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Magic After Midlife: Books 2-7 | Ebook

Magic After Midlife: Books 2-7 | Ebook

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⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 4.8 - 46 Reviews

Get ready for more magic, intrigue, and romance.

Will Miri learn the truth of her parents’ murder?
Will her family learn the truth about her?
Will the slow burn between her and Laurent catch fire?

Featuring a slow burn shifter romance and a smart older heroine, this clever mix of urban fantasy and mystery will take you on a wild ride.

MAGIC AFTER MIDLIFE COLLECTION: BOOKS 2-7 does not include the first book in this series, and is intended for readers of the Epic Badassery bundle, who’ve finished THROWING SHADE (Book 1).

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ “I was laughing so hard in places I felt like I couldn't breathe!” - Reviewer

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ "I was a little worried going into this, I've loved all of Wilde's previous books and her characters have resonated with me as they've been my age (ish)... Would I relate so well to someone older with a child and responsibilities who would seemingly have it all together? Freakin' yeah I did!" - Melissa

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ "OMG you guys!!! This book had me in stitches, in swoons, in happies and in frustrations and I LOVED it." – Eleanor

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MAGIC AFTER MIDLIFE COLLECTION: BOOKS 2-7 is exclusive to Deborah Wilde Books.

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Being a fixer in the magical community was supposed to be like an action film, explosions and high-octane thrills as I took jobs that pushed my moral boundaries and hardened my soul. Instead, it was like perpetually being the birthday kid’s parent at a Chuck E. Cheese: I had become the unwitting shepherd to an endless flock of whiny disasters. 

My first assignment was to “liberate” a ferret from a prolonged stay at a spiteful ex-husband’s house who had agreed to joint pet custody with his equally unpleasant former wife. Fun fact: the Latin name for ferret translates to “stinky weasel thief.” I spent a good half hour chasing the slippery bastard around a spacious penthouse whose design aesthetic was “Russian mobster fucks ESPN” or, as I dubbed it, “Borat Does the Sexy,” finally catching the animal under a black leather bar whose gold countertop was mounted with television screens. 

I shoved the ferret in its carrier, musing on how thoughtful it was of the husband to let his hook-ups catch the sports highlight reel during their ten minutes of doggy-style, and drove the pet to our client. The wife took one brief glance at her “beloved, irreplaceable companion animal, without whom life would be a desolation,” handed the carrier to the help, and dashed off to her club. I was glad to be rid of all of them.

The next scintillating gig involved finding and returning a briefcase left behind during negotiations between two gangs. Our Ohrist client, Steele Night, who I suspected pulled his name off a Zoolander name generator, had attempted and failed to retrieve it, so I was dispatched to his rival Rasputin’s HQ. 

The place was strewn with bongs, titty magazines, and a blow-up doll propped in a sex swing, all under a layer of dust and questionably sticky surfaces. 

“It’s not here, but hey.” Rasputin smirked, and ran a hand over the sex doll like he expected me to clutch my pearls. “Knock yourself out, if you want to check.”

I planted my hands on my hips. “If you’re bringing partners to this shithole, it’s no wonder you need a blow-up doll, because nobody wants to fuck in an STI factory.” I shook my head. “Have you no dignity?”

Or antibacterial wipes?

Rasputin flashed his fangs. Crud. I hadn’t expected a vampire in the mix. “Get the nagging old broad out of here.”

Some dude with an upside-down cross tattooed on his forehead flicked his fingers and my blood turned to ice—literally. 

My teeth chattered, every movement a sluggish haul, but I deployed my magic, grabbed Rasputin’s shadow like it had weight and substance, and squeezed, a darkness oozing through my fingers. Normally a vamp’s shadow was freezing cold, but compared to the rest of me, this was quite pleasant.

The vamp was rooted in place, which evened my chances of getting out alive.

I dipped my hand through the darkness behind the sex swing and summoned my shadow scythe. Except nothing happened. No weapon, no nothing, and I couldn’t understand why. The scythe manifested in the presence of dybbuks, and both they and the undead fit into the “aberrations from the natural order of death” category. Even more confusing, my magic tingled up through my feet expectantly.

We lived in a world with over sixteen million online results for how to use a bar of soap, but I had to suss out my powers through tingle interpretation. Having no time for such antics, I went with good old Plan B: threats.

“Dr-drop the m-magic,” I said. “And perhaps I won’t kill you for insulting me.”

At least my shadow still held onto Rasputin’s because that was enough to convince him to call off the man who was icing my blood.

The Ohrist magic left my body in a rush. I bent double, loudly gulping down air as a cover to pull out my new Zippo. Originally, I’d used a lighter taken from the victim of a vampire to avenge his death, but it was too macabre to hang onto, so I’d bought a fancy gold one that was also windproof. No pesky gust would stand between me and my mission of vanquishing evil.

I teased Rasputin’s shadow with the flame. 

There was a collective intake of breath from the lackeys and a squeaked “Boss!” 

“Let go of me,” Rasputin snarled.

“Admit you got your terminology wrong,” I said. “I’m not a nagging old broad, I’m a badass broad. This handy lighter and your shadow are all I require to take you from trash to ash and porn lord to dust.” I smiled brightly. “Wanna see? Or are you going to apologize?”

“Sorry,” the bloodsucker grunted. His expression was strained, his body fully paralyzed. His lack of movement while in my grasp placed him on the younger, weaker end of the Vamp-O-Meter. 

“Say it like you mean it.” My magic tingled more insistently, sending prickles along my back. At this point, I would have accepted charades to understand what it wanted from me.

“I’m sorry.” 

“Was that so hard? Now, tell your friends to back up.” I waved the lighter. 

For a second, I swore the flame looked like a scythe, but it was gone in an instant. Yes, thank you, I did have scythe abilities, but since they were utterly failing to materialize right now, this taunting reminder was unfair. Was it too much to ask my magic to communicate via a quick message on the wall in ghostly letters? 

Rasputin cut his eyes to his crew. “Do as the nice lady says.”

“Pussy,” one of the humans coughed. 

I unwound my shadow from Rasputin and cracked my knuckles in the direction of his insubordinate underling. “Want me to deal with him next?”

“Nah.” The vampire rolled out his shoulders, hauteur once again returning now that he had freedom of movement. “He’s mine. But you, you’re quite the wild card, lady. Wasn’t expecting someone like you to pack that much of a punch.”

Approving murmurs went up from the minions. Great. All I had to do to ingratiate myself with these weirdos was threaten them with bodily harm, though I had no problem using that to my advantage.

“Thanks, but don’t think that’s going to distract me.” I put on my best mom voice. “Now, did you really check for the briefcase? Because if I start looking and find it immediately, I am going to be very unhappy.”

The gang dropped their eyes to the floor.

It was just as I thought. They hadn’t even bothered searching. Once we’d remedied that and I had the briefcase, I gave them all a stern talking-to, saying that no one would respect them if they didn’t respect themselves, and left them organizing a clean-up. Vamp or human, boys with mommy issues were comically easy to deal with.

I returned the briefcase to Steele and told him to get a day job because if he needed a nanny to make sure he didn’t forget his things, then he clearly wasn’t cut out to be a criminal mastermind. 

Shockingly, the younger white man did not take this suggestion to heart. He made several less than complimentary remarks about my age and gender, despite me being the first of his many hires to actually get his briefcase back, and then stormed out in grand fashion. Even so, having embraced my magic and triumphed over dangers much worse than a pissy wannabe, I was disinclined to apologize for being a middle-aged woman expressing opinions born of experience. 

Now I was up at the ass crack of dawn on this rainy “Junuary” Wednesday (a Vancouver specialty of solid rain and cold in June) to chauffeur a spoiled Gen Z to his family’s private jet. Apparently, Taroosh “Topher” Sharma always pitched a fit about going back to his Chemical Engineering degree at Caltech and the latest tantrum had been impressive. Two antiques had been gravely injured after his father had forbidden Topher from hanging out at the beach house in Los Angeles, insisting his son devote July and August to an academic research project before starting his senior undergrad year. Boo fucking hoo.

I’d been assured that the jobs wouldn’t all be of this ignoble caliber, but Topher was known to bribe other drivers to help him play hooky, so a trusted professional had been engaged. Mine was not to question why, mine was to do or die trying. 

As my employer, Tatiana Cassin, had impressed upon me, failure was not an option. Should I blemish her impeccable reputation, I’d be on my own without her protection for my loved ones and with no help to solve my parents’ decades-old murder. A murder that may well have been intended to be my end, too.

Bleary-eyed, I drove from my duplex off Main Street in East Vancouver to the University of British Columbia, yawning far too often under the hypnotic rhythm of the wipers. There was little traffic on the road, and I made it across town in half an hour to the University Endowment Lands, which housed both the enormous campus and a lot of expensive homes. 

The Sharma house was a mid-century modern stunner with clean minimalist lines and an eye-catching asymmetry. Unlike many expensive homes in Vancouver that were hidden away behind tall hedges, the ones in this area tended to floor-to-ceiling windows designed to capture the best light at all times of day, leaving them lax on privacy.

As the gate to the driveway was open, I pulled up to the front door, and took a sip of my lukewarm double espresso before popping the trunk with a sigh. It was a two-hour drive to the Chilliwack Airport where daddy’s private plane was stationed, and Topher Sharma screamed douche canoe from the tips of his platinum-frosted over-gelled hair to his sunglasses worn before the sun had fully risen and his excessively tight V-neck, exposing a small triangle of brown skin under a partially zipped hoodie. 

I was tempted to ask him if he could make his pecs dance but when I got within ten feet, I tasted the cologne that he’d gone water rafting in and thought better of it. At least he hadn’t been late—as I’d been warned he was prone to be.

Topher grunted good morning, graciously allowed me to load his suitcase into the trunk, and only showed signs of life when I offered to put his leather satchel in with his luggage. He slung the strap over his head as if worried I’d wrestle him for it and got into the car. Given his wealth, I’d expected his suitcase to be embossed with his initials or some luxury brand name logo, but he only had a single banged-up hard plastic case on wheels. The 1 percent, they’re just like us! 

The only upside of this assignment was that Tatiana had procured a fully tricked-out luxury SUV by means I chose not to question. It was like steering a silver cloud that warmed my butt and massaged my back at an almost spiritual level.

The silence in the car lasted about three minutes before Topher switched on the radio, tuning in to a hip-hop station without asking me if I minded. Basic car etiquette 101: the driver controls the music.

My hands tightened on the wheel.

And where was my bribe? Not that I’d take it, but according to Tatiana, this kid tossed them out like beads at a Mardi Gras parade. Was I not worthy of one? Frowning, I chalked it up to my Big Mom Energy.

Topher’s leg bounced light-speed fast, and he didn’t stop fiddling with the satchel’s clasp. While he wasn’t constantly sniffing—which was the extent of my knowledge on cocaine side-effects—his shirt was soaking through with sweat, so maybe methamphetamines? 

We left the manicured streets and swung onto one of the wider avenues leading off campus, the forest pressing in on either side. The gray sky bathed the trees in a cold light, pine needles spiking out from branches like witches’ fingers.

“Los Angeles, huh?” I’d merely intended to make conversation but given the way Topher jumped and swung his wide-eyed gaze away from the window, you’d have thought I’d forcefully dragged him back into his physical body from the spirit realm. Was this all an elaborate act to guilt the parent figure of the vehicle, also known as me, into taking pity on him and not driving him to the airport? Snorting, I turned off the music. Amateur hour. Nonetheless, I chatted on like the professional I was. “I hear the Getty Museum is outstanding. Have you ever been?”

He pulled the oversized hood of his sweatshirt up, throwing his face into shadow. “No.”

Crushed by his stellar conversation skills, I finished my now-cold beverage and settled in for one hundred and twenty minutes of my life that I would never get back. In my head, I made a new to-do list consisting of one item: get Twitchy safely bundled onto the plane as soon as possible, at which point he’d become the flight staff’s problem.

The sour stench of sweat overwhelmed the car. I didn’t want to embarrass him, but I wanted to be trapped in a small space with bad smells even less.

“Do you need water or medical attention?” I said.

“Picked a bad time to quit smoking,” he muttered. Smoking what, though? He pulled a package of Life Savers out of his pocket and tossed a green one in his mouth—the most disgusting flavor and another strike against him. He offered me the last candy, an orange one. “Want it?”

I subtracted one point off his douchiness and accepted. “Thanks.”

Nodding absently, he dropped the empty packaging in the cup holder. I ground my candy to orange-flavored dust. Why yes, I’d love to clean up after you.

The rain sluiced down under a dark sky and my wipers worked double time in a brisk staccato. I slowed down on account of the weather, so when a speeding car came up behind me, I flicked on my signal and moved into the right-hand lane to allow the driver to blast ahead and roar around the curve.

I shook my head at his reckless driving, then checked on my passenger, still slumped in the seat, staring out the window. 

At least my butt was toasty warm.

Suddenly, there was a deafening bang and a blinding flash of light that made me see spots. I couldn’t even tell what side of the car it was on or where we were on the road, just that we were going sixty miles per hour and fishtailing. I yelped and jerked the wheel against the onslaught of g-forces, fighting to avoid a spin.

I was really starting to regret signing up for book club and not upper body toning or Pilates.

With one last herculean burst of effort, my weak noodle arms wrenched the SUV back into our lane. My eyes still wept out a stream of tears from the bright light and my ears rang a bit, but we were okay. We’d made it. I did a small fist-pump. Years of defensive driving in Vancouver had paid off. 

Topher had lost his sunglasses in the scuffle and his eyes were wide with shock. “What was that?”

I shook my head. “I don’t know. Maybe a transformer blew? Sometimes that—”

But whatever small talk I was going to make Topher would never hear, because that was when a second blast sent us careening on the wet road.

As the car hydroplaned, I went into emergency mode. Get to safety. Don’t lock the brakes. Can’t fucking see.

Topher breathed rapidly, terrified like a little kid before opening night of their second grade drama production. 

“Hang on.” Furiously pumping the brakes, I steered away from the telephone pole dead-ahead, but the car had taken on its own skidding momentum. 

Topher threw his arm up over his face.

My hands on the wheel felt oddly disconnected, stuck in an unfamiliar sluggishness.

Time sagged, and I let out a breath, feeling like I was sinking into a sea of molasses, already a ghost. The world sharpened into a crystal-hard spike of pointlessness. There was no to-do list, no problem solving, and no multitasking that could save us now.

We bumped onto the shoulder of the road and smashed into the pole.

My neck snapped forward, my head hit the air bag, and I blacked out. 

When I came to, everything was blurry and I wasn’t sure how long I lay slumped over the wheel, confused. I latched on to a pinging sound, aligning my breathing with it, until I could carefully raise my head.

The smudgy trees beyond the front window bobbed up and down, and I swallowed, hard. What had that been? A bang, a flash, a wet road. The air smelled normal and the power lines above were clear, nothing broken. Had it been magic? A blindspot, maybe? But no, those were much more contained and much, much less explosive.

I groaned, head aching from all this thinking, then gasped, remembering my passenger. As I turned to check on Topher, a shaft of pain rumbled along the side of my neck, and I hissed through a clenched jaw.

My gaze landed first on the crumpled hood, then on the open passenger door that was the source of both the binging sound and the cold air blowing in. The empty seat belt banged against the doorframe. 

The young man was gone, replaced by a meaty red lump and crimson smear on the passenger seat like an offering to a cruel god. 

This was some kind of sick joke. 

“Topher?” I said tremulously. I poked at the object, realizing quickly that it was not only heart-shaped, it was an actual, wet heart.

“This isn’t funny,” I snapped, grinding a layer of enamel off my teeth. “Cut the gross tricks and show yourself.”

There was no answer. Just the heart and… one of his sunglasses lenses, discarded on the floor mat.

My fingers drifted up to touch my burning right cheek from the air bag injury, coming away from the rashy scratched skin damp with blood. A quick check in the rearview mirror showed it wasn’t all mine. 

Bile surged up my esophagus and I fumbled with my seat belt and the door handle, falling to my knees at the side of the empty road and vomiting coffee until I dry heaved. My retching and the pinging of the door-open alarm were the only sounds. 

The road stretched out as solid as ever, but my beliefs that everything would be okay were as mangled as the hood. I’d driven past a gruesome pile up before, glass and bumpers strewn on the ground, with somber officers keeping drivers from slowing down to gawk at the covered bodies on gurneys. Death happened in crashes, but not like this. Not with a person’s heart savagely torn out, their corpse gone.

This wasn’t speed or drinking or wet roads. 

It was murder.

I froze, listening for the distant roar of an oncoming car, but it was early morning during summer semester on a university highway and there was no traffic. 

I was alone. A dead man’s heart quietly bled into the passenger seat. And somewhere out there in the forest lurked something that might want to do the same thing to me.

Made in the Shade Synopsis

Miriam Feldman’s got a murder to solve, a mouthy golem to corral, and her name to clear. Quite frankly, she’s swamped.

Her new gig as a fixer for the magic community is a lot like being a full-time mom to someone else’s kids… they get annoying faster but don’t respond to guilt trips. And sure, maybe she feels kind of grumpy and stabby about these irritating jobs, but that doesn’t mean she killed her latest client!

As far as the magic police are concerned, Miri and her wolf shifter friend Laurent might as well have “guilty of murder” tattooed on their foreheads. If they lose this fight, it’ll be a one-way trip to Deadman’s Island. Talk about a real buzzkill for their easy banter and deepening chemistry.

Even worse, the non-magic cops are also investigating the crime—and her ex-husband is the lead detective. This wasn’t how she meant to pop his cherry about the existence of magic, but the time for foreplay is over.

To unmask the real killer, she’ll have to navigate hidden agendas, lies, and the undead. But hey, she’s faced worse; she used to be on the PTA. 

A Shade Too Far Synopsis

When Miri steals a demon artifact for a client, she doesn't expect a magic curse. Failure to reverse it means the death of someone close to her, the end of her uneasy alliance with the head vampire, and open season on her family. So that sucks.

Meanwhile, her screw-up on a dangerous fact-finding mission may have kicked her sexual tension with the wolf shifter in the balls. At least she’s not obsessing over it, since fighting through a maze of mind games, tested loyalties, and secrets is consuming all her energy. 

Glass half-full, right?

Now armed with her trusty to-do list, she’s determined to multitask her way to victory like a magic badass.

Yaas, Queen.

A Shade of Myself Synopsis

Vanquisher of evil. Wrangler of offspring. Seriously in need of a coffee. 

Miriam Feldman’s life is happily bobbing along. Her family and close friends support her magic and things are getting interesting with the wolf shifter. But smooth sailing turns to shark-infested waters when she plumbs the dark depths of her past to investigate her parents’ last con.

Being chum was never on her bucket list.

In comparison, Miri’s new assignment should be easy: track down a demon to check a necklace for dark magic. Of course, nothing about demons is simple and she finds herself forced to strike hard bargains with both demon hunters and an ancient vampire. Awesome.

The farther out she drifts seeking answers, the tighter she’s caught in a net of secrets, lies, and deadly revelations. And this time, she might not break free.

Just keep swimming …

The Shade of Things Synopsis

Miriam Feldman’s life has become Running Man with a side of Squid Game when she’d much prefer The Great British Bake Off

When Miri partners up with her detective ex-husband on an off-the-books magical missing persons operation, she expects buddy cop adventures galore. Instead, she gets more than she bargained for, starting with a mouthy golem who’s forced onto the team. Their mission? Crash a secret—and deadly—competition targeting non-magic humans to rescue the young woman at the heart of their case.

So, a regular Thursday nowadays.

If that funhouse of horrors wasn’t enough, she still must fulfill her oath to a master vamp by locating the artifact bound up with her parents’ murders almost thirty years ago. He refuses to say why he wants it, but all signs point to “Danger Danger Will Robinson.”

All of that leaves no time in her schedule for sexy times with a certain wolf shifter. Which is probably just as well, seeing as he doesn’t know she’s been forced to keep secrets from him, too.

Laugh? Cry? Coffee!

Bent Out of Shade Synopsis

Miriam Feldman’s road to happiness is littered with potholes.

Between her search for a vampire’s missing fiancée and getting answers about a creepy amulet tied to her parents’ murders, Miri is making enemies across the whole supernatural spectrum. Fun! Meanwhile, her daughter is acting out, and teen attitude is sooo delightful when you throw magic into the mix. 

Then there’s that business with the Leviathan, but she’s embracing positivity—even when it involves a sea monster. Her ascent up the ladder as a magic fixer is on track, and she’s got a first date with a certain sexy French wolf shifter to look forward to. 

It’s pedal to the metal as she outruns and outplays deadly opponents set on revenge.

Ace of Shades Synopsis

Gehenna isn’t on Google Maps and there’s no Angel Annihilation for Dummies. To Miriam Feldman, list lover extraordinaire, this is an irritating oversight.

It’s fine. She’s got this mission under control. Sure, her instructions are vague, and her team is trigger-happy, but she’s got plenty of motivation to carry them to victory.

Vengeance counts, right? 

Plus, if ridding the world of celestial menaces doesn’t top up Miri’s karmic bank, then stopping a vampire contagion will definitely earn her some good will. 

Unless it gets her killed. That’s a distinct possibility. 

One which she refuses to worry about since she’s got her shiny new relationship with a sexy wolf shifter to enjoy. And honestly, his family dysfunction is making hers look pretty damn insignificant. 

How’s that for positive thinking? She’s going to nail this.

Happily-ever-after, here she comes.