Guest Post, Giveaway & Excerpt: Spells & Shadows by Victoria Kincaid

Welcome to today’s guest post and excerpt from Victoria Kincaid, author of the new Pride & Prejudice fantasy Spells & Shadows. I love when our romantic pair are thrust into completely new situations.

Let’s check out this novel.

About the Book:

As a secret agent for the Mages’ Council, Mr. Darcy investigates a necromancer who is leading his followers down a dark path. When they discover him, a fight and a chase drive Darcy—injured and close to death—into the river. He is rescued and healed by Elizabeth, a talented mage at the Longbourn estate. Darcy cannot help developing feelings for her, but he dares not reveal his true identity while the necromancer’s creatures search for him.

Elizabeth Bennet is intrigued by the family’s new guest as he recovers at Longbourn. But mystery surrounds the man, and strange happenings plague the neighborhood while he visits. Elizabeth herself harbors a secret that she cannot share with the handsome stranger.

When Darcy’s enemies come calling, the Bennet family is caught in the crossfire. Worse, Elizabeth’s magic draws the necromancer’s particular interest. Darcy is falling in love with her and believes she returns his feelings, but the secret of his true identity could destroy their budding relationship—if they survive the upcoming danger.

Can Elizabeth and Darcy protect themselves and their families from the necromancer’s plots? What will happen when learn each other’s secrets? Can Elizabeth and Darcy’s love survive when it is entangled in a web of secrets, spells, and shadows?

Let’s check out the excerpt:

Hello Serena! Thank you for having me as a guest at your blog. It’s a pleasure to be back. In Spells and Shadows, a fantasy Pride and Prejudice variation, an injured Darcy has been rescued from the river and Elizabeth has been using her magic to heal him. Because he is a secret agent, Darcy conceals his identity from her. After her first conversation with Longbourn’s new guest, Elizabeth tells her family what she learned from him.

Elizabeth shut the door to Mr. Dee’s room and descended the stairs to the blue sitting room which was full of Bennet family members. Everyone glanced up when she entered.

“I heard your voice. Is our mysterious guest awake?” her father inquired.

“He was awake enough to answer some questions,” Elizabeth responded. “And he drank some water, but he is sleeping again.”

“Is he civil?” Jane asked.

“Is he married?” Lydia asked.

“Is he wealthy?” her mother asked.

Elizabeth laughed. “Yes he is civil. He did not mention a wife. And I did not think to inquire about the exact amount of his family’s fortune, but they are wool merchants with a house in town.”

“In trade?” Elizabeth’s sister Mary wrinkled her nose.

“Pssh! Who cares where the money comes from?” her mother said. “Wool….” She sighed. “Everyone needs wool. A wool merchant would do very well for one of you.”

“Mama, men who have been rescued from the river are not necessarily in want of a wife,” Elizabeth noted.

Her mother only jabbed her embroidery more energetically. “We must not waste such an
opportunity! He might take a liking to one of you girls.”

“He has requested that we tell no-one of his whereabouts,” Elizabeth told her father.

“Ooo! Perhaps he is an escaped prisoner!” Kitty said, sounding quite excited at the prospect. She read a lot of novels.

“I do not believe prisoners customarily wear such fine clothing,” Elizabeth said.

“A French soldier in hiding?” Kitty guessed.

“He has no accent,” Elizabeth said.

“A viscount who is secretly also a highwayman!”

“They are not as plentiful as you have been led to believe,” Elizabeth said with a smile.

“Perhaps he is—” Kitty started.

“Perhaps he is a wool merchant, and we should not let our imaginations run wild,” Elizabeth said firmly.

“His desire for secrecy is quite interesting,” her father remarked. “I was in Clark’s book shop today when a stranger inquired if anyone had reported a body washing up along the river. He said his brother had fallen in the river near Luton.”

“Surely it cannot be the same man,” Jane exclaimed. “Mr. Dee could not have floated all the way from Luton.” Elizabeth said nothing.

Her father shrugged. “I agree it is improbable. But it is almost equally improbable to fish a stranger from the river at the same moment someone is seeking another fellow.”

“You did not say anything about Mr. Dee?” Elizabeth asked anxiously.

Her father snorted. “I would not share any news with Clark that I would not care to have spread about the entire county. A strange man staying in my house with my five unmarried daughters is not such a thing.”

“Perhaps Mr. Dee’s family is searching for him,” Jane said, her forehead creased with

Elizabeth shook her head. “Mr. Dee knows how to contact his family. We should not reveal anything without consulting him.”

“I agree. Mr. Dee should decide who knows his whereabouts. He may have reason to be careful. Perhaps they are waging a vicious war with the cotton merchants.” Her father laughed at his own joke.

“Perhaps he is a viscount disguised as a wool merchant!” Kitty suggested.

“Whatever else he is, we know he is an injured man who needs to recover his strength,” Elizabeth said. “We must leave him in peace to do so.”

“Can’t I at least tell Maria Lucas?” Lydia inquired. “’Tis the most interesting thing that has happened in months! I will swear her to secrecy.”

Her father fixed her with a stern gaze. “No, you may not.”

Lydia huffed and rolled her eyes. “Very well. I will add it to the list of subjects I may not speak about.”

“I don’t know why you bother befriending anyone in Meryton,” Mary said with a sniff.

“They are quite unpleasant.”

“I don’t know why I bother either,” Lydia whined. “Nobody likes us.” She stood and flounced out of the room.

Of the five sisters, Lydia suffered the most from Longbourn’s relative isolation from the rest of Hertfordshire. Mary spent her time with religious books, and Kitty was absorbed in novels. Jane and Elizabeth spent much time honing their magical skills. But Lydia longed to be just like all the other girls in the neighborhood, and their mother indulged those desires. The Lucases at least would allow their daughters to socialize with the Bennet girls; Lydia took full advantage of those privileges.

Kitty shrugged. “They are pleased with us when they have need of our assistance.” She
returned to her novel.

Sadly, this was true. How many times had Jane helped farmers with flooded fields or prevented someone’s house from being swept away? The people of Meryton never hesitated to call upon Kitty when a wildfire threatened houses or crops. And Elizabeth had healed many people in the neighborhood.

Yet their talents set them apart. Mancy was rare outside London, but it was rampant in the Bennet family. When they walked into Meryton, people stared and spoke behind their hands. They even made signs to avert the evil eye.

Papa compounded the problem. He never particularly cared about the neighbors’ opinions and at times relished his reputation for eccentricity. At public occasions, he would tell odd jokes without any concern about how it might affect the family name. Her mother frequently lamented that no man in the neighborhood would ever consider courting a Bennet girl.

Mary often said the townspeople did not deserve their help if they ostracized the family. Elizabeth understood her sister’s frustration, but she would never refuse someone in need. Mary closed her book of sermons and turned to their father. “If we always help them in their time of need, we should at least collect money for our services.”

Her father sighed. “We have no need to rehearse that argument. We are not in trade.” He stood and ambled toward the door. “Lizzy, I will be in my study should our guest wish to speak with me.”

Now, doesn’t that sound like a great premise for a story. I think so. I hope you’ll check out the novel.

About the Author:

The author of more than sixteen best-selling Regency and modern Pride and Prejudice variations, Victoria Kincaid has a Ph.D. in English literature and runs a small business, er, household with two children, a hyperactive dog, an overly affectionate cat, and a husband who is not threatened by Mr. Darcy. They live near Washington, D.C., where the inhabitants occasionally stop talking about politics long enough to complain about the traffic.

On weekdays Victoria is a writer who specializes in IT marketing (it’s more interesting than it sounds). She is a member of the Magical Austen authors group and is the host of the annual Jane Austen Fan Fiction Reader/Writer Get Together.

ENTER to WIN 1 E-book, Spells & Shadows, below with your email and comment. Open until Aug. 4, 2023.