Everyone in the Regarian Empire knows about the danger of magic. Josslyn Drake knows better than most.
Not only did an evil warlock kill the 17-year-old’s father a year ago, but Joss has been front and center as Queen Isadora herself has moved to stamp out every glimmer of magic and its foul users. In fact, the queen declared that any found witch or warlock should be instantly killed without trial.
That, however, is only the beginning of Joss’ involvement with this wizarding element. For while attending the Queen’s yearly Gala, and trying to suppress bad memories of her father’s death from the year before, Joss wanders off and into a crime in progress.
She steps alone into a display room littered with antiquities and pieces of valuable art. But the room’s floor is also littered with fallen Queensguards. Standing among them is a tall, somewhat handsome young man with pitch-black eyes.
“Make a move, make a sound, and I promise you’ll regret it,” the man growls softly in her direction. Then he picks up a small gold box. But as he turns toward the door, one of the fallen guards grabs his ankle, causing him to tumble and drop the box.
It all happens so quickly that Joss barely has time to do more than gape. But then the gold box slides toward her. Its lid swings open. And something like golden smoke swirls up and all around her, hitting Joss with enough force to knock her out cold and completely off her feet.
When she comes back to her senses, the black-eyed young man is gone, Joss’ best friend Celine is by her side, and everything seems to be back to normal.
But it isn’t.
Soon Josslyn realizes that she was hit with a very powerful blast of magic, an enchantment that thereafter will allow her to step into the memories of one Lord Zarek Banyon: the very man blamed for killing her father.
Those magical memories are painful. But no matter how hard she fights against them, she can’t stop the smoke from clouding her vision and showing her unwanted remembrances, called echoes. But worse still: These echoes force a dire decision.
If she stays in the Regarian city of Ironport, her new secret will inevitably come out. She’ll be arrested for using magic, even it’s manifesting against her will. And no matter how much the Queen likes her, Joss may even be killed. But if she runs—seeking some sort of help to remove that unwanted magical burden, seeking perhaps, that black-eyed thief—there’s no telling what kind of terrible things may befall her.
She may even lose her soul. The corruption of magic is said to do such things.
The fact is, however, no matter how Josslyn wrestles with the choices, it won’t really matter. Her tangled destiny is already swirling before her.
And forbidden magic can sometimes seem to have a will of its own.