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A tenacious witch desperate to save her mother. A sexy explorer imprisoned by his mistakes. Can they rescue each other before magic runs out? Eliza Hannigan is obsessed with the unseen. When she was young, her mother disappeared before her eyes, and Eliza won’t stop until she finds out what happened. When her research leads her to the handsome Drew Nagle imprisoned inside a book, she hopes she has finally found the answer. But as the magic that sustains Drew begins to fade, Eliza must race against time before she loses him and her mother for good.A mistake trapped Drew inside a book hundreds of years ago, unable to interact with the world. When Eliza opens his book, he’s amazed that she can see and touch him. With magic on the fritz, and Drew running out of time, he must choose: regain his freedom or help Eliza bring her family back together.This short steamy romance is the first book of the Love in the Library Trilogy. If you love dazzling romance, forbidden reading, and happily ever afters, then you’ll love AJ Tipton’s sizzling story.Buy Magic Between the Covers to get captured by love today!
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Copyright © AJ Tipton 2017 The right of AJ Tipton to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted by her in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 (or other similar law, depending on your country). All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form, or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise) without the prior written permission of the author, except in cases of brief quotations embodied in reviews or articles. It may not be edited, amended, lent, resold, hired out, distributed or otherwise circulated without the publisher’s written permission. Permission can be obtained from firstname.lastname@example.org
This book is for sale to adult audiences only. It contains substantial sexually explicit scenes and graphic language which may be considered offensive by some readers.
This is a work of fiction. All characters, names, places and incidents appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, organizations, events or locales is purely coincidental.
All sexually active characters in this work are 18 years of age or older.
Cover art photos provided by BigStock.com, Morgue Files, Flickr.com, and Upsplash.com.
Created with Vellum
Eleven-year-old Eliza Hannigan sobbed silently as she climbed the stairs looming between the first floor and the comfort of her mother's arms. Her favorite pink leggings were ripped and stained with blood, her bicycle abandoned on the unforgiving sidewalk outside after it betrayed her.
“Mom?" Eliza tried to hold back the tears already flowing down her face. She was a big kid, after all. The cut on her knee throbbed with pain. "Mommy!"
She let the tears fall. Eliza would be tough next time, maybe when she was older.
Eliza trudged toward her mother's study. Right before she reached the doorknob, a rush of cold wind swept by her face. Her mother was talking inside, chanting words Eliza couldn't make out.
She peeked inside. Her mom sat at her desk, her back to the door, speaking a strange, staccato language that made Eliza's teeth itch. Floating all around her mother’s silhouette were glittering bubbles filled with moving figures.
Eliza watched with growing amazement as the bubbles floated out of her mom's forehead to land on the pages of a book open on her desk. Eliza forgot about her scrape. This was magic—real magic. Eliza had read enough to know that it couldn't be anything else. The bubbles danced in an intricate pattern all around the room, bouncing into each other and multiplying at a speed that didn't look right.
A high-pitched whine shook the room, and Eliza clapped her hands over her ears. The noise was so loud, it shook her mother's mug of coffee to the floorboards. Hot liquid splashed everywhere, and Eliza ducked down, hiding her face in her arms.
"Mom!" Eliza screamed.
Eliza's mother turned, her eyes wide. Her lips formed Eliza's name, but no sound came out. Her hands gripped either side of the book so hard they were white, and her terrified expression was one Eliza had never seen on her mother's face.
Like a switch being turned off, the noise and the lights, the magical bubbles, and the terrifying tremors suddenly stopped.
The book slammed shut, and all was quiet.
Her mother had vanished.
“Mom?" Eliza's hands grasped the empty chair in front of her. "Mommy! Where are you?"
Her sobs echoed off the walls of the empty room.
17 Years Later
Eliza sipped at a glass of whiskey as she reread Cross-Dimensional Storage: A Tidy Closet for a Tidy Mind for the fourth time, hoping to find something—anything—to further her research. Her eyes flicked across spells detailing how to create a pocket universe to store dirty laundry, alongside enchantments for socks so they never get lost in the wash. Kid stuff. None of these spells could envelop living matter, let alone an entire person. Eliza pounded her glass down on the beer-stained bar top. It clunked loudly against the wood, whiskey splashing out over the glass's rim.
"Shit. Sorry, Lola." Eliza sheepishly looked at the bartender.
Lola let go of the silver cocktail shaker she was holding and winked at Eliza. The cocktail continued shaking itself, suspended in mid-air.
"Don't worry about it, hon." Lola's black hair, wound in hundreds of braids, floated above her head, bobbing in time to the music thumping out of the overhead speakers. "You need a break. Check out the scenery." Lola tilted her head toward the other clients at AUDREY'S, and her braids all moved to point along with her.
"But—" I have so much work to do! Eliza wanted to argue. Felicia was running late coming back from the Library, her text instructing Eliza to "have a drink and try to relax" until she got there.
Relax. It was as if Felicia didn't know Eliza at all.
Lola rose one immaculate, black eyebrow at Eliza, and Eliza dutifully took a sip of her drink and swung around on her barstool to take a look around.
Half-naked bear shifters had taken over a corner booth, mud splattered across their bare, human chests. They were loudly recounting how their recent race—which apparently included magical booby traps—had gotten out of control. The largest of the trio had a single, shimmering horn protruding from his forehead and was drunkenly telling anybody who would listen that he was “horny,” while the other two had daisies growing out of their ears. In the opposite corner of the bar, a rowdy bunch of satyrs were playing darts, the furry-legged dudes standing on top of the pub tables to get eye-level with the dartboard.
Eliza grinned, her mood immediately lighter. Just three short years ago, she had no idea any of this existed.
"Thanks, Lola." Eliza sighed. "I'm not getting anywhere with this book anyway."
Lola plucked the floating shaker from the air with one hand while topping off Eliza's drink with the other.
"It's just the wrong book, sweetie." Lola smiled.
The slam of something heavy hitting the bar behind her made Eliza whip her head around.
“Hey, lady,” Felicia, Eliza’s best friend, said with a groan as she slid a towering stack of books toward her. The redhead stretched her arms above her head and plopped down on the barstool next to Eliza. “Can’t you request lighter books next time?”
“How about I buy you a drink to make up for it?” Eliza’s heart raced at the gorgeous sight of the thick new stack of spell books. "Do you have the updated directory? I’m sure I can get through this lot by next week.” Even after all these years, it never got less frustrating that Eliza wasn’t allowed into the Library, the repository of magical knowledge reserved only for the descendants of the First Families of witches. With the help of Felicia—of the illustrious Gray First Family—Eliza could still get the information she needed, but she hated being so dependent on her friend.
A sheet of paper appeared in Felicia's hand. The list was enchanted to hold the titles of every book in the Library, updated as new books were written and installed. Felicia placed the paper on the bar, just out of Eliza's reach.
“How about you take it easy for a minute?” Felicia sipped at a sparkling purple cocktail Lola had placed in front of her. “These books have some really advanced spellwork in them. I wouldn’t normally give them to somebody who’s only been casting for three years.”
“So what you’re saying is, I’m your favorite student.” Eliza pulled the stack of books to her chest and gave them a quick hug.
“Oh, absolutely.” Felicia chuckled.
“I am ready for these. I’m sure I’ve cast much more advanced spells than what’s in these books.” Eliza randomly flipped to the center of Invisibility Cloaks and Ethics of the Unseen. "Look: Ackles' Theory of Light Polarization. I was already working on the fourth variation of his spell to see invisible beings in my second year."
“That’s the problem, hon.” Felicia sighed. “You’ve crammed so much knowledge in such a short period of time, I’m worried you’re forgetting to live your life. Just look at you: you’re at a bar, reading.” She gently took Invisibility Cloaks from Eliza's hands and placed it back on the stack. “You’re going to burn out if you keep going like this.”
“You’re so sweet to be worried about me, but honestly, I’m fine.” Eliza patted Felicia on the shoulder, still eying the books. She concentrated on the stack, and she uttered a quick spell. The stack immediately shrunk to the size of a pack of gum, and Eliza swept them into her bag.
"See? I have this all handled!" Eliza grabbed for the Library directory, now in easy reach. Felicia took that second to slide her arm forward to request a refill from Lola, effectively blocking Eliza.
"Now, what kind of friend would I be if I just handed this list over?" Felicia grinned.
"A terrific one? Who is just so pretty, by the way."
A chorus of singing broke out from the near the door. A gaggle of dryads had fashioned a growing, writhing mass of vines into hammocks suspended from the ceiling. The beat of their pirate shanty perfectly matched the swaying of their homemade perches.
Eliza closed her eyes. She didn't have time for this. “I’m so close to figuring out what happened to my mom.” She finished off the last sip of whiskey, savoring the hot burn as it slid down her throat. “I can feel it. Any day now, I’ll find her.”
Felicia placed her hand over Eliza's on the stained tabletop. “If anybody can do it, it’s you. I’ve been surrounded by magic since I was a kid, and I have never seen anybody make such quick progress. Just...” Felicia sighed. “Be careful. You're taking unnecessary risks, like all those extra-sensory spells you’ve been casting on yourself—”
Eliza blinked. How did Felicia find out about those?
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