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Cassandra Jaber hadn’t planned on spending the holidays with a bunch of vampires who are all intent on stealing her soul. But when she gets a party invitation she can’t refuse, she realizes that vamps aren’t the only things she needs to beware of.
This novella is based on the books in the Bit Part series.
They prey upon society's outcasts--the lonely, the desperate, the guilty--feeding upon the rage and lust and fear hidden in these human hearts. Once they find a victim, they are able to erase the boundary between impulse and action, turning an angry thought into murderous rage and a simple desire into manic obsession.
Only one person understands the danger. Evander Calhoun has spent a lifetime protecting his unsuspecting neighbors from these evil spirits, but--after a nearly a century of service--the old man no longer has the strength to continue the fight.
Evander must find a replacement. But, despite the fact that his master was a nearly crippled, illiterate, farmhand, Evander staunchly refuses to consider anyone but a strong, young male for an apprentice. In fact, he is so blinded by prejudice that he is apt to overlook the best chance he has of saving his beloved town.
Desperate to maintain their superiority, Magicians are fighting to keep machinery and inventions out of the hands of their serving class, the commons. To this end, the Magicians have waged a war - a terribly destructive, magical war - against any and all who dare to allow the unmagical commons to improve their lives through mechanical means.
In the midst of this terrible battle, a small group of commons struggles to survive. They make their living by serving the dead, charging five cents to dig a grave, sew a shroud, and ring a peal. And in a land decimated by war, plague, and famine, they have plenty of work.
When the group meets a charismatic man by the name of William Rufflit and learns that he is working to build a militia of commons armed with his terrifying new invention - the fyrestick - they feel something they haven't experienced in a long time: hope. But what they don't realize is that Rufflit may not be their savior after all. He may, in fact, be an enemy even more fearsome than the one they are already facing.
In Amberweise's polite society, a proper young woman of pure Magician ancestry would never involve herself with something as unpleasant as solving a murder. She would faint at the sight of wheels, pulleys, hinges or other demonic machines. She would never deign to notice the wretched lives of the non-magical commons who serve her day and night, nor would she ever dare to question the traditions of her upbringing. And, most certainly, she would never even think of falling in love with a man whose combination of common heritage and magical abilities have made him a pariah.
Good thing Romana of Amberweise isn’t a proper young woman.
Now, as she works to solve the mystery of her granduncle’s brutal murder, Romana uncovers a fearsome plot to overthrow a ruler whose tolerance for technology just might release the commons from their centuries of bondage. Besieged by dangerous enemies, Romana must use her courage and cunning to rebel against the powerful Magicians who will do anything to protect their lives of prestige and privilege.