Mage of Inconvenience

By: Parker Foye

Can they find the magic in a practical union  ?

West is on the run from his werewolf pack, but if he cannot renew his magical defenses, he won’t get far. What he needs is a mage….

Julian is part of a wealthy and ancient family, and one day, his legacy will include his mother’s vast library of spell books—and the knowledge he needs to correct his past mistakes. But his inheritance comes with a stipulation: he has to be married before he can collect. What he needs is a husband….

West and Julian can help each other, and at first they don’t want anything further. But as they dodge meddling cousins, jealous rivals, and an insidious drug, it becomes clear that their lives are entwined in ways they never imagined—and they’re in greater danger than they thought possible.

“What do you mean, help each other?” he asked, glancing at Colquhoun through his lashes. “I don’t know you. I don’t know anything about you.”

“We can get to know each other. That’s the beauty of this plan. We’ll have the time.”

“Time for what?”

Colquhoun grinned widely. The expression made his eyes crinkle. West thought again about the beautiful people on billboards and how he’d never expected to see anyone like that in real life.

“Marriage,” Colquhoun said. “You and me. What do you say?”

Chapter One

WEST tossed the sack of trash into the dumpster behind the diner, flashing his fangs at an interested raccoon and making it scamper into the evening. Little menaces were getting bold, creeping about in the stretching days of spring, hoping for scraps. If Joe saw any of them, he’d start talking about poison again. West doubted his ability to sway the hothead a second time.

He let the dumpster lid swing closed and wiped his hands on his jeans, sighing as his back cracked when he stretched. Six months of working at Joe’s Diner had tested his fitness. As much as he enjoyed the diner, the end of his shifts seemed to get further away every time. At least he’d finished one more, since the trash had been his final task and he was free to go home.

“Felt that in my bones, son! Long day?”

West grimaced through one last stretch and turned to find Double Double Eggs Benedict, an older woman with immaculate nails, watching him.

“Said I felt that one in my bones,” she repeated.

West smiled, though it felt pale. “Long day is right. Just easing out the kinks.”

“Don’t stay out too long. It’s a full moon tonight, and that brings the weird from the woodwork!”

“No need to worry. The moon isn’t full yet,” West said, aiming to reassure her.

“Is that right?” Double Double raised her eyebrows, curious gaze turning distracted as a man in a suit came to join her. They left without saying anything more, though they both glanced over their shoulders at West before getting in their car.

“See you next time,” West said belatedly. He shook his head and wiped his hands on his jeans again, nervous. Should he not have mentioned the moon? Were moon phases something non-lycans knew? West couldn’t help but know. The tides moved under his skin like blood.

Dammit. He had said something weird. Again. With an irritated huff, West stuck his hands in his pockets and hunched his shoulders, starting on the long walk home. Six months at the diner—ten months since leaving the pack—and nearly every day he learned more about life among humans. Stupid stuff. Small stuff. Like being careful not to mention he walked home even when it snowed out, as it had all through the past winter, because lycans ran hot and weren’t susceptible to the usual seasonal colds. Like trying not to smile too wide and show his canines.

Not knowing the phases of the moon.

Weather was fine to discuss, Joe had said. West should stick to the weather.

For all he hated raccoons, Joe had been good to West. A shifter originally from out East, he’d found West sitting in the diner’s parking lot, staring at his hands. October had recently settled in, and West had come to a dead stop on his long route south, seeing a sloppily carved pumpkin in the window of the diner off the highway. He’d remembered trying to carve wolves into pumpkins with Dana. Every year they tried, though, for all his skill with a knife, they’d never come closer than a misshapen squiggle or two. He’d been wondering if his hands might finally learn to make the shapes and Dana would never know, when Joe had sat beside him. Lit a cigarette. Asked if West was passing through.