Excerpt & Holiday Ornament Giveaway

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First of all, thanks to everyone who voted in the Goodreads Choice Awards! THE MADMAN'S DAUGHTER got over 6,000 votes and came in at #6 for Best Debut, which warms my heart on this cold winter morning. Thank you all!

HER DARK CURIOSITY comes out eight weeks from today, and to whet your appetite I'm going to share a brief excerpt from the book. The story takes place during a particularly cold Christmas a few months after Juliet has returned to London. Vagrants are freezing to death in the streets at the same time that the wealthy are hosting grand holiday balls, and Juliet is caught in the middle of it.

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In this (slightly modified) excerpt Juliet is at a holiday masquerade ball held by her best friend Lucy Radcliffe's family. She suspects that a dangerous and mysterious person from her past (no spoilers!) is hiding being one of the masks...

The masquerade was in full swing as Mr. Radcliffe led Lucy and me down the sprawling spiral staircase. The music swelled to meet us, bringing with it delicate notes of laughter and the smell of cinnamon and fir boughs. I stepped carefully, squinting through my mask's small eyeholes, trying not to step on my hem.

Halfway down the staircase, the full view of the ballroom swept out like a colorful sea. Masked couples in glittering gowns danced to the string quartet's waltz beside tiny glowing candles on the Christmas tree. The swarm of partygoers was so dense that my head spun.

Mr. Radcliffe turned to me, his unmasked eyes like to microscopes on my thoughts. At the base of the stairs he kissed Lucy on her cheek and gave me a gentlemanly nod. The moment I could take my fingers away from his, I grabbed Lucy's hand and dragged her into the chaos.

"Juliet, what will we do?" she hissed.

"Stay close to Inspector Newcastle. I know you don't care for him, but he's an officer, and you'll be safe with him."

She nodded, and we plunged into the deep of the partygoers. Couples swept together in their waltzes, separating us. I tried to ignore the vertigo creeping into my head and spun around, looking for Lucy, but all I saw were masks. My too-tight shoes slipped on the polished floor, and I had to catch myself against a window.

I heard footsteps behind me. I turned to find a tall man in a golden mask and instinctively stepped back, afraid my thoughts had manifested into reality.

"Hello, Miss Moreau," he said, stepping closer.

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I hope you enjoyed that little taste! If you'd like to know who is behind the mask, you'll have to read the book :) 

GIVEAWAY

Because the book takes place during Christmas, I designed this special HER DARK CURIOSITY ornament to hang on your tree, of if you aren't the Christmas-celebrating type, it's great on a bulletin board or just a nice keepsake. To enter, just leave a comment on this post telling me why you're excited for HER DARK CURIOSITY! I'll pick a winner next Tuesday and announce it here, so I can put it in the mail for you before the holidays!

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