When Sarahjane attends Lady Morville’s costume party, she never expects to learn her old beau Felix Gryffith is under the illustrious woman’s patronage and stands on the cusp of making a world-changing discovery. Felix, whose lies disgraced her in the eyes of the London elite by labeling her a flirt.
Felix’s love for Sarahjane has never wavered, despite the scandal that forced them apart. He’s desperate to tell her the truth, if he can convince her to listen.
Fate lurked in the shadows that night, years ago. Has it returned to grant Sarahjane and Felix their wishes, or terrorize them?
Sarahjane twirled under Felix’s arm and tried to release his hand. He wouldn’t let her. “Felix, I can’t teach you the steps if you don’t let me go.”
“I don’t want to,” he said, his finger caressing up to her cheek. “Ever.”
But too soon, she broke away from him and approached the refreshment table. Relief and a little superiority filled Felix to know she only gave the other young men momentary glances. It wasn’t long before she left her friends and returned to him. “I need air,” she said.
Concern flooded Felix. “Are you unwell?”
“I won’t be if you get me out of here.”
Felix scanned the partygoers, seeking out her father, and his uncle and aunt. His parents had sent him to London not long after his accident, hoping the doctors here would be of more help than their own in Dublin. He owed his Aunt Penelope much for opening her doors to him.
Where were they? Ah, there. His beloved guardians stood to the far side of the ballroom, backs to them. They wouldn’t protest if he helped Sarahjane. He hoped.
So many of his uncle’s friends had also attended this party. He wished they hadn’t, or found other places in the large house—somewhere away from him—to congregate. Too many of them asked how he was doing with sympathy-laced voices he’d heard frequently, since his accident. Though years had passed since that awful day, he grew stronger.
He knew how to hide what needed hiding. He peered through the windows at the sky. No lightning rippled in the clouds overhead.
Sarahjane laid a hand on his arm. “Are you not feeling well, Felix?”
He met her gaze, could easily stand here all night studying her: her long, straight hair draped around her creamy skin, the light blush along her bosom a nice contrast to the dark, soft tendrils. Though he longed to brush just one lock away, propriety drew his hand to hers. “I’m all right.”
Her laughter sounded, soft and melodious. “No you’re not. You’re bored. Who can blame you?” Her smile turned mischievous. “What would happen if you set off one of your fireworks here?”
“Besides a headline?”
“No such thing will happen.”
“Won’t it?” he said. “I see something along the lines of ‘The House at Samhain Hedge lit up like a candle.’”
“It might put some life into this dull party.”
“Sarahjane.” He took her arm and led her onto the patio. The oil lamps from inside the house barely overtook the moonlight.
The façade of the house disappeared at the end of a sturdy blackthorn hedge. No flowers bloomed on the dark branches, but the scent of Mrs. Floyd’s late summer roses made Felix want to sneeze. He snorted, hoping to forestall the urge…
“You’re stalling!” she cried. “Show me your … fire, flares, whatever you call them. Please?”
“I’ve no idea what you mean.”
She poked a finger into his ribs. Her touch tickled. “Yes you do.”
He rubbed his temples as if his head hurt. “Sarahjane.”
“I said please. Shall I beg?”
Though he’d scolded her, he obliged her a little. A thin line of light traveled up the torch nearby, and flared.
Sarahjane gasped and laughed.
Her joy was worth the strain and flicker of pain in the scar across his back. He rolled his shoulders, gritted his teeth, until the shiver of it subsided.
“Did you do that?” she asked. “Truly?”
Felix shrugged. At least he hadn’t blown the thing up, this time. He hoped he’d get his new oddness under control, soon. By Taranis, I don’t need anyone finding out how different I am!
“But that’s not what I meant,” Sarahjane said. “The last time you did—” She wiggled her fingers. “—the thing you can do, the flare had a particular shade of orange in it I can’t quite reproduce properly.”
“What do you mean reproduce?” he asked.
“With my pigments,” she said. “Show me again?” She threaded her arm through his. “Please?”
“What will Mrs. Floyd think if I set her house on fire?”
“You won’t.” She slid her arm out of his and ran.
He followed her. She slipped into the garden, grabbing onto a wrought iron lattice to steady herself. Her laughter rang through the air. She swung herself around the lattice, and stopped before him, resting her delicate hand on his chest.
Her touch warmed him.
Sarahjane lowered her eyes. “Do it for me, Felix. I’ll give you a kiss, if you do.”
Felix swallowed back surprise and longing, glanced around the garden. Everyone was still inside. He ran a hand down her arm. “I’d love to kiss you,” he said. “But not after. I don’t want to hurt you.”
He feared it might be possible. His worry darkened as if storm clouds filled him. “I might.”
Sarahjane laced her arms around his neck. “Now, then. But don’t disappoint me.”
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Juli D. Revezzo loves fantasy and Celtic mythology and writing stories with all kinds of fantastical elements. She is the author of the Antique Magic series and the Paranormal Romance Celtic Stewards Chronicles series, Gothic fantasy romance, Lady of the Tarot, Victorian romance Watchmaker’s Heart, and more. She is also a member of the Independent Author Network and the Magic Appreciation Tour. To learn more about this and future releases, visit her at: https://www.julidrevezzo.com/
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