on June 12th 2015
Genres: Fantasy, New Adult
Buy on Amazon
Haunted by a crushing fear of death, a young Victorian woman discovers the secret of eternal youth—she must surrender her life to attain it, and steal heartbeats to keep it.
In 1860 Surrey, a young woman has only one occupation: to marry. Senza Fyne is beautiful, intelligent, and lacks neither wealth nor connections. Finding a husband shouldn’t be difficult, not when she has her entire life before her. But it’s not life that preoccupies her thoughts. It’s death—and that shadowy spectre haunts her every step.
So does Mr. Knell. Heart-thumpingly attractive, obviously eligible—he’d be her perfect match if only he wasn’t so macabre. All his talk about death, all that teasing about knowing how to avoid it…
When her mother arranges a courtship with another man, Senza is desperate for escape from a dull prescripted destiny. Impulsively, she takes Knell up on his offer. He casts a spell that frees her from the cruelty of time and the threat of death—but at a steep price. In order to maintain eternal youth, she must feed on the heartbeats of others.
It’s a little bit Jane Austen, a little bit Edgar Allen Poe, and a whole lot of stealing heartbeats in order to stay young and beautiful forever. From the posh London season to the back alleys of Whitechapel, across the Channel, across the Pond, across the seas of Time…
How far will Senza Fyne go to avoid Death?
Senza spun around, searching for him, but he was gone.
Her ear, warmed by the heat of his breath, rapidly cooled. As the heat seeped away, so did her confidence. What had he done to her? What had just happened?
Was it all a dream?
People streamed around her as she stood alone on the sidewalk. Polite nods and hat tips, shy smiles and murmurs. No one acted as if she’d simply appeared out of thin air. The surreal feeling dissolved as she drank in the sounds of the town. Even the woman who he’d pulled into limbo stood a piece away, smiling and holding out her beribboned wares to the passing ladies. She didn’t even look at Senza.
Had she imagined the whole thing?
She pressed her hand to her chest, her fingers glancing across the cool touch of metal. She hadn’t put any jewelry on today. Curious she looked down—
And saw the locket he’d given her. Hesitantly, she cupped her hand around it. A warmth seeped into her skin.
Real. She didn’t imagine it.
She walked along the path, her thoughts a jumble, toying with the gold chain. Aggie. Aggie would be worried, she’d better get back to the store before she realized she’d wandered off.
Crossing the street, she spied Aggie through the window of the shop, examining a rack of ribbons. She probably didn’t even know that Senza had left. Well, best to get inside before she was missed. And this…
She picked up the locket that lay against her chest and turned it over in her hand. Antique gold, scrolling and filigree, with a delicate latch holding it closed. A deep red stone, nearly the size of the cover, glittered. She peered more closely at the gem. It seized sunlight and made it dance deep within its depths, a sluggish swirl that reminded her of the pond in the garden, its volumes stirred only by the fish.
Under the shade of the milliner’s porch, the glow was as bright as a lantern in the night. Most unnatural. Better tuck this away before it drew uncomfortable questions. When she tucked it into the top of her dress, her fingers pressed against the flesh of her bosom. She finally noticed the eerie quiet in her chest.
Her eyes wide, she gulped for air. Her heart no longer beat. She did not live, he’d stolen her life and she was alone and—
Her legs melted out from under her and the ground swayed, ready to meet her. A pounding of feet inside the shop, the door opening, a man’s voice sending up an alarm. “Easy now, miss. Your cousin will be here in but a moment.”
The milliner. He must have seen her through the window. She reached out toward his voice, her vision dimmed with lightheadedness, and touched his arm. She grasped it to steady herself but when her fingers brushed his wrist—
His heartbeat sank into her skin.
She didn’t even have to pull it. She thirsted and it answered and tapped itself into her flesh, streaking a warm red line to her chest. Vision and awareness and strength immediately restored.
She yanked back from his grasp. He flexed his hand as if his fingers hand had become numb.
“No, no, Mr. Whitehill.” Fortified by the heartbeat, she smoothed her skirt and patted her curls. “I am fine, just a momentary spell. Thank you, but I am fine.”
She backed away, not looking behind her and when she turned, she bumped into an older woman, a friend of her mother. A circle of curious passersby had accumulated on the sidewalk and the older woman reached out a helpful hand.
The touch of a bare hand upon Senza’s only caused the girl to draw another heartbeat. The force of it made her whimper, the thump and the flush and the heat of the locket inside her corset. People staring. Drawing attention. Not good.
Mr. Whitehill had stepped back, whispering to another man. He knew what she’d done. He knew and she would be caught—
Senza broke away from their suspicious eyes and restrained murmurs. She hitched up her skirts, and ran for her life.
Follow along with the tour —>HERE<—
- A copy of The Heartbeat Thief (eBook or Print), Victorian choker, and a bag of Senza Fyne tea.