Book two of The Witches' Rede series
An eons-old foe. A vindictive spirit.
And one woman just trying to survive.
Something dark stirs within Maeve; something living, powerful, and terrifying. She has the ability to manipulate fire, but she cannot control it.
When Redington finds itself mired in an arson investigation, Maeve attempts to rein in her powers or else risk being implicated in the crime.
But when her fiancé leaves her behind in a wild Territory, and her closest friend is murdered, shadows from her past emerge and trail her every move, testing her resolve to let sleeping beasts lie.
If everyone around her is to survive, Maeve must not surrender to the monster raging within.
Enjoy an excerpt:
“I must admit I’ve been better.”
“Are you hungry? Care for a few cookies?” He jostled the hat and tin, removing its lid before offering it to her.
“Thank ye, no—me stomach’s feelin’ a bit off today.”
“You’re sure? The Widow Marsden made them for me. They’re gingersnaps—I hear ginger is wonderful for settling an uneasy stomach.”
Maeve plucked one from the tin. Thoughts of eating still nauseated her, and she paused with the thin, hard, biscuit-like cookie against her lips.
He smiled in encouragement.
She took a tentative bite and her senses were flooded with flavor: among those she recognized were ginger, followed by something that tasted like peppermint. With the immediate settling of her stomach, Maeve finished the cookie and helped herself to a few more.
“Tasty little things, aren’t they?”
“I don’t care what everyone else thinks; Widow Marsden is such a love. A real dear old lady.”
“I’ll … I’ll have to take yer word for it.” The dear old lady had, after all, seen fit to stay as far as possible from the Tiff and Tawny, so Maeve never had any personal interactions with her.
While Maeve helped herself to a few more cookies, Brother Thurman’s voice carried over the din of the crowd.
“Church doors are open; please come inside where it’s temperate.”
Mr. Davidson cleared his throat and cast a smile upon Maeve. “Let’s not be strangers, now.”
“Are ye not joinin’ us for the service?”
“Oh,” he drawled with a lazy shrug. “I don’t have any interest in participating in this type of idolatry. I was only here to discuss some business arrangements with the pastor.”
“Excuse me,” Alexis interrupted loudly, cutting between the two. “Dalliers get the pews farthest from the cooling machines.” She looped her arm with Maeve’s, knocking the remaining cookie to the dirt. “Oopsie.”
Maeve waved at Mr. Davidson as Alexis jerked her into the tiny church. As she stepped over the threshold, Maeve winced at the blast of chilly air striking her face, and she shivered violently. She snapped at Alexis, “Tha’ was rude!”
“What the hell are you doing?” hissed Alexis.
“Tremblin’?” said Maeve through chattering teeth.
“Don’t play dumb. That’s not what I meant!”
“Oh. I was just havin’ some pleasantries with Mr. Davidson.” Maeve twisted in her spot. He stared after her with a peculiar look on his face. She glared at Alexis. “Or are pleasantries no longer allowed?”
“Not with men they aren’t. It’s bad enough you’re pleasant with Mr. O’Doherty!”
Maeve couldn’t help but roll her eyes. “Ye’re bein’ absurd.” She yanked her arm from Alexis’s grasp. “They mean me no harm.”
“No.” Alexis prodded Maeve’s collarbone with a single finger. “You’re being absurd. Men are only ever after one thing and so long as you’re in Mr. Forino’s keeping and my responsibility in his absence, I can’t have you having pleasantries with other men. Your beauty is a terrible liability.”
“But havin’ pleasantries with other women would be acceptable?”
Alexis’s jaw dropped.
Alexis sputtered: “Do you even know what we’re talking about here?”
Maeve wasn’t entirely sure but figured such topics were fantastically inappropriate—especially on hallowed grounds. It was a relief when Brother Thurman changed the subject for her.
“Welcome, welcome,” he spoke to the congregation. “It gives me such joy to have so many smiling faces in the Lord’s house this morning.” His already wide smile broadened when he caught sight of Maeve in the pews. “Good morning, all!”
A chorus of voices rose around Maeve: “Good morning!”
“Lovely weather we’re having inside the building, isn’t it?”
“Beats the hell out of being outside,” someone from the back of the church laughed.
Uncomfortable chuckles rippled through the pews. Brother Thurman shook his head and replied, “I’ll pretend I didn’t hear that.”
Less uncomfortable laughter followed.
“Please find a seat, greet your neighbors, and enjoy the blessings bestowed upon us by the wondrous talents of Mr. Stilwell.”
While the church filled with the unintelligible murmur of many conversations at once, Maeve became keenly aware a heated stare was boring a hole into the side of her head. She turned. “What?”
Alexis blanched and leaned away.
“Why are ye starin’ at me?”
“I’m sorry, I was just waiting for you to burst into flames. You promised.”