My new Sentinels novel, Emerging Magic, was released today, and is currently available on the Torquere Press site and through ARe. Amazon and B&N aren’t showing it yet, but should be soon. It’ll also be available in paperback (along with a paperback edition of A Hidden Magic, the first novel in the series) through Amazon; I’ll post when those show up.
Emerging Magic picks up shortly after A Hidden Magic wraps up, with Rory discovering something that changes his perception of the last decade of his life.
Rory’s mother took him to psychiatrists, let them circumscribe his life, let them give him drugs, while knowing all along there was nothing wrong with him. When Rory finds out, he’s angry and confused and just wants to get away for a while. His mother’s betrayal plus another kidnap attempt make a visit to the father he hasn’t seen in ten years seem like a great idea.
When Rory, Paul and Aubrey get to Seattle, though, it’s obviously not going to be just a normal family Christmas. Someone north of San Jose tried to kidnap Rory twice before they left, and to Paul, it’s too much of a coincidence that Nathan, Rory’s dad, has magic talented friends. While Rory tries to reconnect with his only other family, Paul is trying to figure out whether anyone in Nathan’s group is after Rory. They definitely have secrets, and at least one of them has been playing around with things he doesn’t understand; the local fey are after him, and elves aren’t known for caring too much about collateral damage.
And there’s a master wizard in the area who’s up to something big and would really like to have Rory’s help….
Paul, Rory, and Elizabeth strolled along the sidewalk, between pools of moth-filled light and patches of murky darkness. It was after eight, but the sidewalks were still pretty crowded; it might be a Thursday but it was a Thursday within two weeks of Christmas and the shoppers were swarming. The downtown shopping area wasn’t as insane as the malls — Paul wouldn’t go near Valley Fair at gunpoint until after New Year’s — but there were enough people around to slow progress down the street.
So when Rory suddenly stopped, Paul’s first thought was that someone ahead of him was blocking the way for a moment. But then he saw that Rory was peering into the darkness down a walkway, a narrow, bricked area where a restaurant had outdoor seating when the weather was warmer. It was currently unused and unlit, and apparently empty.
When he paid attention, though, Paul could hear a noise, something like a dog crying from behind some bushes spilling out of a planting area, back in the shadows.
Rory glanced at Paul as though checking that he’d heard something too, then started off toward the bushes. “It sounds like something’s hurt. Maybe a dog got hit by a car and dragged himself back in there?” he said over his shoulder.
Paul was about to agree when Elizabeth said, “Rory? I don’t hear anything, baby. You’re having another one of your episodes. Let’s find a place where you can sit down and meditate for a few minutes.” She hurried after him and took his arm, trying to tug him away, glancing toward a bus stop bench up the street, but Rory stood his ground.
“No, it’s a dog, Mom. I just want to go check. Paul hears it too.” Rory looked up at Paul for support, but Paul held up a hand in a “wait” signal and switched to magesight, frowning into the darkness.
There, behind the dark confusion of foliage, magic glowed a dim blue. The central shape was humanoid. It was stocky in build, and looked like it might be short for a human, but it was crouched down and Paul couldn’t quite tell.
The sound of the crying dog faded away and a blob of magic swelled blue-green, then pulled back slightly. Paul got an image of an arm winding up to throw.
He called, “Down!” and spun around, grabbing both Rory and Elizabeth by the arms. He shoved Elizabeth down onto the pavement, used a quick jerk of leverage to get Rory down next to her, then threw himself over them both while activating a bronze pendant shaped like a shield.
A blue-green flash reflected off the pale pavement, and a cluster of moths, perfectly immobile, fell to the ground around them in a rain of gentle pattering.
Elizabeth was squawking in outrage and Rory was struggling to get up. Paul ignored them both and raised a binding spell, invoking the magic in one of his pins — a tiny pair of handcuffs piercing his jacket near the collar — and then focusing all his attention on directing it at the small, stocky fey thing that was swirling blue-green magic again in a clear attempt to prepare another spell.
Hurrying would be incredibly stupid at that point, so Paul didn’t. He ignored the two people protesting beneath him and cast the binding just a moment after the fey threw something at him. It crackled. The back of his jacket flared with heat for a moment, then he smelled something burning.
He muttered, “Fuck!” under his breath and smacked out his smoldering hair with both hands. It’d been barely two weeks since a salamander had taken an inch or two off the back the same way; he was going to look like an eighties reject if the back got much shorter while the top stayed long.
Burning hair distracted Paul long enough for Rory to squirm out from under him and stagger to his feet, then help his mother up. Elizabeth was still squawking, and Paul took a moment to pay attention to what she was saying. Then he stopped, rolled over and stared up at her in shock.
“–one of those magic people! I knew you were no good, sneaking around Rory, pretending to be his friend, making him think you actually like him! You’re just using him, you lying bastard! You just want his magic, trying to seduce him into helping you with whatever plan you have for power or riches or whatever it is you’re doing that’ll get him killed while you slip away to find some other victim!”
She actually whacked Paul with her purse, something he’d never seen outside a movie, but he was too stunned to even duck. The sturdy bag hit him a good crack in one cheek, and the pain startled him out of his shock. He rolled to his feet and backed out of range, ready to fend off any more physical attacks.
Rory had stepped back too, and was staring at his mother with his eyes wide and his mouth partially open. When Elizabeth paused to take a breath before continuing with her harrangue, Rory said, “You knew.”
Elizabeth stopped, then turned and stared back at Rory in dismay. “Rory, baby–” She raised her hand to Rory’s face and moved toward him, but Rory dodged away.
“You knew.” The pain and shock and betrayal in his voice stabbed into Paul like a spike.
“Yes. You knew all along. You knew it was real, you knew, and you let me think I was crazy! All those years! You took me to doctors, let them poke and question and give me thousands of pills, and all along you knew it was bullshit, that what I saw was real!” Rory’s voice got louder as he went, and by the end it was raw with fury. “You bitch! You ruined my whole life, let them convince me I was crazy, and for nothing!”