Happy Thursday from the Oregon coast!
I never realize how much I miss the coast until I get here. Then I get a whiff of the ocean, surround myself with tall evergreens and the kind of flowering shrubs that the desert would suck the life right on out of, and bam — it hits me that it’s been far too long since I’ve been here. I’m even enjoying the rain.
Okay, enough nature nattering and on with this week’s free story. “Ties That Bind” is one of my urban fantasies set in the corporate world. Kind of. I hope you enjoy it.
Ties That Bind
Published by Thunder Valley Press
Copyright © 2013 by Annie Reed
The first hint of trouble came from Gris in Research and Development.
“We’re having a bit of a problem getting the enchantments to stick to the new cuffs,” he said to me in an early morning phone call.
I’ve never done mornings well, but when you’re the wizard in charge of the largest magical enhancements company in Moretown Bay, and a woman in a man’s profession to boot, whether you do mornings well or not doesn’t matter one damn bit.
I leaned back in my leather chair and gazed out my tenth floor office window at the overcast sky. The streets below were still wet from last night’s rain. I could almost smell the wet asphalt. It would probably rain again today. I pinched the bridge of my nose against an impending headache that wasn’t all sinuses.
“Is it the alloy or the spell?” I asked Gris.
“Can’t tell yet,” he said. “We’re still testing. Just thought you should know, Nell. Considering.”
My company had a contract with the city to supply enhanced weapons and restraints to the police department. Research and Development had been testing redesigned handcuffs. Lighter-weight with an easy snap-close lock, the new handcuffs were supposed to address problems the cops had with the old handcuff design. Personally, I thought any set of handcuffs that could keep a changeling in its true shape or prevent a wizard from casting a spell to escape custody were good enough, but my father built this company by supplying our customers with whatever they wanted. And what the customer I had a meeting with later today wanted was new and better handcuffs.
(read the rest of the story here )