Magic triumphs, p.1
Magic Triumphs, page 1part #10 of Kate Daniels Series
ACE BOOKS BY ILONA ANDREWS
The Kate Daniels Novels
The World of Kate Daniels
The Edge Novels
ON THE EDGE
Published by Berkley
An imprint of Penguin Random House LLC
375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014
Copyright © 2018 by Andrew Gordon and Ilona Gordon
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Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Names: Andrews, Ilona, author.
Title: Magic triumphs / Ilona Andrews.
Description: New York : Ace,  | Series: Kate Daniels ; 10
Identifiers: LCCN 2018014421 | ISBN 9780425270714 (hardcover) | ISBN 9780698136823 (ebook)
Subjects: LCSH: Daniels, Kate (Fictitious character)—Fiction. | Shapeshifting—Fiction. | Magic—Fiction. | BISAC: FICTION / Fantasy / Urban Life. | FICTION / Romance / Paranormal. | FICTION / Action & Adventure. | GSAFD: Fantasy fiction.
Classification: LCC PS3601.N5526625 M355 2018 | DDC 813/.6—dc23
LC record available at https://lccn.loc.gov/2018014421
First Edition: August 2018
Cover illustration by Juliana Kolesova
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.
To the readers
First and foremost, we need to thank our editor, Anne Sowards, who has guided us, corrected us, and, most importantly, encouraged us to be better with each book. Her professionalism and her friendship have been invaluable. Without Anne, we would still be buried in the slush pile.
Next, we want to use this opportunity to recognize our agent Nancy Yost and the A team at NYLA: Sarah, Natanya, Amy. They are honestly the best in the biz. Lastly, we want to acknowledge our beta readers; you guys catch stuff that we never see, and you make the books better.
This book, the culmination of this story line, is dedicated to our fans, the ones who have been with us since the beginning, the ones who took a chance and stuck with us as we told Kate and Curran’s story as well as we could. You know who you are, and we can never thank you enough. Without your support and enthusiasm, the series would have probably ended with Magic Strikes. We are so grateful to you. If you’ve never read us before, and this is your first Kate book, thank you for buying it, but please put it down and find a copy of Magic Bites. It’s not our favorite, and we would probably rewrite it if we could, but we all have to start somewhere, and it’s always better to begin at the beginning.
Ace Books by Ilona Andrews
About the Author
THE PAIN SPREAD from my hips into my whole body, pulling my bones apart. I gritted my teeth. It twisted me until I thought I would break and then let go. I slumped back into the water.
Andrea dabbed my face with a cool rag. “Almost there.”
Curran squeezed my hand. I squeezed back.
Above us the ceiling of the cavern reflected the shiny water patterns. Pretty . . .
“Stay with us,” Doolittle told me.
I could just close my eyes for a minute. Just for one minute. I was so tired.
“Does it always take this long?” my aunt snapped.
“Sometimes,” Evdokia said, her hand on my stomach.
“It never took that long for me.”
“Each woman is different,” Andrea told her.
A contraction gripped me. It felt like my bones split open. It passed and I slumped back down.
“It’s been sixteen hours,” my aunt snarled. “She’s exhausted and hurting. Do something. Give her some of those pills your civilization likes so much.”
“She can’t have any pills,” Evdokia said, her voice calm. “It’s too late. The baby is coming.”
“Give her the pills or I’ll kill you, witch.”
“If you give her anything, it will hurt the baby,” Andrea said.
The baby. I snapped out of the fog and back to reality. We were in the witch forest, inside the cavern with the magic spring. I could feel the Covens working outside. They had sheathed the cavern in a blanket of impenetrable magic. As long as it held, my father wouldn’t find us. At least that was the idea. Around me the water of the magic spring splashed. I lay in the smooth hollow of the stone, my head raised, my feet facing the pool of water. Evdokia stood between my legs, up to her hips in the water. Doolittle waited on my right. There were too many people here.
Another spasm gripped me. The pain tore at me.
“Push,” Doolittle said. “Push. Just like that, good . . . Good.”
“You’ve got this,” Curran told me. “Come on, baby.”
I gripped his hand and pushed. A blinding pulse of agony shot through me and then suddenly it was easier.
“One more,” Doolittle said.
“Push,” Evdokia urged. “You can do it.”
“Push. One more.”
There was no more to be had, but somehow I found some, pushed again, and suddenly my body felt so light. The pain spread through me, hot and almost comforting. I blinked.
“Congratulations!” Evdokia raised something out of the water and I saw my son. He was red and wrinkled, with a shock of dark hair, and he was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. He took a deep breath and screamed.
Curran grinned at me. “You did it, baby.”
My aunt glided into the water, a translucent shadow. Evdokia cut the cord and
“The blood bred true.” Pride vibrated in Erra’s voice. “Behold the Prince of Shinar and know he is perfect!”
Magic burst above us. I felt it even through the barrier, aimed at the witches’ shield like a needle. My father was coming.
My aunt broke apart into a cloud of pure glowing magic. The cloud swirled around my son. He floated in the cocoon of Erra’s magic, shielded by her essence.
The needle of my father’s magic smashed into the witches’ barrier. For a torturous fraction of a second it held, but the needle burrowed, pushing harder and harder. A moment and he would be through.
He would not get our son.
Power tore out of me in a focused torrent of pain. I sank every ounce of my strength into it. My power met the invading magic. The water of the pool rose in long strands and hung suspended in the air above the dry lake bed.
Words of power slid from my lips. “Not today. Not ever.”
We struggled, the magic vibrating between us, the currents of power coursing and twisting as if alive.
The needle pushed, the weight of Roland’s full power behind it.
I screamed and there was no pain in my voice, only rage. Magic flooded into me, the land giving me the reserve I needed, and I sent it against the intruding power.
The needle shattered.
The water collapsed back into the cavern’s lake.
I slumped back. My father had failed.
I was done. I was so done.
Curran jumped into the water. Erra released our son, and Curran caught him. My aunt re-formed. Something passed between her and Curran, an odd look, but I was too tired to care.
Curran laid our baby on my chest. I hugged him to me. He was so tiny. So tiny. A life Curran and I had made together.
Curran wrapped his hands around me, lifting both of us to him.
“Name the child,” Erra said.
“Conlan Dilmun Lennart,” I said. The first name belonged to Curran’s father. The second came from Erra. It was the name of an ancient kingdom, and she said it would protect him.
Conlan Dilmun Lennart squirmed on my chest and cried. There was no better sound in the world.
Thirteen months later
A THUD JERKED me awake. I was up and moving, my sword in my hand, before my brain processed that I was now standing.
I paused, Sarrat raised.
A thin sliver of watery, predawn light broke through the gap between the curtains. The magic was up. On my left, in the little nursery Curran had sectioned off from our bedroom, Conlan stood in his crib, wide-awake.
The room was empty except for me and my son.
Someone pounded on my front door. The clock on the wall told me it was ten till seven. We kept shapeshifters’ hours, late to bed, late to rise. Everyone I knew was aware of that.
“Uh-oh!” Conlan said.
Uh-oh is right. “Wait for me,” I whispered. “Mommy has to take care of something.”
I ran out of the bedroom, moving fast and quiet, and shut the door behind me.
Hold your horses, I’m coming. And then you’ll have some explaining to do.
It took me two seconds to clear the long staircase leading from the third floor to the reinforced front door. I grabbed the lever, slid it sideways, and lowered the metal flap covering the small window. Teddy Jo’s brown eyes stared back at me.
“What the hell are you doing here? Do you know what time it is?”
“Open the door, Kate,” Teddy Jo breathed. “It’s an emergency.”
It was always an emergency. My whole life was one long chain of emergencies. I unbarred the door and pulled it open. He charged in past me. His hair stuck out from his head, windblown. His face was bloodless and his eyes wild. He’d flown here at top speed.
A sinking feeling tugged at my stomach. Teddy Jo was Thanatos, the Greek angel of death. Freaking him out took a lot of doing. I thought it had been too quiet lately.
I shut the door and locked it.
“I need help,” he said.
“Is anybody in danger right now?”
“They’re dead. They’re all dead.”
Whatever was happening had already happened.
“I need you to come and see this.”
“Can you explain what it is?”
“No.” He grabbed my hand. “I need you to come right now.”
I looked at his hand on mine. He let go.
I walked into the kitchen, took a pitcher of iced tea out of the fridge, and poured him a tall glass. “Drink this and try to calm down. I’m going to get dressed and find a babysitter for Conlan, and then we’ll go.”
He took the glass. The tea trembled.
I ran upstairs, opened the door, and nearly collided with my son. Conlan grinned at me. He had my dark hair and Curran’s gray eyes. He also had Curran’s sense of humor, which was driving me crazy. Conlan started walking early, at ten months, which was typical of shapeshifter children, and now he was running at full speed. His favorite games included running away from me, hiding under various pieces of furniture, and knocking stuff off of horizontal surfaces. Bonus points if the object broke.
“Mommy has to go work.” I pulled off the long T-shirt I used as a nightgown and grabbed a sports bra.
“Mm-hm. I’d sure like to know where your dada is. Off on one of his expeditions.”
“Dada?” Conlan perked up.
“Not yet,” I told him, reaching for my jeans. “He should be coming back tomorrow or the day after.”
Conlan stomped around. Besides early walking and some seriously disturbing climbing ability, he showed no signs of being a shapeshifter. He didn’t change shape at birth, and he hadn’t shifted yet. By thirteen months, he should’ve been turning into a little baby lion on a regular basis. Doolittle had found Lyc-V in Conlan’s blood, present in large quantities, but the virus lay dormant. We always understood it was a possibility, because my blood ate the Immortuus pathogen and Lyc-V for breakfast and asked for seconds. But I knew Curran had hoped our son would be a shapeshifter. So did Doolittle. For a while the Pack’s medmage kept trying different strategies to bring the beast out. He would still be trying except I’d pulled the plug on that.
About six months ago, Curran and I visited the Keep and left Conlan with Doolittle for about twenty minutes. When we came back, I found Conlan crying on the floor with three shapeshifters in warrior form growling at him, while Doolittle looked on. I’d kicked one out through the window and broke another’s arm before Curran restrained me. Doolittle assured me that our son wasn’t in any danger, and I informed him that he was done torturing our baby for his amusement. I might have underscored my point by holding Conlan to me with one hand and shaking Sarrat, covered in my blood, with the other. Apparently, my eyes had glowed, and the Pack’s Keep had trembled. It was collectively decided that further tests were not necessary.
I still took Conlan to Doolittle for his scheduled appointments and when he fell or sneezed or did any of the other baby things that made me fear for his life. But I watched everyone like a hawk the whole time.
I buckled my belt on, slid Sarrat into the sheath on my back, and pulled my hair back into a ponytail. “Let’s go see if your aunt will watch you for a few hours.”
I scooped him up and went downstairs.
Teddy Jo was pacing in our entryway like a caged tiger. I grabbed the keys to our Jeep and went out the door.
“I’ll fly you,” he said.
“No.” I marched across the street to George and Eduardo’s house. I w
“You said nobody is in immediate danger. If you fly me, I will dangle thousands of feet above the ground in a playground swing carried by a hysterical angel of death.”
“I’m not hysterical.”
“Fine. Extremely agitated angel of death. You can fly overhead and lead the way.”
“Flying will be faster.”
I knocked on George’s door. “Do you want my help or not?”
He made a frustrated noise and stalked off.
The door swung open and George appeared, her dark brown curls floating around her head like a halo.
“I’m so sorry,” I started.
She opened her arms and took Conlan from me. “Who is my favorite nephew?”
“He is your only nephew.” After Curran’s family died, Mahon and Martha, the alphas of Clan Heavy, raised him as their own. George was their daughter and Curran’s sister.
“Details.” George scooped him to her with her good arm. Her bad arm was a stump that stopped about an inch above the elbow. The stump was four inches longer than it used to be. Doolittle estimated that it would completely regenerate in another three years. George never let the arm thing slow her down. She smooched Conlan on his forehead. He wrinkled his nose and sneezed.
“Again, so sorry. It’s an emergency.”
She waved. “Go, go . . .”
I turned right and headed toward Derek’s house.
“Now what?” Teddy Jo growled.
“I’m getting backup.” I had a feeling I would need it.
* * *
• • •
I STEERED THE Jeep down an overgrown road.
“He looks like someone shoved a wasp nest up his ass,” Derek observed.
Above us and ahead Teddy Jo flew, erratically veering back and forth. His wings were made of midnight, so black they swallowed the light. Normally his flight was an awesome sight to behold. Today he flew like he was trying to avoid invisible arrows.
by Ilona Andrews / Science Fiction & Fantasy / Romance have rating 5 out of 5 / Based on50 votes