QSFer Meghan Maslowi has a new comedic queer fantasy romance (bi, gay, pan) out, book three in the Starfig Investigations series: “His Fairy Share.”
“Why does this always happen to us?” –Quinn Broomsparkle, wizard extraordinaire
Six months have passed since wizard Quinn Broomsparkle left behind his indentured servant shackles. He’s in love with his half-dragon/half-fairy familiar, Twig Starfig. He’s got a home. Friends. A job. And a father-in-law he could do without. A pretty close to perfect life. But as Quinn has learned the hard way, things rarely stay peaceful for long. Especially when a Starfig’s involved.
Summoned to his home realm and a past he’d thought left behind, Quinn and Twig find themselves in the middle of evil machinations . . . with no clear enemy. When Quinn’s younger brother goes missing, it’s Starfig Investigations on the case.
Being the first wizard in a thousand years isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. On top of a missing sibling, a broken-hearted red fury, an archivist with a secret, and a ghost pirate-parrot who’s determined to return to his captain, Quinn and Twig’s relationship is sorely tested when questions—and unhappy answers—about their mating dilemma are pushed to the fore.
All Quinn wants is his fairy share of happiness. Is that so much to ask?
“That’s not Principal Turtlebottom,” Twig whispered urgently in my ear, our breath puffing in the frigid air.
“Shh.” No, no, no. Not happening. La la la. Normal day. No drama. I pulled my cloak tighter around me, fighting a shiver. From the cold or his pronouncement, I couldn’t say.
Turtlebottom, an elderly brownie and principal of the soon-to-be-opened Effin Zuk United Academy—or Zuk U, for short—droned on to the crowd, apparently unconcerned about Twig’s fidgeting at the side of the stage, or the audience huddled in their seats because of a lack of heat lamps in the room.
Turtlebottom’s speech seemed endless. Twig didn’t appear to be the only City Council Member bored out of his skull. The other three non-Alphae members of Lighthelm’s City Council stood nearby in the newly-built auditorium, each pretending interest in the proceedings while rubbing their hands together for warmth. The resident centaur and Hoofarian guild member on the Council leaned his torso on the handle of an oversized pair of ribbon-cutting scissors like a staff. Probably so he wouldn’t fall asleep.
The bejeweled scissors had to be five feet tall. Overkill if you asked me, but I guess it would make it easy for all four CCMs to cut the ribbon together. The Elder excelled at pettiness and the one-upmanship of those in power. Twig excluded, naturally.
“Quinn, I’m telling you, it’s not him.” Twig nudged me.
“You’re not getting out of the ribbon-cutting ceremony,” I whispered back. “Don’t even think about it.”
The new Zuk U heralded a big step forward for the poor families of Effin Zuk, on the edge of the red-lamp district. The academy, a hulking monstrosity of rock and iron, lay on land formerly occupied by Joyville Prison for the Magically Insane. While the academy’s design integrated much of the original structure, they’d added new components—and removed prison bars—to make it ‘child friendly.’ Naturally, only Twig and the non-Alphae Council members found time in their busy schedules to trek to the lower east side.
“Wizard, I’m serious.” Twig nodded toward the small, hastily constructed stage and the elderly brownie practically swimming in his ceremonial robes. “That guy is not Turtlebottom.”
I squinted. “Then who is he, and why is he delivering a speech to the assembled parents, kids, and community members?”
“I don’t know.” Twig leaned forward to see Turtlebottom better, his long hair brushing against my cheek.
I refrained from reaching out to feel the silky locks slide through my fingers. In his humanlike form Twig’s hair ran a deep midnight blue, identical to the scale color in his dragon form. Though now wasn’t the time to wax poetical about my familiar. I had a crisis to avert.
“I thought you knew Turtlebottom.”
“That’s just it, I do.” He rubbed at his chin, frowning so obviously that I elbowed him in the side. At over 7 feet tall, and all of it muscle, Twig intimidated even on his best days.
“He’ll notice you glowering.”
“That would be normal. I detest him. And he feels the same.”
According to Twig, his dad hired Oliver Turtlebottom as one of a string of tutors when Twig first came to the Elder Realm as a teenager. Turtlebottom didn’t last long. But whatever happened was enough that Twig didn’t forget him. My half-dragon, half-fairy—and full badass—mate had a looong memory.
“When we arrived did you notice he put a zing-pop mint in his mouth?” Twig added.
“A mint?” I felt a headache coming on. We simply didn’t have time for drama today.
After the ceremony, we needed to finish packing for our upcoming trip. We had to check on our housemate, Bill, since he seemed determined to self-destruct. No time or energy to get caught up in some bizarre missing person case.
This couldn’t be happening.
“Yeah, but the Turtlebottom I knew thought sucking on mints in public was the height of vulgarity.” Twig tapped his lip, considering.
Crap, this was so happening.
I gave myself a moment to take a deep inhale and let it out slowly. “So based on that, you’ve concluded that Turtlebottom is what? Mind Controlled? Dead? Kidnapped?”
“Not sure. Did you notice when we took our place he smiled at us?” Twig’s hot breath on my ear sent a shiver down my spine.
I groaned. “Smiled?”
“Mmhmm. The old goat would never do that. In the two months he tutored me,” Twig snorted, “he never once smiled. And, even when he practically genuflected to my dad each morning, he never came close to cracking one. The guy’s as pleasant as a gargoyle with a toothache.”
“Maybe he’s changed? It’s been more than a decade, right? People change.” Even I didn’t believe my words.
“The real question is what’s this guy after.”
“Come on. The CCMs are being called to the stage to cut the ribbon.” I started to move toward the podium with him, but he shook his head. Damn dragon was always trying to protect me.
I huffed, but remained on the sidelines. I loathed showing up in the newspapers anyway. I swear, the media was 99% gossip, 0.3% news, and 0.7% letters to the editors complaining about one of the other two categories.
“After you, ladies,” Twig said to the CCMs from the Icarus and Neptune guilds. The Hoofarian CCM then followed Twig to the podium, wrestling the oversized scissors up the rickety steps. Ah, the glamorous life of a public servant.
The audience applauded politely, the bundled up kids arranged on the front row bleachers, followed by equally covered parents and staff. A few reporters squeezed in front next to the kids, garnering dirty looks from the parents.
I wouldn’t have noticed the slight stiffening of Turtlebottom’s form as the Council members approached if I wasn’t looking for it.
All the non-Alphae members. Together. On one stage.
Oh, burn me! This so wasn’t good.
“Twig!” I shouted, calling forth my magic.
Mischief, Magic, and Murder . . . That’s a Maslow!
If you’re looking for comedy, fantasy, or dead bodies in your romances (sometimes all three at once!), I’m your gal.
I’m also a. . . gasp!. . . extroverted writer. It seems counterintuitive that as someone who is energized by people, I spend most of my time alone. Yet, that’s the case. And I don’t mind.
If I get writer’s block or start to go a little stir crazy, I head out to a coffee shop, a restaurant, a friend’s place–anywhere to fill up my need for human contact. It also helps that I spend a lot of time with the voices in my head. Some of them are really quite opinionated.
I love writing gay romance because I’m a sap for a happy ending, and I believe everyone—regardless of orientation—should be able to find books that have them. And if that romance comes with a dash of mischief, magic, or murder, all the better.
I believe that life is for living, kindness is contagious, and a good book makes the world a better place.