Beautiful Creatures meets Gone with the Wind in the spellbinding second novel in the Heirs of Watson Island trilogy that “skillfully blends rich magic and folklore with adventure, sweeping romance, and hidden treasure” (Publishers Weekly, on Compulsion).
Grieving the death of her godfather and haunted by her cousin Cassie’s betrayal, Barrie returns from a trip to San Francisco to find the Watson plantation under siege. Ghost-hunters hope to glimpse the ancient spirit who sets the river on fire each night, and reporters chase rumors of a stolen shipment of Civil War gold that may be hidden at Colesworth Place. The chaos turns dangerous as Cassie hires a team of archeologists to excavate beneath the mansion ruins. Because more than treasure is buried there.
A stranger filled with magic arrives at Watson’s Landing claiming that the key to the Watson and Beaufort gifts—and the Colesworth curse—also lies beneath the mansion. With a mix of threats and promises, the man convinces Barrie and Cassie to cast a spell at midnight. But what he conjures may have deadly consequences.
While Barrie struggles to make sense of the escalating peril and her growing feelings for Eight Beaufort, it’s impossible to know whom to trust and what to fight for—Eight or herself. Millions of dollars and the fate of the founding families is at stake. Now Barrie must choose between what she feels deep in her heart and what will keep Watson’s Landing safe in this stunning addition to a series filled with “decadent settings, mysterious magic, and family histories rife with debauchery” (Kirkus Reviews, on Compulsion).
About the Author
Martina Boone was born in Prague and spoke several languages before learning English. She fell in love with words and never stopped delighting in them. She’s the author of the Heirs of Watson Island series, and the founder of both AdventuresinYAPublishing.com, a Writer’s Digest 101 Best Websites for Writers site, and YASeriesInsiders.com, a Tumblr site devoted to news, giveaways, and insider secrets of much-loved and up-and-coming YA series.
From her home in Virginia, where she lives with her husband, children, and Auggie the wonder dog, she enjoys writing contemporary fantasy set in the kinds of magical places she’d love to visit. When she isn’t writing, she’s addicted to travel, horses, skiing, chocolate flavored tea, and anything with Nutella on it.
Read an Excerpt
The last miles of the journey stretched eternally, and Watson’s Landing pulled more and more on Barrie’s finding gift. The ache at her temples had never been absent since she and Eight and Seven Beaufort had flown out to San Francisco to retrieve her godfather’s ashes. Now the pain swelled to a pounding pressure.
Seven turned the Jaguar off the bridge from the mainland onto Watson Island. Slitting her eyes, Barrie tried to avoid the afternoon sun slanting through the oaks that shadowed the road along the water’s edge. The blackwater Santisto River surrounded three sides of the island, but the Atlantic Ocean on the Eastern side added a familiar tang of salt to the tannin-scented air and made her more eager still. A few miles later, the car clattered across the smaller wooden bridge spanning the creek that separated the Watson property from the other half of the island, and a historical marker stood at the edge of the high wall that skirted the rice plantation Barrie’s family had owned since 1692. Beyond the bricks lay the Watson woods, with the Fire Carrier’s Scalping Tree at their heart. The thought both drew Barrie and repelled her.
“There, you see? Almost home.” From the backseat behind her, Eight reached over and lightly touched Barrie’s shoulder. “You’ll feel better in a second, Bear.”
Barrie smiled absently in the passenger seat, tightening her grip on the boxed urn she held in her lap. She braced herself as Seven swung into the driveway. The car stopped in front of the wrought-iron gate decorated with its ornate gold W and swirling hearts.
Perceptions were fickle things, as formless as smoke and just as dangerous. Weeks ago, when Barrie had first seen the plantation her mother had run away from in her teens, the light clawing through the haunts of Spanish moss along the avenue of ancient oaks had seemed ominous, and the down-at-the-heels mansion beyond the trees had appeared forbidding.
So much had changed since then. The things Barrie had considered “safe” at first had tried to kill her, and the spirits and the landscape that had frightened her initially were part of what she’d missed the most these past four days.
Leaning forward, she waited for the gate to open. It occurred to her only as the sticky heat blasted into the car from Seven’s lowered window that the entrance shouldn’t have been shut at all—not on a Sunday afternoon in tourist season. Trying and failing to tamp down a twinge of panic, she turned to Seven, who had reached out to press the intercom button set into the thick brick pillar.
“Why is the gate closed?” Barrie asked.
Seven didn’t answer, and in the backseat, fabric rustled across the leather as Eight shifted and slid his eyes away. Not that their evasions delayed the truth for long.
The Watson gift for finding lost things had continued to grow stronger since Barrie’s mother’s death. A tug of pressure pulled her toward the answer, which was hidden from view by Seven’s shoulder. Craning her head around him, she discovered that someone had taped a sheet of yellow paper over the plaque on the gatepost:
Tearoom and gardens
closed to the public
until further notice.
“All right, what’s going on?” Fighting to keep her voice level, Barrie skewered Eight with a glare. “What happened? Did Pru hurt herself? Where is she?”
“Your aunt’s okay,” Eight answered at the same moment Seven said, “Pru’s just fine.”
Barrie looked from one to the other, but it was Seven who had spent the most time on the phone with Pru. “Out with it,” Barrie commanded. “What are you hiding?”
In the rearview mirror, Eight and Seven flicked each other looks that acknowledged guilt.
“There’s been a bit of trouble with reporters and ghost hunters since the story broke about the explosion,” Seven hastened to say. “Nothing to worry about. Pru and I decided it was better to close up in an abundance of caution.”
“You and Pru decided . . . ,” Barrie repeated. “Why didn’t anyone tell me?”
Seven’s face smoothed into the typical Beaufort for your own good expression that drove Barrie nuts. He jabbed the intercom button again, and Barrie aimed an expectant and disapproving eyebrow in Eight’s direction.
“Well?” she asked.
A hint of red spilled across Eight’s cheeks. “Come on, Bear. You were already dealing with packing up the rest of your mother’s things.” Losing his usual confident calm, he waved a hand toward the box on Barrie’s lap. “Not to mention Mark.”
Grief didn’t make Barrie fragile. She would have told Eight that, but the intercom crackled, and her aunt’s voice came across the wireless system.
“Hello? Who’s there?” Pru asked.
Seven’s expression softened as it did whenever he spoke to Pru. “Just us,” he said.
“Well, thank God for that. Hold on, and I’ll buzz you through.”
It was so good to hear the honey-slow pace of her aunt’s South Carolina drawl that Barrie’s train of thought evaporated briefly. But then the exchange only heightened her sense that the situation was worse than the Beauforts let on. Turning in her seat, she studied them. They were a matched set in their pastel oxford shirts, with their stubborn-jawed faces and their hair lightened by the sun.
She wasn’t sure which of them frustrated her more. They both had the infuriating bossiness that came with the Beaufort gift of knowing what people wanted and being compelled to give it to them. Seven even more so, as Barrie had discovered the past few days. But Eight? He was supposed to be on her side. He shouldn’t have kept things from her. Not about Watson’s Landing.
Technically, the plantation still belonged to Pru, but it was Barrie who was bound to the land by blood, magic, and inheritance. The house, the gardens, the woods where the Fire Carrier disappeared each night, and the spirits of the yunwi that the ancient witch kept corralled on the island with his nightly ceremony of fire on the river were all Barrie’s responsibility.
The word felt right as Barrie thought it. She was responsible. Because who else could be? Pru barely had the Watson gift at all; she had never been the true heir. As the younger twin, younger than Barrie’s mother, Lula, the gift had touched Pru only incidentally, and she couldn’t see the spirits or feel the land as strongly as Barrie did. And how was Barrie supposed to protect the yunwi or keep Watson’s Landing safe if no one let her know what was going on?
She had every intention of telling Eight exactly why he was wrong and what kind of betrayal it was to keep secrets from her, but before she could open her mouth to speak, he leaned closer with his uncanny green eyes intent on hers.
“You’re right, we should have told you,” he said, echoing her thoughts the way the Beaufort gift so often let him. “But what was the point of worrying you? You couldn’t do anything while we were away.”
“Can’t do much even now. The Santisto’s a public river,” Seven said.
Barrie swung her attention back to him. “What does this have to do with the river?”
“There are a few boats using it to watch what’s going on here. Reporters and people hoping to see the Fire Carrier.” Seven pushed the car back into gear. “Don’t worry. The excitement will die down after your cousin’s hearing and Wyatt’s funeral. Everything will go back to normal.”
In front of them, the black iron gate trembled and began to slide. A dozen or more knee-high figures with mischievous, childlike faces rushed through the opening toward Barrie’s side of the car. Their shadow-shapes were hard to see because of the daylight and the speed with which they moved, but their eyes etched dim trails of fire and gold into the air behind them. Barrie smiled and rolled down the window to stretch out her hand.
A movement on the six-foot wall beside the gatepost made her pause.
There was a man sitting up on top. He was dark from head to toe, dressed in a black suit with a sheen that blended into his skin and an aubergine silk shirt, and he was reading a newspaper so casually, he could as easily have been sitting at home on his sofa. He turned and looked dead at Barrie. Thick rows of dreadlocks swung past his shoulders, and when he lowered the newspaper, something white flashed in sharp contrast against his wrist.
Barrie shaded her eyes, and he smiled . . . and vanished. Between one blink and the next, the top of the wall was empty except for a large raven sitting in the spot where the man had been. The bird peered at her with its head tilted considerably.
“Bear? Are you all right?” Eight grasped Barrie’s shoulder. “What happened? You’ve gone as white as a sheet.” He managed to avoid the five-day-old stitches where a piece of her uncle’s exploding speedboat had sliced into Barrie’s muscle as she’d tried to swim across the river, but she flinched anyway, and shivered.
“There was a . . . ,” she began, but before she could mention the man she had seen, she couldn’t remember what she had meant to say.
Eight’s forehead creased into worried lines. “There was a what? A person? Another reporter? Someone snooping around?”
Barrie tried to focus. She was supposed to remember something. . . . Her thoughts were sluggish, as if she were trying to think through quicksand. What had she been looking for? Why was she staring at an ordinary raven on the wall?
“Sorry. Nothing.” She shook her head to clear it. “It was nothing.”
The look Eight threw her was as sharp as it was reproachful. “One of your ‘nothings’ usually means there’s something. You’re not going to start keeping secrets again because we’re back, are you?”
“Pot, kettle, black, baseball guy. You’re the one keeping secrets.”
She watched the raven fly away until it was only a smudge of receding darkness. She was going crazy; that was all there was to it. Not that it was any wonder, with everything that had happened and the migraine that hadn’t let up in days.
Seven had stopped to look around instead of driving through the gate, which wasn’t helping any. Rubbing the ache at her temple, Barrie nodded toward the entrance. “Can we please just go?” she asked.
The relief was instantaneous. The moment the car tires crunched on the white oyster shell and gravel of the avenue between the oaks, the Watson gift released its grip, as if Barrie had merely been another lost object that she was compelled to return to its proper place.
She sagged into her seat and filled her lungs with air scented by jasmine and magnolia. Fingers of moss hanging from the oak canopy overhead swayed in the breeze from the river, and the graceful old mansion at the end of the drive glowed white and gold in the waning sun. For once, all the dark green shutters hung straight and properly in place.
Ghost hunters or not, it was a relief—a joy—to be back. Barrie took in the wide lawns and the maze of hedges between the house and the Watson woods where the ground sloped gently toward the river that formed the boundary between Watson’s Landing and the Beaufort and Colesworth plantations on the opposite bank.
But a blue-canopied speedboat and two smaller craft marred the view.
Barrie wasn’t prepared for the way the sight felt wrong. The boats staked out beyond the rippling expanse of marsh grass made her muscles tighten as if her whole body had turned into a charley horse and needed to be unclenched.
She wasn’t afraid; the claustrophobic feeling wasn’t one of her usual panic attacks, which, thank goodness, were becoming rare. This was something different, an anger that came from an urge to protect Pru and Watson’s Landing. Barrie wasn’t even sure how much of that emotion came from a natural sense of violation on hearing about the intruders, and how much stemmed from the magical binding that connected her to Watson’s Landing more strongly day by day.
With a glance at the yunwi running alongside the car, she drew the box with Mark’s urn closer to her chest. “Those are the boats you were talking about, the ghost hunters? How does anyone know the Fire Carrier was involved? Eight and I never told the police—or anyone.”
“You didn’t need to mention it.” Seven’s voice and eyes had both grown cold. “Enough people have claimed to see the flames on the river over the years, or at least they’ve heard the legend of the fire at midnight. Someone was bound to put two and two together when Wyatt’s boat exploded at that time of night—”
He broke off abruptly, but it was too late. Tears pricked Barrie’s eyes, and the memories swept in before she blinked: the face tattooed on the back of Ernesto’s skull, the strength of his grip, the ache of his booted feet connecting with her ribs. None of it had faded from her nightmares yet, but it was her uncle’s voice that haunted her. Wyatt’s voice ordering her into the boat so they could take her out to kill her.
She couldn’t be sorry that he and Ernesto were dead.
She refused to be sorry.
A muscle ticked along Eight’s jaw as he read her, and he leaned toward her in concern.
She shook her head and turned back to Seven. “There isn’t anything you can do about the boats? There has to be some way to get rid of them.”
The instinct to protect Watson’s Landing was so new, she didn’t understand it herself. She didn’t expect Seven to mirror her outrage, but his eyes flashed, something real and raw sparking behind them before he seemed to get hold of himself. Then he rubbed his head with an exhausted wince, as if Barrie’s migraine had been contagious.
“Better to let the interest die down on its own,” he said. “Anything we do is only going to create more publicity. Your aunt’s put up NO TRESPASSING signs around the dock and shoreline, and so far that seems to be working. She hasn’t seen anyone coming ashore here the way the treasure hunters have done at Colesworth Place—”
“Treasure hunters?” Barrie’s voice was sharp. “I thought we were finally done with Cassie’s imaginary treasure.”
Seven swerved to avoid the white peacock and pair of peahens that had strayed too close to the road. “The treasure might not be so imaginary after all. One of the reporters found an old newspaper article while he was snooping around. Alcee Colesworth took up the family tradition of privateering during the Civil War—”
“Piracy,” Barrie said. “Call it what it is.”
“Privateering sanctioned by the Jefferson Davis government,” Seven corrected, “at least in this instance. Although, in typical Colesworth fashion, Alcee never shared his last prize with anyone. His ship sank outside Charleston Harbor, and by the time they managed to raise it, the gold had disappeared. It’s not a stretch to assume he kept it for himself.”
Not long ago, Barrie would have argued Seven’s assumption. She would have said it was unfair to jump to conclusions merely because of the feud that had existed between the Colesworths and the Watsons and Beauforts for three hundred years. Barrie was, after all, a Colesworth, too, on her father’s side. But she had learned the hard way that the feud existed because the Colesworths weren’t capable of being honest with anyone, or of accepting a hand offered to them in friendship. Why her mother had ever run off with one of them, Barrie would never understand. But Lula had spent the remainder of her life paying bitterly for that mistake.
The idea that Cassie had actually told the truth about the treasure . . . about anything? Barrie didn’t believe that, and what her finding gift had sensed at Colesworth Place hadn’t felt like gold or money.
She stared through the trees to the dark water of the Santisto, gleaming with the dull sheen of tarnished silver. On the opposite bank, the jagged columns and shattered chimneys that were all that remained of the ruined Colesworth mansion stood atop a shallow rise. As always, the sight made Barrie thankful that Watson’s Landing was still intact. A little frayed at the edges, like one of her aunt Pru’s well-worn sundresses, but perfect and beautiful and familiar.
Only the boats were wrong. Barrie shivered as she remembered the last boat the Fire Carrier had encountered, and her breath came easier once the river was out of sight.
The Jaguar crawled to a stop in the circular drive below the columned portico. At the top of the wide front steps, one of the double doors flew open, and Barrie’s aunt hurried down to meet them. Barrie was barely out of the car before Pru was there, flinging her arms wide and then squeezing hard enough to make Barrie’s stitches groan.
“Lord, I’ve missed you! It seems like a month since you left.” Pru stood back to look at Barrie critically before giving Seven a baleful frown. “Didn’t you feed this child while you were gone, Seven Beaufort? She’s likely to disappear on us.” Leaning forward, she kissed Barrie on the forehead. “Now, don’t you worry, sugar. We’ll get you straightened out in no time. I’m making a beef roast with sweet potatoes for supper, and I’ve got bourbon chocolate cake for dessert. That’s the only upside to having the tearoom closed: there’s plenty of time for cooking.”
Barrie shifted the box to her other arm and gave a reluctant nod.
Pru eyed the box a little wildly. “Is that . . . Oh, honey, have you been holding him all this time?”
“I couldn’t put him in the luggage.” Barrie was pleased her voice didn’t tremble.
“Do you want any help finding a place to put . . . him?” Pru turned helplessly to Seven, but he was watching her as if she were a slice of his favorite whoopie pie cake and he wanted to eat her up.
Barrie couldn’t help an inward smile. “You and Seven go do whatever you need to do in the kitchen.” She held her hand out to Eight as he popped the trunk to get the suitcases. “Eight can come and help me.”
Apart from needing to find a safe place for Mark, she and Eight hadn’t had a moment all day to be alone.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I love it when an author can take a character from a previous story, and, building upon what has already been developed, surprise the reader by showing a new side in a new situation that is a bit unexpected while still remaining true. Martina Boone does just that with her three main characters in this second book of the COMPULSION series. With PERSUASION, Martina's skill at painting vivid pictures with her words, and prying the reader into the very heart of her characters, is even more impressive. Persuasion does not present idealized, almost-perfect teens always behaving their best, but rather realistically portrayed, maturing young adults struggling to make their own decisions...and then dealing with the repercussions when they make a mistake (as teens do!). But perhaps what I liked best about PERSUASION was the new magical element and character introduced in this story. Obadiah comes vividly alive (if he ever really was) and fascinated me with his persona and secrets., I felt compelled to turn the pages until the very end. I love the underpinnings of myth in this series and how the author has given them her own unique, modernized spin to show how similar and unifying folk tales can be across cultures. Unlike many mid books in a series, PERSUASION definitely turns the pacing up a notch. The setting, the romance, the mystery -- all so darkly magical, I hated for the story to end. At least there's the third book to look forward to!
I adored the first book, and I think I love this one even more, but it's a close call. This one has all the beautiful atmosphere and writing, not to mention all the fabulous characters and the romance, but it delves deeper into the magic and the danger on the island. I especially love how it pushes Barrie to the edge, and how it explores the different ways in which you can take the title. With Eight's compulsion to want what Barrie wants, does he love her for the right reasons, of his own free will? And how much does his gift, or her own, have to do with her loving him? With that in play, how can she trust him when it comes to choosing her magic over his? There's so much below the surface in this book about family, relationships, history, love, gender, and history. It's seriously brilliant. My only problem is that the next book doesn't come out for a year!
I adored every page of this contemporary fantasy. Although Persuasion is an action packed mystery, filled with twist and turns, heartache and longing, it is primarily a story of a young woman, Barrie, coming to terms with who she is and what she wants. Magic abounds in this paranormal romance, but it is Barrie’s strength and determination, even when she faces impossible choices, that is the most compelling. If you’re looking for a beautifully written, deliciously atmospheric novel that captivates you from the first page then Persuasion is for you. I highly recommend it.
Hold on to the edge of your seat, because PERSUASION takes you on a ride that will leave you breathless. Martina Boone does an extraordinary job weaving together history, magic, mystery, and modern times. She unspools questions like the Fire Carrier unspools his ball of flames across the river. Readers will swoon over Eight and Barrie, pray that they'll make it as a couple. Is Eight with Barrie because she wants him and he wants to give her whatever she wants? Is their love for each other real? Or is it because of the magical gifts each one has: Barrie's ability to find things and his ability to know what other people want. The questions won't stop there. Readers are introduced to Obadiah and his magic. Who is he? Is he evil? What is his connection to the curse plaguing Cassie? And what is going on with Cassie? More games? What kind of persuasion is influencing these characters? Why did Seven break up with Pru years ago, when clearly he loves her? Why is Seven keeping secrets from Eight? Can the curse be broken? Will Barrie get to keep her gift? Will Eight be burdened by his??? Will the archeologists find the missing gold or something unexpected, perhaps evil, on the Colesworth estate? The biggest question of all? WHAT'S GOING TO HAPPEN NEXT?! So, take a breath . . . Get comfort where you can . . . If you haven't read COMPULSION, get it now! Fall in love with the history, Southern charm, romance, magic, mystery, rich scenes, clever, smart writing, and all those questions. Without any doubt, PERSUASION will be on my top-reads list of 2015!
History and magic mixed together in a Sci Fi way
This book was fantastic! A stellar follow up to last year's COMPULSION, PERSUASION brings all of the mystery, romance, and crazy you can handle. Once again, Martina Boone brings the South to live; really making the setting its own character, which is something that so few writers are really able to accomplish. The plot continues to thicken as the stakes rise even higher for Barrie and Eight, and I honestly can't wait for the next installment.
I loved this book! While I really enjoyed the first book, I liked this one even more, largely because it built on the promises of the first book, taking us deeper into the Watson/Beaufort/Colesworth history and exploring the downsides of their gifts. And the course of Barrie and Eight's relationship just sucked me right in. (Eight is so my new book boyfriend, FYI. I didn't expect that, but he's grown on me something fierce.)
I absolutely adored Compulsion and was thrilled when I was lucky enough to receive an ARC of Persuasion. Martina absolutely knows how to write a paranormal mystery in her own way. There are no cliche troupes or been-there-done-that scenes. She creates a complex narrative that builds and builds throughout both books. Barrie is dealing with the death of Mark, Cassie's betrayal, and her growing knowledge of her family's history all while trying to find her footing in her life, which is now being overrun by ghost hunters and reporters. One of the things I love about reading Persuasion from Barrie's point of view is that we only know what she knows. We don't get hints dropped from being in the head's of other characters. We learn as Barrie learns and we feel betrayal as Barrie feels betrayal. This is one of my favorite narratives, next to first person, because we really get into the head of one character, which pulls up deeper into the story. Yes, there are times when third person omniscient narrator works, but for this go round third person limited is perfect. The romance with Eight isn't quite up to OTP level (though it's terribly terribly close), but I blame Barrie for that. She's pulling the typical "I'm going to handle everything on my own even though it will be hugely beneficial for me to discuss these things with Eight." I'll admit this is one a character traits that bothers me the most and I just want to smack her upside the head. This especially comes into play with the addition of Obadiah, whom I don't even know how to describe. A good-ish bad guy? A bad-ish good guy? All I can say is that he's iffy on the trust scale and I'm curious about his true intentions. Just like Compulsion, Martina's narrative and story telling are on point. I can picture myself walking around Barrie's house, amongst the Colesworth graveyard, and even in the past during one of Barrie's vision. Martina has a knack for not just writing an engaging story, but writing a story that is full of Southern charm, magic, romance, and mystery. I'm anxiously awaiting the conclusion, Illusion, to find out how everything is going to be wrapped up - fingers crossed that it's with a pretty bow!
Having lived in South Carolina for so long, diving back into this series was like coming home for me. Again, the author manages to capture the rich history, Southern charm, and eerie magic of the Charleston Low Country area. This book gives the reader a better understanding of the gifts of the Watsons and Beauforts and the Colesworth curse. Some questions are answered, but other emerge and there are still secrets to be exposed and the motivations of some characters to be learned. Some of the characters have some interesting developments - some I liked and some surprised me. I enjoyed seeing Pru take a more active role at Watson's Landing and learning more about her past in regards to Seven, but some of Seven's actions were questionable. As easy as Cassie makes it to dislike her, there may be more to her than previously thought. Again, Eight is just a sweetheart of a character. I was a little disappointed in the emphasis on the relationship drama between Barrie and Eight. Conflict is expected, of course, there wouldn't be much of a plot without it, but it distracted me from the primary story of the goings on at Watson's Landing. There are still many decisions to be made, secrets to be exposed, and mysteries to be solved at Watson's Landing and I'll be impatiently waiting for the next book in this haunting, highly addictive series. This review is based on a digital copy from the publisher through Edelweiss.
***Review posted on The Eater of Books! blog*** Persuasion by Martina Boone Book Two of The Heirs of Watson Island series Publisher: Simon Pulse Publication Date: October 27, 2015 Rating: 2 stars Source: eARC from Edelweiss Summary (from Goodreads): Grieving the death of her godfather and haunted by her cousin Cassie’s betrayal, Barrie returns from a trip to San Francisco to find the Watson plantation under siege. Ghost-hunters hope to glimpse the ancient spirit who sets the river on fire each night, and reporters chase rumors of a stolen shipment of Civil War gold that may be hidden at Colesworth Place. The chaos turns dangerous as Cassie hires a team of archeologists to excavate beneath the mansion ruins. Because more is buried there than treasure. A stranger filled with magic arrives at Watson’s Landing claiming that the key to the Watson and Beaufort gifts—and the Colesworth curse—also lies beneath the mansion. With a mix of threats and promises, the man convinces Barrie and Cassie to cast a spell there at midnight. But what he conjures may have deadly consequences. While Barrie struggles to make sense of the escalating peril and her growing and forbidden feelings for Eight Beaufort, it’s impossible to know whom to trust and what to fight for—Eight or herself. Millions of dollars and the fate of the founding families is at stake. Now Barrie must choose between what she feels deep in her heart and what will keep Watson’s Landing safe in this stunning addition to a series filled with “decadent settings, mysterious magic, and family histories rife with debauchery” (Kirkus Reviews, on Compulsion). What I Liked: Another heavily disappointing novel. Yesterday's review (Scandal Takes the Stage by Eva Leigh) was not impressive, and this book was unfortunately similar in disappointment. It's awkward because I'm a member of Martina's private street team, and I love Martina! I just met her on Saturday (at the Baltimore Book Festival), and she was the sweetest. I love working with her, so I'm extremely disappointed that I didn't like this novel. More mad at myself than the book, I think! Barrie is still recovering from the crushing grief over Mark's death, as well as the trauma from what her cousin Cassie did to her and Eight. Back at Watson's Landing, Barrie discovers a new magic, through a stranger who doesn't seem human. He wants her to find something that will break the Colesworth curse, or he'll take away her ability. Find it and he'll grant a favor. But Barrie must sneak around behind everyone's back, include Eight's. Will she risk it all, including losing Eight, in order to save everyone? I'm sitting here completely still, trying to dredge up things that I liked about this book. The cover, for one, though that's completely out of the author's control. The author's handling of PTSD, in one of the secondary characters. I was not expecting PTSD in this particular character, nor did I expect the trauma that the character suffered. The author did an excellent job of setting up this shocking secret. It's not a big secret the changes the plot of the book or series, but it is quite important and is a big part of the climax. I'm also a huge fan of my cameo in this book! There is an "Alyssa" in this book, specifically because myself and Alyssa H. are part of Martina's street team. Very cool! Read the rest of my review on my blog, The Eater of Books! - eaterofbooks DOT blogspot DOT com :)