Welcome to Magic Pen Book Tours‘ organized book tour for Of Wicked Blood by Olivia Wildenstein and Katie Hayoz taking place March 22-26, 2021! The first book in an upper young adult urban fantasy series with magic, curses, mystery, adventure, and a slow-burn frenemies-to-lovers romance that is a glorious mix of Six of Crows meets A Discovery of Witches and The Secret Circle.
Title: Of Wicked Blood
Series: The Quatrefoil Chronicles #1
Author: Olivia Wildenstein and Katie Hayoz
Genres: Upper Young Adult, Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy / Frenemies-to-Lovers Romance
Release date: February 2, 2021
“This is storytelling at its best.” – WENDY HIGGINS, NYTimes bestselling author of Sweet Evil
NO REST FOR THE WICKED . . . OR THE CURSED.
I didn’t mean to steal the Bloodstone from the De Morel’s crypt.
Scratch that, I did mean to steal it.
Until I realized it was a curse-magnet that only comes off if I, along with a jolly trio, successfully defeat four curses.
If any of us fail, I’m dead.
I’ve never been a glass half-empty sort of person, but my glass looks in dire need of a refill right about now.
The only highlight of this wicked treasure hunt: feisty, entitled Cadence de Morel.
I was raised on tales of magic, in a small town reputed to be the birthplace of French witchcraft.
Did I believe all the stories I heard? Absolutely not. I mean, if magic existed, Maman wouldn’t have died, and Papa wouldn’t be stuck in a wheelchair, right?
The night Slate Ardoin waltzes into my life, wearing a ring he stole from my mother’s grave, I call him a monster.
But then I meet real ones, and Slate, well . . . he becomes something else to me.
Something frustrating to live with but impossible to live without.
Something I will fight for, no matter the cost.
*Warning: profuse cursing (and not just the magical kind).
*Intended for readers 16 and up.
I step out of the private elevator to find the door to my newly refurbished loft wide open.
I pat down my tuxedo for something I can use as a weapon, but all I come up with is a strand of black Tahitian pearls, six thousand euros in cash, and a Rolex Cosmograph Daytona. The Opéra de Marseille is a profitable place to pick pockets. Swearing under my breath, I pull an umbrella from the stand near the door and lunge into the apartment.
“Well if it isn’t Mr. Mary Poppins, my favorite thug.” Bastian sits on the leather couch devouring my stash of madeleines.
I toss the umbrella on the kitchen counter, then nudge his sneakers off my expensive coffee table. “Doors are equipped with this magical thing called a latch, little brother. Use it.”
He snorts. “Heard your car, so I knew you were on your way up. The engine on that thing is loud. I’m surprised the neighbors haven’t complained.”
Loud and beautiful. “I’d love to see them try.”
Bastian and I met in my third foster home, seven years ago. He was a skinny, bookish almost-eleven-year-old, with skin a shade darker than mine and a soul ten times brighter. I was thirteen and two full heads taller. I kept to myself and so did he. But then our foster parents took in two meathead strays with only a scattering of braincells between them. They got their kicks from slamming Bastian’s head inside his books, cackling when they bloodied the pages. The day I caught them at it, I broke their noses. For the next year, anytime they gave Bastian a hard time, I broke other body parts. Toes. Fingers. An arm. Finally, I got tossed out of the family. I took Bastian with me to the next homey hellhole, having developed a soft spot for the kid.
The only thing I might love more than larceny is that boy. And madeleines.
“I see you’ve come into some cash since I last visited.” Bastian gestures to the custom fireplace that runs along the bottom of the living room wall, then to the granite kitchen countertop, the le Corbusier stools, and the Noguchi glass and maple coffee table he had his dirty sneakers on only a moment ago.
Some is an understatement. I smile as I appraise all the material beauty that is now mine. “Sold a lost Renoir.”
“Lost or stolen?”
“It was lost among a clutter of other masterpieces. Total shame.” I snatch the bag of supermarket madeleines from him.
He can eat anything else in the place, but not these. These are mine.
As I bite into one, I spy a thick, creamy envelope on the couch beside him. “What’s that?” I ask, my mouth full. “Christmas isn’t until tomorrow.”
“Yeah, not from me. My gift to you is my visit.” He holds the letter out—it’s big and square and made of quality vellum. “It was under your door. Found it when I came in.”
His thick eyebrows gather over the black plastic frame of his glasses. “It says Monsieur Rémy Roland. New underground persona?”
I take the envelope from his hands and swallow a dry clump of madeleine. Monsieur Rémy Roland a.k.a. Slate Ardoin is written in a deep-blue ink by an elaborate hand. “What the fuck?”
Bastian hums the Mission Impossible theme. “Rémy Roland a.k.a. Slate Ardoin, your mission, should you choose to accept it—”
My murderous glare gives him pause.
“Wait,” Bastian’s voice breaks. “Is Roland your . . . birth name?”
Ardoin is the family name given to me by the system. My first name was also a gift from the system, although, as far as names go, Slate isn’t exactly the easiest on a francophone tongue. Whoever was handing out monikers that day must’ve smoked one too many blunts.
Bastian knows his birth family’s past—Algerian immigrants who came upon life-crushing hard times and thought he’d be better off with someone else. Me, I’m a goddamn ghost. According to social services, I came from nowhere.
I read the fancy script again, then flip the envelope, run my thumb over a navy wax seal bearing an ornamental capital M laced through with a small, curly d. Pretentious. I break the flap and yank out a bundle of papers. A key drops out and lands on the tabletop with an alarming clink. Thankfully, the glass doesn’t chip.
As Bastian picks up the key, I read the cover sheet, a letter written in the same scrolling hand that penned the address.
My name is Professor Rainier de Morel. I am Acting Dean at L’Université de Brume. Founded in 1350 by four local families, the university is rich in history and culture…
Blah, blah, blah. I skim until my gaze snags on a sentence that makes my blood turn to ice.
As a descendant of one of the founding families, you are entitled to a full scholarship, room and board included. In the packet of materials I’ve given you, you’ll find your original birth certificate. Before you became Slate Ardoin, you were born a Roland.
Nothing about me is soft, not my body, not my personality, yet my knees suddenly turn to jelly as I flop down onto the couch next to Bastian.
“What?” Bastian snatches the letter from my hands, his eyes going wide behind his rectangular lenses.
I flick through the pages I’m clutching, and . . . putain de merde.
There it is.
My birth certificate.
Rémy Roland. My birthday: November 18, not October 9, like a social worker told me. My parents’ names: Eugenia and Oscar Roland.
It’s just a document, one that shouldn’t have my heart pounding so hard, but my pulse lances against my skin. I pass the certificate over to Bastian.
He whistles and shakes his head. “You think it’s real? If it is, then you’re going to have to change your ID.”
“I’m not changing anything,” I growl. “My name’s Ardoin.” Why would I associate myself with people who tossed me out like day-old trash?
“But you will take the scholarship, right? I mean, I’ve heard about that college. It’s prestigious. Like, on equal ground with the Sorbonne.”
“I don’t even have my damn baccalaureate, Bastian.”
While I dropped out after ninth grade, Bastian aced his final exams and got into college a year early. The boy could be anything. A rocket scientist. A lawyer. A neurosurgeon. Instead, he’s studying to be a social worker to help kids like us in the system. Where my heart has withered and dulled, his has stayed shiny and pure.
“This De Morel dude doesn’t seem to care about diplomas. You get in on your family name alone.”
“My family name is Ardoin.”
“Slate, come on . . . Or should I call you Rémy?”
I growl at him, and Bastian holds up his palms. I snatch the letter back and continue reading:
I’ve been waiting for the right moment to call you back to your birthplace and share some of your family’s history, since your parents are no longer here to tell you themselves. That time is now. It is vital that you come to Brume, and soon. Please do not attempt to telephone me. I will only answer questions in person.
A student dorm has been made available to you, and you can find me on campus.
Classes start on the 2nd of January. In their will, your parents left you money in an account at the university bank. You will be able to use it for any extracurricular expenses you might have.
I cannot tell you how pleased I am to welcome you…
I wasn’t tossed out of the nest. My nest was pulverized.
My parents are dead.
And this De Morel prick knew the entire time.
I stand and tear the letter.
“What the hell?” Bastian collects the pieces like they’re bits of a five hundred-euro bill.
Every inch of me boils with rage. “What do you mean, what the hell? This professor knew about me! He knew I had a history. Money. He knew my name. And he only contacted me now? Where was he and this money when I fought off pigeons to eat stale loaves out of the bakery’s dumpster? Where was he when I got my face smashed in and went two years without front teeth! Where was he when the two of us were sleeping in that abandoned factory with the damn rats just to have a roof over our heads?”
Bastian looks at the shreds of paper in his hands. “Yeah, money would’ve been nice.”
But it’s not even the money that’s making me see red. Not really. It’s this stupid feeling of relief unwinding the familiar knot in my gut. I’ve always believed no one wanted me. That maybe I can’t be loved. But my parents didn’t abandon me; they died.
My relief turns to bitterness, though. Finding out that this man knew this and never told anyone—not even social services—infuriates me even more than his keeping my money. “Where does this enfoiré get off thinking he can waltz into my life after all this time and expect me to be grateful? And how does he even know where I live?”
There’s no way I’m going to some snooty school in some cold, assbackwards town all the way up in Brittany. I’ve been part of the shameful dregs of society for far too long to sit in a classroom and listen to philosophical vomit.
Bastian gets up and strides to the kitchen counter. He lays the key on top and pulls open a drawer, rifling through it until he finds a roll of scotch tape. “I know you don’t think you’re worth a different kind of life—”
“I happen to love my life. Look at this place.” I gesture to the expansive loft and its unobstructed sea view. “Besides, I’m damn good at what I do.”
Bastian begins piecing the letter back together. “Yeah, you are good at it. And this place is amazing. But deep down, I don’t believe it’s what you really want. Also, you live day to day, never sure how much you have in your pockets. And do I have to mention that you’re in a dangerous business? One slip-up and you’re done.”
I blow air out one corner of my mouth.
“Here’s your chance to do something else. Something other than simply survive. Who knows, you might even be happy.”
“Happy?” I scoff. “I don’t do happy. Besides, I’m not into the college scene. It’s not me.”
“Except . . .”
I stare out the bay windows at the harbor. At night, the Mediterranean looks like a black tongue licking the beach. I wait for him to continue. When he doesn’t, I turn. “Except what?”
“Except maybe it is you. You’ve never even had the slightest inkling of your origins. What if you descend from a long line of joyful brainiacs? I mean, your ancestors founded a college. You could be royalty in Brume. Who knows? Even if you don’t attend classes, go there to scratch that itch you’ve always had.”
He’s talking about the itch of being someone.
Bastian sighs and tips his head to the side, mocking me. “Or, you could go to get revenge. Con this guy out of his cash. Sleep with his wife. Seduce his youngest daughter. Loot his home. Would that make you happy?”
I ignore Bastian’s sarcastic tone and smile. “Happy is overstating it. But revenge would be . . . pleasing.”
He rolls his eyes and goes back to his papery puzzle.
I could make a short trip, learn about my family from this Rainier guy, empty my trust fund.
Bastian hands me the patched letter and the key. “I’ll go with you.”
“No way, little bro.” If he comes with me, he’ll nag me to sign up for classes. He’ll want to go sightseeing. Turn my quick in-and-out into a holiday.
“Look, I’ll still be here for a week. Annoy me all you want until then. On the 31st, I’ll take off for Brittany—without you—because someone needs to stay behind to care for Spike.” Spike’s my cactus, a rare Eve’s Needle that’s over three feet tall and currently sitting in the middle of my cavernous living room.
“Fine. As long as you’re going. ’Cause this trip, Slate . . . I have a feeling it’ll change your entire life.”
A shiver slinks down my spine. “Let’s fucking hope not.”
About the Authors
USA TODAY bestselling author Olivia Wildenstein grew up in New York City, the daughter of a French father with a great sense of humor, and a Swedish mother whom she speaks to at least three times a day. She chose Brown University to complete her undergraduate studies and earned a bachelor’s in comparative literature. After designing jewelry for a few years, Wildenstein traded in her tools for a laptop computer and a very comfortable chair. This line of work made more sense, considering her college degree.
Katie Hayoz grew up in Racine, Wisconsin where she acquired an irreversible nasal twang and an addiction for books with a slightly dark edge. She now lives in Geneva, Switzerland with her husband, two daughters, and a very fuzzy cat. She has been an avid reader of YA fiction for years. While she has a penchant for the paranormal, she devours a range of books – along with popcorn and black licorice. She consumes all three in large quantities. Luckily, the books don’t stay on her hips.
INTERNATIONAL GIVEAWAY taking place March 22 – 29, 2021
PRIZE: A SIGNED PAPERBACK of ‘OF WICKED BLOOD’ by Olivia Wildenstein and Katie Hayoz + bookish SWAG
*Note. Must be 16+ to enter the giveaway.
@erins_adventures_in_the_pages – Review + Promo/Teaser
@tome_crusader – Review + Promo/Teaser
@mama2aprince – Promo/Teaser
@tea_reading_and_oz – Review
@ireadtorelax – Creative Promo + Teaser
@forging_worlds – Promo/Teaser
Daily Dose of Books – Review + Mood Board
@bookish.heidi – Review
@biareadsbooks – Creative Promo + Teaser
@elenna_lovereadblog_ – Creative Promo / Book Edit
BRVL Book Review Virginia Lee Blog – Excerpt
Valerie Ullmer | Romance Author – Excerpt
@BookishKelly2020 – Promo/Teaser
The Romance Book Fairy – Review + Excerpt
Books a Plenty Book Reviews – Review
@theromancereporter – Review + Promo/Teaser
@eamons – Creative Promo / Book Edit
@brendajeancombs – Promo
Thank you for stopping by, remember to visit other tour stops and enter the INTL giveaway to win a signed paperback of ‘Of Wicked Blood’ and bookish swag!