The Devoted(The Devoted Season Book 1)By: C.M. Estopare
A Reverse Harem Omnibus
To my husband and to all of you amazing readers who bolster me every day.
For Lilac, using her magic is a death sentence...to anyone standing within five feet of her.
Intent on never harming anyone again, Lilac gives up magic for good. But when her dad loses his job and opens a wandshop with the last of their cash, Lilac must get certified or get gone.
Easy, right? Not with her awful luck. To get certified means to actually get accepted into an academy. It also means using her magic.
Which means harming someone. Or a lot of someones.
But Lilac won’t let fear stand in her way. Even when Fear takes on the form of a wolfish battle instructor obsessed with proving to Lilac that she belongs somewhere far worse than the academy.
***All episodes are on preorder and will be released every week.***
“I’m so sorry!”
The stench of charred paper and burnt linen makes me choke. I reach toward the pile of blackened envelopes and ash but cut myself off.
You should be helping the Courier, not going through the mail you destroyed!
But the poor guy has already lifted himself up. I conjure up a ball of ice hoping that it will eat the leftover sparks I flung at him and throw the ice at his blackened hands. The iceball stays solid and punches his wrist. Then, drops to the ground and shatters into a million sparkling pieces. The Courier hisses and cradles his wrist, the sickly crack of snapping bones making me gag.
“I’m sorry!” I cry again, hands up, palms flat this time. “I-I didn’t mean it,”
The Courier gives me a death glare. He’s murmuring under his breath, his winged mustache twitching with every curse he lays on me.
He waits for a moment, glaring daggers at me.
“Don’t just stand there!” he screeches, “Pick it up!”
His glare is intense, glazed. I bend down to avoid it. Pastel walls come to life around me. There’s a tiny crowd of people walking up and down the flagstone street. They avoid the Courier like he’s got the pox, weaving a wide berth around his heaving form. For me, I get sneers and exasperated head shakes. My shoulders drop. They’re all used to this. Every single one of them. All the apologies in the world wouldn’t save this town from my mishaps.
I gasp and lean toward the Courier as he winces.
“Pick it up!” he says, pointing his chin toward the steaming pile of mail I’ve destroyed.
“Of course, of course,” I kneel before the pile and scoop up what’s salvageable. Enchanted envelopes slip from the ashen black pile. I scan them, flipping through them as the Courier’s shadow comes closer. Hovering over me, he reaches down and snatches the envelopes from my hands.
“One for you,” he spits, pretty much tossing an envelope at me as I turn and face him. It slaps me square in the face. Ouch.
“If you didn’t want your mail, you should have just said so!” he hisses.
“I’m sorry—I swear—”
“Sorry didn’t do it, kid,” the Courier stuffs the enchanted envelopes into his scorched messenger bag. He lets his injured wrist go as a sparkling mist settles over it, “you did.”
He turns on his heel and limps off before I can even think of a way to counter that.
Nice one, Lilac.
The letter I hold in my hands is golden, like the sun as it sets. Warm sconcelight breathes to life on either side of the street, sconces standing tall in cast-iron street lamps or attached to the crumbling pastel walls of townhouses, blink to life one at a time. A sad smile makes my face fall even further.
This will be dad’s last time bringing light to the city.
I try not to think about that as I stand and turn on the yellow sidewalk. Our sconce is lit and the Wands and Things sign lights up orange. It blinks against the soft evening light, the glow warming my face. I’m almost uncertain if it’s really ours. Almost uncertain if dad really did it—repurposed the ground floor to become something so silly. A wand shop.
“Who uses wands?” I remember asking him, “I can tell you! Old, stuffy, wizards like—”
Dad cutting me off with his know-it-all grin flashes through my mind’s eye and I smile at the memory. My upper lip twitches. He smiled as much as his affliction let him, anyway.
I shake my head and enter. The golden envelope is warm in my hands. I don’t even think about scrutinizing it as the store bell sings and I’m assailed by a maze of bookshelves and wandshelves. I stop by the little tea-table in the foyer, stacks, and stacks of unopened envelopes piled on and around it make me rethink my idea to just leave this envelope on it.
Maybe this time, I’ll open it. Read their summons.