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Evelyn has no interest in marriage and even the dashing Mr. Kent can't inspire her to give in to society's expectations. She'd much rather assist her beloved sister Rose in her radical quest to become a doctor. Then she meets Sebastian Braddock. The reclusive gentleman is vexing, annoyingly attractive, and quite possibly mad—and his interest in Rose is galling. So when Rose disappears, Sebastian is immediately suspect.
Yet Sebastian's strange tales of special powers soon prove to be true, and Evelyn learns that Rose's kidnappers have much worse in mind for her than simply ruining her reputation. Surrounded by secrets, lies, and unprecedented danger, Evelyn has no choice but to trust Sebastian, yet she can't help but worry that his secrets are the most dangerous of all…
At a loss, I burrowed further into the shallow space, mind whirring angrily. This was entirely his fault. We were trapped. Even if I was well–disguised, once Mr. Kent determined Mr. Braddock's identity and started a conversation with us, it would be easy to deduce mine.
A warm, ragged breath disturbed the hairs on my forehead and my blood began pricking as I realized where exactly I had retreated: right into Mr. Braddock. I panicked, my mind sending clumsy directions to my limbs that moved of their own accord. Before I understood anything, a rough, large hand brushed my chin, my face tipped upwards and his mouth caught mine. Whatever odd sensation had thrummed between us before was just the stroke of a violin bow to this clash of an orchestra. I felt the world pass between our lips, tasting champagne, hunger and something indefinably darker, while his hand ignited sparks down my cheek to the nape of my neck. He wrapped an arm around my waist, pulling me closer, forcing that elusive essence to run deeper than my skin, deeper than my veins, till my very bones vibrated.
I stumbled back. What in heaven's name was he thinking?
"Striking a strong balance between romance and mystery, this novel captures society’s rules just as well as it does the unbelievable powers of the main characters. Readers will easily be swept up in its fast pace and sympathetic narrator, who is filled with both self-doubt and resolve to do anything to protect those she loves. This is a perfect pick for someone who wants a little magic in their Victorian novels, and its combination of historical fiction and mysticism will remind readers of Libba Bray’s Gemma Doyle trilogy." —Booklist
"This tale has brisk pacing, plenty of action, and a heroine with more than her fair share of girl-power confidence." —School Library Journal
"These Vicious Masks was every bit as good as I hoped! Intriguing and gorgeous from start to finish! I highly, HIGHLY recommend this engaging tale of a 19th century England society, complicated by mysterious abilities, kidnapping and a swoony, Darcy-like love interest." —The Forest of Words and Pages
"One of those books that you can’t help but adore from the moment you begin reading. ... simply tons of fun!" —Books & Cleverness
"This is a great read, compelling and addictive. Well written and great character development you cannot stop reading. I was spellbound from the beginning and I thoroughly enjoyed the journey!" –Sue Speakman, Swoon Reader
"My favorite thing about this book is the dialogue. The authors intricately composed period-style phrasing with a modern-day wit that is incredibly nuanced and thoughtful—very well done. I was successfully transported by the characters in a way that rivaled my indulgence in Harry Potterland." –Cayla O'Connell, Swoon Reader
"So much fun! Like a story by one of the Bronte sisters or Jane Austen, except the characters are much more self-aware and genre-savvy." —Duncan Pflaster, Swoon Reader
"I need book two!! Where is book two?? This sucked me in right away (it was a terrible idea to start reading on a break at work – I could barely bring myself to go back to work) and kept me engaged the whole way through. Some really great characters. (Also any book that mentions self-defenestration wins). But seriously, can I read book two now??" –Erin Keskeny, Swoon Reader
Hello Swooners,When we first envisioned These Vicious Masks as a trilogy, we didn’t give it too much thought beyond the fact that it had a world and characters we knew couldn’t be contained to one book. Since then, we’ve had a lot more Thoughts–from the exciting highs of getting to stay with our characters and ...read morewriting, editing, revisions, trilogy, Tarun Shanker, Editing Update, Swoon Reads, Kelly Zekas, These Vicious Masks, authors, These Ruthless Deeds, These Vengeful Souls
Dearest Swooners, We can hardly believe it’s already been six months since These Ruthless Deeds came out, we’re rather skeptical of the fact that it’s been a year and a half since These Vicious Masks and we’re just flat-out in denial that our third book is already bringing this trilogy to an end. But we aren ...read moretrilogy, news, Tarun Shanker, new book, Kelly Zekas, These Vicious Masks, These Ruthless Deeds, These Vengeful Souls
One of the best part of writing historical fantasy and setting your stories somewhere real is that you can actually go to the locations in person. Knowing the history and the way it fits into my own story always gives me a newfound appreciation for places and details I might never notice otherwise as a tourist. And in return, those ...read moreVictorian, author, teen, historical, England, location, These Ruthless Deeds, setting, paranormal, locale, London, Tarun Shanker, young adult, Swoon Reads, Kelly Zekas, These Vicious Masks, superheroes, YA, fiction
Hello Swooners!A long long time ago, we wrote a blog post about killing off all our darlings. We tried to sound ruthless and professional and writerly and efficient. But well, we have something to tell you. To confess, rather. We, uh… We don’t actually kill our darlings. It’s more like we put-our-darlings-on-a-remote-desert-island-where-no-one-can-find-them-but-we-memorize-the-coordinates-just-in-case. And we’ve found that ...read morehistorical, novel, Swoon Reads, Kelly Zekas, These Vicious Masks, authors, superheroes, Victorian, These Ruthless Deeds, fiction, London, Tarun Shanker, scenes, YA, paranormal, powers, deleted scenes, outtakes, romance, adventure, action, young adult, sequel, teen
Oh, happy day! These Ruthless Deeds by Tarun Shanker and Kelly Zekas and Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde are finally hitting the shelves!!! For those of you These Vicious Masks fanpersons out there who are dying to know what happens next to Evelyn and Co., the pulse-pounding sequel won't disappoint. And speaking of fanpersons, Jen's fun, feminist ...read moreJen Wilde, contemporary, news, pub, Pub Day, story, Swoon Reads, Kelly Zekas, funny, These Vicious Masks, fandom, humor, release, superheroes, Victorian, These Ruthless Deeds, new, day, geek, autism, Tarun Shanker, comedy, Queens of Geek, anxiety, love, fantasy, YA, paranormal, convention, romance, adventure, trilogy, young adult, book, announcement, sequel, author, teen, LGBTQIA+