“Why does this always happen to us?” –Quinn Broomsparkle, wizard extraordinaire
Six months have passed since wizard Quinn Broomsparkle left behind his indentured servant shackles. He’s in love with his half-dragon/half-fairy familiar, Twig Starfig. He’s got a home. Friends. A job. And a father-in-law he could do without. A pretty close to perfect life. But as Quinn has learned the hard way, things rarely stay peaceful for long. Especially when a Starfig’s involved.
Summoned to his home realm and a past he’d thought left behind, Quinn and Twig find themselves in the middle of evil machinations . . . with no clear enemy. When Quinn’s younger brother goes missing, it’s Starfig Investigations on the case.
Being the first wizard in a thousand years isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. On top of a missing sibling, a broken-hearted red fury, an archivist with a secret, and a ghost pirate-parrot who’s determined to return to his captain, Quinn and Twig’s relationship is sorely tested when questions—and unhappy answers—about their mating dilemma are pushed to the fore.
All Quinn wants is his fairy share of happiness. Is that so much to ask?
Heat Level: 3
Romantic Content: 4
Ending: Click here to reveal
Character Identities: Bisexual, Gay, Pansexual
Tropes: Big Character / Little Character, Biological Urge to Mate, Coming Home, Fated Mates / Soul Mates, Hero and the Great Quest, Hurt / Comfort, Rescue, True Love
Word Count: 114000
Setting: Hominus Realm
Languages Available: English
Series Type: Continuous / Same Characters
“Look what the werecat dragged in.” I eyed Bill critically the next morning, crinkling my nose as he entered the living room, brushing fresh-fallen snow from his shoulders. I lit a stick of tinted citrine incense and fixed it in a stone holder. “You smell like an orgy.”
Bill’s yellow polka-dotted bow tie sat askew, his glasses were fogged up, and his matching sweater vest hung from his broad frame. Even worse, a dull pink tinged his red-mottled skin. Our resident red fury demon was a mess. Had been for the last few months. Ever since his boyfriend, Dyknor, betrayed him and tried to kill Twig, me, and Twig’s dad. If I were uncharitable, I’d say that I understood the desire to do the latter. To say Auric was difficult was like describing the ocean as a few drops of water.READ MORE
“A new acquaintance invited me to an afterparty with a herd of selkies. Don’t believe what anyone says about them. They’re animals.” Bill grinned, his three rows of teeth prominent.
Twig glanced up from where he lounged on the pile of ruby and gold floor cushions and lush rugs that he preferred to furniture. For the last couple of hours he’d been reading over legislation he needed to sign off on for the Lighthelm City Council. Being a CCM required a lot of work. Especially when he planned to spend the next few weeks in the Hominus Realm with me.
“They’re seal shifters, so yeah, I’d say they’re animals.” Twig humored Bill, yet I could tell he worried about Bill’s new habits as much as I did. He absently petted Cookie and the scads of other furballs that made our home their own. It looked like he sat in a giant pile of dust bunnies, their fur soft and glossy on their round little bodies.
“Oh, so humorous, Boss.” Bill didn’t look amused. Little entertained the big guy these days.
Twig set his scroll aside and leaned back into the nest of pillows, causing several furballs, squeaking in indignation, to roll off his lap. “Dare I ask where Pie is?”
Pirate McPiratestein, or Pie for short, volunteered to tag along on Bill’s misadventures. Imagine that? A ghost pirate parrot that liked to drink, screw, and fight his way through Lighthelm. Wow, a real surprise.
Bill blinked several times before it occurred to him to take off his glasses and wipe the fog from them. He used the end of his sweater vest before perching the frames back on his nose. “Ooh, that’s better.”
“Bill, did you lose Pie again?” I asked. Pie wasn’t much of a chaperone, which is what our red fury needed these days. Bill grew increasingly reckless. Since Twig’s dad would like nothing better than to ban him from the Elder Realm permanently, he needed to watch himself.
“Pie?” His large brow wrinkled as he processed this. “Ah, yes, Pie. He, ah, found some companions to bet a pretty dypari that they could, um, what’s that quaint expression? Drink him under the table. After the eighth one fell, I grew bored. A demon can only amuse himself with watching inebriated chaps pass out for so long. Especially when the selkies were so eager for a pleasurable time.”
“So you have no idea where he’s off to?” Since Pie expected to travel to the Hominus Realm with us, this caused some concern.
“I’m not his keeper.” He sniffed.
Even after all these months, I hadn’t gotten used to watching an eight-foot-tall demon pout. Bill was, kindly put, a bit of a drama demon. He felt everything keenly. Perhaps too keenly. I understood, though when Twig and I came back from the Hominus, we planned, as my grandmother would say, to have a ‘coming to Goddesses talk.’ Enough was enough.
He just needed to stay out of trouble until we returned. Easier said than done.
“Why don’t you go sleep it off?” Twig went back to his scroll, but I could tell Bill’s antics annoyed him.
“What a marvelous idea, Boss. Will you be absent when I awake? You know, since you won’t permit me to accompany you.”
Definitely still pouting.
“We’ve been over this, Bill,” Twig groused, keeping his eyes on the scroll. “The Hominus Realm doesn’t allow demons. They’d attack you on sight. I would think being surrounded by several hundred witches trying to banish you back to Notocrypta would be enough of a reason to stay home.”
“They don’t permit dragons either, but you’re certainly going.”
Petulant Bill was not easy to deal with. Another understatement. I kept dishing them out today.
“Bill, come on. Twig’s my familiar. He’s bonded to me. That’s why he can go. Are you saying you want to be bonded to a witch? Because that’s the only way I can see you being granted entrance.”
He sniffed. “No, thank you. Emotional and magical ties are a waste of time.”
I gritted my teeth. You’d think killing, then eating your ex would be a great way to work through one’s anger. It didn’t seem to be the case with Bill.
Burn me, I sounded like my blood-thirsty dragon. Since I hadn’t bothered to screen my thoughts, Twig’s lips turned up in a slight smile, though his attention remained on the scroll.
My blood-thirsty wizard, his thought echoed in my mind, almost a satisfied purr.
“Faugh, you two are doing it again, aren’t you? Your lovey-dovey communications are not appreciated.” Bill spun away and staggered off toward his room, banging into the walls as he went.
Cookie, the leader of our furball snarl, chirped once. Several furballs rolled off the pillows and followed after Bill. At least he’d have cuddle buddies.
“Thanks, Cookie.” I sighed. “Twig, what are we going to do about him?”
Twig shrugged, setting the scroll aside and watching as I continued fluttering around the room, checking and rechecking our trunks.
To say I felt nervous about returning home . . . no, not home, not anymore. Going back to where I was born and raised—that sounded better—was another understatement. Without Twig, I don’t think I’d be able to face the prospect. After all, the witches sold me to a demented unicorn into what amounted to sex slavery. And my loving family stood by and let them do it.
Yeah, the Hominus didn’t qualify as home anymore. Twig had earned that honor. My half-dragon, half-fairy familiar held my heart, my soul, and my home now.
“Come here, wizard.” He patted the pillows next to him. “Stop fussing. We’re packed. You need to let it go.”
“Easy for you to say,” I muttered. Still, I followed his suggestion and sank down on the pillows, jostling the remaining furballs. He pulled me close, wrapping me in his arms. His large body and familiar scent soothed like nothing else could. Furballs crowded onto our laps, a cozy blanket of sorts. I could swear there were a few more since the last time I counted.
“Now, about Bill. I don’t know what we can do. I’m getting tired of lecturing him on his recklessness. I’ve asked Tim to check in on him every so often while we’re gone.”
“Tim doesn’t like Bill much.” My words came out muffled against his chest, but I didn’t pull away.
“Not true. He just won’t give Bill’s advances the time of day. He’s the ideal griffin to look in on a red fury who’s acting out.”
“Maybe we should cancel—”
“Nice try, Quinn.” Twig tipped my chin back, his eyes soft. He only had to look at me like this and warmth spread through my chest and belly. “I know you’re scared, but we’ll get through this together. Bill will be fine. We’ll meet with the witches’ council and you can see your family. Or not. I’ll support you either way. Don’t give anyone power that’s yours, wizard. You get to control this. Not them. No matter what their missives say.”
I frowned. Their missives. Not quite threats, although close enough. Why they thought I’d give a damn if they hurt my family I couldn’t imagine. Those people might be biologically related to me, but they weren’t my family.
Not any longer.
“We’ll go, get this over with, and if you don’t want to ever return, we won’t. Simple.” Twig pressed his lips against mine, just a soft brush before he leaned back.
I shivered. We’d lived together for a little over six months now, and his kisses still brought me to my knees. He made me crazy in so many ways. His smirk said he knew it, too.
Damn cocky half-dragon.
“Did you just say this trip will be simple?” I raised an eyebrow. We’d been down this road too many times. Agent Leotoris called us trouble and he wasn’t wrong. Nothing was ever simple when Twig and I were involved.
Twig chuckled, his grin positively evil. “Come on, Quinn. What could go wrong?”COLLAPSE