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The Reflected City Book One

Rabia Gale

Trevelyan Shield would rather fight demons and exorcise haunts than deal with debutantes, alive or dead. But when he encounters the charming but ghostly Arabella Trent, his duty is clear: send the young woman into the afterlife. Otherwise, she risks attracting the denizens of the Shadow Lands, who hunger for mortal souls.

Arabella doesn’t remember the runaway carriage that hit her and left her for dead. Nor does she know why her body was found so far from her. But something—or someone—is preventing her from returning to it, and she’s determined to find out why.

As Arabella and Trey race to unravel the mystery, a sinister plot unfolds and the boundary between the demon and mortal worlds grows thin. If they don’t act soon, Arabella won’t be the only one to fall prey to the Shadow Lands.

Ghostlight is a gaslamp fantasy novel.

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Published by Rabia Gale

Cover design by Deranged Doctor Design

Copyright © 2018, by Rabia Gale. All Rights Reserved

This e-book is licensed for your enjoyment only. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations in reviews.

This book is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

Table of Contents

Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

Chapter Nine

Chapter Ten

Chapter Eleven

Chapter Twelve

Chapter Thirteen

Chapter Fourteen

Chapter Fifteen


Books by Rabia Gale

About the Author

Chapter One

Trevelyan shield knew Arabella Trent was trouble the moment he laid eyes on her that spring morning.

He was a trifle foxed, staggering home from the Plush Purple Peacock through streets filled with a pale golden haze. A happy fog occupied most, but not all, of his head. He could never quite turn off the watchful part that was currently keeping him from embracing a street lamp and attempting to waltz with it. Trey couldn’t quite understand why, but he was sure he’d be grateful for it later.

In the meantime, he had to navigate the early morning rush, a task that was more than usually difficult today.

Carts laden with milk and eggs trundled past him, pulled by dray horses who showed their pegasus heritage in vestigial wings and feathered hoofs. Their drivers shouted and cursed as the traffic inevitably snarled. Housewives on their way to market hurried down the footpath, jostling passersby with their large baskets. The pungent smells of spoiled milk and horse dung hung in the air.

All Trey wanted was his bed so he could block out the entirety of Lumen for a few blissful hours. A few hours to forget his life and his work, the dull heartache that still hadn’t eased, and the weight of the viscount’s title that he had never wanted.

And then he saw her.

Arabella Trent hesitated at the corner of Chipping Hill and Holgate, plainly waiting for an opening in the traffic. She wore a shrine cloak of traditional grey, its hood slipping off her head to reveal a riot of dark curls.

But it wasn’t the cloak that caught Trey’s attention, nor the curls. Neither did her large, lustrous eyes, nor her dainty nose, nor her slender figure—nor, indeed, any of the other considerable charms that Miss Trent possessed.

Rather, he was arrested by the way the sunlight shone through her translucent form.

Trey closed his eyes and counted to ten. Surely the apparition was a figment concocted by his exhausted mind and an excess of the Peacock’s excellent brandy. When he opened his eyes, she’d be gone.

He cracked an eyelid.

She was still there.

Trey considered a strategic retreat. He’d go home, send a message to the Office about the spirit, then fall face forward onto his bed.

After all, he had just spent half the night exorcising a particularly pernicious haunt. Dealing kindly and gently with a debutante was a trying exercise for him at the best of times. In his current state, it would be nigh on impossible.

The ghost of Arabella Trent turned and saw him. Pleased recognition lit up her eyes. She tilted her head at him in a way that invited, if not outright commanded, his help.

Trey struggled briefly with himself. Generations of good breeding won over selfish desire. With a mental farewell to his bed, which had retreated further and further away from him, he crossed the street to the young woman.

Her aethereal substance, he noted, gleamed with the luster of a pearl.

A relieved smile spread across Miss Trent’s face as he approached. “Lord St. Ash,” she greeted him with the title that still didn’t fit, “good morning.”

She had to have dimples, thought Trey darkly. Charming ones.

Miss Trent faltered at his expression. Trey knew just how forbidding it was, having cultivated it in front of his mirror as a boy.

“Miss Trent,” he said without preamble, “what are you doing here all by yourself?”

She looked stricken. Trey winced. He had just accused her of gross impropriety.

He was no good with very young women like her, dead or alive. He had never bothered to temper his blunt speech or aloof demeanor around them. At least he had never made Miss Trent cry. Not to his recollection, anyway. Still it’d be best to fetch Hilda who was far better at this…

The realization hit him like a bucketful of cold water, washing away the last mists of inebriation, leaving only a throbbing ache. Hilda wasn’t here anymore. Nor were so many of the other phantasmists. Not after the Incursion.

He had to do this on his own.

Miss Trent’s hands fluttered as she explained. “Oh! Of course I wasn’t here by myself. My friends and I formed a party to visit Shrine Park at dawn.” She gestured at the screen of yews behind her. “Somehow I was separated from them, and now I cannot seem to cross this street at all. I’m so

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