Dreams are magical. They make anything possible-passion, alternate worlds, even the death of empires.
Can love bloom where deadly danger rules?
After the attack on her home and family, Faerie witch Lady Carlyle is taken in by the gallant Captain Justin Quin. Together they investigate the sacrificial murder of a scientist connected to the defense of the British empire.
With the assistance of Dr. Keane, demon witch, Lady Julia Molyneux furthers her bloody attempts at redemption, while Lord Lucian Carlyle continues his obsessive quest to visit alternate worlds. At risk is the centre of empire, the teeming metropolis of London itself, where the innocent will pay with their souls the price of unbridled ambition.
Now Available at Changeling Press
All rights reserved.
Copyright ©2022 Mikala Ash
Lady Julia Molyneux’s Diary
The border between pleasure and pain, it has been said, is hair thin, and one woman’s titillation is another man’s torment.
The man in question lay naked on the vast mahogany desk and whimpered in a most piteous manner. Like a wounded animal his nostrils flared with each fearful breath, though I believe his reaction to be premature, his ordeal had not yet begun. Spittle and white flecks of foam coated the gag that stretched across his jaw, and glistening tears leaked from his sad grey eyes. His struggles against the ropes that bound his hands and feet to the desk’s stout legs had weakened, but not before breaking the skin at his wrists and ankles. Crimson globules trickled rhythmically to the carpet keeping time with the fellow’s accelerated pulse. The metallic stench tickled my nostrils and tingled at the back of my throat. I licked my lips in perverted anticipation, tasting his fear.
The man, Dr. Ramsay Warren of Harley Street, catered to the highest echelons of society including the Queen herself. I easily understood why, for he was a fine specimen of masculinity. Clearly a sportsman, trim and muscled, his clean-shaven face tanned, his calves and thighs strong and well defined, his hips narrow and his stomach banded by muscle. Had I been so inclined, and if circumstances had been different, he might have proved an interesting bed partner. Unfortunately his current predicament did not allow him the opportunity to display his manly attributes to their best advantage. Indeed, the pink head of his manhood, terrified into timidity, peeked shyly from the thick thatch of black curly hair. Out of curiosity I stroked the wrinkled worm, and in response it retracted even further into itself, and all but disappeared.
I tut-tutted with disappointment and Dr. Warren’s pathetic whine became a hopeless drawn-out moan. Gone now was his arrogant challenge when first we entered his laboratory, the bluster of his deep imperial voice now a distant memory. Beside me, Dr. Ernest Neale, my partner in this appalling deed, recited the litany of the man’s crimes in a voice pitched unnaturally high betraying his own elevated state of arousal. This was his first sacrifice, and the zealous manner in which he embraced the ritual surprised me exceedingly. His usual demeanour, when fulfilling his role as alienist attending to the mental hurts of his patients, was one of calm and seemingly infinite patience, yet now the bulging eyes, the tight set of the jaw, and the saliva collecting at the corner of his mouth as he addressed our victim suggested a passion I’d not hitherto suspected.
“You bring deep and irredeemable shame to our profession,” he continued, his voice bordering on the hysterical. “You sir, are a venal swine!”
“Calm yourself, Ernest,” I whispered in his ear. His Christian name sounded unnatural. For months he had been wise Dr. Neale, the font of self-knowledge, who had provided me a measure of solace I’d not thought possible. Our recent intimacy had created a certain awkwardness in my mind.
He glanced at me and held my gaze for a long moment before giving me a slight embarrassed nod. He took a deep breath and shifted his eyes to look at Dr. Warren again as he continued in a more measured and slightly less feverish voice. “You willingly used your authority to commit six sane women to mental asylums so their husbands could access their fortunes. These women subsequently died after years of unspeakable degradation and neglect.”
Despicable indeed. Though to be honest I did not care about the man’s crimes. I had needed someone of importance in this world to sacrifice to my demon goddess. Tana was displeased with me, and I strove to mollify her. I’d meddled in the machinations of Sir Myles Stafford whose harassment of Lady Carlyle and her family had drawn in my dear Justin. I could not suffer him being hurt, so I’d asserted myself on her behalf. Tana, an ancient and single-minded demon, demanded her witches to deliver unto her souls sweetened by pain and fear. It was at Dr. Neale’s urgings, and my need to take a half-step in the direction of redemption, that I now offer up evil people rather than the innocents I’d sacrificed in the past.
Ernest’s recitation continued. Dr. Ramsay Warren, a relation by marriage as well as close friend of the Foreign Secretary, continued to wriggle uselessly within his bindings. At this point I’d have preferred him drugged and comatose, but Dr. Neale, Ernest, had insisted on him understanding why he was to die. It was a pointless exercise; the knowledge would serve no purpose. In the shadows at the corner of my vision Tana herself lurked, a huge warlike wraith. She’d responded to my summoning spell and waited impatiently to breathe in the man’s soul as it left his quivering body at the moment of mortal climax.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Aussie Mikala Ash used to be a mild-mannered training & development consultant by day, and a wild sci-fi and paranormal adventure writer by night. Now she is a brazen full-time writer and nature photographer who is concentrating on having among other things, “… bags, and bags of fun!” Mikala can be found on Facebook and on Twitter.