“Plenty of sexual tension …”
A knock on Thea Gale’s door interrupts her memories of all that forbidden lusty tension between her and Magnus Rogon, The Uncrowned King of Right-Thinking Witches and Warlocks. The High Tribunal has exiled Magnus for “consorting with a common human.” Thea is left with her lavender vibrator and magic red shoes for consolation.
A louder knock at the door …
Against all reason, Thea opens the door and big trouble marches in. A ten-year-old girl claiming Magnus is her father demands to see him. Thea believes she’s come to terms with a dull, celibate future and shuts the door. Anything relevant to Magnus, so not her problem.
Wishful thinking …
Thea’s conscience refuses to give her a break. It’s cold outside. She lets Ceana into her house. Too quickly, she promises support against a rogue warlock who wants Ceana’s birthright. Thea’s change of heart opens some kind of magical conduit for Magnus’s return—ostensibly to help his daughter. Can he and Thea battle the baddies and figure out a future together?
The path to true magic does not run smoothly …
The black magician who challenges right thinking casts unbreakable curses, conjures terrifying spells, and targets Thea to get what he wants. Can she—a common human—discover a deeper magic besides clicking her magical red shoes to save Magnus, Ceana, and all Right-Thinkers?
And then, a knock on the door brings a piece of Magnus’s past to her doorstep that threatens the heart of their relationship.
Run! Slam the door. Get out of here. Seeing is not believing.
Why is good advice always easier to give than to follow?
At that moment, my feet, in the red-sequined stilettos I now slept in, weighed a ton and felt nailed to the entry floor. I tried to bring up a picture on my mental TV of me floating up the stairs. Instead, I saw frame after frame of me crash-landing.
The girl facing me—age somewhere between Henry, my five-year-old nephew and a pre-adolescent—smiled.
A little enigmatic? Sardonic? Snarky even?
Squinting at her, backlit by the dying sun, I clamped down on my ‘tude. She was a child. Innocent. (Though the red-hooded cape that brushed her black patent shoes raised a question on that point.)
A Raphaelite angel with a Mona Lisa smile. Ridiculously, my churning mind reminded me I’d majored in English, not art history.READ MORE
Jaw locked, I reined in the fragments and remnants of images and thoughts colliding in my head. What was she doing here? (Note, I didn’t ask who she was). That was obvious. The ebony hair. The high cheekbones. The huge, cat-shaped eyes. Topaz with caramel-brown flecks assessing my soul.
I pinched the inside of my elbow—a pathetic attempt to convince myself I was having another nightmare. Another, because I’d stared into the dark during the five nights since Magnus Rogon, The Uncrowned King of Right-Thinking Witches and Warlocks, my lover, had been exiled to Scotland.
Without blinking, the real-life hallucination on my front step let me stare into her eyes longer than was polite. My tongue felt big as a whale.
“I’d like to speak to my father, please.” As if to emphasize the request, the black cat in the little girl’s arms stood up and yowled.
Trio Los Gatos, my three felines, came racing from the back of the house to investigate how I’d dared allow an interloper on their turf. The girl’s cat dug toenails in her chest and lifted off in a perfect arch over the furry amoeba that immediately whipped around and gave chase a nanosecond after four black paws touched down on the hardwood floor.
“TotoBunkyJessi!” I yelled.
“Hecate,” the stranger cooed, stepping uninvited across the threshold.
A gust of wind blew in behind her, and the heavy front door thudded shut.
A shiver settled in the middle of my back, but I stuffed the incident into the back of my mind and goggled at the circus roaring down my hall.
Hecate made a U-turn into the living room, dodged a wing chair, and returned to the hall turbo-charged. Toto, slower on the uptake, banged into the chair. Jessi and Bunky rear-ended him and started hissing at each other. Arms wide, the girl stepped in front of me and Hecate leaped into her arms so fast my jaw dropped.
His purr rose over the girl’s proud scolding in a language I didn’t understand but suspected was Old Celtic. She clicked her tongue against her teeth. As if drawn to stinky fish, Trio Los Gatos padded back to the hall. They bypassed me and bumped the girl’s ankles.
A sudden image of Magnus with my three cats flashed. They had fawned on him like lovesick dogs. Most males they clawed or bit. Magnus had promised to teach me the tongue-clicking technique, but never got around to following up on his promise.
Stop whining. He had a few other problems to resolve.
The problem I needed to resolve raised her head, ignored my blissed-out felines, and met my gaze. “Hecate is young,” she said in a velvet voice. “A kitten, really. She’s a bit impulsive.”
“Uh-huh.” The lack of a perfunctory apology grated. I put my hand on the brass door handle. “Maybe you should think about using a cat carrier when you visit a strange place.”
“A cat carrier?” The undernote in her question said I probably pinched old ladies. “I’ve never owned one. Usually, Hecate rides everywhere on my shoulder.”
Four consecutive mental TV-frames exploded: A woman dressed in black. She wore a pointed hat. She straddled a broom handle. A black cat perched on her shoulder.
“Interesting.” I opened the door before she could mention her father again.
A burst of wind rushed into the hall. The door handle slipped out of my fingers, and the door banged shut again. I was the only one who jumped. Dammit, I so did not want to deal with another witch or warlock.
And I sure as hell didn’t want to deal with one claiming to be the daughter of the bachelor warlock I’d assumed had never produced progeny.
Why did I harbor that assumption?
Unwilling to come up with an answer at that moment, I bit back a scream.
“Do I make you uncomfortable?” asked Miz Topaz Eyes. Her pupils reflected the exact same coppery glints as those of the warlock I loved.
Some sound like a snort and constipated laugh escaped. “Make me uncomfortable? What makes you ask?”
(Please don’t tell me what I already know). My heart ached.
“Well,” she said, her tone bored, “I did show up out of the blue.”
“Which raises the question of how you got here?”
“You’ve ridden in the Quattroporte?”
How did she know about Magnus’s levitating car? “It’s parked in my garage.”
“And how—”- I caught myself and asked, “How did you get here?”
She patted Hecate. “I navigate a less powerful model of the Quattro.”
“What? You’re not old enough to drive. You-you-you—” I sputtered.
“I received my navigator’s license last year. I’ve never had an accident. The self-driving feature works like a charm.” She smiled and arched an eyebrow, silently inviting me to enjoy the inside joke.
“Sorry, but I don’t care if your car’s charmed, hexed, or bewitched. You’re too young to get behind the wheel.” (Did she feel anything like the thrill I felt skimming treetops?) Suddenly remembering my staid neighbors, I barked, “Did you land in my driveway? It’s broad daylight. The woman next door doesn’t work. She sees everything.” I lost control of my voice and screeched the last statement.
Eyes wide, the girl cocked her head, took a step backward, and telegraphed her thoughts. What was wrong with this picture? I was giving her grief about age while acting like a five-year-old?
Showing her my palms, I pushed them a fraction in front of my chest. Slow down, Thea. Slow down. I tapped my thumbnail against my pursed lips. On the mental count of five, I said, “Did you park in my driveway?”
“Of course.” Unsaid, where else?
Jaw clenched, I exhaled and fought the urge to scream. Could she appreciate I lived here? Who, in Kansas City, Missouri—in the middle of the US heartland—had any idea witches and warlocks walked among us every day? Maybe in NYC. Or San Francisco. Not Houston or Miami.
“Are you okay?” she asked, breaking my plunge into mixed-up thoughts about sociology.
“Did anyone see you?” Hard. Fast. Cold.
“I don’t know.” She shrugged, leaving unasked, What’s the big deal?
Forget explanations. I peered out the door’s side window. Mercifully, the sun had set. Some light still leaked through the darkness, but it was that time of day when our vision hasn’t yet adjusted to the nocturnal. Neighbors coming home from work would be tired. Inattentive. Now or never.
I pulled open the door, stuck my head out, and glanced up and down the street. A couple of old-fashioned streetlights had popped on, but no headlights illuminated the deserted cul-de-sac.
A breeze wafted across the front steps, but I pressed my back against the door. I swished my fingers toward her. “Your grandmother lives at 10 Ward Parkway. Navigating with the GPS, you’ll miss the rush-hour traffic.”
Her mouth dropped. “You’re kicking me out?”
“Never invited you in.” I nudged the zoned-out cats, gave her a little push, and shut the door.
Beth I., Amazon wrote:
This finale to the Weird Magic Trilogy is loaded with snark, betrayals, love, mayhem, and of course MAGIC!
Thea gets to meet the daughter Magnus never knew he had - of course with an intended queen, a Nobilissima, in Wales.
Thea finally claims her ties to her father, The Wizard, and a great deal of working together is needed for Thea, Mother Rogon, Magnus' daughter Ceana and Magnus to break free from the evil Aigil.
As Bruce Willis was once fond of saying, it's all about the Love, baby.
A fun and fabulous finale !
The perfect anecdote to watching the news. Suspend disbelief all who enter here!
Puts a grin on my face and cures all seriousness. Sheer slaphappy zany pleasure, like a big wad of cotton candy without the calories.
I've been working my way through the series and it's pure fun. A good quick read to zone out at bedtime.