Quirky Urban Fantasy
Youth, magic, and a luxurious Manhattan apartment, Kalara has it all. She's a classic evoker--hurling fire, ice, and electricity is her specialty. As her father always said, the classics are important.
Meet Whitcomb, a powerful necromancer who doesn't want anyone discovering he's selling the souls of the dead who go through his funeral home. He tries to teleport Kalara into the Hudson to keep her from snooping around.
Kalara elicits the help of a devil who's bad at being bad, and together they attempt to use evil to achieve their goals...
Available both to buy and sample at Smashwords. Feel free to review it on Goodreads.
First two pages:
Kalara watched the floors tick ever higher. Having grown up in Chicago she was used to elevator rides, but they tended to be shorter than this one. She tapped her foot, ready to reach the top floor. There, atop one of the richer buildings in the Capital of the World, she would attend one of the finest dinner parties there could be.
All her life Kalara had been wealthy, the sole child of the sole owners of a nation-wide chain. She'd spent almost as much time at lavish social soirees as she'd spent at school, but tonight promised to be even more splendid than her previous experiences.
Kalara eyed her chaperones, Neva and Tate. They lived here in Manhattan, but had visited Chicago many times in the past few years. When Kalara had announced her intentions of attending Columbia University, they'd offered to introduce her to all the local well-to-do, as if they were doing her a favor. She knew all they really wanted was to please her parents—or show her off at parties as proof they were close friends with the Orlov family. Neva ran a local jewelry chain she was trying to expand, and she'd hinted at an interest in placing her new stores next-door to existing Orlov's Bridals.
Neva stood stiffly, her purse clutched in front of her, her face blank. Tate looked mildly bored, his eyes watching the floor readout as hers had been.
Itching to entertain herself, Kalara considered pulling a small magic prank on one of them. Ultimately she decided against it. In such intimate company, too much tomfoolery would spark suspicions.
Instead, she let out a frustrated breath and waited for the elevator to ding one last time, then sped out onto the floor. She strode quickly to the corner condo—Tate had already told her which number to look out for—and held her fist by the door. Okay, don't pound so loud you sound like a brute, but not so quietly they can't hear you. And don't rap four times, you'll sound overly urgent. Three should be fine. She knocked, and the sound boomed into the room beyond. She winced.
Great, now they'll think a storm giant's come to their party. Neva and Tate caught up as she waited. She silently thanked the universe that they hadn't heard her embarrassing display.
The door swung inward to reveal a man with a bulbous nose parting a curtain of wrinkled skin. His eyes squinted almost shut beneath lids grown unwieldy with age, and a wisp of white hair seemed about ready to blow off his head. He wore a black bow tie.
Obviously a butler, Kalara thought.
“Neva and Tate, plus one,” Neva said, rather loudly. Of course, who wouldn't assume he was deaf?
The butler scrolled a gnarled finger along the guest list. Kalara's gaze wandered to the ceiling, which was covered with irregular recesses. The motion might have resembled rolling her eyes. Tate cleared his throat and, when she looked at him, raised his thick, caterpillar eyebrows.
Be polite, those brows said. You're our guest. Your actions reflect on us. She'd grown used to interpreting his eyebrows in all the time she'd known him.
“Ah! Hum.” The butler's finger stabbed a specific line on the page. He stepped to the side, letting them see the full sweep of the foyer, and plucked a hanger out of the closet.
They stepped through the door, Neva whisking off her red fox coat and handing it over. While the butler fiddled with it, trying to match it to the hanger like an uncooperative puzzle piece, Kalara silently graded the room. It was fairly empty, save for a modernist painting, which was mostly dark with a few tendrils of white, and a solid stab of red on one side. The perfect sort of thing to make someone seem deep without actually making a statement. And there were lots and lots of mirrors. Too many.
She'd hoped for something...more here—the crème de la crème of interior design. This was New York City, after all. But maybe the host was spectacular in some other way.
After much tinkering the butler hung Neva's coat, and Kalara handed over her own, a white ermine. While the butler was working on this newest puzzle, Tate reached past him and slid his own jacket onto a hanger.
The warm up from Neva's outerwear proved useful, for the butler only required a minute or two to fasten Kalara's. When he hung it in the closet—which was filled with gorgeous outerwear—he turned to find Tate wearing only his suit.
“Huh?” The butler shook his head and started walking toward an archway, muttering, “Hum.”
They passed through a hallway and into the dining room, which was done in cherry wood, the dark bars of the chair backs curved and slightly thicker on one end. The effect seemed reminiscent of something, but Kalara couldn't quite put her finger on what. The abundance of mirrors continued in this room as well.
What's his deal? Checking to be sure he's not a vampire?