Spells are willful little things. Once uttered, they can take on a life of their own, and that's usually when the trouble begins…
The spell that love casts is transformational. These nine m/m/f ménage stories are about the bonds that go beyond words, and to places no one expects.
In "Bad Hoodoo," BA Tortuga demonstrates the perils of playing diva in voodoo country. "Play Music, Play Magic" by Maia Strong relates the gentler side of a witch's power as she celebrates her homecoming. Sometimes, though, a witch is not enough--in "The Antithesis of Magic," JL Merrow shows how all the pieces must come together for magic to truly bind. Nor is a witch's magic always benevolent, as the lovers find out in "Ironheart," by Shea Meier. And in CC Bridges' "The Shore House," there is no witch at all--only her wisdom to guide a novice hand.
Some lovers, too, are inherently magical. Sylphs and undines are simply themselves in Penelope Friday's "The Birth of the Year," while Titania's crew raises their usual mayhem in Giselle Renarde's "Midsummer Morning Woods." In "The Winter King," by Kathryn Scannell, ancient gods manifest for their worshippers. Finally, in "Sleeping With Monsters," Kiernan Kelly looks at the spell itself to find the magic there.
From: "Play Music, Play Magic" by Maia Strong
He didn't know the song she played, but it hardly mattered. Noula's music was... enchanting. The notes intertwined like a tapestry growing on the loom of a master weaver. Complex, subtle, haunting. Beautiful. He'd listened closely to every Wand'ring Minstrel he had ever come across -- here in Yanto, back in Western Zephren, and everywhere in between -- and no one he had heard could do what Noula could do. And with such a deceptively simple instrument as a recorder.
Simple. There was nothing simple about what was happening. Colors and light that had nothing to do with the candle lanterns began to swirl slowly around the edges of his vision. Rhys sighed and leaned into his husband, resting his head on Isaac's strong shoulder. Isaac reached an arm around him, kissed him on the top of his head. For that suspended moment, everything was perfect in Rhys' world.
Subtly, the tone of the music changed. Where before it had buoyed him on pillows of flannel stuffed with the softest down, now it grew sleeker and less cozy, and yet no less welcoming. He floated on the melody, rich as silk, spicy as cinnamon, and exotic as the island paradise Noula had spoken of earlier. The music flowed over his skin and into his blood, warming it from within.
Isaac's arm around him squeezed a little tighter, and Rhys opened eyes he hadn't realized had fallen shut. The colors he had seen in the room had continued behind his eyelids, and now, as he opened them, those swirls and eddies of rainbow light were there with him in the room again, too. He turned his head and looked deep into his husband's jet-black eyes, sparkling like obsidian with every flicker of light. He didn't have to look down or reach out a hand to know that Isaac felt what he felt. Craved what he craved.
Together, they turned and looked at Noula. She played on, but a knowing and eager twinkle was in her eyes.
Wordless and as one, the three of them rose from the table and headed for the ladder to the sleeping loft. Noula played the men up, bringing the tune to a suspended end as they reached the top. Pocketing her recorder, she climbed up after them, humming as she went.