Rabia Gale creates strange worlds in peril and the flawed characters who restore them. She is passionate about faith and duty, redemption and belonging. She loves the alchemical zing of putting ideas together in fun ways: dragons in space, mecha and magic, runes and the Regency era. Her work ranges across the entire fantasy spectrum.

Rabia was born and grew up in Karachi, Pakistan. She currently resides in Virginia, where she homeschools her children, gardens with haphazard enthusiasm, and reads like it's going out of style. Her writing influences include the works of Diana Wynne Jones, Joan Aiken, and Rosemary Sutcliff, as well as Studio Ghibli movies, 80's cartoons, and anime.

Ghostlight by Rabia Gale

Separated from her body. Hunted by demons. This debutante's Season is about to come to a permanent end.

Trevelyan Shield would rather fight demons and exorcise haunts than deal with debutantes, alive or dead. But when he encounters the charming but ghostly Arabella Trent, his duty is clear: send the young woman into the afterlife. Otherwise, she risks attracting the denizens of the Shadow Lands, who hunger for mortal souls.

Arabella doesn't remember the runaway carriage that hit her and left her for dead. Nor does she know why her body was found so far from home. But something—or someone—is preventing her from returning to it, and she's determined to find out why.

As Arabella and Trey race to unravel the mystery, a sinister plot unfolds and the boundary between the demon and mortal worlds grows thin. If they don't act soon, Arabella won't be the only one to fall prey to the Shadow Lands.

 

REVIEWS

  • "Gale's imaginative and immersive world building always drags me straight into her stories, and her well-wrought characters make me more than happy to stay. GHOSTLIGHT is one of my top fantasy reads."

    – Kate Stradling, author of The Heir and the Spare
  • "What an expertly crafted alternative Regency setting, where the supernatural and the ton blend as one! The riveting mystery and captivating characters leave me anxious to read more."

    – Karie Crawford, Goodreads review
  • "If Jane Austen and Cassandra Clare coauthored a book, this would be it. Loved it and looking forward to book two."

    – Savannah Jezowski, author of Curse and Consequence
  • "This book delivered on numerous levels: description, world-building, characterization, dialogue, pacing, and capturing emotional beats perfectly. I cannot wait to see where this series goes next!"

    РDaryl J Ball, Amazon review 
 

BOOK PREVIEW

Excerpt

Arabella tried to hold on to her outrage, but by that time she was resigned to her captivity. And heartily bored.

So it was with relief that she heard sounds from upstairs—the slam of a door, the scuff of feet. He was back!

Arabella waited, but no one appeared at the cellar door. Instead, noises continued to emanate from upstairs. Several thuds vibrated through the ceiling. Was he dropping books or boots?

Annoyance rekindled inside Arabella. By the saints, she may be a ghost, but she was still a gentlewoman! How dare the unmannerly boor keep her waiting!

Arabella leapt to her feet and shouted, "Help! I'm down here! Help!"

Since she had no throat to feel parched, Arabella thought with malicious glee that she could keep yelling all night. If he doesn't come soon, I promise that I will haunt him.

The door at the top of the stairs crashed open, then slammed shut. The cellar steps creaked as Lord St. Ash ran down them. Rune lights bloomed yellow in the glass-sided lanterns set into the wall ahead of him.

Arabella put her hands on her hips as His Lordship's stockinged feet came into view. The rest of him followed, until a tall, lean man with tousled blond hair and wary grey eyes stood before her. His cravat was loosened and the plain brown vest he wore over a white linen shirt was unbuttoned.

Incongruously, he held a sandwich in his left hand.

"You," she informed him frostily, "forgot about me."

"And you," said St. Ash, "have a very penetrating preternatural scream." He grimaced. He had, Arabella realized, a very expressive face. It was quite different from the stony demeanor he'd put on at the supper dance.

"I apologize for that," said Arabella with dignity, "but you left me no choice." She gestured at the pentagram.

St. Ash's eyes narrowed as he surveyed her. Arabella had the impression that he was making up his mind about something. She began to feel nervous. If he decided to thrust her into the Shadow Lands after all, there was nothing she could do about it.

Apparently she passed the test, for St. Ash said lightly, "You were quite safe down here, Miss Trent, if a trifle bored."

"I should like an explanation, Lord St. Ash—" began Arabella.

"Trey," he interrupted.

Arabella frowned at him.

He waved the sandwich at her. "I'm not used to all this 'Lord this' and 'Milord that.' It puts me off my food."

Arabella remembered that he was actually the younger son. Hadn't Cousin Harry mentioned his older brother had died last year?

Still, she couldn't call him by his name. What would Aunt Cecilia say? She ignored his improper request to ask a more pressing question. "Why did you stick me in this pentagram?" she demanded. "I'm not going to harm anyone. Not even Priscilla Price, who called me a rustic mushroom last month."

"Did she indeed?" He looked amused. "But, you know, she's only like that towards those she perceives are a threat to her matrimonial ambitions."

Miss Price was one of Lumen society's acknowledged beauties. Arabella's eyes widened. "Was that a compliment?"

"Well, you are rather pretty," he owned. "But I've been told, by Miss Price herself, that I am no judge of these things."

"I was pretty," said Arabella gloomily. "And now I'm this." She gestured at her aethereal form.

"Don't be so cast down. There's hope yet. As it turns out, you're not completely dead."

"What do you mean, sir?"

"Just that your comatose body is safely ensconced in your bedchamber right now."

Arabella's head spun. Lord St.—Trey was a blur in her vision. "What?"

"Are you going to faint? It'll be the first time I've seen an apparition fall unconscious. I should take notes." The dratted man put his sandwich on his worktable and shuffled papers.

"Of course I'm not! Please stop teasing and tell me properly." Despite herself, her words ended on a tremble.

The laughter vanished from his face. "Poor girl." His voice was gentle. "What a trying day you've had. Why don't you sit down?"

A grey mist appeared inside the pentagram and solidified into the shape of a chair. Arabella touched the back of it, expecting her fingers to go through it.

They didn't. The chair felt smooth and cool, like marble.

"What is this?"

"Aether."

Arabella snatched her hand away. "Did you summon this from—?"

"The Shadow Lands? Yes." Remarkable. He spoke the name as if it were the most commonplace thing in the world. "Do sit down, Miss Trent. The chair won't bite."

Arabella did so, gingerly. The magical chair wasn't as hard as she'd expected, giving away slightly under her. "Arabella. If I am to call you Trey, you should call me Arabella."

"Certainly." Trey sat down on a bench and lifted his sandwich. "Do you mind? It's late and I haven't had supper yet."

At her nod, he took a bite. Arabella felt a familiar empty feeling around her middle. "I'm hungry? How is that possible?"

"It hasn't been long since you separated from your body. Your mind still remembers how you're supposed to feel if you haven't eaten all day." Trey devoured the remainder of his sandwich while Arabella tried hard not to stare longingly and drool. Could a ghost salivate?

"About my body, though?" she queried.

"You're still alive, though barely. Apparently, you slipped out of the house last evening without anyone knowing, dressed in your plainest clothes and a hooded cloak, like a girl on her way to an elopement." He raised his eyebrows. "Were you eloping?"

"Of course not," said Arabella crossly.

"Your aunt will be relieved. About dusk, you were hit by a hackney, according to a servant girl who witnessed the incident. You had run into the street after a stray kitten. You really are that kind of person, aren't you?" Amusement was writ plain on his face.

"Better than being a heartless monster," she flashed back. Goodness, he made her seem like a complete ninny. And he was the rudest man she had ever met.

He didn't rise to the bait. "Do you remember anything from last night?"

Arabella tried, but there was a horrible blank stretch where her memories of yesterday evening should be. "I remember the dressmaker bringing my ball gown in the morning. We had stewed rabbit for luncheon. I visited with Charlotte and Viola and we talked of our excursion to Shrine Park. But after that…?" She screwed up her eyes, trying to force something to come to her.

"No need to try so hard. You'll sprain something," Trey advised her.

Arabella frowned. "If I was hit last evening, how come I was at Shrine Park this morning?" Her friends' silence this morning made sense. She'd thought it was because they weren't used to early hours. In actuality, they hadn't been able to see her at all.

Still, they had gone on an excursion that she had wanted, most likely for her sake. The thought touched her.

"Your spirit knew where it was supposed to be this morning. With or without your body, it went."

"If only I could remember what happened in the gap." Arabella pressed her hands over her eyes. The gesture felt strange, cool and jelly-like. Arabella hastily removed them.

"It's not uncommon for spirits to lose the memories surrounding their violent deaths. Or, in your case, disembodiment."

"But my body is alive. Does that mean I can return to it?" She had clasped her hands together without realizing it.

"With a little help, I don't see why not."