by Cecilia Dominic
Aether Psychics Book Two
At the Théâtre Bohème, danger decides who takes the final curtain call.
Hailed as the most talented actress of her generation, Marie St. Jean has something more to her ability than mere talent. She loses a bit of her soul to each role. When the ghostly spirit of the theatre promises her an easy fix, she’s tempted by the chance to finally live a normal life.
Unfortunately, the man she’s drawn to is the last one to settle for normal. But with the Prussians surrounding Paris, there’s no escaping that temptation, either.
Violinist Johann Bledsoe thought he’d left his disgrace in England, but a murder outside the Théâtre Bohème makes him wonder if he’s been exposed. Another reason not to stick around once the siege ends, even if Marie fascinates him.
More murders, steam-powered ravens, and past and present secrets bring them closer to discovering just what lurks within the theatre, and who threatens from without. The only way to save themselves is to reveal their darkest shames—and use the Eros Element in a way that has already driven one man to the brink of madness.
Warning: Processed in a facility where wine is used as currency and dessert is a reward. If you dislike French cooking and attitudes, move along. Things are cooking in this book, and it ain’t Julia Child.
Genre: Steampunk RomanceLight Fantastique Purchase links:
Content/Theme(s): Actors, Musicians, Psychics, SciFi, Suspense, Historical
Release Date: December 15, 2015
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Excerpt, Eros Element & More
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Light Fantastique Excerpt:
Sometimes the wanderlust in Johann subsided just enough for him to feel a twinge of homesickness. The snow outside made him think of how his family home would look now at the beginning of the holiday season. Perhaps a light dusting would give the peaks and sharp-angled roofs a glittering edge, or a heavier fall would make the old hall look like a dowager trimmed in white fur—dignified and elegant, but also potentially deadly.
His mouth twisted into an almost-grin at the association. One never escaped a conversation with his grandmother, the dowager Marchioness, without some sort of scar. Typically for him it included a hint or direct statement of what a disappointment he was to the family, a dreamer rather than a doer like his older brother.
A fluttering movement caught the corner of his eye, and he looked up to see Marie standing in the back of the theatre, something clutched in her hand. Whatever it was disappeared into her cloak pocket, and her expression distracted him from curiosity about what she’d caught, if anything. Longing warred with confusion on her face.
“Mademoiselle?” he asked. “Are you all right?”
“That music,” she said and put a hand to her middle between her heart and her stomach. “It made me homesick for something, but it doesn’t make sense. This is my home, such as it is, but now I miss…something. What were you playing?”
Johann had spoken with hundreds and played before thousands, but he’d never told his secret. His gut said he could trust her even if he wasn’t trustworthy himself. What would it be like if he was, if he could bear open his heart to someone else? He’d never wanted to, and the idea struck him as strange, but accustomed to going with his impulses, he stepped into that space between fear and trust.
“It’s my own composition. I call it Winter.”
She moved closer, and the amused lift of her cheeks became apparent when she stepped into the light cast by the lamps in the orchestra pit. “Original title.”
He put his violin on its stand. “You mock me, Mademoiselle?”
Her smile vanished, and now her cheeks reddened. “Oh, no! It was lovely, but it needs a name that’s less bleak and more poetic, maybe Blossoms Under Snow?”
He liked seeing her blush and wondered if she was one of those women whose flush covered her entire torso if it was deep enough. He sent a desist thought to his groin, but it bounced the notion back with the urge to keep her talking and blushing. “I can’t use a word like Blossoms in a composition title. I’m far too manly for that—it would make me appear weak.”
“Then how about icy shards? That shouldn’t challenge your masculinity.” The temperature in her tone matched that of the hypothetical ice.
What had he said? It figured he would get himself in trouble before long. What did she want?
The answer came to him, then—to be respected for who she was. And he saw her as a very strong woman. But he didn’t know what to say to get himself out of this mess. He only knew one thing—he didn’t want her to leave angry.
“Forgive me,” he said and took her hand. That was always a safe bet, much safer than the ones that had ended him up in this mess, the ones he’d taken to escape his father’s influence.
“For…?” She wouldn’t look at him, and she snatched her hand away.
“For being an ass. I’m too good at it. I didn’t mean to imply that womanliness was the opposite of strength. In truth, you and Iris are two of the strongest people I know.”
“Iris? You are on such intimate terms with her?”
“Miss McTavish, then. Yes, we’ve been working together to help Edward, and no, nothing improper has occurred between us. We’re…friends.”
“You’re not accustomed to being friends with women.” Her statement was almost a question.
“Not typically. I’ve not treated them well in the past, I fear.”
What was she doing to him to make him want to confess and clear his conscience to make room for… For what? He certainly had no desire to be tied down to anyone. As soon as he got this little problem with the Clockwork Guild worked out, he planned to continue the adventure they’d started, perhaps even to the Ottoman Empire and beyond, and he wasn’t afraid to go on alone.
She drew back, but she didn’t leave. “Why the sudden burst of honesty?”
“It was the music. It is a piece about my home, and I play it when I miss it.”
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by Cecilia Dominic
Aether Psychics Book One
If love is the ivy, secrets are the poison.
After enduring heartbreak at the hands of a dishonest woman, Edward Bailey lives according to scientific principles of structure and predictability. Just the thought of stepping outside his strict routine raises his anxiety.
Adding to his discomfort is Iris McTavish, who appears at his school’s faculty meeting in place of her world-famous archeologist father. Worse, the two of them are to pose as Grand Tourists while they search for an element that will help harness the power of aether.
Iris jumps at the opportunity to prove her worth as a scholar—and avoid an unwanted marriage proposal—while hiding the truth of her father’s whereabouts. If her secret gets out, the house of McTavish will fall into ruin.
Quite unexpectedly, Edward and Iris discover a growing attraction as their journey takes them to Paris and Rome, where betrayal, blackmail and outright theft threaten to destroy what could be a revolutionary discovery—and break their hearts.
Warning: Allergen alert! This book was produced in a facility that handles copious amounts of wine, tea and baked goods. May contain one or more of the following: a spirited heroine, a quirky hero, clever banter, interesting facts both made-up and historical, and lots of secrets. It is, however, gluten free.
Genre: Steampunk RomanceEros Element Purchase links: Samhain Amazon BAM iTunes Kobo B&N
Content/Theme(s): Historical, SciFi
Release Date: August 25, 2015
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Eros Element Excerpt:
South of Huntington Station, 10 June 1870
Edward looked up when the compartment door opened and saw a white-blond fairy with a reticule and valise followed by Johann carrying a trunk. No, it’s not a fairy, it’s Miss McTavish with her hair down. Why are her eyes so bright and her cheeks flushed? He looked down when an answering blush bloomed hot in his own cheeks. It’s not proper to see her so disheveled.
“Look what I found,” Johann said. “This young lady arrived in Parnaby Cobb’s personal racing steamcart.”
“That’s remarkable,” Edward said. “How did he bring a racing steamcart into town without my knowing? What model is it?” He twisted around, but the station and the vehicle had long disappeared from view, and now they rolled through the south part of town.
“Didn’t get a chance to check the number. But even stranger—Miss McTavish was being chased by a handsome coach and four perfectly matched chestnuts. Do you have any idea who that might be?”
“I don’t pay attention to horses,” Edward said. “I imagine it was one of the gentry. You almost missed the train,” he told her. “We wouldn’t have waited for you. But how did you enjoy the racer? My brother only has a standard steamcart.”
“I’m afraid I didn’t have much time to take notes on the experience,” she told him, and he wondered if she would have taken notes if given the opportunity. Perhaps he had underestimated her. “But I believe it was the Prancer 457. That’s the only explanation for how fast it went. I didn’t know they had them outside the States.” She twisted her hair in her fingers, and a few metal objects fell out with pings. The hairpins seemed to disappear into the variegated surface of the coach floor. “Oh, no, now I’ll never find them.”
Edward couldn’t stop looking at her. Was this the same prim and proper miss he’d met a few days ago, the one who hadn’t been cowed by the dean or that strange American? And a Prancer. He’d often dreamed of seeing one in person and wanted to examine its engine to see if he could adapt it to run on aether someday, once they’d discovered the crucial steps to stabilize and harness the energy of the substance. He twisted around again like he could wish the rumbling miles between him and the steam-engine driven coach away.
“Don’t you have something in your bag that could help the young lady find her hairpins?” Johann asked, bringing Edward back to the disappointing present.
“I might,” he said. He rooted around in his valise, pulled out a cloth, set the cloth on his lap and the valise on top of it, and with the case now stable, felt around in the reinforced pockets along the side. His fingers closed around a hard rectangular object, which he handed to Johann.
“What is it?” Johann asked.
“Surely you musicians aren’t that dense. Don’t you recognize a magnet?” Edward asked. “If the hairpins are metal, this should attract them. Just be sure you clean it off after. No telling what’s on this floor. And you’re not going to put those dirty pins in your hair, are you?”
Miss McTavish looked at him with a similar expression the duchess used when he said something that demonstrated how little of children he knew. “I have to put my hair up, and I don’t have any other options.”
“Oh, wait a minute,” Johann said and reached into his trousers pocket. He drew out a handful of women’s hairpins. “Will these work?”
Now Miss McTavish looked wide-eyed at the musician. “Dare I ask why you’re carrying those?”
“I spent yesterday evening with an actress of my acquaintance. She prefers her hairpins to not end up in the bed—they prick you at the most inopportune times—and she was, well, she forgot to ask for them back this morning.”
Now Edward felt his face flush, but he wasn’t sure if it was darker or lighter than Miss McTavish’s blush. “Really, Johann, there’s no need to be crude. And how clean could those hairpins be?”
“They’re fine, I’m sure,” Miss McTavish said and held out her hand.
“Allow me,” Johann told her. “I’ve done this for my friends. It’s part of a musician’s life, having to step in at performances when a singer’s coif goes askew.”
The thought of his friend’s fingers tangling in Miss McTavish’s hair made Edward’s cheeks heat again and an uncomfortable tension come to his chest. His mind wanted to interpret the sensations and attach a label to them, but he stopped it. He’d long ago given up that part of him, the piece in the middle that wanted to connect with the piece in the middle of someone else like two complementary elements that combined to form something new and exciting. No, his was an existence best left to himself. Relationship-driven change hurt, particularly if the other person wasn’t interested in the results.
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Be on the lookout for Cecilia Dominic's future release(s): Noble Secrets coming March 2016 and Aether Spirit coming May 2016
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