Bailey and Quinn are back for one last action-filled adventure!
A corrupt police chief is on the loose, and it falls to Bailey and Quinn to put an end to him before he finds some way to weaponize the spreading rabies virus, create yet another batch of potent gorgon dust, and otherwise wreck Bailey’s happily ever after.
With a pair of orphaned gorgon whelps to care for, more animals she can shake a stick at, and her husband’s determination to make the world a perfect place for her, Bailey has her hands full. To protect everyone she loves, she must embrace her dubious role as the Calamity Queen and rain hell down on those who stand in her way.
The Flame Game is on.
Warning: this novel contains two fire-breathing unicorns on a napalm bender, action, adventure, chaos, mayhem, humor, and bodies. Proceed with caution.
And since it would be cruel to leave you without a snippet…
The father I hadn’t met until this morning walked me down the aisle, but Quinn’s hands holding mine kept me from running in terror at so many people witnessing me marrying someone like him. I questioned everything about my odd life. Me, the Calamity Queen, marry him? It took a few moments to remember I’d already married him once. I’d asked that same question then, too. He’d laughed, and then he’d goaded me until I’d done what he wanted, which involved me marrying him.
There’d been a bunch of witnesses to that courthouse madness, too, and I’d survived through it mostly unscathed. Most of the witnesses to our first wedding had been too busy brawling with each other to pay any attention to me signing the papers that gave Samuel Leviticus Quinn certain rights to me, but that didn’t matter.
Reminding myself his signature on the same papers meant I got rights to him did a good job of steadying my rattled nerves.
No matter how many times I failed to tell him properly, I loved him.
To endure so many people staring at me, all I needed to do was remember a few key things. After the vows came the food, after the food came a show of gorgons petrifying each other during a brawl, and after the brawling came the pampering in our suite, which would be devoid of children for at least twenty-four hours, courtesy of an assortment of parents and grandparents.
I needed a lot longer than twenty-four hours to come to terms with having two pairs of parents.
One set hated me.
The other, who I’d learned about just yesterday, loved me.
I needed a lot longer than twenty-four hours to adjust to my life’s new circumstances.
First, I needed to survive through my second wedding. Tomorrow, I would resume my quest to be the best mother possible for our pair of orphaned gorgon children, who would spend the rest of the day and most of tomorrow socializing with the other gorgons in attendance, most of whom were related to my husband in one way or another.
Staring at Quinn and refusing to acknowledge anyone else in the Venetian’s canals would help with that, at least until we made it to the food portion of our wedding day. Once the food came around, I didn’t care who watched me devour steak, steak, and even more steak.
The fire-breathing, meat-eating unicorn in me loved steak almost as much as I loved the man who’d turned my life upside down on me.
My husband made no effort to hide his amusement, and he squeezed my hands while we both ignored the minister, who did a pretty damned good job of impersonating Elvis while reading the scripted sermon. He went on and on about the responsibilities of married couples, husbands, wives, mothers, and fathers, along with the death-do-we-part stuff I doubted applied to us at all thanks to our mishmash of crazy relatives, most of whom were in attendance.
A few too many gods and goddesses for my comfort joined almost every damned cop in our precinct to witness us confess our love to each other. Or, at a minimum, blurt ‘I do’ in some horrifically embarrassing fashion.
I had trouble with the basics, and nothing had changed since I’d married my gorgon-incubus doohickey the first time.
“You can look somewhere other than me if you want,” Quinn whispered, leaning closer to me.
I debated stealing a kiss before the official kissing portion of the ceremony, although the dumb veil kept getting in my way. Quinn had already shunted the damned thing back, but it kept falling wherever it wanted, to the point I wanted to light it on fire.
Nobody had warned me how much of a pain in the ass wedding dresses could be. And the heels? The heels might do me in. What had I done to deserve the damned heels, especially with the asshole pair of parents uninvited from the ceremony? While inserting my heels into their asses would have made my day, having a pair of parents who actually wanted me trumped my petty desire for revenge.
Huh. Somehow, I’d grown up since meeting Quinn, although only a little.
I forced my attention back on my husband. “If I look anywhere other than at you, I will see them staring at me. You’re prettier than they are, and I absolutely refuse to be ashamed of this.”
A few months ago, I would have gone and cried in the bathroom had I said that where anyone might hear me.
The Elvis impersonator grinned. “He really is prettier than everyone else here. You’re a very lucky woman.”
Oops. I shrugged, but I also smiled. “It’s true. I can’t help it. He’s in a suit. He can’t wear dress uniforms at home. I get ideas. I am enjoying this while it lasts. Someone is going to take a picture of him in his suit, and I will end up being bribed for copies of the pictures. I’ll have to ration the pictures out. I make him late for work if he wears anything other than his normal uniform. He has to change at work.”
Well, maybe I couldn’t keep my blabbering mouth under control, but I could make people laugh. The entire audience had a field day with my runaway commentary, but beyond blushing over my nervous tendencies, I resisted the urge to dash for the door. If I bolted, Quinn would catch me, drag me back, and laugh about it for the rest of eternity.
It amazed me how much could change in such a short period of time. Six months ago, I’d been bitter, alone, tired, and hungry more often than not. I no longer worried about what I’d eat; if I skipped a meal, Quinn chased me down and hovered until I did what he wanted, which involved eating whatever offering he had brought for me.
Greasy fries and burgers showed up almost as often as healthier fare. He even tolerated me trying to shove fries down his throat, as he deserved to enjoy greasy goodness, too.
I had issues.
I had a lot fewer issues than six months ago.
We hope you all have a safe and happy holidays, humans! Now, before we wander off, some news!
First, ACX/Audible/Amazon emailed re: their 1 year penalize-the-authors/creators return policy. This is from their email:
We hope this helps convey perspective to our valued writers and ACX partners as to the impact of our current returns policies. However, in recognition of these concerns, moving forward and effective as of January 1, 2021, Audible will pay royalties for any title returned more than 7 days following purchase. This adjustment does not impact our customers’ current benefits of membership, and we look forward to continuing to welcome millions of first-time listeners, enabling our members to discover new content they enjoy and growing the audience for our valued creative partners.A Note from ACX re: customer returns/exchanges
Considering Amazon receives 60-75% of the title’s price while authors receive either 20% or 25% (20% if royalty shared with a producer, 25% if they are non-exclusive) they can afford to pay us for our works.
From our limited knowledge of listener behavior, this is similar to using a Band-Aid on a gunshot wound. Most listen (and would return) within seven days following their purchase, which means the author would first be credited with royalties and then have the royalties removed from their account in most cases. This would stop the “you now owe ACX/Audible/Amazon month six months after the audiobook released because a reader just got around to exchanging the audiobook” but we suspect this will be a drop in the flood.
They also do not provide any data for us regarding returns, and their letter did not promise or even mention the lack of transparency on how many copies we are having returned. (This problem was initially noticed because some authors suddenly owed Amazon/ACX/Audible for return copies; otherwise the statistics and financials are completely invisible to us.)
We will re-evaluate audiobooks in February, after we see if they opt to give us figures on return/exchanges.
We shall see.
Next up, License to Kill outgrew its britches. As such, the duet is being extended into a trilogy. This creates problems, but my original plan/plotline is approximately at the halfway point into License to Kill… and the book exceeds 75,000. As such, the book’s structure is ridiculous, life is hard, and while one major conflict from License to Kill is resolved, the female now has a poorly named book.
We do not have a date for when Old Secrets will release. We were not anticipating License to Kill to just bugger off with the plot and take the female twice as long to write as anticipated. So, be kind.
Apparently, the female did not anticipate the book receiving a license to kill her. Oops.
And there is the story of how the book is not cooperating, the plot structure is weird, there is insufficient time to do any form of rewrite although the book fairly closely matches the female’s intentions for it… if the book had the room to become a 160,000+ monstrosity, which is not the case.
In good news, while the overlying story arc won’t be completed in License to Kill, it will not include a cliffhanger. It will be set up where you know what the characters shall be doing leading into Old Secrets, so you’re basically getting a finale that’s a bunch of action-adventure-investigation-kill people goodness.
Please let me remind you again: License to Kill is a dark urban fantasy, and while there are funny moments, you are more likely to cry than laugh. Not all books can be sunshine and cookies and roses and kittens.
Remember: Karma was also a dark urban fantasy. This series is not for you if you can’t handle serious and dark subject matter to go with your laughs.
Karma and License to Kill deal with subjects of depression, mental health issues, and abuse.
You have been warned.
While it will take a miracle to accomplish, the plan is to still release Murder Mittens as scheduled on December 25, 2020. This is the most ‘standalone’ of the Magical Romantic Comedy (with a body count) novels to date, in that there won’t be many (or any?) connections to other books in the series. This is just a fun romp with kitties, and it’s meant to be just fun with bodies. And some more bodies. And extra bodies. I feel I should have put in a ^ with “large” in front of body on this one…
I’m not worried about forgetting there are supposed to be bodies in this series with this book, at least.
And that is the conclusion to the 2020 list of upcoming releases!
Do not look 2021 in the eyes. If you have candy, offer it a piece. Maybe make it a nice cup of hot cocoa or a coffee. Say nice things to it.
We challenged 2020, and we lost. We must learn from our mistakes!
We hope you have a great day, humans. Please enjoy Bailey & Quinn’s final novel.