Saturday, May 30, 2009

Moonlight & Magic 2: Sunlight & Slavery by Mina Carter

Moonlight & Magic 2: Sunlight & Slavery
by Mina Carter

Cover art by ReneƩ George
ISBN: 978-1-60521-240-1
Genre(s): Paranormal, Dark Fantasy
Series: Moonlight & Magic
Length: Novella


Gargoyles guard things. That's a fact of life. Knuckles, head doorman of Moonlight & Magic, leads a simple life. People cause trouble, he talks to them. People continue to cause trouble and he proves how squishable most races are compared to a creature hewn out of stone. Knuckles doesn't do gentle.
That is, until he rescues Neri, a fragile human woman, quite literally from a fate worse than death. Can a gargoyle fall in love? Can a human woman make the leap of faith required to accept him for what he is?


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Saturday night had always been Neri and Jason's "date night." Some things didn't change. Their relationship was on the rocks, so far on the rocks it could only be described as a shipwreck. For Neri, at least, it had been over a while. She'd assumed they had a normal relationship, the sort where you could say, "I've had enough. I'm outta here." Except theirs wasn't a normal relationship. Here they were, out on the town on a Saturday night like normal, apart from one important distinction.
Neri didn't expect to make it to morning.
As though he could read her mind, Jason caught her eye from across the table and smiled. She suppressed a shudder and looked away. She'd tried to leave earlier but he'd stopped her. She looked up and to her right circumspectly. Neil, Jason's bulldog bodyguard, grinned down at her. This time she did shudder. She'd never liked the way Neil looked at her, as though he was undressing her in his head.
Neri reached for her drink with nerveless fingers, wrapping them about the glass and lifting it to her lips. Looking around the club she took a sip and tried to act as though nothing was wrong. That was the key. Jason was a stickler for appearances. If she played the game well enough she might be able to string things along, perhaps delay them long enough to find a way out.
There had to be a way out. Otherwise she'd end her life in a back alley somewhere with her body left in a Dumpster. The expression on her face didn't change as another thought occurred to her.
She slid a glance at Jason. He wouldn't. Would he? Neil had some… unhealthy appetites. He would. Without a doubt he would give her to Neil. The numbness she'd been feeling since Jason had thrown her, half naked, into the bedroom and told her to get dressed for the evening burned away under her fear. She had to get out of here. Now.
Replacing the glass on the table she shifted along the bench seat.
"Excuse me… Oh, for fuck's sake, do you have to ask him for permission to take a piss as well?" she snapped when Neil looked at Jason to check.
"Let her go." Jason's voice was just audible over the heavy music of the club. He opened his mouth to say something else, but Neri grabbed her purse and slid past Neil before he could change his mind.
She fled through the club on swift feet. Moonlight & Magic was the biggest of the "paranormal" clubs in town. Neri didn't know much about paranormals. Sure, she knew they'd come out of the "closet" a couple of years ago, but she'd never really thought much about it. So the monster under the bed was real? Big deal. Neri had always known monsters were real, but in her world they went by the term Homo sapiens.
Still, perhaps she'd get lucky and Jason would piss off something big and mean that would tear his head off. Yeah, like she'd get that lucky.
Skirting the edge of the packed dance floor she made her way to the ladies' room. There had to be an exit out back somewhere, a staff entrance or something. She just needed a five minute head start. Just five lousy minutes and she'd disappear so completely even her own mother wouldn't be able to find her.
Her lips quirked as she paused to make way for a busboy. Of course, that would depend on her knowing who her mother was. Not information a brat left on the hospital steps twenty-four years ago tended to have access to.
Neri Jacobs. Unwanted by her own mother, shunted from foster home to foster home, and now the soon-to-be-deceased girlfriend of a sleaze like Jason Carrick, small-time wannabe crime lord. Just her fucking luck.

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