My name is Alex Layton and I'm a soul familiar. What's a soul familiar? Witches and wizards use familiars to enhance their powers. Soul familiars become not only partners with their chosen mates -- we bond with our partners, heart, body, mind, and soul.
I've found my soul mate, but to keep him, we face a challenge. Magical combat designed to test our bond and its strength. If we pass, we live happily ever after. If we lose... let's just say I refuse to lose. All we have to deal with is the powerful and practiced duo consisting of a fellow soul familiar and his mate who are gunning for us, and one accident of nature whose erratic powers are making our spells produce daffodils instead of dragons.
Tyler Montgomery and I have run out of time. If we win, our bond becomes permanent. If we lose, we are separated forever. With options like those, fate had better watch her ass.
The Soul Familiar collection contains the previously published novellas Lucky Dog, Unpredictable, and Fated.
Soul Familiar (Collection)
Excerpt from Lucky Dog
All rights reserved.
Copyright ©2012 Kate Steele
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I was in my studio, minding my own business, and just working away. It was late or early as the case may be. Nearly one a.m. I was really in the zone too. I was doing some exceedingly detailed work on the wings of a griffin. You ever try to sculpt feathers? Depending on how you do it, it�s painstaking work. My technique involves toothpicks and fingers that cramp in protest after a couple of hours. I was nearing the tip of one wing when I felt this prickly sensation on the back of my neck. It actually made me shiver.
Before I knew it, that prickly feeling had turned into a tingle that started sliding down my spine. Someone was calling me. �Son of a bitch. You have got to be kidding me. Now? Not a nudge, not a niggle in how many years and you gotta call me now? Now when I�m working!�
Okay, I�ll admit I was growling at this point but I hate to be interrupted while I�m in the zone. And you try watching yourself grow transparent, see how you like it. It�s a little disconcerting. The clay-covered toothpick I was holding dropped from my slowly disappearing fingers and I heard a spate of protesting squeaks come from across the room. Mustering a breath, I managed to answer them. �It�s okay, Kohe; I won�t be gone long.� I took one last, longing look at my griffin before I was unceremoniously yanked off to God knows where.
The trip was over in no time. It�s no big deal and there�s no scenery on the way. It�s like zipping down a long, dark tunnel until light appears at the other end and wham, there you are. It is a little hard on the stomach. You, like, go weightless and there�s this nifty spinning sensation. When you arrive it�s sort of like how you feel after a really rad rollercoaster ride. Barf bags recommended for those of weak constitution.
So where was I? Good question. It looked like a public library. A small, old, and well-established one. There were rows of sturdy, free standing bookcases made of thick, prominently grained and heavy oak with every shelf filled with books. The end of each bookcase bore signs that labeled their content by subject and with what I assumed were card catalogue numbers.
Through the windows across the room, I could see it was dark outside and the clock on the wall proclaimed to the world that it was one oh three a.m. At least I was still in the same time zone, miracle of miracles. It also explained the subdued lighting. Apparently they turned off a good two-thirds of the overhead fluorescents after hours.
I was standing in an area that was obviously meant for in-house study. The carpet was a short-napped utilitarian gray and on it rested a couple of library tables in the same thick, heavy oak as the shelves. The chairs matched the tables and actually had the luxury of padded seats and backs.
I took a deep breath and almost hummed with pleasure. I love the smell of books. Libraries all have this same, basic aroma. It�s a combination of paper and leather, ink and humanity. All that knowledge, information, and entertainment bound in millions of neat, tight rectangles. How easily it binds the humans who seek it. For some people, books emit a siren song more beguiling than one sung by the most enchanting of sea nymphs. I might not be human but I guess I�m one of those people. I�ve had plenty of time to fill over the years and a good part of that has been whiled away in libraries. After all, I can�t spend all my time carousing.
Here in this place, after hours and apparently all alone, I found another person who shared at least one of my interests. Head down and seemingly totally oblivious to my presence, was the person who�d summoned me. From where I stood and from what I could see at first, I wasn't impressed. He looked young. A mop of golden blond hair graced a head that was bent over a book. When he angled his chin slightly to read from one page to the next, I saw a glint of light. He was wearing glasses.
Barefoot, I made no sound as I crossed the carpeted floor. I leaned over him and in my best Lurch from the Addams Family imitation growled, �You rang.�