Salted Caramel Sorcery
The autumn equinox is here, and Caitlyn Le Fey is excited by the upcoming masquerade ball to celebrate the festival of Mabon. Not only is it a chance to dress up in glamorous costumes, but—with the Widow Mags catering—the villagers might finally put their prejudices aside and appreciate the delicious treats from her grandmother’s chocolate shop. What’s more, with the dreamy music and romantic dancing, Caitlyn might even get her first kiss with the dashing Lord James Fitzroy!
But on the night of the ball, Caitlyn barely has time to sample the decadent caramel fountain, or help her old vampire uncle search for his missing fangs, before a guest is brutally murdered. Was he killed by witchcraft? Who was the mysterious woman seen following him? And why did he lie about his identity?
Many at the ball might have wanted him dead, from a jealous ex-lover to an old foe seeking revenge, but to Caitlyn’s horror, it’s her cousin Pomona who becomes the top suspect. Although Pomona has been acting strangely and showing a disturbing interest in black magic, ever since she was given a cursed diamond, Caitlyn refuses to believe that her pretty, bubbly cousin could be capable of murder!
With the help of her quirky witch family, a few chocolate spells, and a pony with a sweet tooth, Caitlyn is soon close to finding the real killer. But solving the mystery could also mean facing a shocking truth about her own family and the secrets of her past…
Release date: July 30, 2021
Publisher: Wiseheart Press
Print pages: 394
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Salted Caramel Sorcery
Caitlyn hesitated just outside the doorway to the Ballroom. She knew that she was terribly late—it looked like most of the guests had already arrived and the ball was well under way. She had purposefully dawdled in her room, fiddling with her costume and hair and make-up, telling herself that she needed to get the details “just right”. But if she were being honest, she had to admit that she’d just been finding an excuse to delay coming down. Although she—like Pomona—had grown up with a celebrity mother and was no stranger to Hollywood parties, she had never been comfortable with the glitz and glamour of that lifestyle. While her cousin had basked in the limelight, Caitlyn had always preferred to stay in the wings, shyly watching everyone else around her and enjoying things in her own quiet way. So the thought of stepping into a huge room full of strangers at such a high-profile occasion was incredibly daunting.
She wished that Pomona was there with her. She wouldn’t have felt so intimidated if her vivacious cousin had been by her side. But although Caitlyn had stopped by Pomona’s room before coming downstairs, she had found it empty, with no sign of the American girl anywhere. Sighing, Caitlyn smoothed down the shimmering fabric of her fishtail skirt again. Then she took a deep breath and straightened her shoulders. She wasn’t a shy little girl anymore or a tongue-tied teenager, always hiding in the shadow of her more confident cousin, she reminded herself. She shouldn’t be needing to rely on Pomona—she was an adult now, and she had to learn to face things on her own. Besides, I’m in costume; with this mask covering half my face, I’m probably totally unrecognisable, she told herself.
Feeling braver, Caitlyn took a deep breath and stepped through the double doors to join the throng. Instantly, she felt herself caught up in the exuberant atmosphere as she looked around the spectacular Ballroom. Sparkling crystal chandeliers graced the high, vaulted ceilings, and a series of gold embellishments and mirrored panels decorated the walls around the huge room. A small chamber orchestra was ensconced at one end of the Ballroom, its members enthusiastically playing a Viennese waltz. On the other side of the room, which opened out into a small alcove, there was a sumptuous buffet laid out next to an impressive five-tiered fountain. Crowds of people milled about, talking, laughing, and drinking, as white-gloved waiters glided past, refilling champagne glasses and offering canapés from silver trays.
It would have looked like any other high-society ball, except for the arrangements of autumn nuts, harvest fruits, dried branches, and flowers decorating the side tables, and the dozens of white candles lining various ledges around the Ballroom, their flickering flames reflected eerily in the mirrored panels. An enormous cornucopia had been placed in the centre of the buffet table, with all manner of fruits and vegetables spilling from its open cavity, and piles of red apples were scattered on surfaces everywhere. And most arresting of all were the glass cases placed strategically in the corners of the room, displaying intriguing treasures from the old Lord Fitzroy’s occult collection, such as elf-shot amulets, ritual chalices, pentacle altars, and even what looked like a creepy, mummified Hand of Glory.
Wow, thought Caitlyn, looking around. The marketing team have really gone to town on the Mabon theme!
It looked like the guests loved the dark fairy-tale atmosphere, though. Caitlyn could see several people pointing to the decorations and talking excitedly, whilst others posed dramatically next to the displays, showing off their outfits as friends took photos. There was a mind-boggling array of costume types, and it looked like everyone had made a huge effort to take part in the masquerade—from sinister demons to ethereal fairies, wild monsters of myth to mysterious beauties of legend. Caitlyn felt a rush of gratitude to Pomona once again for her thoughtfulness in organising a suitable costume—she would have felt terribly underdressed and horribly embarrassed if she’d come downstairs in her simple summer dress.
Thoughts of Pomona made Caitlyn wonder again where her cousin was. She stood on tiptoe, straining to see through the crowds. It was frustrating because she didn’t know what costume Pomona would be wearing, so she had no idea what she should be looking for. Switching tack, she searched for a glimpse of Evie, but, again, she drew a blank. In fact, with the masks covering faces, and the outlandish hairstyles and costumes changing people’s appearances, it was difficult to recognise anyone. Caitlyn knew that James had invited all the local residents to the ball, but despite his own down-to-earth and inclusive attitude towards his staff and tenants, some in the village and surrounding farms would still not feel comfortable alongside the Manor’s high-society guests, and she doubted that many would attend. Suddenly, she felt very alone, despite the crush of people around her.
Then she caught sight of a stunningly beautiful woman dressed in an elf costume on the other side of the room. Evie! Belatedly, Caitlyn realised that she had been looking for her young cousin’s “true form” when she had scanned the room earlier. She had temporarily forgotten about Evie’s glamour, but now she saw that it was certainly working well! Evie was surrounded by a cluster of young men, all vying for her attention. Some were solicitously offering her food and drink; others were whispering flirtatiously in her ear; one handsome young man was even down on one knee, staring up at her adoringly. Caitlyn smiled to herself. In spite of her earlier worries, it was nice to see Evie receiving so much admiration for once—although from the expression on her younger cousin’s face, she looked more bemused than anything else!
Caitlyn turned away and drifted to the edge of the dance floor. She watched wistfully as couples whirled past in perfect time to the dreamy music being played by the orchestra. What about James—where is he? Why hasn’t he come looking for me? Then she felt ashamed of her self-pitying thoughts. After all, she was the one who had deliberately delayed coming down—she could hardly expect James to have remained by the door, waiting for her! As host of the party, as well as owner of the estate, he would have had to circulate and look after his guests, particularly the important sponsors for the local charities who were hoping to benefit from this ball.
Even as she had the thought, Caitlyn spotted James on the other side of the dance floor. He looked breathtakingly handsome in his Phantom of the Opera costume, with the stark elegance of his black-and-gold brocade jacket and silk cape highlighting his tall, muscular figure, and the silver half-mask lending an almost sinister edge to his aristocratic features. He was dancing with a slender blonde woman, whirling her expertly between the other couples, and they looked stunning together. Caitlyn saw several eyebrows waggling and meaningful looks exchanged as other guests watched them, and she was reminded uncomfortably of the fact that James Fitzroy was considered one of the most eligible bachelors in England. All her old insecurities came flooding back, and Caitlyn wondered if she had been crazy to think that the master of Huntingdon Manor would choose her above all the other beautiful, sophisticated women surrounding him.
She was pulled out of her forlorn thoughts by the sound of a familiar crotchety voice enquiring:
“Have you seen my teeth?”
Caitlyn whirled to see a stooped old man dressed in a black suit and tails that looked like it had been unearthed from the wardrobe department of a historical drama production unit. In fact, he himself looked like something that had been dug out from an ancient attic, with his rheumy eyes, sunken mouth, and few wispy hairs carefully combed across his balding head. He carried himself with a certain dignity, though, and would have looked perfectly respectable—were it not for the fact that he was leaning over the shoulder of a startled woman, peering hopefully into her champagne glass.
“Porcelain amalgamate, pointed ends, more alabaster than ivory, I think… about yea long,” the old man told her, demonstrating with a bony thumb and forefinger. “Not a bad replica of my original fangs, actually, although you don’t get the same overbite, of course.”
“I… I beg your pardon?” stammered the woman, staring at him.
“Are you saying that you’ve dropped your dentures in my wife’s drink?” demanded the woman’s companion.
“Not very likely, but you never know where teeth can turn up, do you? It’s the confounded dentist. Told him vampire fangs need extra finesse in attachment, but he dismissed my concerns,” grumbled the old man. “I thought he would be better than the last chap, but he turned out just as useless!” He sniffed. “Still, what do you expect from someone who did most of their training on ogre teeth?”
“Oh… that’s a good one, mate,” said the husband, laughing suddenly and raising his glass in a toast to the old man. “You’re really getting into character, aren’t you? Word of advice, though…” He cast a disparaging look at the old man’s suit. “I’d get a better costume next time, if I were you. You don’t look anything like a vampire.”
“What? How dare you!” spluttered the old man. “I do not need a costume to look like a vampire—I am a vampire!”
The husband burst out laughing. Before he could respond, Caitlyn grabbed the old man’s arm and hastily hauled him away from the couple.
“Viktor! What are you doing here?” she demanded.
The old man gave her a grumpy look. “Looking for my fangs, of course. What else?”
“No, no, I mean, what are you doing here at the ball? How did you sneak in?”
Viktor looked affronted. “Sneak in? I do not sneak! I am an Ancient Guardian Protector. We are the most respected warriors in the Underworld. There are none to match us in duty or honour… Anyway, as it happens, I had an invitation—from the lord of the manor himself,” he added huffily.
“James? James invited you to the ball?” said Caitlyn disbelievingly.
“Yes, he happened to come upon me when I was hanging upside down, having a nap in my favourite corner of the Manor Library ceiling. Good cobwebs there, you know—keeps the draughts out. Anyway, he looked a bit startled to find me, but very decent chap. Impeccable manners. Asked me how I was, and we discussed the weather, of course, like any two civilised Englishmen… and when he heard of my predilection for toffee apples, he invited me to come and sample them at the ball, seeing as they were to be one of the special treats offered in the buffet.” Viktor smacked his lips. “I must say, that old witch Mags knows what she’s doing with caramel sauce, I’ll give her that. Best toffee apples I’ve tasted in a century!”
The old man brightened suddenly as the exuberant notes of a new piece of music filled the Ballroom.
“Ah! The polka-mazurka! This was my favourite dance back in the 1850s. Dum…dum-dum…dum!” He gave a little sideways skip and a hop, then grabbed Caitlyn’s hand enthusiastically. “Come, I will show you, my dear—”
“Oh no, Viktor, I don’t think that’s a good idea…” Caitlyn started to protest, but Viktor was already dragging her into the centre of the room.
The next moment, Caitlyn found herself clutched in Viktor’s bony arms and whirled around the dance floor. For a six-hundred-year-old vampire, he sure is nimble on his feet, thought Caitlyn, struggling to keep up with Viktor’s fancy footwork.
“Dum…dum-dum…dum,” sang Viktor happily, swinging Caitlyn around with gusto.
She had to clutch at her skirts to stop herself tripping, and gave a yelp of surprise as Viktor suddenly twirled her outwards to the end of his arm.
“Oomph!” Caitlyn gasped as she collided with another couple. She turned in dismay and saw that she was facing an elderly matriarch in a sequined black gown, with enormous ostrich plumes in her hair and a scandalised expression on her face. “I’m terribly sorry—”
Before she could finish, she felt Viktor’s bony hand groping for her arm again. But unfortunately, he seemed to have trouble seeing clearly and he grabbed the arm of the matriarch instead. The woman gave a shriek of shock and outrage as the old vampire yanked her into his arms and twirled away with her.
“Wait! Viktor—” Caitlyn cried, trying to follow them, but her route was cut off by the swaying bodies of other dancing couples.
“It looks like you’ll have to accept me as a poor substitute,” came a smooth voice beside her.
Caitlyn turned to see that the old matriarch’s dance partner was sweeping her a mocking bow and offering his hand. He lifted his mask slightly to give her a wink and she realised with a sinking heart that it was Daniel Tremaine. He was the last person she wanted to dance with, but it seemed too rude to snub him, so Caitlyn reluctantly put her hand in his. She stiffened slightly as she felt his arms go around her, pulling her close, then she forced herself to relax as they whirled back into the throng of dancers.
“So, Miss Le Fey, how are you enjoying the ball?”
Caitlyn jerked back in surprise. “How… how did you know who I am?” she asked.
Tremaine laughed. “In my line of work, you learn to recognise people’s true identities, no matter how good their disguises.”
“In your ‘line of work’? As an accountant?” said Caitlyn dubiously.
He smiled, unperturbed. “Naturally. It’s important to be able to see past fake façades when you’re dealing with financial matters.” He looked at her pretty decorated mask with amused disdain. “And masquerade costumes are child’s play. In any case…” His gaze swept upwards, over the fiery tresses which curled around her face and spilled over her shoulders. “Your hair… it’s hard to disguise a colour so distinct. Red like that does not come out of a bottle. If you’d really wanted to remain incognito, you should have worn a wig, perhaps, or kept the hood that you had on earlier.”
Caitlyn looked at him, confused. “What hood?”
“The one you were wearing before the ball commenced. I came down early and decided to look in the Ballroom to see how the preparations were going. There were no staff about, but I saw you by the fountain next to the buffet.”
Caitlyn frowned. “You couldn’t have. When I arrived at the Manor with Evie—with my younger cousin—we went straight up to the guest room to change, and I didn’t come down until a short while ago.”
“I definitely saw you. As I said, it is hard to disguise hair as vivid as yours.”
“I’m not the only red-haired girl in the world,” protested Caitlyn.
“I have yet to see anyone else at the ball with hair like yours,” said Tremaine, glancing around the room. “So if we discount the guests, are you saying there is another young woman in the village with hair the same shade?”
“No, not really,” Caitlyn admitted. The only other redheads in Tillyhenge were Aunt Bertha and Evie, but their hair was a paler, carroty shade of red, whereas Caitlyn knew that hers was a deep crimson, with golden highlights that caught the sun. It was the one feature of her appearance that she felt unabashedly proud of, the one thing that gave her a bit of confidence when she was feeling insecure about her figure and her lack of style and sophistication. Still, that didn’t explain how Daniel Tremaine could have seen her hair when she had been nowhere near the Ballroom earlier that day…
“You must have been mistaken,” she insisted. “That couldn’t have been me. Did you see her face?”
“No, not directly.”
“Then how can you be sure it was me just based on a glimpse of her hair?” demanded Caitlyn.
“There is more to a woman than simply her face,” said Tremaine. “There is the way she holds herself, the lines of her body, the aura around her…” He gave her a wolfish grin. “I enjoy women—enjoy looking at them, observing them, admiring them, and I never forget a woman I’ve seen. Besides…” He paused as he twirled her slowly in a circle. “You’re a special case. Anyone really looking would have noticed a special quality about you. They would have seen that there’s more to you than meets the eye.”
Caitlyn drew back from him. “I… I don’t know what you mean.”
“Oh, I think you do. That shy wallflower act may fool others, but it won’t work with me. I think you’re very aware of the power you have, especially the power to lead men astray.”
“What—?” Caitlyn gasped an incredulous laugh. She didn’t know whether to be insulted by his heavy-handed innuendos or to laugh at his ridiculously melodramatic words.
Before she could reply, Tremaine leaned suddenly closer, so that his lips were next to her ear.
“You’re a beautiful woman, Caitlyn Le Fey, and beautiful women have to be careful. You know, in another age, you would have been branded a witch and burned at the stake just for enticing men with that glorious hair and those enchanting hazel eyes.”
Caitlyn flinched and would have pulled away from him, except that he tightened his hold on her, his arm like a band of steel around her.
Tremaine laughed. “Relax—I’m teasing. No one’s going to harm you. After all, you’re not really a witch… are you?”
She stared at him, but Tremaine’s face was hard to read, being partially covered by his mask. She could see his lips pulled back in the semblance of an easy smile, but it was a smile that didn’t reach his eyes, she noted. And despite his words, a part of her couldn’t help feeling that he had been deadly serious…
Tremaine lifted his arm to twirl her again, and, as he did so, he glanced at her raised wrist. Caitlyn saw his eyes narrow as he caught sight of her runestone necklace, looped around her bare wrist.
“That’s an unusual charm bracelet,” he said. “Those engravings… they’re witch’s runes, aren’t they?”
“Y-yes, that’s right,” said Caitlyn, startled.
“Do you know what they mean?”
Caitlyn shook her head.
“Where did you get it from? Was it a gift?”
Caitlyn eyed him warily. The questions were asked in an idle tone, but she couldn’t help feeling that Tremaine was intensely interested. “No,” she said, not bothering to explain and hoping that he wouldn’t ask further.
“I wondered if it might have been something from the late Lord Fitzroy’s collection of occult artefacts,” he mused. “A trinket, perhaps, that you’d admired and decided to keep for yourself?”
“No, of course not!” said Caitlyn, indignant. “I would never remove anything from the Manor without James’s permission.”
“I beg your pardon,” said Tremaine smoothly. “I wasn’t implying that you stole it—simply that you may have been given carte blanche, as it were, to help yourself to anything that you liked.” He smiled thinly. “James wouldn’t be the first man to show weakness where a woman was concerned.”
“No, this is mine,” said Caitlyn curtly. “It’s… um… a sort of family heirloom.”
They were at the edge of the dance floor now, and as she was spun around, Caitlyn glanced sideways and met the eyes of a woman watching them from the crowd. She was exotically beautiful, of Chinese or other East Asian descent, and aside from her striking looks, she stood out because she was not in any obvious disguise—although the green silk cheongsam she was wearing was more than a match for any costume. What startled Caitlyn, though, was the intensity of the woman’s gaze, and even as they danced away again, she could feel the woman’s eyes still following them, like the red laser sight from a sniper’s rifle. She was immensely relieved to hear the music ending, and she could barely pull her hand out of Daniel Tremaine’s fast enough as he gave her a final twirl, then swept her a mocking bow.
“I… I need to pop to the Ladies’,” she mumbled, to forestall any further conversation from him, and turning, she dived into the crowd.
It wasn’t until she had put a good distance between them that Caitlyn slowed down. Ugh… She looked down at the hand Daniel Tremaine had been holding. She felt unclean after their little interlude, and she almost decided to go to the Ladies’ for real, so that she could give her hands a good scrub. Then she gave herself a mental shake. Don’t let him get to you. Tremaine is just a creep who loves himself and thinks he’s so clever with all that heavy flirting and those stupid sexual innuendos.
Caitlyn looked up again and caught sight of the buffet nearby. Her spirits lifted. She’d get something to eat instead, she decided. Mm, yes, something rich and chocolatey. Nothing like a peanut butter and mocha truffle or a salted caramel fudge to take your mind off everything for a few decadent moments!
As she arrived at the buffet and surveyed the smorgasbord of dishes, Caitlyn recalled that there weren’t just sweet treats on offer—as she had told Pomona, the whole buffet was chocolate-themed. Even though she had helped the Widow Mags plan and prepare the menu, it wasn’t until she saw the sumptuous variety displayed in front of her that she really appreciated the old witch’s genius in incorporating the flavours of chocolate and cocoa into so many savoury dishes.
Aside from the Belgian chocolate steak and cocoa-encrusted tenderloin that she had told Pomona about, there was also a dark chocolate and wild mushroom millefeuille, a beautifully roasted joint of venison served with chocolate, fig, and turnip, a duck-breast salad with burnt coconut, pineapple, cashews, and smoky cocoa powder, and—taking pride of place next to the cornucopia in the centre of the buffet—a large dish of roast grouse with sweet caramelised figs, beautifully glazed heritage carrots, and a velvety chocolate-porter sauce.
On the opposite side of the buffet was a display of treats from the Widow Mags’s chocolate shop: rich fudge brownies and decadent chocolate puddings, cocoa-dusted chocolate beans and succulent chocolate-dipped apricots and strawberries, creamy chocolate-and-hazelnut torte, and white chocolate parfait…
Caitlyn smiled to herself, Daniel Tremaine temporarily forgotten, as she began heaping food onto her plate. And when she reached the end of the buffet, she was delighted to discover that the fountain was no ordinary water feature—instead, a rich, buttery, salted caramel sauce spurted from the top and drizzled down the five tiers in a smooth amber flow.
So this is what all those jugs of caramel sauce that the Widow Mags wanted were for! she thought, standing back to eye the fountain in admiration. There was a large tray on a pedestal next to the fountain, displaying an array of marshmallows, cookie chunks, fresh strawberries and apple wedges, pretzels, doughnuts, and pieces of chocolate cake. Caitlyn eagerly helped herself to one of the fondue sticks in a nearby jar and speared a large piece of apple, then held it out under the flow of caramel. She watched with mouth-watering anticipation as the rich, creamy sauce drizzled over the piece of apple, coating it with glossy treacle sweetness. She’d just pulled the fondue stick out of the fountain and was raising the caramel-coated apple to her lips when a voice said:
“I’d be careful if I were you.”
Caitlyn looked up to see a woman standing on the other side of the fountain and her eyes widened as she recognised the mysterious Asian beauty who had been watching so intently when she had been dancing with Daniel Tremaine. Caitlyn eyed her curiously as the woman came closer. She looked to be somewhere in her thirties, perhaps, with flawless skin and luminous, almond-shaped eyes. Her black hair was teased and swept back in a rock-chick style that was at odds with the very traditional cheongsam she wore, and yet the overall effect was fashionable and elegant. Diamonds sparkled at her ears and dripped off her wrists and fingers, and she spoke with the kind of refined enunciation usually associated with British high society.
“I’m sorry?” said Caitlyn politely.
The woman came forwards to join her next to the fountain. “You wouldn’t want to get burned, would you?” she said.
“Oh, the caramel sauce isn’t hot,” Caitlyn said, waving the fondue stick she was holding.
The woman laughed contemptuously. “I’m not talking about the caramel, you fool. I’m talking about Daniel Tremaine.”
Caitlyn blinked. “I don’t understand—”
“You think you can handle him, don’t you? You think you can manipulate him, flirt with him—”
“I wasn’t flirting with him!” said Caitlyn indignantly. “I think you’ve completely misunderstood the situation. Mr Tremaine asked me to dance, that’s all.”
A cynical smile curled the corners of the woman’s mouth. “And I suppose, while you were in his arms, he impressed you with tales of daring foreign exploits and clever subterfuge. After all, there’s nothing as sexy as the thought of hidden danger in a glamorous setting, is there?”
“Danger? I think you’ve got Mr Tremaine mixed up with someone else,” said Caitlyn with a laugh. “He’s just an accountant who works for the British government—”
“Is that what he told you? If you believe that, then you’re even more of a fool than I thought.” She gave Caitlyn a pitying look. “You have no idea what you’re dealing with. Let me give you a friendly word of advice: don’t fall for Daniel Tremaine’s charms. He always wants something—the question is whether you’re prepared to pay the price to give it to him.”
Caitlyn shook her head, baffled by the woman’s cryptic words. “I’m sorry, I really think you’ve got the wrong end of the stick. I’m not romantically interested in Daniel Tremaine—or in any other way, really! I only met him for the first time the day before yesterday and he’s just a passing acquaintance.”
Before the woman could reply, there was a commotion on the other side of the Ballroom. Caitlyn turned swiftly to see a flurry of movement near the main entrance. Curious, she left the buffet and jostled her way through the crowd, rising on tiptoe every so often to try and see above the heads of people. All around her, she could hear excited murmurings and whispers:
“Who are they?”
“Oh my God, look at her costume!”
“Do you think those are real…?”
“Do you know who they are?”
Finally, Caitlyn pushed her way to the front of the throng and stepped out to see a couple standing at the entrance to the Ballroom. They had obviously just arrived, and the man was escorting his female companion into the party. Caitlyn caught her breath. Despite the elaborate costume and mask, she knew instantly who the girl was: Pomona.
Caitlyn stared at her cousin: Pomona looked like someone straight out of myth or legend. She was wearing a gown made of a silky green fabric, which left her shoulders bare and was moulded to her curvaceous figure, parting on one side to reveal one tanned and shapely leg. She had eschewed the more common face mask tied around the head, instead opting for an ornately decorated mask on a stick, which she brandished with dramatic flair. Her black diamond choker hugged her throat with a cold metal embrace, the dark jewel seeming to sparkle more brilliantly than ever under the light from the Ballroom chandeliers.
But it was Pomona’s head that everyone’s eyes were riveted on: where her mane of sun-kissed blonde hair used to be, there was now a writhing mass of snakes. For a heart-stopping moment, Caitlyn thought that they were real snakes. Then, as she looked closer, she realised that they were cleverly fashioned from some kind of rubber and flexible fabric, so that they wriggled and coiled with every small movement that Pomona made. Even her breathing caused them to writhe and slither across each other, giving the impression that they were alive.
She’s come as Medusa, Caitlyn realised, thinking of the infamous Greek she-monster who could turn men to stone with a simple glance. It was a spectacular transformation and Pomona was milking every moment of it. She stood with her head tossed back, a hand on one hip, and a delighted smile on her lips as she surveyed the room. Pomona had always liked causing a stir, and she couldn’t have made a grander entrance.
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