A Chinese Legend. A British Secret. Star-Crossed Lovers with Incompatible Magic.
Brixton Flew works as a professor of wielder instruction at Rembrandt Academy, hoping to erase the regrets of his youth along with the resulting debt. But when he comes face to face with his biggest regret—the woman who broke his heart, Adelaide Favan—Brixton soon realizes his troubles have only begun.
Unable to control her magic, Adelaide knew leaving Brixton was the only way to protect him when they were younger. Now she discovers he is the key to recovering the Dragon Eyes, a legendary treasure connected to her magic and her family’s disgraced legacy—and she knows the risk is great, to both his life and her heart.
With others seeking the power of the Dragon Eyes, Brixton and Adelaide must outwit their foes and face down their families to save London from an ancient legend that sleeps beneath the magic portal in their city.
But the renewed passion growing between them may prove to be the greater peril …
One Flew Through the Dragon Heart is the first book in a new steampunk series by C.S. Johnson, blending together history, romance, mecha-dragons and magic against the glittering backdrop of 1880’s Victorian London.
The door creaked open with the same welcoming familiarity it always had as Brixton stepped inside. He took off his greatcoat, and at once, the small townhouse seemed to reach out with its own essence, bathing him in the scent of oranges and animals, flooding him with the sensation of a million memories. He breathed it in and reveled in it. Deep down, nothing in the world could dislodge his home from his heart—not the Board at Rembrandt, not the government, not even all his secret hopes and dreams—and there was unspeakable comfort in knowing that.
“We’re in the kitchen, Brix. Come on in. I’ve just finished pulling out a rack of biscuits.”
Brixton sighed, both in exasperation and gratitude. His mother was never surprised when he arrived, no matter the hour. He used to wonder if she had a spy in her service, but he knew now, having his own talent for magic, that she was able to sense emotions. Her talent made her one of the most accomplished veterinarians in London.
That was also why the house always smelled of all sorts of creatures. Philippa Flew often brought her work home with her, and today, Brixton saw as he walked into the next room, was no exception.
“Who does that belong to?” he asked, gesturing toward the large peacock sitting on the table.
The large fan of its tail sprouted at his voice, making him jump back as the hundreds of colorful feathers unfolded before him.
The peacock squawked, clearly sore at the disruption.
Luella’s laughter rang through the room as Brixton recovered. He glanced through the feather-fan of exotic bird feathers to see Luella’s blonde curls bouncing as she walked around from the other side of the table.
“It’s Mrs. Fordyce’s,” Luella said. “He has a broken leg, so Mum brought him home for me to help take care of.”
“Why do you need to help him if it’s just a broken leg?” Brixton rolled his eyes. “It seems silly for you to have to use your magic on him.”
“Come on. Don’t be so stuffy.”
“I’m just concerned. You really ought to be more careful when you use your magic.” Brixton sat down on the chair at the far end of the table. “If you’re not, the mage-ragers will realize you have plenty of talent, too, and they’ll come running to sign you up to work at Rembrandt along with me.”
“Oh, Brix. It sounds like you had another hard day. I thought as much when you came in.” Philippa sighed. Her hair, a shade darker than Brixton’s and lined with wispy grays, snapped behind her in a braid as she hurried to press a loving kiss to her oldest child’s forehead.
Brixton might have waved her off when he had been younger, but now he welcomed his mother’s affections. He gave her a quick kiss on the cheek in return as Luella giggled again.
“I would not mind going to Rembrandt, but don’t think they would want me to teach the newbies just yet,” Luella said, jutting her pointed chin forward proudly. “I’m only fifteen.”
“You know as well as I do that some magic comes in early.”
Many of the first wielders experienced it as a secondary trait, one that appeared toward the beginning of adulthood. As Mendel and Darwin’s theories speculated, magic moved down through the bloodlines, and as the talents were able to be recognized earlier, it became generally accepted that most magic began to appear during adolescence.
But there were still the occasional stories of talented children who knew of their magic long before it appeared, and Brixton knew that a great many of those stories were true.
After all, he had been best friends with one of the most powerful wielders London had ever seen.
“There’s no need to brag,” Luella said with a huff. “We all know that you were a prodigy right from birth. The rest of us will bow down to you one day, I’m sure, but in the meantime, the requirements for specialized magical instruction start at sixteen. Even you didn’t have to go until then.”
“I was actually thinking of—”
Brixton went silent as his chest tightened, his heart clenched, and his fingers shook.
He had only just barely stopped himself.
He had come so close to saying her name.
It was appalling to think after nearly four years he still thought of her—thought of her, dreamed of her, but never spoke of her.
How could he? Remembering her was like lighting himself on fire and forgetting how much it burned.