In 1814, three cousins—Gretchen, Emma, and Penelope—discover their family lineage of witchcraft when a binding spell is broken, allowing their individual magical powers to manifest. Now, beyond the manicured gardens and ballrooms of Regency London, an alluring underworld available only to those with power is revealed to the cousins. By claiming their power, the three cousins have accidentally opened the gates to the underworld.
Now ghouls, hellhounds—and most terrifying of all, the spirits of dark witches known as the Greymalkin Sisters—are hunting and killing young debutante witches for their powers. And, somehow, Emma is connected to the murders…because she keeps finding the bodies.
Can the cousins seal the gates before another witch is killed…or even worse, before their new gifts are stripped away?
Exclusive Excerpt that introduces Penelope
Penelope’s mother was currently drinking from a pot of chocolate and reading a salacious novel full of doomed maidens and ruined castles. Or was it doomed castles and ruined maidens? Penelope was desperate to find out. She leaned against her mother with a small sigh.“Was it dreadful, my darling?” Bethany asked, slipping a ribbon into her book to mark the page. “Dancing debutantes and fortune hunters?”
She raised a dark eyebrow. “Worse? Goodness, how did you manage that? I remember those horrid balls.”
“Mr. Cohen called me fat,” she replied, wrinkling her nose. “I didn’t even know I was fat until this wretched Season.”
“Mr. Cohen is a sad young man who does not deserve you.”
“That’s what Emma and Gretchen said.”
Bethany smiled her serene smile. “I assume they used rather more lurid language. But I did warn you, kitten. I don’t see why you insist on having a Season. You don’t need to marry, your father has set you up with an inheritance to rival what mine would have been.”
“If you hadn’t married Papa.”
“Do you regret it?”
“Not for a moment,” she replied. “Friends who blow with the wind are not friends at all. I found a good man with a good heart. And he fills out his jacket rather nicely, if I do say so myself.” She reached for her cup. “I love your father and I’d be happy to be Mrs. Chadwick instead of Lady Bethany, if your Grandma man wasn’t so….”
“I was going to say violent,” she returned dryly. “You know she loves my title, and your own, more than we ever shall. More than my own mother did.”
“I know. That’s part of the reason I agreed to this Season. It makes her so happy.”
“She wouldn’t want you to trade your happiness for hers, whatever she might have to say on earls’ sons and vouchers to Almack’s Assembly Rooms. She never had a Season. She can’t understand.”
Penelope stole a sip of rich melted chocolate from her mother’s teacup. “I know. But I want what you and Papa have. I want love.” She gave a dreamy sigh, perfectly able to picture it: a man with wide shoulders and tousled hair, reciting Shakespeare’s sonnets as they rode through a summer storm.
Alyxandra Harvey lives in a stone Victorian house in Ontario, Canada with a few resident ghosts who are allowed to stay as long as they keep company manners. She loves medieval dresses, used to be able to recite all of The Lady of Shalott by Tennyson, and has been accused, more than once, of being born in the wrong century. She believes this to be mostly true except for the fact that she really likes running water, women’s rights, and ice cream.
Among her favourite books are ‘The Wood Wife’ by Terri Windling, ‘Jane Eyre’ by Charlotte Bronte, and of course, ‘Pride and Prejudice’ by Jane Austen. Elizabeth Bennet is her hero because she’s smart and sassy, and Mr. Darcy is, well, yum.
Aside from the ghosts, she also lives with husband and their dogs. She likes cinnamon lattes, tattoos and books.