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BVC Announces The Giant Riot by Diana Pharaoh Francis

The Giant Riot by Diana Pharaoh FrancisThe Giant Riot
by Diana Pharaoh Francis
Mission: Magic Book Three

Giants and pixies throw a party; even the vampires run for their lives.

It’s a truth universally acknowledged that any sane being who sees a pixie should immediately run in the other direction. Don’t look back, don’t stop, not even if you happen to be having a stroke or spontaneously burst into flames. Get as far away as possible and maybe, just maybe, if you’re very lucky, you’ll get clear of the disaster zone before all hell breaks loose. Because hell will break loose, and when it does, even the mountains will wish they could hide.

Mal has been enjoying her extended vacation—aka recovery from near death—but tomayto tomahto, right?

Fortunately for her sanity, the vacation comes to an abrupt end when a flood of wedding guests, eager to see a pixie marry a giant, pour into the luxury hotel where she lives. Adding to the sudden excitement, her boyfriend’s pet goat drops a bloody hand in her lap.

It soon becomes clear that someone not only wants to stop the wedding, they want to change the I-do into I-dead.

Mal must investigate a murder while pixies spread mayhem and giants reveal a rather dangerous secret about themselves. With the help of her ghost companions and demon frenemy, Mal and her witch boyfriend race to find the culprits before they can kill the bride and groom, not to mention annihilate the eastern seaboard.

But there’s more at stake than marital bliss. An ancient curse and a revenge plot guarantee nothing is quite as it seems.

Mal doesn’t mean to end up in a life-and-death struggle, but then again, she never does. The question is, has she recovered enough from her previous near death experience to survive this one?

Mission: Magic Book Three
____
Diana Pharaoh Francis is the USA Today and Amazon Bestselling writer of fantastical, adventurous, and often romantic fiction. She holds a Ph.D. in Victorian literature and literary theory. She’s owned by a corgi, a mini blue heeler, and a blue-eyed corgi mix. She spends much of her time gardening, airbrush painting, herding children, and avoiding housework. She likes rocks, geocaching, horses, knotting up yarn, and has a thing for 1800s England, especially the Victorians.

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Chapter One

The thing about taking a vacation is that you always feel guilty that you aren’t being productive, or someone wants you to do something you don’t want to do. Case in point: the ghost elf sitting on the lounge opposite giving Mal the fish-eye stare because she refused to go train.

“I told you. I’m on vacation. I promised Law, and the other ghosts, and So’la. I’m not supposed to do anything but relax for an entire month.”

Mal reached for her mimosa and sipped it deliberately. She wasn’t generally a drinker, especially in the morning, but Edna, another of her ghost companions, had encouraged her to try it out. She could have done without the champagne in the orange juice but whatever. She was on vacation, and apparently this is what people did on vacation. She wouldn’t know. She’d never actually taken one before.

Merrow’s lips twisted downward. She looked entirely out of place. Well, generally ghosts did look out of place among the living, especially since generally the living made sure they were exterminated like vermin. Mal used to be one of those exterminators until she couldn’t stomach it anymore. Now she had her own family—collection? cult? hangers on? —of ghosts.

She had eighteen of them, now that Merrow had joined. They fed off her magical energy, which they needed to survive. Which was sort of an oxymoron but whatever.

Anyhow, Merrow had been an elf. A militant one, part of an elite fighting force. She’d been betrayed by her own and killed, then joined Mal in order to get revenge. She’d achieved that and Mal thought maybe she’d have crossed over in whatever way elves do, but she’d stayed.

Merrow was bored.

Law, Mal’s boyfriend and the blood-bound security witch of Effrayant—where Mal was vacationing, just as she’d promised after her most recent near-death experience—had arranged charging stations for the ghosts so they could go anywhere and find sustenance. This was not an unselfish act. He’d been motivated by a desire for privacy with Mal, but the ghosts were grateful.

Most of them.

Once Mal had recovered enough from her injuries, Merrow had dogged her, glaring silently when she wasn’t actively nagging at her.

Anyway, under ordinary circumstances, Merrow would have looked extra-specially out of place with her armor and elven looks. Since Effrayant was a supernatural luxury hotel that catered to the weird, strange, outlandish, and just plain bizarre, Merrow didn’t rate even a raised eyebrow.

“You should try relaxing,” Mal suggested. “It’s strange but oddly nice.”

She reclined in a chaise next to an enormous pool with various levels and waterfalls, surrounded by greenery, boulders, and a winding river. It covered an entire five acres all by itself and sat on top of one of the auberge’s towers. Effrayant was made up of several massive towers and some smaller buildings, plus about six hundred acres of land. It contained sixteen restaurants, a dozen coffee shops, and a bunch of stores of all varieties.

Merrow’s lip curled. “I don’t think so.”

“Then maybe you could go rain on someone else’s parade?”

The elf frowned. “What do you mean?”

“I mean you’re about as fun to be around as a plague.”

Merrow’s brow smoothed. “You waste my time and yours. You lack fighting abilities. You should be practicing.”

“All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.”

Another frown. “Who’s Jack?”

“He’s this kid who went up a hill to fetch a pail of water and ended up bonking a girl named Jill. It didn’t end well. She got pregnant and was totally ostracized. He left her to deal with the baby by herself. Karma got him, though. He ended up with syphilis. Totally melted his brain.”

“Mal, that is unkind.”

Edna, a ghost with short, finger-waved hair from the thirties, wearing a short cardigan and a tailored skirt, appeared sitting at the round table to the left. She’d been with Mal the longest. She looked at Merrow.

“The phrase means that taking time away from work rejuvenates the body and soul, and Mallory does need it. She pulled too deeply on her power and came dangerously close to death while trying to stop your two countrymen from their plot. But you know this.”

The last was gently chastising.

“It’s been three weeks. Her body is more than able.”

“Perhaps. But this is a request made by those who love her, and she is abiding by her promise to them.”

Mal snorted. “So’la does not love me. He went along because he knew it would drive me nuts. Joke’s on him. I’m getting the hang of this relaxing business.”

She raised her glass to an invisible So’la and drank half of it down. Bad idea. This was her second mimosa, and she was already tipsy. She’d always been a very cheap date.

She regretted it even more when hooves clacked on the pool’s wood decking, coming in at a rapid staccato.

“Shit,” she said on a long sigh and drank the rest of her mimosa before sitting up. “What’s he done this time?”

She, Edna, and Merrow looked for the maker of the hoof sounds: Elliot, a goat. He’d been gifted to Law by a group of Gwyll. The little people had powerful magic and an opinionated sense of right and wrong. Refusing would have been rude and exceedingly dangerous. Since Law was not stupid, he’d graciously accepted. Unfortunately, Elliot was immune to magic, and he could walk through walls. He was always getting into places he didn’t belong. For instance, he had a particular fondness for LeeAnne’s lingerie drawer and a penchant for tequila.

Drunk magic goats are nothing to laugh about.

Neither was one splashed with blood and carrying a severed hand in his mouth.

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