Excerpt A dark cloud hung over Zander's family and friends as they wondered and worried if he would ever come out of his coma. The tension was thick, and everyone's nerves were on edge.
In a fit of frustration, Tau had decided that he couldn't sit idly by while the people responsible for Zander's condition went unpunished. Despite the group's best efforts to convince him not to go, he remained resolute. He had made his decision. He would kill them all.
"We can take my car," Waverly said as they rode down in the elevator.
"No, we can't. We need a vehicle that can't be traced from the scene. Your car will leave tire tracks, and we don't need that," Moore said.
"So what do you suggest? There are four of us, and Muslee's the only one who can walk through shadows," Waverly said.
"Aren't you a warlock?" Moore challenged.
Waverly raised his chin. "One of the best that ever graduated from Thalia Academy."
"Then prove it," Moore said.
When they exited the elevator, Waverly looked around the garage for a few minutes. There. A girl was stepping out of a brand-new SUV.
"What are you about to do?" Muslee asked warily.
"For my next trick, I'd like to point your attention to woman in the SUV. Muslee, tell me what we have here," Waverly said, nodding toward the woman.
Muslee rolled her eyes and played along. "This is one of Atlanta's many professional black women who hasn't found a man because she thinks she works too much, intimidates men with her success, won't settle for a down-low brother, or doesn't sleep with men on the first date. The truth is that she can't compete with Atlanta's gym bunnies, hasn't learned to cook, and has about as much style as Florida Evans from Good Times. Her navy J.C. Penney suit is about a half-size too small, and her three-inch heels look like they might give way at any moment. She styled her short bob at home, and she has no idea what her MAC foundation number is."
"We don't have time for this bullshit. Hurry up," Tau ordered.
"Relax. I've got this under control." Waverly smiled as he jogged to catch up with the woman.
"Excuse me, ma'am."
"Yes?" she turned and said with more attitude than someone with a press and curl should have.
"I'm sorry to bother you," he said. "My name is Tom, and I'm new to the area and was looking for a good restaurant. Is there one you would recommend?"
The woman looked around hesitantly. "It's nice to meet you, Tom." She smiled, flirting. "My name is Dora. Rosa Mexicano is one of my favorite places to eat."
"Great. I'll try it out," Waverly said, and extended his hand. She responded accordingly and slipped her hand into his. When she touched him, he looked into her eyes and enchanted her. "The world you want is the world you'll see -- you'll think this a date with me. My every wish is your command, but you will think that I am your man. None of this is what it seems, in the morning light I'll be a dream." Waverly waved his hand across her face and snapped his fingers. When he was done, Dora was bewitched.
"What did you just do to her?" Muslee asked as they joined Waverly and Dora.
"Just a little advanced magic. Please meet Dora, our driver for the night," Waverly said proudly.
"So she's going to drive us to Archer Carmichael's house?" Tau asked.
"She sure will," Waverly said.
"Will she remember any of us?" Muslee asked.
"Of course not," Waverly said. "This will all be a blur to her in the morning. All she'll remember is that a handsome man name Tom approached her in the garage and asked her to dinner. When we're done with her, we'll send her home and straight to bed. When she wakes up, she won't know what the hell happened."
He turned toward the woman. "Dora?" he asked.
"Yes, Tom?" she said in a monotone voice.
"We are going on a little trip. My friend, Muslee, is going to give you directions. When we get there, I want you to wait for us until we finish our business."
"Of course," Dora replied dryly.
"Impressive," Moore said.
"It's easier than it looks," Waverly admitted. "She was open to it because she wanted a brother like me to talk to her. The mind is a powerful thing."
They all jumped into Dora's SUV with Waverly in the front passenger's seat, and Tau, Muslee, and Moore in the spacious backseat. Muslee began giving directions immediately.
Waverly noticed that Tau had been checking the ruby looking stone off and on since he found out it had been taken from Zander. He was pretty sure that Tau was hoping to find a clue as to who had taken it and where they were. They were stopped at a traffic light when Tau saw the image of several envelopes and bills rifling before him in the ruby looking stone.
"Make her turn on the light. I think I have something here," Tau yelled. Waverly commanded Dora to do so, and she did.
"Look at this," Tau said, showing Muslee the ruby looking stone.
"There's the name Rita Miller and an address on several envelopes. It's an address in Stone Mountain," Muslee confirmed. "I know what you're thinking, Tau. Let's stick to the plan. Let's go to Archer Carmichael's place first, and then we can go to Stone Mountain."
Tau reluctantly agreed and began to repeat the address under his breath, memorizing it.
Muslee insisted they park in a strip mall a half-mile away from Archer's house, making sure to avoid any parking lot cameras. When they got out, Waverly cast another spell on Dora for her to leave and head straight home if they weren't back in one hour. Moore and Tau left their clothes behind a dumpster and shifted before they all took off toward Archer Carmichael's residence. They were at the property line in no time.
"Let me go deactivate the cameras and check things out," Muslee said without waiting on direction from Tau. She disabled every camera and security alarm in Archer's estate in less than seven minutes. She ended her sweep upstairs, where Archer was in his bedroom with Merle. She stopped to momentarily eavesdrop on Archer Carmichael and his meek assistant.
"I haven't shared this with you until now because I didn't know if I could trust you," Archer Carmichael was saying, "but my time is running out. I'm going to need for you to take a more active role in this process if I am going to find a cure before it is too late." He went on to show Merle a box -- Muslee could see a manuscript and three vials inside -- before explaining exactly why he had kidnapped Zander and Giovanni in the first place and how harvesting their bodily fluids might be the key to his cure.
Muslee, tucked away in the shadows, held her hand over her mouth in awe.