Paige Winterbourne was always either too young or too rebellious to succeed her mother as leader of one of the world's most powerful elite organizations-the American Coven of Witches. Now that she is twenty-three and her mother is dead, the Elders can no longer deny her. But even Paige's wildest antics can't hold a candle to those of her new charge-an orphan who is all too willing to use her budding powers for evil...and evil is all too willing to claim her.
Unlike the Wizard of Oz, the witches in this sexy supernatural romance, including the murdered mother of 23-year-old heroine Paige Winterbourne, are not evil entities inhabiting a fairy tale land. They're an ages-old race of women so frightened by the possibility of exposure and endangerment that they've allowed their magical powers to atrophy. When Paige inherits her mom's mantle as Coven leader, however, she also inherits caretaking responsibility of Savannah Levine, an extremely gifted but rebellious 13-year-old who possesses her dead mother's penchant for dark magic-and for attracting the unwanted attention of darker magical beings (including Savannah's long-lost sorcerer father). The only person Paige can depend on is the one person she doesn't want to associate with: Lucas Cortez, an endearingly nerdy lawyer/sorcerer ("It was a sad world when a witch had to rely on a work-starved sorcerer for help"). As in Armstrong's debut novel Bitten, this story's special strength lies in its seamless incorporation of the supernatural into the real world. A convincing small-town setting, clever contemporary dialogue, compelling characterizations and a touch of cool humor make the tale's occasional vivid violence palatable and its fantasy elements both gripping and believable.
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April 27, 2004
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Excerpt from Dime Store Magic by Kelley Armstrong
Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered
I WAS IN TROUBLE WITH THE ELDERS. AGAIN.
I'd been a trial to them all my life and now, at twenty-three-no longer a precocious child or a rebellious youth-they were running out of excuses for me.
"Something must be done about Savannah." The speaker phone added a not-inappropriate whine to Victoria Alden's voice.
"Uh-huh." My fingers flew across the keyboard, hammering out the next line of code.
"I hear typing," Victoria said. "Are you typing, Paige?"
"Deadline," I said. "Enhancements to the Springfield Legal Services Web site. Due in two days. And counting. Look, can we discuss this later? I'll be at the Coven meeting next week, and-"
"Next week? I don't think you're taking this seriously, Paige. Pick up the telephone, stop working, and talk to me. Where did you ever learn such manners? Not from your mother, rest her soul."
I lifted the receiver, gripped it between my shoulder and ear and tried to type quietly.
"It's about Savannah," Victoria said.
Wasn't it always? One of the few perks of having custody of thirteen-year-old Savannah Levine was that my rebellions paled in comparison.
"Well, I was talking to Grace last night and she expressed concern over something Savannah told Brittany. Now, Grace admits Brittany may have misunderstood the details, which I can certainly see. We don't expose Coven neophytes to this sort of thing, so I'd be shocked if Brittany did understand what Savannah was talking about. It seems-" Victoria paused and inhaled sharply, as if it pained her to go on. "It seems Brittany is having trouble with a few girls at school and Savannah offered to...to help her make a potion that would result in these girls being unable to attend the school dance."