Thursday, 13 October 2016



Tomorrow sees the release of 'Devilry' Book 3 of 'The Meadowsweet Chronicles'. Tonight, I'm sharing with you the preface...


In the temple, the candles guttered. A storm raged outside. Fierce and brutal, it snapped the branches and whipped the bracken. But the black robed figures could not hear the sounds of it for the drumbeat drowned out the sounds of nature’s protests. The chants falling between their lips raised them to an unearthly plane. Tonight was the night they would smash reality to a million pieces. Tonight was the night they would break all the rules of man and God – and the outcome would be their glorious elevation to immortality. Aubrey Billinghurst, their high-priest, had told them so – and Aubrey knew, for Aubrey had drank tea with the Devil and bargained such.
When the two, small, barefoot children had been ushered into the space before the stone alter, shivering from the cold and the knowledge of their impending murder, Penelope’s chant had faltered – just for a moment, but a moment long enough for Paulina, to glance at her. Unlike last time and the unfortunate pair of young village women, who had been lured to the previous ritual with the promise of a good party, and then never saw the sunrise, these children looked so innocent. A brother and sister: twins. Their golden hair shining almost white in the candlelight. Aubrey had spent months planning their procurement. In the end, it hadn’t been difficult at all. He was a wealthy gentleman with a large estate, and the workhouse was easy pickings. He had swept in and picked the children with no less care than a child surveying a row of sweet jars. He had known exactly what he wanted and would settle for nothing less.  
The Regeneration Ritual had been found scribed onto the centre pages of a black leather-bound book discovered behind a false panel in the library of Coldstone House by Aubrey; an over-curious weekend guest. Penelope had never managed to work out how Aubrey had ‘stumbled’ upon the volume (perhaps the Devil had a hand in it from the very beginning) but once found, that small, thick paged book, The Life and Times of The Devil Dance Club, changed them all.
The ritual promised to bring forth the sons of Satan into a new age; all that was needed were suitable life-exchanges and compliant vessels. The reward for those who brought life to those ancient forces would be a lifetime of luxury, wealth, and power.
It had started as an intoxicating, luxuriant and sublime parlour game, fuelled by too much absinthe, the smoking of too many heady Egyptian blue cigarettes, and too many overlarge egos, and now… well now they were standing in the reclaimed temple, robed and preparing to undertake the ultimate ritual; the bloody sacrifice of two innocent souls. If Penelope had any doubts, they were dulled by the drug of love. Penelope loved Aubrey with all of her heart, and all of her body. She certainly loved him more than she loved her husband – and maybe, if the events of tonight went to plan, she and Aubrey would be bound by some darkling secret that would act as the marriage vows they could never speak.
The drum beat on. The wind howled. The chant took up a furious crescendo, and then it fell silent whilst the whole universe held its breath. In the centre of the inverted pentagram, a shadow rose; a shadow made of ancient energy, of old-time evil, of death, destruction and all things wicked. The room span as it filled with the dizzying effects of sulphur and the sense of too much time contained within too small a space. The children cried out for they knew their sad fates as Aubrey and his accomplice, Penelope’s weakling husband, brought down the blades and ended their tiny tears.
Paulina, Maiden of The Flowers, and Penelope, Maiden of The Vessel, fell to the ground in a swoon - and the drum took up its crazed beating once more. The room became a tangle of limbs and song and dance, of blood and tears and shadows, and nine months later, three sons were born.

Amongst the horrors of The Rookeries Asylum, Paulina Chase gave birth to twin boys, Gabriel and Lucien, and in an attic room of Coldstone House, away from the eyes of prying servants, Penelope Chase gave birth to a long awaited son, Edward.
It was on that night, when the storm raged and blood flowed, that the chain of terrible and inevitable events was set in motion. It was a curse that would travel down the generations and blight each one in turn – and the ones they loved.

BOOK ONE of the series, 'Witchcraft' is FREE on all eBOOK downloads.