When we last saw Emily and Michael in The Importance of Being Emily, they were on their way to marital bliss. Now, a few years later, Michael has finally become a chronicler, and things will never be the same...
Banished from home while her husband adjusts to life as an immortal, blood-drinking chronicler, Emily Black is homesick, heartsick and struggling under the constant sensory barrage of a city drenched in ancient magic. When an old friend asks for her aid in solving a string of murders, she welcomes the distraction, despite the danger.
Justine Dubois is grateful for a seer’s help, and more understanding than anyone of Emily’s plight. As a guardian, Justine commands respect; as a woman, her magic is considered inferior. Together, they are determined to prove their worth to London’s magicians, starting with solving these murders—with maybe a bit of matchmaking on the side.
Long before he met his soul mate, Michael Black made a commitment to join the Order of St. Jerome. He will live forever, forced to watch the woman he loves age and die. As Emily hunts the murderer, Michael struggles to protect her. But if he loses control of his hunger, the greatest threat to her safety could be Michael himself.
Warning: Contains tortured soul mates, scheming faeries, vampire debauchery, deadly parasols, illicit blood-drinker relations, and adorable plot moppets.
It's available now from: Samhain Publishing, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, and of course from the iTunes store.
But wait, there's more! Here's an exclusive excerpt from Poison in the Blood:
Due to my wild reputation, one might think corpses appeared at every social gathering I attended, but that was certainly not true. The murderous blame simply lay in the nature of magicians. My personal attendance had nothing to do with the chance for bloodshed, because seers aren’t the violent sort—at least to my knowledge, for I have never met another of my kind.
The Midsummer celebration was no different from the rest of the miserable gatherings I had attended since my flight to London. The ballroom was loud, the heat was oppressive and the weight of so many auras smothered me in an onslaught of desires, plots and schemes. London’s constant bustle was hellish for a seer because the city was tangled in knots of magic due to centuries of magician habitation. I longed to return to the relative quiet of our home in Yorkshire, but that wouldn’t happen until Samhain, which was months away.
“Emily, you are being melancholy again,” Josephine scolded me.
“Am I?” With a deep breath I forced a brave smile for my sister’s benefit. An empty smile, like the painted face of one of my daughter Lillian’s porcelain dolls.
“Quite. Thomas could dance with you again.” She looked toward her husband, who was speaking with a group of other librarian gentlemen. Thomas laughed, his face a bit flushed from too much wine, and it tightened the ache that squeezed my heart. Michael would never have that blush of life again.
Michael had become a chronicler last Samhain, an immortal member of the Order who would continue recording magician history long after my bones had turned to dust. I hadn’t seen my husband since just before his transformation, because the children and I had been sent away to stay with my sister Josephine in London for our safety, but I was certain he was now pale like his mentor, Simon St. Jerome. Cool and distant, as though trapped within a glacier.
“No, thank you. I will be fine.” I fidgeted with the fingers of my black silk gloves.
“You should try matching more couples,” Jo suggested.
She meant well, but she couldn’t know how painful it was for me to match people at the moment. Under normal circumstances I didn’t mind it, because matchmaking was the main role I had for my magic. As a seer, the only one in all of England, my magic was considered rare, but because I was a woman it wasn’t taken seriously. It would be unseemly for me to become involved in magician politics, so my abilities went to waste. Thus I sat on the outskirts of gatherings, smiling politely while my head pounded and I wanted to scream at the unfairness of it all.
I looked up to see a gentleman approaching. He looked somewhat familiar. He had short, light ginger hair and soulful green eyes, and was of average height—not as tall as Michael or Simon, but taller than myself, which wasn’t very difficult. It was the exceptionally strong witch’s aura that allowed me to recognize him.
“Dr. Bennett. How lovely to see you again. Surely you’re not still traveling after all this time?” I asked.
It had been seven years since I saw him last. He was an American, and when we met he had been touring Europe. We had become acquainted at the same spring ball where I first learned Michael was my soul mate. At the time I was a spinster suddenly faced with the impossibility of loving a man destined to become a chronicler, and Dr. Bennett had offered me the opportunity of becoming an investigator in the service of a guardian he worked with. Though I enjoyed my role as wife and mother, there were times I wondered what might have happened had I taken him up on his offer.
Dr. Bennett smiled, pushing a pair of gold wire spectacles up the bridge of his nose. I didn’t remember him wearing them at our last meeting. “No, I have relocated to London permanently.”
“How marvelous. You must come to tea sometime,” I insisted. My sister made a soft, strangled noise, likely scandalized by the idea that I had just invited a bachelor to visit her home. She would come to terms with it. After all, Dr. Bennett had saved Michael’s life once, so I owed him a great deal.
“I would like that,” he replied. Anxiety rolled from him like the buzzing of a swarm of bees. “Mrs. Black, you offered once to match me. I was wondering if I might impose upon you to do so now?”
Ah, that was the source of his nervousness. I smiled and nodded. “Of course, I would be happy to. Would you mind stepping into the garden with me? It will be easier to perform the reading there.”
He offered me his arm, but I politely declined. Though my black silk gloves aided in dampening my abilities, any touch could trigger a vision, and his energy was already too loud. We made our way from the crowded ballroom, and I felt better once we were free of it, though not by much. There was little relief for me within the city.
“What made you change your mind? About being matched?” I asked.
“Old age, perhaps,” he replied with a light chuckle.
The garden was lit by lanterns for the occasion, and I stopped and inhaled the scent of roses in the evening air. I kept roses in my garden, though I had little talent for tending them. My garden was mostly a refuge from Simon, because he seldom ventured out of doors. Despite our best efforts to be civil for Michael’s sake, his mentor and I disliked each other.
I removed my gloves and set them atop a stone bench. “May I see your hand, please?”
Dr. Bennett extended his right hand, and I took it, studying his palm. My vision unfocused, and the colors of his aura bloomed like a flower. He was a powerful witch, among the most powerful I had met, which made his profession a logical choice. Witches were healers, and though their auras were usually calm and soothing, there was a great deal of agitation in his.
“Take a deep breath and clear your thoughts,” I ordered.
He did as requested, and as the irritation smoothed away I caught a hint of its source. A woman—a specific woman, with lovely blonde hair and sparkling blue eyes. A bit like my sisters, who had all inherited golden beauty while I was cursed with dull brown hair and sullen gray eyes, but this woman had a fire about her that my amiable siblings lacked. Spirit. Interesting... Dr. Bennett was very taken with her, and he worried that I would name someone else for him.
Closing my eyes, I searched through his energy, seeking possible connections to a suitable mate. There was something unique about his aura, a strong link to—
“Dr. Bennett!” a voice shouted. The connection broke, and I lost track of the energy I had been examining.
“Here,” he called in reply.
My senses were still stretched as the man approached, and I caught a wave of dread that caused gooseflesh to prickle across my skin. There were so many magicians in London that I had difficulty keeping track of them all, but I thought I recognized him as a sorcerer of some importance.
“Dr. Bennett. I’m sorry to interrupt, but Miss Dubois has sent for you. It appears—” He paused and looked at me.
“Go on. I trust Mrs. Black,” the doctor replied.
“It appears that there has been another murder. There is a carriage waiting for you.”
A murder? Another implied more than one as well. How interesting.
Still with me? Good! Because it's giveaway time.
First, I'm giving away a SIGNED copy of Bewitched, Blooded and Bewildered over at Goodreads:
The winner will be announced on this blog on Friday!