Enchanted, Inc.

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Overview

DON’T MESS WITH HEXES

Katie Chandler had always heard that New York is a weird and wonderful place, but this small-town Texas gal had no idea how weird until she moved there. Everywhere she goes, she sees something worth gawking at and Katie is afraid she’s a little too normal to make a splash in the big city. Working for an ogre of a boss doesn’t help.

Then, seemingly out of the blue, Katie gets a job offer from Magic, Spells, and Illusions, ...

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Enchanted, Inc.

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Overview

DON’T MESS WITH HEXES

Katie Chandler had always heard that New York is a weird and wonderful place, but this small-town Texas gal had no idea how weird until she moved there. Everywhere she goes, she sees something worth gawking at and Katie is afraid she’s a little too normal to make a splash in the big city. Working for an ogre of a boss doesn’t help.

Then, seemingly out of the blue, Katie gets a job offer from Magic, Spells, and Illusions, Inc., a company that tricks of the trade to the magic community. For MSI, Katie’s ordinariness is an asset. Lacking any bit of magic, she can easily spot a fake spell, catch hidden clauses in competitor’s contracts, and detect magically disguised intruders. Suddenly, average Katie is very special indeed.

She quickly learns that office politics are even more complicated when your new boss is a real ogre, and you have a crush on the sexy, shy, ultra powerful head of the R&D department, who is so busy fighting an evil competitor threatening to sell black magic on the street that he seems barely to notice Katie. Now it’s up to Katie to pull off the impossible: save the world and–hopefully–live happily ever after.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“A totally captivating, hilarious and clever look on the magical kingdom of Manhattan, where kissing frogs has never been this fun.”
–Melissa de la Cruz, author of The Au Pairs
Publishers Weekly
In her first mainstream novel, romance writer Swendson puts a Harry Potter-inspired twist on the standard tale of a smalltown girl in the big city, with lively if saccharine sweet results. Fish-out-of-water Katie Chandler suffers in her thankless job as assistant to marketing manager "Evil Mimi," worrying that maybe she just can't hack it in New York City. Will her colleagues ever consider her anything but a hick? For a girl from Texas, the Big Apple is stranger than a foreign country, but she discovers that the weird things she notices are signs of real magic afoot. Her "small-town honesty and common sense" soon land her a new job at Magic, Spells, and Illusion Inc., which traffics in benevolent sorcery. "You... are of the rare breed who can neither do magic nor be influenced by magic. You see the world as it is," an MSI executive explains. With her clear-sightedness-plus business acumen gained working for her family's feed-and-seed store-Katie will play a pivotal role in MSI's magical battle against a malevolent competitor. From sanitized descriptions of New York City life to hunky wizards and fairies on the subway, this book is pure and innocent fantasy, suitable for preteens or readers hungry for a cotton candy read. Agent, Kristin Nelson. (May) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
School Library Journal
Adult/High School-Sex and the City meets Harry Potter in this fanciful story about Katie Chandler, 26, who has moved to New York to make her mark in business. Having long viewed herself as an "everybody's little sister"-type person, she is unprepared for the adventures that await her when MSI, Inc., approaches her with a once-in-a-lifetime offer. Thinking that they fall into the "spam" category, she ignores the overtures for several days. MSI's persistence wears her down, and, on meeting with the company's representatives, she learns that the initials stand for Magic, Spells, and Illusions, and that the magic community is alive and well in New York City. Katie discovers that her very ordinariness allows her to see this community at work in ways that most others cannot. Her acceptance of the job is the first step in a series of captivating and hilarious adventures. MSI's products may have been on the market for a millennium, but the company's knowledge of modern concepts is sorely lacking, and Swendson uses Katie's business acumen to educate not only the employees, but also her readers in an utterly engaging fashion. A former staffer who has gone over to the darker side of magic has begun marketing spells that will allow magical folks to manipulate the non-magical population, and the race is on to try to stop him. Although the plot stretches credulity in places, the novel cleverly combines fantasy and practicality. Students will appreciate the glimpse into corporate America's strange mix of seriousness and silliness.-Kim Dare, Fairfax County Public Library System, VA Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780345481252
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 5/31/2005
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 306,446
  • Product dimensions: 5.19 (w) x 7.98 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Read an Excerpt

I’d always heard that New York City was weird, but I had no idea just how weird until I got here. Before I left Texas to move here, my family tried to talk me out of it, telling me all sorts of urban legends about the strange and horrible things that happened in the big bad city. Even my college friends who’d been living in New York for a while told me stories about the weird and wonderful things they’d seen that didn’t cause the natives to so much as blink. My friends joked that an alien from outer space could walk down Broadway without anyone looking twice. I used to think they were exaggerating.

But now, after having survived a year in the city, I still saw things every day that shocked and amazed me but didn’t cause anyone else to so much as raise an eyebrow. Nearly naked street performers, people doing tap-dance routines on the sidewalk, and full-scale film productions—complete with celebrities—weren’t worth a second glance to the locals, while I couldn’t help but gawk. It made me feel like such a hick, no matter how hard I tried to act sophisticated.

Take this morning, for instance. The girl ahead of me on the sidewalk was wearing wings—those strap-on fairy wings people wear as part of a Halloween costume. Halloween was more than a month away, and while I couldn’t afford designer fashions, I read enough fashion magazines to know that fairy wings were not a current fashion statement. She must be some neobohemian trendsetter from NYU, I thought, or maybe in the costume design program. She’d done a really good job on the wings because the straps were invisible, making it look like she had real wings. They even fluttered slightly, but that was probably just the wind currents from walking.

I forced my attention away from Miss Airy Fairy to check my watch, then groaned. There was no way I’d make it to work on time if I walked, and my boss was usually lying in wait for me on Monday mornings, so I didn’t dare come in even a minute late. I’d have to take the subway to work, even though it would take a precious two dollars off my MetroCard. I’d make up for it by walking home, I promised myself.

When I reached the Union Square station, I was surprised to see Miss Airy Fairy head down into the subway ahead of me instead of continuing toward the university. People who work downtown tend not to dress like that for work. As I followed her down the stairs, I noticed that she wore what must have been platform shoes with Lucite soles, which gave her the appearance of floating a couple of inches off the ground. She moved remarkably gracefully for someone wearing what had to be pretty clunky shoes.

As usual, no one on the platform gave her a second glance. I’d been here a year, and I’d yet to exchange one of those knowing “only in New York” glances with anyone. How could everyone be so jaded? Surely there were people around who were newer to the city than I was, and then there were the tourists, who were supposed to stare at everything.

But then I noticed a guy looking at Miss Airy Fairy. He didn’t seem shocked or surprised, though. Instead, he smiled at her like he knew her. That in and of itself was odd because he didn’t seem the type to spend his weekends wearing a cape and playing Middle Earth in Central Park. He looked like a typical Wall Street type, wearing a well-tailored dark suit and carrying a briefcase—the kind of Mr. Right that just about every career girl in New York hopes to snag. I’d guess he was a few years older than I was, and he was quite good-looking, even if he was a little shorter than average.

Mr. Right (if he wasn’t mine, he had to be somebody’s) glanced at his watch, then up the tunnel, like he was looking for the next train. He muttered something under his breath—probably something like “Where is that train?” or “I’m going to be late”—twitched his wrist, and next thing I knew, I heard the rumble that signaled an approaching train. If I didn’t know better, I would have thought he summoned it. I wasn’t complaining because I needed the train myself.

The waiting passengers shoved their way onto the train, then the conductor’s voice came over the PA system, saying, “Attention passengers. Due to a onetime situation, this Brooklyn-bound N train will stop next at City Hall. If you need stops prior to this, please exit the train here and board an R train or another N train. Thank you.”

There was a chorus of mutters and groans as passengers poured out of the train. I took a now-empty seat and looked at my watch. At this rate I’d be early to work. This wasn’t a bad way to start the week.

Mr. Right was still on board, as was Miss Airy Fairy. Mr. Right exchanged a grin with the guy sitting next to me. I turned to look at that guy and then wondered if there was a polite way I could move to another seat without it being obvious that I was avoiding him.

He looked like the kind of guy who spends his lifetime defending against sexual harassment charges, the kind who thinks of himself as so irresistible that he can’t imagine his advances being unwanted. Unfortunately, that type is never as attractive as he’d like to think. This one wasn’t exactly hideous. With a little effort and the right person-ality he might not have been so bad. Unfortunately, he made no effort at all, so that his hair was poorly styled and greasy, while his skin would have made my mother, the Mary Kay representative, faint in horror. But he acted like he thought every woman on that train should be drooling over him, which made him even more unattractive to me.

The funny thing was, all the women on the train were looking at him over the tops of their books and newspapers like they thought Pierce Brosnan had joined us on the subway car, and he grinned at them like he was totally used to that kind of attention. Maybe they could tell he was particularly well-endowed. Or maybe he was a famous rock star I didn’t recognize. I wasn’t hip enough to know what most rock stars looked like. He had the kind of smug slickness you’d expect from a famous rock star who didn’t have to do anything to make women fall at his feet.

As for me, I’d rather look at Mr. Right, who was getting his fair share of admiring glances but who looked shy about it, not like he expected the attention. That made him infinitely cuter in my book.

“On your way to work?” Slick asked. It wasn’t among the top five pickup lines I’d ever heard. Not that I heard a lot of them.

“Actually, I just like being crammed like sardines in an underground tin can to head to lower Manhattan in the morning,” I said.

He stretched his arm out along the back of the seat, like he was angling to put his arm around me. I’m from a part of the world that still has drive-in movies, so I recognized the move and edged away as subtly as I could. “You’re obviously not a native New Yorker,” he said, oozing charm like my dad’s old tractor oozes oil. “I love your accent.”

Little did he know, but he wasn’t paying me a compliment. As effective as the steel magnolia routine could be when I was asking for something or trying to get my way, it was a liability at work, where everyone seemed to think my Texas drawl meant I was dumber and less educated than they were. I’d been trying to lose my accent, but it kept slipping out when I was being particularly sarcastic. I guess I inwardly thought the drawl took the sting out of whatever ugly thing I’d just said. In this case, it seemed to have worked, just when I didn’t want it to.

I wished I’d brought a book to bury my face in, but I’d planned to walk to and from work when I left the apartment, so I hadn’t brought anything to read. In fact, the only things in my oh-so- professional-looking briefcase were my sack lunch and my dressier shoes for the office. Instead, I just gave Slick a glare and turned my attention to Mr. Right. Maybe he’d have a Galahad complex and feel compelled to rescue me from the subway stalker.

Then I noticed that Slick was looking at Mr. Right as well, and suddenly his face was totally serious. Mr. Right, also serious, nodded his head slightly. Miss Airy Fairy was also staring at me. Now I couldn’t help but wonder if this was a conspiracy. Were they going to rob me or try to scam me? Goodness knows, I might as well have been wearing a big yellow button saying “Hick from Out of Town! Please Take Advantage of Me!”

Just then the door between cars opened and a giant chicken entered our car. To be more precise, it was a bored-looking man in a chicken suit—and how sad was it that he was more bored than embarrassed to be wearing that costume in public? I added to my mental list of jobs that were worse than mine. He shook a little plastic box in his left hand, and clucking sounds came out of it. I felt a pang of homesickness, for I used to have one like it on my desk back in Texas. I wouldn’t dare put it on my desk here. It would only reinforce the hick stereotype. At the clucking sound, everyone looked up, reacted with mild amusement, then immediately went back to reading or avoiding eye contact. The chicken man then tried to hand flyers to everyone in the car. I hadn’t yet learned the technique for avoiding flyers that most New Yorkers seem to have honed, so I took one from him. A new fried-chicken restaurant was opening, which gave me another moment of homesickness as I remembered family Sunday dinners. I tucked the flyer into my briefcase.

This incident didn’t do much toward helping me understand New Yorkers. Fairy wings on the subway weren’t worth noticing, but a guy in a chicken suit got a slight reaction. Both outfits involved wings. Why was one humdrum while the other was at least a little bit amusing? I noticed that Mr. Right had also taken a flyer. He was smiling and staring at the chicken man, which made me like him even more. Or, it would have if he didn’t seem to be in cahoots with the other two, who were still looking at me funny. I forgot about the giant chicken as I remembered why I felt ill at ease.

The train screeched its way to a stop. “City Hall,” the conductor said. I wondered if I should get off now and get away from these people. The walk from there to my office would make me late for work, but better late than dead or robbed.

But before I could get to my feet, I noticed that the three weirdos were congregating around the door. I relaxed with a sigh. They were all getting off here, which meant I was being paranoid about them being out to get me. I still had too many New York scare stories in my head from my family, and they crept to the surface at awkward moments, even though I’d never been mugged or even seen a mugging in my whole time in New York.

Besides, I had plenty to worry about without concocting subway conspiracy theories. It wasn’t like this morning’s events were all that extraordinary in my life. Weird stuff like this always happened to me, or at least, it had ever since I moved to New York. I was always seeing things that shouldn’t be there, like people in fairy wings or pointed ears, people who appeared to pop in and out of existence, and things appearing in strange places. I knew it was likely the result of an overactive imagination and my family’s scare stories about New York, but it was almost enough to worry me. I figured if I still noticed strange things that no one else seemed to find odd after another six months in the city, I might have to talk to someone about it.

In the meantime, I had to get to work and survive the day. Fortunately, due to the train’s timely arrival and the unexpected express nature of the trip, I was ahead of schedule. To add to my run of good luck, the up escalator at the Whitehall station was actually working. I emerged topside among the soulless modern glass skyscrapers, went into the lobby of my building, and paused to change into my work shoes. Then I put on my employee ID badge, got cleared by the lobby security guard, and headed for the elevator bank that served my floor.

I was seven minutes early when I stepped off the elevator into our lobby, and I was five minutes early when I reached my cubicle, but my boss Mimi was already lurking. I wondered which Mimi had shown up for work today, the best buddy or the evil beast from hell that would rip me apart with her hairy-knuckled hands. Mimi was about as stable as Dr. Jekyll.

Okay, so I’m exaggerating a little bit. Even on her bad days, her knuckles weren’t all that hairy.

“’Morning, Katie!” she called out as I neared my cubicle. “How was your weekend?” It looked like the good Mimi had shown up for work today. There was no telling how long it would last, so I kept a safe distance and looked for something heavy to use for self-defense, just in case.

“It was great. And yours?”

She sighed blissfully. “Fabulous. Werner and I spent the weekend at his place in the Hamptons.” Werner was her richer-than-God (and almost as old) boyfriend. She leaned toward me and added in a whisper, “I think he’s getting ready to propose.”

“Wow, really?” I said, faking enthusiasm as I edged past her and got to my desk.

“You never know. See you at the staff meeting.”

I sat down at my desk and turned on my computer. I’d hoped for a Mimi-free morning before I had to deal with her at the torture exercise we called the Monday staff meeting, but my luck for the day had apparently run out, even if that encounter had been fairly benign. I sincerely wished that Good Mimi was still around when the staff meeting started in fifteen minutes. Otherwise, I might find myself wishing the trio of oddballs in the subway had kidnapped me. Whatever they might do to me would likely be more pleasant than Mimi at her worst.

Although Mimi was my boss, she wasn’t that much older than I was. While I’d been running the business affairs of my family’s feed-and-seed store in a small town in Texas, she’d been earning her MBA at some fancy upper-crust school. I’d learned very quickly after getting to New York that the degree and related credentials and contacts counted for a lot more than real-world experience, especially the kind of real-world experience I had. A BBA from a public university in Texas and a few years actually running a small business didn’t get me much credit in the New York business world.

In fact, I wouldn’t even have this job as assistant to the marketing director (in other words, Mimi’s personal slave) if one of my roommates hadn’t worked her own business network on my behalf. I’d looked at this job as a temporary fix to tide me over until I found something better, but I was still here a year later. I suspected I’d have to gnaw my own arm off to get out of this trap.

My computer finally finished booting up, and I checked my e-mail. The top message, received just minutes ago, said, “Excellent Opportunity for Kathleen Chandler.” Excellent opportunities were few and far between, and they seldom came in e-mail. I suspected that, in spite of the seemingly personalized subject line (which probably came from my e-mail address, anyway), it had something to do with enlarging a body part I didn’t have. I deleted the message and scrolled down to find the message I always had waiting for me on Monday mornings: Mimi’s staff meeting agenda.

I fixed the typos, printed it out, then skimmed over it while I walked to the copier. This one didn’t seem to have too many minefields in it, just the usual status reports. I might survive, after all. I made copies of the agenda and returned to my office. There was a new e-mail waiting for me, probably a revised agenda from Mimi. But when I clicked over to my e-mail program, it was just another “great opportunity” spam, this time adding the words “don’t delete!” to the subject line. With a sense of perverse satisfaction, I deleted it. It was probably the only act of rebellion I’d get away with all day.

I knew better than to be late for one of Mimi’s meetings, so I put the agendas inside my notepad, got my pen, coffee mug, and lunch, and headed for the kitchen. There, I put my lunch in the communal refrigerator and poured myself a cup of coffee before going to the conference room. I reminded myself that after surviving the meeting, the rest of the day should be easy.

I wasn’t the only one who looked like I was attending my own execution. April, the advertising manager, was already in the conference room, and her face was an ashy shade of white. Leah, the public relations manager, looked serene, but I knew that was just because she was taking prescription tranquilizers. Janice, the events manager, had a nervous tic. The only person who didn’t look stressed or medicated was Joel, the sales liaison, but that was only because he didn’t report directly to Mimi. It was the last Monday of the month, so it was just a managers’ meeting instead of the whole staff, or else the room would have been full of a lot more anxious bodies. I was, by far, the lowest person on the totem pole, but I was there in my capacity as Mimi’s brain. Apparently, when you have an expensive MBA, you lose the ability to take notes for yourself in meetings and remember what was discussed.

I handed agendas to everyone at the table. We didn’t talk to one another while we waited. That was too risky. You never knew when Mimi would make her grand entrance and hear something out of context that would set her off. Nobody wanted to be responsible for bringing out Evil Mimi. Instead, we all studied our agendas, looking for potential trouble spots.

As usual, Mimi was ten minutes late for her own meeting. I knew enough about nonverbal communication to know she was sending us a not-so-subtle signal that her time was more valuable than ours. She opened both of the conference room’s double doors, then paused like she was a talk-show guest waiting for the studio audience’s applause to die down before she took her seat on Oprah’s couch.

“Good morning, Mimi,” I said, even though we’d exchanged morning greetings not all that long ago. But she would have stood there all day waiting for someone to acknowledge her presence, and as her assistant, one of my unwritten duties was to make her feel special. The others all mumbled greetings. She finally closed the doors behind her, then swept to her usual seat at the head of the table. I handed her a copy of the agenda, which she studied like she wasn’t the one who’d written it, before she looked up and addressed the group.

“We’ll keep this short because we all have a busy week with a lot to get done,” she said brusquely. Her tone was different enough from her earlier chatty friendliness that I grew nervous. “First item on the agenda is departmental reports. April?”

April went a shade paler. Even her lips were white. “We have a meeting with the agency later this week to discuss their ideas for the next campaign and review their suggested media buy.”

“Is that meeting on my calendar?”

“Yes, it is,” I told her, trying to give April a break. “Remember, I checked with you about that last week?” As soon as I said it, I knew it was a huge mistake. Everyone else in the room tensed. They all knew how badly I’d goofed. Mimi couldn’t handle being questioned or criticized, not even something as mild as pointing out something she’d forgotten.

I got even more nervous when she didn’t immediately turn into Evil Mimi. Instead, she just nodded and said, “Okay. Be sure to send me a reminder. Leah?”

In her drugged calm tone, Leah said, “We should get last week’s clips from the agency by close of business today. And we’ll get the first draft of the new product release tomorrow.”

Mimi nodded. “I want to see those as soon as you get them.” I made a note of Leah’s report and the action item as Mimi turned to Janice, who visibly flinched. “Any news from events?” Mimi asked. Janice had been on her hit list for a long time, thus the nervous tic and the fact that Mimi never called her by name. None of us, not even Janice, was sure what Janice had done wrong.

“We’re still getting estimates on locations for the product launch. There isn’t much within our budget that’s large enough but still nice.”

Mimi turned to the rest of us. “Does anyone here have any ideas for the launch? The events staff needs all the help it can get.”

I had an idea, but I hated to get Janice in trouble by bringing up something when she didn’t have any ideas. Still, in this department it was every man for himself. I had no doubt that every one of these people would be willing to throw me to the wolves to keep Mimi off their backs. “I—I think I may have something,” I said. Every head snapped toward me, and I had second thoughts about speaking up. Technically, I wasn’t even present at this meeting other than as a note taker.

Fortunately, Mimi didn’t look displeased at my breach of protocol. “Yes, Katie?” she said. I suspected she was enjoying Janice looking bad more than she was mad at me.

I took a deep breath and forced myself to be conscious of my accent. One hint of drawl and my idea would be shot down like a clay pigeon. “I’ve found that if you try to do something too fancy-looking without the budget that goes with it, you just end up looking cheap. Let’s face it, serving low-budget shrimp puffs is just asking for food poisoning. What if we do something that’s supposed to look cheap? Instead of doing a ritzy cocktail party, have a picnic or cookout. Grill hot dogs and serve beer and have a few nostalgic picnic-type activities, like sack races or bobbing for apples. Adults get a real kick out of an excuse to act like kids, and you can give a lot of people a good time they’ll remember without spending much money.” We’d done customer appreciation days like that at the store, but I knew better than to mention the store. It might be real-world experience, but it would detract from my credibility.

They all stared at me in silence when I was through. Finally, Mimi said in her most acid tone, “That may work down in Grover’s Corners, or wherever it is you’re from, but we have different standards in New York.” I knew now wasn’t the time to point out that the play she’d referred to took place in New Hampshire, not Texas, or that my idea would probably be even more successful in New York than in Texas. Why else do so many easterners pay outrageous sums of money to vacation at dude ranches? It must be a huge relief to take a break from trying so hard to be jaded and sophisticated.

I glanced around the table to see if I had any support, but they were all rolling their eyes or snickering. Once again I’d branded myself as a hick who was totally out of touch with the New York business world. I silently prayed for a surprise fire drill, but the meeting went on as if I hadn’t said anything.

Joel had the final report. “The sales force met last week to prep for the launch. We’ve got our collateral printed and ready to go. We’ll just need to see the news release so we’ll know what the press will be seeing.”

Mimi fixed him with a killer glare. “Why wasn’t I at that meeting? And why didn’t I get sign-off of the collateral?”

Joel stared her down. “Because last time you were invited to one of our meetings you said it was a waste of time and told us to leave you out from here on. As for collateral, that’s not your responsibility.”

The rest of us looked for cover. I wouldn’t have been at all surprised if Mimi’s eyes had turned red, her skin had turned green, and little horns popped out of the top of her head. Collateral was a sore spot with her. In most companies it fell under the responsibility of the marketing director, but ever since she signed off on a brochure that misspelled the company’s name and the product name on the cover, that responsibility had been transferred to Sales. She had never recovered from the slight.

“I don’t have time for your little sales meetings, anyway,” she said stiffly before abruptly dismissing the meeting. She was out the door before the rest of us could collect our wits and make our own escapes.

“Nice going,” Janice muttered to Joel as we trooped out of the conference room. “You just had to stir her up, didn’t you?”

“It’s funny when her eyes pop out like that,” he said with a grin. Janice twitched.

“I’ll have to see how many excuses I can find to send her down to Sales today,” I said. They all looked at me with a combination of pity and scorn, making me feel like I’d have to stretch to reach a grasshopper’s knees. I didn’t expect them to stand up for me in front of Mimi, but I’d hoped they’d acknowledge the value of my idea behind her back. No such luck.

I dreaded the rest of the day. Mimi was already ticked at me for reminding her that she’d okayed the meeting she was ready to grill April about; I’d put my foot in my mouth by daring to offer a suggestion; and then Joel had set her off. I’d be stuck with Evil Mimi for an indefinite period of time. When I got back to my cube, I noticed her office door was shut. With any luck, she’d spend the next half hour on the phone with Werner, sobbing about how horrible her day had been so far and how her terrible staff was so mean and nasty to her.

I put my notepad next to my computer and sank into my desk chair, trying to remember why I put up with this job. At first it hadn’t seemed so bad. Mimi had greeted me like a long-lost sister and gave every impression that she would be a mentor who would ease my way into the business world, as well as a best friend and soul mate. Then I made the mistake of correcting the horrendous spelling and grammar on a memo she’d written and running it back by her to approve my changes. That was the first time I saw Evil Mimi. Since then I found that on good days she was as friendly as I could hope. But the moment she was revealed to be less than perfect, she went nuts. I learned to just correct the memos before sending them and not let her know I was cleaning up her mess.

Why did I want this job? Oh yeah, that six hundred bucks a month for my share of the rent on a one-bedroom apartment that three of us shared. Not to mention several levels of income taxes, my share of utilities, food, transportation, and all the other little expenses that added up to consume my meager paycheck. I was barely getting by on my salary. Without a salary, my roommates were sure to get rid of me, even if we had been friends since college, and I’d have to go home to Texas, proving to my parents that I couldn’t make it in the big city after all.

There were even days—like today—when I had to remind myself why that would be so bad. It wasn’t as though I’d been unhappy at home. I’d just felt like I wanted something more. I didn’t know what, not yet. I hoped there was something big out there with my name on it that would never have found me while I stayed in that little town. If I went back to Texas on anything other than my own terms, with some kind of business or personal success under my belt, I’d look like a failure. Worse, I’d feel like a failure.

Mimi was a small price to pay to avoid that. But it wouldn’t hurt to start looking for another job, now that I had some non-feed-and-seed experience under my belt. It would be easier to hide my roots at the next job because they wouldn’t have known me when I was straight out of Texas. That would have to make things better.

The new mail indicator was blinking on my computer. I clicked on my e-mail program and saw a message saying, “Job opportunity.” I knew it was probably spam, offering me the chance to work at home stuffing envelopes or something lame like that, but given the day I’d already had, I opened it.

“Dear Kathleen Chandler,” it said, “Your experience and work ethic have come to our attention, and we believe you would be the perfect fit for our firm. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity you can’t afford to pass up. I can promise you’ll never receive a comparable offer, in New York City or anywhere else. Please reply via e-mail or call at your earliest convenience to schedule an interview.”

It was signed, “Rodney A. Gwaltney, director of personnel, MSI, Inc.” A Manhattan phone number was under his name.

I stared at the e-mail for a good, long time. It was very, very tempting, and it might not hurt to find out more, but one thing I’d learned in my small-town business experience was that if things sound too good to be true, they probably are. I couldn’t think of any reason anyone outside my company would have the slightest idea who I was to know anything about my experience and work ethic.

With a disappointed sigh, I deleted the e-mail. The last thing I needed was for Mimi to accidentally see a job offer open on my computer screen. I promised myself that I’d borrow my roommate Marcia’s computer that evening to search the online job listings and get myself out of this loony bin as soon as humanly possible.

two Iwould have walked home from work that day even if I hadn’t been desperately trying to save money. On bad days the long walk up Broadway lets me blow off some steam, while the varied sights, sounds, and smells provide enough transition between work and home that work seems like it belongs to another lifetime by the time I get home. If I just go belowground after leaving the office and emerge aboveground at home, I’m still in work mode when I get home, and I hate subjecting my roommates to that. Cringing isn’t a good look for me, and I didn’t want them knowing just how bad things were. The last thing I needed was them sending me home because they were worried about me not being cut out for New York after all.

I was still muttering curses at Mimi under my breath as I changed shoes in the building lobby. Then I stepped outside, cut across to Broadway and began the long hike. The day had only gone downhill after the staff meeting, and more than once I’d been tempted to retrieve that job offer from deleted mail, even if I knew it had to be a scam. A nineteenth-century sweatshop seemed like a saner working environment than laboring under La Diva Mimi.

I’d calmed down a lot by the time I crossed Houston Street. Now I could see the spire of Grace Church ahead of me and I knew I was almost home. I cut across to Fourth Avenue one street before the church because there was sometimes a gargoyle on that church that really wigged me out. It wasn’t the gargoyle itself that gave me the creeps. It was the “sometimes” part that unnerved me. Gargoyles are carved of stone and should be part of the building. If one is there, you should see it all the time, not just on an occasional basis.

This church didn’t usually have gargoyles at all, just carved faces. But every so often there was a classic winged, clawed gargoyle sitting over a doorway or on a roof ridge, and I always felt like it was looking at me. I knew that wasn’t one of those weird New York things that everyone talks about, so I preferred to avoid the situation entirely.

A couple of blocks up Fourth, I noticed a costume shop next to a magic and fantasy shop, and I had to laugh at myself. That explained the girl with the wings. She must have been an employee, doing a little advertising by showing the wares around town. It didn’t explain why she seemed to know those two men on the train, but then again, Mr. Right had got on at the same station, so maybe he lived in the neighborhood. They must have been neighbors.

And the magic shop may have had something to do with the gargoyle. It was an illusion, or maybe a prop, put on the church as a practical joke and removed before anyone in authority caught on.

I felt much less like I was going crazy when I reached my building and unlocked the front door. By the time I made it up the stairs to my apartment, I’d managed to put both work and the weirdness of the day out of my mind. I’d barely had time to get the windows open so the place could air out when my roommate Gemma came home. She worked longer hours than I did, but she’d never do anything so crazy as walk home from work. Not in the shoes she usually wore.

She kicked off her high-heeled sandals inside the front door and stretched out her calves. “Is that what you’re wearing?” she asked.

“Huh?”

“You must not have seen the e-mail I sent.”

“Nope, sorry. Every time I tried to log on, Mimi stuck her head in my cube to demand something.” I used a Web-based e-mail service for personal mail at work, since I knew getting personal e-mail on the company system would be asking for trouble from Mimi. Better safe than give her an excuse to yell.

“You have got to get another job.”

“I know,” I moaned as she went into the kitchen and took a bottle of water out of the refrigerator. For a moment I considered telling her about the e-mailed job offer, but I knew she’d just laugh at me. “So, what’s going on and what should I be wearing?”

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 113 )
Rating Distribution

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(77)

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(29)

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(5)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 113 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 3, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Favorite series!!!

    ** Katie Chandler, a small town Texas girl, is working as an assistant for a monster of a boss while questioning the odd things she encounters in NYC. She soon finds herself being sought after for a position with MSI Inc, a magical company headed by the legendary Merlin. She learns that she has no magic abilities at all but that her lack of magical powers is actually what sets her apart and makes her an important asset to the company and to the fate of the magical battles about to come. With the help of the powerful and gorgeous wizard Owen, Katie finds herself thrown in the middle of the fight between good against evil. **


    I absolutely LOVE the Enchanted, Inc. series. I can't get enough of the characters and their adventures. The world of magic portrayed in these books is cute and the characters are very lovable. Katie, our heroine, is incredibly likable and unique in that her "superpower" is that she has no magical powers at all. The romance in this series grows as you go along and isn't just thrown together at the beginning. And any woman who reads these books will fall in love with Owen while at the same time, rooting for him and Katie to find each other.

    Most people who read Enchanted Inc have trouble putting it down and finish within hours of starting, then immediately go out and buy the next three books in the series. (I ordered mine before I was halfway through the first book.) And I think you'll enjoy all of the adventure, humor and romance this series has to offer. This book is full of magic, wizards, fairies, elves, and villains. You'll love it. Definitely recommend!!!

    *** The author stated before that she would have liked to wrap up the series with a 5th book. Her publisher however, has no intentions of releasing a 5th. If you enjoy this series, and I know you will, please get the word out and for those with facebook accounts, please join this page to help get the buzz started...

    http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Enchanted-Inc-Series-Movement-to-Publish-Book-5/129414107095377?ref=ts

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted June 14, 2013

    Perfectly light & breezy

    This is perfect low-stress, light and breezy reading! Likable characters, entertaining plot. Some romance, but nothing that grates for us non-chicklit types. Loved it!

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 22, 2010

    MUST READ!!

    loved all 4 of the books! Hopefully sales will pick up so she can get the 5th book published! I very impatiently await that day!! Loved loved LOVED these books!! Nothing negative to say at all about the series!

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 12, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Ebchanted, Inc is a great book about a quirky nonmagical character.

    The premise of a nonmagical person working as Merlin's assistant is engaging. The character and her dating problems and fight against the dark side is well done.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 25, 2014

    Age?

    Hi, just wondering, is this age appropriate for a 12 year old?

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 12, 2014

    Such a fun book.  It was easy to read with some really funny mom

    Such a fun book.  It was easy to read with some really funny moments and good one-liners.  It's something I wouldn't hesitate to lend to my 12-year-old niece.  I do want to read the rest of the series now!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 5, 2010

    Absolutely Delightful

    For any young woman who has ever felt that she isn't making it in the "real world", this is a page-turning novel that has you sympathizing and cheering for the heroine from the first chapter to the last. It isn't hard, classic fiction, but it is a real, delightful story about someone who finds themselves in over their head, and deals with it the way strong women always do. It is a fantasy, with magic and wizards, but the emotions in it are so true to life that you understand where the main character is coming from, even if you will never have a conversation with a gargoyle.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted September 26, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Fun Book for the Beach or on a Plane

    Lots of fun -- as the blurb says it's a cross between Harry Potter and Sex in the City. Bought it to read on a long plane flight and it filled the bill.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 18, 2014

    Oooo

    Great book. Funny and witty. Smiled all the through it. On to the one...

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 25, 2014

    I don¿t know about you but every know and again I need a book th

    I don’t know about you but every know and again I need a book that is light and fun with a dash of snarky. One of my favorites is Molly Harper’s Half Moon Hollow series and this book came up as similar plus I had Audible credits burning a hole in my pocket so I thought I’d give it a whirl. And I’m pleased that I did.

    The first book revolves around Katie Chandler discovering not only that there are magical beings all around her but that she has something that Magic, Spells, and Illusions, Inc or MSI needs which is individuals that have no magic. This skill allows them to see hidden clauses in contracts, fake spells and even someone that has been cloaked by magic.

    Meanwhile she is trying to deal with the fact that at her new job she can see all the magic around her that magical people can’t and she wants to do well at her job and finds the head of Research and Development not only shy but a man she really wants to get to know.

    This story is fresh and was a delightful change of pace from the other paranormal and contemporary books that have currently been part of my reading list over the past 6 months or so. This is truly a story that I would have no hesitation in recommending to my grandmother or a teenager that wanted a little romance but nothing over the top. The story is charming in its sweetness and caused me to jump right into book 2, Once Upon Stilettos, as soon as the last word was spoken on my iPhone.

    Final Thoughts: This is a definite book to pick up if you are looking for a change of pace. Yes there is a great story and mystery that weaves its way through out the novel but it easily captures your attention and had me grinning or giggling to myself a number of times as I worked. This would also be a great mother/daughter/grand daughter book. There is enough of suspense and laugh out loud moments that it would also be a great book for a book club. This should be added to your To Be Read/Listened to list and I know I enjoyed the audio version immensely.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 14, 2014

    Question

    Is it a book worth reading and how many pages are there?

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 15, 2014

    Best story i have read in a long time

    Quirky funny and a good story.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 15, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    Adorable series - enjoyable episodic brain candy. No smut, just

    Adorable series - enjoyable episodic brain candy.

    No smut, just fun. Very Sophie Kinsella meets Madelyn Alt, and Juliet Blackwell in nature. There is magic and banter. The magic is handled well - no crazy universe thing, very practical in essence. Oh- and anyone else picture Matt Bomer as the perfect Owen?

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 11, 2014

    Breezy read. Fun!

    Well-written and inventive. I finished this book and have already started on the second in the series. Very enjoyable.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 11, 2014

    Delightful

    Enchanted, Inc. takes you on a fun stay in New York. The characters are delightful and the fantasies of fairies and flying gargoles delightful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 4, 2014

    Highly recommend

    Cute, Cute, Cute! I had to read all seven books. Completely enjoyable read.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 4, 2014

    Loved it

    I have not read such a wonderful book like this in a long time. I think it is a must read.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 4, 2014

    Wonderful series

    This book is the first in a wonderful series full of magic and mishaps. The characters are well developed and the ending is perfect.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 29, 2014

    Great start to the series.  It's got me hooked and now I'm on bo

    Great start to the series.  It's got me hooked and now I'm on book 6!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 29, 2014

    Very fun read!

    Really loved this book! Funny and a good story!Can't wait to read more of her books.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 113 Customer Reviews

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