QSFer Meghan Maslow has a new MM urban fantasy book out, Starfig Investigations Book 4: Fairy and Impartial.
All Twig Starfig wants is to settle into mated life with his wizard and be a good leader to his clan. No drama. No heartache. A happily-ever-after fit for a dragon. Or half-dragon, at any rate.
Instead, Twig and Quinn get roped into a new case involving missing orc stones. Yes, those really are a thing. Twig’s dad is on the PR warpath . . . again. Quinn’s little brother can’t seem to stop pining over their housemate. Someone—or something—seems to be following them. And getting quality time alone with his wizard is more difficult than keeping one’s virginity at an incubus party.
To make matters worse, Twig’s old enemies start dropping like fairyflies, and they find themselves smack in the middle of an inconvenient murder investigation with a certain red fury as the main suspect. With everyone in Lighthelm convinced of Bill’s guilt—and by association Twig’s—Starfig Investigations is on the case.
Is there no one in the Elder Realm who’s fairy and impartial?
Oddly enough, Agent Hatharal Leotoris did not look happy to see us. Nor did his partner.
Quinn and I had walked to the local Elder Bureau of Investigation’s outpost, a monstrosity of corrugated metal and stonework with bars on every window. The large map of Lighthelm that sat askew on one wall and the bespelled glass partition added to the place’s charm. Looked more like a prison than a workspace for EBI agents. Smelled like one, too. The cleaning products not enough to disguise the sickly odor of sweat, blood, and failed ambition.
What did an EBI agent have to do to get stuck at this sorry excuse of an outpost?
If the EBI agents were surprised to see a City Council member in the industrial district, they didn’t show it. Nor did the elves show enthusiasm when we reported the crime. They were even less enthusiastic when I mentioned that Leo should be included in this discussion. For better or worse, the EBI tasked the agent with anything Starfig. He earned his paycheck.
We hadn’t even had time to make ourselves comfortable in the rickety waiting room chairs before he and his partner arrived via invocation stone.
“Just what have you gotten yourself into now, Twig? You haven’t even been back in this realm for a month, and already dead bodies are turning up around you.” Leo wore a freshly pressed EBI-issued uniform. His dark blue sash gleamed, and his light brown hair was twisted into simple braids.
Not sure why he seemed so peevish, since he looked well-rested. Then again, I didn’t doubt Quinn’s and my absence the last few months played a significant role in this development. Usually by the end of one of our cases, Leo looked a little disheveled.
Hey, new case. Lucky him.
“You know how it is, Agent Leotoris. All in a day’s work.” I clapped him on the shoulder. Elves had to be stronger than they looked because he didn’t even stagger.
Leo’s partner stepped forward as if to intervene. Really?
“You need to step back.”
“You both remember my partner, Agent Tordynnar Gorwin? I believe you met him at a couple other murder scenes.”
“There’s just been so many. It’s hard to keep track. Of the scenes, not the agent.” I grinned.
Leo didn’t. Though there might have been a slight lip twitch.
Agent Gorwin all but growled. Ah, that’s right. He lacked a sense of humor.
I might have said the part about Leo’s partner’s lack of humor aloud. Oops.
He turned an unflattering shade of red. An inch or two shorter than Quinn, Gorwin looked like the stereotypical elf—blond hair, large blue eyes, a thin angular face. I liked Leo’s look better. A little darker coloring than most elves, and he even wore just a hint of stubble on his strong jaw line. Both had the same willowy builds that all elves possess, no matter their age.
Leo cleared his throat. “Win, why don’t you head to the scene with a couple agents. Call in the crime-scene techs, too. I’ll take their statements.”
“Leo, I really think—”
“Win. Now.” Leo raised a brow.
“Fine.” Win stomped over to the glass partition and waved over two other agents. With a few whispered words, they set off, Agent Gorwin shooting daggers at me or perhaps Leo before they disappeared with a pop.
The moment they vanished, Leo’s posture relaxed infinitesimally.
“We’ve already given them a statement,” I pointed out helpfully, knowing full well Leo would want a first-hand account.
“You better not have killed somebody.” He glared. It held no heat. He pulled out his pad and a quill.
Dare I think he missed us?
“You know me better than that, Leo. We just happened to stumble on a dead body. The way we always do.” Maybe a slight understatement.
“I don’t know. The last time we met, you’d just clipped off the head of a brownie.” His lips turned up in a hint of a smile.
“Details. Besides, doppelgängers hardly count. Especially when wielding a necrolight. I think we can agree I did everyone a favor. You’re welcome, by the way.”
Leo sighed. This wouldn’t be his only one today.
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. Mostly. 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.