List Price: $ 6.99
Save 12 % off List Price
Magic University Book One : The Siren and the Sword
Kyle Wadsworth arrives at Harvard eager to start his new life as a college student away from the cold and distant great-aunt who has raised him. But he walks into a building that only magical people can see, confusing both himself and the administrators of Veritas, the secret magical university hidden inside Harvard. There he first sees a beautiful girl who seems magical to him in every way. Soon Jess Torralva is tutoring Kyle in the ways of magic, sex, and love. But trouble is afoot at Veritas. Rumors abound that a siren is haunting the library, and when Kyle's best friend is attacked, Kyle is determined to use his newly learned skills in erotic magic to catch the culprit. But which is more important, his quest for justice or his search for true love?
There are no customer reviews available at this time. Would you like to write a review?
July 01, 2009
Number of Print Pages*
Adobe DRM EPUB
* Number of eBook pages may differ. Click here for more information.
Excerpt from Magic University Book One by Cecilia Tan
Kyle looked at the map in his hand, then at the red brick buildings in front of him, standing like sentinels all around a grassy courtyard crisscrossed with pedestrian paths. The map was artfully done in cheery colors, with helpful tips and descriptions in word bubbles, as if each building were a cartoon character describing itself to the visitor. But the buildings he was looking at didn't match the map. For one thing, there were too many of them. Maybe every building isn't actually shown on the map? he wondered. Or maybe I'm in the wrong quadrangle? Or maybe this is all a test to see if you're REALLY smart enough to be allowed in to Harvard. He quashed that thought quickly. Kyle Wadsworth hadn't exactly always led a privileged or easy life, but the scholarship he was slated to receive proved he was good enough for Harvard. Well, at least, they'd said he was slated. The interview was just a formality, they said. The scholarship was as good as his, and with it, a new life could begin. He shifted his tie nervously. Now if only he could arrive on time, he might be getting somewhere. He'd been looking forward to this weekend desperately. Once the interview was out of the way, he would have the whole weekend to explore the city and the campus and--and whatever. Kyle didn't even know what exactly he wanted to do, only that his blood had sung when he'd realized it meant a chance to get away from the house, away from Great-Aunt Agatha, away from the life he couldn't wait to leave behind. He was already eighteen, a high school senior, and desperately ready to start his adult life. Or, at least, college student life. But adults and students alike were supposed to be able to read maps. Perhaps the map was just an artist's rendition and not to scale. He checked the printed e-mail he had folded in his jacket pocket. Enter through the gate and then third building on your right, it said. One, two, three. This building looked a little older than the one next to it, its archway made of solid stone and the double doors of heavy wood. But when he pulled on the brass handle, it swung inward easily. Kyle found himself in a carpeted hallway, which was a good sign. Jove had told him once that at universities the administrative buildings had carpets, and classroom buildings didn't, so he must be on the right track. At the very least, there was bound to be a secretary somewhere in here who could tell him if he was in the right place. The first door on the left was open, and he was about to step through it when a raised voice stopped him. "Miss Torralva! You know perfectly well I do not believe these vile rumors, which are clearly nothing more than an attempt to undermine our authority and create hysteria." It was a man's voice, speaking in clipped tones. He didn't have an accent, but the way he spoke reminded Kyle of British actors on TV. A woman answered him. "Come now, Quilian, there's no need to be so harsh on the girl." "Mistress Finch, I would appreciate if you would stay out of these matters..." "And I would appreciate if you would not shout at my students." Then a younger woman's voice. "I'm sorry to have disturbed you, Dean Bell. Never mind, Ms. Finch. It was a waste of time to come here." "See that you don't do it again," the man said, and strode forcefully from the room, colliding with Kyle outside the door. Kyle found himself on his ass, looking up at a blond man in graduation robes, then scrambling out of the way as if the man were about to kick him. Instead the man frowned and demanded, "Who are you?" "Er, Kyle Wadsworth," he said, climbing to his feet and straightening his jacket. "I'm here for an admission interview?" The two women he had heard were now standing in the doorway, too, looking at him curiously. "Interview?" said the older of the two, who looked to be perhaps forty. She's a librarian, Kyle thought, taking in a quick impression of her hair in a bun and glasses perched on her nose. The librarian called behind her, "Helena, was there a prospective student scheduled to come in today?" Kyle looked back and forth between the imposing, angry man and the younger woman in the door, who was presumably a student. She had wavy black hair, pinned back with barrettes, and eyes such a dark brown, they were almost black. No, maybe they were black, but her expression was warm. She was looking at him with a mix of sympathy and curiosity, stifling a smile. "Um, hi," Kyle said in her direction, then turned back to the man still staring at him. "I'm the Pollock Scholarship recipient?" he ventured, hoping this might ring a bell. "I'm sure the e-mail said my interview was today, two o'clock..." "You're in the wrong building," the man said, and pointed at the wall in the direction of the next building over. "But Dean Bell," the girl piped up, "how could he even find...?" "Silence." Bell's glare was as sharp as his voice. "Mr. Wadsworth, was it?" When Kyle nodded he went on slowly, as if Kyle might be too stupid to understand if he spoke any faster. "You. Do not. Belong. Here." "Um, okay, sorry, I was just following the directions, third building and all," Kyle stammered. "I guess I wasn't supposed to count the one on the corner? Or maybe I was supposed to..." "Mr. Wadsworth." It was the librarian again, and she and Dean Bell glared daggers at each other for a moment. "Before you move on, would you sign our visitor register? Our department doesn't get very many, you see, and our funding for tea and cookies will be cut if we can't prove a certain amount of interest. Right through here." She stepped aside and indicated the open doorway. "Oh, sure. Anything to help...?" He dared a smile at the girl, who was watching him with that same open curiosity and a hint of a smile. She was wearing brown corduroy jeans with a flower embroidered on the pocket and he wasn't sure why he noticed little details like that, but he tucked it away in his head for later. Maybe he'd get a chance to run into her again. Inside the office was a large, wooden reception desk which, like much of Harvard, looked like it was either from pre-1800 or like it was made to look that old. Behind the desk sat a pretty blond woman whose lipstick was rather bright. She set a large, leatherbound book on the desk, facing Kyle. The leather creaked as she opened it and she pointed to a cup of pens next to it. They were all watching quite closely while Kyle took a step forward. Maybe this was the psychology department and this was all some kind of experiment on him? He reached into the pens and pulled one out, hissing sharply as he felt something prick his finger. Great. Now I've cut myself and I'll be bleeding all through the interview. Way to make an impression. He decided he had best just sign his name and get out of there as soon as possible. Maybe he could hurry next door and stop the bleeding in the men's room or something. He touched the pen to the first empty line in the ledger and felt a curious shock go through his arm. This has got to be some kind of weird experiment! Or maybe a reality TV show. But he signed his name in flowing letters, hoping the reddish tinge to the ink didn't mean he'd bled onto the page, or at least hoping they didn't notice. As he lifted the pen, he heard a bell tolling. Was he late? He whirled around to find they were all staring at him still. "Um, I...um...better be going..." That bell just kept ringing though, so loud it was as if it were right in this building. What was going on? None of them moved until the bell ceased to ring, the women sighing in relief and Dean Bell crossing his arms over his chest. "Well, thank you very much, Kyle Wadsworth," the librarian said. "I'm Madeleine Finch." She held out her hand to be shaken, and Kyle reluctantly set down the pen, but he didn't seem to get any blood on her hand as he shook it. "Welcome to Veritas. It would appear there's been a bit of a mix-up in your matriculation papers, though?" Kyle stared at her. "Wait a second. That's it? I'm in? I only just sent the application. I thought I wouldn't hear until March..." Dean Bell made a disgusted noise. "He's your stray puppy to deal with now, Mistress Finch. If anyone needs me, I shall be in my office." His tone of voice made it clear that anyone who needed him had best take a leap into the Charles River. He stalked out, robes fluttering behind him. The receptionist immediately began digging in a file cabinet behind her, while the other two women kept looking at him with growing curiosity. Kyle tried again. "Look, I'm supposed to have this interview today. I guess maybe I'm already pre-approved because I had to apply early in order to qualify for the scholarship, except I'm supposed to have this interview to, um, make sure I'm not an idiot in person, I guess, because Harvard doesn't admit idiots, or at least, that's the theory...uh..." He trailed off, realizing just how much like an idiot he sounded. The student hid her smile behind her hand. "Mr. Wadsworth, may I ask you a personal question?" Mistress Finch folded her hands in front of her. "Um, sure, please." "Are you, by any chance, an orphan?" He blinked. "Yes, I am, actually." "But is Wadsworth your family name?" How did she know these things? "Yes, yes, it is." She paused. "Helena, did you find anything?" The receptionist sighed. "Nothing, Ms. Finch." Okay, and why do the women call her Ms. Finch, but the dean call her Mistress Finch? He knew university society was supposedly different from everywhere else, but he'd never heard of that. Which one should he use? "Um, find what?" "A record of your birth," Ms. Finch answered. "Well, you are a mystery but hardly the first one, Mr. Wadsworth. I'll just spell it out for you and see if it makes sense to you. The building you're standing in right now is not a part of Harvard. Well, it is, but it isn't. There's a secret university inside Harvard, known as Veritas." Kyle blinked. "But isn't that what's on the signs outside? Harvard's motto..." "The two institutions have an intertwined history," she went on. "Harvard is for the elite scholars, the future leaders of the world. Veritas is for, well, those with more arcane talents." "Arcane?" "Magical." "Magical?" Kyle could still hear the bell ringing in his head. "You mean like wizards?" The student snorted behind her hand. "We prefer the term 'magic users.' 'Wizards' is so patriarchal and un-PC." Kyle shook his head, but although everything was as weird as some dream, it still seemed to be real. "So, sorry to be skeptical, but...you're saying I'm magical?" "You wouldn't have even been able to see this building if you weren't at least a little Sighted," Ms. Finch said, "and you certainly wouldn't have been able to sign the matriculation register if you didn't have the power in your blood." He checked his finger reflexively, but the bleeding had stopped and he couldn't even see where the pen had pricked him. "Um, the Dean didn't seem as convinced..." "Yes, well, that was another test. He has the power of Voice. If you'd been a non-magical person, you'd have just turned and walked out as soon as he told you to." Ms. Finch sighed. "We're already two weeks into the semester, you haven't registered for any classes, and we need to find you a place to live." Kyle looked back and forth between them. "You mean, start now? I, um, I'm supposed to, um..." Supposed to go back to a house where they didn't want him, a school where he didn't fit in, and count the days until he could leave. Maybe this was just the chance he had been waiting for. Hadn't he felt like this weekend was going to be the first step into a new life? Maybe it was just a bigger step than he'd thought. His skepticism shredded in the face of what felt like a real chance to change his life in a drastic way. "I mean, I'd love to start now." "You had better. If you were completely unaware of the magical world until now, you have a lot of catching up to do. Helena, could you call up Admissions and see if you can get his file? It's hardly the first time we've had a mix-up between our office and theirs. Mr. Wadsworth, please make an appointment to see me, let's see, tomorrow at four o'clock. My office is on the second floor here in Peyntree Hall, and we can figure out your schedule then, after I check with the professors on what kind of openings we have." She paused and tapped her finger against her lips while she thought. "I can take him over to Camella House," the student offered then. "We've got that foldout couch in our suite. And actually, come to think of it, Alex doesn't have a roommate and he's in a double..." Ms. Finch debated for a moment. "Just for a few days, that sounds fine. He can draw cards later. Yes, Miss Torralva, I'd appreciate it if you could give Mr. Wadsworth here a bit of orientation." "No problem, Ms. Finch." She stuck out her hand to shake Kyle's as Ms. Finch left the room. "I'm Jess Torralva. I'm a sophomore. You hungry? We could grab some pizza out in the Square, or do you have a suitcase somewhere that we ought to move up to the dorm?" "Oh, um, yeah, it's at the bed and breakfast I stayed in last night." He followed her out the heavy doors and back down the stone steps. "So...'magic users' eat pizza?" "Oh yeah. With newt's eyes and toadstools, though," she said, completely deadpan for a moment. Then she burst out laughing. "My God, the look on your face!" He grinned. "Anchovy and mushroom okay? Yeah? Okay, I'll buy." This day was getting better and better. First he thought he was going to go to Harvard. Then he found out he was somehow magical. And now he was going to have lunch with a pretty girl who seemed really nice and down to earth and didn't treat him like he was some kind of pond scum. Yes, a whole new world seemed to be opening up before his eyes.