Finvarra's Circus is coming to town, and seventeen-year-old Leanna is determined to see it. Everyone knows once the circus leaves, the fairest girl in town is found dead, deformed, and heartless. Rumors say it’s the handsome ringmaster, Finvarra, who steals their beauty and their hearts, but this means little to Leanna. Her heart is damaged and failing her. Surely he won't want it. She sneaks into the circus, but caught by Finvarra, he gives her a choice: become their tightrope walker or die.
Leanna accepts, and now a part of their strange family, she learns that Finvarra never meant to harm her. He needs her to stay. An ancient curse binds the troupe to their circus. They must perform forever or perish. To break the curse, Finvarra must die, and only the famed muse, the Leanan Sidhe, can kill him.
Finvarra believes he’s found his muse in Leanna, and Leanna can’t deny the growing attraction between them. But not everyone wants freedom for the circus and they’ll kill any girl suspected of being Finvarra’s inspiration.
With her life and the circus’s on the line, can Leanna sacrifice her love to free the troupe? Will her feelings for Finvarra be their demise? Or will her heart fail her when she needs it the most?
Leanna Weston looked at the newspaper on her lap and cursed her broken heart. Gracing the headlines in bold text were the words of her lifelong dream, a dream her damaged heart made impossible.
“Finvarra’s Circus, coming to Winter Abbey,” she whispered, trailing a finger along the vine-like symbols bordering the header. A sad smile curled her lips as her hand danced over the printed images of clowns and lions. Each gentle stroke unfurled memories in her mind of her mother’s stories, tales of dancers performing fluidly atop white unicorns and fire breathers riding chariots pulled by centaurs while they battled one another’s fire dragons.
“Don’t even think of it, child,” her nurse said, pouring Leanna a glass of water. She set it at the night table and took the paper from Leanna’s lap. “Your heart is much too weak for a journey to Grover’s Field, much less in this cold.” She gazed out the arched windows, to the gilded leaves brushing past in a gust of autumn wind. “This winter will be a vicious one, I tell you.”
Leanna ignored this. Though the newspaper was gone from her hands, she held fast to her memories and to the crystal necklace that dangled around her neck. “If opening night is in a week and their show so grand, they should be here by now.” She looked out over the tree tops. No tent peaks marked the landscape, but she sighed wistfully at the thought of them there.