Christmas is coming, and I know that means a lot of children are watching that Elf on a Shelf with anticipation. I remember that feeling. As a child, I couldn’t wait for Christmas morning. Usually, I didn’t. I’d be in bed by 10:00 p.m. but up by midnight, when my parents would sternly tell me to go back to bed. Then I’d pop up out of bed somewhere around 3:30 a.m. or 4:00 a.m. and sneak into the living room where I’d gaze in awe at the stocking somehow magically filled while I slept. The complete wonder of it, the excitement, and the happiness of seeing that toy peeking out of the top of the stocking or the one Santa left especially for me under the tree…THAT feeling…I have it now. Why?
Because my debut novel is about to debut! Stronger Than Magic will be available exclusively on Amazon on Dec. 20th. Just in time for Christmas. To celebrate, I’ll be throwing a virtual party complete with door prizes. Stay tuned, details about the launch day party coming soon. In the meantime, I leave you with a tease…
Stronger Than Magic
Tarian Xannon stood in the shadows of an alley and took a long deep breath—and grinned. Philadelphia wore its own special brand of perfume created by garbage, sweat, grime, hot dogs, exhaust, coffee beans, fried food and unidentifiable bits of filth. It all combined and infiltrated her nostrils. It certainly wasn’t the floral scent she was used to. The air at home was usually filled with hibiscus and the unmistakable smell of ocean. She wrinkled her nose. Compared to that, the city was an ocean of stench. But she still loved it. Nothing wrong with a little grit. She preferred it, really.
She waited next to her favorite coffee shop, staring out at a street lined with bars, cafes, suits and homeless. None of the people passing by had active magic talent, and they didn’t even glance in her direction. None of them was the one she hunted. She leaned against the brick wall and folded her arms.
It should be an easy day. The one she waited for would stand out among the normal people, at least to her. Her tracking ability was never wrong, and right now it told her he was only a couple of blocks away, although he was taking his sweet time. She took another deep breath to focus her magic in case she needed it.
A few minutes more, and her target would be here. All she had to do was be patient. Easy snatch and grab.
“Hey, babe, lookin’ for a good time?”
The low voice behind her made her nearly growl in frustration. Distraction didn’t help when she was trying to focus magic. She turned to see a preying-mantis of a man leering at her. He hadn’t been there a minute ago. No magical signature, so she hadn’t sensed his approach.
“Oh sure, it’s always been my dream to do it in an alley. Beat it, moron.”
“I got whatcha need right here.” His hand grasped his junk and wiggled.
“I like men who understand the concept of showering. Get lost.” Her gaze moved on to another man, one passing by on the sidewalk. Shit. Her target, Mark Chester. He sauntered past, bumped into a garbage can, fell into the street, picked himself up and lurched forward to the other sidewalk.
Adrenaline kicked into gear, rushed blood to her muscles and edged her forward. She shoved past the leering man, who let out a growl of frustration and called her a name that would have horrified her mother.
The smelly bum grabbed her arm from behind and spun her around.
“You comin’ with me. You got business with my man.” He held a knife in one hand, and his eyes were filled with cold certainty that she’d do exactly as he said. But the way he held the knife marked him as an amateur. He’d never do real damage with it sideways like that, even if he managed to get close enough to try. He’d watched too many movies.
She took in a slow breath and with the exhale used her magic to push a small shield wall of power at him. Just enough to scare him, but not enough to drain her. She didn’t want to waste energy on this loser. He dropped the knife, his grip on her arm loosened, and his eyes widened in shock as he felt the invisible force push his arms away from her. She put her hands on his shoulders and added her body weight to force him back into the alley until she pinned him to a wall. He didn’t fight back, although his hands flapped in the air.
“Hey, they didn’t say you could do it too.” His protest came out in a squeak. So much for the tough-guy routine.
She converted the shield to web strands, which secured him to the wall, then tied off the stream, using the man’s own latent energy to power it. Everybody had magic energy, even in Philly, but most people couldn’t tap into it. Thankfully.
…..to be continued