Magus Malefica – The Coven Series Book 1
by J.P. Jackson
Genre: M/M Paranormal Romance, Dark Urban Fantasy
Devid Khandelwal desperately wants to experience the supernatural. After years of studying everything from crystals to tarot to spellcasting, nothing has happened that would tell him the Shadow Realm is real. And that kills Dev. As a last-ditch resort, he purchases a summoning board, an occult tool that will grant him his ultimate desires.
Cameron Habersham is Dev’s best friend. Cam loves Dev like a brother and will do anything for him, as long as he looks good doing it. So when Dev asks him to perform the summoning board’s ritual, he reluctantly agrees, but he knows nothing will come of it. Nothing ever does.
However, within a day, Dev and Cam’s lives are turned upside down as wishes begin to come true. They discover the existence of a supernatural world beyond their imagination, but peace between the species is tenuous at best.
Dev finally gets to see the Shadow Realm, meets the man of his dreams, and is inducted into the local male coven. But for all the desires that were summoned into existence, Dev soon realizes the magical community dances the line between good and evil, and Cam ends up on the wrong side of everything.
The old adage is true: Be careful what you wish for.
Setup: Dev, having just discovered the summoning board has granted him his first wish, has also found a new friend, a fellow witch – and a handsome one at that!
Tully patted the cushion right next to him.
“Come, I don’t bite. Sit. Chat.”
Dev rolled his eyes. “I probably seem desperate.” He sighed.
“Ha. Not at all.” Tully chuckled. “Okay, maybe a little. Come on, handsome, sit next to me. Tell me everything.” Tully grinned as he raised the glass to his lips and took another sip.
Dev wandered over and sat on the cushion next to Tully, glanced at him and his glacier-blue eyes and half grinned. He reached for his own glass and had a sip.
“Oh. That’s really good.” The wine was chilled, but the alcohol burned his throat pleasantly. Sour cherries made his cheeks pucker, but a hint of spicy black pepper warmed him. Dev took another sip.
“Rescuing me. Don’t get the wrong idea, my family is everything, and despite the constant chaos, they mean well. It’s just…they don’t understand.”
“As I said to you earlier, families are complicated. Mine is. Why should yours be any different?” Tully chuckled. “So is anyone in your family magical?”
Dev nearly spit his wine out, being mid sip when Tully asked him. “No, they think my interest in all of this is nuts. They have no idea.”
“Well, if I’m being honest, magic is nuts. Wait. The more you learn and experience the better it gets, I promise.”
Dev hung on every word from Tully, staring into his incredible eyes. After a couple of silence-filled minutes, he summoned up the nerve to respond. “I’ve been reading and practicing runes and tarot and…well everything for years. You know,” Dev started and then stopped. He studied Tully’s face, trying to determine if baring his soul, sharing his hopes would be handled with care. For so many years, Dev’s interests had been branded as silly and a waste of time. The only person he ever opened up to was Cam, and even his best friend often made fun of him.
Tully picked up on his hesitation, put his hand on Dev’s thigh, and inched closer. “It’s okay. You can tell me as much or as little as you want. I’m not going anywhere, and I’m not going to think you’re crazy.”
“This is all so weird.” Dev took a deep breath and exhaled. That simple gesture released so much stress. A weight he’d been carrying around for years. Dev glanced at Tully, an awkward grin plastered across his face.
“Have you tried to release another magical burst yet?” Tully asked, his hand still on Dev’s leg.
“God, no. I wouldn’t even know where to start. I don’t know what happened to begin with.”
“Well, we can work on that.” Tully winked. “It’s tricky, this magic stuff, and you know it has a cost, right?”
“No, I…” Dev tilted his head. “What do you mean ‘a cost’?”
“Nothing comes for free in this life, including magic.” Tully grinned, leaned forward, and placed his glass down. “So, there’s energy everywhere, right?” Tully’s hands waved in front of him. “Every single living thing has pulsating energy. Animals are different from humans, plants are way down the evolutionary totem pole, so to speak, but they all still contain that zap. A buzz, a spark of life. That energy? As a witch, you’ll come to sense it, be able to harness it, and eventually wield it.” Tully waggled an eyebrow and put his hand back on Dev’s thigh. “But you have to be careful. All life forms have an expendable amount. A finite resource, if you will. So you can’t cast spells or use your abilities endlessly. You’ll drain yourself and everything around you if you’re not careful, and then…well…that’s lights out for you, and anything else around you.”
“Jesus. Really? That’s…frightening. So, blow a fuse and you die?” Dev’s eyes widened.
“Well, all energy is eventually replaced. So you cast a small spell, you’re drained a little, but by morning your reserves are back up. You cast a bigger spell and you lose more energy. Energy takes time to replenish. But despite the recovery, the leaching takes its toll. A witch’s lifespan isn’t long. We tend to deplete ourselves. We’re lucky if we live to seventy.”
That was a punch in the gut.
“Well shit, that’s a shame.” Dev didn’t want Tully to think the concept of witches draining themselves to death might be somewhat frightening, so he resorted to making it into a flirty thing with a wicked smirk and a bit of the devil in his eyes as he stared into Tully’s. He swore immersing himself in those blue eyes would never get tiring.
“Look at you, taking this all in stride.” Tully winked. “If I didn’t know any better, I’d say you were flirting, Dev.”
Dev laughed. His foot tapped under the worn and weathered coffee table. “I might look calm on the outside, but…” Dev rolled his eyes. “But my stomach is in knots, even now.”
“Why? Good lord, why?” Tully squeezed Dev’s thigh and leaned forward. “I hope I’m not adding!”
“No! No, not at all. If anything…” Dev blushed and turned away as he continued, his foot beating out a furious rhythm. “No, you’re the hunk who flew in and exposed a hidden world I had hoped and believed existed, but couldn’t find—”
“Oh, you’ve not seen anything yet.” Tully’s lips formed a half-knowing smile. “Hunk, huh?” Tully moved his hand closer to Dev’s crotch.
“Ooooh, yeah.” Dev noted the movement. Part of him said, No, no, not yet, but a larger part of his brain screamed, Farther, go higher! Dev grabbed his glass and took a large swig, then put the stemware down. His movement was clunky. Heat flushed across his chest making him all flustered. Dev needed to get a hold of his emotions.
“Well, that’s flattering, thank you, but the feeling is mutual. You’re damn handsome. So beautifully dark in comparison to my pale-ass skin.”
“Okay, now I know you’re putting me on.”
“No, I’m not. Geez, Dev, you kidding me?” Tully took a sip, swirled the wine in the glass then set it down. He glanced up at Dev with his crystal eyes. “You’ve got the darkest, thickest hair I’ve ever seen, and your eyes are mesmerizing.” Tully leaned in closer. “May I?” Tully asked.
“Uh, sure,” Dev granted permission, but to what, he wasn’t sure.
Tully leaned in and rubbed his face against Dev’s beard.
“You’re beard drives me wild,” Tully whispered while cheek to cheek with Dev, then returned to his own spot with a beguiling grin.
“Oh boy.” Another wave of heat flushed over Dev’s face. This couldn’t be happening. It was a stomach churning thrill to be sitting here with Tully. But, wow, all of this? Within one night? How’d Dev get so lucky? His pants were so tight right now.
Magic. Tully. Wine. Sitting with Tully on the couch right now, Dev didn’t care, but he wanted this night to go on forever. Dev cleared his throat and sat there, staring off, trying to focus and put things right in his head.
“Dev, everything okay?” Tully asked.
“Oh yeah, sorry, more than okay.” And from out of nowhere, Dev found an ounce of courage, something he didn’t have in situations like these, and he asked, “Can I kiss you?”
Dev’s cheeks blazed with fire, astonished at what came out of his mouth.
What are you doing?
“I thought you’d never ask.” Tully inched forward.
Dev leaned in and Tully met him half way. Dev closed his eyes as his lips met Tully’s. The rough rasp of Tully’s beard against his own, the heat, and warmth from Tully proved too much.
Dev let out a repressed moan. Months had passed since his last date, and that ended with a good night kiss after an awkward and silent dinner. Being close to another guy, especially one so good-looking had a hardening effect down under.
Tully took charge, grabbed Dev’s face in his hands and pulled Dev in close.
Everything on the coffee table slid away from them as their kiss deepened.
Tully pulled away first, his cheeks flushed.
Dev’s eyes were half-lidded.
“Wow, another burst.”
“Sorry, what?” Dev glanced around, confused.
Tully chuckled. “Look at the coffee table.” Tully nodded his chin toward the old rustic plank of wood. Everything sitting on its surface had been pushed outwards. The glasses hadn’t tipped over, but the wine sloshed around their insides. “Just like our first encounter at the coffee shop. Can’t you feel the energy when you release?”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about.” Dev furrowed his brow, causing lines to crease his forehead.
“You did that, man. You’re telekinetic.” Tully squinted. “Let me try something?” Tully’s eyes were bright and excited, and he still had a grin from ear to ear.
“Ah, sure?” Dev asked, insecure and embarrassed, yet his heart thumped in his chest, and his palms had gone hot and sweaty. He rubbed them on his jeans.
Tully gave Dev a wink. “Trust me. Okay?”
“Okay.” Dev, overexcited, struggled to inhale.
Tully picked up the two wine glasses and walked them over to the kitchen counter. He went over to one of his bookcases and pulled out several books, placed the stack on the coffee table close to where Dev sat.
“Now, where were we?” Tully turned, facing Dev so that he straddled Dev’s lap, facing him.
“Oh boy,” Dev whispered.
Tully grabbed Dev’s face again. Dev’s heart continued to beat, but the rhythm pumped so fast he swore the organ would burst out his chest. The heat and warmth from Tully’s thighs against his own and his hands on Dev’s cheeks kept him focused on the electrical sensations coursing through his body.
Tully’s lips pressed against his. They were warm, and Tully’s beard scratched against his skin, which accelerated Dev into overdrive. He grabbed Tully’s waist and pulled him in closer, pushing Tully’s mouth open with his tongue wanting to taste more.
Dev slid his hands up underneath the tight grey T-shirt and ran his hands over Tully’s furry stomach. Dev continued to push his hands up to Tully’s chest. His pectoral muscles were well developed, and the fur continued. Dev laced his fingers through the hair covering Tully.
Oh my god, I could never get bored of this.
Dev lost himself in his own exploration and hadn’t noticed Tully’s hand had slipped between his legs until his crotch got grabbed, giving Dev’s concrete-hard erection a gentle squeeze.
The heat raging from Tully’s hand pressed up against his groin set fire to Dev’s inhibitions. He desperately wanted Tully to rip his pants open and free him, stroke him, touch him with no clothing as a barrier. In that moment, petting Tully’s hairy chest, while Tully gave his dick another squeeze, Dev’s mind exploded.
The books on the coffee table flew off in all directions.
Tully pulled away but kept his hand on top of Dev’s groin. He smiled with a lopsided grin, his eyes sparkling with excitement and his lips moist from Dev’s tongue.
“I thought so. So, you’re an aurologist.”
Dev sucked in air and then exhaled, shuddering. Making out with Tully made his head spin.
“I’m a what?” He continued to stroke Tully’s fur.
“Your energy comes from your soul. For me, I get energy for magic from the earth, specifically metal. You however, you take the vigor from the very essence of your life. Your soul. Aurologists are triggered by emotions. Not exactly common, mister. Like one out of every hundred or so. Me, I’m a dime a dozen.”
Dev pulled Tully in again and gave him a deep, wet kiss. Dev turned so his mouth was a hair’s breadth away and whispered into Tully’s ear, “I don’t think you’re common, not even remotely.”
Tully’s bewitching grin never waned.
“So, wanna get naked?” Tully asked.
“Dear god, yes.”
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About the Author
J.P. Jackson is an award-winning author of dark urban fantasy, paranormal, and even paranormal romance stories, but regardless of the genre, they always feature LGBTQ main characters.
J.P. works as an IT analyst in health care during the day, where if cornered he’d confess to casting spells to ensure clinicians actually use the electronic medical charting system he configures and implements.
At night, the writing happens, where demons, witches and shapeshifters congregate around the kitchen table and general chaos ensues. His husband of 22 years has very firmly put his foot down on any further wraith summonings and regularly lines the doorway with iron shavings and salt crystals. Imps are most definitely not house-trainable. Ghosts appear at the most inopportune times, and the Fae are known for regular visits where a glass of wine is exchanged for a good ole story or two. Although the husband doesn’t know it, Canela and Jalisco, the two Chihuahuas, are in cahoots with the spell casting.
J.P.’s other hobbies include hybridizing African Violets (thanks to grandma), extensive traveling and believe it or not, knitting.