By Wendy Stone
Brady Knight has abilities that are shocking and mind boggling, abilities that he doesn't always use for the good of man. He is a "magic man", gifted with a mixture of telekinesis, mind reading, and mind control which he uses for his own gain.
Molly Wolfe is in trouble. Kidnapped by a group of men trying to figure out her people's secret to longevity, she's managed to escape and she needs help.
Can Brady help her and rescue the Were left in the compound, including her litter mate? Or will he become lost in the desire that she flames inside of him so easily? Only the Magic Man will find out.
Brady said goodbye to Joseph and left the restaurant in a strange mood. He usually enjoyed their weekly lunches, an event he looked forward to since he’d come back home. After college, he’d become involved with a bad crowd while searching for people like himself, people who could do magic with their hands and mind.
He’d gotten into the occult, finding himself surrounded by wannabes whose skills with magic were contrived, done with smoke and mirrors. None of them had what he did, the power of telekinesis, the power to conjure, the power to teleport. Even the power to change the shape of his body, though he had never told anyone he could do that. That power freaked him out a little too much to use. He also had the power to control others.
He sighed, wondering if he was going to hell for the things that he had done in those days after college. He had been wild; sex, drugs, alcohol and more sex until his brain had seemed to float, permanently pickled. The day Joseph had come looking for him, in that strange house that he and three other guys had rented out, the walls covered with pentagrams and other magical symbols, the air perfumed with the smell of marijuana and sex, spilled beer and burnt macaroni and cheese, had changed his life. Hell, Joseph had probably saved his life.
He’d found Brady in bed with two women. He couldn’t remember meeting them or coming home, let alone know their names. The last thing he’d remembered was finishing off his second pint of Jack Daniels while his friends tried talking him into going into the new strip joint that had just opened across town. He could vividly recall the embarrassment he’d felt when Joseph had walked in and he’d been lying in that bed, the room smelling strongly of sex that he didn’t remember having.
“Get up, Brady, and get dressed. We’re going for a walk.”
A walk had been the last thing Brady had wanted and he’d almost used his mind control on Joseph, the one thing he’d always promised he wouldn’t do. Instead, he stood up and threw on clothes that smelled of alcohol, tobacco and cheap perfume.
Joseph had walked until Brady, tired, hung over and out of shape, had collapsed at the foot of a fountain in a park he couldn’t remember ever being in before. He’d dropped his head into his hands and wept.
And Joseph had picked him up, gotten him out of that life and back in contact with his parents. He helped him get straight and get rid of the miscreant friends that had littered his life for the past two years. He’d helped him and Brady owed him for it.
But he was wrong about Renee. He did love Renee. She was perfect for him. Polished and sleek, a petite blonde who never left the house with a hair out of place. She was ordered and structured. She kept him grounded and in command when these “gifts” of his tried to push him out of control.
Had he used his powers on her? Yeah, though he wasn’t proud of it. Ordered and structured got boring. Sometimes he wanted her to strip for him, or to become aggressive and knock him to the bed, tear at his clothes and take him. He always rearranged her memories afterward, letting her think that the lovemaking had been sweet and gentle, the way she liked it.
So what if he hadn’t told her about his secret. She didn’t need to know everything about him. And besides, they had their whole lives to get to know each other. He’d wait until...”Hey, watch it!”
Brady reached out and grabbed the small figure that had just barreled into him. His hands grasped slender arms; his body shook in shock from the small but perfectly curved body that had slammed into him. He stared down at the petite figure, catching a glimpse of bright green eyes.
She was wearing a bright red dress, the long skirt flowing around her slender ankles. Her hair was a shade darker than her dress, curled and long, silky against his hands as it covered both them and her arms. Impressive cleavage was artfully displayed by the scooped neck of the dress, baring a tiny gold pendant in the shape of a pentagram.
“I... I’m sorry,” Brady stammered, lost in the startling green of her eyes. “You’re not hurt, are you?”
“No,” she said softly, her voice smoky and a little deeper than he’d expected from someone of her diminutive stature. “I’m fine, Brady.”
He did a double take as he heard his name come from those soft, sensuously lush lips. “Do I know you?”
She smiled. “You probably don’t remember me. It was a while ago and I’ve changed a bit since then.” She stepped back, making him realize he was still holding her.
“Oh, sorry about that,” he said, his cheeks flushing. “Who are you?”
“I have to go,” she said, looking around suddenly, her eyes darkening. Without another word, she turned, her skirt flying up around her as she hurried away.
“Wait!” he called, his hand coming up to stop her.
She didn’t stop.
Brady squinted, intrigued by her, wanting more time with her. He sent out the thought, a tingle that would be irresistible to her, to turn back to him.
She didn’t even slow down. Instead, she waved a hand in front of her, four fingers spread out, her thumb crossed across her palm and kept running.
“Whoa,” he breathed, realizing she had deflected his power with an ease he’d never seen before. “That’s not possible.”
His phone rang again and he picked it up, not bothering to check the caller ID. “Yeah?”
“Is that how you answer your phone when it’s your fiancée calling?” Renee’s voice said.
“Oh, hi, honey.” He ran his hand over his face, his nerves tightening. “I didn’t look to see who it was. I’m sorry.”
“Apology accept, Brady bear,” she crooned.
Brady could feel his head begin to pound. “What did you need, sweetie?”
“I just wanted to know what Father Joseph had to say. Will he do it for us?”
“Honey,” he said, trying to stay patient with her. “Neither of us are Catholic. Why would you want a Catholic priest to perform the ceremony?”
“I just thought... him being your friend and all,” she said quietly. “I thought you’d like him to perform it.”
“He said he would, Renee, but we would both have to go for counseling sessions with him. And we’d have to push back the date of the wedding to make those sessions. I told him I’d get back to him.” He pulled the phone away from his ear, waiting for the explosion.
It wasn’t long in coming. “Father Joseph can’t help out his best friend? After all we’ve done for him and his church,” Renee said, her voice growing strident.
Brady’s head pounded. He could feel anger beginning to rise inside of him. Looking across the street, he saw the glass window in the clothing store start to vibrate. Deep breaths couldn’t control the power he felt pulsing inside of him and he did the only other thing that came to mind. “Renee, Father Joseph doesn’t need to marry us,” he said, his fingers going to his temple as he pushed the tingle out of him and into a car down the street, shattering the side windows and setting off the car alarm.
“Well, baby, it was just a thought,” she said, her voice growing softer, less angry. “Are you coming home soon?”
“Not for a couple of hours,” he said, relief singing through him. “I still have some work to do at the office. You might as well go home, sweetheart. I’ll give you a call later.”
“Okay,” she sighed. “I love you, Brady bear.”
“Yeah, me too,” he said, hitting the button to turn the phone off with a sigh of relief. He didn’t know how much more he could take. Was Joseph right? Could he only be with Renee because of the status she brought?
“No, I love her,” he said out loud.
“Me, too,” a homeless man agreed, holding out his hand to ask for change.
Brady dug out a ten dollar bill, leaving the man the thought that he should use it for a hot meal and not for the booze that he planned to buy with it. Then he waved his hand at a cab and headed back to his office.
The idea for his detective agency had originally come from Joseph, strangely enough. Joe had figured that using his powers for good was a way to make up for the bad he’d done. Brady didn’t know if he agreed or not, but it was interesting work. And he actually had been able to make a difference, although he still wasn’t certain it absolved him of earlier misdeeds.
His office was on the second floor of a building housing mostly lawyers. A stroke of genius on his part; half of them were divorce lawyers who needed to get the goods on their clients’ spouses. At first, he’d barely paid the rent and made enough to afford a secretary. Now he had a waiting list, took only the clients he wanted to take and could afford the newest in surveillance equipment. The cops even came to him when they had cases they couldn’t get a lead on.
He’d gained fame by finding a ten year old girl who’d been kidnapped. Her parents had paid the ransom and the kidnappers had managed to get away, without giving up the girl. Brady had found her and the kidnappers. He’d gotten good at hiding the psychic part of his investigation, always covering up any vibes or pictures he’d gotten by using regular footwork and making connections.
No one was the wiser. He liked it that way.
“Hey, Hailey,” he said, pushing in through the double doors into the reception area of his office. “Any calls this afternoon?”
Hailey Carlisle was in her late forties, plump and matronly with a shock of bright red hair that never managed to be in place and an eye for brightly colored Hawaiian shirts. She’d been with him since the beginning and he didn’t see any reason not to keep her after he’d started to make money.
She held up a sheaf of pink telephone messages. “The usual,” she said, cheerily enough. “Don Barlow has been down here four times looking for you. He has a client he needs to talk about. You aren’t going to take that crook’s work, are you Brady?”
“It pays the bills, Hailey,” Brady teased, knowing that Hailey and Don were like oil and milk, cats and dogs, sugar in a gas tank. Explosive.
“If you’re that short on money, I’ll loan it to you,” she grouched, rising to pour him a cup of freshly brewed coffee. Picking up the pile of pink notes, she took them in to his office and set them on the middle of his ritzy leather blotter, a Christmas present from Renee. A picture of her in a sterling silver frame shared desk space with it. “I don’t know how you can work for someone like him. The man’s a shyster. He’s every lawyer joke ever told.”
“Okay, okay,” he said, holding his hands out in defeat. “I won’t take his case. I’ll give you the pleasure of telling him,” he called out to her as she smiled, looking like the cat who ate the canary.
“Oh yes, my pleasure,” she breathed, closing Brady’s door quietly and heading towards her phone, rubbing her hands in glee at this unexpected fun.
“Be nice,” he shouted to her, hearing her chuckle even through the heavy door. “Women,” he sighed. He sat behind his desk, running through the phone messages and placing them in two neat piles. One pile he would phone today; the other, well they might never hear from him.
He got through two meetings with prospective clients and fielded a complaint from an irate Don Barlow, who was even angrier after hearing Hailey cackle at him. His phones calls were made. He’d just finished the last of them when Hailey knocked on his door.
“Your last appointment is here,” she said quietly. “Do you mind if I get out of here, boss?”
“No,” Brady said, standing and coming around his desk. “Are you okay?”
“Yeah, it’s just... there’s something about this one that’s kind of giving me the creeps. I’d just rather be gone before she leaves.” Hailey ducked her head, embarrassed.
“Damn, does she have a third eye or something? I’ve never seen you like this.”
“I’ll talk to you tomorrow,” she muttered before turning and waving in the client. She didn’t even stay to close the door behind her, snatching her purse off her desk and hurrying to the coat rack to grab her jacket.
The outer door was closing behind her as the girl sauntered into his office. She closed the door herself and then turned to face Brady.