Authors: Diana Bocco
|Warlock's Moon |
|Imbolc Books (2012)|
Women are disappearing, and NYC police investigator Laurie Cole is sure Alex Volman knows something about it. Unfortunately, he's not talking -- that's part of the territory when your family tree is loaded with magic and warlocks.
But when Alex learns that the perpetrator has something even worse up his sleeve, he can't stay silent. He'll help Laurie, but she'll have to give as much as she gets.
One night. One ritual. Passion can change everything.
This is a novella. It contains 16,000 words, or about 60 pages.
is Book 1 of the Warlock's Moon series.
Wicked Nights © 2012 Diana Bocco
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
Electronic book publication: October 2012
No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, scanning or otherwise, without written permission from the publisher,
Books.® or the author.
This is a work of fiction. Any similarities to real persons, places or events are purely coincidental.
Laurie Cole had had some strange assignments as an NYC police consultant, but this one surely beat all the rest.
Unless Emily was playing a practical joke on her, which seemed like the most logical answer at the moment.
“Alex Volman, the magician?” Laurie asked again, just to make she’d heard right.
“And you think he’s responsible for the disappearance of these women?”
“We think he’s involved somehow.”
Laurie put her chestnut brown hair up in a ponytail and relaxed back into the sofa, crossing her legs. When she told her boss she would agree to one more case before taking some time off, she wasn’t expecting such a high-profile one. She hadn’t been on vacation for over two years, and she was beginning to wonder if she was ever going to be able to take one again.
Still, she understood Emily’s urgency. The mysterious disappearance of three young women in less than a month had been all over the news. Front-page fodder for gossip, fear and speculation. The police had claimed they had no suspects, which made the current accusation all the more interesting.
“Why isn’t this in the papers?”
a celebrity. We really don’t want to accuse him unless we have something on him.”
Laurie sighed. She remembered seeing pictures of Volman in gossip magazines and newspapers. Tall, dark, smoky handsome. Charming smile. And now a suspected killer. Why did she get stuck with all the complicated cases?
“So that’s why you’re sending me instead of the police?”
“Well, you’re technically a consultant, not part of the force, so it makes things less official.”
Emily handed her a huge stack of files, and Laurie couldn’t help but groan.
sorry about doing this right before your birthday,” Emily added.
It was going to be a long week.
The guy was rich. She knew that, but seeing it in person was something else.
Alex Volman had made a name for himself as the Houdini of the new century. His stage performances were all about endurance, jaw-dropping danger and breaking world records. He was famous for stunts that defied explanation. He didn’t just make people levitate off a table — he held them up in the air ten feet above the ground. No trick lighting, no loud distractions that could be hiding wires or harnesses. There were the usual shiny objects on stage, but the show was definitively about him and his incredible acts. While critics were quick to say it was all a cheap eye trick, the truth was that nobody had been able to duplicate the results, and so he was still the king of illusions.
As she pulled into the driveway of his Hamptons estate, it was obvious that being the king of illusions was a very profitable endeavor indeed.
The sprawling gated mansion sat on a large acreage of land right on the ocean. At least half of the windows had spacious balconies with dramatic southwestern views of the water, and almost the entire front of the house was covered in antique stained-glass windows. Laurie was sure she could hear horses somewhere on the property.
The inside of the home was even more impressive, with refined artwork on the walls and sumptuous dark wood paneling in the entry hall. She wasn’t an art expert, but she could tell the two-foot bronze sculpture sitting next to the fireplace was probably worth a fortune.
As she stepped into the study to wait for Volman, she couldn’t help but wonder who had decorated the place. If it had been him, he certainly had an eye for design.
The dark wood floors were partially covered with a
rug, and a matching love seat and sleeper sofa sat near a massive stone fireplace in a corner of the room. Above the fireplace was a hefty candlestick that looked like solid silver.
“Detective Cole, I presume?”
Her heart skipped a beat at the sound of the voice behind her. She turned around to face him and felt her mouth go dry at the sight.
He was wearing a tight white t-shirt that revealed every single muscle and cut in his body. And boy, was he all muscle. His hair was wet, and Laurie had flashes of him stepping out of the shower wearing nothing but the wicked smile he was sporting right now.
She took a deep breath and extended a hand. Her fingers got lost in his, and she realized just how big he was.
And just how unprofessional she was acting.
“Thanks for seeing me, Mr. Volman. And it’s actually just Ms. Cole. I’m sort of a … private consultant.”
His eyes lingered on her lips a little too long before he motioned towards the chairs on her right.
“Please sit down, Ms. Cole. How can I help?”
She sank into a chair, and he did the same right across from her. She wasn’t sure how to start the conversation. How exactly do you tell a guy you think he might be a serial killer when he’s sitting right across from you? And when he looks
. She almost had to laugh at herself, acting like a schoolgirl with a crush.
Just get it out
, she told herself.
It’s not like it’s the first time you’ve done this!
“Have you been following the news?” she finally asked. “The disappearance of the three girls?”
eyes narrowed, but the rest of his body remained relaxed. If he was somehow uncomfortable with the line of questioning, he didn’t show it.
“I think I saw something about it.”
“Did you know any of them?”
The silence she got in response was deafening. He didn’t move a muscle, didn’t blink, and she wondered if he was trying to come up with the right answer.
“Are you accusing me of something?”
“Not exactly. We found something in the home of each girl after she disappeared. A
, which I’m told is a magical tool.”
He was either too smart or too innocent, because his immediate response was to smile. “And you think I’m the only one in town with the gift of magic?”
“Mr. Volman, you don’t look like the psycho kidnapper type to me, but that doesn’t mean you’re not somehow involved. I’ve been told you use
in your shows. Or you did in the past. The ones left behind had some writing on them. Romanian, I think.”
His face grew dark, but Laurie barely noticed because something else caught her attention. A humming sound. No, not humming. Some sort of vibration in the air, like the sound of a taut metal cable being snapped. The sound reverberated in the room, finding its way into her ears and down her chest and back. It was so intense she couldn’t help but shiver.
Time seemed to screech to a halt, and the air around her became heavy with the smell of ozone, almost as if a storm were brewing inside the room. Behind the vibration, she could hear chatter, voices that seemed to dance and flow around her without making sense, like fragments of a movie reel playing out of order. What the hell? Was she going crazy? Maybe all the talk about magic and illusions had finally gone to her head, and now she was imagining things.
Just then, a flash of light went off in her brain and the word “Corneliu” became clear. If she’d had any idea what it meant, it might have helped her, but she was only more confused by whatever was going on. It took her a second to get her focus back, and she realized Volman was looking at her intensely. She suddenly felt the need to apologize.
“I’m sorry. It’s been a long day.”
He readjusted his position in the chair. His movements were slow, like a cat stalking its prey. Every movement soft, fluid, elegant.
“Romanian folklore is rich in superstition and magic, Miss Cole,” he said after a few seconds. “Not the disappearing-coin kind of magic. Real magic, with potions and spells. It’s a world you know nothing about.”
“Are you telling me you believe magic is real?”
Her phone went off, making her jump. Emily’s number was flashing on her screen, and she knew what that meant. She had something important to tell her about the case.
Something she probably couldn’t discuss in front of the suspect. She cursed under her breath. More than anything in the world right now, she wanted to stay and find out what was going on.
“Sorry, I have to go. Do you mind if we continue this some other time? How about tomorrow?”
“Come over for dinner, Miss Cole, and I’ll explain a few things about magic.”
She nodded and turned to walk towards the door. Before stepping out, she decided there was one more question she needed to ask. She turned around, and her eyes found his.
“One more thing. Does the name Corneliu mean anything to you?”