Winner of the coveted RITA Award, Lisa Kleypas first made her mark in the romance genre with her bestselling historicals, including her hugely popular Bow-Street Runners, Wallflower, and Hathaways series. She's also branched out into contemporary romance, making a tremendous splash with books like Blue-Eyed Devil and Sugar Daddy. Her other claim to fame? She competed as Miss Massachusetts in the 1985 Miss America pageant. Alas, because of the rule that contestants had to tuck the excess length of banner into their swimsuits, the 5'2" Kleypass became known as "Miss Massachu." But don't worry. After singing a song she had written herself, she won a "talented nonfinalist" award
When Lucy Marinn was seven years old, three things happened: her little sister Alice got sick, she was assigned her first science fair project, and she found out that magic existed. More specifically, that she had the power to create magic. And for the rest of her life, Lucy would be aware that the distance between ordinary and extraordinary was only a step, a breath, a heartbeat away.
But this was not the kind of knowledge that made one bold and daring. At least not in Lucy’s case. It made her cautious. Secretive. Because the revelation of a magical ability, particularly one that you had no control over, meant you were different. And even a child of seven understood that you didn’t want to find yourself on the wrong side of the dividing line between different and normal. You wanted to belong. The problem was, no matter how well you kept your secret, the very fact of having one was enough to separate you from everyone else.
She was never certain why the magic came when it did, what succession of events had led to its first appearance, but she thought it had all started on the morning when Alice had woken with a stiff neck, a fever, and a bright red rash. As soon as Lucy’s mother saw Alice, she shouted for her father to call the doctor.
Frightened by the turmoil in the house, Lucy sat on a kitchen chair in her nightgown, her heart pounding as she watched her father slam down the telephone receiver with such haste that it bounced off its plastic cradle.
“Find your shoes, Lucy. Hurry.” Her father’s voice, always so calm, had splintered on the last word. His face was skull- white.
“Your mother and I are taking Alice to the hospital.”
“Am I going too?”
“You’re going to spend the day with Mrs. Geiszler.”
At the mention of their neighbor, who always shouted when Lucy rode her bike across her front lawn, she protested, “I don’t want to. She’s scary.”
“Not now, Lucy.” He had given her a look that had caused the words to dry up in Lucy’s throat.
They had gone to the car, and her mother had climbed into the backseat, holding Alice as if she were an infant. The sounds Alice had made were so startling that Lucy put her hands over her ears. She shrank herself into as little space as possible, the humid vinyl seat covers sticking to her legs. After her parents dropped her off at Mrs. Geiszler’s house, they drove away in such a hurry that the tires of the minivan bruised the driveway with black marks.
Mrs. Geiszler’s face was creased like a shutter door as she told Lucy not to touch anything. The house was filled with antiques. The agreeable mustiness of old books and the lemon tang of furniture polish hung in the air. It was as quiet as church, no sounds of television in the background, no music, no voices or telephone ringing.
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