"...humor, emotional intensity, and sensuality with a touch of the supernatural, Must Be Magic is a highly recommended read and a 'keeper.'"- RT Book Reviews, 4 ½ Stars
Celebrate the 80th birthday of Regency Romance with great books from Sourcebooks Casablanca!
Lady Leila Staines is desperate to discover her own magical talent so she seeks out the scientific Dunstan Ives, a man accused of murder, and the one person who can help her find her true power.
Lady Leila has always felt like an outcast among her magically gifted sisters. Desperate to discover her own talent, she seeks out Dunstan Ives, a dark and brooding aristocrat with a scientific bent who may hold the key to unleashing Leila's hidden powers.
Dunstan has shunned the decadent society that wrongfully condemned him of murder, and he's vowed never again to succumb to the spell of a beautiful woman. But the bewitching Lady Leila makes him a proposal no man in his position can resist.
An enchanting historical paranormal romance, fans of Stephanie Laurens, Christina Dodd and Mary Jo Putney will delight in Rice's richly complex and addictively compelling clash of science and magic.
Other books in the Magical Malcoms series:
Merely Magic, Book 1RT Reviewers all-time favorite romance, finalist for the Georgia Romance Writers Maggie Award, RT Book Reviews nominee for Best Innovative Historical Romance
Must Be Magic, Book 2 RT Book Reviews nominee for Best Historical Paranormal Fantasy
The Trouble With Magic, Book 3The Road to Romance Reviewer Award
This Magic Moment, Book 4A heartwarming, magical romance of mystery and family
Much Ado About Magic, Book 5"A passionate, sensual, and romantic adventure."-RT Book Reviews, 4 ½ stars
Magic Man, Book 6RT Reviewers Choice nominee
Beloved New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Patricia Rice is a RITA finalist and an RT Book Reviews Winner of a Career Achievement Award for Best British-Set Historical Romance, a Career Achievement Award for Historical Storyteller of the Year, and a Lifetime Achievement Award for Historical Fantasy.
What readers are saying about Must Be Magic:
"the fun characters, great story line, and steady pace of books by Stephanie Laurens, Johanna Lindsey, Jo Beverly, and Kasey Michaels."
"A little magic and a lot of romance"
"a very delectable hero with just the right amount of vulnerability"
What reviewers are saying about Must Be Magic:
"With Ms. Rice's skill for mixing humor, emotional intensity, and sensuality with a touch of the supernatural, Must Be Magic is a highly recommended read and a 'keeper.'"- RT Book Reviews, 4 ½ Stars
"Like magic taking you on a faraway journey..." -BookLoons.com
"Mesmerizing scenes that are breathtaking and truly magical... Enchanting. What a joy to read!" -Long and Short Reviews
"...layers of depth...always intriguing. " -The Good, the Bad and the Unread
What everyone is saying about Patricia Rice:
"humor, emotional intensity, and sensuality with a touch of the supernatural, Must Be Magic is a highly recommended read and a 'keeper.'"- RT Book Reviews, 4 ½ Stars
"...layers of depth...always intriguing. " -The Good, the Bad and the Unread
"Rice's enchanting book is truly spellbinding."-Booklist
"Patricia Rice's historicals are deliciously fresh, sexy fun. Never has the battle of the sexes been more charming!"-Mary Jo Putney, New York Times bestselling author
About the Author
Read an Excerpt
"Pick little Christina if you must, but don't pick Leila for our team," a fair-haired adolescent warned her equally fair younger sister. "She has no powers. She's useless."
"But Uncle Rowland favors her," the younger girl replied. "He says Leila's just like him."
"That's because she's not like the rest of us," Diana, the elder, said with an arrogant toss of her blond curls. "Leila's hair is black, and she has no gifts. She's not a Malcolm. Even her baby sisters have more abilities than she does. Let her play on the babies' side. They won't know the difference."
On the staircase above, ten-year-old Leila cringed and backed up the way she'd come, her heart breaking with every step. She'd anticipated the joyous romp of the scavenger hunt her aunt had arranged. She'd been thrilled to have the company of her beautiful older cousins with their fascinating abilities to find lost objects and to paint pictures of what wasn't there.
She hadn't anticipated scorn at her own lack of such gifts.
She'd known her sister could see odd colors around people that she couldn't, but Christina was a baby. No one cared what babies saw, and what good were colors anyway? Leila was the eldest, and her mama said she was the best little helper she could have. Her papa called her beautiful. The little ones clamored for her company.
But her cousins thought her useless. Wide-eyed with shock, Leila quivered at the top of the stairs, not fully comprehending her cousin's antipathy.
Her cousins thought she wasn't a Malcolm. She might be adopted. She didn't want to be thrown out in the snow and left to die because she didn't belong here.
Panicking, Leila grabbed her black curls and threw a glance over her shoulder to see if the portly butler might already be bearing down on her, prepared to heave her out the door. Relieved to see no immediate danger in sight, Leila raced for the only comfort she knew-her very blond, very Malcolm mother.
Tears forming at her cousin's cruel dismissal, Leila rushed into the workshop and dived into Hermione's welcoming arms.
"I am a Malcolm, aren't I?" she wailed against her mother's plump bosom. "My hair will lighten to be just like yours someday, won't it?"
Sitting down on a low bench beside a cluster of candle molds and jars of herbs and fragrances, Hermione wrapped her beautiful firstborn in a hug. "Of course you're a Malcolm, dear. You're just different. You should be proud of your lovely black hair. Someday men will swoon over you."
"I don't want men to swoon," Leila declared, tears still in her eyes. "I want to make people smile like you do with candles that smell like happiness. I want to find lost things like Diana can. I can do anything I want, can't I? I'm a Malcolm." The last word came out almost as a plea.
Hermione stroked Leila's long curls. "It's up to us to make the most of what we're given, dear. You have beauty and grace and intelligence, and someday you will make some man very happy. Just don't let that man be an Ives," she added with a wry chuckle. "Your ancestors would rise from their graves."
Momentarily distracted from her grief, Leila gazed at her mother's serene features. "What's an Ives?"
"Only the downfall of all Malcolms, dear. We are creatures of nature, and they are creatures of science. Disaster results when the two come together. But you are much too young to worry about that now."
Disinterested in future disasters, more concerned about the current one, Leila eyed the glittering array of equipment on her mother's workbench. Inhaling the bouquet of scents exuded by the mood-enhancing wax candles and soaps her mother made, she bit her quivering lip and straightened her shoulders. She understood very little of the nasty Ives discussion, but she knew she was smart. Smarter than Diana. She already knew how to play the harpsichord and sing far better than her older cousin. She could make her father cry when she sang, and smile when she played.
She had better things to do than play at a stupid scavenger hunt. Heart bruised but pride intact, Leila lifted her chin. "I shall go down and see if Papa wishes to hear me play. I'm much too big for baby games."
"And take the chess set to the boys. They always behave better when you smile at them."
Racing to do as she'd been told, Leila vowed to smile and sing and make everyone happy and prove she was better than her cousins so her mama would love her.
As the laughter of her sisters and cousins rose from the entrance hall, Leila stopped at the top of the stairs, scrubbed at a wayward tear, and sniffed back the sob forming in her throat. It didn't matter if they wouldn't play with her. She didn't need them.
But she needed to be a Malcolm. She didn't want to be left out and all alone.
Table of Contents
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Though her gifts are not magical, and in a family of witches that makes her ever so slightly the outcast all her life, Leila Staines makes her own magic with the perfumes she derives from flowers. To help her get her business going, she hires rouge and accused murderer Dunstan Ives, a member of a family that has long feuded with hers, to help her grow the best flowers. Though Dunstan is a farmer at heart, he desperately needs the money, so he agrees to grow useless flowers and work for a woman with three strikes against her already in his book, a lady, a beauty, and a Staines.
Enemies or not, they find themselves attracted beyond what they should be. Dunstan helps her in more ways than with her flowers, and eventually, using a ruse, Leila is able to make him see the true woman she is, and they succomb to their true feelings. Now, they have two quests, to make Leila a success, and to clear Dunstan of murdering his wife, if not for his own sake, for the sake of his son and the child Leila may carry. Pride will have to be put aside as he must use the powers of Leila's family to prevent his hanging and learn the truth.
***** If you shy from paranormals, do not be concerned that this is not a book for you. Witchery is only a minor aspect of this unusual novel. Leila is a refreshing heroine, as Ms. Rice's usually are, and Dunstan fits the gothic, brooding hero model. However, their unique role reversal is one that may appeal to the modern woman, with Leila being the one in power. It is also unusual to see a farmer as a hero of an English set story. The Staines family is delightful, and the scenes with Dunstan's son touching. Not the same old thing, this book will not in any way disappoint old or new fans of Ms. Rice. *****
Reviewed by Amanda Killgore.
I read the prequel to this book and it was very good. But I liked this book much better. I think her leading lady had more 'power' and I like that. It was a well written book that was a great sequel, but could stand on it's own as well.