A high-profile murder brings Detective Nathan Perez to Magic Born Zone 13. He's had little experience with the Magic Born and isn't sure what to expect during his first encounter with a witch, but he never thought he'd be so drawn to her.
Trancehacker Calla Vesper uses magic to break into computers and aid the Magic Born underground. She has no interest in helping a cop, even if he is smoking-hot, but money's tight and Nate offers a tidy amount for help navigating the Zone. Calla's determined to keep it all business, but sparks start flying before the investigation even gets started.
When Calla's trancehacking and Nathan's investigation uncover a conspiracy, Calla becomes a target. Nate can protect her by keeping her role a secretbut then who will protect Nate?
About the Author
Sonya Clark grew up a military brat and now lives in Tennessee with her husband and daughter. She writes urban fantasy and paranormal romance with a heavy helping of magic and lots of music for inspiration.
Read an Excerpt
The lights of New Corinth at night dissolved into the hard gold of the morning sun. Detective Nathan Perez drained the last of his coffee while standing in front of a window watching the dawn. He'd already been up for hours and was due in the morgue, but this brief moment of peace was something he needed.
Ten minutes later he stepped into the morgue. The harsh lighting beat a rhythm against the headache already blooming behind his eyes. He approached the table, nodding a greeting at the coroner, who had her hands in the dead man's abdomen. Dr. Lucille Walker was a slender, middle-aged woman with a no-nonsense air of competence Nate appreciated.
"Tell me you've got something, Luce. The scene's given me nothing and I've been called in upstairs."
"Already? That was fast, even considering who this guy is." She pointed at the vic's gray, slack face as she deposited the man's liver in a scale.
Grimacing, Nate waited for her to note the organ's weight for her report before replying. "Head of the local DMS testing facility as well as his own private clinic, friends with the mayor, yadda yaddayeah, I'd say this guy has some juice."
"You mean had some juice."
Nate kept his eyes on Dr. Walker's face instead of what she was doing with her hands and the body. "His assistant says it doesn't look like anything was stolen but he's going to have to sort through the mess better before he knows for sure. No murder weapon. I've got someone running his financials but that'll take time. I'd really like to have something to tell the chief when I'm due in his office in ten minutes."
Luce paused in her work. "Blunt force trauma to the back of the head is the most obvious thing, plus defensive wounds. Definitely a homicide. We found a hair that's not his. Baldy here doesn't have any four-inch blond hairs on him. Henry's running it now."
Nate's grimace relaxed as his curiosity was piqued, one corner of his mouth twitching upward. "Did you know him? You're both part of the medical community in the city."
She gave him a baleful eye as she returned to weighing organs. "I met him a few times, but I wouldn't say we were part of the same community." The tone of her voice had gone from workaday relaxed to tight and controlled.
"You didn't like Dr. Alan Forbes very much."
"How long have you lived here? Three, four months?"
"You're about to get an education, boy."
Nate chose his next words with care. "One of the uniforms volunteered a theory. That maybe someone didn't like the test results that came back. Maybe they wanted to keep, uh"
"Keep their baby?" Luce smacked something that might have been a kidney onto the scale. "Instead of send their baby to the zone? If that's the direction this goes you might be real surprised how long your list of suspects turns out to be."
The doors swung open and the lab tech returned with a shiny silver microtablet not much bigger than his hand. Although younger than Nate, Henry Andros was already the assistant department head of the police lab. Wiry and energetic, he had a habit of moving almost constantly and always seemed to be three steps ahead of everyone else.
Luce said, "Give it to us, Henry."
The young man held a hand over the tablet. "First of all I want to stress that I ran the tests three times and got the same results each time."
"You don't look too happy with those results," Nate said.
Henry said, "You're not going to be, either." He tapped the touchscreen. "I'm sending you the preliminary now. Here's the basics. That hair did not belong to the victim. It did belong to a male, and there was nightshade in the man's system."
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Wow! I won this book and, I’ll be frank, hated the cover. So it sat unread. My mistake. See, I really SHOULDN’T judge a book by its cover, because the book was great. I had a hard time putting it down. It read more like a romantic suspense/thriller than a paranormal romance, which is fine with me. I’d hate to think we’d be so cruel in the future by segregating people again, but it made for an entertaining read. I just wish my e-book copy wasn’t all funky. The lines were too close together and every time I shut my device down, it never saved my spot. Even with these annoyances, I kept reading. Just had to know what happened next!
(Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to Carina and Netgalley.) Nate is a detective investigating the death of a prominent figure, when a DNA test on some evidence comes back as belonging to an unregistered ‘magic-born’, which by the law should be impossible. Nate asks Calla – a witch, for some help tracking down information based on a list of magical ingredients found in the victim’s pocket. When people who knew about the odd DNA test start turning up dead, Calla is worried that Nate might be next, which scares her as they are falling in love with each other. Who is the murderer? Why did they kill? And what other secrets are they hiding? This was an okay story, but it wasn’t exactly what I was expecting. Calla was an okay character. She stuck up for her beliefs and her rights, and wasn’t stupid enough to break the law for a man. She did her best to look out for herself, and wasn’t afraid to speak out when the time was right. The storyline in this was okay, but at times this was much more a crime novel than a fantasy or sci-fi story. I found the beginning of the book very slow and dull, and I even wondered whether I would make it all the way through without falling asleep. Thankfully the story got more interesting at the 20% mark, but I still found myself losing interest at later points in the book too. There was romance in this book, and some very adult sex scenes, which was probably the best part of the book for me. This book isn’t listed as ‘adult’ on Goodreads though, and I think it should be, as this is definitely not intended for younger readers. The ending was okay, and there were a couple of twists that I didn’t see coming. This wasn’t a favourite for me though, and I don’t think I’ll continue with the series. I thing this would be more suited to people who like crime/fantasy, rather than people who just like fantasy and paranormal stories. Overall; an okay crime/fantasy novel, but wasn’t what I was expecting. 6.5 out of 10.