Fiera was born a sea witch with no inkling of her power. And now it might be too late.
Witch of the Cards is a supernatural romantic suspense set in 1932 on the Jersey shore. Fiera has left the Brooklyn orphanage where she was raised and works in Manhattan as a nanny. She gets a lucky break when her boss pays for her vacation in Asbury Park. One evening, Fiera and her new friend Dulcie wander down the boardwalk and into Peter Dune’s Tarot & Séance, where they attend a card reading.
Fiera has an unsettling ability to sense future events and people’s hidden agendas. She longs to either find out the origin of her powers or else banish them because as is, they make her feel crazy. When, during the reading, her energies somehow bond with Peter Dune’s and form an undeniable ethereal force, a chain of revelations and dangerous events unspool.
For one, Fiera finds out she is a witch from a powerful sea clan, but that someone is out to stop her blossoming power forever. And though she is falling in love with Peter, he also has a secret side. He’s no card reader, but a private detective working to expose mediums. Despite this terrible betrayal, Fiera must make the choice to save Peter from a tragic Morro Cruise boat fire, or let him perish with his fellow investigators. Told in alternating viewpoints, Fiera and Peter each struggle against their deep attraction. Secrets, lies, even murder, lace this edgy fantasy.
From Lovers of Paranormal: “Interesting story of witches, deceit, secrets, romance and friendship. Fun and creative.”
If I only had a week in this glorious beach town, I wanted to catch up with sleep and plunge into as many escapades as possible—even bewildering, outlandish ones.
We walked in, to the jangle of Mr. Dune’s door chimes. I skated around, ogling the floor-to-ceiling shelves brimming with leather-bound books on cosmic mysteries, spiritualism, and witchcraft. Two immediate standouts were Ten Ways to Practice Mentalism and Dona Bella, Memoirs of a Southern Witch. These were my fare, similar to a favorite book at the public library—a tome on dark magic. The most stirring part was about each witch dynasty having its own grimoire, a sort of magical recipe book. I had no clue as to why dark tales tickled me so, and often wondered about my taste.
Still, I read everything I could get my hands on, even boring books that drifted me right off to the Land of Nod. At my nanny job, I was so desperate for stories I even read the tedious articles about cooking and how to throw a proper cocktail party in Mrs. Cuthbert’s Reader’s Digest and Home Arts magazines.
Mr. Dune strode toward us. His handsome aura and towering presence intimidated yet thrilled me. He was dressed in crisp, charcoal gray pants and a vest with a double-breasted pinstriped jacket. “Are you lovely ladies here for the séance?” He held out a long, elegant hand, studded with a silver ring. I barely collected my wits enough to shake it and nod. Dulcie’s hand whooshed out and hardly touched his before she clamped it protectively back to her side.
No doubt about it, he was the most striking man I’d ever seen. His thick mop of dark hair tapered into long sideburns, rendering his jawline a tad dangerous. I guessed he was in his mid-twenties. When his coffee-brown eyes gleamed at me, my breath caught, and a heat greater than any moonshine fired through me.
We paid the dime admission. He escorted us to a round, wooden table with lion-footed legs where we joined a heavyset older couple and a reedy gentleman with thin, blond hair. His lime-fizz eyes darted over to Dulcie, and then away. Two empty chairs still beckoned.
Dulcie looked terrified, so I smiled at her. She calmed enough to take a seat.
Mr. Dune strode to the window, loosened the crimson curtains, and lowered their heavy velvet over the windows, lending the already-pensive storefront a mystical aura.
When I first moved to New York City after college and a stint out west, you couldn’t tear me away from the dilapidated boardwalks of Coney Island. This was back before the arcade was renovated, back when the sideshow by the sea with its sword swallower and human pincushion were on full display. It was when a hungry, dirty capybara was caged in a box that read: Only $5 To See the Biggest Rat in the World! This poor critter was a plot point in Dorianna, my paranormal twist on Dorian Grey. And no surprise, I set Dorianna in Coney Island, and installed a sexy villain in Wilson Warren. He was an agent of the devil disguised as a videographer who prowled the beaches, making girls into viral Internet sensations for a very high price.
About twenty-seven years ago, when I first ventured into the Asbury convention center, there was a huge hole in its roof that seagulls flew in and out of. And there was only one lonely saltwater taffy store on the boardwalk run by an ancient lady who seemed to have stepped out of a Stephen King novel. In Witch of the Cards the taffy sold in the shop has very odd effects, and I installed an illegal speakeasy in the taffy store basement. I turned the (actual) Paranormal Museum on CookwellAvenue into a place to hold séances that often went horribly wrong.
In Witch of the Cards, even the ocean hides terrible secrets.
“Perhaps I was far too gone, but I didn’t care. Peter and I danced and danced. The room filled with the overflow from the convention hall dance—young lovers, bootlegger types with wide ties and cigars, older women with twinkling earrings and heavy bosoms, even a prostitute or two. I thought so anyway, because they wore way too much rouge and came alone to sit brazenly up at the bar with the gin rummies.
About the Author:
Catherine Stine is a USA Today bestselling author of paranormal, urban and historical fantasy. Witch of the Wild Beasts won a second prize in the Romance Writers of America’s Sheila Contest. Other novels have earned Indie Notable awards and New York Public Library Best Books. She lives in New York State and grew up in Philadelphia. Before writing novels, she was a painter and fabric designer.
She’s a visual author and sees writing as painting with words. Catherine loves spending time with her beagle Benny, writing about supernatural creatures, gardening and meeting readers at book fests.