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In Magc Series

Love In Magic

She’ll do anything to find her missing brother…
Even team up with a tempting man she’s determined to resist.

Isabella Garcia doesn’t understand why her magic gift for finding missing people hasn’t led to her brother. All she knows is that she’s responsible for his disappearance, and she isn’t about to let a sexy, muscle-bound guy stop her from locating him.

Reece Williams has sworn to find his missing brother and is determined to prove that he can overcome the lifelong scars magic has inflicted on him. But now he also wants to show Isabella there’s more to him than meets the eye. 

 

To find their brothers, they’ll have to locate a lost object powerful enough to trap the evil magic that threatens their kind. Only there are dark forces hunting them down that won’t hesitate to kill them.

 

Somehow, Isabella and Reece need to find a way to move on from their painful pasts and work together. And if they are to survive, they must trust that their love for each other will be strong enough to keep them alive…

 

** Love In Magic is book five in the In Magic Series. Each book has its own Happily Ever After. **

2022-1867 KJ Warawa b05.jpg

Sneak Peak...

Chapter One

Reece Williams glanced at the clock on the wall and froze. Six forty-five p.m.—the exact same time as when he opened his eyes after coming out of the magically induced coma.

            The time was an unpleasant reminder, but it also meant he had to hurry. He put the finishing touches on the tray of cupcakes so he wouldn’t be late for the weekly family dinner.

            As he put some of the items in his bakery’s freezer and packed up the rest to take over to The Magic Plate, his family’s restaurant, the image of a certain fiery brunette entered his mind. He couldn’t wait to see her—she had an armor around her that he suspected protected a scarred soul that spoke to something within him. Her beautiful olive complexion and the brownest eyes he’d ever seen didn’t hurt either. He could get lost in them forever if their owner didn’t absolutely hate him.

            Isabella Garcia Flores had arrived with his cousins just over two weeks ago… and immediately decided she didn’t like him. He didn’t get it. He was a likable guy. The likable-est, in his opinion, and he didn’t care if it wasn’t a word. It was true—anyone who knew him would agree.

            The bakery had closed for the night an hour ago, but he double-checked that the doors were locked before turning off the rest of the lights. Stacking the three portable bakery holders he needed to take with him on the counter, he picked them up easily and used his magic to open the back door. Sweet Magic was in the bottom of the first of the three Williams’ buildings and hadn’t been opened long when he’d been spellbound for the second time. He’d be forever thankful that his family and staff ran it while he couldn’t, and now he was making up for lost time.

            In the alley, he turned back to the door and put a spell on it that would last for a few minutes until he had his hands free to arm the alarm system from his phone.

A good majority of magic people needed to use their hands to direct their magic, but he didn’t—not anymore. With just a thought, he could control most objects. When he’d been healthy enough to practice magic and learn everything he’d missed out on, it hadn’t taken him long to realize that manipulating objects was his specialty. He was especially thankful for the skill at times like this, when his hands were full.

            A year and a half ago he’d been spellbound and hadn’t even known he was magic. During the ceremony to break the spell, he was bound again with another spell, one meant to kill him. He’d wasted away for nine months until he’d been put in a magic coma while he waited for an ancient spell to be found to cure him. His sister Jo and her now boyfriend, Simon, had been his saviors.

           While on his deathbed, he had made a vow to himself that he would never be physically or magically weak again. It was the first vow he’d ever made.

            When the spell was broken just over four months ago, he’d been too weak to even hold up his head. But he had determination on his side. Every day, he pushed his body to get physically stronger and his mind to learn everything there was to know about magic. Ancient spellbooks and free weights were his constant companions now.

            He shook off the thoughts and plastered the expected smile on his face as he used his magic to open the back door to The Magic Plate.

            “Hey, Jennifer,” he called out to the chef, ready with a joke as he placed the containers on the back counter. “Why did the chef have to stop cooking?”

            Jennifer turned around, a spoon still in one hand as she chuckled. “I don’t know and I’m not sure I want to, but okay, I’ll play. Why?”

            “He ran out of thyme.” Reece grinned and looked around at the rest of the kitchen staff as they groaned good-naturedly.

            “That’s so bad,” Jennifer said, but she laughed again before turning back to the stove.

            All the kitchen staff were magic, but it wasn’t always that way. It just depended on who was most qualified for the positions when they were hiring. Currently, the serving staff was a mix of magics and non-magics.

            He was grateful the kitchen staff were magic because it meant he didn’t have to worry about slipping around if he used his magic. Non-magics had no idea magics existed and it was best that way. There weren’t as many magics, and they didn’t need non-magics fearing them, or worse—trying to control them.

            Reece used the app on his phone to set the alarm before chatting with the staff for a few minutes as they finished the meals and prepared to leave. They shut the restaurant early every Thursday evening for the family and close friends who’d been invited to gather. It was his favorite night of the week.

            “Jennifer, are you ready for us?” Isabella asked when she pushed through the doors at the front of the restaurant. He knew the moment she’d seen him—her pupils dilated as her anger surfaced and she gave him a death glare.

            “Oh hey, Isabella, yes, everything is ready,” Jennifer said as she smiled and pointed over her shoulder to the counter where his cupcakes sat. “You guys can start taking the dishes and we’ll all be gone in a few minutes.”

            “Thanks.” Isabella directed her smile at Jennifer and then let it fall from her face as she walked past him.

            He saw the moment her armor locked into place. There was something about her that called to him, and he just couldn’t let Isabella go without saying something. He walked up to the back counter, purposely standing right beside her, and pulled out the cupcake stand from the cabinet below. “How are you tonight, cupcake?” he asked as he opened the containers.

            He smiled when her shoulders visibly tensed. She hated the nickname, but she hadn’t told him not to use it after the first time and he thought it was perfect for her.

            “I’m fine,” she said as she grabbed two dishes and gave them to a server who had come to help.

             One of his signature cupcake recipes was orange creamsicle. It was made with sour cream and orange zest, which added a bit of a sour taste that was incredibly refreshing. Just like Isabella.

            He’d caught her eating one while all bundled up in a sweater and scarf as she sat on the restaurant’s back patio. The look on her face as she took a bite and closed her eyes was pure bliss. He wished he’d been the one to put that look on her face, not his cupcake.

            A few days later when she’d come into the bakery, she discovered that the cupcakes were his and she’d stopped eating them. If she’d meant it as a dig, it had worked. He could still feel the sting. But now he was on a mission to get her to eat another one and enjoy it even more while knowing he was the baker.

           While placing his cupcakes on the stand, he watched her out of the corner of his eye. She put serving spoons into dishes and passed them to the servers as they came in. Not once did she glance at him.

            He finished setting up the display and turned toward her with his sexiest smile. At least, that’s what a past girlfriend had called it. “Aren’t you going to ask me how I am?”

            Her shoulders tensed again, and she passed off the last dish before turning to him. “No. I’m sure all your muscles—I mean, you—I’m sure you are just fine,” she said as a blush stained her cheeks and she rushed out of the kitchen.

            He barked out a laugh as his eyes followed her out the door. Now he knew that she’d noticed him and not just in an annoyed way. That was progress. He picked up the cupcake stand, careful not to jostle any of the three dozen cupcakes, and pushed through the swinging doors into the restaurant.

            “Reece’s Pieces!” His sister’s screech was loud enough to pierce his eardrums, but he didn’t care. He quickly put the stand on the table with the dishes and turned, bracing himself for the attack.

            Jo launched herself at him, her petite body not enough to knock him over. Enveloping her in his arms, he breathed in her natural scent, peppered with hints of coffee, and felt like all was right with the world.

            After a full minute, he let her go and got a good look at her. She looked happy. “Hey, Pinky Pie, it’s good to have you home.” He’d started calling her by the nickname when she was in college after she first dyed her hair purple and it wouldn’t matter if she wasn’t still dying it. She’d teased him that Pinky Pie was pink, not purple, but the name had still stuck.

            “Hey, Reece. Good to see you up and healthy,” Simon said as he walked up to them and extended a hand.

            With practiced ease, he gave Simon the jovial smile everyone expected from him and shook his hand. It wasn’t that he didn’t like Simon; he did. And he was perfect for his sister. He just hated being reminded of his once-withered state. “Yeah, I’m doing well.”

            Jo and Simon talked about their travels to find more of the ancient magic books, and then Meredith told everyone to get in line for food. Tonight’s dinner was being served potluck style.

            Reece got in line right behind Isabella but didn’t say anything as she filled her plate. When she got to the cupcakes, he watched her pause. She reached out to grab one and then pulled her hand back.

            He leaned closer to her. “It’s okay to take one,” he whispered in her ear.

            She jumped back and shook her head before walking away.

            As he took a seat across from Jo and Simon, he wondered if Isabella really did hate him. That wasn’t something that sat well with him. He wasn’t the kind of guy who needed everyone to like him, and yet he was easygoing enough that most people did. But with Isabella, it was more than that. More than just wanting her to like him—he wanted her to get to know him. To figure out what to do about it, he’d need a plan, but at the moment, he wanted to enjoy being surrounded by family and friends.

            There were more people than usual at the dinner tonight, some who only showed up once in a while, as well as the regulars. The din hovered just below what was probably the safe decibel range when all conversation suddenly stopped. Reece turned toward the door to see what had everyone’s attention.

            Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Connor Davis, his cousin Rowena’s new boyfriend, push his chair back and slowly stand. Then his eyes caught movement at the restaurant’s front doors. Ben and Stella Davis came in with their two sons, Nate and Travis. They often joined them on Thursdays, so that wasn’t anything new.

            It was the woman standing between Ben and Stella who had everyone’s attention. She was rescued a few weeks ago. When his cousin Morgana’s spell had been broken, she remembered where her friend was likely to be and had gone to Mexico to find her. There’d been a lot of spells going around lately.

            She had been given the name Sam in captivity, but her real name was Julia Davis, and her cousin Connor thought he’d been responsible for her supposed death over twenty years ago.

            Connor walked slowly up to Sam and then stopped. Reece couldn’t imagine what the two of them must be feeling. But he wanted to experience the feeling for himself. His brother Dylan had been taken with Morgana and two of his other cousins only a few months before Sam. Morgana was safe, though they’d discovered his cousin Taren had died. Yet no one knew anything about his brother Dylan or his other cousin, Mirek, but he had hopes they were still alive. Dylan was two years older than him and Jo was two years younger. Being the middle child had always felt right to him. Then, on the day of the fire, he became the oldest. He’d also become the only boy in his family when up until that day there had been four, but if they found Mirek and Dylan, he wouldn’t be anymore.

             Connor held his arms out and Sam walked right into them. There was an audible exhale around the room. Then, as if by a collective, unspoken agreement, everyone turned back to their dinners and let the Davises catch up.

            Reece dug into his meal and joined in the conversations around him. He was considering going up for seconds when he realized Simon was staring at him. He’d been doing it on and off all through dinner, but it was getting a little intense.

            He leaned back in his chair, going for a relaxed look, and smiled at Simon. “Hey man, since you’re with my sister, I know I’m not your type, so you’ve got to let up on the lustful stares.”

            For the second time that evening, all conversations ceased. This time all eyes turned to him and Simon.

            Simon didn’t laugh or seem bothered by Reece’s comments. “I’ve been trying to figure out all evening who you look like, and I finally did,” Simon said, a frown marring his features.

            “Who?” Jo leaned closer to her boyfriend. “A movie star?”

            “No. He reminds me of Rocky.”

            Reece heard several people curse but didn’t look to see who had made the exclamations; he was too focused on Simon. “You’re talking about the guy who worked for Snake and helped capture you and Jo?”

            He felt a hand on his shoulder and glanced over to see Morgana. Meredith, her twin, and her husband Jack were standing behind her. Out of all the people who had been involved, only Simon had seen Rocky.

            “Are you sure?” Jo asked Simon. “You think Rocky could be our brother Dylan?” Her eyes went wide and she didn’t wait for Simon to answer. “Holy shit! He knew I was his sister. That’s why he didn’t let me see his face.”

            Isabella gasped and he finally looked down the tables. Her fingers covered her mouth. Her brother Mateo was missing, but not thought to be dead like his, and he’d been working with Rocky. Knowing where Rocky had been recently was likely the first clue she’d had in a long time to finding her brother.

            “Yes.” Simon wrapped his arm around Jo, pulling her into his side. “Rocky and Reece could be twins.”

            “Then why didn’t you say anything before?” Jo asked.

            “The other times I saw Reece, he didn’t look anything like he does now.”
            When he’d first met Simon, Reece had been frail—just skin and bones. Pale, and not bulked-up like he was now.

            “I didn’t know.” Jo blinked rapidly, clearly fighting tears.

            Simon turned and kissed Jo’s forehead. “Of course not. You already said that Rocky didn’t show himself to you.” He turned and met Reece’s gaze. “When he helped me, I asked him why he didn’t leave. I even told him I’d help him escape when I did.”

            A horrible feeling gutted Reece. If Rocky really was his brother and he’d chosen not to leave, maybe he wasn’t the same person anymore. “What did he say?”

            “He said he couldn’t leave, or he would have done it years ago and never looked back. I asked him if it was because of the healer, but he didn’t answer.”

            Jo turned to Simon. “Do you think the healer could be our cousin Mirek? That he’s the one Dylan was staying to help?” He heard the break in his sister’s voice and he started to stand to go comfort her when Simon held out his hand to stop him—the hand that was missing a finger because he’d lost it saving Jo’s life.

            Simon pulled Jo’s chair back and then picked her up and walked out of the restaurant. The action made him smile. Jo hated anyone thinking she was weak because she was so petite, but Simon was her world and could get away with it.

            “Let’s finish dinner,” Jack said to the group.

            Reece looked at Isabella again but couldn’t catch her eye. Her head was bent over her plate and she looked like a huge weight had descended upon her. Right then, he made another vow to himself, the second he’d ever made in his life. He’d find his brother and help Isabella find hers.

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