The third book in my Magic series from Dorchester Publishing releases tomorrow--April 27--and I am giddy with excitement! A Breath of Magic is an extraordinarily special book to me. Oh, don't get me wrong, I love every book within this series, but Chloe's journey and her story dug in a little deeper than the others. I hope, hope, hope that readers will find the same magic in reading A Breath of Magic that I found in writing it.
As the devoted readers of this blog know, we celebrate each and every TNG release with something a little special. For this release, I've asked the other Novel Girls to dip into the world of the paranormal/mystical/spiritual in any way they'd like. See, Chloe, the heroine in A Breath of Magic, owns a New Age store called the Mystic Corner. She is a huge believer in anything and everything mystical, so I figured this topic was the perfect topic for my release week.
I'm going to use this topic to talk about Chloe and the struggles she's facing as the story opens. Chloe, as we discovered in A Stroke of Magic, has Gypsy magic running in her bloodline--something she didn't know for most of her life. So now, a year or so has passed, and she's been waiting...waiting...breathlessly waiting for her magic to come alive. Only it hasn't.
Because Chloe's parents died when Chloe was young, she's never truly experienced what it's like to be a part of a family. Sure, she has her sister, but Sheridan lives across the country in Seattle and they barely talk. So discovering that Alice, Elizabeth, and Grandma Verda are really Chloe's family, and not just a substitute family, should be terrific news. And it was. But with the no-show of her magic, and Alice's busy life as a new wife and mother, Chloe is feeling left out and like she doesn't belong.
In fact, the only person who has really been there for her is her boyfriend Kyle. Maybe they don't set off fireworks for each other, but who cares about that? Chloe is happy enough planning a safe, comfortable future with Kyle, only he shies away whenever she broaches a happily-ever-after, something she desperately wants. What's a girl to do?
Use magic, of course. Chloe convinces Elizabeth to use her magic to bake a very special cake that will push Kyle toward saying "Yes" to the marriage proposal she plans on delivering. Elizabeth relunctantly agrees, and everything is set to go. Except...maybe not.
Chloe is beyond shocked to learn that Alice has a magical drawing of Chloe's future wedding day, and that the groom is definitely not Kyle. This scares her, though, so she goes ahead with her plans and Kyle says yes. Finally, her happily-ever-after is just around the corner.
But then, a man named Ben Malone walks into her store and the world changes in a blink. She has to discover if this is the man in her wedding drawing.
Here's an excerpt of what happens when she finally takes a peek:
One fold to go. I sucked in another mouthful of air, let it back out and opened the page fully. My eyes were scratchy, almost irritated, so I couldn’t see anything of merit immediately. Just a bunch of lines blurring together. Tears fell, but I couldn’t stop them. I didn’t even want to. But they blurred my vision, so I wiped them away.
The trembles grew stronger and I shivered. I blinked rapidly, and for a brief, glowing second, the drawing came into perfect focus. My eyes rested on the image of me, and then, out of nowhere, a burst of bright light turned the room upside down and sent it spinning in dizzying circles. As cold as I’d been earlier, my body now surged with heat.
The fire continued to climb upward and then outward. My throat grew parched. I reached out, hoping to find the table, grasping for some type of stability. Nothing met my fingertips. The weight of my legs, arms, my entire body disappeared. Fear pummeled through me fast and furious.
Had I lost my mind, my grip on reality? Or was I in the process of dying from some freak accident? A heart attack, maybe, or a plane crashing into Alice’s house. Or hell, maybe an earthquake. All of these seemed like reasonable and perfectly possible, if ridiculously unusual, explanations.
Again I tried to find stability, something to center me, by clutching blindly for the table. The heat suddenly vanished, the swirling ceased, and limb by limb, the weight of my body returned to me. I blinked again, opened my mouth to ask Alice what the heck had just happened, except she wasn’t there. Neither was her kitchen.
I now stood outside, and an arm rested on my waist while the sun warmed my shoulders. Some type of soft fabric—silk?—cascaded along my skin. Instead of the drawing in my left hand, I held a bouquet of flowers: vanda orchids, a glorious combination of purple and white, surrounded by a sea of lush greenery I couldn’t identify.
“Chloe! Smile for goodness sake. This is your wedding day,” an unknown male voice called out from in front of me. “Stand a little closer to your handsome groom.”
As if on autopilot, my body obeyed the commands. I tightened the gap between me and the unknown masculine form next to me. My lips stretched into a smile. I heard the whir of a camera.
“Good! Perfect!” the same man shouted.
What the stranger initially said finally penetrated through the thick smog that coated my brain. My groom? My wedding day? Had I somehow become a part of the drawing? I’d seen enough strange occurrences in my life to accept that as a reasonable explanation.
But wow. A rush of lightheadedness hit. My legs grew weak. I leaned further to the right, using the solid, firm form of the man standing beside me to stay upright. His arm tightened around my waist, adding support, shoring me up. The camera made more whirring noises, and while I tried to tilt my head to look at my groom, I couldn’t. An unexplainable force held me still, and I could do nothing but stare straight ahead. Not a pleasurable feeling.
“We’re set for now. We’ll get some more shots at the reception,” the photographer said. “I think you’ll both be really pleased!”
Whatever vise had seized me suddenly evaporated, so I slowly tipped my head, intent on learning who stood beside me. Excitement, anticipation, fear, worry and a host of other emotions I didn’t bother trying to name swarmed my senses. I saw a black tux, a white shirt, a strong physique. Slanting my vision up another degree, a chiseled chin came into view, and then… Oh, God.
All the blood-pumping desire I’d experienced earlier came back in a flash. No surprise there. But when he angled his body toward me, dipped his chin so our eyes could meet… Well, that was when the real bombshell hit. This Chloe, the one in the drawing, loved this man with an intensity I’d never before felt. Bright. Strong. Everlasting. And that same love reflected back to me in the bluest eyes I’d ever seen. This Chloe—the girl who wasn’t yet me, but whom, if I played my cards right, I could potentially become—was loved. Truly, to the depths of her soul, loved.
“Kiss me,” I whispered.
He smiled, bent over and pulled me against him. I closed my eyes, ready to finally experience the kiss I’d waited my entire life for. Would his lips be hard or soft? Would his mouth ravage mine, or would his kiss be slow and intoxicating? I wanted to know, and I wanted to know right that instant.
“Kiss me,” I said again.
“Chloe. Wake up, honey.” Alice’s voice seeped into my awareness first. Her hand, lightly slapping my cheek, came next. “Snap out of it.”
Whoa, right? Poor Chloe! Engaged to one man when the man who might be her soul mate enters her life. Of course, everything goes crazy from here. Chloe's magic begins, the family ghost is less-than-helpful, and a strange, sad girl keeps showing up, asking for Chloe's assistance.
As I said, this story holds a very special place in my heart. I hope you'll give it a read and love it as much as I do!
To celebrate this release, I am giving away one signed copy of A Breath of Magic! Entering to win is easy! Simply comment throughout the week here at TNG (though, only one comment per person per post/day will be counted), and I'll use random.org to announce the winner next Monday!
I also want to mention the month of mega contests I'm having at my blog beginning today. Between now and May 31, you can win a ton of great prizes, including a 30-minute free reading with a Clairvoyant, signed books, Borders gift cards, and much, much more. Get all the details at my web site: HERE, and remember to visit my blog for weekly details, including a calendar of events, specific prizes, and more.