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Sonata of Shadow and Thorn

Sonata of Shadow and Thorn

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Book 4 of the Stone Singers series

Six years after the death of Solstice Charmer tore her family apart, uncomfortable revelations begin to reframe the tragedy, casting it in a suspicious new light. As Moriganne delves into a world of paranoid gang members, vengeful maetrie, and evolving family secrets, she discovers that uncovering the truth might have perilous consequences, sometimes making it better left buried.

Synopsis

Every family has its secrets.

Six years previous, the death of the eldest daughter, Solstice, was a tragedy that tore apart the Charmer family. Now, uncomfortable truths are surfacing that brings her death into a new light. As Moriganne chases down paranoid gang members, vengeful maetrie, and shifting family secrets—she finds that sometimes the truth is better left buried.

Chapter One Look Inside

The rain drummed against the glass pyramid above their heads in the Musée de Louvre, matching the endless chatter of the guests at the wedding reception. Moriganne sipped her champagne and tried to keep her heart rate from soaring while Andromeda went on about the Delacroix painting in the Denon Wing.
"Are you even listening?"
"Huh? Yeah, I mean no, sorry," said Moriganne, hugging her arm to her chest. The bridge had been aching all day.
Andromeda stood by her side in a matching lavender bridesmaid dress, not a tattoo or modification in sight, hair dyed black and twisted into bouncy curls. Her sister looked out over the crowd of tuxedos and expensive dresses.
"What gives? It's not like it's your first party."
Moriganne rubbed her elbow. "Lost in thought, I guess."
"Montanhas?"
"I can't seem to escape it," said Moriganne.
"It's only been five months," said Andromeda. "You shouldn't be so hard on yourself. Besides, you're doing better than Ivan."
As if on cue, they heard his too-loud laughter near the bar. Tuxedo shirt half untucked and eyes smudged, he was swaying dangerously near the fountain. The other guests avoided him as if he were contagious.
"I don't know if he'll ever be okay," said Moriganne softly.
"I wish I’d been there with you," said Andromeda.
"No you don't," Moriganne said harshly, then hearing the tone of her voice, she said, "I'm sorry. I wish I hadn't been there."
Kitty appeared suddenly at her side. The lavender dress hung loosely on her thin frame, and her short-cropped hair had been artfully spiked. There was something different, more dangerous, about her since the events in Montanhas. Moriganne couldn't place it, but she felt unexpectedly nervous around her younger sister and not because she thought she was spying on her.
"I can't believe Monique married that douche bonnet, Magnus Dreadmarsh. If there's a more disgusting old money family, I don't know what it is," said Kitty, holding a glass of champagne that hadn't been touched. "If Ivan were here he'd say that their old granddad buttfucked a demon or something."
"I have heard that," said Andromeda, smirking.
The newly married couple was touring the reception, arm in arm. Their mother looked resplendent in a pearl white gown with a train that would have made a peacock jealous. Magnus had peppered gray hair that looked like it had been styled by the gods. He was handsome and fit.
"Who are they talking to?" asked Moriganne.
Kitty tilted her head. "That's the princess of Sweden. You met her a few years ago. I think I recall you saying you'd like to punch her in the balls."
"Yeah," said Moriganne, trying to ignore the ache in her elbow. The tattoo at least wasn't visible beneath the concealing enchantment, but she felt like it didn't like being hidden and was punishing her for it.
"Has anyone figured out when they even met?" asked Andromeda.
"Who cares?" said Kitty. "It's old money marrying old money. At least Vic seems to be taking it well."
The old man was telling a story to an engaged group that hung on his every word. His circle included Ares, who was never far from their father's side these days.
"He'd never let you see if he wasn't," said Moriganne, hating the bitterness in her own voice.
"Well, if it isn't Monique's three beautiful daughters," said an older man with a strong resemblance to their new stepfather.
"Leonidas," said Kitty, offering a handshake, which brought a raised eyebrow as it looked like he was about to lean in for a hug.
"Please, call me Leo," he said, smiling magnanimously at them.
When it was Moriganne's turn to shake his hand, a sharp stab hit her elbow. His eyes creased briefly but his smile never faltered.
"It's nice to meet you."
"What do you think, ladies? Don't they make a handsome couple?" asked Leo, facing the bride and groom on the level below them. "I'm pleased my younger brother finally found love after all these years. Your mother's a great woman."
Moriganne had only been in these circles for a few years but she knew that was code for "she's an old name just like ours."
"She is," said Andromeda, raising a glass.
Leo matched her gesture. "You know, I was rather disappointed that you weren't wearing wings or something else interesting for the ceremony. I've heard a lot about the youngest Charmer."
Andromeda squinted suspiciously. "Monique asked me not to."
"What a shame," said Leo with a playful sigh. "These events get rather boring. Same old dance, same old people."
Moriganne didn’t know what to make of his comment, other than he was trying to ingratiate himself.
"How's your father doing?" asked Leo. "He's got more lives than a cat, but this Lifestone thing has been rough, I'm sure."
"A lot of people have bet against him in the past, and he's won that bet every time," said Kitty firmly.
Heat churned in Moriganne's belly, burning away the numbness that had been her shroud. "It was more than a Lifestone thing. A lot of people died."
Her sisters glanced to her, worried, while Leo touched his forehead in what she could only interpret as penance. "My apologies for being so flippant about those events. It was...is...a tragedy. It's quite a testament to the family that you were all able to survive those horrid events." His eyes creased. "Of course, no one has really said what happened, other than environmental catastrophe, but you know, in the absence of facts, rumors will grow." No one had a response. Leo let his lips curl upward. "Have a nice reception, ladies. I'm sure I'll see you again soon."
"I don't like him," said Andromeda, the words coming out in a growl. "He oozes smugness."
"Easy to be smug when you're that rich and that powerful," said Kitty. "I've heard that he and his wife are among the most powerful mages in the Halls, their daughter too, and that it didn't come by honest means. Deals with other realms, possibly demonic."
"He was right about one thing," said Andromeda. "Vic's in a pickle. Anyone know what he's planning to do with the company?"
"Ares won't say," said Kitty. "But I think the financial markets are betting on Celesse to buy it."
The shattering of glass on the marble floor brought a sea of heads around. Ivan was holding up his arms, eyes hazy and lids drooping.
"My bad," he said loudly, "fingers more slick than a lubed-up dong."
Kitty grumbled under her breath. "I'll take care of him."
Within moments, she'd swept through, leading her twin out of the reception as he tried to scramble back to the bar. Moriganne squeezed her lips tight as she watched them leave.
"I worry for him. I've seen that train before. It goes top speed, right over the edge of the cliff," said Moriganne.
Andromeda shook her head. "What was she like?"
"Strong, intelligent," said Moriganne. "Didn't take his shit."
"But she was, like, twice his age?"
"Yeah," said Moriganne, "but they spent a lot of time together. He seemed happy. Like his real self."
The ache in her elbow wasn't going away. She stretched it out and rubbed the muscles around the joints.
"What's going on there?" asked Andromeda.
"Wish I knew. Hurts." She set her glass on a passing waiter's tray. "Ever since the summer before last, it's been happening more. I swear it was the encounter with the mija that did it. The tattoo is beginning to look freshly drawn."
"Will the ginger man come back?"
She shook her head. "No. That much I'm sure about. But I don't know why, or how I know, except maybe through the bridge. It left him for some reason, or part of it did, like it didn't find him worthy."
"I'm ready to get back to classes," said Andromeda. "I hate these events."
"Me too. Be nice to focus on school for once. Have a normal year."
Her younger sister gave her a look, and she knew exactly what it meant. At one time, she'd been hell-bent on figuring out what had happened between Victor and her old self: why the brilliant Moriganne had been knocked out of the Merlin Trials twice. But after Montanhas, mustering the will to continue down that path only brought pain and self-doubt. Maybe she wasn't meant for this world, for opposing the rich and powerful from inside her new body.
Lost in thought, Moriganne didn't realize there was someone standing next to her until he'd cleared his throat. A white-gloved attendant handed her a folded card.
"What's this?" she asked as Andromeda looked over her shoulder.
"A gentleman in the Denon wanted you to have this. I believe he's waiting there for you near the Bannir."
The attendant disappeared.
"What's it say?"
Moriganne opened the card to find a neat handwritten script. She checked around her before reading it out loud to her sister.
"The rat has been caught. –Leif."

Main Tropes

  • Urban Fantasy
  • Magical Academy
  • Found Family
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Searching for the truth!

Unravel mysteries in this fast paced, unpredictable story with a very intense ending. Looking forward to what happens next.