Read Monster Baiter (An Obscure Magic Book 6) Online
Authors: Viola Grace
Tags: #Paranormal, #Adult, #Magic, #Fantasy, #Romance
A family curse turned occupation, a merman in her tub and a mage in her phone. Soph’s life just gets weirder.
Being raised as the Cursed One does things to a person. It changes your relationships and makes you a very paranoid young woman. This is how Sophy ends up in her fourth decade, looking eighteen and having no love life.
The Mage Guild provides her with a liaison so that she can stop calling to rummage through their archives, and the voice in the machines around her becomes an admirable partner, such as he is.
He files a request with her to assist him in his own personal journey, and it takes her into the Guild Hall to face a mage who wants her as a trophy. She isn’t impressed, but gets what she needs and gets out of there.
A cursed object that calls to her is part of her plans for the next few days, but the arrival of the body that belongs to the voice throws things into chaos.
Magnus has spent years in amber, waiting to be released by a request from a woman he hasn’t slept with. He was born a warrior centuries earlier and is a legendary mage in his own right. He has one major concern, and it involves figuring out the strange pull and repulsion he feels when the Cursed One is around.
Demons, mages, old scores, and cursed objects swirl around the DeMonstre family, and Sophia is first and foremost the Monster Baiter.
The characters and events in this book are fictitious. Any similarity to real persons, living or dead, is coincidental and not intended by the author.
Copyright © 2016 by Viola Grace
©Cover art by Carmen Waters
All rights reserved. With the exception of review, the reproduction or utilization of this work in whole or in part in any form by electronic, mechanical or other means, now known or hereafter invented, is forbidden without the express permission of the publisher.
Published by Viola Grace
Look for me online at violagrace.com, Amazon, All Romance Ebooks, Smashwords, Kobo, B&N and other eBook sellers.
An Obscure Magic Book 6
Sophora Lilliana deMonstre sat next to her father as the mayor of the town of Villa Morgern explained their plight. She would have been more sympathetic if he hadn’t been staring at her like she was edible.
“All of the young women in Villa Morgern have been accosted or torn apart by this beast, and now, it is expanding its domain. Soon, there will be no women of marriageable age in our demesne, and we will be forced to seek our wives in neighbouring towns. Most of my people are not equipped to seek a match elsewhere. They don’t have the time.”
Sophora watched her father caress his chin in the manner he always did when he was overtaken by greed. Sir Esteban deMonstre was a capable knight and mage, but money was his primary focus. It was why he kept her with him instead of providing a dowry for her. At the age of fifteen, she was prime marriage material.
“What will you offer to me for this quest? My time is valuable.”
Sophora didn’t look around her at the empty stone halls and walls. All of the money went into magic books and ale.
His lands were extensive, and he was wealthy, but the wealth was in the books he hoarded. There was nothing left for a dowry.
The mayor dropped a bag on the table. “Ten pieces of gold for every troll destroyed.”
Esteban picked up the bag and spilled the contents onto the table. “Is this my retainer?”
“You are sure that it is trolls?”
The mayor stopped his leering at her for a moment. “Oh. They are one of the largest gatherings of extranatural beings in the area. We are sure it is trolls.”
Esteban swept the coins into the pouch and smiled. “Sophora, prepare to travel.”
The mayor licked his lips as he looked at her, and she hid her shiver as she left the room to get the horses ready. This was not going to be a fun trip.
The mayor rode ahead of them, and Sophora said quietly, “Is it wise to go against the trolls? They are not normal monsters. They have villages, communities. They are generally peaceful.”
“Sophora, you are my daughter, not my partner. The money offered to me will purchase that Killian manuscript that I have been after. It will complete that portion of my collection.”
He glanced over at her and gave her a smug smile. “I am wondering if I draw a knife across your cheek, will it make a difference?”
She knew what he was talking about. He wanted men to stop coming and courting her. They wrecked his study time.
“They are after your money and lands. Either wed and have a son or ignore them. My face isn’t even known by any of them. They are usually surprised to see that I am not plain.”
He nodded. “You know how I feel about marrying again.”
“Yes, it will be a financial burden, and unless a son can be guaranteed, it isn’t worth the price.” She repeated it as she had dozens of times.
“Correct. Now, we should have kept that unicorn alive. It would add to your mystique when you come with me. Drive up the prices and get the attention of more mages.”
Sophora looked away so that he wouldn’t see her tears. She had been in love, had felt her heart beat in time with the man courting her, and her father had driven him off before he followed him and killed him. Esteban claimed he was a monster, but she knew that the monster wasn’t the man who had brought her roses.
The inn had provided their finest rooms, and Sophora sat by the window embroidering as her father went off to hunt his fourth troll in as many days. His finances were taking an upswing, and he had enough to buy the manuscript.
Two more attacks had happened while they had been in Villa Morgern, and while the girls were not dead, they had been mauled. Sophora used what healing magic she possessed and held their hands while they came back to the world.
A young woman, Melila, whispered, “He knew where I hid. Only my parents know where I hide.”
“Describe him for me.”
The girl’s eyes teared. “He was huge. Larger than any man in the village. There were giant fangs, shreds of fabric on him, and his claws and... between his legs...”
“Whatever you feel comfortable telling me.” Sophora held her hand and kept her expression calm.
“The shouting stopped him from doing more than cutting my clothing away and clawing me. He was going to...”
Melila was sixteen and engaged to the baker. Her family was devastated that he might change his mind.
“I will make sure that they know nothing happened. I will swear by my blood.”
Melila’s eyes filled with fat tears of gratitude.
Sophora spent time with her and the other girl, Kimsa. When she was certain that the girls would physically recover, she left the room.
“Melila was not defiled by the beast, though that was his intent. Who else knew about the hiding place in your home?”
She listened as they spoke, and her father came home with another troll head.
She had to tell him before he went out again, but he would not listen to her until he bathed and rested. It was frustrating beyond belief.
The next morning at breakfast, she told him. “Father, it isn’t the trolls.”
He blinked and smiled. “Of course it is, Sophora. I have the money to prove it.”
“No. The creature is inside the town walls. It knows them. It is a member of the community.”
He tore off a chunk of bread with his hands and slathered butter on it. “How did you come to this conclusion?”
“I talked to the survivors. One mentioned a gold medallion on his chest. It has power.”
“You know this because...”
“I scryed for it. I looked for an enchanted signature, and it was moving in daylight, within the walls. I couldn’t pinpoint who it was on, but the magic is here, and it is close.”
Her father got to his feet and wove his hand through her hair, pulling her head back. “I have told you what I think of you casting spells.”
“Yes, Father.” Appealing to their relationship was all that she had. Defensive spells had been completely forbidden.
He pulled out his knife and cut into her cheek. She met his gaze as he drew the line in blood. Fire burned along her skin until her magic flared up and sealed the mark.
“You can’t help yourself.”
“I am my mother’s daughter. She was an immortal until she married you. Troll bride, to be precise. You didn’t look behind her then, and you will not see what is in front of you now. If you want proof that the beast is in the city, I will be bait.”
He let go of her hair and stepped back. “Clean off the blood. What do you mean you will be bait?”
“I will draw the monster out so you can see it. I will take it out of the town and into a place where it can safely be dispatched.”
“You expect me to follow your asinine plan? You are a girl; what do you know?”
“I know that girls like me are the ones targeted and defiled, if not killed. He will seek me because I will be easy prey. You have never turned down an easy hunt in your life.”
He mulled it over for most of the day but finally said, “I will follow you from a safe distance. You had better be right.”
She knew what he would do to her if she were wrong. She bore the scars from the days of learning what it meant to waste her father’s time.
Her body couldn’t heal something inflicted with enchantment. The scars he had given her had been something he wanted her to remember.
She was putting her life on the line for this village, and they would never even know.
Sophora walked through the village at night. She had put it about that she had to go out and gather night-blooming herbs. Anyone who had heard about it would know where she was going to be.
She had her basket, tools and a few more items in her possession as she walked through the town before she left the gates and entered the forest.
She knew where she was going to lead the beast behind her. She could feel his focus on her as she headed through the paths and over the roots. She twisted and turned her path, making him fight to keep up with her.
His stumbling and eager growls told her how much he was enjoying the hunt. If he caught her, she would be shredded in no time.
She finally made it to the clearing that she sought, and she reached into her basket, throwing a circle of salt around her and waiting.
He lumbered into her field of vision as the last grain of salt fell.
She had been forbidden defensive magic, but this was a charm.
The creature was larger and meaner than the ladies had described. Matted hair streaked with blood clumped on his body, his erection was large, and his hands were enormous. He would tear her to pieces if she were lucky.
The beast had a golden charm in its chest, nearly lost in the fur.
Her father crept up behind it and lifted his sword. A moment later, a head rolled across the ground, and it turned back into the image of the mayor.
Sophora wiped the blood spray from her face, and she looked at her father. “He was the cause. Those lives you took were for nothing.”
“Not for nothing. They were for gold. Well, you were right. We can go home now.” He wiped off his sword, picked up the head of the mayor and left the body with the gold medallion embedded in the chest.
She quickly knelt next to the body and dug the charm out of the skin. It had been bonding and would have become permanent after some time. How many lives would it have taken?
She tucked the charm into her basket and followed her father, getting things together and leaving the town, telling the locals that the beast would trouble them no more.
They rode out, and the sky dimmed. The path that was clear a moment earlier was washed out in an instant. They were forced into ever-smaller paths until they ended up at a village.
Sophora sat on the horse and waited while her father looked around. His horse spooked and threw him. He landed on the ground in a clatter of armour and gold coins.
Sophora’s mare was perfectly calm.
Invisible hands gripped her father and pulled him forward into a large circle of polished earth.
“Sophora, help me!”
She had never felt more helpless in her life. “I have no magic that would help you. You need defensive magic, Father.”
She watched as trolls surrounded him, keeping him in the centre of the circle, but then, other species appeared. Elves, brownies, a werewolf, a vampire. They gathered and surrounded her father, chanting and whispering.