She will entrance him with her beauty . . . and entice him to her bed.
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About the Author
Lois Greiman is the award-winning author of more than twenty novels, including romantic comedy, historical romance, and mystery. She lives in Minnesota with her family and an ever-increasing number of horses.
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Under Your Spell
Elegance St. James, Countess of Lanshire, took a sip of champagne and glanced about the salon. Everyone with a title and two pence was present. But she seemed to be the only witch.
And that was just as well, for she was weary of witches. Tired of their conniving and plotting and spells. Tired of their spats and alliances, their triumphs and failures. It was time to be normal. Normal but irresistible, she thought, and carefully preened her aura. Tonight she was beautiful, at least to others.
Near a table spread with every conceivable delicacy, Lord Milton shoved a peach tart into his mouth, glanced her way, then glanced again, eyes widening with interest. The little baron was middle-aged, homely, and somewhat paunchy. Rumor suggested he was also financially unstable, which made him a perfectly suitable match. Ella gave him her best come-hither smile.
From near the doorway by the lead-glass windows, the Viscount of Cleftmore scrutinized her. He was tall, elegant, and wealthy. She granted him a cool nod, then turned back toward Milton, who was, even now, struggling through the mob toward her, jiggling between a potted palm and a liveried servant, then striding rapidly across the hardwood floor. Ella offered him an encouraging smile. Let the others battle for the charms of the handsome, well-placed suitors. Let them become besotted and bedded and wedded. She had done so. It was not for her.
"My lady." Lord Milton was panting rather heavily by the time he reached her side. He was balding slightly, she noticed happily, and was a fair bit shorter than she.
"My lord," she said, and tiltingher head, gave him a coy glance through lowered lashes. As lashes went, hers were far from spectacular. In fact, nothing about her physical appearance was particularly noteworthy. Never had been. Her sister Maddy had inherited their father's dark, good looks, leaving Ella rather ordinary by comparison, with hair that could not quite decide whether it was brown or red and curves that would never quite . . . well . . . curve. She was tall. Some might say spindly. Indeed, some had said just that. But none would say so tonight, for tonight she had employed all her powers to make her appear dazzling. And her powers were considerable.
"You are looking quite . . ." Lord Milton's eyes were round, his face flushed. "Quite . . . dazzling."
"My lord," she breathed again, and raised the pale lace fan she'd brought just for this purpose. She couldn't say why men found it appealing when women peered at them from above fans like so many peeping cockatiels, but apparently they did. "You flatter me."
"Flattery. No. No." He was perspiring a little above his upper lip, which was considerably larger than his lower. "Not at all. You are beauty itself. Like a beacon that . . ." From across the room, Miss May Anglican laughed. She was flirting. And by the sound of it, her chosen companion was either relatively attractive or extremely wealthy. Either was acceptable to May, though, in actuality, she flirted only to make Lord Gershwin jealous. After all, a mistress who could not make her lover envious might just as well be a wife.
But Milton seemed to notice neither the flirtatious tone of their hostess's laughter nor the burgeoning crowd. "Like a beacon that . . ." he reiterated, but his words faltered again. Ella stifled an impatient urge to tap her toe, gave him a hopeful smile over the top of her ridiculous fan, and visualized the word shines. It did no good whatsoever. "That . . ." He floundered.
Miss Anglican, or Merry May, to those bold enough to know her well, was making her way through the crowd toward them. It was impossible to miss her. For while most posh ladies of the ton dressed in muted pastels and free-flowing gowns that fell like water from their nipples to their slippers, May wore anything she damned well pleased. And today tight-fitting, garish red seemed to please her tremendously.
"A beacon that, umm . . ."
"Ella!" said May, shattering Milton's concentration and ruining any hope of a quickly concluded compliment. "I am so glad you have come." May was small and dimpled, with the demure personality of a beleaguered terrier. And if she was not quite beautiful, it hardly mattered. For she was Merry May, siren of every soiree, belle of every ball. Not Ella's usual type of friend, but then Ella had changed, hadn't she? Had left her life of dark concentration behind.
"Miss Anglican," Ella said, giving the other a courteous smile and carefully maintaining propriety lest she scare off her potbellied prey. "I wouldn't have missed one of your gatherings for all the world. Indeed London is blessed to have—"
"Oh pish," May said, and taking Ella's arm, steered her aside. "If you'll excuse us, Lord Milton, I fear I need a word with . . ." Her eyes were shining with mischief and humor. "Your beacon."
With that, they left poor Milton in the rear.
"Listen, May—" Ella began, but May stopped her immediately.
"What the deuce do you think you're doing?"
Ella stifled a scowl, remembering to keep her expression pleasant, to keep her image obtuse. It was one of the more difficult tasks in her dealings with the ton. "I'm simply enjoying your fine party," she said, and glanced over May's shoulder at the little lord. He seemed to still be wrestling the kinks out of a few stunning similes.
"Milt?" said May, voice rye-toast dry. "You're considering Milt?"
"I'm sure I've no idea what you're talking—"
"She would have teeth like a picket fence."
Ella smiled at a passing dowager. Her skin was rice-powder white. Her hair was piled blue and high, reminiscent of days she seemed not quite ready to leave behind. "You haven't gotten into the blue ruin again, have you, May?"Under Your Spell. Copyright © by Lois Greiman. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I am hooked on this author.
Not the best book this author has written. It was difficult to determine which witch was which. Too many characters bubbling in the cauldron to keep up with. Author needs to stay with her other brews as far as story lines...they were interesting.
Lois Greiman, known for her superbly written Scottish Romances, mostly about the Fraser clan, and also for her beautifully sensual princess and pirate romances, breaks free into this simply enchanting new storyline about Witches in Mayfair. But these are not the type of witches that a reader would think of. Like Glenda the ¿good witch of the west¿ in the Wizard of Oz, these witches do no harm, but simply share unique gifts that add to a mundane social life, are alluring, and make tales of the Ton more fun than the normal historical or regency romance. In the first of this fabulous trilogy, the bewitching Ella St. James can dazzle any man with her beauty and she snags the attention of the handsome Thomas Donovan. But Thomas and Ella both fight their attractions, as Ella is in London, a place she is not comfortable and does not find enjoyable with all the glittering parties. She is there because a dear friend is missing and feels it is her mission to find her. Thomas has secrets of his own for being around everywhere where the beautiful Ella is and his desire and attraction for Ella are getting in the way of his own mission. But are their two missions possibly connected? And if so, then can the sensual sparks and desire and sensual devour they feel for each other be even more powerful to help both of their situations? Ms. Greiman has written another delightful story with this new series. Her talent can span any subject with characters that are sexy, charming, loving, honorable and totally unforgettable. The second book in this series cannot be released soon enough. Under Your Spell is an enjoyable fast read that keeps the reader glued to the pages and disappointed when it ends. A wonderful summer beach and pool read!
Like all the students at Lavender House, Elegance ¿Ella¿ St. James possesses special talents as that is a prerequisite to get into the exclusive school. However, unlike her peers, she has no interest in spellbinding a man into marrying her. Instead she wants to act ¿normal¿ but first she is interested in uncovering the person who murdered her friend.--------------- However her efforts at undercover sleuthing fail because wherever she goes regardless of the time, Thomas ¿Sir Drake¿ Donovan is always there. Thomas knows she is in over her head and worried about her even as he knows she is dangerous to his heart. Ella wants desperately to trust Thomas, but fears he may not be what her heart hopes he is so she tells him nothing and continues to dig bringing her to the attention of someone who has killed before.-------------- Readers will be under Lois Greiman¿s spell as her first Witches of Mayfair historical paranormal romance is an enchanting tale. Ella is a terrific, some might say foolish, heroine who knows what she wants and does not want until the interfering Thomas enters her life. He is heroic as he knows from their first encounter she is the one although she seems to reject him. Combining a delightful romance with a solid murder mystery, a bewitching paranormal element, and plenty of action, UNDER YOUR SPELL is a terrific one sitting read.--------- Harriet Klausner