By Pauline Creeden and Melissa Turner Lee
'She moved closer, extended her hand, and ran her fingers through his hair. A shiver shot down his spine. It took all his effort to keep the reaction from showing. He remained still as stone.
"Don't think I don't see who is really beneath the armour...You put up this steel cage around yourself in the form of hostility and disinterest - whichever works to shield you best at the moment, but that's not who you are."'
'He was the rejected, crippled heir. The forgotten and abandoned son of his other. The man no one looked in the eye because they'd have to bend down to do it.'
Rejected. Crippled. Forgotten. Abandoned.
Tristan Gareth Smyth is a young lord with a bleak future. His wheelchair is a prison, a constant reminder of the future he cannot have, and of the fact that no one - no one at all - could truly love a cripple without suffocating him in a downpour of pity. So he resigns himself to a life behind his cold, prickly, uncaring facade.
'He was about to call out a warning to her when it was too late. The branch snapped. The little girl was falling.'
But the future may hold more than he originally thought. When a young girl falls from a tree, Gareth watches in horror - all too aware of his disability - and wills himself to move. Suddenly he rushes towards her, catching her...several feet above the ground.
He can fly.
'Was she a ghost after all? A phantom?'
Years have passed, but Gareth has never forgotten the girl he saved - secretly using his newfound ability to gain a measure of independency from day to day. His young aunt Tabitha is the only one in on his secret; aiding him in using his ability to covertly protect and watch over the town by night, a suit of armour concealing his features. A rumour of a Flying Knight patrolling the shire steadily begins to grow.
'The dark-haired girl ran backwards, trying to hit the thing, completely oblivious to Gareth directly in her path. Before he could move his chair out of her way, the girl tripped and landed squarely in his lap.'
Jessamine Cardinal Keller is a bold, intelligent, pretty thing, whose refusal to be cowed by Gareth's less-than-charming personality makes her both irritating and intriguing to Gareth - who is adamant that love of any kind is not for him.
But Jessamine's lovely face conceals a will of steel, and she's never backed down from any challenge before. And she won't now. Not when she's so close to finding the thing she searched for for years.
'Good can destroy evil, but evil is no match for good.'
Gareth's ability may not be as shocking or unforeseen as he may have thought. In fact, it may be the instigator for a war of supernatural proportions. And if he is to keep safe those he loves, he may have to take off the armour he's made for himself...and become the man those closest to him knew he could be.
Mechanical inventions, secret societies, reluctant vows, shape-shifting cats and family secrets - when put together - create a vivid tale that is bound to enchant and enthrall.