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From Bad to Cursed
Cover of From Bad to Cursed
From Bad to Cursed
The Witches of Thistle Grove Series, Book 2
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Opposites attract in this wickedly charming rom-com by Lana Harper, New York Times bestselling author of Payback’s a Witch.
Wild child Isidora Avramov is a thrill chaser, adept demon summoner, and—despite the whole sexy-evil-sorceress vibe—also a cuddly animal lover. When she’s not designing costumes and new storylines for the Arcane Emporium’s haunted house, Issa's nursing a secret, conflicted dream of ditching her family’s witchy business to become an indie fashion designer in her own right. 
But when someone starts sabotaging the celebrations leading up to this year’s Beltane festival with dark, dangerous magic, a member of the rival Thorn family gets badly hurt—throwing immediate suspicion on the Avramovs. To clear the Avramov name and step up for her family when they need her the most, Issa agrees to serve as a co-investigator, helping none other than Rowan Thorn get to the bottom of things.
Rowan is the very definition of lawful good, so tragically noble and by-the-book he makes Issa’s teeth hurt. In accordance with their families’ complicated history, he and Issa have been archenemies for years and have grown to heartily loathe each other. But as the unlikely duo follow a perplexing trail of clues to a stunning conclusion, Issa and Rowan discover how little they really know each other… and stumble upon a maddening attraction that becomes harder to ignore by the day.
Opposites attract in this wickedly charming rom-com by Lana Harper, New York Times bestselling author of Payback’s a Witch.
Wild child Isidora Avramov is a thrill chaser, adept demon summoner, and—despite the whole sexy-evil-sorceress vibe—also a cuddly animal lover. When she’s not designing costumes and new storylines for the Arcane Emporium’s haunted house, Issa's nursing a secret, conflicted dream of ditching her family’s witchy business to become an indie fashion designer in her own right. 
But when someone starts sabotaging the celebrations leading up to this year’s Beltane festival with dark, dangerous magic, a member of the rival Thorn family gets badly hurt—throwing immediate suspicion on the Avramovs. To clear the Avramov name and step up for her family when they need her the most, Issa agrees to serve as a co-investigator, helping none other than Rowan Thorn get to the bottom of things.
Rowan is the very definition of lawful good, so tragically noble and by-the-book he makes Issa’s teeth hurt. In accordance with their families’ complicated history, he and Issa have been archenemies for years and have grown to heartily loathe each other. But as the unlikely duo follow a perplexing trail of clues to a stunning conclusion, Issa and Rowan discover how little they really know each other… and stumble upon a maddening attraction that becomes harder to ignore by the day.
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  • From the cover

    1

     

    Deviously Done

     

    The thing no one tells you about summoning demons is, sometimes you have to think outside the box.

     

    I should know; I've been calling them up into my circles since I was a kid. My mother even encouraged it, as a slightly safer alternative to a way riskier burgeoning fascination with elder gods. (PSA, if you don't want your daughter developing an interest in the gnarlier chthonic entities before she can even ride a bike, maybe don't read her Lovecraft at bedtime. Seems obvious enough, right?)

     

    The books go on about how summonings are supposed to be these disciplined, rule-bound affairs-and most of the time, they are, if you know what's good for you. The truth is, if you take sensible precautions, it's not nearly as dangerous as people think. And such a rush, too; the daemonfolk are interesting as the hells, pun intended. Sometimes they're inclined to share juicy secrets or ancient spells, the kind you won't find in even the oldest, dustiest grimoires. Other times they're so gorgeous it breaks your heart, or so horrifying that even a quick glimpse caught before you banish them is enough to leave you panting, heart battering against your ribs, blood boiling through your veins while your whole skin rolls with chills.

     

    Shit, even when you play it safe, there's nothing quite like a demon summoning to make you feel alive.

     

    Of course, there's always the odd time that even a pro like me fucks it up just a wee bit.

     

    As usual, I'd cast my summoning circle in the warrens of the basement beneath The Bitters, in a chilly, cavernous room that had started out as Elena's third wine cellar-because who gets by with just one these days; certainly not my mother-and now doubled as my demonic lair. No windows, musty air that smelled like centuries-old stone and aged bordeaux, witchlight sconces flinging trembling shadows on the walls; the perfect ambiance for such a conjuring. The summoning spell was already whipping through me like a tempest, my protective amulets glowing hot against my chest. Everything felt like it should, all systems go.

     

    But as soon as Malachus began to coalesce, I felt a twinge of wrongness in my gut, an unsettling, instinctive awareness that something was off.

     

    According to my research, Malachus was supposed to manifest as a brawny reptilian dude, macho and mindless to the max. The type of mostly harmless demon whose bark was way worse than his bite. I hadn't summoned in a while, so tonight was meant to be just a practice flex, easing myself back into the swing of things after a little break.

     

    But the silhouette gathering in my circle was unmistakably femme-presenting, on her knees and with her back to me, with the kind of ridiculous waist-to-hip ratio that would've put Cardi B to shame. A swoop of hair, black and glossy as moonlit water, curled around an even darker set of wings folded neatly against her back. I could see the wings' outline fill with a faint scrawl like one of my own sketches, a vague suggestion of feathers, before they sprang into a three-dimensional profusion of lush black down. And the scent that engulfed the cellar wasn't just the usual rank whiff of sulfur and brimstone, but something sweeter, more elegant and piercing. Jasmine, maybe, with a subtle patchouli twist. The kind of compelling perfume that made you want to follow someone around, drooling until they told you what they wore.

     

    When she turned to look over her shoulder at me, with massive eyes the color of molten gold, my mouth went dry as dust. I couldn't be positive, having...

Reviews-
  • Kirkus

    March 15, 2022
    Opposites attract in this witchy enemies-to-lovers romance. It's springtime in Thistle Grove, a quaint magical town readers were introduced to in Payback's a Witch (2021). Isidora Avramov has been unsatisfied working for the family business lately, but she doesn't think she could ever tell her mother how she feels for fear of being a disappointment. At least she has the Flower Moon Festival to look forward to, until a member of the Thorn family, practitioners of green magic, is cursed with the necromantic magic the Avramov family is known for. Issa begrudgingly teams up with Rowan Thorn to investigate, each representing their families. Their opposite types of magic have always created a rift between the families, and Issa holds a grudge against Rowan in particular. They butted heads when working together years ago, and she's still annoyed with his do-gooder hero energy. She knows he makes assumptions about her because of her family and magic, and yeah, sometimes she summons demons, but she also has a caring heart! As the unlikely duo follow the clues and begin to unlearn long-held beliefs about each other, attraction blossoms and grows into irresistible desire and deep understanding. Atmospheric and lush, this captivating story ignites the senses. The magic lends itself to big, cinematic scenes, while conflicts about familial expectations and mental health struggles ground the story with realness. The romantic relationship is emotionally rich and deliciously sexy. Issa's wry first-person narrative effortlessly ties together the mystery, fantasy, and romance elements. Exhilarating, heartfelt, and entirely bewitching.

    COPYRIGHT(2022) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Publisher's Weekly

    March 28, 2022
    Harper’s entertaining sequel to Payback’s a Witch continues to explore the complicated relationships between Thistle Grove’s four magical founding families while putting fan-favorite Rowan Thorn front and center. Necromantic witch Issa Avramov may come off as coldhearted, but those closest to her know how deeply she cares for animals and understand why she still holds a grudge against vet-in-training Rowan for costing Issa her volunteer job at the shelter years before. So when dark magic harms a member of the Thorn family and damages their land right before a major town celebration, Issa is the natural suspect. To clear her name, she must partner with Rowan to find the real perpetrator. In the process, they discover that their mutual animosity obscures an undeniable attraction—and that there is much more to the attack on the Thorns than either of them could have imagined. With a fresh, fun voice, Harper brilliantly blends romance, mystery, and magic. Series fans will not be disappointed. Agent: Taylor Haggerty, Root Literary.

  • Library Journal

    Starred review from April 1, 2022

    Thistle Grove's annual Beltane celebration is disrupted when one participant is robbed of her magic and seriously harmed by a necromantic curse. As the victim's cousin, Rowan Thorn is determined to find the culprit. The prime suspects are members of the Avramov family, who specialize in necromancy. To prove her family is innocent, Isidora Avramov, black sheep and demon summoner, reluctantly becomes Rowan's co-detective. Unfortunately, Rowan and Issa have been archenemies ever since Rowan got Issa banished from volunteering at the local animal shelter. While the two hunt down clues together, their preconceived notions about each other, their families, and their magics are challenged, and both are unsettled to discover desire replacing animosity. When another necromantic curse almost kills Rowan, Issa saves him and opens up her heart and her secrets to him. VERDICT Harper (Payback's a Witch) continues "The Witches of Thistle Grove" series strong, delivering a second installment packed with mystery, danger, lots of love-to-hate-you foreplay, family drama, and an identity crisis thrown in. Sound like a lot? It is, but still oh so fun. Highly recommended.--Eve Stano

    Copyright 2022 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Booklist

    May 1, 2022
    Rarely is the second book in a series better than the first, but as Harper continues her Witches of Thistle Grove series, following Payback's a Witch (2910), the world building and exploration of family cultures enhances this already fascinating setting. The magical community of Thistle Grove is preparing for the Flower Moon festival that starts off with the choosing of the May Queen. When Holly Thorn starts conjuring her gorgeous tapestry of strawberries and foliage on the stage of the competition and is attacked by a withering spell, she fights it but is injured, and much of the orchard is destroyed. Emmy Harlow, presiding Victor of the Wreath, pairs costume-and-set designer Isadora Avramov with veterinarian Rowan Thorn, enemies since they worked together at an animal shelter in their youth, and orders them to find the culprit. Their search takes them into deadly supernatural danger. Can these two--one a witch who works with ectoplasm and spirits of the dead, the other a witch who is all about growth and healing--find common ground, let alone romance? Harper's latest is imaginative and captivating.

    COPYRIGHT(2022) Booklist, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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The Witches of Thistle Grove Series, Book 2
Lana Harper
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