New Release! Another Topper Book!
Written for the Magic, NM Series Kindle World by SE Smith
Welcome to Magic, New Mexico—otherwise known as Crazytown.
Snow zones and ice patches are popping up all over. It’s Topper’s job to fix this conundrum even though she’s four months pregnant, yet looks like she’s about to give birth any second. The cold patches aren’t melting like ice should in New Mexico heat.
Add in fish shifter Alfred’s infatuation with a cat woman and there is double chaos… mainly due to the fact that cats tend to eat fish. When random aliens begin appearing too, it’s all Topper can do not to turn the entire town into donkeys so she can give birth in peace. Something has to give.
What’s a pregnant witch to do? Solve Magic’s problems, that’s what. But it’s easier said than done.
Topper feels ill-equipped to be a mother, even if the child rapidly growing inside her obviously doesn’t agree. Growing at twice the rate of a normal baby, her daughter will arrive sooner than she can say Blessed Be.
But why in the heck hasn’t she known all this time that her alien husband, Stark, has a twin sister? Men never tell you the important stuff, no matter which planet they hail from. Whatever…
With her daughter on the way and the town in peril, Topper will sprint to the rescue once again… or waddle.
Goddess help everyone when she figures out what in her purple-haired glory days is going on.
Click Here To Read An Excerpt
It was a very strange place she’d come to and unbearably warm. Of course at her age, every place was unbearably warm, even when you lived on an ice planet. Cold flashes happened to her with frightening regularity these days. Usually they were annoying, but in Magic, New Mexico—a small Earth village in a desert, of all places—the quick bouts of freezing offered some momentary relief.
“Ma’am? The gentleman at the table in the corner would like to buy you a drink. He says you look hot.”
“He is correct. I am hot,” Rime said matter-of-factly, leaning around the young girl as she eyed the male openly staring at her. He looked quite the spectacle in his white shirt, red suspenders, and gray head covering. Earthlings had such a strange sense of style. “What manner of creature is the gentleman?”
“That’s just Alfred. He’s harmless—in case you were worried,” the girl said. “He’s a fish but hasn’t shifted to one in quite the while, at least not in public. You see, he was recently possessed by one of the green meanies from the alien planet we’re connected to… oops!” She covered her mouth and widened her eyes. “Sorry. I’m not supposed to talk about that. Can we just forget I mentioned anything about aliens? If Topper finds out I blurted it to a stranger, she’ll kick me out of the coven trainee program.”
“Now that we’ve met, I’m no longer a stranger. And I know you’re speaking of the dakkari that were rescued,” Rime said, waving a hand. “I know much about your aliens, child. You’ve revealed no secrets to me.”
“Yes, ma’am. So… about that drink?”
“I will accept his kind offer. Bring me two containers of ice and one with the essence of the Goddess.”
“Uh… essence of the Goddess?”
Rime laughed. She searched her memories for what she’d learned. It was harder at her age to retain it all. “Water,” she said finally, happy she thought of the proper word. Looking vastly relieved, the girl scampered off to bring it to her. She looked over at the gentleman and waved. “Thank you for being so kind.”
Smiling at her, the fish man lifted his hat and let it fall back to his head. His actions made her laugh—something she hadn’t done much of in a good long while. Losing her life mate had sucked all joy from her life, even though he’d been gone for nearly a hundred Earth years. And her ardent suitor back on Glacier? Despite being one of the beings who helped rule on Glacier, Director Quest only gave her the creeps. Thank Icela, she’d said yes to coming here. Desert heat or not, she was ready for a vacation from her normal life.
She smiled at the girl who brought her ice and water. Chanting a gratitude prayer, she poured the water over the ice. As she lifted the glass to drink, a pair of red suspenders appeared within touching distance.
“May I join you?” Alfred asked.
Rime smiled at the owner of the strange clothing. “Of course.”
“My name is Alfred,” he said as he sat.
“Hello, Alfred. My name is Rime.”
“You’re very beautiful. Would you like to be my girlfriend?” Alfred asked.
Rime laughed. “Looking at your nearly wrinkle-free skin, I’m guessing that I’m old enough to be your great-great-grandmother. I’ve lost my mate, but still mourn him, so I am not available to be anyone’s girlfriend, which I assume means a female available for sexual relations. Since I am alone here, I would like to be just your friend, if that appeals to you,” Rime countered. “And I do find myself curious. Why is a charming man like yourself not with a mate already?”
Alfred sighed sadly. “I have no mate because I spent too many years as a fish. It was a very simple, easy existence just swimming in a fishbowl all the time. Hardly any thought was required. But I see now that it was not necessarily the best way for a shifter to live. Or at least, that’s what my therapist tells me I should be thinking. She insists shifters shouldn’t retain their animal states for such extended periods of time.”
“I see. What is a therapist?” Rime asked, not understanding.
“Head Doctor,” Alfred said, trying to see her point of confusion. “You’re not from around here, are you? Yet you seem oddly familiar to me. You have the most interesting silver eyes.”
“Thank you. They’re a family trait—one I’ve always been quite proud of,” Rime replied politely.
“If you need a place to stay, you can stay with me. I have room. I sleep in a fishbowl so my bed rarely gets used. I won’t bother you now that you’ve established the boundary on our relationship. Maybe you could tell my therapist how well I’m doing in accepting boundaries.”
“Since I’ve turned down your offer of a more intimate relationship, I couldn’t sleep in your bed. It wouldn’t be fair,” Rime said logically.
“You wouldn’t be imposing on anything. I really do sleep in a fishbowl because I don’t like sleeping as human. Plus, I’d sincerely enjoy having some company. I need to practice my social skills because apparently, I have none… well, at least none that are acceptable according to my therapist. So now that we’ve established we’re not having sex, I think we should make small talk—or that’s what I think I’m supposed to do. Are you here to visit someone in Magic?” Alfred asked, with an awkwardly practiced politeness which looked something akin to constipation.
Rime had to think about how to answer. Was she there to visit? Or was she merely spying for the Goddess she loved while avoiding a too persistent male she loathed? “I came to Magic for many reasons. Some are things I can’t talk about yet.”
“That’s okay. Everyone’s story is like that here,” Alfred said with confidence. “I’m sure you’ll fit right in with all the others keeping secrets.”
Rime laughed. “Perhaps. We’ll see.”
“So will you be my guest… until you make up your mind about visiting?”
He looked so hopeful, Rime couldn’t bring herself to refuse. “Very well. I accept your kind offer, Alfred. Perhaps at the very least, I can help with your social skills to repay your kindness. I read extensively about your language and etiquette before I came here. Not bragging, but I’m normally an outstanding learner.”
“How are you at teaching? Maybe you can be my Life Coach,” Alfred suggested.
“Life Coach,” Rime repeated, feeling the term echo across her lips. “I do like the sound of that.”
Alfred held out a hand. “Great. Let’s shake on it.”
Rime arched a silver brow, but extended her fingers. Alfred squeezed her whole hand and moved her arm up and down. How odd these people were and yet…
Alfred smiled. “I have an ice maker in my refrigerator. You can have all the ice water you want at my house.”
Rime smiled. “You are very kind, Alfred. I understand you exchange personal service for currency here. Do you know where I might find such an arrangement?”
“Are you saying you need a job?” Alfred asked.
Rime nodded, tucking the new word away.
“I’ll pay you to make me normal,” Alfred offered. “I’d rather talk to you than my therapist. You’re much prettier.”
“Would this job of yours allow me to buy clothing like the natives and food to sustain me?”
“Definitely, but I’ll feed you too… so long as you like vegetarian meals. You won’t have to pay me for staying. I really would appreciate the company. I’ve never really had a guest who stayed. I even have a guest room if you’d prefer your privacy.”
Rime lifted her hand and extended her fingers as he had done. “I would prefer that. Let us shake on that as well, Alfred. I am now in your service. I will do my best to improve your situation.”
“Can I call you Coach Rime?” Alfred asked, briefly shaking her hand again.
Rime laughed softly. “Yes. You may call me, Coach Rime.”
“This is going to be great. I just know it. I’ll be socially acceptable in no time with your help.”
Rime wasn’t feeling quite that positive, but at least she’d solved her biggest problems of how to survive in the heat and not starve. Now she could focus on collecting information.
“Alfred, who is this Topper person the girl working here talked about?” Rime asked.
Alfred looked around, wincing. “Let’s talk about Topper later. We shouldn’t really do it in public. She has amazing ears and they hear everything. You just can’t always see them under her purple hair.”
“Is she frightening then?” Rime asked.
“Not frightening… not really. Just… well, Topper has a temper. Sometimes she turns people into things. She turned her husband into a donkey before they were married. He had it put in the wedding vows that she was never allowed to do it again. Stark’s very smart for an alien.”
“I see,” Rime said, but she didn’t. The female did not sound like a pleasant person—not at all.
“Let’s go home and I’ll make us some stir-fried seaweed and carrots for dinner. It’s not too bad if you add in pine nuts. I’m a pretty good cook.”
Rime rose as Alfred did. She found she towered over him.
“Wow. You’re really tall for a woman,” Alfred said.
Looking down at the top of his head, Rime smiled at the man she’d promised to help. “Here’s my first Life Coach advice for you. Never let anyone know you find their size intimidating. Your fear of me is showing in your eyes, Alfred. People lose respect for anyone who does that.”
Rime grinned when Alfred bobbed his head up and down and straightened his spine. He was nothing like the males she was used to. The poor man really did need some guidance.
With nothing appealing to go back to on Glacier, she wasn’t in a hurry to go home.
Topper and Stark materialized in the center of town where a dozen of Magic’s best witches were gathered. Topper tolerated their smirks and stares because she had that same stunned reaction every time she saw herself in a mirror and realized that she was indeed pregnant.
Moonie snorted as she hobbled closer to them on her cane. Topper inwardly sighed but knew there was no way to avoid the teasing.
“You look like an alien might pop out of your belly any moment and devour the whole town,” Moonie declared.
“That’s highly unlikely. Lacey’s already given birth to Earth’s first ever alien-human baby. My grand-niece was perfectly normal.”
“Except for her icy blue eyes and thousand yard freeze stare,” Moonie offered.
Topper patted her husband’s arm and walked away. As usual, Stark was fighting not to be sick. There’d been no time for him to take one of his pre-magical transport nausea pills.
“Lacey and Frost are doing just fine with her.”
“I didn’t say they weren’t and arguing is not why I summoned you here, no matter how much fun it is,” Moonie said. She motioned with a wrinkled hand. “Come over here and look at this with me.”
Sighing, Topper followed after Moonie. She felt guilty to be in such good health when one of her best friends was losing her vitality. Moonie led her to the park and stood to wait while she took it in. The grass in the small area was covered with snow. The flowers and trees were coated in ice—or what appeared to be ice. It wasn’t melting like normal ice would, but it glimmered wetly in the already simmering Arizona sun.
Stark walked up behind her and stared over her shoulder. “Beautiful,” he said, walking around her. He touched the icicles dripping from the tree leaves.
“Are they real?” Topper asked.
Stark shrugged. “Feels real. Seems to be made of water.”
“Who did this?” Topper asked, turning to Moonie.
Moonie shrugged. “I thought maybe you did. Your energy is very different these days. There are some cold vibes coming off your protruding middle there.”
“Do you honestly think my unborn child could have done this?” Topper asked.
Another shrug was Moonie’s reply. “No idea. Never had any rug rats of my own.”
Topper stepped forward and the snow melted as she walked through it. She put a hand over where her child rested inside her. “Okay, little troublemaker. No playing with snow and ice until you’re out of me.”
Before their eyes, the ice melted and the snow turned to liquid. Topper closed her eyes and sighed. Not even born yet and the child was already causing problems.
“Your daughter…” she began, speaking low as Stark walked over to stand next to her. It was the word game they played every time she complained about something new their baby was doing.
“My daughter is obviously a very powerful being,” Stark said, finishing the thought as he looked around. “I’m not sure how an unborn infant managed to create snow and ice that doesn’t melt in this heat. If I possessed such a talent, I’d create a cold room in our house.”
Topper opened her eyes and looked around. All the snow and ice was gone now. The temperature in the park had returned to normal. She looked at her husband, reminded again—like she’d been on their honeymoon—that he’d given up even his physical comfort to stay with her.
“Witch magic obeys Gaia’s laws for the planet, but science is the magic of a different kind. We’ll install one of those large walk-in coolers like they have in restaurants. That can be your cold room.”
Stark bent his head and kissed her lips. “That would be wonderful.”
Topper smiled and nodded. “I’m thinking it might also be a suitable playroom for a child who I’m guessing is going to need the cold to be happy.”
“I see a lot of child-rearing duties in my future.”
“I see that too, and even without my scrying mirror.”
Her husband’s chuckle made her smile even wider.
“Theo’s been getting calls since dawn, and you know how grumpy our dragon Sheriff gets when people wake him up too early. Apparently, there’s a whole bunch of these snow zones around town,” Moonie informed them.
Sighing, Topper nodded. “Fine. Stark and I will walk back. I’m not doing anything special, but it seems they go away when I walk through them.”
“It’s going to take you all day to do all of them. There’s over thirty so far,” Moonie warned.
“No problem,” Topper said, but she was tired already after one. How was she going to do this for the rest of her gestation? “It’s going to take me all day anyway. Waddling only works for ducks. It doesn’t work as well for me.”
“How about we borrow Harry’s golf cart?” Moonie suggested, lifting her hand and chanting.
Topper was shaking her head and walking but she couldn’t get there fast enough. A golf cart appeared in the square just as Moonie fell to the ground.
“Too much! That was too much,” she yelled, dropping hard to her knees beside a now laughing Moonie.
“Wow. Gives me a head rush to do that much conjuring these days,” Moonie said, giggling. “Afterward, it’s like being drunk.”
“You have to stop over-conjuring, Moonie. Your witch magic is strong, but your human will is weakening. That’s a dangerous combination. We’ve seen it before.”
“I know,” Moonie said sadly. “I know. You don’t have to worry about me, Topper. I’ll be going to Goddess soon. Then you’ll have one less thing to worry about.”
“Not too soon, I hope. I need you,” Topper whispered.
“You’re going to be fine without me. You were meant for bigger things in this world. We all have our own life journeys to live.”
“I met one of Gaia’s messengers while I was in Alaska,” Topper whispered. “She died an old woman, but looked no more than thirty in Gaia’s sacred space. I hope that happens to you.”
“Me too,” Moonie said, closing her eyes.
Topper looked up at the witches now surrounding them. “Take Moonie home so she can rest. Have Evanna come check her out. Tell her Moonie conjured up a golf cart before she collapsed.”
Stark pulled her to her feet while two witches kneeled beside Moonie and transported her back to her home. Topper looked at the golf cart and hoped Harry wasn’t going to be mad about Moonie taking it without his knowledge. Harry was one of the few warlocks living in town. His son was a bit of a hell-raiser, but what teenage boy wasn’t?
She looked at one of the remaining witches. “Will you tell Harry what Moonie did? Tell him I need to borrow his golf cart and will return it at the end of the day.”
“Of course, Topper.” The woman lifted a hand and was gone.
With most of the problems now constrained, Topper looked at her husband. “You can drive the golf cart today, but go slowly. I don’t want this baby to be born before her time, whenever that’s going to be.”
“As you wish,” Stark said, helping her navigate to the cart to climb inside.
What is Kindle Worlds?
Kindle Worlds is an Amazon exclusive program. The titles written for the world can NOT be purchased at other ebook retailers or anywhere besides the Amazon US site, but they can be read on any tablet, computer, or smartphone using the free Kindle App.
Who is S. E. Smith? So glad you want to know!
I met S.E. Smith through a mutual paranormal author friend. We’ve been fellow geek friends ever since. I’m a fan of her aliens, her shifters, and pretty much all the characters S. E. creates. Her premise for the Magic, NM series is very funny–alien cop chases an alien bad guy to Earth where both end up in a town full paranormals. Alien copy + powerful witch = a lot of fun and laughs.
I was excited when S.E. suggested I write a story about the head witch in Magic, who’s nearly 60. S. E. asked me for an HEA for Topper. Wish granted…
To see all the published books in S.E. Smith’s Magic, NM series, visit her series page.
Other Great Books From The Third Kindle World Release
KINDLE WORLD: Magic, New Mexico Kindle World
SERIES: Book 3 of My Crazy Alien Romance
RELEASE DATE: September 19, 2017
AVAILABILITY: Amazon US Only