The three Beauchamp women-Joanna and her daughters Freya and Ingrid-live in North Hampton, out on the tip of Long Island. Their beautiful, mist-shrouded town seems almost stuck in time, and all three women lead seemingly quiet, uneventful existences. But they are harboring a mighty secret-they are powerful witches banned from using their magic. Joanna can resurrect people from the dead and heal the most serious of injuries. Ingrid, her bookish daughter, has the ability to predict the future and weave knots that can solve anything from infertility to infidelity. And finally, there's Freya, the wild child, who has a charm or a potion that can cure most any heartache.
For centuries, all three women have been forced to suppress their abilities. But then Freya, who is about to get married to the wealthy and mysterious Bran Gardiner, finds that her increasingly complicated romantic life makes it more difficult than ever to hide her secret. Soon Ingrid and Joanna confront similar dilemmas, and the Beauchamp women realize they can no longer conceal their true selves. They unearth their wands from the attic, dust off their broomsticks, and begin casting spells on the townspeople. It all seems like a bit of good-natured, innocent magic, but then mysterious, violent attacks begin to plague the town. When a young girl disappears over the Fourth of July weekend, they realize it's time to uncover who and what dark forces are working against them.
With a brand-new cast of characters, a fascinating and fresh world to discover, and a few surprise appearances from some of the Blue Blood fan favorites, this is a page-turning, deliciously fun, magical summer read fraught with love affairs, witchcraft, and an unforgettable battle between good and evil.
"A sexy, magical romp, sure to bring de la Cruz a legion of new fans." Kelley Armstrong, New York Times bestselling author of The Otherworld series
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witches of east end
By melissa de la cruz
HYPERIONCopyright © 2011 Melissa de la Cruz
All right reserved.
PrologueThe Town at the Edge of Nowhere
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North Hampton did not exist on any map, which made locating the small, insular community on the very edge of the Atlantic coast something of a conundrum to outsiders, who were known to wander in by chance only to find it impossible to return; so that the place, with its remarkably empty silver-sand beaches, rolling green fields, and imposing, rambling farmhouses, became more of a half-remembered dream than a memory. Like Brigadoon, it was shrouded in fog and rarely came into view. Perpetually damp, even during its brilliant summers, its denizens were a tight-knit, clubby group of families who had been there for generations. In North Hampton, unlike the rest of Long Island, there were still potato farmers and deep-sea fishermen who made a living from their harvests.
Salty sea breezes blew sweetly over the rippling blue waters, the shoals were heavy with clam and scallop, and the rickety restaurants served up the local specialties of porgies, blowfish, and clam chowder made with tomatoes, never milk. The modern age had made almost no impression on the pleasant surroundings; there were no ugly strip malls or any indication of twenty-first-century corporate enterprise to ruin the picturesque landscape.
Across from the township was Gardiners Island, now abandoned and left to ruin. Longer than anyone could remember, the manor house, Fair Haven, had been empty and unoccupied, a relic in the gloaming. Owned by the same family for hundreds of years, no one had seen hide or hair of the Gardiners for de cades. Rumors circulated that the once-illustrious clan could no longer afford its upkeep or that the line had withered and died with its last and final heir. Yet Fair Haven and its land remained untouched and had never been sold.
It was the house that time forgot, the eaves below its peaked roof filled with leaves, the paint chipped and the columns cracked as it sunk slowly toward dilapidation. The island's boat docks rotted and sagged. Ospreys made their homes on the unadulterated beaches. The forests around the house grew thick and dense.
Then one night in the early winter, there was a sickening crunch, a terrible noise, as if the world were ripping open; the wind howled and the ocean raged. Bill and Maura Thatcher, married caretakers from a neighboring estate, were walking their dogs along the North Hampton shore when they heard an awful sound from across the water.
"What was that?" Bill asked, trying to calm the dogs.
"It sounded like it came from there," Maura said, pointing to Gardiners Island. They stared at Fair Haven, where a light had appeared in the manor's northernmost window.
"Look at that, Mo," Bill said. "I didn't know the house had been rented."
"New owners, maybe?" Maura asked. Fair Haven looked the same as it always did: its windows like half-lidded eyes, its shabby doorway sagging like a frowning old man.
Maura took the dogs by the grass but Bill continued to stare, scratching his beard. Then quick as a blink, the light went out and the house was dark again. But now there was someone in the fog, and they were no longer alone. The dogs barked sharply at the steadily approaching figure, and the old groundskeeper realized his heart was pounding in his chest, while his wife looked terrified.
A woman appeared out of the mist. She was tall and intimidating, wearing a bright red bandanna over her hair and a tan raincoat belted tightly around her waist. Her eyes were gray as the dusk.
"Miss Joanna!" Bill said. "We didn't see you there."
Maura nodded. "Sorry to disturb you, ma'am."
"Best you run along now, both of you, there's nothing to see here," she said, her voice as cold as the deep waters of the Atlantic.
Bill felt a chill up his spine and Maura shivered. They had agreed there was something different about their neighbors, something otherworldly and hard to pin down, but until this evening they had never been afraid of the Beauchamps. They were afraid now. Bill whistled for the dogs and reached for Maura's hand, and they walked quickly in the opposite direction.
Across the shore, one by one, more lights were turned on in succession until Fair Haven was ablaze. It shone like a beacon, a signal in the darkness. Bill turned to look back one more time, but Joanna Beauchamp had already disappeared, leaving no sign of footprints in the sand or any indication that she had ever been there.
Excerpted from witches of east end by melissa de la cruz Copyright © 2011 by Melissa de la Cruz. Excerpted by permission of HYPERION. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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