Here is the first chapter of the upcoming Maxie Duncan Novel. Enjoy.
I raised my arms over my head, stretching as the warm tropical sun shone down over my body. My pink rhinestone bikini sparkled brightly as I reclined in my mahogany chaise lounge. My skin had a deliciously golden sheen and was perfectly unmarred. Absolutely no sign of scars or black swirls on this beach babe.
The beach stretched around me as the ocean sparkled a deep, rich blue that only the Caribbean could provide.
“Here you go, Miss,” a tall, dark god of a man said, leaning down to offer me some kind of pink fruity drink. His well-oiled chest glistened in the afternoon sun and I murmured my thanks as I took the glass. I was thankful for many things here in my paradise.
I sipped at my pink concoction and sighed, adjusting my black Dior shades. This was exactly what the doctor ordered. There was nothing a tropical vacation couldn’t fix.
Even if it was the stress of almost dying. Several times.
Time sure flew when you were trying to keep your hide in one piece. I couldn’t believe it was already the beginning of February. A new year, a new me. One I wished I had found much, much sooner.
I was a witch and darn proud of it. I was holding my own in the magical world. I had even taken down an old God.
Then again, maybe I shouldn’t count that one as a personal victory. After all, I did summon him in the first place.
However, to get back to the point, I had been a busy witch. And I desperately needed this time to myself. Even if it only lasted a few minutes.
I closed my eyes, taking in the peace that was flowing freely from my little piece of heaven. It felt better than a stroll down Fifth Avenue. No worry. No troubles. Just my bliss and me.
“Maxie,” a voice said softly as a shadow fell over me. Okay. So much for my bliss.
I cracked an eye opened and stared up at the man before me, my heart fluttering at the sight of him. I didn’t know why I felt the way I did about the bookstore owner. It was a complete mystery to me.
I mean the only other guys I’ve fallen for were either a corporate lawyer wanna-be from old money, or a movie star from even older money. You could see where I was going with this. I didn’t normally fall for some guy-next-door, bookish type, but here I was, trying to calm the stirring of my soul just because he pops in.
He had that much of an effect on me and we weren’t even dating. I know. Sometimes I can be such an idiot.
“Jensen?” I said, feeling a little perturbed by his intrusion. I mean, I came here to unwind, not to have a coronary just because his soulful green eyes were focused on me.
He glanced around the beach, his eyes lingering for a moment on the surf. “Nice place.”
I sat up, placing my glass on the stand next to my lounge. Well, so much for relaxing. It looked like my vacation was officially over.
The well-oiled god hurried back over as he spotted the empty glass. “Would you care for another, Miss?”
Jensen looked at him, and then back at me, his eyebrows rising in a question. “Ah, so that’s how it is, huh?” he asked, a hint of amusement in his voice. He was going to enjoy watching me squirm.
I glanced back up at the cabana boy. “No, Roberto. I think it’s time for me to be leaving now. Thank you.”
He flashed me a dazzling white smile before retreating, taking my empty glass with him. Yeah, I was bad.
“What?” I asked innocently as I turned back to the guy who never failed to make my heart beat faster. So what if I was indulging in a little eye candy? This was my paradise.
He shook his head, a hint of a smile on his perfect lips as he sat down on the edge of the chair next to me. “Nothing,” he said, letting me off the hook.
I felt my cheeks heat up as I glanced away. “What are you doing here?” I asked, eager to distract my thoughts.
“Van’s trying to get a hold of you. She needs you to cover the rest of her shift for her.”
I glanced back at him. That was odd. Van was just as responsible as Jensen when it came to work. She never played hooky. “Is everything okay?”
He shrugged. “Don’t know. Her sister showed up and I think she wants to spend some time with her.”
I frowned slightly. Double odd. Van’s sister lived in Seattle. That was an awful long way to come just to chat over coffee. Plus, she would have told me if it was a planned trip, wouldn’t she?
I sighed. Yep. This little piece of found paradise had most definitely reached its end. Time to get back to the real world. “Okay. I’m leaving,” I told him as I stretched. It had been fun while it lasted.
Jensen watched me with amused eyes. “I should have never taught you how to meditate like this,” he said. “You’ll always be off on some kind of mind adventure now…with shirtless cabana boys.”
Ah, so he was jealous. “Don’t worry,” I told him with a grin. “My real life is way more of an adventure than anything I could come up with. I just needed a few minutes here to recharge my batteries.” I looked pointedly over at him. “Next time, knock first.”
He grinned. “Yes, dear,” he said before standing up from the chair. “See you later?”
“You know it,” I told him and closed my eyes. I took a deep breath, letting it out slowly before reopening them.
I was back in my room, lying on my fabulous sleigh bed. I sat up slowly, stretching out all my muscles. I felt as if I had honestly spent a relaxing day at the beach. I could still even feel the sun’s caresses against my skin.
These mini meditation breaks Jensen had taught me were quickly becoming one of my favorite things in the whole world. How did I not know about these sooner?
A witch could close their eyes, turn a bit of focus on calming their mind, and end up just about anywhere their imagination wanted them.
And it was cheaper than going to the movies.
I reluctantly stood up, fluffing my bed-head mess in the mirror. The dark black swirls that marred my body showed plainly through the straps of my tank top. I frowned, my fingers sliding over the white puckered flesh that covered my left shoulder.
The bite that the Byangorma had given me had left several changes to my body. No longer was I as flawless as I once had been. They were my reminder that I was no longer Maxie Marie Duncan, rich man’s daughter from New Haven, Maine. That Maxie was gone. Fallen in a battle to keep her head in the clouds.
I was the new Maxie. The stronger Maxie. I was awake now. I had earned these marks. They were as much me as my magic was.
But…that didn’t mean I had to live with them.
I turned sideways, my eyes roaming over the marks. I whispered words, letting them flow free, coating over my body into an invisible armor. The swirly tribal tattoos and the horrid scar disappeared from sight, leaving my skin as fresh as it once was. It was only an illusion, but it worked every time. I told you. It was good to have magic.
With a final appreciative glance in the mirror, I padded my way into the bathroom. It looked like my day off had been cancelled. It was time to go to work.
© 2013 Melissa L. Webb
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