As y’all have been really, really good about not bugging me about the series I’ll be working on to replace the Magical Romantic Comedy (with a body count) series as it comes to its end, you get to find out officially what’s going on. (Please note the Mag Rom Com series is not ending because of anything anyone did… it’s ending because the series has come to its natural conclusion.)
I know a lot of you love the Mag Rom Com series, but I’m not extending it beyond the major overlying arc. It’s time for that world to get its happily ever after. In case you missed it, here’s the announcement detailing the estimated schedule for the series’ completion.
Now, onto the show. Introducing G.P. Robbins, my new pen name for the upcoming Magic, Mayhem, and the Law in Precinct #153 series. I’m going to end up shortening that madness to Precinct #153 or MML. To start with, here’s the cover:
Yes, that IS a unicorn with super sad pony eyes. And yes, that cop knows exactly what he’s doing when it comes to the smoldering look.
In good news? There are paranormal romance elements! In bad news, the paranormal romance is about half the core of the storyline, so it’s not going to be quite as… hmm… romancey… as the Mag Rom Com series. (Thus the lack of Rom in the series title.)
There will be romance, though, because the basic concept is there’s a station of cops in this precinct that is mostly male, and they shall be romanced. Because I said so. (There’s also a station of cops in the same precinct that is mostly female. Each of these stations have three pairs of the opposite gender. Why? Dragons made a bet, and the dragons are not sane in this world. And so there’s a grand Battle of the Cops between these two stations…)
Amusingly enough, the support staff at the male cop station is 90% women, and the support staff at the female cop station is 90% men. Let’s just say these two stations love competing with each other, and with that much competition, romance is bound to happen. (There are quite a few interstation marriages already in place at the start of the series.)
Let’s just say these two stations crack me up, and I love when they’re tossed together. It’s fun. Of course, a lot of the tossing together happens a bit later in the series, but that’s fine.
Now that I have rambled about unnecessary world building because I love this series that much, here’s the description of the book:
Newly promoted Detective Jace Smithson has his hands full with solving the murders of ten men and the kidnapping of a unicorn capable of producing diamonds. On the surface, the crime appears to be a classic tale of greed and violence, but digging deeper reveals something sinister has come to Cauldron City.
Securing the safety and security of those he swore to protect is only the beginning of Jace’s problems. Add in his relationship with the dragons of Cauldron City along with a few personal secrets, and he’s the ideal target for the killer. Surviving to tell the tale will test his wit and skills in ways he never thought possible.
But if he wants to obtain justice for the wronged, he will have to face his challenged beliefs and come to terms with the darker realities of the city he calls home.
As I’m not a complete monster, enjoy a sneak peek from the book, mostly unedited drivel:
Thursday, April 5, 2057
Warehouse Row, Precinct 153
Cauldron City, Nebraska.
The next time Captain Farthan asked if I wanted to accompany him on a call, I would concoct at least a hundred and two reasons I needed to bust my ass at my desk. Had I been thinking, I would have remembered the captain liked to test his officers at least once a year. With quarterly reviews around the corner, he’d taken to the streets to better monitor Precinct 153 and its eclectic collection of residents, transients, and others.
The call, which had come from one a rather notorious warehouse with a tendency of attracting trouble, should have warranted two pairs, but no.
Captain Farthan viewed himself as a one-man army. And if the man part of the equation didn’t work out, he became a one-dragon army, and only an idiot pissed off a grouchy bachelor of a dragon looking in all the wrong places for his one and only.
The rust-pocked building came into view, and I began my weapon check, hoping I wouldn’t need it but expecting to have a close encounter with the strange, the stranger, and the dangerous.
I couldn’t remember the last time a call to the damned warehouse had gone well.
“Nervous?” Captain Farthan asked.
“Not at all. I have a gun and a dragon. I’m probably the best armed sentient in the entire precinct right now.”
The captain snickered. “That’s a good one. Been sitting on it long?”
“For about as long as the last time you sat on someone trying to escape one of our interceptors by car.” When a multi-ton dragon treated the car like a skateboard, the vehicle tended to grind to a halt. As the captain preferred when his prey emerged alive, he’d turned skating using cars into an art. “If you do decide you’re an interceptor today, sir, I do ask you come to a complete halt before leaving the vehicle, transforming, and pursuing your target.”
“If you’re looking for a promotion, that is the right way to go about it.” The captain parked in front of the warehouse, and to my relief, two other patrol vehicles joined us, their lights on while their sirens remained silent.
That told me one thing: whomever had been using the building had already cleared out, and we didn’t want to disrupt the neighborhood more than we would showing up to do yet another cleanup.
How marvelously delightful.
I stowed my firearm, unbuckled my seatbelt, and got out of the cruiser. “Your orders, sir?”
“Let’s see how much you’ve learned in the three and a half years you’ve been with us, Officer Smithson. While you were gathering your kit, I made certain the other officers know this is your rodeo.”
The last thing I wanted was to be part of any rodeo while at work, figurative or literal. As my momma had raised me stubborn and my pappa had demanded I behave with all the integrity of a proper police officer, I saluted my captain, straightened my shoulders, and pretended I knew what the hell I was doing while heading for the main entrance of the warehouse, which someone had left cracked open.
How very helpful.
My fellow cops, two pairs of our precincts higher level detectives, joined me.
“Welcome to the jungle, Jace,” Paul said, and he held out his elbow for a bump. I’d learned early on to go with Paul’s elbow bumps. Cop by day, touchy-feely elephant by night, the elbow bump was one of the ways he got his daily dose of affection from his co-workers without trumpeting his loneliness for the entire precinct to hear. He’d made the mistake of revealing his second nature early on in his career, as lonely elephants became grouchy elephants.
Much like our dragon of a boss, a crabby elephant could do serious amounts of property damage in a short period of time.
So far, I held the top prize of being the most normal cop in the precinct. Everyone had some form of secret everyone knew about—except me.
I had my secrets, but I held them close to my chest.
“Am I getting the nice jungle or the mosquito-filled hell Brandon keeps telling us about that time his parents took him to Mexico?”
“I’m going with the mosquito-filled hell. Orders are orders, so we’re supposed to do what you tell us and only what you tell us, as he wants to see how badly you pooch our investigation. He took Yvon out yesterday. It was special. Yvon is going back to preschool next week until he understands he is not allowed to lick the evidence.”
In Precinct 153, preschool was another word for the academy, and the captain liked sending cops back for remedial lessons if he wanted to promote them but they had more to learn than he liked. A few weeks bringing cadets up to speed and getting lectured by experienced cops tended to work wonders on the slow learners.
I’d yet earned a trip back to preschool, and I hoped to avoid it.
“All right. I’m going to start with wear your damned gloves, put your booties on, and don’t contaminate any of my damned evidence. We have scrubs to put over our uniforms?”
The detective grinned at me. “As a matter of fact, yes.”
“Enough for even the hot head who made me come out here?”
“Cute, Smithson,” the captain muttered, strolling up to join us.
“We were instructed to bring extras, as you had no idea you’re playing detective today,” Paul informed me.
“Get everyone dressed, and pretend I’m the captain and you’re dodging preschool when you show me what I need to wear and how I need to wear it, allowing for us to access our firearms because we don’t know what’s in that building,” I ordered, eyeing the open door.
“Damn, Captain. He’s already ahead of the curve. Hardy, we’ve got ourselves a smart one.”
Detective Hardy Grimstone, the grandson of a rather notorious black dragon who’d made his nest in New York City, chuckled and went to the trunk to start implementing my orders. “He probably doesn’t want to get sent to New York. He caught my grandpappy’s eye last go around, and you know how that old goat gets.”
“I saw him first,” our captain growled.
As the last thing we needed was two dragons duking it out when we were supposed to be solving a crime, I cleared my throat and said, “Focus. If you two want to argue about who has property rights, do so at the station where everyone can participate. What type of case do we have here?”
At the very least, I would be highly amused should they duke it out at the station, where the men and women alike would get in on the argument. Only one winner existed in such a scenario: me. Nobody would bother me while I got work done, and I’d have a great day laughing at my fellow cops.
“We have a serious case of dead weight and a cranky unicorn we need to get down from her current position. We only know she’s a her because the caller got a good look up her skirt, as the dead weight is keeping her a solid twenty feet off the ground. We think it’s a standard unicorn heist.”
And just like that, my day went from bad to worse. Unicorns came in two varieties: shapeshifters and natural-born. Natural-born unicorns were shapeshifters, and shapeshifter unicorns could produce natural-born ones. They shared most of their abilities, and both counted as an endangered species.
Natural-born unicorns tended to play human more often than not, leaving the shapeshifters to take the brunt of society’s determination to tame, catch, or benefit from the species.
Depending on which breed of unicorn, they were wanted for a myriad of different things. They came in every color of the rainbow with a few extras mixed in, and each one had a different trick. The black ones were prized for their healing abilities and were responsible for the majority of legends surrounding unicorns. Fortunately for the entire unicorn race, the instant the unicorn died, their magic died with them, so everyone wanted living, breathing unicorns.
The blues and indigos purified water among sporting some healing arts, although they couldn’t hold a candle to the blacks. The greens restored vegetation and improved crop viability. The oranges, yellows, and reds like confusing everyone with their various abilities, although their powers boiled down to life-giving flame, prosperity, and fertility. The violets could do a little of everything, which made them among the most desired of the species.
White unicorns had the potential to do a little of everything with a twist.
Whites produced gemstones in their droppings along with crafts herpes. In addition to that, the whites could purify just about anything, could heal well enough the blacks liked keeping them around in case of emergency, and were the true masters of short-distance teleportation, an art known as blinking.
Precinct 153 had a ridiculous number of unicorns, and there was one universal truth: unicorns were trouble.
Unicorns showing up during my shift were double the trouble and would haunt me for weeks to come.
“What sort of dead weight are we talking about?” I asked, afraid of the answer.
“The corpse kind. Someone got the bright idea to use corpses to keep the unicorn lifted up off the ground.”
I sighed. Sometimes, a criminal did something clever. Hauling a unicorn up into the air counted as clever. A unicorn who couldn’t touch a hoof to the ground couldn’t do interesting things like shift, blink short distances away, or bring their most potent weapons into play. “All right. Let’s get kitted up, somebody see if we can get any useful finterprints off the door, and prepare to deal with someone even crabbier than a dragon fresh up from a nap with no gold to play with.”
“Hey,” both the captain and Hardy protested.
I raised a brow and engaged both in a stare down. “Where’s the lie, gentlemen?”
“I told you this was going to blow up in our faces, Captain,” Hardy muttered. “You’ve gone and done it now. You’ve put Jace in charge, and do you know what Jace’s problem is?”
“What is my problem?” I asked, tilting my head to the side and crossing my arms over my chest, waiting for my co-worker to illuminate me. “Beyond having to pretend I’m qualified to do this job, which I’m not.”
“You’re too damned pretty to be that damned bossy when you’re in charge of something!”
Damned dragons. Man, woman—it didn’t matter to a dragon. When they encountered someone they felt was pretty, that was that. They lamented over what they couldn’t have. I needed to have a long talk with my parents about their contribution to my various assets. “Just shut up and get the kits, Hardy.”
“Will you marry me if I do?”
“Neither of us swing that way, and even if we did, the captain has rules. His rules say the precinct’s dragons do not kidnap or marry co-workers on grounds of appearance or competence.” I would not remind Hardy about the exceptions, as determined dragons usually got what they wanted. “The gear, Hardy. You can go cry to your grandpappy later, after we investigate the unicorn, check out the dead weight, and get everything and everyone down. And no messing up my evidence. If one of you gets me sent down to preschool being reckless, I’ll find some way to make you pay.”
“I should be reprimanding you over the use of coercion and threats to other officers, but you’re doing it with such skill,” my captain complained. “How can I reprimand that?”
I uncrossed my arms, rolled my shoulders, and finally shrugged. “Personally, I have no idea, sir. Let’s get this job done as though we’re actually skilled law enforcement officers rather than members of the circus who were given cuffs and guns and told to play cops with the local riffraff.”
“Wait, we’re not members of the circus?” the elephant asked.
“We forgot the lion, and we left the ringmaster at the precinct,” I retorted. The last thing any of us needed was Deputy Inspector Hagfield, another opal dragon with an attitude and a love of all things pretty, coming out to play with us. As for the lion, he’d stayed behind waiting for the drug calls, where he did his best work.
The bloodhounds would help in extreme circumstances, but they claimed dealing with the base-level drugs counted as cruel and unusual punishment, where the lion could handle sniffing out the narcotics without going half-mad from the stench.
“It seems Officer Smithson is on a roll. Let’s see if that roll translates to decent investigative work,” our boss said, helping Hardy pull out the scrubs and various other equipment we’d need to gather evidence. “Listen up, Smithson. I only want to have to explain this once. Under no circumstances do we harm the unicorn. Beyond that, show us what you’ve got, ask questions, and assuming you’re not an idiot, you’ll dodge preschool. This time.”
“Wait. This time?”
My captain chuckled, ignored my question, and proceeded to guide me through the detective’s basic arsenal of equipment needed to gather evidence and bring criminals to justice.
Patreon members ($10+ tier on the monthly patreon (Otters, Cindercorns, Spicy Ponies with Bite), per creation membership for novels) will be receiving a copy of this book.
Happy Reading. (I am hoping to do two of these titles a year, but we shall see, because these books ARE longer and more complicated than most of my other works.)