New Release: Magical Mayhem by Carol R. Ward

It’s here! Magical Mayhem, the final book in The Moonstone Trilogy by Carol R. Ward is now available in eBook and paperback formats! Here’s the blurb, and keep reading for an excerpt below:

Jessica was just an ordinary girl living an ordinary life until the day she opened a mysterious box sent to her by the people who raised her. In it was a moonstone pendant that was a legacy from the mother Jessica never knew. It separated into two parts, and she gave one half to her best friend Howard. But the moonstone brought Howard nothing but bad luck. First, he accidentally sends Jessica into a magical realm where she embarks on a quest to find a way home again, then he ends up there himself! Now it’s up to Jessica to save her friend Howard and, incidentally, the entire magical realm from an evil wizard.


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Buy Print: Amazon |  Barnes & Noble (coming soon)

Excerpt – Prologue

Howard Ruskin stared at the object resting dead center on his work table. It looked like an adder stone, or hag stone, one of those stones with a natural hole in it. They were supposed to have magical properties and when he was a teenager, he spent days scouring the rocky beaches for one.

He’d awoken to the sound of a thunderclap and the vision of this very object hovering over his bed. As he sat up and his eyes focused, it floated slowly out of the room. He’d followed it, and only when it settled gently on his work table did he realize he wasn’t dreaming.

“Howard…” a disembodied voice said. “Activate your scrying bowl.”

A few months ago, Howard would have been horrified at objects floating around his apartment and disembodied voices talking to him. In fact, he would have thought seriously about getting some psychiatric help.

But that was before he’d learned that real magic was possible. Before he learned how to use it himself. Before he’d accidentally sent his best friend, Jessica, into a magical realm in another dimension. Before he’d begun talking with wizards from this other realm by way of the scrying bowl.

With a yawn he went over to the book case and pulled down a heavy ceramic bowl, glazed in black. Using his sleeve, he wiped the dust out of it – it had been a while since the bowl had seen any use. His friend Jessica preferred using a mirror to communicate, while Paranithel, the wizard teaching him magic, was in the midst of administering the Trials – the final examinations for the senior students at his school of wizardry.

He pulled a plastic jug of oil off a different shelf and poured it into the bowl. Fingering the moonstone pendant hanging around his neck, he waited for the oil to settle. Originally the pendant had been in two parts – he had one part and Jessica the other. They’d used them to communicate, but her half had been lost somewhere in the magical realm.

Jessica, it turned out, was not a native of earth, but of the magical realm. She’d been sent to earth as a baby for her own safety and had grown up not knowing she was adopted nor of her magical heritage. When Howard used Jessica in a teleportation experiment to prove magic was real, her father and grandfather cast a spell at the same time to bring her back to her own universe.

The combination of spells worked a little too well and she overshot the wizards’ mark. Instead of landing in the southern lands close to Thackery and Paran’s magic school, she ended up in the Kingdom of Ghren where she met up with the dastardly Prince Ewan.

She escaped his clutches with the help of the bard Sebastian, and was making her way southward when she accidentally turned a thief into a dog and had to figure out how to change him back. It turned out that Dominic, the thief, was an old friend of Sebastian’s, but before they could continue their journey, Jessica was kidnapped and ended up back in Ghren.

Dominic also turned out to be Ewan’s older brother, who had, thanks to Ewan, disappeared many years before. With the help of some ghosts from the past, Jessica was able to stop Ewan once and for all, and since Dominic didn’t want the job, a new king of Ghren was installed.

The last Howard had seen of them, Jessica and Dominic had been getting quite cozy. As for Jessica’s father and grandfather…now that Howard was no longer needed to act as a go-between with Jessica he rarely saw her father, Thackery. But Paranithel, her grandfather, kept the promise he’d made to teach Howard the rudiments of magic that would make the most of what little power he had access to.

The oil in the bowl churned and then cleared to show the face of a beautiful woman with brilliant blue eyes, silver hair, and slender, pointed ears.

“Aracelia!” Howard said in surprise, then added, “Ma’am.”

The Lady Aracelia was Jessica’s fairy grandmother, or to be more precise, her elven grandmother.

“Howard, you are looking well, my friend.”

“Uh, thank you. You’re looking well too. How may I help you?” he asked.

“Paran has told me what a promising student of magic you are, but he finds your world’s lack of magic most frustrating.”

“As do I,” Howard admitted. Truthfully, he found it far more than just frustrating.

“I have sent you a talisman imbued with elven magic that should aid you in your lessons. It should last for several months, at which point you have only to contact me and I will re-energize it for you.”

“I don’t know what to say,” Howard said, a little surprised. From what he’d learned, the elves guarded their magics closely. “Your generosity humbles me.”

She smiled gently. “You have been a good friend to my granddaughter and I feel somewhat responsible for the loss of your connection to her. Have you heard aught from my granddaughter lately?”

“Sorry to say, I think Jessica and Dominic are still in the honeymoon phase of their relationship,” Howard said with a sigh. “I don’t think I’ll be holding my breath while I wait.”

“Honeymoon phase?” Aracelia asked with amusement.

Howard searched for the proper words to explain. “It’s that period of time in any new relationship when two people are pretty much so wrapped up in each other they’re oblivious to anything else.”

Aracelia laughed, the sound like bells. “A most interesting expression to be sure. Yes, I can see that it does indeed apply to my granddaughter. Holding your breath while you wait would be most unwise indeed.”

“Have you thought of making contact with her yourself?”

The elf shook her head. “I promised Thackery I would not. Not until she has been told of her parentage.”

“He doesn’t trust you to keep his secret.”

“No, he does not. And he is probably right in doing so. I do not believe it is wise to keep the truth from her.”

“I don’t believe it either,” Howard agreed. “He doesn’t know Jess like I do. She’s not going to be happy at all when she finds out what’s going on. And she’s going to like it even less when she finds out everyone around her knew the truth and never told her.”

“And someone with her power…” Aracelia’s voice trailed off and she shook her head. “But I gave my word and I cannot go back on it.”

Howard hesitated a moment then blurted out the question that had been on his mind lately, “This enemy of Thackery’s …this whole secrecy thing is because Thackery is afraid of Anakaron finding out about Jessica before she’s able to defend herself. Do you think this is something we need to worry about?”

Anakaron was the powerful blood mage who’d killed Jessica’s mother, and the reason she had been sent to the earthly realm to be raised.

“Yes,” Aracelia agreed without hesitation. “It is my hope that Dominic will find a way to broach the subject with her.”

“Good luck to him,” Howard muttered. “Just how much danger is Jessica in?”

Aracelia sighed unhappily. “In truth, I do not know. She has Dominic and the bard with her, and as long as she keeps her magic under control—”

“Which she won’t see the need for unless she’s warned of the danger she’s in,” Howard pointed out.

“Indeed. When our seers look to the future it is clouded, like a storm is brewing. There is a feeling of great unease amongst the magical beings of this land.”

“That doesn’t mean it’s Anakaron though, does it? Couldn’t it just as easily be something else?”

Aracelia shook her head. “I do not even wish to imagine something worse than Anakaron loose upon the land once more. Even the fall of Mythago did not provoke such unease.”

“And Anakaron was responsible for that, wasn’t he?”

The elf nodded. “After the fall of Mythago, Anakaron disappeared. Some believed he had burned his power out or even died, others that he fled to the waste lands of the icy north to lick his wounds.”

“What do you believe?”

“I believe he cloaked himself in what magic he had remaining and sank into a restorative sleep. I also believe he has awakened, but he must gather power before aught else.”

“Well that doesn’t sound good, gather his power how?”

She looked at him soberly. “As a blood mage he draws his magic from the sacrifice of living creatures – their life essence fuels him.”

Howard couldn’t suppress a shudder at that. “Jessica might have been better off if she’d stayed in the Elven Realm and let her father come to her.”

Aracelia frowned, an expression that looked out of place on her face. “Perhaps, perhaps not. Our borders are being tested, to be sure, and we know not by what or whom.”

“I wish there was something I could do to help,” Howard said sincerely.

She smiled at him. “Were you on our world your help would be greatly appreciated. Paranithel believes you will make a skilled sorcerer.”

He smiled wistfully. “Instead I’m stuck here where magic is almost non-existent.”

“I believe you are safer where you are. But perhaps someday Jessica will bring you to visit.”

“If she’s still talking to me,” he said with humorless laugh. “Once she finds out I was keeping secrets from her…”

“As you say, you will have to cross that bridge when you come to it. Indeed, we all will. In the meantime, you have my charm to aid you in your studies.”

“I’ll be sure to make very good use of your gift,” Howard told her.

“I know you will,” she said with a smile. “Good eve to you, friend Howard.”

“Good eve to you,” he said to her image as it disappeared.

With a sigh he waved his hand over the bowl to end the spell. You’d think attaining his lifelong dream of proving magic was real would make him happy, but it didn’t. All the guilty feelings he harbored over being the one responsible for Jessica’s current predicament came surging forward.

Taking the bowl to the kitchen he dumped the oil and cleaned the bowl thoroughly, and put the kettle on to make himself a cup of tea. While he waited for the kettle to boil he took the bowl back into his work room to replace it on the shelf and looked at the adder stone on the table. On the surface it seemed rather nondescript – a stone such as could be found on any of the rocky beaches bordering Georgian Bay.

As he stared at it, its surface rippled as a light wave appeared to pass over it. He didn’t need to reach out and touch it to realize the extraordinary power it possessed. Shaking his head, he went back out into the kitchen to finish making his tea. The last of the chamomile went into his mug and he was reminded he’d no longer be able to just go downstairs and cadge some more from Jessica.

He missed her terribly. Taking his tea with him, he went back into the work room and sat on the stool, staring at the adder stone. It was mind boggling that something so small and innocuous looking could hold enough magical energy to fuel several months’ worth of the spells he and Paran had been working on. A sudden thought occurred to him, making him sit up straight.

Enough magic for a series of small spells, or maybe enough for one very large spell . . .

Want to see what happens next? Get your copy today!

Buy Digital: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iBooks 
Buy Print: Amazon |  Barnes & Noble (coming soon)


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