This is the third installment of my Bottled Magic series about genies, and in this one, well, let's just say that maybe it's not exactly the world that's never been the same, but a certain town in northeast PA hasn't been. Not for the past hundred plus years.
See, that's when Vana, a genie who kinda, well, sorta, maybe, skipped out on her genie training, and might have caused just the teensiest tiniest bit of trouble for the master who'd brought her to his home town.
Okay, maybe big trouble. From the vanishing staircase, to the bear who showed up at a luncheon, to the flying berries, rolling gristmill, and let us not forget the ugly rose-colored window she'd zapped into the church, Vana's magic had been wreaking havoc for her master, giving him the sad legacy of being known as a crazy man.
Her new master, Zane Harrison, is out to change all of that. He lived with that legacy until his family moved out of town. Now he's back to sell the family estate, and get away from the rumors forever.
Vana's got different plans. She's going to save the family';s reputation and homestead by setting things to rights.
Too bad they turn out oh-so-wrong. For all her hundred years stuck in her bottle between masters with the Djinnoire, a genie how-to book, she still hasn't grasped her magic.
Until Zane grasps her. And kisses her. Then her magic works wonderfully.
Take a magic carpet ride (literally, they do) with Zane and Vana as they try to figure out how to overcome his great-grandfather's reputation, put the hide-and-seek-playing gargoyles back on the room, unmagic the furniture and deal with Merlin, the gender-curious, cross-dressing phoenix who isn't afraid to speak his mind--sometimes at the most inopportune moments.
Here's an excerpt:
“Vana, you’re never going to believe what happened!” Merlin, the phoenix who’d been keeping her company throughout the past centuries, onto the mirror with his usual burst of sparkly orange fire, though this time he’d paired it with fuchsia feathers, his colors as changeable as his moods. “There’s a Harrison back in town.”
Merlin did in so many aspects of his life.
“Yes, Merlin, I know.” She let go of Zane’s arms (reluctantly) and held out her hand as Merlin’s perch. “Master, allow me to introduce you to Merlin Pendragon. Merlin, Zane Harrison.”
“A talking bird?” Zane’s mouth fell open. “You’re kidding, right? And Merlin?I thought merlins were smaller, and as for Pendragon,,, Delusions of grandeur much?”
“Where do you think your kind got the story?” Merlin fluffed his breast feathers and a shower of pink sequins fell like dust onto her arm. “And no, I’m not a merlin, though I must say, I do appreciate the honor of having a species named after me. I’m a phoenix, you know. And not just phoenix, mind you. I’m the First Lieutenant of the Third Order of Pyre. Pretty spiffy stuff, if I do say so myself.
“You should be thanking your lucky stars—which are Vega and Rigel, by the way—that you’re meeting me. Do you know how many mortals go their entire lives without seeing a phoenix?” He struck a pose, one orange and red-striped leg stretched out beneath an open wing. “So, Mr. Negativity, are you sufficiently impressed?”
Zane looked anything impressed. Disbelieving, stunned, maybe even a touch angry… And, with his gaze on the ceiling, praying.
Great. She did not need him invoking the gods. One word from Saraswati to the High Master and it’d all be over. She’d be whisked right back to Al-Jannah, the djinn capital city, to be reprimanded for all her transgressions (of which there were plenty) and possibly stripped of her status.