Thwarting Magic by Ann Tracy Marr
Ann Tracy Marr is one of the newest entrants to the ranks of e-book authors. Since she loves the Regency period, her chosen method of torturing readers is to throw them into an altered universe. It looks like Jane Austen's era, with ladies in ball gowns chasing men wearing Brummell's elegant evening costume, determined to make the match of the season – with one small, but significant, detail added.
King Arthur, the round table, and Merlin’s magic are not myth, but history.
Yes, Camelot existed. King Arthur united Britain and Merlin messed it up with his magic. In Marr's Regency era, the Round Table rules, not Parliament, and although they are as rare as the man who never sets up a mistress, magicians walk among common men -- and flirt with marriage-minded debutantes.
So twist legend into truth. In the Camelot-inspired Regency fantasy, Thwarting Magic, a rogue wizard threatens the stability of the world. It is magician Adrian Hughes's quest to find and stop the wizard before magic holes destroy the atmosphere. It is his dream to win Margaret Ridgemont.
But in 1814, the fathers decide. Margaret and James Treadway will marry. Period, end of discussion. It promises to be a hell of an arranged marriage. With magic holes forming in the most unexpected places, Adrian’s quest throws him into the deepest pit of all, the void of a loveless marriage.
Today, Ann Tracy Marr is here, plastered to her keyboard, ready to explore this marriage with you, the devoted members of the Book Roast club.
Buy Thwarting Magic in paperback or as an e-book at Amazon or Awe-Struck . It's also available at a slew of online e-book stores, and hopefully sometime this year at Barnes&Noble.com.
Thwarting Magic is one of a series of books. Check out Ann Tracy Marr's website for more information.
Excerpt from Thwarting Magic
An unearthly howl caused Mrs. Norris to drop the Minton sauce boat. It landed on her toe and exploded, spraying shards of gilded porcelain far and wide. Cook squealed, dropping the long meat fork on the stone flags in front of the soot stained hearth. One of the tines crumpled. The juicy steak speared on the fork splattered her apron, skirt, the floor, and the good linen tablecloth a maid had just finished ironing.
"Lands, is a dragon got in the house?"
"Oh, not a dragon--please don't let it be a dragon." Massive thuds rattled the crockery.
At the second shouted snarl, wilder than the first, a footman threw his hands over his ears, accidentally tossing the knife he held over his shoulder. It sank into the potato a kitchen maid was peeling. She screamed and fainted. The scullion dived under the work table, rocking it. A pot of peas tilted and fell atop the shattered sauce boat. It was followed by a brimming pitcher of ale. Potatoes rolled. Another maid cast her apron over her head and screeched.
"Pray Merlin save us, it's the Questing Beast. The Questing Beast is come to destroy the house." To the occupants of the kitchen, it sounded as if that dread creature, which made the unholy sound of forty baying hounds, had been unleashed upstairs. The offspring of a girl and the devil himself, the Beast was the most fearsome of creatures. King Arthur had quailed before it; a kitchen populated by humble servants was undone by fear of it.
"Lordy, it's the devil. The house is possessed by the devil Questing Beast!" Another eerie roar made the hairs rise on Mrs. Norris' arms. "A magic devil!"
Devils were one thing, but magic devils were the stuff of primal nightmares. The Questing Beast--they were about to die. The knife boy curled into a ball in the middle of the floor and sobbed. Maids ran back and forth, seeking hiding places where none existed and the footman quaked. The scullion wrapped quivering arms around the table leg.
Porcelain shards glittered and green peas floated in a sea of ale as the chatelaine dashed up the service stairs to the hall, following the bloodcurdling sounds. Reaching the landing, she slapped a hand over her frenzied heart as the baize door swung open and the butler pounded through the doorway. They collided.
Both reeled; Mrs. Norris would have gone back down the stairs on her head if Craig hadn't grabbed her arms. Another prolonged roar, accompanied by the sound of furniture smashing against plaster, echoed in the stairwell.
Mrs. Norris flinched. "What is it; is it the Questing Beast?" Craig curled a hand tight around her arm and started for the kitchen, dragging her with him. "What is wrong?"
Craig bellowed to be heard above the pounding noise. "The master is in the library."
"Oh, my stars. It isn't the Questing Beast. We are safe. I take it he does not like the drapes?"
"Lime and orange stripes? I doubt it."
"Nor the tables Mrs. Treadway purchased? He does not approve of gilded cupids?"
"No, I believe the first howled comment pertained to the tables." Another crash shook the floor and the butler winced, his eyes rolling to the ceiling. "If I am not mistaken, that is a tribute to puce and yellow damask cushions."
"The celestial blue walls?" There came a great rumble, as of books and lumber crashing. Safe on the flagged kitchen floor, they exchanged horrified glances.
"Perhaps not." A drawn out, guttural yell heralded the smash of slammed doors. Blessed silence fell over the house.
Mrs. Norris cocked her head and smiled, a slow tilt of the lips upward. "Mr. Treadway must have liked the rug. I thought Mrs. Treadway's choice was inspired with all those red and blue dragons thrashing around the edges eating each other."
The scullery maid, her nose pressed against a leg of the work table, suddenly bolted to her feet, screaming fit to kill, "A hole. Right in front of my nose--a hole. Oh, my gawd, it made a hole. Somebody save me!"
The leg the maid had anchored herself to--the leg of the massive oak work table, thick as a man's wrist--broke. The table slowly tilted, sliding bowls, potatoes, knives, and the ham, studded with cloves in a star pattern, to the floor. The table followed. The crash rattled china nearly as much as the master's response to his wife's decorating of his library.
Phew! As you calm down after all that drama, for a chance to win a free copy of Thwarting Magic why not answer today's question?
CAN THIS MARRIAGE BE SAVED?
And be sure to pop in to chat to Ann Tracy and quiz her on her intriguing idea for choosing a winner - she says "the winner of the contest will be the most cynical respondent". Get the cynical hats on and we'll see you in the comments section!