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For the Magic, #3

For the Magic, #3

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During a stay at Twickenham Manor, Lady Ellen Hildebrand finds herself snared in the mysterious currents of time and engulfed by flame. Healing from burns that nearly killed them both, she and landscape architect Michael Addington, a man from the future, must confront not only the weight of guilt but also a concealed truth from the past—one that could either rekindle their love or leave it smoldering in the ashes of history.

Main Tropes

  • Victorian Time Travel
  • Magic
  • Scars

Synopsis

Lady Ellen Hildebrand's hopes for finding love in her first London Season were dashed when her shallow suitors showed they saw her as nothing more than a wealthy heiress. Disheartened, she visits Twickenham Manor, where she finds herself thrust into a fight for survival.

Landscape architect Michael Addington worries his grandfather has lost his mind but never dreams the old man will try to set Twickenham Manor on fire. As Michael races to prevent disaster, a mysterious young woman materializes before him, a collision of fire and magic propelling them both back to the year 1851.

Ellen and Michael must rely on each other's strength to navigate their arduous journey of recovery. Day by day, their connection deepens, but the weight of guilt threatens to tear them apart. For hidden within Michael lies a dark secret—he was the one who set Ellen ablaze. Will the truth consume their love, leaving nothing but ashes behind?

Intro Into Chapter One

“I want that place to burn, boy.”

Michael Addington stared at his grandfather sitting in the overstuffed chair. With the death of Michael’s father two months ago, he’d thought the old man’s obsession with Twickenham Manor might finally wane, but he should have known better. That place had been a curse on his family, if only because the two men had refused to let go of their grudge. George Addington was nothing if not consistent.

“That’s arson, Granddad.” Michael kept his voice calm and soothing. “It’s against the law.”

“There’s a higher law. Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live.”

Michael rubbed his temple against the headache building there. He was sick of that old biblical quote. His father and grandfather had fed it to Michael all through his youth. He’d even believed it until he’d gone to university. That was when he’d discovered for himself there were other translations and interpretations of that particular verse from Exodus.

“You’ve been saying that for twenty-five years, but you and Dad never did anything about it before. Why is this now my problem?”

“Don’t you use that tone with me.” The old man’s face went red, and he leaned forward, his eyes blazing.

“No, don’t get angry. Please,” Michael said gently. His father’s sudden death had been hard on both of them, but especially on his grandfather. The two men had been best friends as well as father and son.

“They killed Harry.” His grandfather clutched Michael’s arm.

An unexpected chill ran down his spine. Could his grandfather have been right all these years? Had the two men discovered something the people at Twickenham wanted to hide? Could there really be a secret at Twickenham Manor?

Michael took a deep breath and reminded himself that having been raised by two conspiracy theorists made it too easy for him to be sucked into their nonsense. His grandfather’s claim was ridiculous.

“Dad had a heart attack. That’s what the doctor said.”

“They do things over there with potions. That woman they call Aunt Nellie is a sorceress. Get up at dawn and watch her from the tower. What is it she gathers each morning? She uses it to make those cursed portraits.”

Michael pinched the bridge of his nose. His grandfather had a powerful intensity about him, not a manic, crazed kind but one of conviction and sincerity.

“You’ve never told me how you know this.”

The old man closed his eyes, his grip loosening on Michael’s arm.

“That witch trapped me in her web, years ago.” His grandfather’s voice softened further. “That was when I met your grandmother.”

Michael blinked. It was the first time he could remember his grandfather actually referring to her. Any reference to his grandmother had always been forbidden. She’d left when Michael’s father had been six. George had passed on his bitterness of her abandonment of their family to his son. The two men had conspired for years on how to get even with the people at Twickenham whom, they claimed, had something to do with her leaving.

Or was it her disappearance? The hair on Michael’s arms stood on end. Could the two men have been right all these years? Were there nefarious things happening at the manor? But how could it be? Aunt Nellie held week-long Regency immersion vacations and a monthly full-moon ball. If people were disappearing from the place, someone would have reported it. Wouldn’t they?

“Witches,” his grandfather whispered.

Michael met the old man’s steely gaze. He might be elderly and emotionally broken from his decades of grief, but his mind was still sharp.

“I know what I’m talking about, boy. They have their little tonics and teas that change the way you feel; shift the way you think. They twist your mind and make you believe there’s nothing wrong with what they do. And you believe them. You go along with it. It’s sorcery, I tell you, and Aunt Nellie is a predator. She took my sweet—” His grandfather’s voice broke.

Compassion swelled in Michael, and he took the old man’s hand. He’d always been sour and curmudgeonly, and there were many times Michael had thought his grandmother had left because she couldn’t take it anymore. That didn’t however explain why she’d left her only child behind.

Michael had found a trunk upstairs in the old house once, filled with clothing and a few knickknacks. He’d never asked for confirmation, because his grandmother was a taboo subject, but he knew they were hers. There was a single photo that had made him wonder how a woman who’d smiled so lovingly at her husband and son could have abandoned them without looking back.

Reminding himself to take his grandfather’s accusations with a grain of salt, Michael couldn’t quite shake off his upbringing. Maybe he should look through the trunk again that was in the tower. There could be some hint of what had happened. It wouldn’t hurt to go up at first light too. One of the windows overlooked the Twickenham grounds.

When he’d been a child, he’d enjoyed watching guests stroll the gardens in their period clothing. He tried to remember if he’d ever seen Aunt Nellie wandering the grounds at daybreak, but he couldn’t recall a time when he’d been up there that early. Did she really go out every day to collect something? If so, what? After George’s claim that they’d killed Michael’s father, he’d have to find out.

“It’s the portraits on the top floor,” the old man said, his voice rough. “If we destroy them, it will end.”

His grandfather’s claims unsettled Michael more than he cared to admit. Surely, there had to be more to what was going on at Twickenham.

“I’ll see what I can find out,” he said.

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