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Their spirits are free… but their town is under siege.
Tashi, a dazzling firebird-moon elf, packs a lot of magical power in her punch. Her discovery that Magic, New Mexico is in trouble sends her winging to the town with a dire warning of doom. It also sets her on a collision course with a super hot warlock.
Zac takes one look and knows he has to have Tashi. He’s spent a lifetime turning away from his dark side; now he’s ready to capture this little free-spirited hedonist living her life in wild abandon. Feisty and fearless, she belongs to no one. Zac is determined to make Tashi his, regardless of the cost.
Tashi and Zac face three different enemies, each resolved to steal away or destroy the town’s magical residents. In a battle of wits, unusual spells, and bewitching ingenuity, Tashi and Zac’s future together depends on the resilience of love in a world out of kilter. They take their stand against allies once considered friends, a cruel alien race bent on their enslavement, and a vengeful Djinn with a god complex.
In a life flipped upside down, what could go right?
(“Raining Magic” is Book 3 of the Messing Up Magic series)
“Morning,” Theo drawled, pouring coffee into an old, crazed mug that said ‘World’s Best Brother’. He’d recovered from proving that point, which hadn’t been fun. When he returned from Florida, he asked Topper to put a spell on the cup and make it unbreakable. Some things mattered, and this mug was one.
“Dude,” Zac said, nodding at the coffee.
With a squint, Theo gestured at the pot. “Help yourself, Zac, and no reality exists where I’ll answer to ‘Dude’. It’s Theo or Sheriff. Get used to it.”
Cross California off my list. Zac’s the nicest warlock I’ve run into, some are real bastards, but the surf-stuff got old after five minutes.
“So, Du…, er, Theo, the bird I mentioned last night was still there, and it followed me here.”
Theo set his mug down, rose, and strolled out the back door, glancing up at the roof. Nothing. He walked along the side of the Sheriff’s office, eyes wandering across the front of the building, moving up to the roofline.
“Morning. You looking for Magic, New Mexico? I’m Theo, and I’m the Sheriff here. You are welcome and safe in our town of those with, er, unexpected abilities. If you want to come in, I’ll leave the door open.”
Theo returned to his steaming cup, dropping his dusty boots on his desk and taking a long swig.
“You catch it?”
Warlocks and their power moves. Theo shook his head, letting the silence stretch out.
“Oh, yeah, Sentient. Autonomous. My bad.”
Is he ever going to ditch the surf-speak? My patience is dumping to zero.
Tashi alighted with a ruffle of feathers and stepped into the office. It’s that surf guy, Zac. Better than cute, he’s super hot! And that Sheriff, I’m getting a good vibe off him; he is something else. Maybe he flies, too. She peeked around the room, seeing several shirts hung on pegs in the hallway leading toward the back door. With a flutter, she rose, snagged a shirt, and touched down.
Theo stared at her, recognition dawning. “You’re a shifter?”
Her beak full of white cotton, she jerked her head.
Theo rose, moving at half-speed and stepped towards her, reaching a long arm over and opening the door to the restroom. “Sorry about the mess, Ma’am.”
Tashi bobbed again, hopping around the pile of white to reach the bathroom and yanking the shirt in after her. She shifted, tossing the men’s oxford over her body. Good thing that Sheriff is tall. This is long enough to cover the important bits if I act like a lady. No dancing, Tashi. It’ll do for now. If I stick around, I’ll need to set up a base. Her hair rose, strands sliding out the doorway, tugging. Dammit. Grabbing her unruly hair in both hands, she twisted it, jamming a pen she found on the edge of the sink deep into the twist. Stay put! I have to conduct some serious stuff here. Tugging at the pen, her hair wiggled in protest. Be still and we’ll have a fire-dance soon, ok? Tresses settling down, she stepped from the restroom.
“Whoa,” Zac said, and Tashi’s eyes, one green, one blue, turned to take him in.
“I didn’t think you’d be such a babe,” Zac leaned forward, laying a goofy grin on her that lit up her insides.
This one is F-I-N-E fine. Wonder what he is?
“Ma’am,” Theo interrupted, dropping a side-eye on Zac that would have melted most, and Tashi liked that it sailed over Zac’s head.
He is oblivious. Ha-ha! Total free spirit. My kind of guy. “Sheriff, I need to talk to someone. I’ve flown miles to get here; I hope you are that person.”
“This is official business, Zac. Time to leave.”
Zac’s face set, digging in.
“It would save time if you popped to Topper’s place. Ask her if our guest can stay there and if she’d be willing to help with clothes and whatnot.”
Zac held Tashi’s gaze, lost in it. “That what you want?”
She nodded, grateful, and he rose.
“I’ll be back in a bit.”
“Not necessary. We’ll come by Topper’s place when we’re finished here. Thanks for the assist, Zac.”
Theo gestured to the now empty chair and Tashi tucked the tail of the white shirt under her butt and sat on it. The wispy hair around her face, Theo noticed, moved with unease.
Tashi pulled in her breath and looked into Theo’s ice-blue eyes. Huh, those seem sort of otherworldly. Oh, boy. I’ve got to tell somebody. Time to take a chance.
“I was in Hawaii. I have a friend there, a Kupua, and we were hanging out, being drunk and disorderly spirits. One night, after a bottle of Koloa rum, we passed out in a tree when this, oh hell, I don’t know what he was but he was bad news, showed up. You ever been to the islands, Theo? There’s a bunch of magic, so the signatures are fuzzy. I guess he didn’t realize we were there, and that saved us.”
Theo listened, a tiny disquiet in his gut growing louder. “What happened?”
“That, whatever the hell he was, attacked a group of campers, and…” Tashi shivered, her eyes flashing a sudden red. “He slaughtered them by twisting their bodies. He became the wind, and murdered them, one at a time, holding the others in place, making it last. To him, it was a sport. When they were dead, he twisted the nearby trees, so it looked like a natural event. Then, he turned into smoke, rolling down the mountain.”
Gut hollering, Theo leaned forward. “Did you see him in a human form?”
“Yes.” Flicking her arm, feathers appeared. With her other hand, she plucked one and released it into the air. She closed her eyes, and her feather drew a three-dimensional image, in colored light, between them.
Theo’s eyes narrowed as the feather etched out a tall, muscular body with a head of long, tight copper ringlets hanging halfway down the man’s back. The lips curled with disdain, the face haughty with self-importance.
“You know this being?” Tashi’s eyes flashed red again, ready to attack if she’d misjudged the lawman.
Theo sighed and leaned back, giving the angry red eyes a thoughtful look. “His name is Pirro. He’s a Djinn, a genie who went rogue. He damn near killed me a few months ago.” Theo’s long pointer finger traced the writing on his mug. “Pirro is bad news, Ma’am.”
The red glow faded as she held his gaze. “Call me Tashi, and you aren’t telling me anything I don’t know. My friend and I remained in bird form and followed the smoke. He reformed, and I overheard him mutter something about Magic, New Mexico and settling a score. I flew here as fast as I could, but that demented genie is days ahead of me. I bet he moves a lot faster than a hung-over firebird.”