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Magician's Spell

Author(s): Debra Sue Denson

Coffeetime Romance

1800's Europe, Napoleon's Empire – a time when women are seen as ornaments or property.

On an inauspicious passage aboard the thirty-six gun privateer Magician, Lady Johanna Cornehl, daughter of admiral of the fleet, embarks on a tempestuous adventure. Directing her fortunes are four men. Her father, Vernon, a guiding purpose in Johanna's life; his unrelenting control corrupting her independence. Captain of Magician, Harold "Hal" Monroe, predisposed against the lady because she is related to the architect of his unjust dismissal from the Royal Navy. Fitzwilliam Neville, mercenary and opportunist; owner of Magician. Insinuated into the Cornehl family, he awaits the favorable moment to marry Lady Cornehl and acquire her fortune. Finally, James Emrys, alchemist and doctor, friend to Capt. Monroe. Normally dependable for his rationale, he struggles with a foolish inclination for the admiral’s daughter.

Magician casts a spell on the unsuspecting lady; an enchantment which, well after her initial destination is achieved, continues to direct her fortunes, involving her in theatre, a clandestine relationship and an imprudent marriage. When her dearest friends are kidnapped, Johanna steals away aboard Magician on a perilous mission. With her marriage and life in jeopardy has her luck finally run out?

___________________

Excerpt

 

“Hal.”

“Yes, my dear.”

“I am so sorry. You were right.”

She sensed his reluctance. Lifting the tray containing her empty lunch dishes, he rose, crossed the room and put them on the desk.

Turning back, he asked, “About what?”

“My reason for marrying you. I was honest with you about my feelings, right from the beginning, you do recall?”

“Yes, Johanna, I do. You told me you didn’t feel the same as I did.”

“I never lied about being in love with you.”

“No, you have made that evident.”

“You accused me of marrying you for my father’s benefit.”

He closed his eyes, silently waiting.

“I did marry you for that reason. You assumed rightly.” He did not react, so she continued. “I abused your trust and I apologize.”

He answered her in a hollow tone, “Johanna, you do understand I would be justified in ending this marriage.”

He closed the distance between them.

She nodded her head, her eyes wide. This declaration was not unexpected, but with its verbalization, she felt the thrust of fear stab at her hopes. Clenching her fists under the blankets, she condemned her own foolishness.

“God’s blood, woman.”

She shrank at his imposing figure leaning over her, wanting desperately to give him something, anything but another lie.

“Are you so eager to get rid of me? Will you make no claim upon my affections?”

“I don’t know how to give you what you want, Hal.”

He straightened up and looked down at her.

“Clearly though, you know what I want.”

“You want me to love you.”

Flinging the blankets back, Johanna rose from the bed. Unsteadily, she made her way to him and grabbed his arm, urging him to face her.

“I will not lie to you again.” This statement gained his attention. “Look at me, Hal.” She held out the front of her nightgown. “Look at me. Where do you see the flaw that won’t allow me to feel passion like yours?” Dropping the handful of fabric, she turned away in despair. “I loved my mother, my father…I love Emily, and James.” She paused. “But that’s not what you want.”

Then ever so quietly, almost inaudibly, she said, “It’s not what I want.” Turning on him in a fever, she raged, “I want to feel your fervor, to understand your fire and have it within my own heart.” Collapsing to her knees, she whispered, “I don’t know how. Oh God, I am so pathetic.”

Joining her on the floor, he lifted her chin and searched her tear-filled eyes. Smiling softly and with a lilt in his voice, he said, “You make something so divine into such an ordeal. Your life was dominated by a regimented mind who would not allow for imperfection or failure. That is exactly where love begins. I will gladly show you the door, but you will have to be the one to open it.”


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ISBN (Print):
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Genre: Romance
Date Published: 03/25/2010
Publisher: Red Rose Publishing

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