of the Flames
Most Peculiar Season
Publication: March 23, 2015
Word Count: 61,800
Cover Artist: Jane
Magic is fraught
with peril—but so is love.
Trent’s uncanny affinity for knives and other sharp blades led to duels and
murderous brawls until he found a safe, peaceful outlet by opening a furniture
shop—an unacceptable occupation for a man of noble birth. Now Fen’s business
partner has been accused of treason. In order to root out the real traitor, he
may have to resort to the violent use of his blades once again.
Once upon a time,
Andromeda Gibbons believed in magic. That belief faded after her mother’s death
and vanished completely when Lord Fenimore, the man she loved, spurned her.
Five years later, Andromeda has molded herself into a perfect—and perfectly
When she overhears
her haughty betrothed plotting treason, she flees into the London night—to Fen,
the one man she knows she can trust. But taking refuge with him leads to far
more than preventing treason.
Can she learn to
believe in love, magic, and the real Andromeda once again?
Setup: After learning of
a treasonous plot, Andromeda fled into the London night to get help from Lord
Fen, the man she once loved.
There was a woman
outside his window, and as Fen pushed it full open, he realized who she was.
“What the devil are you doing here?” he said.
Andromeda burst into
tears. Oh, hell. Fen climbed out onto the roof.
Diggs, the beggar who
habitually slept in the yard, called from below. “You want I should fetch the
Watch, my lord?”
pulled the sobbing Andromeda to her feet. She gasped as if in pain, and tears
streamed down her face. Her hair lay in a tangle on her shoulders, and her
slippers were torn to ribbons. Had she walked all the way here in footwear
suited only for dancing at a ball? What was going on?
His mind raced through
the possibilities of what her arrival just before dawn, exhausted and
distraught, might mean. She wasn’t wearing the same gown as before–probably
because she’d spilled her wine on it.
A knife on the roof
beside her was making its presence known. Be still, he told it. Was that
blood on the blade? “Damn.” Confound it, he’d cursed again, but he couldn’t
afford to have a woman on the premises. It just wouldn’t do, and especially not
this woman, and especially not now.
“Don’t usually see
visitors of the female persuasion here, my lord.” Diggs sounded amused.
Everyone knew about Fen’s past reputation, even though he’d been discreet for
“That’s not about to
change. She’s just a friend who’s gotten herself into a spot of trouble.”
Diggs snorted, and
Andromeda gaped at Fen with wide, tear-drenched eyes. What if she really were
with child? He hoped she wasn’t such a fool, but he didn’t intend to let it
become his problem.
He pushed her gently
toward the window. “Go inside and wait for me. I’ll take you straight home.”
Andromeda. “Please, you mustn’t. It’s—it’s life or death, Fen.”
“Go inside,” Fen said
through gritted teeth. “Now.”
Andromeda hiccupped on a
sob and got a hold of herself. She hiked her skirts, hobbled to the window, and
hitched one leg over the sill. Her gown rode up, revealing shapely
author Barbara Monajem wrote her first story at eight years old about apple
tree gnomes. She published a middle-grade fantasy when her children were young,
then moved on to paranormal mysteries and Regency romances with intrepid
heroines and long-suffering heroes.
Barbara loves to
cook, especially soups, and is an avid reader. There are only two items on her
bucket list: to make asparagus pudding and succeed at knitting socks. She knows
she can manage the first but doubts she’ll ever accomplish the second.
This is not a bid
for immortality but merely the dismal truth. She lives near Atlanta, Georgia.
Barbara Monajem on the concept of “Believing in Fairies”
“Every time a child says, ‘I don’t believe
in fairies,’ another fairy dies.”
That’s a paraphrase of a quote from Peter
Pan, and as a child, I found it so upsetting that it has stuck with me all my
life. It’s a horrible thought and so unfair to the fairies. It is my personal
policy to never, ever say I don’t believe in this paranormal being or that:
fairies, vampires, shape shifters, whatever (although I have to say I would
prefer to know for sure that there are no zombies—shudder). As Lord Fen in Lady
of the Flames tells Andromeda, “Whether or not you see the fairies, they’re
I don’t see the point in denying something
I can’t see. I mean, what’s the fun of visiting Ireland and not sensing the
Little People hovering just out of sight? Why not feel the presence of a
friendly brownie in an old English country house, or a buttery spirit (a
gluttonous fairy) who dwells in a pretentious mansion? To me, these creatures
just add to the magic of life, and there’s always the lingering hope that I
*will* see one, one of these days.
Sometimes I wonder if I have seen one. Several years ago while
visiting relatives in Germany, their elusive white cat told me he was the King
of the Fairies in disguise. OK, not in so many words, but I’ve never been able
to get him out of my mind, and it was after that encounter that I began to
seriously research folklore.
Now, I bring these creatures to life in my
books whenever the spirit/muse/King of the Fairies moves me. Lady of the Flames
is one of my magical Regencies, and one of the secondary characters is a
hobgoblin named Cuff. I hope you enjoy reading about him as much as I did
I won’t ask if you believe in fairies,
because if you don’t, I’d rather not know. But I will ask: which kind of
paranormal being would you like to meet?
By the way, I asked the same question in
another blog post. Guess what was the most popular answer!
$25 gift certificate, winner’s choice Amazon or Barnes and
a Rafflecopter giveaway