Danger in the air. Lovers on the brink.
A Charm of Magpies: Book Three
With the justiciary understaffed, a series of horrifying occult murders to be investigated, and a young student who is flying—literally—off the rails, magical law enforcer Stephen Day is under increasing stress. And his relationship with his aristocratic lover, Lord Crane, is beginning to feel the strain.
Crane chafes at the restrictions of England’s laws, and there’s a worrying development in the blood-and-sex bond he shares with Stephen. A development that makes a sensible man question if they should be together at all.
When a thief strikes at the heart of Crane’s home, a devastating loss brings his closest relationships into bitter conflict—especially his relationship with Stephen. And as old enemies, new enemies, and unexpected enemies paint the lovers into a corner, the pressure threatens to tear them apart.
Product Warnings: Contains hot-blooded sex, cold-blooded murder, sinister magical goings-on and a lot of swearing.
In this extract from Flight of Magpies, things are going badly. Stephen’s trainee, windwalker Jenny Saint, has been accused of theft. He and Crane have just had a quiet(ish) night in…
Crane’s eyes snapped open in the dark.
For a second he was back in the shadowy dankness of the condemned cell in China where he had spent two endless days and nights and where soft movements were the prelude to vicious attack, and then he emerged from the last shreds of sleep with the full awareness that there was someone moving around, close by.
Stephen, leaving? But no; he never heard that, and in any case, for a wonder, the small form of his lover was curled by him, breathing softly.
And it wasn’t Merrick. Merrick and Crane had slept within twenty feet of each other for two decades. He knew Merrick’s movements as he knew his own heartbeat.
Someone who was neither his lover nor his henchman was moving around his flat.
Crane rose from the bed, not wasting time with clothing. He stepped silently from the bedroom into the dark corridor and listened till he was sure the intruder was in the sitting room.
How the devil had they got in? He’d bolted the front door himself; no matter how drunk Merrick might have been, he would never leave the back unsecured.
Crane moved barefoot to the door, which stood slightly open, readied himself, and threw it wide.
One window was open, curtain pulled back to shed the faint light of London on the scene. A dark figure was visible at Crane’s desk, turning whip-fast at his unexpected entry. Crane went for the burglar without hesitation, flinging himself forward as the intruder sprang for the window. He grasped an arm, crashed to the floor with the thief half under him, and got a vicious kick in the hip as his captive scrambled for freedom. Crane returned a savage short-range punch and heard a yelp of pain, then there was a thud of extraordinary force to his shoulder, like the kick of a mule, and he lost his grip on the other’s wrist as he was thrown backwards. The thief scrambled up, sprinted to the open window with Crane right behind—
Crane’s momentum took him too far forward, so that he half tripped on the window seat and had to grab the frame to stop himself falling. That was by instinct only, because he was staring out at the dark form as it took a dozen rapid paces across the empty sky to one of the silver birches in the mansion block’s private garden.
The figure swung into the branches with acrobatic grace, and paused for a second. Her pale, shoulder-length hair glinted, and she gave Crane a cheeky wave, before descending through the tree with the rapidity and sureness of a tumbling toy.
There were hurried footsteps behind him. Crane swung round to see Stephen standing in the doorway, smothered in one of Crane’s Chinese padded silk dressing gowns. “Lucien?”
“We’ve been burgled.”
Stephen turned the gas lamp on, igniting it with a thought, and walked over, past the desk with its drawers standing wide, past the litter of papers on the floor, and over to the open window, with its fourth-floor view and the impossible leap to the trees.
“Did you see—” he began, and his voice cracked.
Crane winced. “It was her. Miss Saint.”
“Are you absolutely sure?”
“I saw her. I saw her face. Fair hair. I’m sorry.”
The look in Stephen’s eyes made Crane’s fists clench. He took two swift strides over and pulled Stephen to him, feeling the tension in his shoulders, wanting to curse the treacherous little bitch aloud.
“She knows that you’re my friend. Mr. Merrick’s teaching her—How could she?” Stephen’s voice was raw.
“You have to talk to her,” Crane said, for form’s sake. “There may be some sort of explanation.”
Crane didn’t waste his energy thinking of an empty reassurance. He looked over at the chaos of the desk. “I’ll see what’s been taken. I don’t think there was much—”
“My ring.” Stephen pushed back to look up at him, horror dawning on his face. “Lucien, my ring. Was it in there?”
“Shit.” They lunged for the desk together.
TOUR WIDE GIVEAWAY: KJ Charles is offering the chance for one lucky reader to win an e-copy of Flight of Magpies and a $25 gift card to the e-tailer of the winner’s choice. Your comment here, along with your email address, automatically enters you in the giveaway. One winner will be selected at random from all commenters and notified via email no later than November 2, 2014.
October 22 – Love Bytes (Guest Post)
October 23 – MM Good Book Reviews (Excerpt)
October 24 – Boys in our Books (Excerpt)
October 27 – The Novel Approach (Excerpt & Rena’s Review)
October 28 – Sinfully Sexy (Guest Post)
October 29 – Josephine Myles Blog (Guest Post)
October 30 – Attention is Arbitrary (Review)