Magic Unbound (Book One in the Fae Unbound Series)

By: Jill Nojack

Book One in the Fae Unbound Series


Me And Your Garden Gnome

Lizbet looked up from her book with a case of the shivers. She’d been feeling those icy fingers at the base of her spine for days now. She squinted against the sun and looked down the long backyard where the lawn ended and the woods began. She didn’t see anything threatening down there unless she counted the creeps-worthy new addition to Mom's garden gnome collection. With its shabby brown coat and flat black cap, it definitely wasn't designed to cheer you up like its red and green-suited buddies. It was pathetic—like some junkie gnome had moved into the neighborhood when the downtown gnome shelter closed. Plus, it freaked her out. Those big, unblinking, golden eyes were way too real looking.

She needed to banish the freak-outs, so she gathered up her book, glass, and sunscreen to go inside and hang with her brother. Although Bobby was only ten, he was usually pretty good company, and anything would be better than the eerie feeling that the garden gnome was watching her every move. She snapped a quick shot of it with her phone and texted it to Tanji with the tagline "mom goes nuts with the gnomes again." Then she made a face and stuck her tongue out at the ugly thing at the end of the yard before turning toward the house,

As she slipped in through the sliding doors, Lizbet didn't hear the quietly muttered, "Och, very classy." If she had, she'd have pelted through the door, screaming at top volume, and been out the front door with her brother in tow before he even had time to blink.

Eamon watched the girl walk into the house and allowed himself to relax with only a bit of a complaint as the patio doors closed. A blink of the eyes was also in order after so long without one. Not that it was absolutely necessary yet. He'd once gone two weeks without even a flicker of his eyelids because the quest called for it. Still, it felt better to blink than not to blink.

He turned his golden eyes up to the window next door where the boy was just disappearing from view. What would the girl think if she knew how often the lad happened by the window to glance out into her backyard? Eamon didn't understand human mating rituals, but he knew them when he saw them. These two had already begun the dance. Given the circumstances, how could they not?

Before these two children were to move further down their path, Eamon had to wrestle with their fates and point them in an unexpected direction. One way or another, his own role in the larger dance of more than a thousand years was coming to an end. He looked forward to returning to a life of simple creature comforts, assuming his mistress kept her promise…assuming both he and his mistress survived.

Bobby was in the family room, engrossed in a multiplayer game on his XBox, joking and laughing with his friends through the Internet. Lizbet thought about sneaking up on him and letting him have it with a righteous round of noogies, but she knew big-sister noogies weren't going to be enough to tear him away from the battle. From the sound of his excited taunts to his buddies, he was doing well. She stood in the doorway and watched him shooting up an alien landscape until her case of the creeps subsided.

She wished she could be better at stirring up fun so she didn't spend her whole summer vacation with her nose in a book or taking long bike rides alone, but she almost missed school now that she was a couple of weeks out from the end of her sophomore year. Even though she made as big a show of avoiding her homework as Bobby did his, she had actually kind of looked forward to her chemistry homework. She thought it was interesting how things worked together, and being good at it would help her out if she managed to do well enough to get the medical degree she hoped to have some day.

There was also a good chance she'd make track team captain next year. She found that kind of scary and kind of exciting at the same time—coach had told her a couple of times that although she wasn't the fastest on the team she worked out hard and smart and had a way of knowing what to say to bring out the best in her team-mates. It gave her a warm feeling to know that her coach saw her as a leader. She looked forward to trying to be one if she got the chance. She wasn't sure her coach was right, though. She'd never done any leading to this point. She liked staying in the background. Her friend Tanji was much more the out-in-front kind.

She thought about going back outside, but she really was tired of reading now, and, although it was a beautiful day, the last thing she needed was a whole new crop of unwanted freckles from being out in the sun too long. With her fair complexion, she didn't have much of a chance of avoiding them even with constant applications of sunscreen, but she didn't need to tempt fate, either. When her phone played the opening chords of "Walking on the Sun", she snatched it out of her back pocket hopefully.

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