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Magic and Mayhem: Have Wand, Will Travel (Kindle Worlds Novella)

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Magic and Mayhem: Have Wand, Will Travel (Kindle Worlds Novella)

  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:


  A Magic and Mayhem Kindle World Novella


  Table of Contents

















  Magic and Mayhem Kindle World Releases


  A special thanks to Robyn Peterman who invited me to write this novella and so generously shared her town and characters with me. I had a blast writing this.

  And thanks to my editor Faith Freewoman and my cover artist Tracy Stewart. You both RULE!


  Superstition, Kentucky

  STEALING FROM HUMANS was so easy. Too easy. Boring. That was probably why he’d stopped doing it ten years ago. Christophe leaned back against the rough brick of the Sutherlands’ palatial home and became one with the shadows while he waited for the motion lights to go off.

  Where was the excitement he’d experienced in the past when planning a job? Where was the thrill of slipping like a shadow, silent, unbreathing, through a house while its occupants slept?

  With the advent of new technologies for security alarms and safes, he’d experienced a few moments when, had he had a beating heart, it would have given it a goose. But even that soon passed and became just another dull part of a humdrum job.

  But a necessary one if he meant to keep his lights on. And that was another thing. It was so tedious to have to do this out of necessity, where before he’d done it as a sport or hobby.

  Until he discovered where Arnold, his manservant, had gotten to, however, he was strapped for cash. In the hundred years Arnold had been with him, he’d been unfailingly fastidious, honest, and responsible.

  No, Arnold would never abscond with his money.

  And there was another thing. Christophe could feel him close by, but couldn’t pinpoint his location. He found it suspicious that as soon as he again managed to get close enough to reach the man, Arnold was suddenly somewhere else. And, based on the constant drain of energy from him to Arnold, Christophe suspected he was under considerable stress. Which he found worrisome.

  As soon as he had the diamonds to fence, he’d find out what the hell was going on. He concentrated on the house.

  At the recent unveiling of the new science building at the college, he’d run into Maxwell Sutherland by the hors d’oeuvres table and, with one concentrated glance, picked his brain for the code to open the safe and the location of the security cameras. People were getting more and more fancy toys to protect their property.


  He now opened his senses to every living thing within the house. He ignored the tiny mouse in the attached garage and her offspring and homed in on the humans. Five heartbeats palpitated inside his head. One’s rhythm seemed out of sync, and he frowned. It wasn’t the two adults he had followed for the better part of the evening during the unveiling ceremony at the college. Nor was it the nanny they paid to look after the children. He could sense her on the second floor. An adult’s heartbeat was slower. There was an older child, six or seven. This one was hummingbird fast, but there was an irregularity. Did the parents know?

  When the heartbeat stuttered he shifted uneasily. The rhythm leveled out and he relaxed again. Moving away from the side of the house, he eyed the windows overhead in an attempt to pinpoint which room was occupied by the stuttering heartbeat. He’d intended to go directly to the office, open the safe, lift the diamonds, and slip away. This new development threw a spanner in the works.

  Hugging the shadows as he strolled around the side of the house, he used his excellent night vision to sidestep the large planters of flowers on the edge of the patio, and sidled up to the back door. Snapping on medical gloves, he withdrew his lock picks from the back pocket of his black dress pants. Inside the kitchen, the control panel next to the door lit up. He was at it, keying in the code, before it managed to beep. The panel went from red to green again.

  He paused to listen to the heartbeats again. He always fed before a job so he wouldn’t be distracted by hunger, but the sound still drew him. If he listened closely, he could hear the blood whooshing through their veins. All but that one small heart upstairs. It disturbed him.

  An idea struck, and he wandered around the kitchen by the glow of a nightlight left on next to the sink. On the refrigerator he found a note pad for making lists and a pen tied to it with a string. Writing a quick message, he tore the piece of paper off and slipped it into his pocket.

  Past the kitchen, a short hall opened into an open, tiled foyer with a broad, grand staircase leading up to a gallery above. It split into two sections, east and west. The tiny heart was in the east wing. He turned west.

  Inside the Sutherlands’ bedroom, he was greeted by the scent of expensive perfume and the sound of slow, even breathing on one side of the bed, and a whistling snore on the other. Surprisingly, it was Lorraine Sutherland making the noise. Maxwell, her husband was sleeping soundly and quietly.

  The deep plush carpet cushioned the sound of Christophe’s dress shoes as he glided to the dresser. He caught the glisten of metal and jewels in a decorative dish and smiled. His distended canines flashed in the mirror while he tucked the necklace into his pocket and propped the note he’d written about the baby’s heart in its place. The possibly of getting caught had given him a small thrill. So few things did lately.

  A movement came from the bed when Lorraine turned in her sleep onto her back. Her hand flopped against her husband’s white belly. Mouth open, she gave a snort, followed by a rumbling snore that damn near got Christophe’s heart started.

  He streaked out the door and shut it behind him. How could such a diminutive woman make such a racket? He’d been on safari seventy years ago, and lions did not roar as loud.

  Fifteen minutes later, Christophe exited the house with a velvet bag containing three pieces of jewelry. Aware of the numerous cameras in the neighborhood, he put on some speed as he ran across the smoothly manicured lawn to the patch of forest behind. All anyone would be able to see on the digital images was the motion-sensor lights flaring on.

  Once concealed in the distant tree line, he slowed to a saunter and wandered east to where he’d parked his car.

  He waved his hand as a mosquito the size of a canary buzzed his left ear.


  He’d be drained if he didn’t get a move on.

  In the past, Arnold would have driven by to pick him up. His absence was both concerning and inconvenient. Where was he? And who was responsible for his disappearance?

  He stepped out of the trees onto the deserted stretch of gravel road flanked on each side by partially completed houses. Surrounding his car were four darkly dressed beings. No heartbeats had warned him of their presence. The tallest stepped fo
rward from out of the shadows into the glow of the streetlight. His pale, long face with its narrow black eyes, bony beak of a nose, and thin-lipped mouth triggered a rare feeling of dread.

  Shit! The real bloodsuckers had arrived. And he knew instantly who had taken Arnold.

  But why?

  And what would it take to get him back?


  ZAIRA O’SHEA STUDIED the couple sitting in front of her desk. They were not her normal clients. For one, they were human, the biggest rarity. Two, they were wealthy and very well dressed.

  Most of the shifters, due to…well, shifting, didn’t wear haute couture, though most vampires came in decked to the nines. She’d often wondered if it was some kind of psychological thing about coffins and their Sunday best. But she’d never seen one carry a Louis Vuitton handbag like the one Mrs. Sutherland held on her lap.

  The witches she’d handled cases for were middle income all the way. It was against the rules to use their power for financial gain. Unless you worked for it, like she was doing right now.

  “What kind of burglar steals your jewelry and leaves a note about your baby?” Lorraine Sutherland demanded. “It was creepy enough that someone came into our home and stole from us, but to think he may have stood over our child and pressed his ear to her chest…” The small woman shuddered.

  Zaira doubted he had done so. Shifters had acute hearing. Not as sharp as vampires. But it could have been either one.

  “The house was quiet, and he probably tuned into the baby’s breathing.” Zaira O’Shea leaned forward in her seat, a pen poised over the legal pad on the desk. “What was it he wrote in the note?”

  Maxwell Sutherland spoke for the first time. “Your baby’s heart isn’t functioning properly. You need to take it to a doctor immediately.”

  Not a shifter. A vampire, more than likely. From the formal wording in the note, possibly an older one. “And did you?” she asked. She’d never heard of a vampire with a soft spot for children. Could it be a female shifter?

  “Well, yes,” Lorraine said. “First I was afraid he’d done something to her, but I checked her over myself and there wasn’t a mark on her. Then I got worried.”

  It was like pulling dragon’s teeth getting information out of these people. “And?”

  The woman’s aura turned lemon yellow. She was worried, frightened for her child. Maxwell’s turned a pale blue as he reached for his wife’s hand and gave it a squeeze.

  Lorraine continued, “Shelley was born with a hole in her heart. The doctor said it would close on its own, but she’s developed a complication and had to have emergency surgery the next day. Had the burglar not left the note, we might not have noticed anything until it became critical.”

  “So in a sense, this burglar saved your child’s life.”

  “Well, yeah. He stole at least three hundred thousand dollars’ worth of jewelry, too,” Maxwell said, his blond brows drawn together in a frown. Unlike most people making a living in construction, he had pale skin, lightly freckled.

  His wife was as dark as he was light, with dark brown eyes and burnished, highlighted dark brown hair.

  “Were you insured?” Zaira asked.

  “Sure. And the insurance company has already made good on the claim.”

  “But you still want me to find out who he is?”

  “Yeah.” He nodded.

  “Do you have pictures of the items that were stolen?”

  “Yes, of course.” Lorraine clicked open the clasp on her bag and dug around inside, finally pulling out an envelope and extending it across the desk. “There’s a copy of the note in there, too.”

  Zaira opened the envelope, set aside the pictures and unfolded the more interesting note. The bold strokes of the penmanship had to be that of a man. He had printed the words, the lettering just shy of calligraphic. An older vampire. A vampire with sticky fingers and skills.

  “If I can trace some of the pieces, I may be able to find him. I assume once I have, you want me to turn him over to the police.”

  “No!” The Sutherlands spoke together.

  Surprised, Zaira leaned back in her seat.

  “We don’t want to cause him any trouble,” Maxwell said. “The jewelry doesn’t mean anything to us.” His throat worked as he swallowed. “Three hundred thousand is a small price to pay for our daughter’s life. She nearly went into cardiac arrest in the doctor’s office. Had our burglar not warned us, she could have died in her sleep. We want to thank him.”

  Ten minutes later, with the contract signed for her services, Zaira saw the couple out. She stood at the large front window in the reception area and peered between the lettering. Maxwell Sutherland opened his wife’s door and tucked her protectively into their BMW. It must have been a close call, indeed, if they were still clinging to each other.

  A vampire with a soft spot for kids. She’d never heard of such a thing.

  She shook her head and turned from the window to face the reception area of the office. She studied the wheat-colored walls and brown corduroy chairs, the dark walnut end tables and the clear glass lamps. The room looked professional and uncluttered.

  And right now it felt empty. All the issues that plagued the human world were tripled with preternatural clients. Each species had their own special gifts. Drama and intrigue abounded, and sometimes violence. Risk was part of the job for her agents, and right now all six were out in the field dealing with cases.

  Callista, their fairy, was embroiled in a particularly sticky case in which someone had imported a South American bird-eater tarantula to hold one family hostage inside their stump.

  “Has everyone checked in today?” she asked.

  Calamity, their receptionist, nodded. “Yes, everyone has called in.”

  “Is Callista okay?”

  “Yes. She’s fine. The spider has been captured. The EPA came in and got it. It seems it’s illegal to import something like that for fear it will get a toehold here.”

  Zaira breathed a sigh of relief. “That’s good to hear.”

  “Has she found out who imported the spider?”

  “She’s following the paper trail looking for proof to take before the Gnome Council. Seems it’s a garden dispute.”

  When you had fairies and gnomes living in close proximity, there were always territorial issues. This one could have turned deadly.

  With one last look around the reception area, Zaira noted with pleasure that Calamity had straightened the recent issues of Better Witch’s Garden and Were Fashion Magazine (featuring tear-away clothing) on the waiting room tables and cleared her desk. Though at times the young witch lived up to her unfortunate name, she was slowly becoming competent.

  This time when Calamity came in to announce a visitor, Zaira noticed her glow of excitement. The young witch almost vibrated with it.

  “There are some people to see you. I’ve put them in the conference room because there are six of them.”

  “Six what?”

  “Witches. Actually, one witch and five warlocks. The witch is gorgeous and powerful. I could feel her energy from across the room.”

  If she was projecting, she was doing it to show off or intimidate.

  Not for Calamity’s benefit, thought, because she was very young and was just now coming into her power, so there’d be no reason to impress or intimidate her.

  “Did they say why they’re here?”

  “They wish to hire you to recover something.”

  After so many years of dealing with all breeds of preternatural beings, it took more than a little residual power to shake Zaira. But one witch and five warlocks? Before she went into the room…well, it never hurt to hold her cards close to her chest.

  She spent a few minutes in her office clearing her mind, setting up her defenses, and getting her legal pad. “Please let Cerbie out of his room, Calamity.”

  The woman shot her an anxious look.

  “Everyone needs to pee,” Zaira said.

  Calamity did
not look happy. “That’s what I’m afraid of.”

  She bit her lip to keep from smiling. Her familiar had a reputation for being difficult. “He actually likes you, so I’m sure he’ll behave himself. If he doesn’t, let me know, and he and I will have another of our come-to-Goddess meetings.”

  She pasted a smile on her face before stepping into the conference room to face the six. She took in the five dour faces of the warlocks, who were dressed in the black robes of the Council, and her smile died. They looked like crows flocked around the table. This couldn’t be good. Power lingered in the air like ozone after a lightning strike. She pushed her way through it as though she didn’t notice, moved to an empty place at the table, and pulled out a chair, but didn’t sit.

  “I’m sorry you had to wait. I was in a meeting with other clients. What can I do for you?”

  The only witch in the room rose from her seat like Venus on the half-shell…or was it Marilyn Monroe? Because she was certainly dressed like Marilyn. Her makeup was applied with an artistry that would have taken hours if she were human. Platinum blond hair brushed her shoulders and curved beneath her chin as she turned her head, and she spoke in the girlish, breathy voice that had been part of Marilyn’s persona. Zaira looked closely at her face. Damn. She really did look like Marilyn.

  “We have come to you on a most urgent matter.” Marilyn moved her shoulders in an unconscious affectation. It was she who was projecting the power. “But first I’d like your reassurance that you’ll attend to this unfortunate event with the utmost confidentiality.”

  Zaira placed the pen she held on the pad. “Being circumspect is part of what we do here at the Have Wand, Will Travel Detective Agency, Miss—?”

  Marilyn thrust out her bosom and drew a deep breath, making her breasts plump up that little bit extra. Every male eye in the room homed in on the result. Zaira almost heard them clicking in their sockets.

  “Glendora Ghostly. I am Baba Yaga’s right-hand assistant on the Witch Council. She’s on vacation, and has appointed me as temporary guardian of the Council until she returns.”

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