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Availability date: 10/07/2015
Carman has worn out more towns and last names than impractical shoes protecting the secret of her magic blood. But when a friend goes missing, and another is infected with a deadly spell, Carman must choose. Expose her magic blood by curing the spell—or stop the infection from spreading by killing the source…the grandmother.
Magic bounty hunter Dylan has scoured libraries of banned magic paraphernalia seeking a method to distinguish genuine witches from impersonators. He suspects unorthodox librarian Carman might hold this information tighter than the hair he’s dying to unleash from her bun. With a past as hidden as his sleeve of tattoos, Dylan discovers he’s been used to gain Carman’s trust and their passion risks more than mixing mortals and magic.
She closed her eyes and took a deep breath, conjuring images of Abigail, Ellie, and Louise in her mind to boost her confidence. Tempering her unease, she concentrated on helping her friends as she placed her hand on the spine of the book. The plastic encasing it crackled, as did the book wrapped within. Obviously spelled to prevent anyone from opening it, but a spell hadn’t stopped her from opening the chest.
“Are those sparks coming out of the book?” Dylan took a step back. “Leave it on the shelf. You don’t have to take it out. I just wanted to know if any of these were hoax magic, not burn down the building.”
He touched Carman’s shoulder. “Ouch!” He hopped, shaking his hand. “Seriously, leave that one alone.”
But once she’d started Carman couldn’t stop, the book beckoned. Pressing its spine against her palm, begging her to search within the pages to find the answers she’d unconsciously sought her entire life. As she lifted the book, her scalp tingled and her hair elevated like a halo.
“Whoa.” Dylan shielded himself with his hands. “Put it back, slowly, because this is reminding me too much of the incident with the chest. Having my apartment blown up from magic isn’t covered in my rent.”
The plastic evaporated in a puff of smoke in Carman’s hands and the book unsealed with a sigh. She smiled, the welcoming warmth emanating from within its pages against her palms. Why had Mother kept her from this? This is what she’d been waiting for.
As curiosity overtook his common sense, she detected Dylan’s cautious approach. He stood close enough to peer over her shoulder into her book, but far enough away to avoid touching her.
After the shockwave the last time their skin met, he probably worried he’d ruin another pair of pants. Carman closed her eyes, absorbing the power from the book. The delicious feeling evoked a sensation like melting chocolate, sweet and satisfying.
“I remember hearing about her, Esmeralda Wrath. I wonder if this was her book?” Dylan’s warm breath caressed her shoulder.
Carman opened her eyes and examined the page. To stare right at a photo of the most powerful witch of all time…her grandmother.
She dropped the book and staggered into Dylan when the book hit the floor. The book snapped shut and lay in front of her, taunting and tempting her with a soft whine. Her suspended hair collapsed as her magic deflated.
Dylan steadied her, placing his hands on her shoulders. “Are you okay? Did it burn you?”
“Where did you find this book?” She lowered her outstretched hands and smoothed them against her skirt. Tremors started in her palms and traveled up her arms. She hoped if Dylan noticed her shaking he’d blame the magic, and not the shock of finding out the true identify of her grandmother.
“It was with a lot of other items, including the chest.” He glanced from her to the book, apprehension creasing his face.
How did Dylan get one of Grandmother’s spell books? She wouldn’t have recognized her grandmother from the last name because she’d used so many names over her lifetime. Considering the age and power of this book, perhaps she’d finally discovered her grandmother’s original last name—Carman’s real last name.
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