The sixth book in the Celta series, published July 2007. And yes, I admit, hate the cover.
DuFleur Thyme is a scientist who's secretly experimenting with time. She'll allow no distractions from her work-not even from a HeartMate. Meanwhile, Saille T'Willow has sent his HeartGift out into the world in hopes of finding his HeartMate, who, it turns out, is DuFleur. Still, DuFleur wants nothing to do with Saille, especially when she discovers that it was his grandmother who brought about her father's ruin. Unfortunately, her body can't help but submit to the passion he stirs in her. But when a scandal threatens Saille's position as head of the family, will DuFleur stand by his side?
DuFleur Thyme and her mother are living with their cousin D’Winterberry since her father blew up their Residence while experimenting with time. As D’Winterberry’s sons are estranged from their mother, D’Thyme is named as D’Winterberry Heir. DuFleur also has a strong Flair for working with time, and her secondary Flair is embroidery. So she works at a shop, and embroiders items. But her mother and aunt have different plans for her. They have contacted D’Holly to sponsor a Season for her, so she can find a husband, preferable a rich and titled Lord who can keep them all in good style. DuFleur really is not interested in all of that, but she has no choice, and has to allow D’Holly to buy some gowns and accessories for her. Even jewellery from T’Ash. But T’Ash has an other solution, he wants her to repair some no-time vaults that have stopped working, and in exchange for that service, she can have her pick of his jewellery both for her self and for her FamCat FairyFoot.
She really can’t work anymore at the shop, as the Season will cost her a lot of time and energy, but D’Holly has a solution for that as well: her embroidery is so beautiful, so three dimensional, it is art. And as her own father, T’Apple is the premier artist in Celta, she knows what she is saying. And so DuFleur gets her work exposed in the gallery owned by T’Apple and his son, AppleHeir. She is overwhelmed, she never knew her work would be considered art and bring in so much money. Now she can pay for everything she needs for the Season herself, and she can buy some more equipment for her secret laboratory. DuFleur is determined to clear her father’s name and get the ban on experiments with time lifted.
DuFleur’s HeartMate has other ideas. He knows who she is now, and is determined to woo her, and get her. In his life, in his heart and in his bed. He doesn’t really care for her Flair for time, as he doesn’t understand it, and thinks it is dangerous. He has just gotten his title of T’Willow a few months ago, when the previous D’Willow got to sick to function as head of the house anymore. But instead of dying, his MotherDam (grandmother) made an arrangement with the Ship: she is in cryogenics until a cure is found for her illness. But she was losing her Flair for longer, and has made some very bad matches. The Willow Flair is in matchmaking, finding HeartMates and normal marriages, suitable mates. If this would come out, the Willow reputation would be irreparably damaged. So T’Willow does his best to find out the status with those marriages, and if he can still rescue them. Like the one between Tinne Holly and his wife Genista. Theirs is shaky at the moment.
T’Willow really wants his HeartMate, but he vowed not to pressure her. He will let fate take its course, and perhaps the circumstances will put them together sooner. His MotherDam really hated his guts when it became clear he would be her Heir, as his Flair was the strongest in centuries. After all the female Heads of the Willow House, there would be a male one. So she banished him to the country, and forbade him to use his Flair. But now he has come home, and he will stay T’Willow, no matter what happens with his MotherDam. The House and the household are happy with him, as D’Willow was a manipulative and harsh mistress, hiding the HeartMates of her own family from them.
It was lovely to find out more about the previous heroes and heroines, and to just go on with the story. There is not so much time between book 5 and this one, as there is between the first 5 novels. A lot happens, good and bad, and as DuFleur was one of the surviving victims in the previous book, the effects of that have great impact on her life now.
I liked DuFleur, she dedicated her time to clearing her father’s name, as his Flair is hers as well, and even greater. She loves her mother, even though there is little to love in the woman. For that reason she won’t take the title of D’Thyme from her. In the end the mother really did surprise me though. DuFleur really didn’t want a season, or find a husband. A husband, let alone a HeartMate, would never approve of her experiments with time, and too many obligations would befall her. She wanted to stay alone, as she has been her whole live.
The part with the HouseHeart of Thyme is really lovely.
But I did not really care for T’Willow, he demands too much after all, and doesn’t want to understand her. And when she doesn’t accept the HeartBond fast enough, he draws back from her, resenting her secret, but also not sharing his own with her.
Still, another great instalment in this series, which will be forever on my shelves. Some nice lovescenes, but the book also made me cry and smile. DuFleur’s Fam is a selfish cat, but T’Willow’s Fam is a great character. Ofcourse Winterberry and his FamFox have a part in this book as well, which I liked a lot.