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Arcane Transporter 5
BY JAMI GRAY
A council contract, an obscure relic, and a lethal vendetta blindside Rory with dodgy ramifications and pitch her into a slippery tailspin.
With the addition of her Arcane Council contracts, Rory Costas’s Transporter career has kicked into high gear, but their latest request might be the one that sends her careening off course. The Arcane Council is determined to hunt down the notorious Heretic Key and are willing to use all available resources in their need for retribution, resources like Rory and her partner, the lethal Hunter, Zev Aslanov.
With Zev already on the Heretic’s trail and closing in, Rory’s assignment seems simple enough, team up with a Council agent to validate an obscure relic and then utilized a little bait and switch to lure the Heretic into the open so Zev can take him down. But as seems to be the case lately, nothing stays on track. Blindsided by the unexpected, Rory is faced with an impossible choice that pits her integrity against her heart, and even she’s not sure which will cross the finish line.
When the dust finally settles, will Rory crash into a dead end or reclaim enough traction to survive unfamiliar roads?
Strap in for Rory’s pulse-pounding ride and brace for impact in this breath-stealing urban fantasy installment of the Arcane Transporter!
I brought the car to a stop in front of the ominous gate. Despite the fact that the gate was made of thick bars of wrought iron, there was no way to make out what lay beyond it. A strange warping haze hovered on the other side, indicating more illusions were at play. When Piper unsnapped her seat belt and reached for the door, I knew I wasn’t the only one making that assumption.
I grabbed her arm before she could open the door. “No.”
Hand still on the door, she turned and frowned. “Why not?”
I let her go and used my head to indicate the intercom and keypad positioned off to the side. “We’re being watched. You haul out your pet disrupter, I don’t think whoever’s playing Peeping Tom will give you enough time to put it together.”
She didn’t look at what I’d flagged, knowing what that would reveal to our watchers. Instead, she let go of the door, relaxed back in her seat for a brief moment, then casually bent forward as if collecting something from the floorboards. The move effectively kept her face out of the spotlight. “Your ability, does it allow you to see through illusions?”
It was an astute question, which served as a reminder to not underestimate the strategic warrior next to me. I considered my answer as I studied what lay beyond the thick metal bars. “Not exactly.” I let that part of me that sensed active magic unfurl. “But it will give us a heads-up.”
Lines of power flickered to life in my mind’s eye, revealing a thick web of power that wove between the gate’s bars like a smoke screen. It was so complex, it was dizzying. On some instinctual level, I understood that getting through it would take both skill and time, neither of which were currently available.
Piper didn’t push it. “Then we proceed as if nothing is real.” She straightened, her expression coolly composed, exposing nothing.
Since that echoed my personal plan, I simply nodded and dropped one hand to hover over the window control on my door. I could hold my strange double vision open for an extended period of time, but the cost would be a debilitating headache. Not willing to risk such a weakness, I nudged the mental door almost completely closed, leaving it open just enough that only a whisper of warning would be needed to throw it wide. I rubbed a knuckle over my brow and asked, “Shall we?”
She gave a barely-there nod.
I powered down the window then reached through to press the button next to the intercom.
A buzz sounded, and a few long seconds passed before there was a click followed by an abrupt “Yes?”
“Ms. Costas and Ms. McMillan to see the Blessed Amrita.”
The intercom remained silent. For a long, tense moment, I wondered if we would have no choice but to pull out the disrupter, but then a subtle hum sounded, and the metal gate slowly began to roll back.
No further direction came from the intercom, so I raised my window and put the car into gear. As we inched into the murky veil of illusion that curtained the surroundings, it swirled in a dizzying dance. The strange disruption slowly parted directly in front of us, revealing an unobstructed road.
“That’s not fog,” Piper murmured.
“Nope.” I kept the BMW’s speed down as we crept along the drive. I spared a glance out the rearview and noted that the gate had disappeared in the haze behind us. We were definitely being herded forward. “I don’t like this.”
“Neither do I,” Piper said, an edge of hardness in her voice.
The road curved, and as we rounded the bend, the haze disappeared as if a switch had been thrown.
I blinked at what sat before us. “Piper, are you seeing this?”
“Uh-huh,” the Sentinel sounded as stunned as I felt. “How is that even standing?”
“Magic?” That earned me a slight slap on my shoulder. “Ow!”
“Baby,” she murmured without looking away from the weirdly constructed house.
“Bully,” I shot back even as I glided to a stop. “But I was being serious. Look at it.”
We both stared. Amrita’s house could’ve been pulled from Dr. Seuss’s rhyming stories of my childhood. “‘From there to here, from here to there, funny things are everywhere!’” I repeated from memory. With nowhere left to go, I put the BMW into park and shut off the engine.
“Right?” Piper leaned forward and craned her neck, a necessary angle to capture whatever it was that rose up through the trees. “It’s like someone tried to build a bunch of different houses and then set them on top of each other in a twisted version of Jenga.”
She wasn’t wrong. Unlike the strange treehouse-like structures we’d seen before, this did not try to blend in any way. The house, if it could be called that, had five levels. The bottom level was long, its siding a mix of shingles, bricks, and wood broken up by a headache-inducing collection of square, round, and diamond-shaped windows that couldn’t have found a straight line if given a ruler.
Sitting above that in an irritating discordance was the second floor—a thin and narrow level with the same unexplained mix of architectural choices. Symmetrical square windows lined the third level, narrow strips of brick dividing the evenly spaced panes, the roofline so thin as to be nonexistent.
The fourth was a precariously perched cupola straight out of the Victorian era set dead center, while the final and fifth level was a neo-Gothic spire that belonged on a European church. Not much, if any, of the overall structure belonged anywhere near the Coconino National Forest, much less pieced together like this incongruous creation.
Yet there it stood, in all its demented glory.
“Maybe it’s an illusion?” I asked with a carefully hopeful note as I continued to stare in horrified fascination, wondering if a stiff wind would send it tumbling down. The thought of walking inside that disaster waiting to happen had goosebumps breaking out over my arms.
“Guess we’ll find out soon enough.” Piper shoved open her door and stepped out.
Jami Gray is the coffee addicted, music junkie, Queen Nerd of her personal Geek Squad, Alpha Mom of the Fur Minxes, who writes to soothe the voices crammed in her head. You don’t want to miss out on her multiple series that combine magical intrigue and fearless romance into one wild ride – with the worlds of the Arcane Transporter, The Kyn, PSY-IV Teams, or The Collapse.
Links to Jami’s websites, blogs, books, #ad etc.:
Amazon Series Page:
• Barnes & Noble:
• Draft2Digtial: https://books2read.com/u/mvyqBX
• Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/1330831v
• Website: https://JamiGray.com
• Amazon Author Page:
• Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/JamiGray
Thanks, Jami, for sharing your book with us!
Don’t miss the chance to read this book!