The debut of the newest ALBTALBS Project!!! I’m so excited! Remember my Parrot Shifters? And the lovely brave authors who took on that challenge? Well, here’s the next challenge. To kick off this new bit of fun we have Silver James – I hope you enjoy! We’ll be serializing this, so look for it every Thursday in May!
Cursed by the witches he once served, will a familiar’s wicked ways win the heart of a newly schooled witch–and his freedom? Find out in Wicked Familiar.
In Which Fizzy Casts Her First Spell
Lightning flashed. Thunder crashed. The night was dark and stormy. Francesca Isabella Foxtrot—her friends called her Fizzy—had retrieved the mail just before the storm broke in all its tempestuous glory. Waiting with baited breath, as the anchovies on her luncheon pizza were now repeating on her, Fizzy stared at the package with a mixture of excitement and dread.
It had finally arrived. The fruits of all her hard work for the past three years of her life. All, or almost all, of her hopes and dreams resided in that red, white, and blue box. The parcel occupied a place of honor in the middle of her antique coffee table, its rococo curlicues and dark stain making a statement about her excellent tastes in home decor.
The coffee table sat precisely centered on her Country French sofa, the one with the red, blue, and gold stripes and paisley print brocade slipcovers. Her Jimmy Choo stilettos preened on the floor at the end of the table, abandoned for the comfort of her fuzzy Killer Rabbit house slippers. She’d untucked the midnight blue silk of her blouse from her Burgundy wine-tinted linen pencil skirt. The matching jacket sprawled across the back of the sofa looking fashionably disheveled.
Fizzy had waited her whole life for this moment. She swept her flame-kissed copper tresses over her shoulder and wet her lips with a pink tongue, staring at the box. Feeling a bit like Pandora, she gripped it tightly, but took care not to mar the polish of her meticulous French manicure.
Pulling the tab that would open the lid and spill out her treasures, she let out the breath she didn’t realize she’d been holding. A shudder raced through her body as she touched the long, hard shaft bound with a black ribbon. Caressing its smooth skin, Fizzy finally untied the ribbon, unfurling the parchment. This was it. The fulmination of her dreams. All exploding there on the highly polished top of her table.
She’d graduated at last—with honors—from the Salem Vocational Technical Institute of Witchcraft. The vellum crackling in her hands proclaimed her status as a real witch. Her diploma. She’d have to find just the right frame for it, one that matched the artistic vibe of her living room for she planned to hang it above her hand-carved oaken mantle that complimented her fieldstone fireplace where a crackling fire echoed the sound of the paper as she unrolled it.
Fizzy’s hands, her pink and white nails glowing in the soft lamplight, reached for the next item—a faux-leather-bound volume with gilt-edged pages and embossing. Her full name occupied one corner while the title “Book of Shadows” spread across the rest of the cover.
“My book of shadows,” she breathed, her bosom heaving and caressed by the silk of her blouse.
Holding the book across her slender thighs, she reached for the accompanying letter. The board of trustees and the dean congratulated her, explained the items in her box, and then suggested she open her book to appendix page iii to learn how to attract and bind a familiar worthy of her talent.
Her breasts strained the silk binding them as she sighed gustily. A familiar. At last. Would she draw a black cat? Or perhaps a wolf? She hoped it wouldn’t be a pigeon. Or worse, a squirrel. She wanted something dangerous for a familiar. Dangerous and strong. Something wicked.
“My wicked familiar,” she breathed, licking her lips again.
Before she could open the book, lightning flashed, blinding her and a heartbeat later, thunder rattled her doors and windows, shaking her snug cottage to its very foundation. The lights blinked out. Only the small fire in the grate illuminated the room.
Scuffing across her red, navy, and ecru Aubusson rug, she made her way to the pantry where she secured candles and matches. Making sure she lit candles with no links to magic, she illuminated the room enough she could read the instructions in her book.
Turning to appendix page iii, she mouthed the words silently as she read the instructions. Impatient, she gathered the magical accoutrements needed. Ignoring the weather instructions included on that page, she prepared to do the spell that would identify, entrap, bespell, and bind her familiar.
Everyone knew a proper witch couldn’t practice proper witchcraft without a proper familiar. Since Fizzy wanted to be a very good witch, she needed a very powerful familiar. She thought long. She thought hard. She paced the floor. She stared at the candle flame. She shivered. A lot. And licked her lips. And sighed. Deciding on just the right words of her spell was much harder even than her final exams.
Taking the cut glass stopper from her antique glass inkwell, she dipped her quill. Opening her Book of Shadows to the very first empty page, she traced her fingertips down the vellum, as if caressing a lover’s chest, only without the feathering of fine hair. Biting her bottom lip, she proceeded to use her most flamboyant script to write her spell, concentrating on each swirl and being careful not to blotch the black ink quivering on the end of her pen.
Feelings swamped her, almost sexual as she gripped the hard, smooth shaft of the pen, her fingers stroking it with rhythmic caresses. With a final flourish, she finished recording her first official spell.
Dark the night
Devoid of light
To bring to me
Come magic key
Under my dominion
So mote it be.
Lighting other candles—purple, white, and black, she then removed a sheet of parchment from her stash. Taking up her pen again, in bold flourishes, she copied the spell three times, repeating the words louder each time. Then she folded the parchment into a tiny square and using a pair of silver ice tongs, she put flame to paper by holding it over each candle.
A cold draft rushed through the room, extinguishing her candles and snuffing out the fire in the grate, sending embers dancing up her chimney. Expelling the breath she’d forgotten she was holding, she tasted copper from where her teeth had bitten through her lips.
Suddenly, there came a tapping, as if someone gently rapped upon her cottage door.
“It must be a visitor,” she muttered, “knocking on my cottage door. Only that and nothing more.”
Surely her familiar would not have arrived so precipitously. The door rattled, assaulted by a thunderous fist. Lightning flickered outside her windows and for a moment, it looked like a face stared in at her through the heavy cotton draperies she’d bought on sale at a name-brand bed and bath store.
Fizzy pressed her thighs together, her womb suddenly clenching. The face, stark beneath the uneven light, set her heart to thundering in her chest, thundering so hard her ribs hurt, the sound echoing the knock, knock, knocking at her door.
Stay tuned for the next chapter on Thursday… But I can’t resist asking! What’d you think? 😀