A world of mysterious powers and tumultuous intrigues comes to life in Regency England as a djinni, burdened with a dark secret, is thrown into a love triangle fraught with subterfuge.
A troubled djinni seduces his master’s young wife, forcing her to make a fateful choice.
The djinni Yasir, imprisoned in an urn by a jealous magician, searches the centuries for his lost love. He finds Lavinia reborn in 1811 England, only to discover she’s his new master’s bride.
Desperate to have her, Yasir spell-casts Lavinia’s husband to forget he is master and give her the urn. When she opens the ancient vessel, Yasir emerges, terrifying in his magnificence yet somehow familiar, but she fails to recognize him. She distrusts this djinni even though his very presence enchants her.
Yasir’s spell is fading. Lavinia’s husband has changed. Now he’s violent as he struggles with returning memories of when he possessed the urn. Lavinia strives to keep the two from encountering one another, while torn between fidelity for her husband and her increasing attraction to the djinni.
Impatient to win Lavinia’s confidence, Yasir must convince her of her true identity so they can reclaim their life together. He dare not reveal a deeper reason: Only with Lavinia can he regain his freedom and exact revenge on the magician who confined him to the urn—
If she does not go mad from the spell to awaken her memories.
If her husband does not escape the djinni’s magic and discover her secret.
If the magician does not find them first.
Not daring to budge, she swept her eyes to the right and left, attempting to see the whole chamber. The miniature rainbows glowed red and orange, blue and violet. She dared not breathe. Yet nothing seemed amiss.
“Foolish imagination,” she chided, and found she held the crystal top to her perfume tight in her fist, rainbows banished.
Still, an eerie feeling pervaded her room, as though someone watched her. She went to the window, folded her arms across her waist as she looked out. The green expanse of front lawn gradually rolled into hills fringed with leafy forests. How could anyone possibly be lurking at the window, here, on the second story?
Returning to her dressing table, she once again selected the perfume bottle. Her eyes rested upon the urn saved from yesterday’s assault, her last gift from Peter.
How things had changed.
The perfume bottle forgotten, Lavinia ran her fingers over the sinuous form of the urn. The brass was warm, not cold to the touch like most metals, as though someone had clasped the vessel in a close embrace and set it down a moment before. So warm. She brought the urn closer.
Its heaviness surprised her. Yesterday she hadn’t noticed it, but then yesterday . . .
She placed the palm of one hand under the base and slid her fingers across the slight indentations of the dips and swirls of calligraphy. The tips of her fingers tingled and a glimmer in her mind put her on the verge of deciphering the writing, then it faded into a part of her brain just out of reach.
Lavinia ran her fingers over the complicated vines and leaves that formed the lid, taking her time, working out intricacies. Perhaps it contained an exotic perfumed oil, a fragrance of the gods, spicy, of musk and rare flowers, an aphrodisiac that even the deities couldn’t resist. She would be the first in hundreds of years to wear it, and the scent would work its magic on Peter, to enthrall him, so he would become the man he used to be and, for once, love her above all else.
But she stopped fantasizing. The problem now, well, it might not be Peter.
The lid gave no more resistance. It rose, weightless. Lavinia inhaled a scent redolent of aromatic woods and fragrant oils gathered from forgotten cities along the fabled Silk Road. Tears filled her eyes. Her heart pounded. A golden mist materialized around the urn, around her. Her first thought—that the outside sunshine shone through the windows illuminating her room—couldn’t be right. The mist, obscuring more and more of the chamber, appeared to have no source.
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About the author:
Claudia Herring aspired to be a baton twirler when she was five and an archaeologist at thirteen. When she became a graphic designer and an author of fantasy, she decided she'd hit upon the perfect compromise.
As a designer and illustrator she formats the written word around visual art. As a writer she weaves words into stories that form worlds. Her novel, "His Master's Bride," a historical fantasy with romantic elements set in Regency England, won first prize in the Houston Writer's Guild Novel Competition. "Ties of Smoke," next in "The Djinn Chronicles" series, is in its second draft.
When she's not delving into the world of the Djinn, Claudia is practicing yoga to go to that hushed space where she imagines and plots her next fantasy novel.
If you like Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series, or Carol Berg, you'll love His Master's Bride.
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