The Wish List

The Wish List

by Gabi Stevens
The Wish List

The Wish List

by Gabi Stevens



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Kristin Montgomery is more than a little shocked when her aunts inform her they're fairy godmothers. Worse, after dropping that bombshell they hand her a wand and head off on a world cruise. Now Kristin's uncomplicated life as a CPA in San Diego has disappeared like magic and she not only has to deal with her burgeoning magical powers, but also a reluctant—and distractingly sexy—magical arbiter.

Tennyson Ritter is a historian. A scholar by choice, he is yanked from his studies to act as arbiter for the newly chosen fairy godmother. He doesn't want to waste his time with a woman who doesn't know anything about magic or the magical world, but soon the beguiling Kristin draws him away from his books and into her life.

But before Kristin can hone her skills and pass the tests necessary to fully claim her powers, she and Tennyson must work together to defend the world – both magical and human – against those that would claim her powers for their own.

At the Publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management Software (DRM) applied.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781429937955
Publisher: Tor Publishing Group
Publication date: 04/27/2010
Series: Time of Transition , #1
Sold by: Macmillan
Format: eBook
Pages: 384
File size: 328 KB

About the Author

GABI STEVENS lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico, with her engineer husband, three daughters and two dogs. When she's not writing, Gabi teaches eighth grade gifted language arts and literature, plays volleyball, and enjoys games.

GABI STEVENS lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico, with her engineer husband, three daughters and two dogs. When she's not writing, Gabi teaches eighth grade gifted language arts and literature, plays volleyball, and enjoys games. She is the author of The Wish List, Wishful Thinking, and As You Wish.

Read an Excerpt

The Wish List

By Stevens, Gabi

Tor Books

Copyright © 2010 Stevens, Gabi
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780765365033


•Never Reveal Yourself to Your Charges.


THE AUNTS HAD summoned her.

Their cryptic message had left her alternately curious and worried. Why were they so adamant to see her? Something about a job and “it’s time.�

Kristin Montgomery parked her Camry in front of the bungalow in Mission Beach and locked the door. As usual she’d found a great parking spot. She shouldn’t have. Parking in the crowded streets of the little beach community should have been a bear, yet a space always waited for her whenever she came to visit the aunts.

Kristin inhaled deeply. The ocean breeze played with her hair, and the fresh sea air contained a tang that always smelled of adventure to her.

Today the smell of adventure was even more powerful.

Don’t be ridiculous, Kristin. She turned up the walk. Deep pink bougainvillea bushes lined the path to the door. The house seemed normal from the outside, still as charming and quaint as the day her aunts moved in when she was a teenager. The cottage was some seventy years old and had a value of over seven hundred thousand dollars. Only in San Diego could a tiny box with a postage stamp yard be worth so much.

The three old women weren’t really her aunts, and they couldn’t really summon her, but Kristin loved them. But why had they sent for her?

She rang the doorbell, then tried the door. As usual, it swung right open. “Haven’t I told you it’s not safe to keep your door unlocked?�

Chaos greeted her. Suitcases, bags, and a huge trunk yawned in the living room in front of her. Clothes draped over the sides, maps and papers filled the pockets, and a lone shoe sat in one bag while its mate lay on the floor.

Aunt Rose walked out of the study, her arms filled with a jumble of clothes. “Oh, tosh, dear. No one would harm us.� She brushed a kiss against Kristin’s cheek. “It’s good to see you again, love.�

Kristin eyed the tiny white-haired woman. “Do you need any help?�

“Nonsense. I’m not carrying bricks.� Rose placed the top three items into the first suitcase and the rest into the second.

Kristin followed Rose. “Are you moving?�

Aunt Lily entered the room. “Don’t be silly, dear. We’ll explain in a moment.� Tall and lithe, Lily clutched a large bottle of sunscreen and towels draped over her arms. Her iron gray hair sported three pairs of sunglasses and two hats sitting at a jaunty angle.

“Planning an outing to the beach?� Kristin raised her brows.

“One does not take suitcases to the beach, dear,� said Lily. With a tilt of her head, she deposited the sundry items into the nearest open suitcase, then arranged them in an orderly fashion.

“So what’s going on?�

“It’s the Time of Transition,� said Rose with a bright smile.

“Transition?� Kristin wrinkled her forehead.

Hyacinth, the aunt who completed the trio, strode into the room with brochures, pamphlets, and other papers sticking out of a purple folder. “You haven’t told her yet, have you? You didn’t start before I was here, did you?� Her short silver hair bounced on her scalp as she shook her head scoldingly at Rose.

“Of course not, Hyacinth. We wouldn’t do that to you.� Rose lifted her shoulders in an endearing shrug. “We’re a team.�

“But you’re here now.� Lily moved to Kristin and took her hands. Rose and Hyacinth gathered around her as well. They exchanged glances with one another, as if sharing a conspiratorial secret. Lily said, “We’re not really your aunts, dear.�

Kristin stifled a laugh. “I know that.�

Hyacinth burbled out a puff of air. “And as much as I hate to admit it, we’re getting old.� She lifted a finger as Kristin’s mouth opened to protest. “It’s true. We’ve gotten slow and that’s a problem.�

“But it’s the Time of Transition, so we can celebrate,� said Rose. “Our tenure has come to an end.�

“Excuse me?� Kristin eyed the three old women. What were they talking about?

“Your turn to take over, dear,� said Rose. She turned to her companions. “What time does the taxi arrive?�

“Thirty minutes,� said Hyacinth. “Damn, we’ll never be ready.�

“Of course we will, and watch your language. It just doesn’t suit us to curse,� said Lily.

“None of our charges can hear me,� said Hyacinth.

“Kristin can,� said Rose.

“She hardly counts. She’s one of us now.� Hyacinth examined the suitcases. “We’d be better off if we combine some of these. We might not be able to handle so many bags.�

“You may be right, Hyacinth.� A rare frown touched Rose’s face, but an instant later it dissolved into her customary smile. “If we need more room, we can always buy more suitcases.�

“Or zap up a couple,� Hyacinth said.

“Maybe not. Our powers will be in flux and our wands might act up,� Lily said.

Kristin held up her hands. “Hold it. Wands?�

“Yes, dear. Wands. But we can’t be sure how reliable they’ll be.� Lily reached into a bag and transferred its contents to another case. “Still, we should take fewer suitcases. Definitely.�

“Wait.� Kristin waved her hands until the aunts looked at her. “Let’s start over. First, where are you going?�

“On a world cruise, dear,� said Rose, combining the contents of two bags. “It’s been so long since we’ve traveled.�

“For a vacation anyway,� Hyacinth added. “It’s our retirement gift to ourselves.�

“Retirement?� As far as Kristin knew, the aunts had never held jobs. She always thought it odd that they seemed well-off despite no visible evidence of income, but she never considered it her business to ask. “Retirement from what?�

“Why, being fairy godmothers.� Hyacinth closed one now-full suitcase. “It’s the Time of Transition. Time for us to step down.�

Uh-huh. Fairy godmothers. Kristin drew a deep breath. “You’re joking, right?�

“We wouldn’t joke about such a serious matter,� said Rose. “Now where did I put my brush?�

“Here it is.� Lily handed it to Rose. “ ‘Fairy godmother’ is such an inaccurate term. Really we’re more like liaisons, but people seem to understand ‘fairy godmother’ better. I’m sure your arbiter will explain.�

“Arbiter?� Kristin’s brows drew together.

“The person appointed by the Council to oversee your transition.� Hyacinth closed another suitcase. “Sometimes they can be a pain in the—�

“Hyacinth,� Lily said sharply. “Anyway, I’m sure your arbiter will be fine.�

Kristin scrutinized the aunts. They had never shown signs of delusion before. “When was the last time you had a physical? A complete examination? Maybe you should postpone your trip and make sure you’re healthy enough to go. You’ve admitted you’re old.�

“She doesn’t believe us.� A bright laugh tinkled from Rose’s throat.

“I blame the modern world,� said Lily with a sigh. “No one believes anymore.�

“Some still do.� Hyacinth cocked her head at Kristin.

“Well, naturally Kristin does,� said Lily. “She is Arcani.�

“Arcani?� Kristin’s voice rose in pitch.

“A member of the magical world,� Rose said.

“Look, Aunties, I love you, but I don’t believe—�

“Do you remember your seventh birthday?� said Lily.

“Sure. I begged my parents for a pony. I didn’t get one.�

“Of course you didn’t get one. We aren’t irresponsible.� Hyacinth snorted at the thought. “You didn’t get that pony because you couldn’t have cared for it. Your parents didn’t have the money to board it, and you certainly couldn’t have kept it in your backyard.�

“But that’s what I wished for.�

“You wanted a pony so badly. Your every wish on every star was for that pony.� Lily sighed at the memory. “Every dandelion you blew, every time you went through a tunnel, every wishbone you broke, you spent that prayer on your pony.�

Kristin wrinkled her brow. “How do you know that?�

“Just because we didn’t get you a pony doesn’t mean we weren’t listening,� said Rose with a smile. “That was the year we sent you Mr. Pickles.�

Kristin’s jaw dropped. Mr. Pickles had been her cat and the best companion she’d ever had. The animal had been the friendliest creature on the planet. She wore him draped around her neck as a child, used him as a confidant when she was a teenager. Her heart had broken when she had to leave him with her family when she went off to college. But Mr. Pickles had waited for her, and during every break and vacation, the animal gave her the emotional support she needed as she took her first tentative steps into adulthood. She would have sworn more than once in their many years together that the cat understood English. Mr. Pickles had died last year, a well-loved and dearly missed friend.

“Mr. Pickles.� Hyacinth chuckled. “I always thought it was a ridiculous name, but he liked it.�

Her knees weak, Kristin plopped onto the sofa. “What do you mean, ‘he liked it’?�

“You don’t think we’d send you an ordinary cat, do you? Cats can be so contrary, but Mr. Pickles was special.� Lily patted Kristin’s shoulder.

This was absurd. Kristin calmed herself. “Look, you can’t be serious about all this.�

“Why not?� said Lily.

“Because . . . because . . .�

“Now you’re just being stubborn.� Hyacinth sat beside Kristin and hooked her arm around Kristin’s shoulders. “We’ve been watching over you for years.�

“But there’re no such things as fairy godmothers.� Kristin rubbed her forehead.

“Nonsense, dear. We’re standing in front of you,� said Lily.

“We’re really quite famous,� added Hyacinth.

Rose nodded. “You studied the Brothers Grimm.�

“Well, yes, but—�

“They were great historians. They wrote about us. Well, not us, but our predecessors.�

“And now our time is up. The Time of Transition is here.� Lily crossed to an antique armoire. She opened the doors and pulled out a slender case that looked as if it could have held a flute. “You must choose.�

Lily opened the case. Inside lay three slender batons. Gnarled, yet with a smooth patina, each switch glowed with its own colors—yellow, red, and black. Ornate handles of beautiful filigree work wound up the bases. The gold that encased the yellow wood held gems in a classical design; the green verdigris of the red wand looked like vines twisting up a stalk; the stark geometric designs of silver contrasted sharply against the black wood of the third. Kristin picked up the red wand. It tingled in her hand and warmed her palm.

“Well done,� said Rose, clapping her hands.

“That one is like mine,� said Lily. “Magic with a good dose of reality. It suits you.�

“How can it suit me? I’m a CPA.� Kristin’s sense of frustration grew.

“You chose it.� Rose shrugged and spread her hands.

Kristin drew in a deep breath. “Aunties, you can’t think—�

“Admit it. There’s a part of you right now that’s hoping we’re right.� Hyacinth crossed her arms over her chest.

And in that mix of emotions that swirled through Kristin—the shock, the disbelief, the exasperation—there was a spark of hope, a wish that it all was true. “Fine, but that doesn’t mean I’m magical.�

“Arcani, dear. Sorry to hurry you, but we’re running out of time here.� Lily pushed the case back into the armoire and then closed a third suitcase. “Your apartment lease is up in a week.�

“How did you—� Kristin interrupted her own question. They knew. Somehow they knew.

“You can move in here,� Rose said as she closed the trunk. “We won’t be here for months, we need someone to care for the house, and you love it. Besides, this house knows magic. The test will go smoother here.�

“What test?� asked Kristin, feeling more overwhelmed by the minute.

“The Time of Transition is a testing period to see if you are capable and worthy of the job. Your arbiter has the final say.� Hyacinth tightened the straps on the trunk. “But we have faith in you.�

Kristin tried to form an argument, but no words sufficed. She had to say something. “Aunties, I don’t have powers. Not a twinge, not a hint. Logic, sure, but magic? I don’t even have luck.�

The three ladies stopped, looked at her, and burst out laughing.

“Well, of course you do,� said Lily. “The gifts of a fairy godmother don’t come into bloom until the age of twenty-seven. Three times three times three. Quite the magic number. Your birthday was only last week.�

“Even then, it takes years to come into the powers fully.� Hyacinth sat on the trunk. “It took me a decade.�

“A decade?� Kristin stared at the three women. “Just how old are you?�

“Ninety-seven,� said Hyacinth. “It’s been a great journey, but I’m ready to rest.�

“I stopped counting at eighty,� said Rose. “It just isn’t polite to celebrate birthdays and expect presents after that.�

“Seventy years is long enough at any job. Now we have time to take our little vacation, and then see where the Magic needs us,� Lily said.

Questions whirled in Kristin’s head. Ninety-seven? Wands? Magic? She shook her head. Impossible.

“I know this is a lot, dear,� said Lily, patting Kristin’s arm. “But one of your tests is adaptability. We weren’t allowed to prepare you.�

“This is insane.� The words burst from her lips. “You actually believe you are fairy godmothers and I’m next in line.�

“Ooh, that attitude won’t help you.� Rose shook her finger at Kristin. “You’ve lots to learn in the next few weeks.�

From the street a car honked. Hyacinth poked the curtains apart and looked out. “Taxi’s here. I’ll tell him we need help.� Hyacinth bustled from the room.

Excerpted from The Wish List by .
Copyright © 2010 by Gabriella Anderson.
Published in May 2010 by Tom Doherty Associates.
All rights reserved. This work is protected under copyright laws and reproduction is strictly prohibited. Permission to reproduce the material in any manner or medium must be secured from the Publisher.


Excerpted from The Wish List by Stevens, Gabi Copyright © 2010 by Stevens, Gabi. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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