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Title: Bad Magic (Spell Slave #1)
Author: Evelyn Elliott
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Christine Griffin
Genre: Bisexual, Fantasy, Gay Romance
Morality is relative. At least that’s what young sorcerer Regis Teller convinces himself. He’s done what he must to survive: working for a witch since he was nine, helping her throw the kingdom into anarchy, and taking his only comfort in her mysterious son, Crow. And soon, Regis is going to commit his first murder.
A do-gooder named Jonathan White has information the witch needs, and it’s Regis’s job to get that information and slit Jonathan’s throat. But then Regis actually meets Jonathan. And Jonathan is perfect—a hero with a passion for justice and little regard for civility.
Lucky for Regis, Jonathan has a weakness for attractive men. Lucky for Jonathan, Regis is fast developing a conscience and a heart. But for Regis, keeping both of them alive at their adventure’s end means breaking a magical oath and surviving his ruthless boss—all without telling Jonathan the truth. Falling in love is never easy, especially when everyone involved is lying through their teeth.
When Regis awoke, he realized with no small amount of horror that he’d been keeping the amulet in his pack. The amulet he needed to break the sleep spell, and the pack he’d thrown at Jonathan.
The pack he’d forgotten once it began to rain.
He hurried out of the cave. A wall of green surrounded the clearing. The path he’d made had vanished; the brambles had covered it. He had no way to find his pack, much less the amulet.
He collapsed against a boulder. “This could be a good thing,” he told himself. If the amulet were gone, he couldn’t wake the queen. And if he couldn’t wake the queen, he didn’t have to kill Jonathan.
He took a deep breath. Then, aloud, he said, “I’m not going to wake the queen. I’m going to go cuddle with Jonathan.” And then he stood up.
Pain ripped through him. A scream locked in his throat, his muscles seizing, and he toppled onto the ground. As soon as he realized he had to find the amulet—that he couldn’t just lie in agony for the rest of his life—it faded.
The spell had no way of judging what counted as disobedience. It relied on his belief that he had disobeyed it, then punished him for that. All magic was guided by thought, after all. He lay there and sorted through his options. Would the oathspell force him to obey the wording of the oaths or the intent?
Oh, if only he’d studied oathspells before! The only thing he was certain of was that as soon as the queen was awoken, the oath to kill Jonathan would kick in. Then, just as abandoning the queen caused him pain now, thoughts of sparing Jonathan would be punished.
Maybe he could ask for Crow’s help. Except… no. All Crow ever said was keep your head down, Regis, or let me handle it, Regis, or do as she says, Regis.
Perhaps he could confess to Jonathan. But, gods, no, he couldn’t do it. Jonathan would kill him. Besides, what could Jonathan do? One of them still had to die. He couldn’t kill Jonathan for Belcane, but could he kill Jonathan to save himself?
A few weeks ago, the decision would’ve scared him. Now, it was more horrific than he ever could have imagined, because there was a tightness in his chest—a heat he couldn’t banish—that told him he couldn’t sacrifice Jonathan, could never even harm Jonathan, his own life be damned. Every memory of the man was tinged with an unwelcome sweetness.
A rustling noise came from behind him, and someone touched his shoulder. Jonathan sat down next to him. “You all right?”
“I’m fine,” Regis croaked, which was a lie. He felt like he was going to throw up.
“Oh.” Jonathan looked relieved. “Well, what’s wrong, then?”
“I, I—” Regis was overwhelmed with the enormity of it all. Belcane would lock him up. She would castrate him. She was going to… going to….
“I’m going to throw up,” Regis said.
He stumbled off into the bushes, and Jonathan held back his hair as he leaned over, retching. When there was no more bile in his stomach, Jonathan handed him a flask. Regis swished the liquid around in his mouth, then spat and made a face. “What is that? What did you just give me?”
Regis gave him a look.
“It helps steady my nerves,” Jonathan said.
“You’re easily the most disreputable hero I’ve ever met,” Regis said. “You drink. You’re suicidal. When you rescued me from that man, I’m surprised you didn’t leave my hands tied and fuck me against the wall.”
“You told me to untie you.”
“And if I hadn’t?”
“Then I would have left your hands tied and fucked you against the wall,” Jonathan admitted. He glanced at the vomit, then nudged some fallen leaves over it.
“Sorry,” Regis said. “Nervous stomach.”
Jonathan flicked a strand of hair away from Regis’s nose. “What’s there to be nervous about?”
“I lost the amulet.”
Jonathan frowned. “I’ll never understand this magic nonsense. You’re a sorcerer, aren’t you? Can’t you just undo the spell?”
“If it were that simple, someone else would’ve done it by now. The enchantment on the queen is strong. Forcing it to break would kill her. The only person who can remove it is the person who cast it in the first place. We need the amulet if we’re going to save her.”
“Yeah, that was a lie,” Jonathan admitted. They both laughed. “As if it matters with you here. You’re a very convenient traveling companion, mage of mine.” He took Regis’s hand and kissed the back. “There’s something I want to ask you, actually. Have you ever thought about getting into the hero business?”
“Well,” Jonathan said, drawing out the word. “You and I get along, don’t we? I can’t tell you what a relief it is to have someone along who understands this magic nonsense. And normally I don’t like people, but, well, I like you. You’re useful.” He groaned. “I’m really bad at this. It’s just, I was thinking that maybe after we rescued the queen, we didn’t have to part ways.”
Regis closed his eyes, resting his forehead in the hollow of Jonathan’s throat. He said nothing. Jonathan let out a sudden, sharp exhalation. “I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have assumed….”
“No,” Regis said. “It’s okay. I mean—gods above. You have no idea how much I want this. But I can’t. One of us might be dead soon.”
Jonathan smoothed away a lock of Regis’s hair. “Tell me why.”
“I can’t.” A weak protest, the defense of a man already defeated. The truth hit hard; he could and he had to. The words were behind his lips: there’s something I need to tell you. He opened his mouth.
“Wait,” Jonathan said. “Before you answer, I need to tell you something.”
Regis laughed. “You have something to tell me. You?”
Jonathan pressed a finger to Regis’s lips. “I do. Please, just listen. I feel terrible for not mentioning it sooner.” He hesitated, as if struggling with how to put it into words. “Someone told me to hide the queen.”
Despite their simplicity, he spoke the words with heavy importance. “Well, go on,” Regis said when Jonathan only continued to stare meaningfully. “Tell me who sent you.”
“A young woman with red hair. When she found me, we were strangers, but she spoke as if she knew me.”
Regis’s spine prickled. “You’re not being helpful,” he snapped. “Do you remember her name?”
“She claimed she could see the future. She told me my fate, and she told me I’d meet you.”
Regis sat up straight. “Jonathan….”
Jonathan tweaked a strand of hair from Regis’s nose, tucked it back. Regis blinked at him dumbly, unable to speak past the gears turning in his mind, the pieces falling into place. “You really don’t know. I suppose that’s to be expected. You were young when you were taken from her, and doubtless she never told you your fate.”
No, Regis thought. Please, no.
“Regis,” Jonathan said, “I know who you are. Your mother told me.”
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About the Author
At first glance, Evelyn Elliott seems like a perfectly normal person. Do not be deceived.
Her hobbies include watching grisly horror movies, torturing her characters, and tending to her flower garden. She enjoys long walks on the beach and collecting the souls of small children. Whenever she reads a book, she always roots for the villain.
Avoid her at all costs. Certainly do not find her on facebook or befriend her online. You have better things to do.
Where to find the author:
Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14427929.Evelyn_Elliott
Tour Dates & Stops:
12-Apr: Havan Fellows
15-Apr: A.M. Leibowitz
19-Apr: Kirsty Loves Books
21-Apr: Oh My Shelves
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