Tanglewood Legacy (The Three Sisters Book 3)- eBook
Tanglewood Legacy (The Three Sisters Book 3)- eBook
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She’s his greatest discovery and about to become his greatest challenge.
Pierre’s greatest discovery is his love for Isis, but can he, an ordinary human man, protect her from mystic forces hell-bent on revenge?
Her magical strength is transformation, but is she powerful enough to change his heart?
A witch in the crosshairs
Circe Tanglewood has tried to fit in with the other witches of Darnuith, but since the day her sister became queen, she’s been the target of painful rumors and vicious threats. Aside from her sisters, her only friend is the owner of the apothecary where she works. Her heart wants more from the taciturn and commanding Rhys, but she’s hesitant to risk losing her sole ally.
A wizard with a past
Rhys Bloodgood has suffered loss and never plans to open himself up to it again. No matter how attracted he is to Circe, allowing himself to love her is a gamble he’s not ready to take. Besides, a failed relationship might lose him a talented apprentice.
A war that will either bring them together or tear them apart
Rhys and Circe must work together to save Queen Medea from a poisoning attempt, which shatters the walls between them and drives them into the mounting political turmoil between Darnuith and Paragon. When friends become lovers, there’s nothing like the magical high, but the perils of finding Medea’s would-be assassin could destroy them before they have a chance to begin.
Isis Tanglewood jackknifed off the bed as two glowing red eyes faded from her memory. The nightmare again. She held her head, wiping tears she couldn’t remember shedding from under her eyes. She’d been crying in her sleep again. Ever since she’d raised Medea from the dead, she’d suffered dreams that left her heart pounding and her breath short. Dreams that were more than dreams if she was honest with herself. The worst part was, she couldn’t even seek out the comfort of her sisters. How could she tell Medea that when she’d descended into Hades to resurrect her, accidentally leaving her unborn son behind, that something else, something evil, had taken notice of her and now haunted her at night?
She had enough trouble looking Medea in the eye. Could she ever forgive herself for that terrible mistake? Phineas. Oh goddess, Medea had planned to name the boy Phineas.
Throwing back the covers, she leaped from her bed and rushed to the chamber pot. Her heart beat a mad tattoo within her chest, her stomach somersaulting in the wavering room. Wait, that wasn’t in her head. Isis remembered she was on a ship bound for La Nouvelle-Orléans, or as the English called it, New Orleans. The sickness she was feeling wasn’t from her nightmares at all, but from the roiling of the wooden vessel on the mighty sea.
She grabbed her robe and slipped it on over her nightgown, then flung open the door to her quarters and headed for the upper deck. She needed air. Needed to see the stars, feel the comforting witness of the moon, and connect with the magic that night breathed into her.
Shadows gathered around her ankles. The darkness was trying to comfort her as it always did when she was anxious. Only, for the first time in her life, their presence wasn’t entirely welcome. The darkness in her nightmare—the demon with the red eyes—also commanded shadows, and with the memory of his presence fresh in her mind, the tendrils that snaked around her calves felt too much like his touch.
As her bare feet fell on the wooden deck and the warm sea air blew back her dark hair, Isis tried to put the demon out of her mind. The dream was always the same. He wanted her. Wanted to be with her. And the worst part was, as horrifying a visage as the demon possessed, the dream filled her with lust as certainly as it filled her with fear. This particular demon knew how to turn on the charm.
She looked out over the railing toward the singular moon, so different from the night sky of Ouros, and wondered if there was a spell to protect her from her own mind. Her own guilt.
“You too? Bad dreams?” A woman’s voice came from behind her, and Isis whirled. She understood the woman’s French clearly enough, but her accent was different from what she’d picked up in Provence. Paris, she guessed. The woman had the dark curly hair and gray eyes of many she’d met from that region.
“Yes. Is it obvious?” Isis asked.
The woman pulled her robe tighter around her slight frame. She was too thin and too pale, hair dull. Isis had seen it before in other travelers. The sickness took hold, extinguishing the spark in their eyes before slowly draining them of life. “I only assumed as that is why I came up. I think it’s the sea. The roiling of the boat does something to my mind. I’ve never slept well, not one night since we’ve been on this bloody boat.” She arched an eyebrow. “I’m Delphine, by the way. Delphine Devereaux.”
“Enchante, Delphine. How is it we haven’t met before? Have you been in Haiti long?”
“Only long enough to switch vessels. Our original ship is returning to France,” Delphine said.
When Isis had set off from Provence with her sisters and Rhys, they’d intended to travel straight to America, but a storm had blown their ship off course, and they’d initially ended up in Haiti. They’d stayed for several months, until once again, their subtle use of magic started to call attention to them. They took no precautions but were never ill. They had no servants, yet their home was always well tended. Food appeared on their table although they employed no cook. Eventually people started to notice, and the whispers became more heated.
Suspicion alone, though, wasn’t enough to drive them on. It was the baby. Circe’s pregnancy had advanced. Among their kind, babies were notorious for unexpected magic. They needed a place far away from the bustling crowd, a place where they could be safe from human interference.
“You didn’t mention your name,” Delphine said, shaking her from her thoughts.
“Oh, excuse me. I’m Isis Tanglewood.” She gave the woman a shallow curtsy.
“What an unusual name for a French woman,” Delphine said. “You are French, are you not?”
“From Provence.” Isis shifted uncomfortably. The secret to a good lie was a partial truth. “My mother heard the name while traveling.”
Delphine studied her. “And your destination is la Nouvelle-Orléans?” She scoffed, scanning Isis from head to toe. “Did they find you in a brothel or a convent? With skin like yours, I assume a convent.”
Isis attempted to tamp down her offense. She was aware that most of the women on this ship were, in fact, taken from brothels, convents, and prisons and offered new lives as wives to hardened colonists of the territory of Louisiana. This Delphine meant no harm in her inquiry. While men might have many reasons for traveling to the Americas, the women here did not share the social freedoms she’d enjoyed in Darnuith before they’d fled her home world. Still, she couldn’t bring herself to lie about this.
“Neither,” she said honestly. “My sisters and I wanted to settle somewhere new.” When Delphine gave her a strange look, she added. “We travel with my sister’s husband, Rhys.”
Delphine’s mouth opened, and she nodded her understanding. A man explained everything. Isis had to keep herself from rolling her eyes. The culture in this dimension was strange, indeed.
“I too travel with my sisters, Lucienne and Antoinette,” Delphine said, smiling bitterly. “No husbands, though. I am told we will stay in a convent under the watch of the Ursuline nuns until a suitable match can be made for us. By suitable match, I presume they mean the highest bidder. Whoever is willing to pay for a wife to cook, clean, and warm their bed. After living in the wilds these years, I bet it’s the bed-warming they’re most in need of, or they wouldn’t have sought us out.”
Isis frowned. Three sisters, just like them, sold like chattel. The thought upset her, but this was how this realm worked, and there was nothing she could do about the women’s fate. “I wish you the best possible outcome.”
Delphine opened her mouth to speak but was silenced by a fit of coughing, her face growing paler with her breathlessness until it rivaled the glow of the moon. When she finally stopped, her bottom lip was stained bright red from fresh blood.
The woman was dying. Isis recognized the signs of the illness the people here called consumption. Rhys had the herbs and magic to cure it, but asking him to do so was out of the question. They’d left Provence and then Saint-Domingue to escape scrutiny. What would be the point if they made the same mistakes here and garnered more accusations of witchcraft?
Still, her heart grew heavy, thinking of the woman’s plight. By the way she spoke so freely of warming a man’s bed, Isis did not doubt that she likely came from a brothel. She feared Delphine’s life had been hard and was about to get harder.
Delphine examined her in the moonlight, coughing again into her hand. Her eyes narrowed. “How is it that after weeks of travel, your skin still glows as if it’s lit from within? Your figure hasn’t suffered a bit from the gruel they serve us. Your hair shines like a raven’s wing.”
Isis thought quickly. It would not benefit her or her sisters for their relative health to be questioned. “My sisters and I spent several months with friends on a plantation in Saint-Domingue, regaining our strength after the long journey from France.” Isis raised her chin.
“Ah.” She scoffed, and Isis saw her eyes turn hard. “A proper lady with friends in high places. Perhaps I shouldn’t be speaking so openly above my class.” The harsh sting of her tone told her that Delphine didn’t think highly of proper ladies.
“I’m quite certain a proper lady wouldn’t be on a ship to the wilds of America.” Isis heaved a beleaguered sigh. “I hope we can be friends once you’ve made your new home, Delphine.”
The sickly woman made a guttural sound. “Of course. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I find I’ve grown tired again. Sleep well, Isis.” She gave a shallow curtsy and headed for the stairs.
“Delphine?” Isis called, suddenly curious at the talk of sleep. The woman paused her descent and looked at her expectantly. “What was your nightmare about?”
The woman smiled a mouth of yellowing teeth. “I dreamed of a red-eyed demon,” she said, then grinned wider. “I just hope it wasn’t my future husband.”
Isis hugged herself against an unexpected chill as Delphine disappeared below deck.
- Sisterhood of witches
- Historical fantasy: New Orleans
- Epic action & adventure
- Forced Proximity