Excerpt Threads of Magic

After much excitement and anticipation, Book 2 of Dangerous Magic has finally arrived! Here is a sneak preview of Threads of Magic. Enjoy!!! 

Threads of Magic Cover.jpg

Chapter 1

The carriage followed the bend in the River Thames that would bring Elizabeth and Fitzwilliam Darcy to the last stage of their journey. It was nearing sundown, and the river was flowing in golden ripples. Darcy roused himself reluctantly from his lethargy and kissed the top of Elizabeth’s head. In response, she snuggled closer to him with a little murmur. She was sleeping so sweetly, and she felt so soft against his chest, so warm, he did not have the heart to wake her up. 

Their precious time alone together was coming to an end, and they had not even started discussing any of the urgent matters that needed to be dealt with. The trip from Longbourn had passed far too quickly. Not that he could complain. They had used the time well. Elizabeth looked delightfully ruffled, her lips swollen with kisses. A languid contentment spread through him. For the moment, he did not feel frustrated, but being alone with Elizabeth had tested his ability to restrain himself to the extreme. 

If only they were not in the middle of a war, he would have spent the time very differently. But then, if wishes were horses, beggars would ride. It was no use dwelling on the impossible. 

And there were practical matters to attend to. It was too risky to use magic along this stretch of the river, so close to the Mage’s Hall. There would be spies, and, like hounds, they would scent the slightest whiff of magic coming from the carriage.

Trying not to disturb Elizabeth, Darcy cautiously reached for his cane and knocked at the roof to signal the coachman to stop. He may as well have saved himself the trouble. Elizabeth immediately sat up straight, eyes wide open, fully alert.

“Are we under attack?”

“No, my sweet. It is nothing. I just need to set the carriage down.”

Reassured, she stretched with the grace of a cat. Unable to resist, he leaned forward and kissed her on the nose.

“Are we almost there?” 

“Not quite, but too close for comfort. I am sorry for waking you, sweetest Elizabeth, but I need to undo the spell.”

“Which spell?” said Elizabeth, her lip curving upwards seductively, “the one you cast on me to make me fall in love with you?”

“I can never undo that spell,” said Darcy, smiling in response. “And I believe it was you who bewitched me. I did nothing.”

“I seem to recall being dragged back to life by a spell you cast.”

“Oh, that? That was nothing.”

She laughed. “It was hardly nothing. Not for me. You saved me.”

He was embarrassed to acknowledge it. Those few days were like a nightmare to him, best forgotten. She had never asked what he had done to bring her out of her protective cocoon. He hoped he would never have to confess that he had made everything up, on the spot. He would never hear the end of it. 

He cleared his throat. “Yes, well. That was then. But now we must take care Napoleon’s mages do not notice us. I would rather arrive at the Hall in one piece.”

Her eyes clouded and she nodded. 

Swiftly, he uttered the words to undo the spell and sat back as he felt the spell unravel. 

“Be prepared to be hideously jolted,” he said, ordering the coachman to set off again. “We are no longer floating.”

As if to prove his words, the carriage gave a teeth-shattering lurch. 

“Oh, I am not worried,” said Elizabeth, her eyes twinkling. “You shall act as my cushion and protect me from the caprices of the road.”

“It will be my pleasure.”

She settled back into her former position. He wrapped his arms around her and leaned backwards against the squabs, treasuring these last moments alone together. Once they reached their destination, the residence of the Royal Mages, they would have little time to themselves.

They would have to return to their own training, and Elizabeth would be fully occupied teaching all the other mages her new magical method. Darcy knew they would all be driven to exhaustion, and the two of them would have little time together. 

He set these reflections aside. Time enough to think of these things when they reached Founders’ Hall. 

“You told me have learned the whole of the Compendium of Spells during your absence. Did you memorize the spell I just did?”

“No.” Elizabeth’s brow wrinkled. “I do not recall it being in the Compendium.”

She was remarkable. How did she learn it all so quickly?

“Quite right. It is not in the Compendium.”

Elizabeth snorted. “Are you testing me again, Fitzwilliam Darcy? Do you still want to prove that I have not had a proper education? You will not catch me out, you know.”

“Of course not. I have no intention of trying.”

She sat up and stared at him in disbelief. “But you just did.”

“That was just—”

“--a test.” Her eyes defied him to deny it.

Did he still suspect her abilities? It was possible, but why must she always push and prod and demand answers? 

“Very well. I admit it. It was a test, but a very small one.”

“You may as well confess, sir, that you still do not fully trust my abilities.”

“I do not doubt them,” he said, striving to be honest. “But since I do not understand them, I do not know what to make of them. You are an extremely powerful mage. That much is certain.”

She had proven it when it mattered. He had nearly lost her because she had risked everything to save the Hall. He could never let anything like that happen to her again. A surge of fierce tenderness rose up in him. He would protect her with his life. 

“Regardless of how I feel about your magic, I hope you can trust me never to let you down. Ever.”

“I know,” she said. There was that smile again, dancing deep within her eyes. Her faith in him was humbling. 

He shuddered. So many things could go wrong. He only hoped he would be able to keep his promise.