Magic and Mayhem: The Lie, the Witch, and the Warlock (Kindle Worlds Novella), page 1
Text copyright ©2016 by the Author.
This work was made possible by a special license through the Kindle Worlds publishing program and has not necessarily been reviewed by Robyn Peterman. All characters, scenes, events, plots and related elements appearing in the original Magic and Mayhem remain the exclusive copyrighted and/or trademarked property of Robyn Peterman, or their affiliates or licensors.
For more information on Kindle Worlds: http://www.amazon.com/kindleworlds
and the Warlock
Written by Renea Mason
Cover designed by Dreams2Media
Edited by Nancy Cassidy at The Red Pen Coach
Mad Mason Beatreaders – Crissy Sutcliffe, Amy Habel, Ashley Bodette,
Elizabeth Robbins, Sky Tillery, Dina Alexander, and Tammy Becraft.
Table of Contents
“Would you look at his ass? It’s so tight, I bet it doesn’t even jiggle when you spank it.” Wendy, who looked amazingly like the redheaded American restaurant icon, leaned across the counter, resting her elbows on the knotty pine surface. Her red pigtails bounced while she smacked her chewing gum. Her gaze was fixed on the man who had entered the large, ironbound doors moments ago, instead of the woman standing in front of her, who cleared her throat in annoyance.
From my place behind the counter to the right of Wendy, I watched as the blonde woman’s pale aquamarine eyes drifted to her stack of books on the counter and then lifted, scrutinizing Wendy. “Since it’s doubtful you’ll ever have the pleasure of seeing Marcus’s ass”—she shot Wendy a condemning stare, and then leaned across the counter, nearly exposing her breasts,—“it doesn’t jiggle. But when it comes to Marcus, I prefer to be on the receiving end of a good spanking. Now would you stop mentally masturbating and check out my books?”
Wendy’s mouth fell open in shock. “You bedded him? Damn. So fuckin’ lucky. Are all the stories true about vampires?” She slid the woman’s stack of books across the counter. “Are these all of your books?”
I watched as the man named Marcus worked his way through the library, engaging with starry-eyed woman after starry-eyed woman. He was the vampire king after all, and he took advantage of every fringe benefit that title afforded him. Frankly, I hated him. Womanizing blow-hard. He seemed to think he could fuck anything that moved just because he was the new king of Halloween Town—that’s what I called this supernatural subculture freak show of a life. It was his ilk that landed me in this mess. I was never supposed to be here. Never supposed to know of their existence.
Wendy finished processing the blonde’s books and then added her name to the list of Marcus’s conquests she kept on a sheet of paper pinned behind the counter. Her obsession with him wasn’t healthy, but since he’d begun gracing us with his presence every Wednesday, she’d had to flip the sheet over to make room for more names.
Wendy shot the woman a fake smile. “Those are due back in two weeks, and if they aren’t sitting on this desk before midnight two Saturdays from now, the collectors will be by to pay you a visit.”
“I know how it works. I’ve been coming here for centuries,” the woman snapped.
Wendy grinned. “Maybe so, but the Council recently allowed us to upgrade the spell. Seems the old incantation wasn’t incentive enough to return the library’s property in a timely manner. You’ll still get those annoying little demons banging on your door, but you’ll also experience your greatest fear, every night when you sleep until you return the book. So don’t say I didn’t tell you.” Wendy tied the bow on the ribbon that bound the books together.
The woman narrowed her eyes and scooped up the books in her arms. “Consider me warned.”
When the woman turned her back, Wendy flipped her the bird and then turned to look at me. “What do you suppose her greatest fear is, Dora?”
I rubbed my finger along the gem-encrusted metal collar that encircled my neck. You would think that after half a decade of wearing it, it would get easier. But the damn thing itched like a motherfucker. I slid my finger between the collar where my name had been branded—Eudora Spence—and my skin, then spit out, “Cellulite.” I tucked a pesky dark curl behind my ear.
Wendy slid a book onto the shelf behind us. “I was going to say saggy boobs.”
I nodded. “It’s probably a tie for first place, but it’s not like she’s going to have to worry about that. She’s a witch. She’ll be at the peak of physical perfection for eternity. Lucky bitch.”
Wendy’s mouth gaped open. “Look who’s talkin’. You’re a witch. I’m just a human with psychic powers. I’m not even supposed to exist. And what powers I do have, I can’t even control. I can hear some kid ramble on about whether he wants chocolate or vanilla ice cream, but I can’t read that sexy vamp’s mind. I’m a human touched by the arcane, so they tolerate me, but you…”
“I’m what? The Council’s minion? I might be a witch now, but I wasn’t always one. Those supernatural assholes brought me here and basically neutered me. They’ll never take off this collar. What good is it being a witch, when I can’t use magic? Not to mention, I’m basically an indentured servant. I’ll never be able to leave this fucking library. Hell, I even live here. The proverbial prisoner in the ivory tower.”
“The tower’s made of stone.”
“Fuck you, Wendy.”
“Why do you always have to be such a negative Nelly? You don’t age. I had to actually fight to get my job here and they handed it to you. That’s a lot better than being clueless in the mortal world and not knowing all this is going on behind the scenes.” She smoothed the wrinkles from her black and white polka dot dress.
“If you say so. I actually liked my life before…all of this. Now I get to manage the card catalog for a bunch of supernatural pains in the ass for the rest of eternity. Excuse me if I’m not excited.”
Wendy leaned back onto the glass counter top. “At least the eye candy is better on this side of the ley line.”
I stared at her. “That reference doesn’t even make sense if you know anything about ley lines, but if you’re meaning him…” I pointed at the vampire king, who sat beside a dark-haired witch on one of the leather couches that were scattered throughout the space, with his hand on her thigh. “That’s not even appealing to me. I want a man who wants to get to know me and not just tickle my tonsils for an hour.”
A stupid grin pulled at her lips. “Oh, I’m sure he’d tickle more than just your tonsils. You’ve heard about a vampire’s bite, right? If your orgasm could have an orgasm, that’s what it’s supposed to be like.” She shivered. “Besides…look at him. He has to be over 6’ 4”, not an ounce of body fat, perfect bronze skin and those chocolate brown eyes…and I heard his cock is in proportion to the rest of him, if you know what I mean.”
“There’s more to attraction than looks and the size of his dick.”
“Maybe so, but a big dick can make up for a lot. Surely, Julian had something going on down there. He was handsome too, but no offense, he was always so gloomy and dark. How did you even manage to get to know him?”
I stared down at my hands as images of Julian’s amber eyes washed through my mind. It had been five years
My heart ached with both the pain of his loss and anger for what he had done to me—hiding his true identity until that very last moment when he sealed my fate. The witch’s kiss they called it—with his final breath, he transferred all his power into me. It was only after his death and after I learned the truth of magic that I understood the full implication of what he had done.
Wendy turned to face me and quirked an eyebrow. “You know, I never have asked you why the warlock king would take up with a mortal. It’s forbidden. How did you manage it?”
“Not that this is any of your business either, I didn’t. He pursued me.”
“No fucking way. Why would he do that? Sleeping with a mortal is a death sentence.”
“Well not in his case. The Council didn’t kill him, the vampires did, and I suspect it was so that fiend over there could take his place.”
“What was it like? I’ve never been with anyone supernatural.”
The question was so quintessentially Wendy. I’d just implied that supernatural espionage had led to the vampire king’s rise in power and she wanted the gossipy details of my sex life. “I wouldn’t know. I never knew he was supernatural.” I sighed. “I know there’s a lot of curiosity surrounding how a little no-name mortal like me could land the warlock king, but he pursued me and finding out why is going to be impossible, because he’s dead. And now, thanks to him, I’m going to live forever a fifth-class citizen with all these pretentious fucks. They are afraid of me, so I’m collared. Neutralized. I can never be mortal, and I can never be one of them. All I can do is stamp their supernatural library cards and visualize all the ways I’d fuck them over if I ever got a chance to use my magic.”
“Don’t be such a downer. I get to know this all exists and die anyway.” She took a deep breath. “But if you do get to use your powers, let me know. I’ve been making a list of people who abuse their library privileges. They could use a serious ass whoopin’.” She pointed to another slip of paper pinned behind the counter. Wendy was always making lists. It was how she managed stress.
She stood up. “Oh look, here he comes.”
Marcus approached the counter. In the dozens of Wednesday visits he had made, he’d never bothered to check out any books himself. He usually sent his latest conquest to procure them for him.
Wendy curtsied and bowed her head. “Your Highness, what can I do for you?”
I made no effort to recognize him. He wasn’t my king. I submitted to no one.
He smiled at Wendy, then turned his gaze on me. He must have registered my lack of respect, because his brow furrowed and eyes narrowed. His old-world sophisticated, almost British, accent surprised me; I had assumed incorrectly that he was American. He placed his book on the counter. “Are you not going to acknowledge your king?”
“I would if he were here.” I crossed my arms.
He took a step closer.
Was that drool on the counter? Wendy needed to close her mouth and get a grip. His royal vampiness was attractive, but for me that subtracted from his appeal. Attractive men were too much work. And immortal men in a position of power over the goddamn supernatural nether realm were probably impossible. Had I known who Julian really was… I stopped the thought, because if I’d known then what he was, I would have checked myself into a mental institution.
Marcus leaned across the counter. His deep brown eyes held an abyss any other woman could drown in, but not me. I stood my ground, arching an eyebrow.
Wendy cracked her gum.
He shot her a disapproving glance before fixating on my disobedient stance. His voice was as deep and rich as the color of his dark-bronzed skin. “You must be new. Let me introduce myself. I’m Marcus Valentine, your king.”
He had to have known I wasn’t new. How many times had he been here? Granted, he may not have had a conversation with me, but was I that unmemorable? I quieted the growl threatening to erupt from my chest. After a deep breath, I mustered an ultra professional tone. “It’s very nice to meet you, Marcus. How many days would you like to keep the book?” I raised the stamper with the rolling rubber numbers for him to see and readied my fingers to scroll, while I wrapped my flippant statement in a smile.
He raised an eyebrow. “Are you not going to bow? Lower your head? Or perhaps offer me your body?”
I snorted a laugh, but quickly covered my mouth as it echoed through the vast quiet space.
I struggled to catch my breath through the laughter contained behind my palm. I took a deep breath, hissed through my teeth on the exhale, and willed myself to stop. I stared back at him and even though I tried to hide my amusement, my twitching lips would not behave. A quick snicker. “I’m afraid not.”
“I’m your king. You’d be wise to recognize me.” His gaze drifted from my eyes to my collar. “Wait…you’re that mortal. My predecessor’s pet.” He reached out and with one finger and traced the outline of the metal. “I’m going to pretend that Julian was as piss poor of a master as he was a leader and cut you a break, little one. But the next time we meet, you’ll have three options—bow, lower your eyes or…” He lowered his voice to a whisper. “Or remove your pants and present to me what’s mine.”
“Or what? You’ll kill me?”
“Goody. Then I’ll wait for the day when I stare you straight in the eyes and see the astonishment in them when you realize my pants are still on and my lips remain silent. Do I get to decide how you kill me or will it be a surprise? I do love a surprise.” I held him with my unwavering gaze.
A hiss escaped between his teeth.
Wendy grabbed the book and stamped it. “Your, Highness. You can keep the book for as long as you like; you are the king, after all.” She bowed her head.
I stiffened my stance.
He addressed Wendy, but his eyes fixed me in place. “No. There are rules. Magical books are precious and rare. Not even the king is above following the rules. Magic is absolute. I am not foolish enough to disrespect something more powerful than me. Perhaps that’s a lesson you should heed, young lady.”
I tightened my jaw. “I’ll take it under advisement.”
Wendy-kiss-ass to the rescue. “Anything else we can do for you, your highness. My apologies for my associate. She’s new and…”
He grabbed the book, tucked it under his arm, turned, and strode away. When he reached the halfway point in the room, he glanced back over his shoulder.
I still stood with my arms crossed and grumbled, “I am not new. I’ve been here five years.”
Wendy turned to me and in a much too loud whisper said, “Are you fucking insane?”
I sighed, teetering on the edge of irritation and anticipation. “No, Wendy. I’m completely sane and obviously the only one sober. Everyone here is drunk on his bullshit. I have yet to see one redeeming quality in that man. I didn’t ask to be here in their world. They took my life. And worst of all, because of them, I’ll never love again. Julian mated with me before he died. I didn’t know it at the time, because he never bothered to tell me, but you know that you can only ever have one mate. So not only have they denied me death, a finality, an ending, I’m also denied love. But there is one thing that pain in the ass bloodsucker does give me.”
“What’s that?” Worry caused her voice to
“Hope. If I can irritate him enough, perhaps he’ll follow through on his threat to kill me. With Julian’s magic in me, he’s one of only a few who can.”
Marcus stopped before reaching the door. He turned around and stared at me for a moment, and then his eyes searched the room full of library patrons who were quietly sifting through magical tomes. His gaze fixed on a tall, voluptuous woman with long black hair. She was stunning in her four-inch heels made to look like spider webs. I had never seen her before, but she was in the predator’s sights. Marcus sauntered toward her with the grace of a tiger—stealthy and majestic. Why he kept glancing my direction while stalking his prey was puzzling. Perhaps he liked his sex with a side of murder.
He clasped the book in both hands, navigating the shelves, ottomans, and couches strewn throughout the expansive room until he stood behind his victim.
Wendy clicked her gum so loud it echoed.
“Would you stop that?” I elbowed her.
“You shush. This is better than watching daytime TV. Damn, what I wouldn’t give to be vampyra over there. Marcus is going to rock her world.”
I leaned in and whispered in Wendy’s ear, “I wonder if she’s a spider shifter? Looks like she could be one. If she is, Marcus better watch himself or he might end up the main course.”
“I doubt he’d complain if she tried to eat him, if you know what I mean. In fact, I’m sure he’d encourage her.”
I laughed softly. “If she is a spider shifter, he’s in for a rough ride—if he survives, that is. And I hope he wants a lot of children. But it’s probably just wishful thinking on my part, since spider shifters usually don’t come out during the day.”
Wendy turned to me. “How do you know all of that?”
“I’ve worked in this library for five years with nothing else to do. I read a lot.” I exhaled a deep breath and leaned forward with my face in my hands, resting on my elbows while Marcus went in for the kill.
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