Enchanting Inquiries Book 14
Sometimes the only decision you can make is the wrong one. Then, all you can hope for is that two wrongs DO make a right. Also, don’t mess with Dave.
Someone has taken Queen Sindra and all the fae and locked them in interspace. He’s demanding the most powerful artifact in the universe in exchange for their release. Unfortunately, the artifact is in the protective custody of The Universe, which is the main governing body for all magic. It’s being protected by a powerful magician, a three-headed anti-mythological feline, and a guy named Dave.
Don’t ask me about the Dave thing. I don’t have a clue.
The only way we can save the entire fae population is to get our hands on that artifact. Our journey promises to be epic. Alas, it doesn’t promise to be successful.Any way I look at it, things stand a really good chance of going horribly, epically wrong. Good thing I’m used to things going hideously wrong. In fact, it’s become something of a signature move for me.
"This book is full of action, danger, and adventure. It hooks you on the first page and doesn't let go. If you enjoy a great paranormal cozy mystery, you will love this series." A. Ferri - Booksprout Reviewer
More from this series
Praise for Croakies Dictum
Reviewed by Valerie Irwin
"Just WOW!!!!! This 14th installment of the Enchanting Inquires has more twists and turns than a country road and is as horrifyingly entertaining as Seinfeld's Elaine on a dance floor!!!! This one grabs you and will not let you go until the last page! Jacob is back! How did he escape? And what has he done with all the fairies????? Naida and all of her friends have been given an impossible task on a very limited time frame to complete a risky job for Jacob or the fairies will die! Even if they do succeed, they risk imprisonment for breaking more than one rule....that is...if they do not get killed first! There is danger on every page as well as humor, tender moments and important lessons to be learned about what REALLY happened in the past! DO NOT PASS THIS SERIES BY!!!!!! Pick up the first book in the series, Unbaked Croakies, for free!!! See where it all started and get caught up in the fun!"
Reviewed by JY
"Naida Griffith and her Croakies cohorts are on their most dangerous mission yet. The fairy queen and all of her subjects have been kidnapped. If Naida, Grym and the others don’t deliver the ransom in time the fairies will all be killed but time and the Council are against them. Do they endanger the world and risk the Councils wrath by handing over the deadly ransom, or live in a world without fairies? This is the best Croakies yet! Non-stop action and a page-turning plot. Thumbs up Sam Cheever!"
Read an Excerpt
You’re Using Your Kindly Voice? On Me?
All around me were green, growing things. The sweet scents of pears and apples warred with the floral scents of dozens of flowering plants and the verdant richness of herbs. A thousand colors bloomed around me, and a few hundred whirring wings formed a pleasant backdrop to the sights and smells, providing the auditory component the scene needed to achieve perfection.
My best friend Lea’s enormous back-lot greenhouse was my second favorite place to be. Second only to the magical artifact library and bookstore I called home.
My errand in the greenhouse, however, was not my favorite thing. In fact, for the tenth or thousandth time...I wasn’t sure which but it seemed like a lot...I mentally cursed my assistant and, yes, friend Sebille’s insistence that I try to convince her mother to stay in Enchanted.
Convincing the queen of the fairies in Enchanted to do anything she didn’t want to do was a nearly impossible task. I had a newfound understanding of Sebille’s obstinance.
It was clearly in her DNA.
“But the plants need you,” I tried again. The focus of my pleading buzzed from lavender bush to monkshood plant to rosemary shrub, sprinkling fairy dust over one and all.
Queen Sindra wore a rare glower on her tiny, beautiful face, her movements more rigidly energetic than was customary for the laid-back ruler. Her vibrant pink, purple, and neon green butterfly wings whirred with abnormal verve as she attempted to show me how irritating I was being.
In pure desperation, I held out the tiny, sickly plant Sebille had shoved into my hands before I’d come. “Look. This is just one of hundreds of plants Lea received from the grower this week. The man is clearly a charlatan.”
Sindra’s green eyes, so like her daughter’s, skimmed reluctantly toward the plant and a hungry look slipped across her face before she squelched it. Seeing my opening, I renewed my efforts.
“We were really counting on you and the fairies to heal and encourage them. It will take weeks. Maybe longer,” I told her. “Maybe after that we can talk about why you want to leave.”
Hands on hips, Sindra stamped a tiny foot on the air.
I blinked. I’d never seen the queen so angry. Swallowing hard, I had to admit to myself that her anger was focused on me.
I didn’t think Queen Sindra had ever been mad at me. I didn’t like it one bit.
“I do not discuss my decisions with magical librarians or kind but interfering earth witches, or...” Her gaze took on a glint that didn’t bode well for the next person on her list. “...bossy daughters who reject our ways and refuse to follow their mother’s laws. I am Sindra, queen of the fairies. My decisions are my own to make. And I’ve decided we need to move to the Primordial Forest. That is the end of that.” Her eyes sparked vivid green before she spun in the air and shot away.
“I’m sorry,” I called after her. “We love you and will miss you. That’s all.”
She hesitated, easing to a stop, and then turned back. Her expression softened, and so did the stiff frame of her shoulders. She opened her mouth to respond and hope lit in my chest.
But it was not to be.
The greenhouse shook violently around us.
Fairies throughout the large structure shot upward, their bodies braced and their gazes alert.
Blood pulsed in my ears, a growing pressure making my eardrums ache.
A beat later, the air imploded, leaving me gasping and breathless. I fought to fill my lungs but no air would come.
Then the pressure released with a whoosh and blasted outward, exploding the plexiglass and metal walls of the large building and blowing away its doors.
I was thrown backward, slamming into the hard earth outside the greenhouse. Pain shot through my back and legs as I skidded across the stony soil.
As quickly as it had shifted, the air stilled. Not so much as a wisp of smoke or dust moved through the space.
I lay there gasping for a moment and then crawled to my feet, moving slowly as I scraped my aching body off the ground. I stumbled into the building, terrified of what I’d find.
It was worse than I’d feared.
The area was bathed in silence. Not a single fairy wing whirred in the air. Thank the goddess I saw no bodies littering the ravaged ground. I closed my eyes in relief and sucked in a deep breath, releasing it slowly. But my relief was short lived. The blast might not have killed the fairies. But it had certainly done something.
Queen Sindra and her fairies were all...
Shoving my shoulder-length brown hair out of my face, I stumbled through the brutalized building, my horrified blue gaze taking in the complete devastation.
Plants were uprooted and torn. Fruit trees were ripped from the ground, their battered fruit scattered from one end of the structure to the other. The metal sides of the building were torn and twisted. And the little pond in the back had been nearly emptied of water, its rocky waterfall blown away and embedded in the walls.
I was both surprised and pleased to see that Wally, Lea’s pet bullfrog was alive and well.
“Bawump!” Wally said in an outraged belch.
“I hear ya, buddy,” I told him. “This is not good.”
A distant door slammed and Lea screamed my name from the back of her herbal shop. I hurried over and stuck my head through the ravaged door. “I’m okay. Wally’s okay too.”
Relief filled her pretty face for a beat, then turned to horror as she took in the condition of her wonderful greenhouse. “What happened?”
I shook my head. “I wish I knew. One minute I was talking to Sindra and the next...” Words suddenly failed me. Tears filled my eyes and I swallowed a knot in my throat.
They were all gone.
I shook my head, a shaky hand covering my mouth. How was I going to tell Sebille?
Lea touched my arm, her hand soft and warm against my icy flesh.
“Where are the fairies?” Lea asked in a terrified whisper.
I turned my tear-drenched gaze her way, not bothering to hide my own horror at the situation.
Lea gasped, tears overflowing her turquoise gaze. She ran fingers through her long, curly, light brown hair, her lips quivering. “It can’t be.”
I sniffed and pulled her into a hug. At five feet nine inches, I was several inches taller than Lea. She had such a large personality, I rarely thought about it. But she felt small curled against me sobbing, my natural instinct to soothe and protect kicked in.
I smoothed her hair off her face. “They have to be okay,” I said. “There’s no sign…” I swallowed a lump in my throat, not wanting to say the words. “There has to be some other explanation.” Even as I spoke, I wasn’t sure I believed the words myself.
“What in the twelve goddess-be-danged dimensions happened here?” asked a voice that could cut trees into toothpicks.
Lea and I stiffened, pulling apart to face Sebille.
The sprite was striding toward us across the lot, a pair of orange palazzo pants with giant turquoise dots on them swishing around her bony legs. She wore a purple tunic top with oversized pockets and a pair of red sneakers instead of the Wicked Witch of the West shoes she generally wore. She was a colorful, angry rocket, firing our way.
“Meow!” Mr. Wicked proclaimed from down by my feet. He barely touched my ankles as he scurried past me into the battered building, his tail high and whipping the air.
“Sebille,” I said, my tone as gentle as I could make it.
She narrowed her eyes, stiffening. “You’re using your kindly voice?” she asked, clearly appalled. “On me?” A frown puckered her long, freckled face. “What did you do?”
I shook my head, wishing it was as simple as me messing up. But when Sebille cocked her skinny hip, her belligerence thickening, I realized it didn’t matter who she blamed. What mattered was that... My treacherous lip quivered. Tears flooded my blue gaze. “I’m so sorry.”
The first cracks appeared in Sebille’s protective belligerence. Her glower smoothed out and her eyes widened. She looked at Lea and took note of her red eyes and wet cheeks.
The sprite ran past us, ducking into the destroyed greenhouse. “Mom!”
Lea gave a soft sob. She pushed past me, probably intending to soothe Sebille.
I wanted to believe we could make the sprite feel better. But after working closely with my perpetually angry assistant for nearly five years, I knew that soothing Sebille wasn’t going to happen. At least not until she’d torn her way through a few physical objects, laying waste to everything in her path, Viking style. After that, she might stop marauding long enough to have a sad moment.
Sebille outran emotion whenever possible. And when she couldn’t outrun it, she usually tried to bludgeon it to death.
I glanced around in panic. While I’d been contemplating the unstoppable force of Sebille’s rage, my friend had thrown herself into the lion’s den. “Lea!” I hurried through the empty doorway in search of my two friends. One to rescue, and the other to try to wrangle into a targeted weapon, rather than a level ten hurricane flattening everything in its path.
Something exploded at the back of the structure, sending dirt and chunks of tree sky high. The fresh scent of apple filled the air just before a sweet, juicy missile smacked me between the eyes.
Lea yelped. Wicked yowled his displeasure. And Sebille succumbed to a hearty bout of feral rage screaming.
I ran toward the back of the greenhouse, skidding to a stop at the sight of Lea clutching Wally protectively against her chest and Sebille blasting the bat snot out of a large rock. Her freckled face was flushed purple and her bright-red hair, twined into a single, waist-length braid, was covered in rock dust.
Lea turned to me with a look of concern on her face.
I pulled air into my lungs, closed my eyes, and opened them again as I released the breath on a prayer for strength.
“Meow!” Wicked yowled from atop a broken apple tree. Glancing his way, I took note of the agitated slash of his tail and the fur standing at attention over his entire body. I frowned at the sight. Sebille was even scaring him.
The sprite blasted another rock, screaming like a banshee. I stepped forward, not sure what I was going to do. If she were a normal person, I’d give her a hug.
But since she was Sebille...
“Sebille,” I said, my voice soft so as not to spook her.
“Arrrrrrrrrr!” she screamed again and threw her hands toward the sky, giving the tattered remains of the ceiling a double-barreled blast. We ran for cover, ducking under the remnants of a pear tree as large and small pieces of metal roofing dropped down on us. Wicked jumped from the tree and ran to me, his pretty orange eyes wide with alarm.
I snatched him up and held him close as the last of the debris slammed to the ground.
Silence throbbed through the building. Lea and I shared another look.
A soft sob filtered through the dusty air and I closed my eyes, my heart breaking for my friend. I dared a glance in her direction, finding her standing with her hands clenched into fists, her head down and her shoulders shaking with silent sobs.
I started toward her.
Wicked leaped from my arms on a yowl and hit the ground with a hiss. He was puffed to twice his normal size. And he was staring toward the empty doorframe.
Not at Sebille.
I reached a hand out to touch Lea’s arm, nodding at my cat.
She frowned. “What is...”
A footfall scuffed against the rocky ground outside, tiny stones dancing away to ping against a metal wall. I held up a hand to stop her, a deep sense of foreboding filling me.
My instincts screamed at me to run, though I had no reason to assume the worst.
Except for Wicked’s continued yowling and hissing. Behavior which, I had to admit, was an unhappy portent.
Then the doorframe darkened as a tall figure filled it.And I knew why I had a strong desire to run.