Sequel to Spells and Sensibility
Captain Henry Tourmaline is having nightmares again. And this time he’s not even cursed.
But Henry is worried. He might be healed -- but the healing spell left his lover Theo in pain, their magic tangled together. They’ve uncovered an ominous plot -- but, without evidence, the Royal College of Wizardry refuses to believe them. And Theo’s brother, the Duke of Baselton, wants to meet Henry -- but also wants to introduce Theo to a wealthy baron, a more suitable match ... who might possess more sinister intentions.
Theo Burnett tells himself he has no regrets. He’s in love with Henry, and a permanent magical headache isn’t too high a price to pay for Henry’s recovery. But he misses his peaceful life in the College Library, before he became entwined in cultists’ plots and perils. And now he’s got his brother to deal with, and a baron asking questions about him. And Theo’s last magical secret is about to come to light ... explosively.
Together, Theo and Henry will face curses, cultists, and chaos ... and their own emotions, as they fight for their magical happy ending.
Henry nudged the plate of iced buns closer to Theo, as rain brushed the window-glass of the tower. “There’s more.”
“Oh ... thank you, but no. Go on.” Theo had a final sip of tea, set his cup down. The rain made melancholy sounds, paper-thin patters across the College’s old stone and neat grass. “I’ve got to go and check on the Library. At last.”
Henry hesitated. Too many words, protests, pleas, snarled themselves across his tongue. Theo had slept beside him, the night before, in the familiar too-small bed in the familiar small tower. Theo had not reached out for him, but hadn’t objected when Henry put an arm around him, trying to draw him close.
Henry himself had not had a nightmare, but he thought that was probably just weariness. A long carriage journey, concern over Theo, a late-night arrival and a thunderstorm as they’d crossed the College grounds to Theo’s cozy home, where Theo’d once taken him up to the rooftop and kissed him for the first time as nighttime lights and torches and stars came out to glow ...
“Don’t say it,” Theo said now. “Not again.”
“I know you’re feeling ... better.” That wasn’t accurate, or not entirely. In one sense, yes. Recovered from the backlash, the physical exertion. Faithfully drinking Dom’s anti-headache tea. Nearly back to normal -- as long as Henry himself refrained from putting strain on Theo’s magic.
“I am, and I can certainly manage inspecting our collections and ensuring that the Silver Scrolls are properly stored and not growing tarnished, and also examining the archival records.” Theo resettled a coat-cuff; he’d chosen pale green today, celadon under mist, with a creamy waistcoat bearing delicate pearl buttons. He looked beautiful, classical, and expensive. “I want to know who else might’ve been looking at those ledgers, and those sorts of draining-spells.”
Henry didn’t want to argue, and did it anyway. “Those texts can --”
“Hurt? Seduce? Entice? Yes, I’m aware.” An emotion flickered across Theo’s face, too fast for Henry to pin down. “I’m good at my profession. As are you.”
“I didn’t mean that,” Henry said helplessly. Once upon a time he’d known how to talk. How to charm. How to conjure up the right answers, often with a lopsided grin.
This was different. This was him and Theo.
He looked at Theo across the breakfast tray. Short, glorious, and stubborn, Theo looked right back. Unflinching.
Henry thought for a second, astonished, that he and Theo did not after all know each other well; that they’d known each other for a matter of weeks, most of which had involved heightened emotions and intense situations; that his heart was completely Theo’s, but he did not even know Theo’s favorite color or whether Theo knew how to ice-skate or might like to learn.
He knew he’d taken Theo’s life apart. And had that been a hint of relief, that Theo might reclaim some piece of that well-ordered librarian’s refuge? At last, Theo’d said. At last.
The rain grew louder, clamoring.
Henry took a breath, let it go. “Your assistants will be happy to see you, I’m sure.”
“I shudder to think of the state of my request box.” Theo got up, collected plates and his teacup, took them to the tower’s tiny kitchen. Over his shoulder, called back, “If you’ve finished, could you bring your cup? If not, I’ll get it later.”
Henry downed the rest of his tea in one gulp -- hot and sweet, cinnamon and roses, it scorched his throat -- and came over into the kitchen, where Theo was industriously cleaning plates. “Here.”
Theo half-turned, and smiled. His eyes were very green, and warmer than the chilly wet morning; Henry felt hope unfurl like springtime in his chest.