Halloween Book Fair
Isabella Foxworthy was just another girl…until she learned she was an empath, able to read the energy of others.
A secret world known as the Violet City lies beneath her Hollywood family’s legendary hotel. Through this discovery, Isabella is catapulted into a whirlwind of magic, adventure, and danger. The Violet City holds the key to protecting her stability; her family hotel, her friends, and her very sanity.
With morphlings, empaths, and fair folk also comes a powerful entity that twists her mind into knots, threatening everything she loves. Now, Isabella and her new friends—a guitar-playing jock, his gifted but neurotic brother, and a set of over-indulged twins—have until her 16th birthday to save her world with the help of someone who’s been lost for a very long time…the lost Foxworthy heir.
But will they find him in time? And will he be a friend or foe?
Embark on a fantastical journey in this young adult novel perfect for fans of Harry Potter and The Mortal Instruments.
They lurched forward. Seth gripped Isabella’s hand. Cleo squeezed her arm. Soft lights blinked off and then on—slow then fast—until gossamer light illuminated an octagon-shaped room. On each of its eight stone walls hung a portrait, and beneath each portrait was a shiny jewel-like object. In the center of the room was an eight-sided table with eight high-backed chairs, each decorated with the same symbol they’d seen on the other side of the wall. Four matching oblong velvet boxes had been placed at each station. And there was a shimmering black globe at the center of the table.
“Sick,” said Seth.
“I don’t think I’d call this sick,” remarked Cleo.
“I know what it means.” Cleo said. “It’s just that…”
“Can you two do me a favor?” Isabella asked before they went on.
“What?” asked Seth.
“Loosen the lockjaw grips.” She felt an odd heat from Seth’s hand turn her core cold and an uneasy warmth from Cleo’s. Cleo’s mood was easy to discern—embarrassment; but Seth’s was more complicated, and, as usual, a cool wall was quickly erected around him so there was nothing more to investigate.
“Sorry,” they both said, dropping their hands. Cleo approached the table.
“Well, Theophilus obviously isn’t here, either,” said Isabella.
“Oh, wow,” said Cleo, holding up a gold pen she’d taken out of one of the oblong boxes at the table. “Look at these!”
Seth approached the table and grabbed a pen from a box in front of a different chair. “Okay. This is weird.”
“What are you two talking about?” Isabella strode over as Seth held out his pen. The name Gerard Logan, looped in script, was etched into its gold plating.
“They’re two for every person in these case things,” Seth muttered as he continued around the table.
“Patricia Antonelli,” whispered Cleo, reading the pen in her hand before moving to the next station and picking up another. “Marcellus Antonelli.”
“Mariah Logan,” said Seth, his voice cracking as he stared at the next pen in his hand.
“Catherine Bayer Foxworthy,” Isabella said slowly, studying the one she’d picked up. What was all this? She tucked one of the pens with her grandmother’s name into her pocket as she moved to the chair at the head of the table. She picked up another. “Theophilus Dodge.”
“Who are Millford Peck and Betty Reed?” asked Cleo.
“Betty Reed? That’s our cook,” said Isabella, temples pulsing. “This is really starting to scare me, you guys.”
“Every set of pens has its own symbol and the symbol from outside. The same symbol that’s right there.” Cleo, pointed to a carving of it on the table. “Look. It says lux, veritas, virtus beneath this one. I think that means ‘light, truth, and courage.’”
“How do you know that?” Seth asked.
“I like languages, okay? It’s Latin.”
“Truth?” Seth snorted. “That’s a joke. What the hell have they been doing down here? I always knew my parents were liars, but—”
“I pretend to hate my parents, too,” said Cleo. “They are such jerks sometimes, but I want them back.”
“Yeah, but how could they do this?” Seth complained. Isabella could just make out the pulsing in his neck in the subdued light of the room.
“Seth! These are clues, okay? We came here to find Theophilus so he could help us find them.” Isabella pushed down a sudden rage that threatened to rip free. Her eyes grew wet, but she blinked back the moisture. “You don’t want to lose your parents. You don’t want to be like me. I need my mother all the time. I need my father all the time. But they’re not here. I have my Nano, and I love her. I have Lana, and I love her, too, but no one can replace your parents. Just be happy you have them and shut up!”
Seth didn’t back down. “If I have my parents, then where are they?”
“I don’t know, but we’re gonna find them. This secret society they’re in. Whatever lies they’ve told. None of it matters. We just need to figure out what’s going on.”
“Maybe they don’t want us to. If they did, they would have told us what was going on. They probably just left. Left and decided to leave us here to have God knows what happen.”
“Is that what you think?” Isabella’s palms fisted.
“I just know I have to protect everyone now, and it’s—”
“You don’t have to protect me,” said Isabella.
“Or me,” said Cleo.
“You’re a kid, too, you know?” Isabella remarked.
“I’m the oldest,” Seth reminded her.
“You’re not my brother,” said Isabella. “You’re not her brother, either.”
“We’re sticking together, staying away from the cops, right?”
Isabella didn’t answer him. She didn’t know what they were going to do. “Theophilus. We have to find him,” she said. She thought of the violet fire for the first time in a while. Theophilus had said the lost heir had to be found so that he could help her restore the Fire. Maybe that was the reason all of this was happening.
Seth grew pensive and looked up, his lips pressed thin and tight. Isabella decided to leave him alone. Cleo seemed to lose herself in thought as well as she picked up various objects from around the room: a magnifying glass, small clocks set to varying time zones.
Isabella’s eyes soaked up everything. She understood Seth’s anger and feelings of betrayal. Her Nano had been lying to her, too, and it stung like a backhanded slap across her bare cheek. “Okay,” said Isabella, “maybe we should just look for clues then figure out what to do next. There could be a message or some notes with information somewhere or something.”
“Dude,” said Seth, pointing to a carving high up on the wall. “It’s the symbol from your necklace.”
The air grew thinner. Colorless and carved into the stone of the wall was the Empath Society’s seal: the heart, the eight-pointed star, and the little crown in the center. Beneath it read fons et origo. “Cleo, what’s that mean?” Isabella asked.
“I think it’s like spring or fountain and origin or source. I guess spring and source. I think I’ve heard that phrase.”
“Okay…” Isabella wasn’t exactly slow, but she didn’t get what that was supposed to mean at all.
“I just think it’s a motto,” Cleo suggested. “Who knows what they mean by it? I don’t think it’s a message for us.” She paused. “So, the first one is the symbol on the door, then the one on the table is just for this group they’re in, and this third one with the crown and heart is a symbol for the whole Empath Society, I guess.”
“Yeah, that makes sense,” said Isabella.
Seth slid over to a wall and touched the blue jewel beneath a portrait of an old man wearing a top hat and red bow tie. “Dude, I think these things are real.” He fingered the sparkling bobble.
Isabella went to the portrait directly across from her grandmother’s place at the table. Brush strokes and oil paint had manifested Renee Foxworthy, wearing a whole lot of fur and standing regally behind a chair. Her beautiful eyes appeared conflicted between uncertainty and peace. Beside Renee, there was a portrait of Sinclair. He wore a moustache and a World War I uniform. Isabella knew this was from one of his old films and not from real service. To the right of Sinclair hung a picture of a handsome Native American man holding a peculiar sword with a jagged blade and a star at the top of the hilt. The jeweled button beneath Sinclair looked to be black opal, while the other man’s was an amethyst. The fire of the jewel tugged Isabella toward it. Like the wall that had sucked them into the room just moments before, the jewel warmed.
“Oh my god,” Isabella said when she found a picture of Renee, Sinclair, and their friends gathered in a small smoking-lounge-type of room. “This is a painting of the speakeasy room Micah and I found. Maybe that’s where we should go.”
“To hide out if we don’t find Theophilus,” Seth said.
Isabella smiled up at him. “Yeah.”
“Hey, I found something,” Cleo said from beside a long table that stood against the wall in the corner of the room. “It says The Light Council. That must be what they call themselves.” She’d pulled every drawer open but only seemed to find one thing of interest. It was a small stone paperweight-looking thing. “Should I keep it?”
“For sure,” said Seth.
Before Isabella could throw in her opinion, the earth shook anew. “Not again.”
“We gotta get out of here,” said Seth.
Darkness cloaked the room.
“How exactly are we gonna do that? We can’t see anything,” said Cleo as they felt their way toward each other in the middle of the room. “Why are we always stuck underground during these stupid earthquakes?”
“Hang on,” Seth said, shifting around as if hinting for something in his pockets. “This is how.” A light shone from a black device, providing a soft flashlight.
“Is that your cell?” asked Cleo, relieved. “Thank God. I’m out of battery.”
Seth grabbed Cleo by the hand. “Stay close.” To Isabella’s surprise, Cleo did not resist the gesture or the command. Seth moved close to Isabella and extended his other hand. Isabella didn’t want to take it; the energy around it billowed with heat. She shook her head. Maybe it was him who was reading her. Maybe that was why she couldn’t get a read on him like she could everyone else. She did not like that idea at all.
“What’s wrong with you?”
“I don’t think so.” He grabbed for her hand anyway. “Ouch,” she said, feeling the cool heat increase and her head become light. Ice in her blood. A blaze on her skin. She loosened her hand from his and stepped back.
“Iz, what the heck is wrong with you?” said Seth.
“Iz? Izzy is bad enough.” Fire burned in her belly. He took her hand again. She really didn’t care if he called her that, but she wanted nothing more than to rip his hand off, for some reason.
Then he caught her eye and that immediate coolness he did so well enveloped her and mellowed out the hot-cold contrast that was battling within her. Could he control what he was doing or was it on instinct? Maybe she was imagining the whole thing. He held her gaze for a moment longer then smiled. The earth calmed again. “You okay?” He interlaced his fingers with hers, and content settled over her.
She nodded. “Yeah.”
“Can we figure out what to do, please?” Cleo asked.
The floor jolted again, tossing objects off the shelves and causing Seth to lose his footing and break contact with Isabella and Cleo. His cell light went out. Panic filled her veins as an earsplitting screech from Cleo tore through the room.
“Cleo!” Isabella shouted. No response.
“It’s us, Isabella,” a voice whispered in the darkness. Isabella froze.
A misty purple light spilled into the room and illuminated a frightening scene before her. Isabella’s grandmother and Cleo’s parents, stuck behind what looked like cages made of glass. Their mouths moved but no sound came out. But hadn’t her grandmother just spoken to her? Why couldn’t she hear her now?
In tears, Cleo scrambled to her feet and pressed her hands to the glass where the images of her parents were. “Mom? Dad?”
Follow me. Follow me. Follow me, screamed in Isabella’s mind as clearly as if it were being spoken in her ear. A weight pressed down on her, and she felt her eyes shutting. She grabbed her necklace and willed herself to stay focused. She had to do something.
She turned to find Seth banging on the glass on the other side of the room, where his parents appeared to be stuck as well. Isabella’s grandmother kept mouthing, “Find him. Find him.” Why couldn’t she hear them?
A violet light snapped across the room, like it had in the theater back at Brightwood. Then the panels changed, and their parents were gone.
A laugh filled the room. “You can’t always trust the things your eyes tell you, but you can trust me,” a smooth male voice intoned, and then the room went dark again.
Cleo ran toward Isabella. Seth followed.
“We gotta go!” Isabella shouted to others as the walls started closing in on them. They listened to her and ran from the room as the jaws of the octagon inched closed. They thundered down the corridor toward the trap door that went back into the theater. When they were about half way there, Isabella felt heavy, as if she were drowning in a heated pool of water. She stumbled onto her knees. Seth and Cleo, who’d run past her seconds before, turned at the sound of her collapse.
“What’s wrong?” Seth cried, falling to his knees beside her.
“Isabella?” Cleo called as Isabella’s eyelids drooped shut.
“I’m fine.” The fixtures on the walls lolled from side to side. She couldn’t stay upright. The room blackened. You can trust me. I promise.
She reached for her necklace. It was warm; its buzzing hummed in her blood. She pressed her eyes shut and spoke in her mind to the voice. Tell us where they are. Tell us where he is.
Nothing was uttered for a long while until finally she heard in a faint whisper, Underground.
Sometimes, it is best to begin at the end.
Angel Hands, by Cait Reynolds, begins at the end of The Phantom of the Opera, revealing, for the first time, the true story behind Leroux’s fantastical tale and the real fate of the Phantom himself.
When the Opera de Paris is purchased and renovated, years after a mysterious fire nearly destroyed it, the Phantom finds himself unexpectedly resurrected – in the form of a young boy hired by the manager’s daughter to play pranks on the cast, crew, and audience. After all, the return of the infamous “Opera Ghost” can only be good for ticket sales, and Mireille Dubienne is determined to see her father’s investment become profitable.
Plain, shrewd, and proud, Mireille pours the rage of her disappointed hopes and looming spinsterhood into helping her father manage the Opera de Paris and making it a success.
What she doesn’t count on is the real “Opera Ghost” deciding he no longer wishes to be an understudy in his own domain, the theater that Mireille believes is hers.
The Phantom and Mireille push each other to the limits of their cunning to control and manipulate each other, with no game too low to play. With each passing day, the stakes get higher, until surrender is no longer an option for the Phantom or Mireille.
Every trick and betrayal drive them toward a startling truth that will change more than one life forever: you can’t love what you hate…but you can desire it.
The smallest sound of a deliberate breath jerked her from her unguarded moment of fatigue.
“Mon Dieu!” she exclaimed, searching the shadows that suddenly seemed to swallow all the light in her office.
“No, not God, mademoiselle. Simply a ghost.”
The voice seemed to come from everywhere at once, and the rumbling, purring quality had Mireille struggling to get back in control of her wits. But once she was thinking clearly again, she was ready for battle. There was only one possible source for such a voice.
“So, you are real after all,” she drawled sarcastically.
“Hmmm. Quite,” the voice replied, matching her tone precisely.
“And why reveal yourself to me tonight, Monsieur le Fantôme?”
“I was bored.”
Mireille narrowed her eyes.
“I am sorry,” she said innocently. “But you must come back. Auditions for the Opera Ghost are not until next week.”
“Why hire one when you already have one?”
“Why not? I would have to pay the ghost one way or another—for I am sure it won’t be long until you’re making monetary demands of me. At least with an outside ghost, I can fire him if he pisses me off.”
“Your candor is remarkable.”
“A nice way to say fuc-”
“Tut, tut. Such language from a young lady.”
“You’ve heard me say worse to the stagehands, no doubt.”
The silence acceded her point.
Mireille prayed that her wildly beating heart would slow and steady. It was taking every ounce of bravado and wit to keep her cool during this exchange. He had taken her by surprise…well, shocked her to her core, to be perfectly accurate. It was all happening too quickly. She just had to brazen this through then think over the consequences later…consequences and opportunities…
“What is it that you want, monsieur?”
“Hmmm. An excellent question, mademoiselle. And not one that I have an exact answer for at the moment.”
“I didn’t think you the type to pay social calls.”
“Then what is this truly? A warning shot across the bow? An opening salvo?”
“Don’t fight me, Monsieur le Fantôme. You will lose.”
A throaty chuckle seemed to shiver in the air around her. “Then again, perhaps not.”
Mireille’s head was throbbing, and she fought to maintain her composure. “Well, as pleasant as this little chat has been, I am afraid that I must go now. It has been a long day, and I am tired.”
“Yes, you must be. The circles under your eyes are terrible.”
She couldn’t trust herself to make an adequate reply. She was angered at hearing her father’s words echoed back at her. It was even more unnerving to think that this man could have been eavesdropping on her from the very beginning. Forcing herself to act calm and nonchalant, she stood up and put on her spectacles again.
With a sneer, she turned out the oil lamp in a gesture of defiance that showed she was not afraid of either the dark or the man that lurked in it.
She picked up her folio of paperwork and was about to leave when the voice stopped her.
“When you go for your dress-making appointment, I would like for you to select something in midnight blue. I think it will suit you quite well.”
Mireille opened her mouth in protest, then closed it without making a sound. As much as she wanted to yank the door open and slam it closed, she made herself to open and close it softly and normally.
In the dark, silent office, a shadow moved and smiled to itself.
“So, you are a woman after all, my dear. Excellent.”