Of Magic and Scales, 2
The cast of supporting characters from Natalina Reis's "Of Magic and Scales" are back and stronger than ever, and so are the pop culture references and silly jokes Aiden likes so much. As Aiden and his new family are joined by an unexpected antagonist that may yet prove to be their undoing, will their (un)domesticated new life as a couple be turned upside down?
Aiden Mercer’s life has changed dramatically since his days of being a man-whore, where he spent most of the time either running his coffee shop in sunny Portugal or man-watching at the beach. He now has Naël, a cranky merman to love and to hold, and his sister, Vee, and friends to care for. Life is good.
But life never seems to stop surprising the American ex-detective. A mysterious order of monks, a mermen poacher, shocking revelations about his parentage—and whoever is hunting him down—turn Aiden and Naël's summer into one to remember. Or maybe one they'd rather forget.
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Special Release Excerpt
The air wavered, and the hooded figure of a monk appeared. He was dressed in a brown habit with an equally brown scapular connected to a large cowl. A belt made of what looked like thick rope was tied loosely around the waist. Hidden under the hood, his face was hard to discern in the dimness of the chapel.
“Welcome to our sanctuary,” the man said, his croaky voice spilling from the darkness of his cowl. “My name is Brother John, Aiden. I trust you had a safe, pleasant trip here.”
It wasn’t as if I had traveled from far away. I nodded, and the Brother took one hand from its hiding place within the folds of the scapular and pointed toward the door. “I will show you to your quarters.”
I bit my tongue so I wouldn’t ask him to remove the mysterious cowl from his head and followed him. I looked at his feet as we made our way through the main hall with its creepy death door. He walked slowly but steadily on sandal-shod feet that seemed to not quite touch the floor. I shook my head, trying to dismiss the fancies of my imagination. He’s just a man in an ugly, scratchy tunic.
A man who could materialize out of nothing. Magic saturated the air. I could feel it, smell it, overpowering and heavily perfumed like a lily-packed funeral home. I stuffed my hands in my pockets to stop them from trembling. When had I become this cowardly?
The monk continued his ghostly journey into a church, a humble space that contrasted strongly with its luxurious marble altar. The monk stopped in front of the altar to genuflect briefly and bless himself before continuing toward a small exit door to the side. I didn’t know what to think so I decided to enjoy the tour. Inside the small hallway between the church and the next space, a dark corridor slanted downward. Why were we going underground?
“I totally respect your reverence for the dead, but I am a bit squeamish around rotten flesh.” I was doing my nervous-talking thing again, trying to fill the oppressive silence with something less threatening. “So I hope you’re not taking me to the catacombs.”
“We don’t have any dead buried here,” the monk said, not slowing down his pace down the tunnel. Darkness enveloped us as we proceeded deeper into the ground, the earthy smell of dirt, rocks, and moisture assailing my nostrils. “We’re walking through the Brothers’ cells. Please, keep silent while we cross them.”
It was a narrow corridor that looked like it had been carved directly from the rocks. Squat and narrow doorways placed at intervals opened into equally small cells divested of any comforts or light other than a flickering candle. This was where these monks slept? My back hurt just thinking about sleeping on that rocky floor. After a moment or two, we were going uphill and toward a space that promised more light. As soon as we went over a large stone step, the air became fresher and lighter, and my lungs almost quivered in delight. At the top of the steps there was another doorway, this time normal-sized. Brother John opened the door and invited me in.
“This will be your lodgings while you’re with us,” he explained, his face still annoyingly hidden inside the cowl. He pointed down the dark corridor. “The cell has direct access to the small cloister and the latrine house.” What? Latrine? That didn’t sound very modern or terribly comfortable and hygienic.
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Natalina wrote her first romance in collaboration with her best friend at the age of 13. Since then she has ventured into other genres, but romance is first and foremost in almost everything she writes.
After earning a degree in tourism and foreign languages, she worked as a tourist guide in her native Portugal for a short time before moving to the United States. She lived in three continents and a few islands, and her knack for languages and linguistics led her to a master’s degree in education. She lives in Virginia where she has taught English as a Second Language to elementary school children for more years than she cares to admit.
Natalina doesn’t believe you can have too many books or too much coffee. Art and dance make her happy and she is pretty sure she could survive on lobster and bananas alone. When she is not writing or stressing over lesson plans, she shares her life with her husband and two adult sons.
Connect with Natalina: Website: https://natalinareis.com/ Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authornatalinareis Twitter: https://twitter.com/TichaB Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14883335.Natalina_Reis Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Natalina-Reis/e/B01ADQ9FJW Newsletter sign up: https://natalinareis.com/ Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/reisnatalina/ Reader’s Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/215263965917134/ BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/natalina-reis