Reluctant Familiar Mysteries Book 3
Familiar Hijinks is part of the Sleigh Bells and Sleuthing 16 Novella Holiday Mystery Collection, the royalties of which will go entirely to Good Fortune Farm NO KILL animal refuge. Help us help them? xo
This year, for Christmas, LA’s definitely feeling more jammed up than joyful.
When someone infects human Santa Claus stand-ins with magic they can’t control, Christmas suddenly becomes more menacing than merry. The last thing LA needs is to deal with a disaster that might bring the whole human population to their doorstep with pitchforks and torches.
She’s woefully behind on her gift shopping. Her Aunt Trudy is keeping secrets. And a certain, bossy police detective is definitely not what he seems.
LA and Deg must work their way through a suspect list that includes some pretty heavy hitters in the magical and mythological realms, and find the proverbial strand of tinsel on the tree that leads to the troublemaker.It’s starting to look a lot like crisis, and a pair of rosy cheeks and a jolly giggle might not be enough to keep the Peace on Earth this year.
More from this series
Praise for Familiar Hijinks
"Characters leap from the page as the storyline takes the reader on a wonderful trip into literary entertainment. Well written, realistic and charismatic characters, a great storyline - you couldn't ask for better entertainment."
"LeeAnn works at Familiars Inc. and spends her time keeping magic away from humans. Right before Christmas someone starts using magic in public and harming humans so it’s up to LA and her friends to find the culprit. It’s a fun short read with Sam Cheever’s usual quick dialogue and likable characters. I enjoyed it thoroughly. "
Read an Excerpt
Wake up, LeeAnn!
My grandmama’s face appeared in front of mine; her blue-green eyes narrowed with irritation. She reached up and tapped me hard on the nose. Wake up! You’ve got things to do.
I snorted awake, opening my eyes to find myself surrounded by white; a pristine glow emanating from beyond the window in my bedroom.
I sniffled, shoving a fire-colored rats-nest out of my face and sitting up. I’d asked my grandmama to make sure I woke up early because, she was right, it was Christmas Eve and I was woefully behind on my shopping. Using one’s dead grandmama as an alarm clock was admittedly strange, but Celeste was bored in the Elysian Fields and she didn’t mind.
“Thanks, Celeste!” I muttered around a yawn.
A soft voice danced through the impossible brightness of my room. You’re welcome, child.
Sighing expansively, I shoved the covers back. I sat on the edge of my bed and looked out at the unrelieved white beyond my window.
Snowing again. It seemed as though it had done nothing but drop snow and ice on our heads for weeks. The ground outside the shabby, careworn brownstone I called home was thick with the stuff. It covered all but a narrow ribbon of the sidewalks and roads, people and cars fighting for that limited space as we tried to go about our business, preparing for the holidays.
Which reminded me. I shoved to my feet, groaning as the last several days of training with Deg, a.k.a. Deggart Kincaide, my Witch, came back to bite me on the butt. Literally. My cheeks were killing me.
I yawned, heading to the bathroom to pee and brush the cotton from my teeth.
I spotted the clock on my dresser as I passed, groaning. I was late. I’d promised my friends I’d meet them at our favorite downtown diner for breakfast before we did our Christmas shopping. I needed to be there in fifteen minutes.
That’s what I got for using a ghost as an alarm clock. They had horrible time perception on the Earthly plane.
My friends and I had decided to do our shopping together so we’d be sure to get something each of us wanted. We’d exchanged names in our own version of Secret Santa…only it wasn’t so secret.
I did my thing in the bathroom, adding a quick, hot shower to the “to do” list while there. Hopefully, the hot water would ease some of the achiness from my overused muscles. Then I headed to the kitchen for coffee.
Firing up the small TV on my kitchen counter, I watched the news while my coffee brewed. I stared blankly at the usual reports of endless snow, grimacing and complaining aloud to a weather lady, who was dressed as if she lived on the beach. I was sipping the first cup of hot sweet and creamy coffee, thinking about heading into my cat sanctuary to feed my current residents…of which there were legions thanks to the never-ending snow…when the first news report of spilled magic hit the airwaves and filtered through my half-asleep brain cells.
The images flashed from ambulances and police cars to a pair of EMTs crouched in the snow, bent over someone on a stretcher.
The emergency medical responders tugged the stretcher upward, engaging its wheels so they could roll it to the waiting ambulance. A meaty hand, the fingers black with some kind of soot, fell off one side of the stretcher as it bounced over snow and ice.
I started to leave the kitchen but stopped in the door as a deep voice came on and spoke the words everyone in the magic world has dreaded since merging our fates with those in the human realm.
“I don’t know what happened. It was like lightning flew out of his fingertips,” the voice said. “He must have been holding one of those laser things in his hand. It’s the only explanation.”
I turned to the worried-sounding man on the television screen. He had dark skin and thick black brows that were lowered over chocolate brown eyes. “The lightning seared a woman’s bag right off at the handles and burned a streak in her arm.” He shook his head. “I’ve never seen anything like that.”
I forgot the mug in my hand and the chores on my list. Patting my jeans for my phone, I realized I hadn’t grabbed it from my bedside table.
As I was rushing back to get the phone, it started ringing.
I didn’t bother with pleasantries when I recognized Deg’s name on the screen. “You saw?”
“Yes. I’ll pick you up in five minutes.”
If I hurried, I’d just have time to throw some food into the cats’ bowls before he got there.