Genre: YA Fantasy
Word Count: 104,000
Seventeen-year-old tarot reader, Taliya Bogdanov, doesn't need the spirits to tell her she's messed up. Big time. Her clan has only one rule regarding fortune telling: never, ever read for a fellow Gypsy. A rule that’s been easy to keep— until now.
When Besnik Corsi, her brother Luca’s playboy best friend, kisses her behind the wagons, Taliya folds like her deck of tarot cards and gives him a peek into the future. A future she doesn’t expect. Or want. As current clan leader, Taliya’s grandfather should pass the title down to Luca. But the cards predict Besnik and then death for all three men.
Despite Taliya’s warnings, the fortune starts to run its course, and when her grandfather dies before naming a successor, the clan is left in a superstitious dither. If Taliya was right about his death, perhaps she’s right about who should lead them as well. No longer willing to accept Luca outright, the clan demands a competition for the title. A competition Taliya must judge. She is, after all, her grandfather’s only other descendant and the seer of the fortune.
Desperate to outdo each other, the boys push the boundaries of their novice Gypsy magick, and Luca accidentally unlocks a door to Otherworld— a terrible place believed only to exist in Gypsy folklore. A place where souls are split and trapped forever. Now, choosing between her brother and the boy she loves is the least of Taliya’s worries. She must find a way to retrieve Luca’s soul, and protect Besnik’s, before the rest of her foreboding predictions become reality. Unfortunately, for Taliya, changing the future is a whole lot harder than predicting it.
They warned me not to go about dukkering— not to read the tarot cards for no one but myself— and now I knew the reason why. It was too tricky to control the spread. The cards had a mind of their own, which was no fault of mine. It’s not like I cooked up the fortune to cause trouble. I just deciphered what the spirits showed me. But that’s not how he’d see it. In his eyes, I done it on purpose, and now he’d have my head, he would!
Panic twisted in my chest as I crept across our vardo, to the single, dust-covered window, and peeked up over the sill. A riotous group had gathered ‘round the campfire, their voices climbing higher every second, which could only mean one thing. He was coming for me.
I dashed back to the dressing table and snatched up my Marseille deck, shoveling all seventy-eight cards into my leather sack without organizing them even a bit. I hadn’t time. He’d burn both me and them if he caught a glimpse of the either of us after what I done.
Ruined him, I had.
Down the vardo steps I flew, nicking a tattered scarf off the hook beside the door and tossing it over my long, black hair, so as not to look myself, as I skittered off into the woods. The air was crisp with autumn time and the branches a patchwork of leaves: amber, gold, and crimson, which I was grateful for. Better for hiding.