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Payback's a Witch
Cover of Payback's a Witch
Payback's a Witch
Borrow Borrow
Chilling Adventures of Sabrina meets The L Word in this fresh, sizzling New York Times bestselling rom-com by Lana Harper.
Emmy Harlow is a witch but not a very powerful one—in part because she hasn't been home to the magical town of Thistle Grove in years. Her self-imposed exile has a lot to do with a complicated family history and a desire to forge her own way in the world, and only the very tiniest bit to do with Gareth Blackmoore, heir to the most powerful magical family in town and casual breaker of hearts and destroyer of dreams.
But when a spellcasting tournament that her family serves as arbiters for approaches, it turns out the pull of tradition (or the truly impressive parental guilt trip that comes with it) is strong enough to bring Emmy back. She's determined to do her familial duty; spend some quality time with her best friend, Linden Thorn; and get back to her real life in Chicago.
On her first night home, Emmy runs into Talia Avramov—an all-around badass adept in the darker magical arts—who is fresh off a bad breakup . . . with Gareth Blackmoore. Talia had let herself be charmed, only to discover that Gareth was also seeing Linden—unbeknownst to either of them. And now she and Linden want revenge. Only one question stands: Is Emmy in?
But most concerning of all: Why can't she stop thinking about the terrifyingly competent, devastatingly gorgeous, wickedly charming Talia Avramov?
Chilling Adventures of Sabrina meets The L Word in this fresh, sizzling New York Times bestselling rom-com by Lana Harper.
Emmy Harlow is a witch but not a very powerful one—in part because she hasn't been home to the magical town of Thistle Grove in years. Her self-imposed exile has a lot to do with a complicated family history and a desire to forge her own way in the world, and only the very tiniest bit to do with Gareth Blackmoore, heir to the most powerful magical family in town and casual breaker of hearts and destroyer of dreams.
But when a spellcasting tournament that her family serves as arbiters for approaches, it turns out the pull of tradition (or the truly impressive parental guilt trip that comes with it) is strong enough to bring Emmy back. She's determined to do her familial duty; spend some quality time with her best friend, Linden Thorn; and get back to her real life in Chicago.
On her first night home, Emmy runs into Talia Avramov—an all-around badass adept in the darker magical arts—who is fresh off a bad breakup . . . with Gareth Blackmoore. Talia had let herself be charmed, only to discover that Gareth was also seeing Linden—unbeknownst to either of them. And now she and Linden want revenge. Only one question stands: Is Emmy in?
But most concerning of all: Why can't she stop thinking about the terrifyingly competent, devastatingly gorgeous, wickedly charming Talia Avramov?
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Excerpts-
  • From the cover

    1

     

    The Prodigal Witch

     

    As soon as I crossed the town line, I could feel Thistle Grove on my skin.

     

    That I was in my shitty beater Toyota made no difference; maybe the town could sense one of its daughters coming home, even after almost five years away. A swell of raw magic coursed into the car, until the air around me nearly shimmered with potential, bright and buzzy and headier than a champagne cocktail. As if Thistle Grove's own magical heart was pulsing eagerly toward me, welcoming me back. No hard feelings about my long absence, apparently.

     

    Made one of us, I guess.

     

    The onslaught of magic after my dry spell was so intoxicating that I hunched over the steering wheel, taking shallow breaths and wondering a little wildly whether you could overdose on magic after having gone cold turkey for so long. From the passenger seat, Jasper cast me a glinting, concerned glance from beneath his silvery fringe and shoved a clumsy paw onto my thigh.

     

    "I'm okay, bud," I murmured to him through a thick throat, reaching over to stroke his warm neck. "It's just . . . a whole lot, you know?"

     

    That was the thing about growing up with magic. Until you left it behind for good, you had no idea how incredible it felt just to be around it.

     

    And it wasn't only the air that seemed different. Through my spattered windshield, the night sky had changed, snapping into Ÿber-focus like a calibrated telescope. Above Hallows Hill, the unlikely little mountain the town huddled up against, a crescent moon hung like a freshly whetted sickle. Waning crescent, my witch brain whispered, already churning up the spells best cast in this phase. Its silhouette looked like it could carve glass, impossibly perfect and precise, the kind of moon you'd see in a dream. The constellations that surrounded it like a milky spill of jewels were arranged the same as on the other side of the town line but better somehow, more intentional, clear-cut and brilliant as a mosaic set with precious gems. So enticing, they made me want to pull the car over and tumble out, head hinged back and jaw agape, just to watch them glitter.

     

    This fucking town. Always so damn extra.

     

    With an effort, I resisted the temptation. But when the orchards that belonged to the Thorns appeared on my left, I gave in just enough to roll down my window.

     

    The night air gusted against my face, smelling like an absolute of fall; woodsmoke and dying leaves and the faintest bracing hint of future snow. And right below that was the scent of Thistle Grove magic, which I've never come across anywhere else. Spicy and earthy, as if the lingering ghost of all the incense burned by three hundred years of witches had never quite blown away. A perpetual Halloween smell, the kind that gave you the good-creepy sort of tingles.

     

    And fallen apples, of course. The Thorns' rows and rows of Galas, Honeycrisps, and Pink Ladies, sweet and cidery and indescribably like home.

     

    It all made the part of me that used to adore this place-oh, cut the shit, Emmy, the part of you that still does, the part that will never, ever stop-throb like first-love heartache. My eyes welled hot with sudden tears, and I knuckled them clear more violently than necessary, angry with myself for sinking into nostalgia so readily.

     

    Sensing my mood plummeting, Jasper gave an aggrieved snort, tossing his regally mustachioed snout at me.

     

    "I know, I know," I groaned, dragging a hand over my face. "I promised not to get too in my feelings. I'm...

About the Author-
  • Lana is the author of four YA novels about modern-day witches and historical murderesses. Born in Serbia, she grew up in Hungary, Romania, and Bulgaria before moving to the US, where she studied psychology and literature at Yale University, law at Boston University, and publishing at Emerson College. She recently moved to Chicago with her family.
Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from August 2, 2021
    Harper makes her adult debut (after YA novel Blood Countess, written as Lana Popović) with a queer rom-com that bewitches from the very first page. Almost a decade after Emmy Harlow fled small-town Thistle Grove with a broken heart, she returns home. Once a generation, the four magical families of Thistle Grove gather for a tournament to decide the strongest family, and the Harlows have always been the unbiased arbiter. This year’s competition becomes complicated when Emmy is drawn into a plan to help her best friend, Linden Thorn, and the alluring Talia Avramov seek revenge on the man who double-timed them, Gareth Blackmoore—who also happens to be the heartbreaker who drove Emmy from her home in the first place. Talia, Gareth, and Linden’s twin brother will all compete in the tournament while Emmy must remain impartial—a task which proves difficult as her anger toward Gareth grows, though not as quickly as her attraction to Talia. This magical joyride manages to feel both vibrantly current and timelessly mystical while avoiding the typical queer rom-com stereotypes. Combining John Tucker Must Die with a helping of an adult Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and a dash of Charmed, this addictive concoction begs for adaptation. Agent: Taylor Haggerty, Root Literary.

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