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Magic and the Pagan


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Blurb

Enter into a world of magic, lust, love and betrayal.

Evan Bartholomew lives life as a gay pagan with a deep interest in magic. Not wise choices in the small town he resides in. When he comes across a book of magic in an old bookstore, he fantasizes about the portrait of a man within its pages.

The first time Evan attempts one of the spells in the book, he finds himself in a world he never knew existed, completely clueless. A world of demons, magic, a queen who wants to kill him, a king who lusts after him, and the man of his fantasies, Aidan Loriel.

Excerpt

Farther down the corridor, there was movement. Massive leathery wings the color of cinnamon brushed along the walls on either side of the…creature. Two giant horns protruded from its head, and when it turned to face Evan, a wide grin broke across the creature’s face, revealing rows of razor-sharp teeth. The creature’s gaze flickered to the book and back up to Evan. Within seconds, it turned and disappeared into thin air.

Evan bolted down the hall in the opposite direction. His mind raced, trying to make sense of whatever the hell that was. He’d never seen anything like it in his life and he hoped never to see it again. Finding a set of stairs, he ran down them, taking the steps three at a time. His heart pounded as he desperately searched for a way out of the place. It was a maze of corridors and rooms. Finally finding another staircase, he raced down it. Three people stood at the bottom. Evan half expected them to try and stop him, but they only stared at him.

Out of a doorway behind the small group, a man emerged. He was dressed in a red robe and had auburn hair and piercing red eyes. His eyes widened when he saw the book cradled in Evan’s arms. Evan skidded to a halt.

“Leave us.” With the command, the group hurried out of the main hall. “You can stop running now. If you cooperate, you will not be harmed. Come. Join me.”

Blue sparks engulfed his only escape route. Evan whirled around, wildly scanning for another doorway, hall, anything. Then he dared to glance at the man. Evan’s mouth opened in complete shock when he realized it was the man in the picture. Holy shit… He blinked and for the first real time in his life, knew how a deer felt when caught in headlights. Here he was, looking at the most gorgeous creature he’d ever laid eyes on, and all he could do was stare like an idiot while contemplating escape.

“What in the hell is going on?” Evan asked.

The man gestured for him to follow, and, dazed, Evan obeyed. Once they were both in the room, the man shut the door behind them. He walked around to stand before Evan, his gaze curious.

“That is precisely what I would like to know. You are not Leland, yet you have my book.” His brow furrowed and he cocked his head to the side. A lock of red hair fell, revealing the barest tip of a pointed ear. “Are you fae? I have not seen any of your kind, but then, I haven’t been out for some time.”

Evan shifted and tugged at the hem of his fishnet shirt. He kept the other hand tight around the book, though the book obviously belonged to the man in front of him. “You’re kidding me, right?”

When he caught sight of the pointed ear, Evan opened his mouth to say something more, but then just as quickly shut it. He closed his eyes and shook his head in an attempt to clear it. He looked again, but the pointed ear hadn’t disappeared like it should have.

“Somebody is seriously going to pay for spiking my drink. I’m seeing things.”

“May I have my book?” The man reached out and it was clear that “no” would not be an acceptable answer. “You are an odd-looking sort, whatever you are.”

“First I see some horned creature straight from Dante’s nightmare, and now I’m seeing an angel. Either I’m high or I’m dead, gotta be one or the other. At least for a delusion, I can come up with some good shit.” Sighing, Evan handed over the book. “I don’t know how the hell I got here. I don’t even know where here is. I was lying in my bed, reading your book, and bam, I’m here.”

“Ah, so you’ve seen Atael. And an angel?” The man laughed. “My friend, I am no angel.” He took the book and thumbed through it. “Well, at least it is intact. I thank you for that much. This book is protected and to read any spell within its pages would result in bringing the reader here. Now, how did you come by this? For your sake, I hope you are not in league with Leland.”

“I bought it in a bookstore. Where is here? Like Colorado or something? And who’s Leland?”

“You are in Sercenia, the smallest yet one of the most strategic countries in all of Aurora. And I find it hard to believe that you found this in a bookstore anywhere near here, as I own all five stores on this island.” The man walked to a small bar. “Leland was my servant, second only to Atael. He stole the book from me and for that he will be put to death.” He turned and handed Evan a glass of dark purple wine. “Where are you from?”

“I’ve never heard of that country. Of course, I know there are, like, over a hundred or something. I’m from Lakeview, Virginia.” Evan paused. Not getting a look of recognition with the name, he added, “You know, the United States? Wait a minute. You can’t kill somebody for stealing a book. It’s against the law!”

“You’re from Earth,” the man said quietly. “And outside of the king’s borders, I am the law.” He stepped forward, holding out a slender hand. “My name is Aidan Loriel. I am one of the Heads of the Wizards’ Guild of Aurora.”

“Yeah, I’m from Earth. Where in the hell else would I be from? Mars?” Eyeing the hand then Aidan, Evan took it tentatively, giving it a quick shake. “I’m Evan Bartholomew. Wizards’ Guild? I never heard of them and I’ve never heard of a place called Aurora, either.” A feeling of dread settled in the pit of his stomach and he muttered, “Toto, we’re so not in Kansas anymore.”

Aidan cocked an eyebrow at him before turning to sit on the edge of a desk. He set the book beside him and folded his hands in his lap, eyeing Evan curiously once more. “Well, you are not fae if you are from Earth. That’s a bit refreshing, I must admit. I haven’t been home in some time, but I hadn’t thought it had been quite that long. Earth exists on another plane from this one. I had not thought that anyone would dare take my book quite that far away, but apparently Leland did just that. I would venture to guess that the clumsy oaf lost it once he entered Earth’s realm.” His gaze narrowed. “You look very odd, even from the pictures I have seen of those from Earth.”

Suddenly, it occurred to Evan to ask about the little man who’d been following him. “Hey, wait a minute. This Leland, is he like a really strange-looking guy? Looks kind of like a skunk with black and white hair sticking all out?” He paused and couldn’t help but laugh. “There are other people who dye their hair, just not many who like purple.” Reaching up, he combed through the short strands. Think, Evan, think. Gorgeous guy, weird house, big demon—it had to be a dream.

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