A Storm of Spells and Hexes Sample Chapters

Chapter 1

They’d really tried to kill him! The day had started out great until my sort of, pretend, almost boyfriend had been attacked and almost murdered…

I pulled into the parking lot at work, anticipation making my throat dry. It only took a second for that familiar red Camry to ease into the parking space beside me.

 I smiled, pulling my key out of the ignition. Right on time.

Tix Ander’s eyes met mine like they did every morning. Then, we exited our vehicles together, closing the doors at the same time.

I looked Tix over. The two of us couldn’t be more different. I stood five-feet-eight. My orange-tipped purple hair reached just shy of my neck.

 Tix was six-feet-two with golden eyes. His black hair came to below his chin. I had no marks on me, but Tix’s body was covered in tattoos, mostly signs, and sigils. 

His arms were massive things, big and thick. Every so often, I amused myself, wondering how those enormous things would feel wrapped around me.

I, Driz Tinze, also had muscles. I worked out four times a week, but I was nowhere in Tix’s league.

Tix was a witch. They were also called wreckers and rhymers. Tix could enchant any document. He could find the enchantment in any document and rip it apart.

Tix could weed out the most obscure hexes. He could also create them, depending on his client’s needs. Tix was amazing at what he did. His skill was something I greatly admired about him.

I came from a long line of wreckers or witches. Our rumble-casting abilities were legendary. People actually killed to get their hands on my family’s hexes and rumbles.

I locked my car door. Being a wrecker wasn’t for me. As a child, my family had heaped great responsibility upon my shoulders. I’d be the wrecker, or witch to lead them into the future. Or so they’d thought.

I hadn’t wanted it. I apparently had a natural ability, an aptitude for spell casting. I’d heard it all my life. Even still, I balked at being a rhymer.

Instead, I’d put all my attention and focus on developing my telekinesis power. That’s where my real skill lay.

I’d pushed away my rumble-casting powers. I wouldn’t even know how to find them now. Not that I needed them. I was telekinetic. That was enough for me.

Tix and I walked side by side. He went toward the tall silver building on the right, “Ander Enterprises.”

I went to the black building on the left, “Arched Designs.” At Arched Designs, we offered a myriad of services. Like Tix’s company, we broke hexes hidden deep inside documents and warded homes and businesses against powerful spells and rumbles.

We also built homes of our own designs, making sure each piece of building material was spelled or hexed to the client’s specifications. 

I’d started Arched Designs five years ago with my good friend Red. He and I both had a special eye for creating and designing structures. I used my telekinesis, and he used his speed.

 Working with a power-filled crew, we could label, mark, and produce a fully operational building in a matter of weeks.

I walked into my office building with a little more pep in my step. Seeing Tix was a good way to start off my morning.

 The office gave off a nice, homey feel. Red and I had built it from the ground up. Andy and Carol were at the front desk, each busy with a potential client. I walked over.

Andy was tall with glasses and black hair. He’d come to us right out of college and was still in his mid-twenties. I imagined he stayed glued to his computer screen twenty-four-seven, even falling asleep in front of it. That’s the vibe he gave off. Andy liked his coffee black, no sugar.  

Carol was in her early thirties. She wore her chestnut hair in tight curls around her shoulders. She was studious and efficient, something I loved about her.

She reminded me of that strict headmaster who all the students feared to cross. The ceiling could cave in, and she’d have it fixed and repaired while everyone else was still running for cover. She took her coffee with ten sugars and five creams.

I placed their coffees on the counter, waved, and made my way up to my office. They nodded their appreciation, then put their focus back on the clients.

Andy and Carol had stuck with us through the lean times, even when they’d been offered more money to go elsewhere. I’d liked to think it was because they valued Arched Designs and what we did here.

A cup of coffee every morning was the least I could do for them. Red and I often did things to show our appreciation for our staff.

 Sometimes we’d order lunch for everybody or give out spontaneous bonuses. We valued them and their work effort and we wanted them to know it.

Everyone I passed spoke or waved when I walked by. My set of offices took up one-half of the top floor. Red’s offices took up the other half.

 Fatima, my assistant, was waiting for me the moment I stepped off the elevator. Fatima was a tall woman, graceful.

Her skin was a beautiful ebony color. She was slim but muscular, and she wore it well. Every time I saw her, I thought she should be on a runway instead of in a stuffy office with me.

My older sister Xeyn would probably agree with that. Fatima and my sister had been a couple for six years. Fatima was not only my assistant, she was family.

“Here.” I handed Fatima a coffee. She liked hers extra-strong with two sugars, and one shot of cream.  

I smiled. “Enjoy.” Time was of the essence! I tried to scurry to my office before she could stop me.

Twenty desks filled with workers littered the floor of my outer office. I had to make it through them to get to my private office.

I could probably do it in two seconds, but I had obstacles in my way. I looked at the two full water coolers in the outer office. If I crashed into one of them, it’d be a disaster. Still, they were needed for my employee’s comfort.  

Red and I had a private cafeteria that we shared. But the employees had a much bigger eating area on the fourth floor.

We kept the prices as low as we could and treated them to free lunch days whenever possible. We’d learned a long time ago that if you treated your employees with respect, they, in turn, would do the same for you.

If you wanted loyalty, you needed to be loyal yourself. I tried to make the office presentable, nice, and elegant. The floor was black marble.

The walls were the same. They curved, almost like they were moving with you when you walked. Everything from the printers to the trash cans was black and silver.

My eyes went to my office door. I needed to make it in there before the clock struck seven a.m. That’s what time Tix and I ate breakfast together.

Fatima took her coffee, a devilish glint in her eyes. Before I could go further, she stepped in front of me.

“What?” I glanced at the black and silver glass clock on the wall. I’d be late if she didn’t move.

She looked toward my office doors, a knowing grin on her face. “He can wait five minutes.”

 I started to protest, but she shook her head. “Red’s not in yet.”

“Okay.” I tried to step around her. I had two minutes to get in there.

She moved when I moved, still blocking my way. “He had a late night.”

“Figures.” One minute left.

She let out an exasperated sigh. “A late night or two might do you some good.”

Now, I loved Fatima. I really did. She was my sister-in-law and a wonderful assistant, but she really needed to mind her own business.

What did she care if I got laid or not? This was something my sister had put her up to. Xeyn needed to mind her own business! I hated her meddling in my affairs.

She probably thought she was helping me, but we didn’t have time for this right now.

 Arched Designs had thirty top-priority contracts up in the air. That’s what Fatima needed to be focused on.

I tried to step around her. “Okay. If I could just...”  

She stepped in front of me. “The hexing department’s been working overtime on the priority contracts. They were here until two in the morning. They were back at seven a.m.”

I stared longingly at my office door. “I’ll get with Red. We’ll do something nice for them. Show our appreciation.”

The clock ticked to seven-o-one. Fatima smiled and stepped away. “Glad to hear it.”

I was late now. I plowed into my office, hoping he’d still be waiting.

I thought about Fatima’s words. The hexing department had been up to their necks in documents and contracts lately. We had a lot of time-sensitive deals coming to fruition, all vying for attention.

It was the hexing department’s job to check for hidden meanings in cleverly written spells in documents. They also rooted out concealed sigils, wards, and a host of other things.

I opened the doors to my office and made a beeline for the balcony. My large oblique desk sat toward the back wall. Everything else, from my three armless black chairs to my stainless-steel office table, sat in front of my desk.   

The walls and floors in my office were marble. The door was glass, but I could always pull the shade if I wanted privacy.

 The smell of eucalyptus hit me as soon as I walked in. I kept two eucalyptus trees in here. They smelled like heaven on a plate, and always sought to calm my nerves.

 The trees sat in opposite corners to provide optimal scents. They were kept fresh and derived plenty of sunlight from the windows, as well as the glass door leading out to my balcony.

I stepped outside. The morning sun blasted me, making me shield my eyes from its glaring rays. We were in for a hot one today.

I put my hand on the back of a patio chair. I had a full set of outside furniture out here, black and silver.

The floor was one-inch-thick rubber tile. I took pride in it because I’d personally laid it down myself. It looked like a grueling job, but I’d used my telekinesis. It’d barely taken half a minute to lay, but the grunt work had taken careful planning.

 I took a seat at the first table. A silver-covered dish was already atop it. “Thank you,” I said silently to Fatima.

She always made sure the cafeteria sent my breakfast at six forty-five promptly. Fatima could’ve gotten her coffee from the big cafeteria on the fourth floor. Same for Andy and Carol, but I didn’t want them to.

It was a tradition for me to bring them coffee. We’d started that ritual well before we could afford a cafeteria. It wasn’t a tradition any of us wanted to break. It reminded us where we’d come from, how hard we’d fought to get here.

I took the lid off my breakfast. My eyes strayed to the silver building across from me. Maybe he was still out here.

My lips turned upwards when I saw Tix sitting on his balcony. He had a plate in front of him too. From this distance, it looked like fruit, but I couldn’t tell.

I had a small bowl of almond oatmeal, with a glass of orange juice and a banana for breakfast. Tix looked my way. A slight smile lit his face when he realized I was finally out here.

He raised his cup of coffee. I did the same, toasting the air like we always did.

Chapter 2

Red came in right before lunchtime. He had an extra bounce in his step this morning. I raised a brow. Must’ve been a good night.

Red wore black jeans, a blue shirt, and white sneakers. His fiery red hair gleamed, hanging loose on his shoulders.

Did I mention we were casual at Arched Designs? As long as you came to work clean, I didn’t have a problem with what you wore. Neither did Red.

Red and I were the same height and build. If not for his sun-kissed hair, people might get us mixed up. Though we didn’t always dress the same.

Today, I wore brown jeans with a brown button-down shirt.

Red was a partygoer. He liked the fast lane, hanging out, and bedding a different guy every night. Still, he never missed work and was always ready to tackle the day’s agenda. I didn’t begrudge him his good time life.

Red plopped into one of the chairs in front of my desk. “Talked to the hexing department. They’re working so hard I can see the bones coming through their fingers.”

He picked up a pen from my desk, flicking it back and forth. “Let’s throw them a party!” He sat up more fully in his chair. “They can swing from the chandeliers and break a few tables. That’d show them a good time.”

They needed more than a party, but we could discuss it later. It was twelve. I needed to go. “Good idea. Any more problems at Thunderbay Estates?” I asked.

 The Thunderbays had been our clients for three years. They used us to build everything from hundred-room mansions to elaborate golf courses and country clubs.

This latest project had me pulling my hair out. It was a house for their soon-to-be-married daughter. It was a wedding gift. They wanted it completed two weeks before the wedding. Which was in three weeks.

Red snatched up a handful of candy from a bowl on my desk. He popped a small piece of chocolate into his mouth. “Found out Sultry sent over some of their hexes. They cursed some of the building material for the Thunderbay house.”

He balled the candy wrapper up in his hand. “Our Hexing department took care of it. They have to get a bonus, Driz. With all the extra work they’ve had lately, they deserve it. Besides, Anders Enterprises is right next door. If our employees don’t feel valued here, they can always walk over there.”

With the mention of Tix’s company, I came to a stand. I had ten minutes to get to the park. “Sultry needs to be handled. If we can’t protect our clients from hexes and curses, they’ll leave us, quickly.” I snapped my fingers to emphasize what I meant.

Red stood. Bright red hair fell into his face. He pushed it back. “We took the number one spot from them. The bulk of their clients signed with us three years ago when a lot of their hexes failed.”

He threw the candy paper in the trash. “That’s not our fault. They have a grudge, but we can handle it. Don’t worry.”

 He rubbed his hands together, and I felt my anxiety notch up by a thousand. Red could be reckless. “I have something in the works,” he said.

I rounded my desk. “Just nothing too drastic. Run it by Fatima before you do anything.”

When he didn’t answer, I dashed out the door. I had to get to Freedom Park.

I arrived first and sat on a bench across from the biker’s trail. This area of the park was surrounded by trees that helped block out the rays of the sun.

It was nice here. This park hosted a tennis court, multiple picnic areas, and a full-fledged playground for the kids.   

I ran a hand under my chin, thinking. It was my turn to pick where we ate lunch. I was in the mood for Bellgot Chicken. They only sold Bellgot Chicken on the world Bellgot.

Bellgot was a quiet little universe, ideal for intimate getaways and vacations.

A few voices caught my ears, and I looked up. Two bikers put on their helmets and protective gear before they started down the biking path.

 When I turned back around, Tix was seated on the bench a few feet away from mine. His eyes perused a piece of paper in his hand.

I stood. His gaze swung my way. Good. Now we could go. I held out my hand to open a portal to Bellgot. Blue light blazed in front of me. I gave Tix a final look, then stepped through the portal.

Tix would now pick up my trail. He’d open his own portal and follow me to Bellgot for lunch.

It was spring in Bellgot, unlike summer back home. The air smelled of fresh jasmines and newly cut grass. Hmm. I inhaled deeply. The smells coming from the Runjup café were tangy and spicy.

I licked my lips. I loved tangy and spicy. I took a seat at one of the outside tables. Runjup was a popular eating spot. The place was packed with people.

Busy servers raced back and forth, taking food and drinks to demanding customers. The noise was ear-splitting in here today. With so many people talking at once it was hard to make out anything that was said.

I ran a nervous hand through my hair. If Tix didn’t hurry, he wouldn’t get a table.

 I picked up my menu. It was blue and gold. It matched perfectly with the blue and gold diamond pattern of the tablecloth and chairs.

Laughter and good cheer rang out around me. It made me feel comfortable. I was close to the sidewalk, so people walked, or floated by, carrying everything from backpacks to work briefcases. Many of them talked or balked into their phones or electronic devices.

A waiter dressed in blue and gold approached my table. I opened my mouth, looking around. Where was he? I’d tell the waiter to come back until Tix arrived.

 Before I could speak, Tix appeared, slipping his phone into his pocket. He sat at a table by himself. Right in front of my own table.

I exhaled and looked at the waiter. Now I could place my order. I ordered the Bellgot Chicken which consisted of a whole chicken cut up and cooked in baeq peppers, thelee herbs, and garlic.

It was served with long, thick, curved noodles, that’d been tossed in Bellgot sauce.

I told the waiter to bring me a londo to drink. Londo was a mix between lemonade, soda, and vodka.

After the waiter left, Tix looked at me and nodded. I smiled and nodded back.

We ate in silence, enjoying our meals at separate tables. Everything was fine until a loud scream rattled my ears.

Tix and I both looked up. A man streaked naked down the street, running for his life. A smaller man ran after him. He shot sparks of energy from his hand. The first man dipped and dived, dodging the attacks as well as he could.  

A barefooted woman ran behind them. Her shirt was open, and she held her pants up with one hand. “Stop,” she yelled. “You didn’t see what you think you did. We were only wrestling on the floor. Nothing else.”

Tix raised a brow at me. I smiled, and we continued enjoying our lunch together. I made a note to leave an even bigger tip. You couldn’t find this type of entertainment just anywhere.

Once lunch was over, I portaled back into my office. I assumed Tix did the same.

Chapter 3 

At eight o clock, I was done. I’d grab some dinner and enjoy the rest of my night.

I stepped out of my set of offices into a dark, quiet hallway. Fatima had left at seven, the others a few hours before that. The lights may have been off on my floor, but I knew the hexing department was probably still hard at work.

I’d ordered them pizza and soda twenty minutes ago. I figured I’d stop by there on my way out the door. Just to make sure they’d gotten it.

The hexing department was on the lower floor. It hosted several different offices and cubbyholes. I walked into the lab part. A piece of paper with wings flew by my head.

“Sorry.” Gertie, one of the hexers trailed after it.

The lab was always up to its teeth in projects. With the caseload we had now, it was a study in confusion and disarray down here. For those who worked in this department, it was probably business as usual.

The interior walls of the lab were made of glass. Some spells and hexes needed a double image to work. The ceiling was a skylight. The lab was on the bottom floor, but we used a spell to stream in the light.

 The extra light aided in finding hidden hexes buried deep in the text of a contract. We also had a darkroom for certain enchanted documents.

I walked past a few large worktables. They held everything from books to magical scrying tools, to miniature secret doors and passages.   

I’d sent the pizza, hoping the hexing department would take a break. But most still scurried about, food in their hands, continuing their work.

I cleared my throat. “How’s it going?”

Nelly and Robert walked toward me. They were the managers down here.

Nelly was an average-height woman with a medium build. She was in her mid-thirties. Her black hair was twisted in a bun on her head. She was the type to take charge no matter the situation. Much like Carol.

If a fire broke out, Nelly would be the one calmly putting it out while everyone else screamed and yelled, trying to get away.

Robert was slightly taller than average. He had chestnut hair that stopped at the nape of his neck. He was thin, but not willowy. He was the type that worked hard, had a beer after he left the office, then went home to find more work to do. He was around Nelly’s age, maybe a year or two older.

I gave them both careful glances. They looked exhausted. How much longer before they broke? They’d been working non-stop for weeks.

I couldn’t let this go on. We had multiple projects approaching deadlines, but this wasn’t the way. They couldn’t accomplish anything if they were dead on their feet.

The entire Hexing Department needed three days off. It’d slow down production, but that was okay.

 Three days away from this would give the whole department a new perspective. When they came back, they could look at contracts and articles with fresh eyes. I’d talk to Red about it first thing in the morning.

Nelly wiped pizza sauce off her face. She gave me a tired look. “The Bryant, Thompson, and Fint files are locked with some hellified hexing. The footprints are deeply hidden. One wrong pull or tug and the whole thing falls apart. We have to be careful with this one.”

 Robert nodded. “The hexing looks the same on all three files. We’ll have to work a little harder to figure out where it came from.”

Heat rushed to my face. They were so dedicated. The entire department was. They were working themselves to the bone, but I hadn’t heard one complaint. A party with a few days off wasn’t enough. They’d each get an extra bonus check too.  

You couldn’t buy this type of loyalty. You either had it, or you didn’t. “We’ll talk tomorrow,” I said.

Nelly and Robert scurried back to their work.

Red and I had a good team here. We encouraged a good working atmosphere and open communication. Without it, who knew where we’d be?

I walked into the crisp night air. Tix came out of his building a second later. He smiled at me in acknowledgment. Then he opened a portal to…

I held out my hand, picking up his unique portal signature. “Ah.” I smiled, pleased at his choice. So, he wanted to have dinner on Heden. It was a quaint little world. The more I went there, the more I appreciated it.

I quickly opened a portal and followed. I didn’t want Tix waiting too long for my arrival.  

I stepped out of the portal and took off my shoes. That was the rule here. We were at an intimate restaurant called Jifen. The dining area sat right here on the beach.

We were so close to the water, I felt the waves lapping at my feet.

It was supposed to add to the experience of a romantic dinner. The sand in your toes and the water nipping at your ankles helped set the mood.

There were twenty candlelit tables out here, six feet apart. The dining area only took up a small portion of the beach.

Soft music played in the background which further helped set the mood. I heard no other noises. Each couple seemed to be in their own world.

Some sat side by side. They talked quietly, eating and laughing. Others walked the beach together. They held hands, dipping their feet into the water.

Tix stood in front of a table with two chairs. The waiter led me to a table six feet away from his. By now, the waiters knew us well.

They knew we were together but never sat together. They knew we still needed to be in each other’s eyesight when we ate. They also knew not to ask questions. Jifen was a discreet restaurant. Something else I loved about it.

Tix nodded at me. I nodded back. We took our seats at the same time. Though we were at different tables, I still saw the way the candlelight blended with his golden eyes, making them sparkle and shine.

I cleared my throat, desire rising. The waiter placed a glass of sive wine in front of me. It was from a special collection and exclusive to the world Heden. Jifen wasn’t the only restaurant in this world to carry it. But I liked drinking it here the best.

“Will you have your usual, Mr. Driz?” the waiter asked me.  

I nodded. “Absolutely.”

I took a sip of the red sive wine. It was spicy and robust, made from crane grapes that grew only in this world.

Tix held up a glass of trouler wine. That was his favorite. Like sive, trouler wine could only be found in restaurants on this world.

Unlike sive, trouler was sour and thick. I’d tried it once. I’d wanted to see why Tix liked it so much. Disgusting. I’d spit it out immediately.

Tix had been at the table a few feet in front of me. He’d doubled over with laughter then drank down his entire glass.

Thinking of it now brought a slight smile to my face. I looked over to see Tix’s golden eyes watching me with interest. He raised his glass in a toast. I raised my own, taking a small sip.

I didn’t wait long before a plate of lemon garlic beef ribs was placed before me.

The steam from the plate filtered to my nostrils, making my mouth water. This looked delicious. I picked up a rib, biting into it like I hadn’t eaten in days. Hmm. The taste was amazing. I hurriedly licked my fingers, before eating more.

 Unlike me, Tix tried something different each time we came here. Tonight, it was smothered steak, with mushrooms, onions, and green peppers.

The smell of his steak drifted to my table. The scent was tantalizing. Perhaps I should try something new. Tix grinned at me like he’d read my thoughts.

Jifen was packed tonight, but somehow it felt like Tix and I were the only ones here, locked in our own special world.

It was intimate and comfortable. Something warm spread through my chest. I never wanted this relationship to end. No, it wasn’t a relationship in the more realistic sense of the word, but it was us. Tix and Driz. That was good enough for me.

After dinner, we opened twin portals to the parking lot at work. I stepped out of my portal first. Tix exited his portal a few seconds later.

 Tix nodded his goodbye and we both headed for our cars.

I’d just unlocked my door when three men came out of the dark. They headed straight for Tix. These were muscular men with beefy arms and thick legs. All three wore masks to cover their faces.

My adrenaline went into overdrive. These men carried a murderous aura around them. They’d come to do harm. I ran that way, hoping to stop whatever they had planned. But I couldn’t attack them outright. If I was wrong, I’d be hurting three innocent people.

But, I didn’t think I was wrong. Which was proven, when one of the guys raised his hand, and silver energy shot out, headed at Tix’s back. If it hit him, it’d leave a gaping hole in his body.

“Watch out!” I screamed.

Tix ducked and then whispered something quick and rhythmic under his breath. The first guy’s hair caught on fire.

The man let out a grunted cry. He fell back, rolling on the ground, trying to put the flames out. The other two kept advancing on Tix.

The thought of them hurting Tix made me rage with anger. I used my telekinesis to knock one of the guys back.

He went flying through the air. He landed in a heap, a few feet away. In the commotion, the third guy snuck up behind Tix. He stuck a small syringe into his neck before I could stop it.

Tix went slack in his arms, eyes closed. My pulse quickened. Tix was all right. He had to be. I flung out my hand, trying to throw the third guy to the side and bring Tix to me.

The third guy held up his hand. Blue light shot from his palm. It wrapped around my body before I could get my telekinesis hold on him.

I tried to move… What…? I couldn’t. Sweat dripped down my face, but I wouldn’t panic. Though it wasn’t easy keeping it together. Real fear clawed at my gut. What if I was never able to move again? I tried to use my telekinesis, but that failed me too.

My mind went back to the encyclopedias of rumbles, and hexes stored in my brain. I tried to call them forward, but I was rusty and out of use. None of them had the right amount of power behind them. Shit! That’s what I got for shelving my wrecker abilities.  

I tried to surge forward again. Even if my powers didn’t work, I’d give this guy a taste of my fists. Only, I still couldn’t move.

The second guy came to his feet. He went over to the first guy. He was on the ground, unmoving.

The fire was gone from his head, but he still didn’t look good. The second guy threw him over his shoulders and went to stand behind the third guy.

The third guy opened a portal. I watched in horror while they dragged Tix through, unable to do anything.

I swallowed hard. What kind of danger was Tix in? Would they hurt him? Kill him? The thought of him being hurt made everything inside me ache. I had to find him!

Once the portal closed, I could move again. I immediately picked up their signal. They’d taken Tix to a world name Boune. “Shit!” I wasn’t familiar with that universe. My heart gave a painful squeeze. Tix… What would they do to him?

Tix was a hexer, one of the best. They probably wanted his voice magic skills. My fists curled at my side, anger making my veins pop.

They either wanted Tix to create a hex, break a hex, or punish him for a hex they believed he’d created. At least, that’s what I figured, anyway.

I could jump through the portal after them, but that would be suicide. Those three goons were probably waiting on the other side for me.

We weren’t a world that followed normal rules. Most people wouldn’t call the cops when something like this happened. They’d come to a business, like mine or Tix’s for protection.

Cops usually dealt with traffic issues. People called worlds like mine lawless, and I guessed we were to a certain extent.

But we did have a governing party that made a lot of the rules in our world. They were called Dilute, but they wouldn’t help with something like this.

 Witches fighting each other for a spell or control of an account wasn’t something they saw as high on their priority list.

I needed backup. Good backup. These people were fierce. The third guy had frozen my powers with no effort at all. I couldn’t do this alone.

I called Red. Only he could help me now. Tix’s life depended on it.


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