Title: Dream Magic
Series: The Magic Series #2
Author: Michelle Mankin
Publication Date: June 7, 2016
Genre: Paranormal Romance
The dreamscape is a place of magic and mystery and meaning. In that nocturnal realm, ideas, images, sensations and emotions drift on the currents of the unconscious mind.
Morpheus the Dream Falcon is most at home in that domain. By night, the one of a kind winged immortal soars on those winds, observing and sometimes even entering the slumbering thoughts of another. By day, he is a highly sought after mercenary feared by his immortal kin for both his unmatched ferocity and his wicked obsidian talons. None of his prey escapes him.
Cecilia Ramirez y Aguilera is the one he truly wants. But the striking oracle of the Court of the Light Immortals is closed to the handsome outlaw, even in her dreams. Broken by unimaginable losses, the seer is but a slave, subject to the whims of a master who is mad and without mercy.
Drawn together by fate, their impossible passion ignites. But will that be enough given the dangerous secrets each keeps from the other? Or will mistrust and the desire for revenge threaten to unravel the powerful magic that binds them?
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When you compare the sorrows of real life to the pleasures of the imaginary one, you will never want to live again, only to dream forever. – Alexandre Dumas
“Hola, mejita.” My mother turned smiling indulgently at the ever present headphones around my neck and the huge stack of music and fashion magazines I toted into the kitchen with me. “Dinner’s almost ready.” She used a spatula to flip something that sizzled and released a deliciously garlicky aroma into the air. Plátanos. My mouth watered and my empty stomach grumbled. “What’s new in the entertainment world?”
“Not much.” I lifted the Rolling Stone magazine to show her the cover and made a face. “Except Star Angel is breaking up with Brad.”
“Chica doesn’t stay with any one man long does she?”
“I know, right?” I shook my head in disbelief of my favorite diva’s man eating ways. The blunt ends of my straight hair swished against my shoulders. The halter and loose linen shorts I wore weren’t cutting edge fashion like Star preferred and I dreamed about, but it was way too hot in the rainforest for haute couture.
“Didn’t those two have a child together?”Mamá asked returning her attention to the stove.
“Yeah. That’s the saddest part.” I set aside the magazine. I planned to finish the article later. Being an aspiring singer, I was interested in finding out where Star thought her present heartache would take her professionally. For now I followed my nose across the bamboo floors that were smooth against my bare feet. “Mmm, mofongo.” I smiled widely. Plantains mashed with garlic, chicharrones, and olive oil. My favorite Puerto Rican dish. I snatched a pinch from one of the starchy slices on the paper towel lined plate.
“No, Cecilia,” my mother chided, pewter eyes the same unusual moonbeam shade as my own glowing softly. “We’ll eat soon. Your papá should be home any minute.”
“Sorry, Mamá.” I blew on my prize to cool it, and returned to the table my father had built using wood from an Ausubo tree prized for its decay and termite resistant properties. I popped the crispy morsel into my mouth and savored the rich flavor for a moment. “What’s the special occasion?” I asked her before licking the salty garlic residue from my fingertips. Making mofongo was time consuming. It wasn’t an everyday treat. Blue marlin filets were laid out alongside the mortar and pestle she would use to mash the fried plantains. “And when did Papá go to the north coast?” Our home in the El Yunque Rainforest was far from the side of the island where that particular fish flourished.
“So many questions, mejita.” She flipped off the gas burner and turned to face me blotting perspiration from her forehead with a kitchen towel and lifting her glossy ebony hair away from her neck so the late evening breeze would cool it. “Did you and Millie get the herbs?”
“Si, Mamá. They were easy to find once we…after we…” Carajo. Shit “We have all of them. Everything on the list.” I pressed my lips flat, kicking myself for almost admitting how my twin had helped me locate them.
Unfortunately for me, my mamá knew me too well to overlook my verbal stumbling. Her grey eyes narrowed. I nervously shifted my weight from one foot to the other. I swore that woman was psychic. At least she had an unsettling ability to read me, even if that wasn’t her gifting.
“Cecilia Ramirez y Aguilera. You know better! Your papá and I have told you over and over again. No scrying! I…” She snapped her mouth shut as my papá appeared striding into the kitchen wearing only cutoff shorts. His six foot six inch frame overshadowed Millie who stood a full foot shorter like me. Hips swaying rhythmically, blissfully unaware of the trouble I had gotten us into, she was humming some silly tune I had composed for her when we were kids.
“What’s wrong, Panacea, mi preciosa?” My father’s voice had a lilting musical quality similar to my own. Millie had inherited his angelic beauty, not that I was jealous. I doted on my sweet sibling just as everyone else in my family did.
My father’s ruby-red gaze hardened as he glanced back and forth between my mamá and me. I gulped around the growing knot in my throat while twisting my hands together. I knew it was only a matter of time before he found out. He wouldn’t be deterred.
Millie shot me a questioning look. I gave my head a subtle shake cautioning her not to give anything away. I was always treading into troubled waters. I wanted to avoid dragging her down with me for once.
“Raphael. Don’t be mad.” My mamá held his gaze using her most soothing tone. “But I fear the girls were scrying when they went out for herbs earlier today.”
“What?” he roared his displeasure in a deliberately measured volume. If he chose to he could reduce a solid structure to rubble with only the power of his utterance. Nevertheless, Mamá’s colorful Fiestaware dishes rattled ominously on the open shelves. He snapped open his wings, fourteen feet of intimidating span, several inches thick yet as transparent as if they had been fashioned from flawless glass. Dazzling when reflecting direct sunlight, they were most mesmerizing on a cloudless night, when they sparkled with the light of the Creator’s stars.
An unstable lapis coffee cup tumbled to the floor shattering into jagged pieces in front of me. I took a step back and assumed a protective stance in front of my twin, not because Papá would ever hurt us. He loved us, both of us…only unequally. But he frightened Millie whenever he got angry.
Her pretty sea foam green eyes wide Millie pressed closer. She might be his favorite but I didn’t hold that against her. Unlike me, she was easy to love, and she was my twin. We stuck together. No matter what. Mamá said we were sympatico, dos uno, two parts that made up one whole. I took her trembling hand and squeezed to reassure her. I felt our emotions settling the instant we touched.
“Have I not expressly forbidden you from using your gifts?” My father’s angry red gaze skewered me.
I managed a submissive nod.
“I am extremely disappointed in you, my daughter. I don’t make rules to make your life difficult. You know they’re for your safety. I’ve told you countless times how violent our immortal world can be and how critical it is that we maintain our anonymity in it.” The golden skin over his bulging biceps stretched beneath the strain as he crossed his tensed arms across his chest. “Why take such a risk for a handful of herbs, Cecilia?” His gaze narrowed further. “Did you forget? Is that your excuse for disobeying me this time? Or do you think that you know better since you seem so ready to set out on your own?”
My mamá frowned as she rose from the floor where she had been scooping up the broken pieces of pottery. Millie’s fingers tightened in mine.
“I didn’t forget. I didn’t think…”
“That’s the problem. Most of the time you don’t think at all, Cecilia.”
His criticism made my stomach cramp, but I tilted up my chin defiantly. “You’re overreacting. It only took us a moment. It’s unlikely anyone was around to notice.” I didn’t have it in me to back down whenever he laid into me. So I just dove deeper into it.
“I know you think my rules are too confining.” He shook his head disappointedly. “That our home is a cage to you. That you desperately yearn for your freedom. What you fail to see is that everything I do is done out of love for you and your sister and a desire to protect you. I have years of knowledge and experience that you lack. Your mamá and I pray to the Creator daily that you and your sister will never experience what the worst of our kind have to offer.”
I sighed, ducked my head and mumbled, “I’m sorry I disobeyed you.”
“Your apology would be of little consolation to your mother and me if you’re both dead, Cecilia. You know as well as I do that even though it only takes a moment for you to scry, that act leaves behind a unique residue that another foresight gifted immortal can trace even days later.”
I nodded somberly my guilt increasing as I felt Millie shaking beside me. She had an active imagination, one fueled by her voracious reading habit. It didn’t take more than a suggestion of danger by Papá to set it in motion.
“Besides, using your gifts scares the mortals,” he continued. “It’s a delicate enough balance for us living among them and having them accept us as it is.”
“You’re right, Papá.” I nodded obediently.
His anger seemingly spent, his expression softened. He slowly retracted his massive wings. Though powerful enough to launch him and a passenger into the sky within a single heartbeat, they were completely invisible when tucked into his shoulder blades.
My mother set the shards of pottery she had gathered on the counter and tucked her curvy body into her husband’s rock solid side. Throwing his arm around her shapely shoulders, he pulled her closer. They had been married for over a century yet the passion between them remained visibly strong. “You leave me no choice but to punish you, Cecilia,” he declared sternly. “No television. No excursions to town. Not even to assist your mamá with her healings.”
“But Papá,” I began. “I have so much to do before I move…”
“No.” He shushed me with a sharp gesture. “I’ve been far too lenient with you. You need to learn once and for all to use better judgment.” His eyes flared, glowing red embers within a fire. Familiar with that look, I braced. “You will also sleep tonight in the guestroom without your sister.”
A very harsh punishment indeed. I didn’t sleep well when separated from Millie. Tears pricked my eyes, but I curled my fingernails into my palms refusing to cry. I wasn’t going to let on how much his discipline upset me.
“Is that really necessary, Raph? You know neither one can sleep when separated from the other.”
“I know, my love. That’s why I’m doing it.” He gently tucked a lock of her hair behind her ear as he peered down at her. “The lesson must sink in for both of them. They need to look after each other. One day soon, they will be on their own. I’ve tried my best to prepare them for the world they are so set on experiencing but obviously there are lessons yet to be learned.” His gaze returned to me. “There will be no more talk of you moving out, not until I see proof that you are maturing.” I knew his tone meant his decision was final, but he had been right when he said I was desperate to be out on my own. To be so close and to have that taken away…I couldn’t, I wouldn’t let it go.
“Papá, no,” I pleaded feeling my hopes and dreams drifting away. “We are nearly twenty one. You promised.”
“Nevertheless.” His expression grew sterner. “Your questionable judgment puts you and your sister at undue risk. You know she is your shadow forever looking to you for direction. I can’t permit it.”
I lowered my gaze my eyes stinging with the burn of bitter disappointment.
“Papá.” Millie moved forward placing her platinum locks on his shoulder. The light color matched his exactly, so rare for Dark Immortals. “Por favor.” She reached for his hand. “Please, don’t take this away from Cici. She has an apartment already and a waitressing job at the Blue Parrot.”
“I’m sorry. It’s no longer open for discussion, little one, maybe in time I will reconsider.” His expression troubled, he shook his head and his crystal clear wings emerged slowly forming sharp peaks over each shoulder. His focus shifted to the open window. His chin tilted toward it and his nostrils flared as if he had scented something unpleasant. He turned to my mother. “I’m going to make a quick pass above the trees to make sure everything is safe.” He placed a kiss on the top of her head and gently squeezed my sister’s shoulder before turning to me. “Set the table for your mamá . I will return shortly.”
Catch up on the series with Strange Magic:
The Magic Series #1
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Michelle Mankin is the New York Times bestselling author of the Black Cat Records series of novels.
Rock Stars. Romance. Redemption.
Love Evolution, Love Revolution, and Love Resolution are a BRUTAL STRENGTH centered trilogy, combining the plot underpinnings of Shakespeare with the drama, excitement, and indisputable sexiness of the rock ‘n roll industry.
Things take a bit of an edgier, once upon a time turn with the TEMPEST series. These pierced, tatted, and troubled Seattle rockers are young and on the cusp of making it big, but with serious obstacles to overcome that may prevent them from ever getting there.
Rock stars, myths, and legends collide with paranormal romance in a totally mesmerizing way in the MAGIC series.
Catch the perfect wave with irresistible surfers in the ROCK STARS, SURF AND SECOND CHANCES series.
Romance and self-discovery, the FINDING ME series is a Tempest spin off with a more experienced but familiar cast of characters.
When Michelle is not prowling the streets of her Texas town listening to her rock or NOLA funk music much too loud, she is putting her daydreams down on paper or traveling the world with her family and friends, sometimes for real, and sometimes just for pretend.
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Other Books by Michelle Mankin:
BRUTAL STRENGTH series:
(also available in audio)
The MAGIC series:
(also available in audio)
FINDING ME series:
(also available in audio)
ROCK STARS, SURF AND SECOND CHANCES series:
- Outside (also available in audio)