June 20, 2017
Originally published by Loose Id, now self published
Echoes of Deviance : Aberrant Magic 4
The FBI's Talent team is back on the job with Kavon and Darren trying to navigate being lovers and partners in the office and at home. Without the imminent danger from magical attack hanging over their heads, Darren hopes their life together will turn out to be the happily ever after he expects. However, relationships require negotiation and compromise, and that's difficult when the cases keep coming.
This time the team is called in when a parole officer dies at the hands of a shaman with a violent past. Local law enforcement doesn't want federal help, and they certainly don't want shamans involved when they blame magic for the death of one of their own. Kavon and Darren have never walked away from a case simply because they're unpopular. Unfortunately, Kavon's instinct to protect Darren threatens to drive a wedge between them. Darren must struggle to find his own independence without undermining the bond they share. And there's no room for mistakes because someone wants to see the team fail on this case.
The puzzle itself was complex enough to me and I liked how the whole time Kavon and Daren just did not let go. If one lead did not work, they tried again, they were really working their case... READ MORE
Love Bytes Reviews
If you enjoy urban fantasy, books featuring law enforcement or interracial couples, I highly recommend this series but they do need to be read in order as each book builds on the one before it... READ MORE
Gay Book Review
It’s not all smooth sailing for them because they still have problems and need to work on overcoming them.Add in the complicated murder case and looming political quagmire and the book makes for interesting read... READ MORE
Darren followed Kavon toward the apartment building.
When they got to the doors, Kavon said, “I can handle this. I’ll look around the scene and then call someone in.”
“Coretta is taking personal time, and Les and Rima handled the last callout. Guess who’s up in the roster?”
“You and Boyd. I know. But this might not be our case. The locals have started calling us when any random con artist claims to have Talent.” Once they were in the elevator, Kavon stabbed the floor button with more force than required. Darren understood his frustration. They were getting a lot of nuisance calls, but if the team didn’t check the scene for signs of magic, they couldn’t know if the case involved Talent or not. It would help if more local cops had Talent. Recognizing the signs of magic was child’s play for even inexperienced shamans and magic users.
Adepts had less magic than any other type of Talent, and they could tell within seconds if a suspect or victim had cast spells or used the sort of nature powers common with shamans and adepts. But the community had a difficult relationship with police, and discrimination was still too common. So not many people with Talent bothered going into law enforcement.
Darren had never known an adept to join local police. Their Talent showed up in tattoo-like markings on their hands and arms, and it often made them a target for bigots. Wearing both adept marks and a police uniform would be a little like painting a bull’s-eye on your own back.
Kavon stopped just outside the elevator, and Darren felt magic tickle the back of his neck as Kavon called his spirit animal. The cape buffalo bull appeared, his enormous body filling the hallway and his sides vanishing into the walls. Kavon mentally pushed. The bond Darren and Kavon shared with their two spirit guides surged with power and expanded. The bull stopped chewing and stamped his foot at Kavon, but finally he sent back a sense of security before he vanished with one last burst of aggravation.
“I get the feeling your bull doesn’t like you that much,” Darren said.
Kavon gave him a dirty look. “He doesn’t like getting bothered for what he considers trivial reasons. I still trust him to guard the apartment more than I trust your guide.” Kavon didn’t say anything else until they were in the apartment with the doors closed. That way the security and privacy spells Coretta had created for them engaged. Then Kavon added, “Your guide might be powerful, but he lacks common sense.”
As if he heard that accusation, Bennu appeared on the back of the couch and gave a warbling cry. He had several forms he could take because his extreme age had allowed him to live on earth for so many years, but he was currently in his favorite form—a cattle egret.
“But I don’t have to play dominance games to get my guide to help out with a little magic,” Darren said in an overly sweet tone designed to annoy his lover. He then looked at Bennu and sent a clear thought. With only one bathroom, Darren wanted a quicker way to clean up. Bennu cocked his head to the side as though listening.
“If this backfires, I’m going to make fun of you,” Kavon said before he headed into the bedroom.
“Bennu’s magic backfire? Never!” Darren said in defense of his beloved guide. “Well, except when we knocked you over the couch and then blew up Coretta’s crystals. And then there was the time he knocked down the suspect’s front wall.”
Kavon snorted. He sounded more like his bull every day.
Darren turned back to Bennu. “But we’re doing better now that we’re training, and I know you won’t do anything like strip the skin from my bones, right?”
“He won’t what?” Kavon bolted out of the bedroom, but he was a second too late. A wave of magic crashed into Darren. Bennu had definitely put too much effort behind the spell because Darren stumbled back and Kavon had to grab the edge of the door.
“What the hell?” Kavon demanded.
Darren grinned. “You can have the shower,” he said as he stripped off his T-shirt. He, his clothes, and even his hair were all clean. Kavon had caught the edge of the spell because his left side was clean and fresh while his right was still sweat stained and dirty.
“Seriously?” Kavon demanded incredulously.
“Hey, you knew we were doing magic. You didn’t veto it.” Darren and Bennu had given Kavon veto power when Darren and Kavon had bonded. Bennu lived mostly on the spirit plane and the deeper wells of magic that were the original home of the first spirit guides. Concepts like cause and effect sometimes eluded him, and Darren was so new to magic that he didn’t always recognize the danger. However, Kavon had to actively veto any spells that Darren and Bennu thought up. It wasn’t like they couldn’t do any magic without his approval.
Kavon sounded indignant as he said, “I thought you were going to have him check security. We had been talking about the way my bull guards the apartment.”
“So, where’s the crime scene?” Darren asked as he passed Kavon and headed to the closet.
Clearly distracted, Kavon didn’t answer right away. Even with skipping the shower, Darren would still take longer to get ready. He took pride in his appearance and liked to get his suit and hair perfect. While Kavon was stunningly handsome, he never did much to accentuate his deep black skin or striking features. Hell, he even shaved his head. It was unfair how quickly he could get ready and still look damn good.
Darren would have to trim his fast-growing beard and use mousse to tame his hair, or he’d end up looking like a homeless guy. True, he’d look like a vagrant in a designer suit with color-coordinated accessories, but Darren required more prep time before charming anyone or playing the professional.
“You two are dangerous,” Kavon said wearily. “One of these days he’s going to knock you on your ass, and I’m going to laugh. That’s assuming you don’t get broken.”
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