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Ten years after the trip to Scotland that changed her life, Lou is back in the misty, magical country. This time, however, she’s not on vacation: Lou is there to settle some distasteful and depressing family business. When Brian, her old Highland fling, turns up, Lou is forced to wrestle with a past that she thought was dead and buried. As tension between the former lovers mounts, something wicked is stirring in Scotland. Lou must use all her strength to handle the increasingly desperate situation, but will she be strong enough to battle both a vengeful ghost and her heart?
The Key Inheritance is a novella that takes place a decade after the events of The Burning of Isobel Key. This contemporary story crosses into the supernatural as Lou discovers evidence of a long-dead spirit who refuses to rest in peace. Lou may have thought that she was finished with the witch Isobel Key, but her inheritance is more than the young woman can handle alone.
Read an excerpt from The Key Inheritance:
Alexander had left his wife in St. Andrews to travel to Edinburgh for a fortnight. The excuse he offered was weak, but Maggie was too young to question him. He whistled as he rode his horse, eager to get back to the thriving metropolis that he visited infrequently.
His mother’s family had kin at court, and as a child, these distant relations had given Alexander an excuse to visit Edinburgh, but that wasn’t why he was bound there now.
Alexander Nairn wanted to get stinking drunk.
He could have gone out carousing in St. Andrews. His school friends were still about, and Maggie wouldn’t have stopped him. But his in-laws were alive, and Alexander felt their ever-watchful eyes whenever he set foot outside of his rooms in the village. It was positively disconcerting, and he was getting jumpy.
So Alexander did the only thing he could think of: he fled the city and headed for Edinburgh, where no one would know about the scandal he had brought down upon the Keys. He arrived as night fell, after two days of traveling, and his horse steered him immediately to a pub. He made a note to give the beast some extra sugar, but his gratitude was lost by his second tankard of ale.
“Why does the woman torment me?” He asked the other men around him, but none answered. Alexander stared into his cup. “She’s bewitched me. The woman is the very devil.”
“There’s no such thing as witchcraft, man. Buck up.” A young man about Alexander’s age thumped his shoulder, and Alexander scowled.
“You don’t know what you’re speaking of.” He flicked his hand as if shooing a fly, but the other man didn’t budge.
“I do know. I’m a man of science, and I tell you, there’s no such thing as witches.”
Alexander teetered to his feet. “Until you have been bewitched, sir, I don’t want to hear your cracked theories.” He staggered toward the door, but he only made it a few steps before the stranger leapt in front of him.
“You dare to call me a crackpot?”
Alexander grinned. “A man who does not believe in magic is either the biggest fool alive, or the biggest liar.” He didn’t see the first punch coming, but once his head stopped ringing, Alexander gave as good as he got.
Finally, by the time the tavern keeper and a few strong lads pitched them both into the street, Alexander was missing a tooth and the young stranger had a black eye. They landed together, face down in the muddy street, and for a moment, they were still.
The stranger started to laugh as he pulled himself to his feet. He held out his hand to his battered companion. “We’d best get you cleaned up. Witchcraft won’t fix that tooth.”
It was then that Alexander’s friendship with Doctor Ferguson began.
About the Author: Jen McConnel
Jen McConnel first began writing poetry as a child. Since then, her words have appeared in a variety of magazines and journals, including Sagewoman, PanGaia, and The Storyteller (where she won the people’s choice 3rd place award for her poem, “Luna”).
She is also an active reviewer for Voices of Youth Advocates (VOYA), and proud member of SCBWI, NCWN, and SCWW.