Joined: 21 Nov 2011
|Posted: Mon Nov 21, 2011 8:27 am Post subject: Warriors and Wenches - plus extract
|Hi, everyone, below is an extract from one of the lengthy tales in my first historical/paranormal/erotic romance anthology, Warriors and Wenches, out now from Melange Books:
(Blurb: Magical accountancy isn't Hollywood's most exciting profession. But when numeromancer Karlyn Summers finds a handsome knight unconscious in her basement, she's forced to find creative new uses for her skills.)
“This is my life we’re talking about here, Karlyn.”
Aldo’s voice had taken on that whiny tone I particularly despise in a man—though in Aldo Theakston’s case the term ‘man’ is inaccurate; he’s more of a four year old in a forty year old’s body. Actors. Can’t stand them. But, hey, the money’s good. Actors, like other superstitious people, believe that money has magical qualities: that it can make them younger, sexier, more powerful, and even immortal.
“Not on your life, Aldo.” I tried not to sigh down the phone line. “Your life, as you call it, is hanging by a line of that white powder you vacuum up with your nose every day. The fact that you can’t pay your...um...creditors is just a detail. Numbers on a piece of paper.”
“Easy for you to say.”
“So it is,” I assured him; that’s why Aldo had employed me, rather than a regular accountant. He’s always been bad with money —he hadn’t paid me for six months—but now he was not only in hock to the bank but also in very deep sh_t with some very bad people. So he comes to me, fearing for his life. Money could save him, but it would need to be rather a lot of it. As a practical woman, I know that plain as the nose on my face. But as a numeromancer, I also believe that money has magical qualities, though not of the same sort the Hollywood crowd believe, and I can prove it. I never use it for the mundane tricks the Aldo Theakstons of this world want to perform with it.
I could tell he was getting real antsy now. He needed calming down, and fast, or God knew what he would do. Kill himself? Doubtful. Run away? Not an option, without an expensive face job so nobody could recognize him. Rob a gas station? Wouldn’t put it past him. One thing was certain: whatever he might do, it was most likely to be something monumentally stupid. Like my ex, taking off with that 12 year old (okay, she was 21, but that’s just the first two numerals reversed, so it amounts to the same thing.)
I put on my best mother knows best tone: “Aldo, Aldo. You trust me, right? You need to leave this with me now. I will fix this.”
As he sobbed his thanks in his most affected actorly way I put the tip of my pen on the top sheet of the stack of PostIt® notes next to the phone and drew a series of sevens to make a triple spiral, symbol of the goddess Brigid. Next, I hung up. Briefly the interlocking knot of numbers glowed with a white fire, then faded back into plain blue ink. Contrary to popular belief the number seven isn’t lucky on its own; you have to put it to work. Creating a symbol out of it, like a Celtic knot, is one way; building a ritual with seven lines of a rhyming incantation with seven syllables in each line, another. In any event, it never helped me much, mainly because I was born on the seventh day of the seventh month. That’s only two out of the critical three, and consequently bad luck. Had I been born on the seventh day of the week also, that would have been fabulous, my life ahead filled with good fortune. As it turned out...well, let’s just say I have to work damned hard to earn my keep, and to keep out of trouble. Which I do. Most of the time.
Today was going to be one of the exceptions. I just didn’t realize it right then. Somehow, maybe because of my hangover from last night’s theatrical premiere, I’d forgotten today was Friday 13th, otherwise I’d have been better prepared. I’m not in the least superstitious, but some numbers have a malevolent power that’s hard to fight against.