Delta's family has been cursed. Every night, one of her sisters vanishes; and she's next. Desperate to save her family, Delta makes a deal with the very witch who cursed her. With only three days left to live, she has a terrible decision to make: Kill a target of the witch's choosing or lose her life ... and her sisters.
I've known L.C. Ireland for several years now. In 2018, we co-organized an anthology of clean fantasy novellas that had disabled protagonists called A Different Kind of Hero. When I decided to organize this bundle, including a book of hers was a no-brainer. All of her books are wonderful. – Emily Martha Sorensen
"It was a short, easy read, but packed with excitement and reminded me of the better Disney stories, or the more classic stories on which they are based. There were clear allusions to The Little Mermaid and Ursula in Delta and the Horrid Witch, but also a touch of Mother Gothel (Tangled/Rapunzel), and a splash of Cinderella for good measure, with slight nods towards Grimm tales such as 'The Six Swans' and 'The Twelve Dancing Princesses'. Horrid however is a new take on these old tales, and the characters are more developed: I really felt for Delta as she agonised over the path she should take, with her metaphorical angel and devil perched on either side advising her on completely opposite paths."– Amazon Reviewer
"Delta struggles between killing the one person that could save her and her family or sacrifice herself and the lives of her sisters to save that person. Honestly it is a tough decision, I stopped reading to ponder it myself and it seemed like either way she is a bad person and either way she is good in some aspect.
Overall a fantastic start to the series and I can't wait to read the others. There is a little bit of a love connection, some mystery, suspense and magic. I am eager to find out what becomes of Delta and her sisters, as well as her relationship with a certain man."– Amazon Reviewer
"You are clever to have found me," the witch said. "I will consider a deal. Fortunately, you have something I want very much indeed."
My heart fluttered nervously. Could she tell that I had a ruby in my pocket? Was that what she wanted?
"You have a soul."
"That's an awfully high price to pay."
She wanted my soul? Forget this. I should run. But what would happen if I did? She might have killed me before I crossed the threshold. Or, worse, she could have just let me run and waited for her curse to kill me at midnight like it had killed my sisters. If I didn't stop her, the curse would claim my other three sisters, as well. Were their lives worth my soul?
"I have come to make a deal," I said again.
"A deal," the old hag chuckled. "Deals happen to be my specialty. What is it you want from me in exchange for your soul?"
As if she didn't already know.
I opened my mouth to speak, but she held up a finger to silence me. "Think very carefully about your request. Words are powerful. I can only give you exactly what you ask for."
I considered how I could word what I wanted. My original idea of "make all of this stop" seemed foolish now. I needed to be more specific. My voice shook when I spoke. "I want you to release us from your curse."
"My younger sisters. Avery, Bailey, and Lucy. And me, as well."
She cocked her head, considering. "You ask a lot of a tired old lady."
I scowled at her.
She cackled. "Very well. But be warned: the price I ask may be more than you are willing to pay."
"I'll do anything to save them." I remembered the sensation of Hallie's hand in mine, growing cold as she faded away.
"To save them? Or to save yourself?"
I clenched my jaw and said nothing. Yes, I had included myself in our deal. I would not be made ashamed of my sense of self-preservation.
The witch clucked her tongue. She looked amused, which made me unreasonably angry. What right did she have to find my predicament amusing?
"Your life and the lives of your younger sisters will be spared—" I caught my breath in a little gasp of relief, which only made her smile wider. "If you can complete a simple task for me."
One task. That couldn't be so bad.
I struggled to find my voice. "What is this task?"
The witch reached into the folds of her cloak and withdrew a jeweled dagger. I stepped away.
"This isn't for you," she said. "This dagger is meant for another. There is a certain someone I want you to take care of."
"You want me to… kill someone?"
The witch smiled that obnoxious smile of hers.
I had never hurt anyone before, except maybe one of my sisters in a wrestling match. But never on purpose and never with the intent to kill.
"One life for four," she said. "It seems a fair trade to me."
My eyes lingered on the dagger's blade. It seemed to glow in the semi-darkness of the cavernous room. I couldn't imagine holding that thing in my hands, sinking it into another's flesh. Perhaps the witch was right. Perhaps this was too high a price to pay.
But then I thought of my sisters, the ones who remained, full of fear at their inevitable futures — counting down the days until they ceased to exist, lost like a whisper in a crowd. My sisters were innocent. They didn't deserve this fate. And neither did I.
I held out my hand for the knife. "Who do you want me to kill?" I asked.