Title: In The Cards
Series: Mysterious Charm (Book 5)
Author: Celia Lake
Publisher: Celia Lake
Release Date: November 22, 2019
Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex
Genre: Historical fantasy romance. Locked room murder mystery. Tarot cards. House party. 1920s.
The Mysterious Charm series explores the magical community of Great Britain (also known as Albion) in the 1920s, particularly those associated in some way with one Lord Geoffrey Carillon. In The Cards is the story of his new sister-in-law, Laura Penhallow, as she attempts to rebuild her life after surviving tuberculosis, a dangerous magical drink, and planning her sister’s society wedding. She has accepted an invitation to the Amberly’s home on a remote island off Cornwall in hopes of making a few new connections – and possibly even making a match herself.
Excerpt In this excerpt of chapter two, Laura meets Galen (and his best friend, Martin) for the first time after arriving on the island. You can read the entire first chapter through the buy links pages, and the series can be read in any order. Happy reading, whatever that is!
“Ahoy, the traveller!” Laura heard a voice calling down, someone coming down the path. Two someones. One was tow-headed, one of the shining blondes, sharply dressed in a jacket and slacks and a deep purple vest. The other was dark-haired, trailing behind, wearing rather scruffier clothing. It wasn’t the cut or the fit, precisely, but a sense of wear around the knees and elbows. Despite their differences, they came rushing down as if they were a pair of horses pulling as a team, wheeling and moving together.
“Beg pardon, we didn’t realise the portal had started up. Galen Amberley, of course, in case you’ve forgotten. This is Martin Taylor. We’ve been friends since school. He’s here to fill out the numbers a bit.” He had the upper class drawl Laura had gotten used to from her brother-in-law. It was a voice that assumed the world lay before him, ready to be taken up, or at least provide him all the amusements he might want.
“And because Galen gets tremendously bored at these things. Can’t do without supervision.” Martin’s voice was a bright tenor, somehow sharper. Well-educated, but like his clothes, not quite of the same cut. There was a twinkle in his eyes that Laura thought promised good humour, at least.
“Is this your trunk? Do you mind a charm on it? Martin’s quite good with that one that makes the thing not so blasted heavy.”
Laura nodded. To her surprise, Martin didn’t make a move to do the charm, but stuck his hands in his pockets, as if waiting for something.
Galen glanced over, then laughed. “Martin insists I play fair, even if Mother won’t.” He didn’t continue, however.
Laura let the silence draw out for a good fifteen seconds, then said, amused, “I presume there is more to it than that rather opaque sentence?”
Martin grinned at her. “See, I said she’d prefer it.”
Laura just raised her eyebrow. “I can stand here all day. Your mother might worry though.”
“Oh, it’s Mother who’s the complication. And Father. They’re looking to marry me off, and Martin insists you be warned before you’re thrown into the fray. Have the walk up to collect yourself for the challenge ahead.”
Laura blinked. “That’s rather bold.”
“He’s the bold one.” Galen gestured at Martin. “He was a Boar, at school. He is supposed to charge boldly.”
Laura snorted. “I’ve never thought the house selections were all that.” She eyed him up and down. “I suppose you’re Fox?”
“A hit, a very palpable hit!” Martin crowed.
Galen looked amused. “Well, I make it easy.” He had a deep amethyst ring, matching his vest. “At your service for charismatic plotting, yes.”
“So long as it’s charismatic.” Laura felt a bit off balance, and she was retreating to the silly pleasantries that had kept her safe for long enough. She did not like the undertow here, being thrown into the water with no idea what Galen or his parents were plotting. But there was nothing for it now but seeing if they’d tell her, unless she wanted to storm off in a snit to an empty house.
Celia Lake spends her days as a librarian in the Boston (MA) metro area, and her nights and weekends at home happily writing, reading, and researching.
Born and raised in Massachusetts to British parents, she naturally embraced British spelling, classic mysteries, and the Oxford comma before she learned there were any other options.