Sassy Saturday: Burned by Magic Part 5

November 28, 2015

Hello, and welcome to week 5 of the Sassy Saturday Blog Hop! Over the coming weeks, participating authors will be showcasing excerpts from novels about kick-butt heroines. We post every Saturday, so if you’d like to participate you can sign up here.

The excerpt I’m sharing below is from the unedited opening scene for my New Adult Fantasy, Burned by Magic, which is due out on December 24th. Burned by Magic stars Sunaya Baine, a shifter-mage hybrid with a potty mouth and an innate sense of justice that tend to get her in trouble in a corrupt world where she is considered a minority, at best.

If you need to refresh yourself on what happened in Part 4, you can do so here.

BURNED BY MAGIC – PART 5

“What?” Comenius and Noria both gasped at the same time, their eyes huge.

“When?” Comenius asked.

“How?” Noria demanded.

I sighed, exhaustion dragging at the edges of my brain. I hadn’t slept in over twenty-four hours – it had been nearly midnight when I’d gotten Roanas’s cry for help – and on top of that, I was emotionally exhausted. Comenius, sensing my fatigue, had Noria lock the front door and flip the ‘OPEN’ sign around to ‘CLOSED’, then brought out a pot of his soothing tea and had us all settle into the small sitting area in a corner of the shop so I could tell them the story.

I told them everything between sips of tea, silently thanking Magorah, the All-Creator, as the herbal concoction soothed my ragged nerves and bolstered my flagging energy levels. Comenius was a hedge-witch; all of his spells, amulets, concoctions and devices were created using nature magic, and he made some of the most killer herbal remedies around, amongst other things. Hence why everything in the shop was made out of natural materials, and also the reason Comenius couldn’t operate the cash register to save his life. It was like he had an allergy to anything remotely made of machinery.

“By the Ur-God,” Noria whispered. Her dark eyes shimmered with tears. “I’m so sorry, Naya. That’s terrible.”

“Silver poisoning?” Comenius’s eyes were narrowed as he pondered the issue. “And you say he told you the silver was some kind of solution that was undetectable by scent or taste?”

I nodded. “Do you know any herbs that might be able to do that?” I asked, leaning forward in my chair. I’d hoped his vast knowledge of plant lore might point me in the right direction. And since I was currently an outcast at all my usual haunts, he was the only person I could turn to for help.

Comenius tapped his square chin as he thought. “I might,” he muttered, his gaze scanning a shelf filled with jars of dried leaves and roots. “But most of them wouldn’t meld with silver.” He paused, turning his narrowed gaze back to me. “Are you investigating this in an official capacity?”

“No.” My cheeks flushed, but I stubbornly held his gaze. “The Guild sent two goons from the Main Crew to handle it. You know they wouldn’t let me investigate my own mentor’s murder.”

“Shouldn’t you –”

“Com,” Noria interjected, her brows drawing together as she cut him off. “You don’t really expect Naya to sit back and let those half-assed jerks investigate Roanas’s death, do you?”

“Well, no.” Comenius hesitated, uncertainty flickering in his eyes. “But I can’t say I’m entirely comfortable putting my shop on the line by aiding Naya in an unauthorized investigation either.” He leaned forward to pin me with a gimlet stare. “Haven’t you considered that this might be the reason your mentor was killed? Because he was sticking his nose where someone thought it didn’t belong?”

“Yes,” I said evenly before Noria exploded. While the kid’s outrage on my behalf was admirable, I didn’t need her losing her job over it. “But that isn’t going to stop me from flushing out the bastard who killed him, and bringing them to justice. Brin and Nila care more about getting their bounty than getting actual justice for Roanas, which means that whoever murdered him is going to keep on knocking off other shifters unchecked. This is a lot bigger than a revenge kick, Com. It’s about the safety of the shifter community in general.”

Comenius sighed, running a hand through his pale hair. “I wish that you could go to the Shifter Council about this. That would be much more appropriate, and possibly more effective too.”

I scowled. “You know why I can’t do that.” As a half-shifter, my word was worth significantly less than that of a full-blooded shifter, and on top of that my Aunt Mafiela, the head of the Jaguar Clan, was on the Council. Normally that would be an advantage, except that she regarded the shit stains on her underwear more highly than she did me, especially after my mother passed away. There was no way the Council would allow me to participate in an investigation if I initiated one with them, not if she had anything to say about it.

“I know. And that’s why I’ll look into it.” He rose, and the loose fabric of his dark green tunic rippled with the motion. “I’ll be right back.”

Stop by next Saturday to find out what happens next!

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J.J. Green

Poor Naya. I hope she finds Roanas’ killer. And what’s Comenius up to?

Mr Brian Wilkerson

An official council for Shifters’s and separate from the Mages? Interesting. Also, your protagonist has the worst luck with authority figures. One more thing, is “witch” a gender-neutral term in this verse?

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