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Authors: Sierra Dean

Black Magic Bayou

BOOK: Black Magic Bayou
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Copyright

 

eBooks are not transferable.

 

They cannot be sold, shared or given away as it is an infringement on the copyright of this work.

 

This book is a work of fiction. The names, characters, places, and incidents are products of the writer’s imagination or have been used fictitiously and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, actual events, locale or organizations is entirely coincidental.

 

Black Magic Bayou

 

Copyright © 2016 by Ashley MacLennan

 

ISBN: 978-1-939291-10-3

 

Edited by Sasha Knight

Cover by Kanaxa

 

All Rights Are Reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews.

 

Sierra Dean. electronic publication: October 2016

 

Dean, Sierra (2016-10-05). Black Magic Bayou. Sierra Dean. ePub Edition.

 

 

 

 

Black Magic Bayou

 

 

Genie McQueen #2

 

 

Sierra Dean

 

 

For Jordie Bellaire, who knows what it means to take on too much and still insist on doing your best. You inspire me daily, girl, keep being awesome.

 

And for Lin-Manuel Miranda, who makes me want to reach for new dreams and be a better person while doing it. I
will
write like I’m running out of time. I
won’t
throw away my shot.

Chapter One

 

 

I awoke Tuesday morning to a shirtless werewolf mowing my lawn.

I could think of worse wake-up calls.

Wilder Shaw was pacing the length of my small yard, the whirring buzz of the mower drowning out the sound of birdcall. My initial annoyance over being pulled from my sheets after my restless sleep vanished when I looked out my living room window and got a load of the view.

Forgoing coffee, I plopped on my sofa, tugging my light robe around me, and perched my chin on my hands so I could watch the show.

Wilder had the build of a man who worked hard for a living. He was a mechanic and had the toned arms and muscular upper body that went along with dragging heavy car parts around. There was a reason the smell of motor oil got me hot and bothered these days, and I was looking at it.

His dark blond, almost brown hair was damp with sweat and brushed back from his forehead. It usually stood in soft spikes, but he’d evidently been working harder than his styling products this morning.

Across the street, Mrs. Bloom, my thirty-something stay-at-home-mom neighbor, had come to a full stop, gripping the handlebars of her stroller. She must have thought no one else could see her because she was watching the Wilder Shaw Yard Work show with her mouth hanging open ever so slightly and naked hunger in her eyes.

I feel you, girl.

Wilder, sensing someone’s gaze on him, turned and gave her a friendly wave. “Morning, Deb,” he called out.

She flushed visibly, waved back, and hurried on.

At the base of the driveway another onlooker had paused to take in the display, only this one was more familiar to both Wilder and me, since we’d both grown up alongside her.

Magnolia Laurent was standing next to my Dodge Dart, two cups of coffee in her hands and a desperate, heated, uncomfortable expression on her face. It appeared she was just this moment realizing what a certifiable hottie Wilder had turned into.

I’d have to ask him to keep his shirt on or run the risk of creating mad riots of women on my front lawn. Not that I could blame them one bit.

Yet I was the one keeping him at arm’s length.

Wilder spotted Magnolia and gave her a similarly warm greeting as he had Mrs. Bloom before he returned to mowing.

I should get a bigger yard.

I knocked on the glass of the front window, drawing Mags’s attention and inadvertently Wilder’s along with it. He gave me a wink, such a loaded gesture, but one that told me I’d been thoroughly busted for spying on him while he worked.

This was, of course, all part of his master plan to make himself so irresistible I had no choice but to cave and fall headfirst into bed with him.

Damn if it wasn’t working, but I was resisting
hard
.

Magnolia jerked at the sound of my rapping, looking just as guilty as Deb had, then hurried up the drive to the side-door entrance into my bungalow.

My house was eight hundred square feet of modest, cheerful living space. My uncle, Callum McQueen, was King of the South, ruler of all the werewolves in the southern states, and he was
loaded
. It drove him crazy that I refused to let him buy me a nicer house.

“It’s not befitting someone of your status,” he’d complained.

Princess, was what he meant. Alpha now too.

I was one of the single most powerful werewolves in the country, and I was living in a tiny one bedroom on Cambronne Street. But I wouldn’t budge. It was bad enough my money came from him to begin with, though at least now I felt like I was earning it with my Alpha role. I’d be damned if I let him move me into some plush mega-mansion where I’d live all by myself and hate every second of it.

This was home. I’d picked this place on my own, when my only request had been enough freedom to go to school at Tulane. Now school was on hold, normal life was drifting further and further from my grasp, and the one thing I had left that made me feel even vaguely human was this house. My house.

I’d stay here until they pried the key from my cold, dead hands, thank you very much.

Mags knocked on the door, and I was there a moment later to usher her in. She was still casting distracted glances towards the front lawn as she held my coffee out to me.

“Bless you.” I took the warm paper cup gratefully, breathing deep the smell of roasted beans and alertness. The first sip was too hot, but I gulped it back with immediate joy.

“How do you get anything done?” She shut the door behind her.

It was autumn, and the air had started to take on hints of winter, chillier breezes and a dampness that left a shiver behind. This being New Orleans it would never get proper freezing, but after the overwhelming humidity of summer, the change in temperature was apparent.

Mags wore a Fair Isle sweater with a beautiful pattern in burnt orange and yellow. Her white-blonde hair had been meticulously straightened and hung past her shoulders, pushed back from her forehead by a slim tortoiseshell headband.

Ever since I’d asked Callum to have her moved into the city to be my assistant, she had totally blossomed. I’d known Magnolia most of my life, and for much of that time her domineering mother, Amelia, had beaten the girl down like a bug under her heel. Magnolia was a born beta. She’d be a follower all her life—it was her role in the pack. But away from our home in St. Francisville, she’d become an altogether different person.

Now, instead of slinking away in shadows, she lit up every room she entered. She made jokes and laughed, and didn’t try to hide herself from notice. It was half the reason I’d made sure she was included in my agreement with Callum. I’d claimed it was because I wanted someone familiar from home, but in all honesty I just wanted to save her.

St. Francisville was by no means a bad place to grow up or live. It had its own kind of homey feel, and I loved to spend time there, but my experience was different from Magnolia’s. I’d grown up loved, respected, cared for. Her own mother, probably disappointed to have such a beta child, had nearly crippled the girl with self-doubt.

Not here, though.

We moved back into the living room and sat side by side on the couch, turning so our knees touched and we could both watch Wilder work.

“Seriously though,” she said, “how do you get anything done with
that
going on ten feet away?” She waved a hand in his general direction.

“You get used to it,” I lied.

Mags wasn’t buying it. “The only way you get used to seeing something like that is if you’re blind.” She sipped more of her coffee then let out a beleaguered sigh. “Which makes me coming this morning that much worse, because I need to drag you away.”

Magnolia had taken her offer of becoming my assistant
very
seriously. I’d only meant it as an excuse to get her away, but now she had turned into the first line of contact for all things pack related in New Orleans. She figured out what was most important and what warranted my attention as Alpha, and let the rest either sort itself out or found alternative measures of resolution.

As it turned out, having her was a huge benefit, because it meant
my
phone wasn’t ringing at all hours of the night. Hers was, but she didn’t seem to mind.

She also brought me coffee every morning, bless her heart.

“What happened?” I held my cup close to my lips, enjoying the warmth billowing off it but afraid to take a sip unless I needed to reply to something.

“Bit of a fight. Some of the boys are in police custody.”

She was downplaying it of course. Werewolves in jail was a disaster. Especially
my
werewolves. I was shocked Callum wasn’t already calling to scream at me over this.

Given the tenuous state of human-werewolf relations in America at the moment, the last thing we needed for the Southern pack was a breaking news story about our people being violent menaces. Sure, nothing had actually changed. This was just masculine aggression and boys being dumbasses. But because wolves were involved, suddenly it was a political disaster waiting to happen.

I was off the couch before she could continue, my coffee clutched in one hand while I pulled my robe off with the other. I was going to need a lot more caffeine, and also some pants.

And my day had started so well.

 

Chapter Two

 

 

Wilder was on our heels before Mags got the passenger door open.

He was busy tugging a threadbare white shirt over his head, giving me a great view of his taut abs and slightly too low cargo pants. A thin trail of dark hair ran between his bellybutton and his—

“Where are we going?” he asked.

With a mind this dirty? Straight to hell.

He grabbed a flannel button-down shirt off the hood of my car and slipped it on over his tee. I knew perfectly well there was no sense in telling him he couldn’t join us. He was already opening the back door and dropping himself into the backseat like it was completely normal. And in a way, it had become normal. Where Mags had become my de facto assistant, Wilder had become my self-appointed bodyguard.

If telling my uncle I didn’t want him to buy me a bigger house was hard, telling Wilder I didn’t need a bodyguard was impossible.

It didn’t help that during the time I’d known him I had been the target of an assassin and almost murdered by an anti-werewolf zealot. Good thing I hadn’t told him about the time I nearly died in a collapsing building in New York. Probably best he didn’t know danger had always been drawn to me like a moth to the flame, or I might have a werewolf sleeping on my couch every night.

I could think of a few other places for him to sleep.

Protecting me was the real reason he’d been out mowing my lawn. It was the reason he’d helped paint my house over the summer, and fixed my fence, and was constantly working on my car. He wasn’t wooing me with his manly skills. He was finding excuses to be near me so he could keep both eyes on me.

Wooing me was just a bonus.

I couldn’t complain too much. My house had never looked better, and my car no longer showed me a different warning light every week.

I could do without the hovering and concern over my life, however.

Nothing makes you feel less safe than other people worrying about your safety. Plus, it was kind of a horny-times buzzkill to realize Wilder was constantly thinking about guarding my body rather than getting all up in it.

I sighed to myself, starting the Dart as Mags climbed in. Guess I’d look more official this way, with my own little entourage. And all the good Alphas had bodyguards, didn’t they? It gave the outward impression I respected my life and its value to the pack.

There was so much about this system I had to learn still. The plan had always been for my twin brother, Ben, to take Callum’s place as king. But now here I was, Alpha of New Orleans, and Ben was back in St. Francisville with no title beyond that of prince. I knew it pissed him off, but there wasn’t much I could do to change our situations. Callum’s decisions were final, and too damn bad if anyone got hurt in the process.

I think Uncle Callum might have been out in the woods too long, among the wolves and away from people. It made him a wonderful leader for werewolves, but he seemed to have lost the ability to understand human emotions and motivation and that werewolves still had all those human foibles.

Ben, in his own way, was very similar. Perhaps that was why Callum had chosen me over my brother, especially now when being an alpha required so much time in the public eye.

BOOK: Black Magic Bayou
10.38Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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