Isabelle has long loved and cared for the dilapidated Victorian house on the hill. So when she decides to cast a spell to give her sexual expertise and the perfect mate, what better place to go than her beloved Victorian—a house of dubious reputation. But she learns all too soon that it pays to be specific in spell-casting. Everything she’s asked for is hers...back in 1901. Oh, and one more thing—she forgot to ask to keep them.
The woman of his dreams sifts through Daniel’s grasp like the fine grains of salt sprinkled on his floor. He’s known a few spell-casters in time, but for a cautious man to dare something so...impossible...well, it wouldn’t be the first time his mother considered having him committed. With the help of friends, he sets out to do the impossible—go to Isabelle. A feat seemingly doomed by calendar quirks.
Would the Fates be so cruel to keep them apart—like the Sun who always chases the Moon? Only the mercurial grandfather clock holding court in the Victorian can tell...if anybody would bother to listen...
NOTE: Unfettered was previously released by another publisher. It has been revised and re-edited for this version.
Isabelle looked up at the old
Victorian house centered on the grassy, oak-shaded hill. She’d always been
fascinated by this place. Built post-Civil War, the history surrounding it was
sketchy. Rumor had it the original owner was the widow of a wealthy collector
who had made the home into a museum in homage to her husband.
She wasn’t so certain, since she’d found no documentation to back up that
story. There were plenty of tales of it being haunted as well. Someone always
claimed to know someone who knew someone who had experienced ghosts in or
around the place. Isabelle had spoken to several old-timers in the area. They
all agreed the stories were true, and that they’d heard them from their parents
The moon glinting off a window caught her attention. Isabelle often wondered if
the tale of ghosts had been generated by one of the loose ladies of the house
during its presumed brothel period and perpetuated by adults since then to keep
adventuresome kids away from the property. The brothel rumor held some weight.
Ghosts…she wasn’t so sure. She’d experienced no hauntings in all the times
she’d been there.
Spanish moss draped among the ancient tree limbs waved a greeting to her on the
summer breeze. Its presence helped lend a sense of spookiness to the area, as
did the cemetery, whose ravaged marble tombstones no longer bore the names of
those buried there.
A winding cobblestone driveway large enough for two cars to pass threaded its
way up the sloping rise to the house. A more direct stairway built into the
lawn from the road also led straight to the driveway.
Isabelle slung her backpack over her shoulders and took the steps two at a
time. She’d planned this night for months, counting the days until school was
out and she had no responsibilities to take up her time. And no parents
hounding her every step to talk about their “darlings.” Light from the full
moon guided her way.
For some reason, upkeep on the property had ceased about twenty-five years ago.
She’d toiled to keep the stairs and the driveway accessible, had even hired
someone to come by once a week to trim the lawn and someone else for pest
control. A house this beautiful deserved care, and she’d been doing that in
some fashion for thirteen years now—ever since she was twelve years old.
She knew everyone thought she was nuts. As the years passed, the comments and
the weird looks that came her way died off. Everyone seemed to accept that
she’d become obsessed with the place. A few family members, even some friends,
had tried to find out who owned the property so she could purchase it. Isabelle
sighed. That would have been a dream come true. But the aloof owner—the
mysterious Daniel Braddock Estate—wasn’t interested in selling. Odd that her
attempts to purchase it never brought him—or her, or them, or any
representative thereof—around to investigate her handiwork on the place. She’d
always fantasized the owner would be so grateful for her meticulous and loving
care that he would have no choice but to grant her the deed. After all, she
visited it nearly every day and had yet to see another soul there besides the
handyman and exterminator. Even her hope to snatch it up in a tax-lien sale
hadn’t come to fruition. The taxes were always paid on time, in full, every
year by the estate. She looked around as she crossed the lawn. If they
loved it so much, why did they stop taking care of it?
Trying to find out was driving her nuts. What little information she could find
only led to more questions. Upon the wealthy widow’s death, the house had
passed into the hands of Penelope Marsden, a single woman of presumably ill
repute. She’d owned and operated the Victorian around 1880. Upon her death
eighteen years later, it had passed into the hands of Thomas Braddock. He
seemed to have disappeared around 1900—no record of death, just disappeared. He
did, however, have the foresight to deed the house to his younger brother
Daniel…who’d also disappeared two years later. That didn’t help the house’s
reputation any. Given the house’s scandalous reputation, its lack of repair,
absent owners, and the missing prior owners—it all coalesced into tales of
murder, mayhem, and all manner of nefarious doings, which added even more grist
to the rumor mill.
Isabelle scrunched up her nose as she puzzled through her thoughts. People
didn’t disappear without a reason. Although, considering what she’d found in
the basement… She shook her head. No. They had moved away, died, procreated.
The Daniel Braddock Estate was evidence of that. Someone had obviously planned
for something, had an heir or heirs. Someone somewhere had answers, and they
were being very tight-lipped about it. She shook her head again to get rid of
the rambling thoughts. Her mind needed to be clear tonight, not jumbled with a
puzzle that had thwarted her for years.
She paused at the edge of the lawn. Moonlight bathed the three-story house in a
wash of silver that was almost magical. She took that as a sign, a blessing for
what she was about to do. At night, the wear on the place wasn’t as apparent as
it was during daylight. Alas, her expertise and pocketbook only went so far.
She could keep the interior clean and pest-free—quite a feat when there was no
running water or electricity—but outside, the best she could do was keep the
yard up, brush the cobwebs from the shingles, and nail the loose shutters back
into place. Oh…and keep the windows sparkling, at least the ones she could
reach. She’d even replaced those broken by time and hurled rocks.
Determined, she refused to give up. One day this house would be hers. Her
efforts had to win her that right. She refused to entertain the possibility of
failure or how illogical her actions might seem. She was desperate. Where else
could she turn except to the house she’d loved all these years? She’d cared for
it as if it were her very own, loved it as no one else did. Surely that
devotion would be returned.
Isabelle crossed the cobblestone drive and retrieved the skeleton key from
beneath the garden rock where she’d first found it thirteen years ago. Her
parents would have had a fit had they known she’d been inside the house back
then. She never told them, although they knew she frequently visited the place.
She’d seen them follow her a time or two, but they’d never stopped her visits.
She trotted up the marble steps and, once she stood on the old wooden porch,
she paused to look back. In its heyday, she imagined it was quite impressive to
see carriages dispelling visitors at these steps. Day or night, it would have
The creak of the slowly rocking swing in the corner of the porch caught her
attention. How many lovers had sat there? She could almost imagine their
ghostly presence as they watched her. In all the years she’d been coming here,
no spirit had ever made its presence known.
Isabelle shoved the key into the lock. The door swung open on well-oiled
hinges. Amazing what two cans of WD-40 could do to make the squeals and groans
disappear. She wished she could have done something like that about the wooden
floors. They creaked with every step she took. But at least they were clean.
Her first visit inside the house had left her a dust-covered, cobweb-draped
mess. Every visit left her that way until she’d finally decided to clean it
years later. She’d dusted, swept, and polished everything she could. Scrubbed
the grime from the windows inside and out. Everything might be threadbare and
worn, but it was at least a little cleaner. Well, at least as clean as could
be, given twenty-five years of neglect. The rugs, drapes, and upholstery had
been too fragile, so she’d left them as is.
Isabelle shut and locked the door behind her and set her backpack on the floor.
The grandfather clock always greeted her first upon entry, its hands frozen at
the twelve o’clock position. She remembered the day she’d polished it until the
dark wood gleamed. Fixing it, though, was way beyond her expertise. She’d
flirted with the idea of hiring someone to get it working again, but since she
didn’t own the place, she wasn’t sure that was a wise move. No one minded that
the yard and house were kept in order. That benefited the neighborhood by
keeping the rodent population at bay and the yard from being a true eyesore as
well as helping resale values in the area. However, openly acknowledging that
she’d actually breached the front door—that she had been inside the house on
multiple occasions—was a different issue. While the temptation to do so in the
hope it would drag the owner out made her consider it, the threat that it might
backfire and she’d lose access to the house stayed her hand.
She brushed her hand down the side of the huge clock. Midnight or noon? What
momentous event had stopped time? The voices of the past were as silent as
those mysterious trustees who held the ownership reins.
Isabelle inhaled. The wild-berry air fresheners she’d placed there three days
ago had put a crisp, fresh scent throughout the house. She stood there and
absorbed the house’s energy. A feeling of warmth surrounded her. Maybe those
voices weren’t so silent after all.
She picked up the box of safety matches from the Queen Anne console across from
the clock and lit the new candles in the sconces on the foyer wall. Using them
for light, she wandered into the main parlor and lit all the remaining candles
there as well. Faded mirrors reflected the golden, flickering flames, adding
coziness to the warmth she’d perceived earlier.
It was going to be a wonderful night. She just knew it. By the time she left in
the morning, all her needs and most of her wishes would be fulfilled.
Dark, gleaming stairs beckoned her upward when she returned to the foyer. Was
that how previous occupants and guests felt? Drawn into the very heart of the
house? Or did they prefer to wander into the basement playroom just off the
empty wine cellar to engage in harder sex play? She didn’t know much about that
aspect of sex but was pretty sure that every bondage toy in existence back in
the day was down there.
Isabelle laughed. She’d thought it was a dungeon when she’d first seen the
room. Whips, chains, collars, cuffs, tables, and racks—they’d stirred something
deep inside her. She’d like to say it was curiosity, but her pounding heart and
raised pulse told her it was much more than that. Even as young as she’d been
when she’d first stumbled upon them, aspects of the room had inspired her
imagination and excited her in ways she’d eventually learned were sexual in
nature. That room and its contents had given Isabelle her first taste of adult
She’d spent as much time exploring that naughty basement playroom as she had
the rest of the house. She had even indulged and had lain naked on the rack,
her arms and legs spread wide and her eyes closed as she’d imagined the flogger
being laid across her bare ass.
Her breath quickened at the thought. Her pussy moistened with the throb of her
clit. Yes, she’d imagined the fire building in her ass until she couldn’t stand
it any longer. Then she’d remove the soft leather strap from its nearby
hook—the strap she’d bought to keep there—whip herself with it, then rub it
over her clitoris until she came.
How many others had “suffered” such a fate down there? Or maybe upstairs in one
of the many lavishly decorated bedrooms with those sturdy four-poster beds?
If the rumors were true, thousands had been pleasured in those bedrooms.
Judging from the fact that the basement toys did exist, Isabelle had no reason
to doubt those particular tales.
Set away from the main city and protected by the many oak tree sentries around
the property, it would have been a popular brothel. Discreet. There were those
who claimed Penelope Marsden was a madam who had passed the house into the
hands of her nephew—or son, depending on who told the story. Thomas Braddock
presumably added to the home’s hedonistic history with grand orgies and
parties, where bondage and discipline were as prevalent as the food and wine
that freely flowed.
As for the man himself, no one seemed to know what had become of Thomas or his
successor. Daniel Braddock simply disappeared one night in the early 1900s.
Some said he ran off with the daughter of a wealthy banker. Some thought he
might have met with an untimely end, perhaps while strapped to the very rack
Isabelle indulged herself on. Some hinted that he’d gone into service during
World War I and either died or met a French bride and stayed in Europe. Maybe
both men had served in the war, and their stories had become entangled over the
years. Maybe that explained why the house still remained with the
estate—perhaps a descendant had kept the place for sentimental reasons. That
was so much more pleasing than to think the heirs battled over the old place.
If only that person would come here, could see how much she loved this house…
Her rambling thoughts had distracted her again. At this rate, she’d never get
to the point of her visit. She needed to hurry so that she could take advantage
of every second that still remained.
Isabelle retrieved the backpack and returned to the parlor. Candlelight
reflected off the mirrors around the room, brightening it as well as
electricity would. Out of the whole house, this was her favorite room.
Threadbare gold brocade flecked with splashes of red covered the chairs and the
love seat, while remnants of matching curtains flanked the windows. A
black-marbled fireplace veined with gold dominated the far wall. She’d love to
see it alive with a toasty fire. She pictured herself entwined in the arms of a
lover before it. A good lover, one who knew how to stoke a woman’s desires. Not
like the men she’d known thus far.
She glanced up at the portrait hanging above the mantel. Now there was a woman
who knew what good loving was about. Black hair tumbled down her back,
revealing a glimpse of creamy white skin beneath. Her face was turned away,
barely visible from the shadows of whatever blocked the light. But it was
obvious from the arch of her body that she was in the throes of pleasure. She
stretched on the red covering that draped over her breast and one hip. Isabelle
had found the remnant of what she thought was the covering upstairs.
The woman in the painting had been real.
That was what Isabelle wanted—intense pleasure at the hands of another. She’d
even let her own black hair grow into a cascade of curls, hoping to somehow
channel the woman’s spirit. Her long hair had definitely gotten her male
attention, but none had possessed the skill her body craved.
With any luck, that would change after tonight. She’d have not only the
knowledge but also the experience to get what she needed in the bedroom. A
little luck wouldn’t hurt either. Or a lot of magic.
The alarm on her watch alerted Isabelle that midnight was fast approaching. She
had little time to prepare. Everything had to be ready, so she could execute
the spell when the full moon was at its zenith.
Isabelle unzipped the backpack and started to lay out her materials. She’d done
a little preparation the day before—moving furniture, rolling up the rugs she’d
prayed wouldn’t fall apart—and had exposed a large section of the bare wooden
floor. She wanted to do this spell before the fireplace with the woman’s
portrait in full view. Her desire was simple—to increase the sexual quality of
her life and find the perfect match for her. What better way to draw that to
her than by appealing to the notorious qualities of this house?
The spell was sure to work. In fact, she was sure it would. Madam Delores at
the New Age shop where she’d purchased the spell kit was more than adamant of
its success as long as Isabelle followed the directions.
She’d written down everything she wished for and had committed the words to
memory. Madam Delores had also insisted that Isabelle give her the
words to write down along with the instructions.
“Things happen in the heat of the moment, in the rush of the mystic vortex,”
As Isabelle placed her white votive candles in a wide circle, she repeated the
words again in her mind.