I hope you think so too!
The first book is here and ready to launch. Isn't the cover pretty? Thanks to Yocla Designs for taking my rough idea and making it a reality. Do you want to see what my original cover mock up looked like before she worked her magic? Come over to my LSP Facebook Group and I'll show it off. For those of you with real Photoshop skills it'll make you cringe.
Without any further fanfare **insert trumpets playing anyway** here is the Assignment chapter of Lost Souls ParaAgency and the Three Witches of Burberry. The book will be available for $0.99 release week only. So get your copy early before it goes to full price!
Three Witches of Burberry
And love spells divine
Ancient witches create chaos
Where magic crosses the line
“Looks like the Council’s seers have been practicing their poetry beats.” Before the magic ink could fizzle and the handwritten script disappear, Calex Dimas crumpled the tan parchment and tossed it back to the messenger. “I’m not taking this assignment.”
The Council on Crimes Against Humans made sure paranormals didn’t reveal themselves to humans and that humans didn’t hunt paranormals with pitchforks. They employed psychics to predict incidents that could result in exposure. The Lost Souls ParaAgency was one of a handful of employed agencies who enforced their regulations, like the FBI or CIA, only with fewer rules and more cloak and dagger theatrics.
Lex had agreed to take on one case a year when the agency got backlogged, but not witches. Anything but witches. He glanced at the warlock before him. Good example of why Lex preferred not to mess with the world of witchcraft. Vamps, weres, and ghosts always stood out from regular humans. They were easier to track and the cases ended quickly. Witches equaled complicated. Plus, Gramps had a special affinity for witches which irked Lex.
Sparsh snapped and the ball of paper vanished, which effectively stopped the anticipated confetti poof. He set a standard issue agency amulet on the coffee table. For humans working in the agency, the amulet gave them a level up on the paranormal playing field—like wearing a helmet and extra padding.
“You don’t have a choice. Your grandfather says you’ll do it or there will be consequences.” Sparsh always spoke as if he presided over a funeral. Fortunately, he chose outlandishly colored ties to go with his black suits to offset the mortician image.
Lex’s left eye twitched, and he walked to his mini-bar to mix a dry martini. The floor-to-ceiling windows of his penthouse suite at the Sagamore offered a tranquil view of South Beach at twilight. Couples walked hand-in-hand along the Florida beach, oblivious to the paranormal dangers lurking in the shadows. Not all paranormals were bad, just like not all humans were good. And then there were people like Gramps.
Sparsh didn’t have to spell it out. Gramps would make Lex’s life a series of unfortunate events until he crawled into LSP headquarters begging for a job. His success outside of the paranormal world would never be enough for his grandfather.
Lex pointed to a lowball glass. “Drink?”
“I can’t stay. There are other agents, other assignments to dole out back at HQ.” Sparsh shrugged, and his usual weariness at being the face of Lost Souls ParaAgency showed on his heavily-lined brow.
Did Sparsh ever think his paranormal talents were wasted on handing out assignments? Lex had known the powerful warlock his entire life. He was kind and fair, but, as his grandfather’s right-hand man, he always followed orders. Sparsh’s salt and pepper hair had become more salt lately. Lex didn’t envy the person who would become the next “Sparsh” when the older man retired.
Lex decided on a Scotch neat instead of the martini, pouring the amber liquid into the glass. “If I have to take an occasional assignment to keep Gramps off my back, why can’t I choose? Why can’t I investigate a werewolf sighting? Or even the ghost thing in Alaska?”
Sparsh crossed the room and adjusted his green and purple Martian cats tie. He picked up his briefcase from the floor and withdrew a file folder. “Now you’re just whining. A true leader knows how every position in their agency works from the lowest level to the top.”
“Ah, so you’re going with the ‘I’m being groomed to take over someday’ speech.” A lecture he’d heard one too many times. Gramps would never understand that Lex had zero intention of taking over the family business.
“You are being groomed. When your grandfather retires, his seat on the LSP’s board will belong to you. Not to mention there are rumblings within the Council and the ideal to preserve a proper balance on both sides may be in jeopardy.”
The Council members were elected officials, but like any governing body, they often served their own agendas while making it appear they aligned with the greater good. Gramps built the LSP with the greater good in mind.
“Your grandfather trusts you.” Sparsh held Lex’s gaze from across the room. “Plus, family legacies are important to him.”
Legacies might be important, but family certainly wasn’t.
Sparsh moved to the kitchenette and set the folder on the counter. He flipped through a few pages. “We don’t have much on the Witches of Burberry. I seem to remember a trio of spinster witches being from that area. Hippies who believed the Council is another form of stifling government.”
There was no getting out of this assignment, so Lex joined Sparsh at the counter. “What’s my cover?”
“Let’s not make it complicated. Keep the cover to real estate investments, and you won’t even have to print fake business cards. If these witches are wreaking enough havoc to come on the radar of the Council’s seers, then they should be easy enough to find with the amulet.” Sparsh tapped the counter with his index finger. “No one said you can’t take a partner on this assignment. Have them do the grunt work.”
“No partners. Having a twenty-year-old assistant is responsibility enough.” Lex swirled the glass and took a sip of the Scotch. Witches and love spells. Gramps must really be pleased with himself. “What’s the time frame on this? Jordie has college classes to attend, you know.”
Sparsh flipped through a few more pages. “Burberry is a small coastal town in South Carolina between Charleston and the Carolina-Georgia state line. Someone of your prominence can’t move in without raising a few eyebrows. You’ll need some time to plan an entry, but you only have a few weeks to do so. We’ve consulted a few of our tellers and they put a possible paranormal event on or around the last week of September, but you won’t know what’s going on until you get set up on site.”
Lex lifted his glass in a salute. “I’ll have Jordie search for commercial property listings in the area. I’ll fake an interest in purchasing a local business. That should buy me a few days to root out the witches of romance.”
“I don’t need to remind you that you must have absolute proof of paranormal crimes against humans for an apprehension. We’re not the Council’s Merc Squad. We don’t want to start a war with these witches. We observe, verify any misuse or abuse, approach, and only if appropriate, bring them in front of the Council.”
Lex didn’t answer, and the angry response sat unspoken at the tip of his tongue. He didn’t need Sparsh to speak to him like an outsider or newbie. Before he’d been able to break away in his early twenties, he’d served as a full-time assistant to a handful of agents. No one understood the purpose of the LSP better. Gramps always looked out for his precious paranormals.
Sparsh nodded as if Lex had spoken the agreement out loud. “I’ll pass your regards on to your grandfather.”“You do that.” Lex downed the rest of his drink with a tilt of his head.