We're the D'Artigo sisters: savvy-and sexy-operatives for the Otherworld Intelligence Agency. But being half-human, half-Faerie short-circuits our talents at all the wrong times. My sister Delilah shapeshifts into a tabby cat whenever she's stressed. Menolly's a vampire who's still trying to get the hang of being undead. And me? I'm Camille-a wicked-good witch, trying to juggle faulty magic, gorgeous men, and the demonic war in which we're embroiled. Sometimes it's hard to know who we can trust... The equinox is coming, and mayhem rules. A crown-prince unicorn offers us a legendary gift, but it vanishes. Goblins and trolls swarm the streets of Seattle. And now Smoky, the sexiest dragon alive, decides to stake his claim-on me. Overshadowing it all, the third spirit seal surfaces, and Shadow Wing is after it. But I've discovered a secret that could change everything. A dangerous force from the past is rising again, intent on restoring balance to the worlds-whether we like it or not.
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New York Times, Publishers Weekly, and USA Today bestselling author Yasmine Galenorn writes paranormal romance and urban fantasy. She is the 2011 Career Achievement Award Winner in Urban Fantasy, given by Romantic Times magazine. She lives in Kirkland, Washington, with her husband Samwise and their cats.Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:
Table of Contents
PRAISE FOR CHANGELING
“The second in Galenorn’s D’Artigo Sisters series ratchets up the danger and romantic entanglements. Along with the quirky humor and characters readers have come to expect is a moving tale of a woman more comfortable in her cat skin than in her human form, looking to find her place in the world.” —Booklist
"Galenorn’s thrilling supernatural series is gritty and dangerous, but it’s the tumultuous relationships between all the various characters that give it depth and heart. Vivid, sexy, and mesmerizing, Galenorn’s novel hits the paranormal sweet spot.”
“Yasmine Galenorn has created another winner. . . . Changeling is a can’t miss read destined to hold a special place on your keeper shelf.” —Romance Reviews Today
PRAISE FOR WITCHLING
"Reminiscent of Laurell K. Hamilton with a lighter touch . . . a delightful new series that simmers with fun and magic.”
—Mary Jo Putney, New York Times bestselling author of A Distant Magic
“The first in an engrossing new series . . . a whimsical reminder of fantasy’s importance in everyday life.” —Publishers Weekly
“Witchling is pure delight . . . a great heroine, designer gear, dead guys, and Seattle precipitation!”
—MaryJanice Davidson, New York Times bestselling author of Swimming Without a Net
“Witchling is one sexy, fantastic paranormal-mystery-romantic read.”
—Terese Ramin, author of Shotgun Honeymoon
“Galenorn’s kick-butt Fae ramp up the action in a wyrd world gone awry . . . I loved it!” —Patricia Rice, author of Mystic Guardian
“A fun read, filled with surprise and enchantment.”
—Linda Winstead Jones, author of Raintree: Haunted
The Otherworld Series
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This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental. The publisher does not have any control over and does not assume any responsibility for author or third-party websites or their content.
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To all you sensual men
who make us hunger for dark knights
in a garden strewn with rose petals and thorns.
Thank you to my husband for being such an inspiration, in so many ways. Thanks also to my agent, Meredith Bernstein, and my editor, Kate Seaver. I also want to thank my cover artist, Tony Mauro, whose artistic talents bring my visions to life. Thanks to my Witchy Chicks, the best blogging group on the Net and a supportive cyber-family. And thank you to my friends for supporting me through the ups and downs of this career.
To my cats, my little “Galenorn Gurlz.” To Ukko, Rauni, Mielikki, and Tapio, my spiritual guardians.
Thank you to my readers, both old and new. Your support helps keep us in ink and fuels our love of storytelling.
You can find me on the Net at Galenorn En/Visions: www .galenorn.com, at MySpace, and you can contact me via e-mail on my site. If you write to me snail mail (see Web site for address or write via publisher), please enclose a stamped, self-addressed envelope with your letter if you would like a reply.
Power Play: Bid for advantage: an attempt to gain an advantage by a display of strength or superiority, e.g., in a negotiation or relationship.
— MICROSOFT ENCARTA 2006
The secret of success is learning how to use pain and pleasure instead of having pain and pleasure use you. If you do that, you’re in control of your life. If you don’t, life controls you.
— TONY ROBBINS
There was pixie dust in the air. I could feel it seeping in from under the door of the Indigo Crescent, my bookshop, as it wafted up to tickle the back of my throat. There was no mistaking the stuff; it was different from just about every other manifestation of Fae magic there was. Sparkling, the dust shimmered on the astral, hovering in that in-between place. Not quite physical, not quite ethereal. And yet pixie magic had more effect on humans and the human realm than it did on anybody else.
Curious. The fact that I could sense it all the way back in my office meant it came from a pixie with strong magic. Otherworld magic, if I wasn’t off my mark. I hadn’t seen an Earthside pixie near my shop since I’d been here. Or at least, I didn’t think any were around. The creatures usually gave me a wide berth, partly because I was half-Fae and partly because I was a witch. Either way, they didn’t trust me.
A number of witches back in Otherworld made a habit of trapping pixies to harvest their dust. The pixies weren’t hurt, but they took a severe blow to the ego during the process, especially when some of their captors sold the dust for profits that would make even a leprechaun blink. Of course, the pixies didn’t get one penny from the transaction, and sometimes they banded together to raid a shop with some success. But for the most part, they just tried to avoid us altogether.
Of course, I didn’t trust them, either. Pixies were born troublemakers, and they enjoyed every minute of it. They weren’t usually dangerous, not in the way your average pain-in-the-neck goblin was, but they were trouble all the same.
I finished counting the receipts and tucked the money from the cash register into a strongbox, hiding it in the bottom drawer of my desk. So much for another slow day. The Indigo Crescent was having an off month. Either nobody was reading, or I wasn’t moving in enough new stock to draw in new customers.
I gathered my purse and keys. My sister Delilah was already gone for the day. She ran a casual PI business upstairs from my shop, but she’d been out on a case most of the day and hadn’t bothered with more than a quick check-your-messages pit stop this morning.
Glancing around my office to make sure everything was in order, I slipped on a light capelet. My tastes ran toward bustiers, camisoles, and chiffon skirts, not exactly weather-appropriate wear, but I wasn’t about to change my style because of a few storm clouds.
We were nearing the vernal equinox, and Seattle was still chilly and overcast. Roiling gray clouds seeded with fat, heavy raindrops had moved in from the ocean, opening up to splatter the sidewalks and roads.
Granted, the trees around the city were vibrant with budding leaves, and the moss gave off a rich, loamy scent, but spring in western Washington was a far cry from spring back in Otherworld. By now, the skies over OW would be stained with thin rivulets of gold from the setting sun, creating a watercolor wash as they blended into the indigo of the approaching twilight. The warm blush of the waxing year would encourage the night-martins to sing every evening, and the smell of Terebell’s flowers would permeate the gardens around our house.
Sighing, and a little bit homesick—memories were all we had of our home in OW right now—I set the alarm system and locked the door. Tired or not, I’d better find out where the pixie dust was coming from. If a group of them had moved into the neighborhood, all the shops would be in for trouble.
As I turned toward the sidewalk, a whinny caught my attention, crowding out any idea of tracking down the wayward pixie. I glanced up the street and froze. What the hell?
A unicorn was heading my way. He passed Baba Yaga’s Deli, which had moved in next to my bookstore, and then stopped, close enough for me to feel his breath on my face.
With a nonchalant bob of the head, the unicorn said, “Good evening, Lady Camille.”
I blinked, wondering if I’d been working a little too hard. But no, he was still there. His coat shimmered with that silky, luminous white that only adorns magical creatures. His eyes glinted with intelligence, and his horn sparkled a lustrous gold. That’s how I knew he was a male, other than the obvious anatomical signs, which were most definitely in attendance. Female unicorns have silver horns.
The more I looked at him, the more he reminded me of something out of one of those ethereal perfume commercials— the ones where I was never sure just what they were advertising until they splashed the bottle on the screen and the announcer warbled something lame like, “Magic—experience the thrill.”
I blinked again.
He was still there. Clearing my throat, I was about to ask him what he was doing meandering through the streets of Seattle, when a noise from up the street startled me. As I turned, a goblin, a Sawberry Fae, and a bugbear emerged from a nearby alley and started our way. They looked pissed.
I know, I know. A goblin, a Fae, and a bugbear wander into a bar where they meet this gorgeous wench with her boobs hanging out . . .
My train of thought stopped in mid-joke when, in a matter of seconds, the situation deteriorated from a whimsical what the hell is going on to oh no they can’t really be planning to do that.
The goblin held up a blowgun and took aim at the unicorn.
“Hand over the pixie, Feddrah-Dahns, or you’re dead!” The bugbear’s voice was guttural, and he spoke in Calouk, the rough, common dialect familiar to most Otherworld citizens. The words were garbled. The threat was clear.
Cripes! Without a second thought—unicorns were dangerous and beautiful, but goblins were just dangerous and stupid—I closed my eyes and whispered a quick chant to the wind. My fingers tingled as a thick bolt of energy slammed through me, gathered from the gusts blowing steadily in an east-northeasterly direction. As the rippling force raced down my arms, I focused on forming it into a ball in my hands, then sent it tumbling toward the goblin.
Please don’t let my magic fail me now, I silently begged. A lot of my magic went haywire because of my half-Fae, half-human blood. Call it faulty wiring or even just plain old bad luck, but I was never quite sure when a spell would take, or if it would take right, or if it would slam out of me racing ninety miles an hour like an express train out of control. I’d already ruined one hotel room this year playing around with lightning and rain. I wasn’t keen on the idea of possibly tearing up the pavement and having a city street crew cussing me out.
This go-round, the Moon Mother smiled on me, and the spell held true. The bolt hit the goblin square in the chest, knocking him off his feet before he could shoot his dart at the unicorn. The spell didn’t stop there, though. After it KO’d the goblin, the magical gust of wind ricocheted off the side of my bookstore and bounced back, slamming into the bugbear, sending him rolling into the streets like a trash can on a windy day.
I stared at the chaos I’d managed to wreak in just a few seconds, caught between mild embarrassment and intense pride. I was getting pretty good! I usually didn’t manage to pack that strong a punch, especially with wind magic. Maybe a little of Iris’s skill was rubbing off on me.
“Youch!” The tickle of a lash licked my arm, sending a white flame through my skin and jerking me out of my self-congratulatory mood. “That hurt, damn it!”
I turned to see the Sawberry Fae was bearing down on me, whip in hand. Scrambling a few steps to the side, I said, “No thanks, I’m not interested in your kinky little games.” Maybe I’d better focus on the here and now. There’d be time for patting myself on the back later.
He licked his lips, drawing back the whip once more. Eww. I had the feeling this dude was enjoying himself just a little too much. Apparently the unicorn had taken notice of the fight. The gorgeous stallion galloped past me, horn lowered, and skewered the Fae in the shoulder, tossing him three feet into the air and five feet back. The screaming man hit the sidewalk and lay there, bleeding like a stuck pig.
The carnage continued as a speeding car screeched around the corner and ran over the bugbear. Splat. Flat as a pancake. The Porsche—at least it looked like a Porsche—sped off before I could get the license plate.
I shrugged. I had my sincere doubts that the bugbear would have wished me any better luck, so I wasn’t going to waste any tears on him. I turned back to the mayhem on the sidewalk.
“Well . . .” There wasn’t much else to say. It wasn’t every day a bunch of Otherworld creatures got themselves mowed down in front of my bookstore.
The unicorn trotted over to my side. I glanced up into his face, mesmeri...
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Descripción Tantor Media, 2009. Audio CD. Estado de conservación: Brand New. unabridged edition. 5.50x6.50x1.00 inches. In Stock. Nº de ref. de la librería 140010999X