The Curse of Lord Stanstead

By: Mia Marlowe

When only seduction will do...

Wherever Cassandra Darkin goes, fire is sure to follow. It’s not until she’s swept into the arms of a handsome, infuriating stranger that she learns she’s responsible for the fires. As it turns out, Cassandra is a fire mage...and with her gift comes a blazing desire for sins of the flesh.

With his pretenatural ability to influence the thoughts of others, Garrett Sterling is sent to gather Cassandra for the Order of the M.U.SE. He’s entirely unprepared for his immediate attraction to the comely little firestarter. But it’s an attraction that he must quell, even as his body craves her touch and her fiery, sensual hunger.

For Garrett’s gift has a dark side...and the moment he begins to care too much for Cassandra, he knows he will doom her to an inescapable fate.

The Curse of Lord Stanstead

The Order of the M.U.S.E. Book one

To my husband, for letting me borrow from him to give to my heroes.

Welcome to the Order of the M.U.S.E.

His Grace, the Duke of Camden, has recruited (some say coerced) gifted individuals from all strata of society to join his Metaphysical union   of Sensory Extraordinaires. Their purpose is to protect the Crown from arcane weapons of a psychic bent. The duke fears that one such malicious object may have slipped by them and is responsible for King George III’s periodic descents into lunacy. There may be no help for His Majesty, but Camden intends to see that a similar fate doesn’t overcome “Prinny,” the Prince of Wales.

Meet the M.U.S.E.s

Cassandra Darkin—Debutante, second daughter of Sir Henry Darkin, and an unwitting fire mage. Cassie must deal with losing her first love, and possibly her place in society if it becomes known that she’s the one who accidentally set the fire at Almack’s. Her newly manifested psychic ability terrifies her even more than the prospect of spinsterhood.

Garret Sterling—Nephew and heir apparent to the Earl of Stanstead. Garret is able to implant a thought in another’s mind with such seductive force, his suggestions are irresistible. Usually. Cassandra Darkin seems oblivious to his gift, which makes the fact that the duke has asked him to help her control her accidental fire-starting a difficult assignment. Garret is a libertine who carouses to avoid sleep because his nightmares have the bad habit of becoming someone else’s waking reality. Garret avoids caring about people because that might mean they’ll steal into his dangerous dreams.

Edward St. James, Duke of Camden—Founder of the Order of the M.U.S.E., Camden is the protector and mentor of those who display unusual sensory and metaphysical gifts. In addition to safeguarding the Crown from psychic attack, he’s searching for a way to make contact with his deceased wife. He’s exhausted all natural means of investigating the mysterious deaths of Mercedes and his infant son. Now he has turned to the supernatural.

Vesta LaMotte—Top-tier courtesan who is also a fire mage. She’s called in to educate Cassandra in the ways of her gift…and the ways of men. She and the widowed Camden have had an on-again, off-again “arrangement” for years.

Pierce Langdon, Viscount Westfall—a telepath whose skills are the mirror image of Garret Sterling’s. If Sterling is the universal dispenser of unwanted thoughts, Westfall is the universal receiver of everything rattling around in the heads of others. Unfortunately, he hasn’t learned to filter anything out. Because of his propensity to “hear voices,” Westfall was only recently released from Bedlam on the condition that the Duke of Camden be responsible for him should his “voices” urge him to violence.

Meg Anthony—a former ladies’ maid and a psychic “Finder.” Her ability to locate misplaced items and people is uncanny, but not without danger to her, a fact she tries to hide. She’s in awe of the Duke of Camden and fears disappointing him if she can’t learn to act the part of a proper lady instead of a domestic. She hides the truth of her parentage because she’s on the run from her uncle who used her abilities for profit and to ruin others.

Chapter One

If once to Almack’s you belong,

Like monarchs you can do no wrong;

But banished thence on Wednesday night,

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