regardless of the consequences. Marcus Jorath serves Arthur, travelling with Merlin to the kingdom of Dyfed, to help set matters in order. Great story. Couldn’t put it down.

 by Beatriz
Wonderful story

Touched by Maen Llia is the 8.5th book in the series and, with any other author, I would be kind of bored with a series so long, however, as I already said before, I'm truly amazed how the author achieved to keep the story fresh, interesting and relevant to the series. I love how all the stories are interwoven among them, the pacing, the little revolutions, I'm addicted 😅😅

Also Catrin and Marcus felt very real to me, the character building, the healthy and honest communication between the two. The the usual trope but not quite. I found myself laughing a lot too.

Also a touch of magic, if not it wouldn't be an Arthurian story, isn't it?

And thank goodness no unexpected surprises 😊.

If you like history and romance this is the series for you, it only keeps getting better!

 by Shannon
Great book

Great continuation of the series that tells the story of King Arthur through lesser or bot know members of his court. This book stars Catrin, the handmaiden of the queen of one of the smaller kingdoms and Marcus, the knight sent to the kingdoms she served in. I love the weaving together of a romance and another look at the story of King Arthur.


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Excerpt

EXCERPT FROM TOUCHED BY MAEN LLIA
COPYRIGHT © TRACY COOPER-POSEY 2022
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Catrin had followed the Queen’s instructions for the rest of the day, even though she resented every moment of merry-making and the unquestioning ignorance of everyone in the palace. All morning she had carried wool, fetched skeins, re-threaded looms and untangled snarls on spindles with silent doggedness while she listened to the court women gossip about the festivities to come. Later, she had moved over to the big chair which Eira used, taken the book Eira had held out to her, and read to the Queen in a soft voice.

After the noon meal, everyone slept through the heat of the afternoon, for sunset in mid-summer was very late, and the feast could not begin until after the setting of the sun.

A very small meal upon waking—a bannock and some fruit—then the women prepared for the walk to Afon Llia. All of them donned their lightest tunics and sandals, let down their hair and inserted flowers—what flowers there were to be had. Most of the women in the large group were unmarried maidens, although there were several matrons among them, who also wanted to drink the blessings of the river.

No guards accompanied them, for it was a large group and the times were peaceful, thanks to King Arthur. The mood among the women was light and carefree as they walked across the hills to Maen Llia, trading laughter and teasing. Most of the teasing was to do with what type of man a maid intended to wish for, when she bathed in the river, and what her chances were that the man would find her.

They passed by the tall standing stone, Maen Llia, falling silent as they each brushed their hand across the flat face of the stone. The ancient carvings on the face were meaningless to Catrin, even though some of the characters were similar to those in the oldest books at the bottom of her chest.

They moved in a single file along the straight shadow cast by Maen Llia, down the gradual slope to the Afon Llia, where the stone’s shadow halted. Everyone paused on the bank of the narrow river to remove their sandals and hoist their tunics up in their arms and step into the water.

There were cries of shock at the coldness of the water. More exclamations about how low the water was, this year. Soon the river was crowded, for it was only three or four paces across, and shallow.

The women scooped handfuls of water and sipped it, while making their wish for health, happiness, a child born healthy, a man to love and protect her, and more.

Catrin stood upon the bank. She did not remove her sandals and kept her arms crossed. She was not at all tempted to step into the water, even though the day was still very warm.

Betrys, Eira’s other hand maid, shooshed water at Catrin. “Come in and make a wish! The water is lovely on your ankles.”

“There is no point in making a wish,” Catrin replied. “It isn’t midsummer. Your wish won’t work.”

Betrys screwed up her face in a comic way. “Oh, you and your books! Of course it is mid-summer! Ianto said so! And look! The Maen Llia has walked down to the river—see, right there? The shadow is touching the river!”

“It is nearly touching,” Catrin replied. “But it is not touching.”

“It is close enough,” Betrys declared, both hands on her hips. She had big hips. And a big smile. She liked to be happy, even if that meant not being right. “Look, there is barely the width of my fingers between the two.”

“That width makes all the difference,” Catrin replied. “Besides,” she added, for Betrys was beginning to sulk, “I’ve wished every single year since Eira said I might come here, and it has never worked.”

“What has never worked?” came a voice from behind her.

A male voice.

Catrin spun, her heart leaping in her chest and her breath instantly whooshing out of her.

The women in the river all squealed and scrambled for the bank and dry land where they could drop their tunics and hide their legs. They moved away from the newcomers, which put them on the other side of the river from Catrin, leaving her alone with the two heavily armed men facing her.

Catrin backed away from them. “Who are you? What are you doing here?” She still wore her sandals. She could pick up her hem and leap through the water to the other side. Or turn and run.

She fumbled for her worn eating knife as the shorter of the two men curled his hand around his sword hilt. It was an inadequate knife even for eating, but she kept it sharpened. “You’re Brycheiniog scum!” she declared. Brycheiniog, the kingdom which ran along Dyfed’s northwest border, began less than a mile from here.

At her declaration, the other women gave small screams and clutched each other.


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