Magic in the shadows, p.1

Magic in the Shadows, page 1

 

Magic in the Shadows



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Magic in the Shadows


  Table of Contents

  Title Page

  Copyright Page

  Dedication

  Acknowledgements

  Chapter One

  Chapter Two

  Chapter Three

  Chapter Four

  Chapter Five

  Chapter Six

  Chapter Seven

  Chapter Eight

  Chapter Nine

  Chapter Ten

  Chapter Eleven

  Chapter Twelve

  Chapter Thirteen

  Chapter Fourteen

  Chapter Fifteen

  Chapter Sixteen

  Chapter Seventeen

  Chapter Eighteen

  Chapter Nineteen

  Chapter Twenty

  Teaser chapter

  Praise for Magic to the Bone

  “Loved it. Fiendishly original ... a stay-up-all-night read. We’re going to be hearing a lot more of Devon Monk.”

  —Patricia Briggs, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Bone Crossed

  “[A] gritty setting, compelling, fully realized characters, and a frightening system of magic-with-a-price that left me awed. Devon Monk’s writing is addictive, and the only cure is more, more, more.”

  —Rachel Vincent, New York Times bestselling author of Rogue

  “Highly original and compulsively readable. Don’t pick this one up before going to bed unless you want to be up all night!”—Jenna Black, author of The Devil’s Due

  “Magic to the Bone is an exciting new addition to the urban fantasy genre. It’s got a truly fresh take on magic, and Allie Beckstrom is one kick-ass protagonist!”

  —Jeanne C. Stein, national bestselling author of Legacy

  “The prose is gritty and urban, the characters mysterious and marvelous, and Monk creates a fantastic and original magic system that intrigues and excites. A promising beginning to a new series. I’m looking forward to more!”

  —Nina Kiriki Hoffman, Bram Stoker Award-winning author of Spirits That Walk in Shadow

  “Monk’s reimagined Portland is at once recognizable and exotic, suffused with her special take on magic, and her characters are vividly rendered. The plot pulled me in for a very enjoyable ride!”—Lynn Flewelling, author of Shadows Return

  “Clever and compulsively readable. . . . Allie’s internal and external struggles are brilliantly and tightly written, creating a multifaceted character who will surprise, amuse, amaze, and absorb readers.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

  “Devon Monk has created a cool new heroine in Allie Beckstrom. . . . She has developed a system of magic that is intriguing and distinct from those filling urban fantasies by the score. . . . With a strong heroine, a great setting, and an interesting new system of magic, Magic to the Bone is likely to give urban fantasy readers more of what they want: a worthy read. Recommended.”—SFRevu

  “Devon Monk is casting a spell on the fantasy world. . . . Allie is a convincing, street-smart heroine. . . . Monk has done an outstanding job creating a gritty, authentic-feeling urban fantasy on par with Rob Thurman or John Levitt; it should be interesting to watch how this series develops.”—Monsters and Critics

  “With style and a magical world that is quite fresh, Monk explodes on the scene and makes a few waves. . . . For sheer guts, stubbornness, and determination, they don’t come much feistier than Allie.”—Romantic Times

  “Monk makes a grand entrance with her debut novel, captivating readers with a well-imagined tale of magic and suspense. Magic to the Bone delves into a dark-edged magic and adds a touch of romance that keeps the heroine more human than those around her. I’m looking forward to seeing where the next portion of Allie’s journey takes her.”

  —Darque Reviews

  “An intelligent, entertaining mystery. The kick-butt heroine is strong and independent. . . . Exciting fun; readers will look forward to more adventures of Allie.”

  —Genre Go Round Reviews

  “This book is fresh, original, and so totally captivating that I could barely look away from the pages.”

  —Errant Dreams Reviews

  “A solid and pleasing mystery story . . . engaging . . . impressive. . . . [Magic to the Bone] introduced enough interesting concepts and potential story arcs to propel the series for some time to come. I expect big things from the next installment, Magic in the Blood.”—SciFiGuy.ca

  “Magic to the Bone is a breath of fresh air in the urban fantasy genre, in much the same way that Ilona Andrews’s Kate Daniels series is a breath of fresh air. Instead of the same tired werewolf/vampire soap opera that so many novels perpetuate, Magic to the Bone is more concerned with the ramifications of adding magic to modern society and exploring the realistic consequences . . . an exciting and often poignant story. . . . Devon Monk shows the potential to be a standout writer in the subgenre. Most important, I could not put this book down; I read it in two nights, with only work and sleep coming between me and the pages. Well-done.”—Fantasy Literature

  “A unique character, her interior quips are humorous. . . . The humor blends with the drama to make it stronger. Devon Monk has created some fantastic characters to inhabit her suspenseful story. The ending indicates this might be the beginning of a series, which is wonderful, because the story is as addictive as the use of magic, earning Magic to the Bone a Perfect 10.”—Romance Reviews Today

  “A thrilling, magical ride that will leave you breathless for more. Toss in a bit of romance with gritty characters, a magical world, and a mysterious plot, and you have a superb adventure. Devon Monk is original and exciting and I can’t wait for more.”—Romance Junkies

  “The magic system created by Devon Monk is inventive. . . . [She] is a fine writer and moves the plot along at a good pace. . . . If you like urban fantasy with a touch of romance, then you will thoroughly enjoy this novel.”

  —Robots and Vamps

  “Magic to the Bone is a good mystery/adventure with a likable heroine, a mysterious hero, and cute supporting characters.”

  —The Good, the Bad, the Unread

  Also by Devon Monk

  Magic to the Bone

  Magic in the Blood

  ROC

  Published by New American Library, a division of

  Penguin Group (USA) Inc., 375 Hudson Street,

  New York, New York 10014, USA

  Penguin Group (Canada), 90 Eglinton Avenue East, Suite 700, Toronto,

  Ontario M4P 2Y3, Canada (a division of Pearson Penguin Canada Inc.)

  Penguin Books Ltd., 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England

  Penguin Ireland, 25 St. Stephen’s Green, Dublin 2,

  Ireland (a division of Penguin Books Ltd.)

  Penguin Group (Australia), 250 Camberwell Road, Camberwell, Victoria 3124,

  Australia (a division of Pearson Australia Group Pty. Ltd.)

  Penguin Books India Pvt. Ltd., 11 Community Centre, Panchsheel Park,

  New Delhi - 110 017, India

  Penguin Group (NZ), 67 Apollo Drive, Rosedale, North Shore 0632,

  New Zealand (a division of Pearson New Zealand Ltd.)

  Penguin Books (South Africa) (Pty.) Ltd., 24 Sturdee Avenue,

  Rosebank, Johannesburg 2196, South Africa

  Penguin Books Ltd., Registered Offices:

  80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England

  First published by Roc, an imprint of New American Library,

  a division of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

  First printing, November 2009

  Copyright © Devon Monk, 2009

  eISBN : 978-1-101-15135-8

  All rights reserved

  REGISTERED TRADEMARK—MARCA REGISTRADA

  Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above, no part of this publication may be repro
duced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form, or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise), without the prior written permission of both the copyright owner and the above publisher of this book.

  PUBLISHER’S NOTE

  This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

  The publisher does not have any control over and does not assume any responsibility for author or third-party Web sites or their content.

  The scanning, uploading, and distribution of this book via the Internet or via any other means without the permission of the publisher is illegal and punishable by law. Please purchase only authorized electronic editions, and do not participate in or encourage electronic piracy of copyrighted materials. Your support of the author’s rights is appreciated.

  http://us.penguingroup.com

  For my family

  Acknowledgments

  Writing is only part of what brings a story to its final form. Without the many people who contributed time and energy along the way, this book would not have come to fruition. Thank you to my agent, Miriam Kriss, and my editor, Anne Sowards, two consummate professionals and awesome people who make my job easy. Thanks also to Cameron Dufty, Ray Lundgren, and artist Larry Rostant, who have each contributed their remarkable skills to make this book what it is today.

  My love and gratitude to my amazing first readers, Dean Woods, Dejsha Knight, and Dianna Rodgers. Your support and willingness to tell me what I got wrong and what I got right made this story shine. That said, any errors in this book are my fault alone.

  To my sister Deanne Hicks and friend Sharon Thomp son, thank you for your unfailing encouragement. An additional huge thank-you goes out to my wonderful sisters, brothers, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, and distant relations who have cheered for me along the way.

  All my love to my husband, Russ, and my sons, Kameron and Konner. You are, as always, the very best part of my life.

  And perhaps most important of all: Thank you, dear reader, for letting me share this story with you.

  Chapter One

  Rush hour traffic below my apartment window breathed a deep note behind the rise and fall of winter wind. Rain tapped like pinpricks against glass. The only noise besides my rapid breathing was the cold water pouring into the bathroom sink.

  That, and my dead father’s voice.

  “Allison.” My father’s voice again. Distant, as if he strained to pitch it across a crowded room, a crowded street, a crowded city.

  I was the only one in my apartment. And my father was really dead this time.

  I’d gone to his funeral that morning and seen him buried—literally watched as his body was lowered into the grave. There was no mistake, no corpse stealing, no weird magical rituals this time. This time, he didn’t have a second chance, third chance. He was well and truly gone.

  “Allison.”

  “Oh, for cripes’ sake,” I said—yes, out loud—to my empty apartment. “You have got to be kidding me. What the hell, Dad?”

  The bathroom mirror in front of me showed my panic. I was still a little too pale from the recent hospital stay, which made the opalescent mark of magic look even brighter where it wrapped from my fingertips up my right arm, shoulder, and onto the edges of my collarbone, jaw, and temple. My dark hair was mussed from kissing Zayvion Jones a few minutes before in the kitchen, but even though one eye was obscured by hair, a shadow stained my eyes. That shadow, I knew, was my father.

  He wasn’t in the room. He was in me.

  This was going to put a crimp in my date tonight.

  You must, my dead father said in my ear, less than a whisper, more than a thought.

  Must nothing. Not this time. Not ever again.

  “No. No way,” I said. “No to whatever you were about to tell me. Listen,” I said, cool as a 911 operator talking someone down from a ledge, “you’re dead. I’m sorry about that, but I am not going to let you possess me. So follow the light, or go to the other side, or hang around your own house and haunt your accounting ledgers or something. You do not get to stay in my head.”

  Nothing.

  But I knew my dad. Nothing was not a guarantee he was gone.

  How did one dispossess oneself, preferably before one’s hot date in a few hours? The only thing that came to mind was vampires and thresholds and not inviting them across. I doubted vampire stuff would work on my disembodied father. He might have been a soulless bastard, but he was not an actual vampire, since vampires, as far as I knew, did not actually exist.

  And even though I was putting up a brave front, it was hard to ignore the fist-hard thump of my heart against my ribs, the salt of cold sweat on my lips.

  “Daniel Beckstrom,” I said, putting all my focus and concentration on the words, giving them the weight of my will, “leave my mind, leave my body, and leave me alone. I do not give you permission to be a part of me.”

  Sweat ran a line down my temple. I watched my eyes. Watched as the shadow drew away from my pinprick pupils, dissolving outward like clouds retreating from the sun, until a thick ring of night edged my familiar pale emerald irises.

  I blinked, and even the ring of darkness was gone.

  Gone.

  I exhaled to slow my breathing. In through the nose, out through the mouth. I was fine until I swallowed. The taste of wintergreen and leather rolled down the back of my throat. My father’s scents. In my mouth. In me.

  He wasn’t gone. Not at all. He was still there somewhere, a moth-wing flutter, soft and fast, behind my eyes.

  I had thought that flutter was just another side effect from all the magic I’d used lately, another price to pay for trying to save those kidnapped girls and trying to save Anthony.

  Bloody memories came to me unbidden: the warehouse with the abducted girls tied down by knotted spells; the kid, Anthony, broken and bloody on the floor. My friend Pike’s mutilated face, his remaining eye fever-bright as he held my hand and made me promise, made me swear to look after the ragtag group of Hounds he called family. Just like he called me family. And my father’s corpse . . .

  I pushed that memory away. The girls were dead or returned to their families. Anthony was back with his mom, or maybe in juvie; I wasn’t sure. Pike was gone. Dead.

  Just like my father should be.

  My hands had been under the rush of cold water for so long, they’d gone numb. I pulled them out of the water, fumbled the vase and rose I’d been holding. The vase clattered into the sink. I turned off the water and scrubbed my forehead with cold, wet fingers, trying to stop the flutter in my skull.

  “We didn’t like each other when you were alive,” I muttered to my father. “You think living in my head is going to change that?”

  Find the disks, my father said from the far side of my head.

  I resisted the urge to pour mouthwash in my brain.

  “Forget about the damn disks. You’re dead, Violet said the police are looking for the disks, and I don’t want you in my head. Go away.”

  The flutter scurried off to the back of my brain, so far from my conscious thought that I couldn’t feel it anymore.

  And there it was: the official least-comforting thing that had happened all day. Dad was not only in my head, but he could speak to me, understand me, and hide from me.

  How fabulous was that?

  The only bright side? My father, the most powerful magic user I’d ever known, had actually done something I’d ask him to do. Which was a first. But the thought of him curling up cozy in my brain made me want to stab a hot spork through my head.

  Since I didn’t have a spork handy, I leaned over the sink and scooped up a palmful of cold water and pressed it against my face. There had to be a better option than a violent sporking. There had to be a way to get rid of my
dad.

  Think, Allie. There has to be someone who can figure this out.

  I was going to see Maeve Flynn tomorrow so she could start teaching me the things about magic the Authority didn’t like regular people to know about. Secret things, like there was a secret group of magic users—the Authority—who ran their own kind of justice in this city and went around deciding who would and wouldn’t be allowed to use magic. Secret things my father had been involved with—including the disks that made magic portable and nearly painless. Dad had been a part of the Authority, and he had been killed because there was some sort of magical war brewing among them.

  And Zayvion, who was most definitely a part of the Authority, had lobbied to get me admitted into the group for training with Maeve. I wasn’t convinced it was the best option, but since my choice had been join or have all my memories of how to use magic taken away from me, I’d joined.

  Being possessed by a dead relative sounded like something right up Maeve’s alley.

  Okay, so I’d talk to her about it and see what she could do.

  Now I just needed to get through my date with Zayvion Jones. I so did not want my dad in my head on my first real date with the man I was pretty sure I might love.

  Maybe I should cancel.

 
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