Since Rogue Spells publishes on Monday, how about the next installment of the preview?
Sound like a nice idea? We thought so too.
So here we go…
by Melinda Kucsera
(A Curse Breaker Companion Novel)
“Mommy! What are you doing?” Rosalie shouted as Robin spun the wheel.
“I’m following that book.” Robin hit the call back button on her phone, and the call switched to Bluetooth as it rang.
“Why are we following it? It’s just a really big book.” Nor did Rosalie sound happy about the unplanned side trip.
“That’s why we’re following it. Normal books aren’t as long or as wide as an SUV. They don’t glow, and they certainly don’t fly.” But this one did, and that made it interesting. Beyond that, she had to follow it. That book called to her as if it was hers, but that was impossible. Robin stepped on the gas as the phone continued to ring. “Come on, Strella. Answer the call. I just talked to you. I know you’re home.”
“Mommy!” Rosalie shouted.
“What?” Robin couldn’t take her eyes off the road to see what was the matter now.
“Don’t drive so fast. It’s not allowed.” Rosalie pointed at the sign, stating the speed limit for this road wasn’t as fast as Robin was driving.
“I know, honey.” Robin swerved around another car.
‘Then why are you speeding?”
“Because I don’t want to lose that book.” And there were quite a few people out for a Sunday drive. Robin hit the gas pedal again as she turned into the long curve. She might have taken it just a tad too fast. But she couldn’t lose that book, not until she discovered how she was connected to it.
“Mommy!” Rosalie clung to the car seat.
“I know, honey. I’ll slow down when it does.” Robin punched the redial button on her phone screen.
“Hey, I saw you called a few minutes ago. What’s up?” Strella asked, and her smooth voice flowed out of the car’s speakers.
“Mommy’s trying to kill me!” Rosalie shouted, and the microphone picked that up.
Robin didn’t bother to dispute that because her daughter’s claim was ridiculous. Rosalie was securely belted into the back seat, and they weren’t going that fast. Route 9 North had too many curves for that.
“Now, sweetie, your mom would never do anything like that,” Strella said. “Robin, ixnay on the speakerphone, okay?”
“Can’t do that. I’m driving, and you should be too.”
“Why? Is something going on?” Strella sounded interested.
“I’m chasing a rogue story up Route 9 North. I just passed the Croton Harmon train station.”
“It’s just a giant flying book. I don’t see what’s so special about it.” Rosalie threw something at the back of Robin’s seat.
“Really?” Strella must have covered the phone because her next words came through muffled but still intelligible. “Hey, Kat, get your shoes and keys. No, don’t change clothes. No one’s wearing pants. PJs are fine. Robin’s chasing a story.” Strella’s voice came through crystal clear again as Kat’s hurried footsteps faded. “Sorry about that. So, tell me about this book while wifey gets her act together. How large is it?”
“Nine by six feet by one foot. There was writing on the cover. I think it said Rogue Spells, but it was hard to see.” Robin swerved around a slow car.
“Got it. Okay, I’ll search for it on the way.”
“Who’s driving?” Kat’s voice came through, but she sounded far away.
“I am. I’m the more aggressive driver. Take the phone, so you can talk to Robin and web search at the same time,” Strella must have said to Kat because her voice was muffled.
“Okay, we’re hitting the road. Where are we going?” Kat asked.
“That’s what I’m trying to figure out. Hang on.” Robin leaned on the gas pedal, but the book shot off the highway with her passenger holding on for dear life and vanished behind a line of trees nowhere near an exit. “Damn it, I lost it.” Robin pounded the heel of her hand into the steering wheel. But the book was still nearby, she could feel it. She just couldn’t see it.
“You lost the princess who says she’s not a princess too, not just the book,” Rosalie reminded her.
“What princess?” Kat asked. Strella must have put them on speakerphone.
“There was a woman with the book, but she was just a character, not a Scribe.”
“What will you do now?”
“What else can I do? I’ll take the next exit onto the road paralleling this one and look for the book. I can’t believe I lost it.” Robin hit the steering wheel again.
“I’m surprised you didn’t go off road. You are driving a truck.”
“Nah, there’s too many trees. I didn’t want to risk it. I’ll find that book. Its Scribe must be close by.”
“Mommy, there’s a book back here, and it’s glowing.”
“What?” Robin glanced in the rearview mirror. Indeed, Rosalie pointed at a purple glowing object as it slid off the seat. “That wasn’t there before.”
“Nope, it just appeared when the big book vanished. Maybe it’s the same book, just smaller.”
“I think you’re right.” Robin signaled as the exit came up. She barely saw the sign as she turned onto it, stopped for the obligatory traffic light, which was always red on these ramps, and scanned the shoulder for a good place to stop. There was a gravel area a quarter of a mile down. As soon as the light turned green, she pulled off onto the gravel, threw the truck into park and unfastened her seatbelt.
“Well, don’t keep us in suspense. What do you see? Narrate for us,” Strella shouted over the Bluetooth. Kat probably held the phone.
“Well, it looks like a normal-sized copy of the same book we were just chasing.” Robin leaned between the seats to get a better look at it.
Rosalie shook her head. “No, Mommy, not ‘we,’ you were chasing the big book. I was just along for the ride.”
“So noted,” Robin muttered as the book flipped open.
“What’s it say?” Rosalie poked her arm when she didn’t reply.
“I can’t read it upside down.” Robin reached to turn it, but the book spun on its own to face her. Lines of orderly text striped the page, and among them was her name and her daughter’s. Coincidence? Possibly, but Robin doubted it.
“What does it say? Your captive audience, who I might add is driving right now to join you, wants to know,” Kat said before Strella could.
Robin paged through the book. “It’s a bunch of jumbled notes about some orbs, chaos, order and a bunch of weird scientific terms like entropy, negentropy, which sounds made up, and syntropy. Well, that’s not any better. Someone clearly took creative license here.”
“Skip that. Magic doesn’t work all that well in this world,” Strella said.
“Don’t I know it,” Robin muttered, and her daughter gave her a sour look.
“That’s because we don’t have a castle. All the movies and books with magic in them have castles, but we don’t have one. So no magic for us.” Rosalie waved her scepter around and almost hit Robin’s arm by accident.
“Watch where you swing that. Plastic hurts.”
“I’m still right about the castle.”
“Movie logic doesn’t work in the real world.” Robin touched the page, and it turned.
Find out who next week what happens next on Monday, order your copy of Rogue Spells now!.
This is Ran, son of Sarn, signing off. Have a great week!