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Photographs & Phantoms

Photographs & Phantoms

3.5 403
by Cindy Spencer Pape

Brighton, 1855

As a member of the Order of the Round Table, Kendall Lake is overqualified to be investigating strange phenomena at a seaside photography studio. But since the photographer is related to the Order's most powerful sorcerer, Kendall reluctantly boards a dirigible to Brighton.

Amy Deland is haunted by a shadow that


Brighton, 1855

As a member of the Order of the Round Table, Kendall Lake is overqualified to be investigating strange phenomena at a seaside photography studio. But since the photographer is related to the Order's most powerful sorcerer, Kendall reluctantly boards a dirigible to Brighton.

Amy Deland is haunted by a shadow that appears in some of her recent portraits. In each case, the subject died within days of the sitting. Does she have her grandmother's gift of foresight, or has she somehow caused the deaths?

As Kendall and Amy search for answers, their investigation draws them together in a most improper way—but it seems the evil presence in the studio is determined to keep them apart…

20,000 words

Product Details

Carina Press
Publication date:
Gaslight Chronicles
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520 KB

Read an Excerpt

Southern England, June, 1855

Kendall, Marquess Lake, stood on the observation deck of the dirigible's gondola as it flew west toward Brighton, wishing he was heading north instead. London beckoned. He'd spent far too long in the countryside, overseeing the implementation of automated harvesters at Lakeview, one of his father's estates. The early June haying had been a trial run of the equipment before the serious harvest in the fall.

He wanted adventure, craved it. His restlessness had been aggravated by his delay in Essex to witness the wedding of a childhood friend. While Kendall understood the social obligation of marrying someday, at thirty he was in no hurry to do so, and watching a friend get leg-shackled had been more than a little discomfiting.

A man of action, a Knight of the Order of the Round Table, Kendall was more used to fighting vampyres or rogue mages than dealing with disputes between tenant farmers or partnering bridesmaids. As the heir to the Duke of Trowbridge, however, he knew he had to get used to juggling missions with estate and social obligations. Upon his grandfather's death a year earlier, Kendall's father had been elevated to the dukedom and Kendall to the marquisate. Kendall's responsibilities to both family and the Order had increased substantially, leaving him little time for fieldwork. He longed for a nice, simple task like putting down a goblin invasion.

Instead, he was off to Brighton just as the middle-class tourists began to flood the seaside town, to hold the hand of the niece of one of his father's cronies and assure her all was well. The task was one they could have assigned to a clerk rather than a Knight, but Lord Drood had been Kendall's grandfather's closest friend and he was the most powerful sorcerer in England, perhaps in the world. Kendall's father tended to jump when Drood asked for a favor.

As the airship approached the town, the first outlying buildings came into view and the scents of coal smoke and salt air reached his nostrils. They flew over a few grand country estates, an old stone church, a livery stable, a tavern, an automaton factory and a country store. The airfield was right outside the town proper, and once he'd debarked, Kendall traded his goggles and cap for his top hat and tucked his belted leather duster into his valise.

Out on the street, he hired a hansom, checked the piece of paper he'd shoved into his pocket and spoke to the cabbie. "150-B Lilac Lane."

The cabbie looked at Kendall's expensive frock coat, superfine trousers and custom-made boots and raised one grizzled eyebrow. "You sure about that, milord?"

"Quite." The Order didn't make mistakes on something as simple as addresses. The files in their analytical engine databases were quite extensive and included things like the addresses of distant relations of Order members.

The driver shrugged, clicked to his ancient mare and headed toward the bustling resort town. The painted wood and pastel brick buildings reminded Kendall of Easter eggs in a basket on this hazy afternoon. The Queen's Road was lined with candy and souvenir shops, clothiers, rooming houses and photographic studios.

Ah yes, photographic studios. As a steam tram chugged past them toward the beach, filled with sunburned tourists and local workers, Kendall's cab turned west off the Queen's Road, the main thoroughfare, away from the Pavilion and the other grand buildings, into a slightly less prosperous section of town.

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Photographs & Phantoms 3.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 403 reviews.
Avid_ReaderNC More than 1 year ago
This story was a quick one day read for me, but I had to review and let anyone who is interested know that it was a pleasant surprise. The story was quickly-paced and original. I enjoyed the characters, who were well developed without being tedious. Since there's no summary I took a chance on reading it (who am I kidding, I love to read, and I'm broke & desperate, ha!)....but I just want ya'll to know that this little read was well worth my time and eye strain. ;-) Enjoy!
pagemage More than 1 year ago
A light, okay read. Not much in the way of plot or characterization. Good one for a waiting room where you don't want to get too involved and expect interuptions.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
You do not have to like steampunk to love this novella. The characters are instantly likable, the plot well-paced, and the story is just steamy enough. Great afternoon read. I can't wait to get my hands on this series and I hope there will be a lot. Fans of the Parasol Protectorate series will like this just as much.
Arrat More than 1 year ago
This was a quick easy read, a romance novel with a mystery & the supernatural. Thought the 2 main characters moved into the bedroom way too fast, they only knew each other a day. I would have like that to move a little slower especially since he "wasn't interested in marriage".
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It was OK. Just OK. The plot was alright, the characters at least had more than one dimension, and the ending WAS a little unexpected. I really could have done qithout all of that cheesy love at first sight crap, though. I'm not a pessimist, I'm just not a hopeless romantic. And the bedroom scene? A little TOO much information. I would have liked this book better if the romance was a little (OK, a LOT) more subtle. Otherwise it would have been more of the adventure-mystery story I was hoping for. If you want a Steampunk adventure, try The Strange Case of Finley Jayne and The Girl in the Steel Corset by Kady Cross.
kathy nickle More than 1 year ago
It was a very cute story. I don't usually like a story with romance in it but, this one was OK, not too much with some adventure thrown in.
Anne_Michaels More than 1 year ago
Up until now, I had never read steampunk. Now I am checking out others in the category. This book combined historical technology with historical romance with suspense and paranormal wrapped up into 1 novel. The premise of a photograph having power is an old one, but Cindy Spencer Paper spins this into a delightful novel.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Ok so i read all the reviews and some person wrote why did i wast my money but it was free so no money was spent hey never had sex in this book yes there was some forplay but it was not completly erotic i enjoyed the book i find thay it was a amazing combination of things and the fact that they fond true love in a day
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I thought this book was going to be a quick mystery read... instead it was like erotica. I wish it would of had a warning somewhere. Gross.
Graziel More than 1 year ago
I thought this book would be interesting with a bit of thriller, mystery and more but it's really more of a sappy romance book. I'm not a huge fan of romance, and the whole romance theme kind of overpowered the theme of the book. I was disappointed. It is a short book but there is potential for it to grow into something more deeper, more broad with what is happening with the pictures. Great try but not the best! I think this book is good for young adults into early 20's, and it is not for seasoned readers like I.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this story. It had a bit of mysticism, a bit of spooky value & some subtle romance. I liked that it was clean enough my niece could read it without worry.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Amy and Kendall's story is short but sweet. A good quick romantic read about love at first sight.
My_Eclectic_Bookshelf More than 1 year ago
This short book (really more a novella) had a little something for everyone. Steampunk, Magic, Romance, Mystery...you name it...this little gem had it. The premise was interesting and kept me reading to see what would happen next. The world was fascinating...Victorian England but with a bit of a "mechanical" twist. And I'd almost forgotten how much I can enjoy a little (steamy) romance thrown into the mix. All in all a short sweet fun and entertaining read...and for me a good mini introduction to the world of Steampunk. Just enough to wet your whistle for the rest of the series... (I'm guessing it's meant to be a teaser but stands alone well if you just want a quick read.)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I'm not really a romance fan, and this one is definitely more romance than steampunk. The plot is mostly a backdrop to the romance between the two main characters. Even so, I found myself drawn in. It's a very quick read and can easily be finished in an afternoon. It's not the book that's going to rock your world, but it's still a surprisingly enjoyable light read. I'll give this one an extra star for making me enjoy a story in a genre that normally bores me to tears. :)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
My only complaint is that this wasn't a full length novel. I would have liked to spend more time with the characters and watch their relationship blossum.
KestrelLady More than 1 year ago
First off, this is more of a novella than a novel, and thus the action moves very quickly. That being said, the characters acknowledged that the action was moving quickly, even if nothing was really done to explain why. It's also steampunk/fantasy, so magic and clockwork gadgets set in late Victorian England. Amy is a photographer who is suddenly seeing phantoms in her photographs. Which wouldn't be too bad, except that every person whose photograph it appears in dies. Kendall is sent to investigate what he thinks is a case of an overreacting spinster. He'd much rather have a nice vampire or goblin to deal with. He is completely surprised by Amy and the two have to band together to figure out what the phantom is before it strikes again. All together a very enjoyable afternoon's read. I hope there are more in this series because I really enjoyed both the world and the writing. I just hope they are a little bit longer so that the characters have time to develop a little more naturally and the world can be introduced a bit better.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is an absolutely run-of-the-mill Harlequin-style bodice-ripper (you ever notice how the heroes and heroines are virtually interchangeable? When was the last time the heroine's bosom was less than bountiful, or her self-image secure? When was the last time the hero longed for love, and didn't brood and scowl his way reluctantly to the altar?), only with the puzzling addition of magic! Ghosts! Steampunk! All the things! ... Yeah, this book was just plain silly. I'd have given it only one star, but I give the author props for a more skilled writing style and better editing than you normally find in these sorts of books. If you liked the 'Twilight' novels, you'll probably like this. If, like me, you like your plotlines a little less stupid... don't bother with this one.
MCri More than 1 year ago
I really liked this book. It was a fast read. I read it within hours of starting it. Love the 2 main characters. Kept me on my toes and would LOVE to see more out of the author with these two. They were great!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
What an uplifting tale! Characters that charm you with their quirks & intelligence, even in such a brief story. Really looking forward to more from this author!
BBsBookNook More than 1 year ago
Set in Brighton, England in 1855, this Steam Punk romance is full of paranormal elements and romance. Lord Kendall Lake, a Knight of the Order of the Round Table, has been sent by his father to check on one Miss Amelie Deland, the niece of the most powerful sorcerer in the Order. Kendall does not know why he has been sent to "hold the hand" of Miss Deland, but that is his order. As the mission progresses, a deadly plot is uncovered, and the Hadrian family becomes involved. Mystery and intrigue abound. This is a quick read, since it is a novella. Very enjoyable. The only thing lacking is that it seemed to move a bit too quickly.
broncofan07 More than 1 year ago
Very good story though a little too short. The characters were very good and I would have liked to seen them fleshed out a bit more but the writer's style is very easy going and easy to read. As I read the story I thought Kendall Lake may have been patterned after Rhett Butler but much nicer. Would have been a 4 if not for the short length and quick rap up. I do recommend it though and look forward to more of Ms. Pape's work.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This story feels really short. I was hoping the Phantom portion of the story would be more sci-fi but there is more Romance in this book than phantoms or ghosts. It does get pretty steamy in here so I'd be sure you can handle that type of content before reading this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Photographs & Phantoms is a scifi, paranormal, period romance. I wished that the characters, which were interesting, had been developed more. Same for the plot. It was OK for a quick read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Would have given 5 stars but some parts are a little bit confusing. A really quick edit would do wonders to fix the flow in a couple of spots. (Female, 17)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I'm new to the Steampunk genre. So far it has been an interesting discovery. This is a short story that introduced me to the Order of the Round Table...a paranormal "detective" agency. The Order sends out its members to help investigate unusual situations. This short story takes place after Steam and Sorcery...which I just finished reading. We are introduced to Kendall Lake who is an Order member as he investigates the strange things that are showing up in Amy Deland's photos. The story moves quickly as it is a short story and we are soon discovering all the twists and turns that the author has woven within her story. I found this to be an enjoyable read and thus lead me to Steam and Sorcery. I will be looking forward to seeing what else this author writes in this series and am beginning one of her other novels.