Good Neighbors: The Full Collection
Author: Stephanie Burgis
Publisher: Five Fathoms Press
Release Date: February 2, 2022
Series: A standalone collection of linked fantasy rom-com stories (standalone for now, at least – more novellas may follow someday in the future)
Genre: Fantasy Romance
Unfortunately, it was almost impossible to intimidate someone who embodied the concept of ‘too far’ in every fashion.
Before I’d been dragged into an alliance with Leander Fabian, I’d bored myself silly with pretty windowboxes in an attempt to make my own house look respectable to my new neighbors. Leander, on the other hand, had built himself an actual castle when he’d arrived—and a black castle at that, complete with spy-crows perching on its turrets, massive black doors, and obsidian gargoyles glowering down at every passerby.
Those castle doors always opened wide at night to let Leander’s undead minions roam free across the boggy countryside. But I seriously doubted that the master of the castle spent all of his evenings leaning indolently in the open doorway, his lean shoulders propped casually against the strong wall, a long black coat billowing around his ridiculously frilly white shirt, and long, loose black hair stirring beckoningly in the evening breeze around the angles of his pale, striking face.
Luckily, I was not the sort to let myself be distracted by long, glossy locks and knowing dark eyes, and I had reminded myself of that fact—firmly—at least a dozen times since I’d met Leander Fabian. So my breath hardly caught in my throat at all when I found him lounging there before me, framed in soft golden light by the brace of candles that sat in a wall-sconce nearby. I certainly didn’t wish even for a single instant that I had taken the time to wash off the oil I’d wiped onto my face earlier—or that I’d changed out of my sensible working coveralls.
I never thought about what I was wearing. Why should I? I barely ever remembered that I had a body underneath these sensible, shapeless coveralls, except when Leander Fabian interfered with my work and my concentration by turning my head into rioting fluff. That was why I’d been so carefully avoiding him and refusing all of his pretty invitations so far.
Clearly, he’d felt no doubt that I would come tonight, though—and that realization cleared my head completely.
“This is rubbish!” I threw the crumpled note at his feet.
It bounced off his perfectly polished black boots, and he raised one eyebrow, his lips curving into a wicked grin. “Good evening to you, too, Mia. It’s fine weather outside tonight, don’t you think?”
I rolled my eyes. “So that’s why you’re flopped out here like a noodle? To enjoy the weather? Really?”
“Well, I did hope I might have a visitor, if I was lucky.” His smile widened. “And you see? How fortunate for both of us that I was here to greet you. Why don’t you come in for a glass of red wine? I found this bottle in the vaults of a centuries-old tomb, so it’ll either be delicious or horrific. Why don’t we open it and find out together?”
He held out one pale, inviting hand, and to my horror, I felt myself instinctively start to lean towards it.
“No!” Wrapping my arms firmly around my waist, I dug in my heels hard. “I did not come here for pointless socializing.”
“No?” His head tilted. “But if I could offer you a point—?”
“No.” I didn’t trust that glint in his eyes at all.
I was an inventor. I understood logic. I’d been raised amidst the tools and cluttered shelves of my father’s workshop before he’d stepped down and given it over to be my own. Streaks of oil smeared my cheeks and my hacked-short hair more often than not. Even before our old neighbors had turned against us for my magic, the local girls had laughed and snorted whenever they’d witnessed my outfits. The boys had simply, carelessly ignored me…which made sense.
Any man as beautiful as Leander Fabian—necromancer or not—would never look at me with that glint of blatant interest unless he had some underhanded scheme in mind—and over the past year, I’d learned better than to trust anyone outside my family. I didn’t need anyone outside my family. I’d built a happy life for myself and my father within the safe bounds of our new home, and I didn’t want anyone tempting me out of it.
So I was already turning on my heel as I said, “I’m not going anywhere with you, especially not a necromancers’ ball, of all the nonsensical nightmares. So you can tell whoever’s hosting it that you made a mistake when you said I’d be coming, and—”
“But you promised,” he said gently. “I have your word, remember?”
My jaw dropped open as I spun back around. “I would never—!”
“We entered into an alliance.” He blinked innocently. “You swore you’d do whatever it took to protect my creatures against invaders, and I swore to return the favor for you and your father. Don’t you care about your sworn word anymore?”
I stared at him. “You…!” The ball of paper still lay on the ground by his feet. I pointed at it accusingly. “You told me I was coming with you to a stupid ball. That has nothing to do with invasions or alliances—”
“But it does,” he said. “Don’t you want to know who’s hosting it?”
About the Book:
When a grumpy inventor meets her outrageous new neighbor in the big black castle down the road, more than one type of spark will fly!
Mia Brandt knows better than to ever again allow her true powers to be discovered. Ever since her last neighbors burned down her workshop in a night of terror and flame, she’s been determined to stay solitary, safe, and – to all outside appearances – perfectly respectable…
But Leander Fabian, whose sinister castle looms over her cozy new cottage, has far more dangerous ideas in mind. When he persuades Mia into a reluctant alliance, she finds herself swept into an exhilarating world of midnight balls, interfering countesses, illicit opera house expeditions, necromantic duels, and a whole unnatural community of fellow magic-workers and outcasts, all of whom are facing a threat more ominous than any she’s confronted before.
Luckily, Mia has unnatural powers of her own – but even her unique skills may not be enough to protect her new found family and help her resist the wickedly provoking neighbor who’s seen through all of her shields from the beginning.
This novel-length collection includes all four stories and novellas originally published on Stephanie Burgis’s Patreon in 2020-2021: Good Neighbors, Deadly Courtesies, Fine Deceptions, and Fierce Company.
Universal pre-order link: https://storyoriginapp.com/universalbooklinks/a8f6aefe-f53e-11eb-96e0-ebc0229ce5cb
Stop back later this week when I’ll have my review!
About the Author:
Stephanie Burgis grew up in Michigan but now lives in Wales, surrounded by castles, mountains, and coffeeshops, with her husband (fellow writer Patrick Samphire), their two children, and their very vocal tabby cat, Pebbles. She writes wildly romantic historical fantasies for adults, most recently Scales and Sensibility and The Harwood Spellbook series, as well as MG fantasy adventures, most recently The Raven Heir. She has also had over forty short stories published in various magazines and anthologies. Find out more (and read excerpts from all of her novels) on her website: www.stephanieburgis.com or sign up to her Patreon to join her monthly book club and read all of her adult ebooks early: www.patreon.com/stephanieburgis
Social media links:
Twitter: @stephanieburgis (twitter.com/stephanieburgis )
Instagram: @stephanieburgisinwales (Instagram.com/stephanieburgisinwales )