Release of Magic, The Leira Chronicles Book 2
By Martha Carr and Michael Anderle
“Maybe we could run it past the gnomes in magical forensic accounting first.”
“Not a bad idea. Very discreet group, those gnomes. They seem to know how to handle the touchy government types. And they dress so well, with their little suits and bowlers.”
“You mean touchy humans,” said Lois.
“Well, that goes without saying, but when you mix it with mid-level government managers, well, kaboom!” Patsy wiggled her fingers in the air, rolling her eyes.
Lois shrieked with laughter followed by a hiccup, not uncommon for her. “You think it’s that girl? You know, that detective in the wild, wild West?”
“If you mean Texas, maybe, but I doubt it.” Patsy pulled her wand out from where she had tucked it neatly into the back of her bouffant. Lois’ government issue willow branch hung from a delicate gold chain at her waist, right next to her ID badge, always at the ready. “You still have that connection in the Silver Griffins?”
“My cousin? Of course I do. Not many ever choose to retire. You know that. But she’s never one for gossiping, particularly since there’s a rumor going around that the PDF ratted on a few magical beings last year.”
“Yeah, I heard that one last time I was in Hanover County. Lovely spot for a kemana. Best tomatoes on the planet.”
“Those are from Oriceran seeds and a there’s little magic in that Hanover soil, you know.”
“Who doesn’t know that?” Lois was always irritated at having the obvious pointed out to her. “Best BLT there is.”
“What were you doing in Hanover? Was it work?” Patsy asked, pushing the topic further.
Lois looked at her over the top of her glasses and said quietly, “You know these walls have ears.”
Patsy pulled her wand back out and with a flick of the wrist, swirled the air around them.
“You have a minute, girlfriend. What were you up to?”
“Recharging of course, although those damn tomatoes were a good enough reason. I know they like to keep our energy levels at a minimum but they don’t have our best interests at heart. I figure out ways to drive toward Richmond every few months.”
“I hear you. Who did rat out those wizards last year?”
“I heard it was their own stupidity. Got a little high on some Oriceran weed and were found making a light show out of fireballs around the Capital. Had to tie them all up till they came down off the high, otherwise they would have kept sneaking in spells. Juvenile stuff. Of course, they had no memory of it. That O weed will make you forget your name. Still, no one believes me when I tell them it wasn’t us who told on them.”
“Ah crap! What was that?” Patsy slid out of her chair, almost plopping on the floor before rebounding to her feet. The symbols were taking on different shapes, spitting new data across the screen.
“More unauthorized use, but this time in Austin, Texas.”
“Well, that has to be her. What was her name?”
“Hang on, I have it right here,” Lois said, shuffling papers.
“Your fascination with putting things on paper baffles me.”
“The humans love it. Here it is. Leira Berens, an unaffiliated magical being. Recently detected and in the company of an actual Oriceran. A Light Elf. Very interesting times, Patsy.”
“You can say that again.” Patsy swirled her wand, stirring the air again. “Hey, did you hear about the joke Harvey played on those visiting generals last week? Made all their voices sound like they were sucking helium!” Patsy laughed, almost choking on her gum. “I thought I would pee my pants!”
“Better be careful or they’ll gas this place with us in it and we’ll end up in some cheap science lab.”
“Didn’t you hear? A group of us put up sensors last month to detect anything hinky. Never trust a human who’s still breathing, I say.”
“You mean like your husband?”
“Especially him!” Patsy snorted. The air around them stilled once more, and the recording devices that whirred constantly in the background taking down every conversation picked up where they left off.
“Back to work,” said Lois. “Break’s over.”
“I’ll get that report about Detective Berens right over to HQ. Someone will have to tag her. Make it easier to track her whereabouts.” Patsy rolled her eyes when she said it. She was making sure she used what she liked to call her ‘official voice’.
Any witch or wizard worth their wand knew how to get a GPS tag to track whatever they wanted it to track.
“I’m getting hungry, you? Want something from the machine?” Lois lifted the wand hanging by her side. “Yummina,” she said.
There was a loud rattle from down the hall as the old vending machine shook and then leaned forward on two legs, followed by a thwack as a package of Oreos slid out and came zipping through the doorway, landing neatly in Lois’ hands. “They should give in and leave them in a box for us.”
“Where’s the sport in that? Get me the vanilla cookies. I love those.”
Lois rolled her eyes. “Almost not worth the effort. Vanilla. Okay, Leira Berens, we’ve got your number.” Lois swirled the air with her wand before setting a pen to magically fill out the paperwork. “What they don’t know, we won’t have to hear about.”
Leira took a quick look around, checking to see who else was around the precinct. Almost everyone was out checking leads, eating lunch or just generally elsewhere. Leira was riding her desk, filling out paperwork on her laptop. It was taking forever.
Nothing like solving a case a little too easily to make the higher-ups cough up more paperwork, more interviews. It wasn’t that everyone wasn’t happy with them, and there was talk of a commendation for her and Hagan. It’s just that by nature, law enforcement is skeptical of anything that ties up to neatly. On the other hand, as long as Leira didn’t write something that waved a red flag at everyone, she was pretty sure they would all happily move on to the next case. The bad guys were dead, the child was returned safely, and the news reports were making them out to be heroes.
No one likes to shoot down the hero, if they can avoid it.
“Gaw, I hate paperwork,” Leira muttered, resting her head on her arms for a moment. She popped back up and looked around again. “Am I gonna do it? I think I am.”
Leira stretched her hands out on the desk, pressing down as she took a deep breath and let it out. She felt the warmth behind her eyes grow and everything around her take on a sharp focus. The edges of her hands began to glow and the faint outline of ancient symbols appeared just under her skin.
“Just this once. It will only take a minute and then it’ll be done. Come on, focus and breathe deeply. You can do it.”
“Fuck, Berens! It was easier to absorb the fact that you might be half alien that it is to find out you’ve taken up meditation in getting in touch with your inner self!” Hagan dropped a casebook on his desk loudly, startling Leira.
She stood up quickly, knocking her knees against the desk.
“What the hell!” The clarity left her instantly, and she could feel her heart pounding in her chest. “Hagan wear a fucking bell, goddammit!”
The reversal from conjuring up the magic from deep inside of her, to suddenly shutting it off abruptly left her lightheaded and she had to stand still for a moment, waiting for the room to stop spinning.
“You okay there, Berens? Not like you to be caught off guard.”
“Yeah, well, a lot has changed.” She rested her hands squarely on the desk and sat down slowly as a wave of nausea came over her and just as quickly left. This magic thing is going to take some getting used to.
Hagan flipped open his notebook, dropping heavily into his chair with a sigh and a grunt. He flipped through a couple of pages and looked back at Leira. “What the hell were you up to?” He looked surprised. “Tell me you’re not so stupid that you were trying to do magic in the middle of a police precinct.”
“Not so fucking loud, if you don’t mind.”
“Oh, so me talking too loud is what you’re worried about.” He lowered his voice. “I get you using magic to find the girl. There was a time factor there, and the men who took her didn’t give a rat’s ass about her well being. But what exactly are you working on right now that would make you take a risk like that? Last time I checked we have a probable suicide, and a pretty open and shut, husband killed the wife case.”
Leira drummed her fingers on her desk, trying to put off admitting what she was up to, but there was no getting around it. She decided to go for it and sat up straighter, looking him in the eye and said, “Paperwork.” She gave him one of her better dead fish looks, pressing her lips together, daring him to say anything.
Hagan stared back at her and for a moment it seemed as if his anger was going to erupt. Leira braced herself for the argument and took a quick look around to make sure there was still nobody around to hear the conversation that would entail magic, paperwork and other planets.
Hagan wrinkled his nose. Then his mouth opened and he was laughing so hard his belly shook.
FROM MARTHA >>> Snippet #6 from RELEASE OF MAGIC coming out AUGUST 14th! Busy finishing the next installment, Protection of Magic – Enjoy the snippet – 4 days away!
Next up will be SOUL STONE MAGE by Sarah Noffke on SEPT 6TH and FAIRHAVEN CHRONICLES by S.M. Boyce on SEPT 8TH – so much magical fun headed your way! I hear the KACY CHRONICLES by A.L. Knorr may be headed your way starting SEPT 4TH! PROTECTION OF MAGIC will be out 8/30 from The Leira Chronicles. (There’s also Flint Maxwell working on a new series about THE WORLD IN BETWEEN and if you’re already a fan, you know what that’s all about… That should be amazing!)
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