The Book Addict(5)

By: Annette Mori

Tanya was lost in eyes that seemed to reflect light like a prism, changing from light blue to violet to light green. “Okay, but I’ll definitely be back to buy more. I tear through books in a matter of days, sometimes less.”

“Oh no, you must take your time with this one. Savor the experience.”

Tanya walked out of the store, but before she let the door close, she looked back over her shoulder and caught Elle watching her, a brilliant smile on her face.

Elle was a magician, a book magician, who could inject a charm into a book to make it literally come alive for the reader. Eons ago, magicians were an accepted part of society and possessed more than one area of expertise. Over the generations, the ability to perform magic in more than one capacity diminished, and now the skills were vastly segregated. It was extremely rare for a magician to possess double or triple magic, but some managed to hone dual talents. Elle didn’t know a lot about the magicians who possessed more than one skill. She did suspect they were predominantly women. Her mother seemed reluctant to share even the tiniest bit of history about female magicians, especially those who were considered a formidable force in the magic world. Those magicians often kept their enhanced skills hidden for fear of ramifications from power-hungry males. Her own sect was ruled by a council of seven and led by the Grand Wizard, Gordon. He’d coined that title when he stopped using the term magician in reference to the men.

Magician was the correct term that had been used for millennia, until Gordon started calling the men wizards and the women apprentices. With the new regime in power, everything had changed overnight. She would never call herself, or any of her sisters and mothers in magic, an apprentice. In Elle’s humble opinion, the changes were not for the good of all book magicians or those who benefited from their magic, the ones they called the chosen. The ones like Tanya.

She was instantly fascinated by the small woman who had looked like she wanted to shrink into an invisible gnat. Tanya was the perfect kind of beautiful, because she had no idea how attractive she was. The shimmering from crown to shoulder of her dark-chocolate hair accented her pale-gray eyes and created an exotic combination most women would kill for. Elle thought the shy smile from the plump, naturally red lips on Tanya’s delicate, heart-shaped face gave her a combination of innocence and sensuality that was hard to ignore. How could the woman who glowed with evidence of exercise and a healthy diet go unnoticed as she’d claimed?

Elle wanted to break the rules again and join the adventure, as Tanya opened the book and the magic transported her into the story. The council never had an issue with that in the past. Magicians could jump into their own charmed books, if they wanted to experience the book first hand. That was before Gordon took the reins.

What a blowhard. “I promise to bring back prosperity to the rank and file magicians, those of you who built the magic world,” he’d cried out in his speeches. Elle and many others had scoffed at that. Built it, yes, but polluted it with their archaic notions was more like it. They were the same old timers who despised the law that allowed female magicians into the higher ranks. Merlin was their idol, but his hard and fast rule of an exclusively male upper echelon irked Elle. The “rank and file” conveniently retold the legend of Merlin and ignored the truth that a female magician had been his downfall. They claimed females were only to create minor magic in the form of food and pleasure for their mates. The magic world was in an uproar. Lines of division were drawn, and female magicians who gravitated toward each other faced the very real threat of terrible consequences.

Gordon spit out executive orders like watermelon seeds. Lately, he was getting more militant, and Elle wondered when the simple admonishments would end and the council would take more drastic action. For now, she thought at least a few members weren’t all that concerned about her youthful dalliances.

She knew it was only a matter of time before they shut her and her women’s bookstore down. And yet, there were protests that had kept the elite preoccupied. She thanked the heavens for that.

Elle paced back and forth down the aisle in her store, while talking on the phone with her mother. “It doesn’t matter that she was the first in the store, she’s the one to receive the magic. I’m sure of it. I’ve been following her.”