Thursday, October 26, 2006

Magical Chances by Mechele Armstrong

The Collector Series 1: (unedited)—Loose Id


After a really bad day, Chloe is ready to go home and hide, but instead, she's pulled aside to see the Collector. He offers her a deal beyond her wildest dreams. All she has to do is retrieve an artifact. Only after she agrees does she find out where it is. With her ex-husband.

Drake, a retired magician, can do real magic, but that didn't stop him from losing Chloe because of what he couldn't tell her. With a nudge from the magical artifact, he realizes he lost his most precious possession, Chloe.

Even as a rival works to steal Drake's magic, can Chloe and Drake start their relationship over again with a little help from their magical chances?


The Collector leaned forward in his chair. “I assure you, Ms. Richards, this is on the…how do you young folks say it? up and up? You can procure this item for me. I’m sure of it.” He handed her a small rectangular sheet of paper.

“Holy shit.” She’d never seen so many zeroes on a check before. Her eyes widened so much that they hurt.

He pressed another one into her hands that didn’t want to let go of the first to take it. “This check is for coming to talk to me as agreed. And, it’s now signed, ready to go whether you accept the job for me or not. The first check I gave you will be yours upon delivery of the item.”

The first check wasn’t signed, but the second one now was. Now really, who signed checks, “The Collector?” But, apparently with as much money as he had, he could do whatever he wanted. “I’ll have expenses.” Her back arced straighter. Was she taking this job? She didn’t have anything else to do right now. That much money, and she would never worry about finances again. Nor would her sister, and that’s what counted.

He reached into a drawer and handed her a square of plastic. “For expenses.”

She tapped the cool credit card with her finger. “What’s the limit?”

“There isn’t one.”

Stroking the unlimited card with her fingers, she scooted forward in her chair. This man was giving her a job that would earn her more money than she could make in a lifetime and a credit card where she could spend the moon. Maybe her life was looking up. No, there had to be a catch. This was her life.

The man eased back in his chair, grunting with the effort. “You’re probably wondering why I’d give you something such as this card? I know that you won’t take advantage of me, Ms. Richards. Call it another feeling.”

“So, all I have to do is retrieve this artifact and bring it back to you? Nothing else?”

“That’s all, Ms. Richards.”

“And even if I fail, I keep the five thousand.” It was repetitive, but dammit, she was going to be sure of things before she left him.

He nodded. His breath caught, as he wheezed low and deep. The sound whistled in his throat. His face turned red with the effort. She rose to her feet about to call someone. He waved a hand, coughing, until he regained control over his breathing. “Do we have a deal?” The words were hoarse and raspy, barely spoken.

“Yes. We have a deal.” She sighed. Tempted by money, she couldn’t resist.

“Good.” The Collector held out his hand.

She grasped his smooth, cool one in hers to shake. A static spark pinged between them, almost as if it sealed the deal she’d made. A shiver ran along her spine, while her stomach curled up.

Oh, my God, what did I just do?


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