Imogen Taylor: Artist. College dropout. Gamer. Screwup.
I had big plans for art school in California, but when the best mom in the world—mine—needed help, I came home to Arbolito, Arizona instead. I even got my old high school job back, making smoothies at the Desert Freeze…in winter.
So, yeah, by day, my life is a cold, tropical-hued hell. But at night, I escape reality by plugging into my favorite video game, Legendelirium, to become a powerful, sexy witch, going on epic quests while vanquishing baddies.
Until a cute guy from my gaming world shows up at work, gives me the worst kiss ever, and my reality and fantasy lives get blended by purple goo laced with lethal, nanorobotic technology.
Now, I’ve got powers—strange, witchy ones. Scary people are after me, and I don’t know who to trust. And, get this. Somehow, it’s up to me to defeat them, or it’s game over.
Enter the fast, fun, urban fantasy adventure of the BUTTERFLY WITCH series, where magic and science become one—mostly accidentally.
* This is a standalone first book in the brand-new BUTTERFLY WITCH series. Contains swearing, some intense action scenes (low gore), super-slow-burn romantic interest (also low gore), and does not end on a cliffhanger—but, yeah, there’s more to come! *
A towering black-cloaked monolith of a man stalked me through my dreams. I ran, but too slow, my steps and my heart pounding to the ominous beat of The Imperial March…
I cracked an eyelid, fumbled for my phone, and swiped my thumb across the clock app. Shit. Somehow I’d snoozed Darth Vader twice already and now had only fifteen minutes left before the start of my shift as manager at the Desert Freeze. I swung my feet to the floor.
And I stepped on Gwumpki.
With a vicious hiss, the ugly brown monster with his cabbage-green eyes buried all twenty-one claws in my bare ankle.
I yelped and flinched back, accidentally flipping the damned polydactyl menace—still clinging to my foot—up onto the mattress. For one yowling heartbeat, I was tangled in fleece blanket, various wires trailing to my gaming system, and half-feral feline. “Motherf—”
A rap at the door. “Imogen! Are you up? You’re going to be late for work.”
As if I didn’t know that. “I’m up.” Sort of, but not like anybody was watching.
The damn cat had probably sneaked in yesterday while I was at work, hunkered down while I gamed all night, just so he could attack me this morning while I was weak.
I wriggled my foot out of his clutches after one last, nasty scratch across the back of my hand. Under the blanket, Gwumpki growled, brown tail lashing across my phone.
I snatched the 3G embarrassment of a phone out from behind him. “Hate you too.”
In the bathroom, the menthol odor of Mom’s CBD cream was almost as sharp as claws in my nose. She must’ve had a hard night, but I hadn’t heard anything through my headphones. Guilt bit into me even harder.
Holding my breath, I peed, washed my hands, slicked my wet fingers through my hair to pull every long brown strand into a ponytail per the Desert Freeze employee handbook rules, and tugged on jeans and yesterday’s “Freeze Your Life Away!” t-shirt. It wasn’t that dirty.
Except for the smear of blood. But that was fresh. “Dammit, Gwump.” I swabbed at the stain, mostly making it bigger.
“Imogen! Breakfast is ready!”
“Coming.” The thick sizzle-smell of scrambled eggs and veg was like quick-set concrete I had to wade through down the hall to the kitchen. I checked my texts, saw the one last night from Swann, and quickly stuffed the phone in my back pocket. Ugh, couldn’t think about that right now.
“No time to eat, Mom.” I grabbed a travel mug from the drying rack next to the sink and poured myself half the coffee.
“If you didn’t stay up so late…” Coming around the end of the kitchen counter, she held out a small container. The reusable plastic was scarred from thousands of baked zitis over the decade that she’d been a psychiatric nurse on the late shift. “You can’t keep playing your life away, Imogen.”
“I’ll just grab something from work,” I said as I backed away from the leftovers.
Her shuffling steps were too slow to catch me, and I darted out of the kitchen, grabbing my bag from the low table in the front hall. It was like high school all over again.
“Have a good day,” she called from the kitchen. “Love you, honey.”
“Love you too.” But I was already shutting the door between us.
The chilly desert morning air was like a slap in the face—one of those light slaps an evil lord gives his soon-to-be-dead minion, halfway between amused and alarming. Not that Arbolito, Arizona had a lot of evil lords. It didn’t have a lot of anything besides strip malls. Mom bought half the Mission Revival duplex in this suburban subdivision for its magnet school, not its originality.
Not that it ever got that chilly. But fifties was cold enough for my thin blood that I wished I was still snuggled in my fleecy blanket.
Except Gwumpki was there, wrapped up like the ground chuck cabbage roll he was named after. And now I had, like, ten minutes to get to work.
With a sigh, I balanced the coffee in the crook of my arm while I wrestled with the Fiesta’s finicky lock. Wouldn’t it just be my luck if the key broke off?
The top popped off the travel mug, and black coffee sloshed…
But I caught it with just a tiny splash across the back of my claw-marked hand. “Ha!” No caffeine lost.
It’s the little victories in life that matter.
Paranormal romance and science fiction romance for everyone who howls at the moon or looks up at the stars to dream. Learn more about Elsa Jade and the worlds of the Mating Season, Mating Fever & Intergalactic Dating Agency -- and sign up for the New Release Alert -- at http://elsajade.com
Latest News: See the profiles of the sexy aliens of the #IntergalacticDatingAgency in the free sneak peek at Instafreebie. http://instafreebie.com/book/15688
Erin Kellison is the bestselling author of the Dragons of Bloodfire series, the Reveler series, and the Shadow series. She writes urban fantasy, paranormal romance, and science fiction romance. She loves other worlds and visits them as often as possible via movies and books and her kids' imaginations. When not daydreaming or writing, she's goofing off with her family in sunny Arizona.