Sunday, October 05, 2008

Soul Familiar 2: Unpredictable by Kate Steele

Soul Familiar 2: Unpredictable
by Kate Steele
Cover art by ReneƩ George
ISBN (13): 978-1-59596-806-7
Genre(s): Paranormal
Theme(s): Magic and Mayhem, Gay and Lesbian
Series: Soul Familiar
Length: Novella

Life is unpredictable. That sentiment should be tattooed on my forehead -- or better yet on my lover’s ass. I’d see it more often.
I’m Alex Layton and I’m a soul familiar. Most people know witches and wizards use familiars to enhance their powers. Soul familiars become not only partners with their chosen magic practitioner but mates for life, and we bond with our partners -- heart, body, mind, and soul. I’ve found my soul mate, a sweet, gorgeous, recently deflowered virgin, fledging wizard by the name of Tyler Montgomery. To keep him, I face a challenge, or more precisely, 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.
Everything’s going to be fine. I just know it will. Right? 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 soul familiar whose erratic powers are making our spells produce daffodils instead of dragons.
Like I said, life is unpredictable.


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What was it that guy said in the movie Independence Day when he flew his fighter plane up the wazoo of the alien space ship? “I’m baaack!”
Yeah, I’m back. Alex Layton, remember? I’m the two-hundred-year-old, tastefully gorgeous soul familiar who just found his soul mate, Tyler Montgomery. I began my story by telling you about myself and how I met Tyler, and temporarily ended it when I discovered Tyler was my soul mate. Now that the shock has worn off, I think it’s time to continue this little tale. After all, I know you’re totally intrigued and probably smitten with me as well, so who am I to deny you a little more of my charm and wit.
As you can tell, I’ve never been accused of being modest.
Picking up where we left off, Tyler and I had just made love, the soul joining took place, and my dad showed up to congratulate us and give us the good news about Tyler facing that inconvenient little test designed to assess his worthiness to be my partner. When Dad returned the way he’d appeared -- in a nimbus of light via the ether corridor -- I was left to explain things to Tyler. I’d like to say we were cuddling in bed, but my ever practical Tyler decided he’d had enough of my attempts to distract him with some more than friendly groping and made us get up and go downstairs to the kitchen. At this point I could but sigh in frustration.
“It’s three o’clock in the morning. Do you really think we should be drinking coffee at this hour?” I asked as he set a steaming cup of black brew in front of me.
I’d taken a seat at the small oak table that resided at one end of the room near windows that overlooked the front lawn. As dark as it was outside, there was little to see other than that which was revealed under the bluish-white glow of the security light that topped a tall pole beside the garage. The only thing I could see stirring was the plant life that swayed with the gentle, night breeze.
Tyler took the chair opposite me. “Quit complaining. I mojoed the caffeine out of it since we don’t have decaf.”
“And how did you do that?”
“A touch of that transformation spell I learned the other day. It was easy to remove that one element.”
Giving the coffee a leery look, I picked up my cup and took a sniff. It smelled all right. I took a taste. It tasted all right too. “It’s good. Seems you’re actually learning.”
“From the sound of things, I guess I’d better. You want to explain exactly what’s going on?”
“Not really, but I suppose I’d better since you’ve dragged me out of bed at such an indecent hour.”
“Yeah, I can feel your outrage. Spill it.”
“Would you just listen to that sarcasm? You’ve gotten awfully bold and bossy for a twenty-two-year-old former virgin with all of a day’s experience under your belt.”
“I’m a fast learner, and you’re rubbing off on me.”
“Not yet, but given a little encouragement…” I knew I was smirking. I just couldn’t help it.
Tyler was not amused. “All right. You felt something strange after we made love that last time, right?”
“Yeah, I did.” Tyler closed his eyes as though savoring the memory. “It was so intense. Everything I felt, the breath in my lungs, the beat of my heart, the feel of your skin against mine, it was like I was experiencing it not only for myself, but through you as well. Why did that happen?”
“If you’ll remember back to what my dad said, he congratulated me on finding my true mate. That particular phenomenon occurs when a soul familiar finds his soul mate. That would be you.”
“Soul mate?” Tyler asked, with a touch of doubtful sarcasm.
“I hate to say it, but that sounds a little corny. So what exactly does being a soul mate entail? Did we just get married or something?”
I gave him a brittle smile. “Pretty much.”
“I was kidding. You’re serious, aren’t you?”
Tyler dropped his gaze from mine, but not before I saw the dismay in his eyes. His earlier comment about soul mates being corny stung and it put me on the defensive. I was wondering if we were in trouble. It seemed I was the only one feeling happy about this situation.
“Is the prospect of being tied to me such an awful one?” I asked, trying very hard to keep my tone neutral.
“No, it’s not that and I wouldn’t have made light of it if I’d known you were serious.” Tyler raised his eyes to mine. “It’s just… I don’t know. I feel like I should apologize.”
Now that surprised me. I just had to ask. “Why?”
“I’m sure this isn’t something you bargained for when you volunteered to help me.”
“No, it’s not. Do you hear me complaining?”
“No, but it seems like you should be. I mean seriously, when it comes to things like experience, talent, and power we’re so far apart. There are probably plenty of other guys way better than me you’d prefer to be stuck with. Someone who would suit you much better than I do.”
“What bullshit. Tyler, the joining happened because, corny as it sounds, the cosmic forces of the universe decided we should be together. The fact that I agree with them is just icing on the cake.” I reached across the table and waited for his hand to meet mine halfway. When our fingers entwined, I couldn’t stop the smile that tugged at my mouth. “You’re right. I’ve been with a lot of guys over the years, which just helps me know now that there’s no one I’d rather be with than you. And thank you.”
“For what?”
“For recognizing my stellar attributes, the power, the talent, although you could have also mentioned the drop-dead gorgeous looks and the amazing prowess in bed.”
Tyler rolled his eyes and gave me a good-natured yet skeptical smile. “You are so full of yourself.”
“You may be right, though I prefer it when you’re full of me. Let’s go back to bed,” I answered with a suggestive wiggle of my brows.

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