Aug 3 2017 11:04am

KJ Charles Excerpt: Spectred Isle

KJ Charles

Spectred Isle by KJ Charles

Archaeologist Saul Lazenby has been all but unemployable since his disgrace during the War. Now he scrapes a living working for a rich eccentric who believes in magic. Saul knows it’s a lot of nonsense...except that he begins to find himself in increasingly strange and frightening situations. And at every turn he runs into the sardonic, mysterious Randolph Glyde.

Randolph is the last of an ancient line of arcanists, commanding deep secrets and extraordinary powers as he struggles to fulfil his family duties in a war-torn world. He knows there’s something odd going on with the haunted-looking man who keeps turning up in all the wrong places. The only question for Randolph is whether Saul is victim or villain.

Saul hasn’t trusted anyone in a long time. But as the supernatural threat grows, along with the desire between them, he’ll need to believe in evasive, enraging, devastatingly attractive Randolph. Because he may be the only man who can save Saul’s life—or his soul.

Get a sneak peek at KJ Charles's Spectred Isle (available August 3, 2017) with an exclusive excerpt of a selected scene.

London 1923. Archaeologist Saul Lazenby doesn’t believe in magic. But he’s had a number of deeply peculiar experiences recently, and the same sardonic stranger, Randolph Glyde, has turned up every time...


Saul gathered up his coat and hat, bade goodbye to Major Peabody, and stepped out of the door. The Major lived comfortably on Berners Street; Saul’s tiny rented room was a good half-hour’s walk north, in the much less salubrious area towards Camden Town. At least it was cheap, and the landlady uninterested.

He walked up Berners Street, only vaguely registering a man who lounged against a shop-front at the corner with Goodge Street. The tall, lean figure straightened as he passed with a tip of his hat and said, “Good evening.”

“Surely you’re joking,” Saul said. Somewhat irritatingly, he had to work to repress a smile. The fact that he kept meeting Glyde did not make the man a friend.

“Not at all,” Glyde returned, falling into step. “It’s undeniably evening, the weather is undeniably good—”

“You were waiting for me, Mr. Glyde. And there’s no point pretending otherwise, since I’m not heading anywhere more complicated than my own home.”

“How disappointing. I thought you might care for a drink.”

Saul stopped and turned. “Sorry?”

“Drink. They’re sold in public houses, I believe.”

“I’ve heard that too. Why would I have a drink with you?”

“You already did.”

“Yes,” Saul said. “I have some questions about that.”

“You could ask them over a drink.”

Jesus wept. “Do you intend to answer them? Over a drink or otherwise?”

Glyde’s smile glinted. “Come and find out.”

What exactly would I be signing up to?Saul wanted to ask. He didn’t. Glyde was peculiar, and worrying, and supercilious, but he was also the first person who’d suggested going for a drink to Saul since July 1916. He went into pubs alone when the need for fellowship became intolerably strong, but never chatted; he hadn’t become a regular anywhere, even a silent one, because it seemed unjust to impose himself under false pretences.

Glyde knew who he was and still wanted a drink. If that was all he wanted. Saul could feel those fingers on his face, over his scalp, and the longing stabbed at him.

Blast it. “All right, then. Where?”

Glyde shrugged, pointed, and led the way across the street to a little old place with wooden beams. It was busy enough that nobody looked twice at them—not that there was anything at which to look twice. Glyde bought a gin and tonic for himself and a pint for Saul, and they sat opposite one another at a small, round, sticky table, as one did. As Saul did, anyway. Glyde’s expression as he touched the tabletop with experimental distaste suggested otherwise.

“Do you not go to pubs much?” Saul asked.

“Frequently. A pub, at least. I go to a pub frequently, or perhaps it would be more accurate to say sometimes, but they wipe up the spilled beer there.”

“Ah. A classy place.”

Glyde snorted with what seemed real amusement. Saul leaned back, weighing him up.

He was upper class to a fault. Saul’s father was a country solicitor, and his upbringing had been by no means humble, but Glyde reeked of the right schools, the right connections. Saul had met plenty of his sort at Oxford, cool, confident, older than their years, and had found them attractive and repellent in equal measure.

“All right,” he said. “You wanted me here. What’s this about?”

“My insatiable curiosity.” Glyde sipped his gin with a grimace. “You are, as noted, a highly educated man—”

“And a disgraced one. Which is why I work for the Major, because nobody else will have me. Next question.”

Copyright © 2017 by Bella Jewel.
Learn more about or order a copy of Spectred Isle by KJ Charles, available August 3, 2017:

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KJ Charles is a writer and freelance editor. She lives in London with her husband, two kids, an out-of-control garden and an increasingly murderous cat.

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1 comment
1. Benidorm-babe
This is next to read on my kindle. I love KJ Charles's books
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