Tuesday, 30 September 2014

A Witch Rises in the States

I'm thrilled that today marks the publication of WITCHRISE, the last book in my Tudor Witch Trilogy with Harlequin Teen in the States. It's been a long time coming, but finally all three books in the trilogy are out on sale.
WITCHRISE: out now in the States

Only one witch can rise above the coming storm

When Tudor witch Meg Lytton receives an unexpected legacy—her mother's magical wand, ring and spellbook—she has no idea her future happiness is in danger. For the witchfinder Marcus Dent is back in her dreams, and he will use any weapon to gain her newfound powers for himself.

Now Meg must discover the secret of Invictus—her mother's magical ring. Summoned back to Hatfield, she knows a battle is coming. But Meg is no longer alone in her struggle against Dent. Surrounded by her friends, she faces her greatest challenge head-on: losing Alejandro, her beloved. For it seems the Spanish novice has been keeping secrets from them all.

Powers clash and hearts break in the spellbinding third book of The Tudor Witch Trilogy.

Extract:

"Face north."

Slowly I obeyed, shuffling round on bare feet. The fire had burnt low and I could see only the faintest glimmer of light through the blindfold. But the spell was familiar to me from my training as a witch.

Set four candles about the summoning circle. Four black candles for the four points of the compass.

I shivered, for despite the chill December evening I wore nothing but a simple shift. Yet I was too excited to notice the cold, my heart beating hard, my fingertips already tingling with power.

Pungent smells filled my narrow, low-ceilinged bedchamber: myrrh, juniper berries, scorched yew, and a sickly scent I did not recognize. The preparations were almost complete.

The spirits may be conjured by bell and black candle, and by the burning of churchyard yew and crow's feather.

I ought to have been afraid.

The last time I had tried this spell, I had almost destroyed everything in my world. My mistress, the Lady Elizabeth, sister to Queen Mary, had insisted on seeking advice from her dead mother, Anne Boleyn. I had managed to conjure the executed Queen's spirit, but the timing of the spell had not been auspicious. Something else had come through with her from the underworld: a cruel, dark spirit, which had threatened not only our lives with its malice, but also the whole of England.

Tonight, though, my friend Richard would be my guide, to lessen the chances of our spell going wrong again.

Besides, this time I was summoning up a spirit for my own reasons. My mistress had banished me from Hatfield House, on the advice of her old governess, Kat Ashley. The Queen had reluctantly dropped the charge of treason against her younger sister, but Elizabeth was still out of favour, and now convinced that the presence of a witch in her household—however secret—would get her arrested again. I was back with my father at our family home in Oxfordshire, but I felt certain my destiny would lead me back to the Lady Elizabeth in the future. And to stand against my enemies, to learn best how to use my powers, I needed help—a magickal help that could only come from the world of the spirits.

"Take two steps forward. Enough. You are now almost at the edge of the circle." I heard the rustle of his conjuror's robe as he rose from his knees behind me. "Wait for my word."

The bare flesh on my arms grew goose-pimpled as I waited, and not just from the cold.

I had no doubt that this summoning would succeed. Richard was apprentice to Master John Dee, the Queen's astrologer, a man famed as a conjuror and magician, and had learned the craft from his master. But this was still a dangerous spell.

Richard struck the bell three times with his athame, then raised his voice. "Hear us, spirit winds of the north! We ask that you heed our call, by the power of fire, and by the power of sacrifice."

He paused, and I guessed he must be pouring a dollop of thick, dark blood from the altar cup into his palm. "And by the power of this blood."

His wet finger brushed first my forehead and chin, then stroked from one cheek to the other, completing the sign of the cross in blood.

"May the stars look kindly on our enterprise," Richard continued in a ringing voice. "May the dead hear us and obey. By the sacred time, by the dark of the moon, by these spells and this circle, I ask that the spirit be subdued to our will and appear before us."

A thrill ran through me as Dee's apprentice turned away, beginning to chant the ninefold charm. My breathing shallow, I struggled to contain my excitement as the spell came to completion. From behind my blindfold I caught a brief flicker—the candles all dipping together—then the room grew abruptly cold, as though the spirits were approaching.

I lifted my arms in an age-old gesture of welcome, waiting for Richard to finish.

At last he leaned close to my ear, and his breath scorched my cheek. "Call her," he whispered, and I opened my mouth to obey.

But at that moment I felt a chill draught on my bare feet, then heard Richard growl under his breath in frustration.

"What do you want, Spaniard?" he demanded. "This is no place for you."

Impatiently I tore at my blindfold.

Alejandro stood framed in the doorway, his face dark with tension, raising a lantern to illuminate the room.

"What are you doing up here, Meg?" Alejandro stared first at me, then the magickal paraphernalia scattered about the chalk-drawn circle. His gaze flicked to the young man by my side. To the long shift I wore—perhaps a little scanty to be wearing when alone with another man. "And with him?"

Oh, Alejandro. What a pest you are, I thought. Yet my heart flooded with tenderness at the sight of him. My Spanish betrothed, so passionate and intense: dark-haired, dark-eyed, graceful as a dancer, both on foot and on horseback. He was strong too, muscular and broad-shouldered, skilled with a long sword, a born soldier. And glaring at Dee's apprentice with undisguised jealousy as though he intended to draw that dagger at his belt and use it.

You can read the rest of this free extract from WITCHRISE at Amazon US and Amazon UK.

And find out more about the Tudor Witch Trilogy at Goodreads!


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