Fantasy PRIDE AND PREJUDICE
Zaea dreams of running her family's magic bookshop, but she's never wanted the burden of magic herself—much less the gruesome vision it brings of her father committing an impossible murder. Desperate to prove his innocence, she grudgingly allies with the cold, scrupulous investigator whose magic links with her own. When they uncover a dark bargain, Zaea must accept their bond and her own power to save her family, her freedom, and her heart.
Zaea Hart unlocked the door to Hart & Home and flipped the sign to open. Snow already buried the windowsills, enveloping the shop in a gossamer shroud.
With any luck, everyone would be holed up against the cold today—she didn’t have the time or patience to deal with customers. Once the Guild’s envoy arrived at the end of the week to take her father away, she would never get the answer to the question that haunted her.
Why did you do it?
She knelt to light a fire, breathing in the scents of the thyme, rosemary, and mugwort drying over ladders propped against the wall near the hearth. Calming smells, steadying smells. Her fire crackled to life, and with the peppery puff of woodsmoke, red bursts of Transformation magic popped across the shop. The oil lamps lit, washing the walls with a golden glow. It was a spell Papa’s grandmother had cast after she’d first converted the shop from an abandoned grain silo and rebuilt it into Hart & Home. Three weeks ago, even after the hundreds—maybe thousands—of times she’d seen it work, seeing the spell had still filled her with awe and longing. But that was before.
Now, she knew—magic wasn’t a thing worthy of awe. It wasn’t a thing to long for. It only brought death.