Blog Tour: A Tangle of Magicks Extract and Giveaway!
A Tangle of Magicks Blog Tour
As part of the blog tour, I have a special extract to share with you guys, taken from Stephanie’s new Kat book!
There is also have a copy of A Tangle of Magicks up for grabs — so make sure you check out the giveaway form at the bottom!
“Oh, Kat,” Angeline said, and my back stiffened. I hated it when she used that tone of voice. It meant: You are too young to understand anything, but I know it all. “Don’t you understand Stepmama by now? She would never allow us to be seen arriving in Bath in a mere public stagecoach. That would hardly suit her purposes. No, I expect that at this very moment she is hiring a beautiful private carriage, so that we can sail into Bath in the height of style, impressing everyone who sees us with the illusion of our magnificence. Because as we all know…” Her lips twisted. “The only thing that matters in life is what Society thinks of us.”
“Bravo,” said a deep, unfamiliar voice, only a few feet away. “Magnificent indeed, ma’am, if I may be allowed to say so.”
I spun round.
A gentleman stood just inside the taproom, wearing a greatcoat with so many enveloping capes, his bulked-out shoulders filled the entire doorway. He raised his gloved hands to clap mockingly. “A remarkable performance,” he said to Angeline. “May I ask when you will be repeating it on the public stage?”
I knew enough about Society to know what an insult he had just paid her. “She is not an actress,” I said, and glared at him.
“Indeed?” He smiled. It was not a pleasant smile, though his face was attractive enough. “But with such affecting talents—”
“You are impertinent, sir,” said Angeline.
“On the contrary, ma’am, I am in awe.” He stepped forward, his greatcoat swishing about his knee-high boots, and reached for her hand. “Beauty matched with style and wit – an irresistible combination. I cannot allow you to remain unprotected in so public a situation.”
Angeline pulled her hand out of his grip. “I am neither unprotected nor unescorted.”
“No?” He looked around pointedly. “And yet…”
“Our brother is escorting us,” I said. “He’ll be back in only a moment.”
“How fortunate for him.” The gentleman’s smile deepened in a way I liked even less. “Then I will only stay and lend my escort until this mysterious brother of yours chooses to make his appearance.”
There wasn’t a mysterious bone in Charles’s body… but, not for the first time, I cursed his hopelessness. If he had been lured into a card game, he might not remember us for hours. From the look on Angeline’s face, she was sending silent curses in our brother’s direction, too.
“Truly, sir,” she said through gritted teeth, “you need not trouble yourself.”
“Oh, I assure you, it is no trouble. But I haven’t yet introduced myself, have I?” He swept a bow, removing his beaver hat and revealing black curls so glossy, he must have doused them in hair oil. “Scarwood – Viscount Scarwood – at your service. And most delighted to be so,” he added, looking straight into Angeline’s eyes.
Angeline’s lips only tightened. I clenched my hands into fists and wished that Angeline could knock him over with magic as easily as she’d dealt with the intoxicated ruffian outside. But this was a gentleman of means, an aristocrat, sober enough to recognise witchcraft when he saw it, and we were inside the inn now, in easy view of the taproom. It was far too public a situation for any use of magic, or of fisticuffs. Either tactic would ruin both our reputations. Even Viscount Scarwood’s own report, if he told anyone else what we had done – no matter how ungentlemanly his own behaviour – would be enough to ruin us in Society. But without magic or fisticuffs on our side, we were as helpless against him as any pair of tediously proper young ladies.
I should have been able to do so much more. If I had only received my training… I remembered Mr Gregson’s words in the Golden Hall. With the training of a real Guardian, I could have controlled my power and used it independently, not only in reaction to other people’s magic. Since Guardians didn’t need to cast spoken spells, I might even have been able to use my powers to protect us both from insult without anyone around us even guessing that magic had been involved.
If only I hadn’t made that dreadful, stupid mistake – if I had only kept control of my damnable temper…
Viscount Scarwood started talking again, and for a moment, I was actually glad to have a distraction from my thoughts. Then I heard what he was saying to Angeline.
“Come now. Any young lady brave enough to stand in a public inn without any visible escort – and to speak so slightingly of Society – can hardly expect to stand upon convention and wait for proper introductions. You may as well tell me your name yourself, rather than requiring me to hunt it down. I will find it out, you know, in the end – and you wouldn’t like me to be irritated by the trouble you’ve forced upon me.”
“I have no interest in forcing you to do anything,” Angeline said, “except to leave us in peace.”
“Ah, but I’m afraid that isn’t possible. You’ve caught my interest, you see.”
“Not intentionally, I assure you.”
“Nonetheless.” He leaned forward and braced one big hand against the wall beside her head. Angeline stiffened and began to slide away. He trapped her with his other hand, closing her in with scandalous intimacy. “It is far too late now to retreat,” he breathed, so quietly I could barely hear the words.
Then he leaned forward to kiss her.
Angeline twisted her head away. “Release me!”
I grabbed his arm. “Let her go!”
He looked down at me and laughed. “A brave protectress indeed,” he said. “And yet—”
A wholly unexpected voice spoke behind him. “I say,” said Charles. He was holding a half-empty mug of beer and frowning at us. “Is – that is, is everything perfectly all right here?”
“Aha.” Scarwood leaned back, shaking my hand off his arm as easily as he might shake off a fly. “The famous brother, I take it.”
“Indeed,” said Angeline. Her face was flushed. She glared at him, her chin held high. “You may take your leave, sir, at once.”
“As Beauty commands,” he said, and bowed mockingly. “But I shall only say au revoir, rather than farewell. You see, I am on my way to Bath as well. I am certain – I am entirely certain – that we shall see each other there. And when we do meet again, I shall know your name.”
He strolled down the passageway and out of the front door at an unhurried pace.
As soon as the door closed behind him, Angeline turned on Charles. “Could you possibly have taken any longer?”
A Tangle of Magicks is out now.
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Giveaway runs from Sunday 7th — Friday 12th