Their engagement was set when they were children. Loren Copeland, the rich and handsome Marquess of Remington, would marry Maxine Dawes, the stunning daughter of the Count of Derryman. It’s a power match. The perfect alliance for each house.

However, the Count has been keeping secret a childhood injury that means Maxine can never marry. He’s done this as he searches for a miracle so this marriage can take place. He needs the influence such an alliance would give him, and he’ll stop at nothing to have it.

The time has come. There could be no more excuses. No more delays. The marriage has to happen, or the contract will be broken.

When all seems lost, the Count finds his miracle: There’s a parallel universe where his daughter has a twin. He must find her, bring her to his world and force her to make the Marquess fall in love with her.

And this, he does.

Every 1001 Dark Nights novella is a standalone story. For new readers, it’s an introduction to an author’s world. And for fans, it’s a bonus book in the author’s series. We hope you’ll enjoy each one as much as we do.

Series:

FANTASYLAND

Book Type:

Fantasy / Romance

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Excerpt: Gossamer In The Darkness
By Kristen Ashley

Excerpt: Gossamer In The Darkness

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Kristen Ashley brings a new story in her Fantasyland series (one of my favorites)! GOSSAMER IN THE DARKNESS is out this week and you can read an excerpt below!

“Milord, sir…sir…sir!”

Edgar snorted, turned, and blinked through the curtains of his bed where his servant, Carling, had leant through, holding a candle.

“What the demon?” Edgar groused.

“At the back door…one of your…”—Carling made a face—“associates. He says he has something urgent to tell you. I told him to come at a decent hour, but he said you wouldn’t thank me to make you wait.”

Edgar made to turn his back on the man and resume sleep, murmuring, “Repeat he should come at a decent hour.”

“Sir, milord, he says it’s about your…”

He didn’t finish, and the manner in which he was speaking made Edgar return his attention to the retainer.

“My what?” he prompted.

“Your daughter,” Carling whispered, blame in his eyes, judgment in his tone.

Insufferable man.

It was rather a shame he was so very good at his job.

Edgar was still for but a moment, thinking on this, before he pulled the candle from the man’s hand. Wax dripped on his bedclothes, but he paid it no mind as he threw his legs over the side, shoving his feet in his slippers.

He shrugged on his dressing gown as he hurried, ignoring the fact that in the last few years, due to his life narrowing rather drastically, his bulk had become somewhat…ungainly.

He descended the stairs and took a trek he rarely took, into his servant’s domain, the kitchens at the back of the house.

There, in the opened door, thankfully not having strode over the threshold (he made a note to remember to offer a rare (very rare) commendation to Carling on seeing to that, and then immediately forgot that note) stood the filthy, unkempt person of Buttersnatch, one of his best little rats.

He felt his dressing gown billowing out behind him as he barked, “This better be good to pull me from my bed.”

“A word, master,” Buttersnatch begged, although it wasn’t a plea, that was simply how Buttersnatch always spoke.

The rodent glanced behind him to the servants’ alley before he looked back at Edgar.

“In private.”

Edgar examined Buttersnatch’s expression.

He had not been The Dealmaker solely due to his brilliant understanding of all things financial.

He’d been The Dealmaker because he could read people.

Mostly (he would admit only to himself), it was because of his rats.

What he read was that Buttersnatch had, at long last, succeeded.

Edgar felt his heart jump.

There was hope!

Likely, knowing this particular pest, it was a witch.

He didn’t care what it was.

Just as long as it meant success.

Therefore, Edgar did not hesitate to step into the dark, moonlit, unoccupied alley and firmly close the door behind him.

He led Buttersnatch, whose rags rustled about him as he moved, well away from the door.

Only then, holding the light of his candle up so he could clearly see the man’s face, did he command, “Speak to me.”

“There is a witch…”

Of course there was.

“…she is powerful.”

Of course she was.

“She’s been ‘idin’ her accumulation of magic for years.”

As she would need to do.

King Noctorno made things very clear after the last debacle nearly brought low all of the Northlands. No witch gathered magicks of any magnitude without the government’s permission.

“You’ll be needin’ to bring your diamonds, you will,” Buttersnatch went on.

Edgar’s eyes narrowed at that.

His diamonds?

He did, of course, have a healthy cache of Sjofn ice diamonds. Rare. Flawless. Coveted.

Most of the foundation of his wealth was in such things.

This was because they never lost value. No matter what foul play was at hand in this land or any other, an ice diamond, an Ulfr fur, a Korwahkian jewel remained rare, remained flawless, and remained coveted.

“And why would I do that?” Edgar asked dubiously.

“Because”—Buttersnatch smiled, exposing yellowed teeth that were dark and rotted in places—“there’s another world, milord. A world she can access. And on that world, master, each and every one of us…”

His pause was long, his smile got broader, and then he finished.

“’As a twin.”

Edgar recoiled.

Dear gods.

There it was.

A miracle.

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