Bad Magic (Spell Slave #1) by Evelyn Elliott
Release Date: October 28, 2015
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Christine Griffin
Morality is relative. At least that’s what young sorcerer Regis Teller convinces himself. He’s done what he must to survive: working for a witch since he was nine, helping her throw the kingdom into anarchy, and taking his only comfort in her mysterious son, Crow. And soon, Regis is going to commit his first murder.
A do-gooder named Jonathan White has information the witch needs, and it’s Regis’s job to get that information and slit Jonathan’s throat. But then Regis actually meets Jonathan. And Jonathan is perfect—a hero with a passion for justice and little regard for civility.
Lucky for Regis, Jonathan has a weakness for attractive men. Lucky for Jonathan, Regis is fast developing a conscience and a heart. But for Regis, keeping both of them alive at their adventure’s end means breaking a magical oath and surviving his ruthless boss—all without telling Jonathan the truth. Falling in love is never easy, especially when everyone involved is lying through their teeth.
Pages or Words: 161 pages, 55,000 words
Can be read as a standalone
Categories: Bisexual, Fantasy, M/M Romance, Romance
Chartreuse was a dragon, and as such, it took an entire barrel of wine to get her drunk. When she was done, she kicked the barrel over and waddled over to Jonathan. Human friend, she said. What are you doing? Human celebrations are for drinking and mating, yes? So go mate with someone.
Oh, stop sulking. No one in this kingdom cares if you mate with other males or not. Just make sure you don’t produce an egg, and we’ll be fine.
Jonathan pinched the bridge of his noise. “Produce a—what? It doesn’t work like that.”
She pushed him with her tail. I tire of you. Go mate.
Stumbling upright, he wandered to where a round man was serving mulled wine to anyone sober enough to pay. He headed to the only empty table and sat.
Almost immediately, a man came over. A striking man, at that. His skin was remarkably fine, white as eggshells, and his dark hair cut a line over his shoulder. He looked delicate rather than sturdy. Despite this, he wore a row of throwing knives on his belt. Without asking, he sat across from Jonathan. “Well hello, hero. I hear you killed the baron.”
“I’m not in the mood for talking,” Jonathan said.
“Lovely. Neither am I.”
“Get lost. You’re not my type.”
The stranger smiled wryly. “C’mon. You’re the savior of the whole damn town, and you’re over here looking miserable. I feel bad for you, all right? Let me buy you a drink. I’ll sit here and scowl at anyone who tries to flirt with you.” Jonathan motioned for the barmaid to bring him a drink. “Allow me,” the stranger said, tossing her a coin. “Where you from, hero?”
Gods above. Jonathan put his head down. “The North. You?”
The stranger waved dismissively. “Not important. So, is the North really all ice and mountains and dragons?”
“I hear you barbarians can really drink.”
“Also true.” Jonathan chuckled as the stranger raised his cup in a mock toast. They both took a long drink, Jonathan draining his completely. The stranger looked suitably impressed, motioning the barkeep for two more drinks and paying yet again. Jonathan took another draught. He coughed, throat burning. This new drink was quite a bit stronger than his last.
The stranger smiled guiltily. “You look like you need it.”
Jonathan sighed. “I do.”
His new companion didn’t press him for details, something Jonathan was painfully grateful for. He wasn’t sure he wanted to talk about it. He wasn’t sure he wanted to think about it, ever.
Gods, but he wanted to kiss Regis again.
The stranger stretched. Jonathan watched from the corners of his eyes and weighed his options. The people of the North didn’t approve of such things. His family had expected him to marry a woman to have children with, an idea Jonathan found repulsive on multiple accounts. He knew what he wanted: a traveling companion. Male. Smart. Mouthy, maybe.
“So,” the stranger said, “what were you sulking about?”
“I’m not sulking. I’m frustrated.” Jonathan sighed. “Have you ever been attracted to someone you shouldn’t be?”
“Haven’t we all?”
“No, I mean, I really shouldn’t be. He’s an ass.” The stranger laughed. “No, seriously. I didn’t care for him at first, but he’s just… so easy to be around.” Jonathan drew out the words, one by one, like he was voicing something he didn’t fully understand. “It’s like there’s no filter between his brain and his mouth. He’s never polite for the sake of being polite. And I guess I’m going to miss him, you know? When all this is over. I’m helping him with this quest, see, and I’m not sure what’s going to happen once we’re done.”
“So why don’t you tell him that?”
“I don’t think he feels the same,” Jonathan said. “I kissed him, and he pushed me away.” He exhaled sharply. “He looked horrified.”
“I wouldn’t worry about it too much,” the stranger said. “I bet he already has a lover. Someone dashing and handsome. Funny, too. You can’t compete with that.”
Jonathan shook his head. “He’s attracted to women.”
The stranger leaned back in his chair. “So where you’re from, people are only attracted to one gender or the other?”
“Well, yes. Mostly just the opposite gender. I thought you knew that.”
“I knew Northerners had some bizarre taboos,” the stranger said. “I hear you only have sex to make children. Is it true? That’s disgusting. Who associates sex with childbirth?”
“Wait, so, all Tyrians are… are attracted to everyone?”
“You’re thinking of prostitutes,” the stranger said. “And to be honest, I think most of them are just in it for the money.” Jonathan snorted. “You have something on your mouth,” the stranger said. He made a motion across his lips.
“You mean the scar?”
“Mhm. Is there a story behind it?”
Jonathan took another drink. The man was attractive. There was no denying that. And he wasn’t much like Regis, which was important, because Jonathan would give anything to forget that disaster.
He’d told this story before. He usually made something up. This time, he settled for something close to the truth. “When I was a kid, I kissed my best friend. He bit me, leaving—well, this.” He gestured to the scar. “He told my father, who later confronted me. I lied. I said we’d fought, the mark was a knife wound, and my friend was making up stories to get me in trouble.”
“Did your father believe you?”
Jonathan considered the question. His father hadn’t believed him. His father had known everything. His father had never asked him to enjoy sleeping with women, only to keep his perversions quiet. Take a wife. Have some children. Become jarl. Dance like a puppet. Jonathan had nearly lost his mind.
But Jonathan hadn’t told anyone the full story in a very long time, and he wasn’t about to start now. It hurt too much to say out loud. “I think so,” he said. “My father let it go, but my friend never talked to me again. A while later, I found Chartreuse and realized that I was as bad at hunting dragons as I was at bedding women. So I told my family I was going to become an adventurer, and I left.” There was an extended silence. Jonathan groaned. “I’m sorry. You don’t need to hear this. I’m just another drunk raving about his troubles.”
The stranger patted him. “I’m here to listen.”
“You’re just trying to sleep with me.”
The stranger grinned. “Is it that obvious?”
“You keep batting your eyes at me. You’re also trying to get me drunk.”
“Don’t be ridiculous,” said the stranger. “You’ve had twice as much as me, and you’re twice as sober. No, I’m trying to get myself drunk. I’m desperately hoping some big, strong alpha-male type will take advantage of me. You know, someone tall, blond, handsome, maybe with a pleasing foreign accent.”
“I bet you think you’re charming.”
“Oh, I do.”
Against his will, Jonathan smiled.
The stranger staggered to his feet. “Alas, it seems you don’t.” He set another coin on the table. “Take my advice. Have another round. Fuck somebody pretty. You might be dead in a week, Jonathan.”
He turned to go. Jonathan reacted purely on instinct, grabbing him by the arm. The stranger looked back, first at Jonathan’s grip, then up, and Jonathan realized what he had done. The contact was illicit, strange. He could feel muscle beneath his grip. “You’re going?” he said.
The stranger chuckled. “To find someone who thinks I’m their type.”
“Types are bullshit,” Jonathan said.
He let go. The stranger didn’t leave. He paused instead, resting his hands on the back of his chair, and rather than sit again, he looked Jonathan up and down. His lips parted, but for once, he seemed to have no witty remark on hand. “Cat got your tongue?” Jonathan asked.
“Hush,” said the stranger. “I’ll think of something in a moment.”
“And here I thought I was being seduced by someone clever. Pity. You almost had me.”
“Oh? I’ll have to try harder.” He laid a hand on Jonathan’s bicep. He ran his thumb over the muscle there, making no coy attempt to hide what he was doing. To be touched so overtly, and by someone he didn’t know… to have this person crowding his personal space… it lit all his senses.
Up close, Jonathan could see that his eyes were not brown, but black as coal. There was a significant pause. Jonathan said, “I thought you were going to try harder.”
“I am trying harder.” He reached out. His fingers brushed past Jonathan’s ear, resting on his nape, and Jonathan held still. The stranger leaned down. A breath away, he held there.
Jonathan had been amused, before.
Now the lighthearted air had transformed into something else entirely. He was keenly aware of how long it had been since he’d had another man, keenly aware of the smell of him: a spicy, heady scent, doubtless something he wore. This was a man who knew what he was doing. “You’re very good at this,” Jonathan said hoarsely.
“I’m very good at a lot of things.”
“Like being arrogant?”
“Among others. I could show you.”
Jonathan kissed him. A curious, chaste brush of lips. The stranger’s breath caught, and the sound of it undid Jonathan completely. He rose from his seat, pulling the man closer to him. Lips parted sweetly, but nothing deepened, each pressing and then drawing away, before at last they let each other go. Jonathan focused on the table. In his haste to stand, he had knocked over his drink.
“I hear the innkeeper put you up for free,” said the stranger. “You have a room?”
Jonathan laughed. “I don’t even know your name.”
He kissed Jonathan’s hand. “Crow,” he said. “It’s a pleasure to meet you, Jonathan.”
Meet the Author
At first glance, Evelyn Elliott seems like a perfectly normal person. Do not be deceived.
Her hobbies include watching grisly horror movies, torturing her characters, and tending to her flower garden. She enjoys long walks on the beach and collecting the souls of small children. Whenever she reads a book, she always roots for the villain.
Avoid her at all costs. Certainly do not find her on facebook or befriend her online. You have better things to do.
Where to find the author:
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