By D.S. AUFFENORDE
Exclusive to the Kensington City Examiner
I stopped by The Kensington Tailoring & Dry Cleaning Service to have a skirt altered to conform to the rising hemlines that had become the style in Britannia. It’s hardly a puzzle—a superhero (think Electromancer) exposes a lot of flesh in her platinum boots, gloves, and jumpsuit, and the women of the country follow suit by shortening their skirts and lowering their necklines. As I waited in the dressing room, I heard a mellifluous voice speaking to the owner, and despite the birdlike descant in tone, the woman was arguing with the proprietor over a stain that evidently hadn’t been properly removed from a table cloth. I peeked out from behind the curtain and saw that it was Gladys Gadberry, the mistress of household affairs for Alexa Manchester. Yes, the very Alexa Manchester who controls the world’s energy sources, the very person I’ve been investigating along with Electromancer. How fortuitous that I’d bumped into Gadberry here, because she was on my list of interviewees. I assumed my best aristocratic air—those who work for aristocrats expect as much— dressed, and went outside.
DA: Pardon the interruption, but I’m desperately in need of an opinion of someone with a discriminating eye. And I know that you have a discriminating eye, Ms. Gadberry.
GG: How did you know my name? Who are you?
DA: You’re known far and wide. Everyone knows that Alexa Manchester is the best dressed, most organized woman in the country.
GG: [Gadberry straightened.] I don’t know what you want, Miss …, but flattery will get you nowhere. You don’t really want fashion advice now do you?
DA: Okay, you got me. I’m a reporter for the Examiner. I’m interested in fashion. [This reporter notes that this wasn’t a lie—I am interested in fashion. That Gladys Gadberry believed me to be a fashion reporter was beyond my control.]
GG: Of course. The Examiner. You’re correct, I oversee every detail at the Manchester mansion. From Ms. Manchester’s personal shoppers, to those who vacuum up the dust, to the folding and pressing of sheets, to the flowers that are arranged in vases and strategically placed throughout the mansion to provide freshly scented air. Nothing, mind you, nothing escapes my attention. I’ll have you know that I’ve brought a touch of the old country to the new.
DA: Being the fashion aficionado that you are, I have a hunch that if you ever had the occasion to see this superhero Electromancer’s costume, you’d know exactly what it’s made of.
GG: Of course I would, that is, if I had. But I haven’t. Something fantastic, to be sure. From space perhaps—though it’s all speculation.
DA: I heard a rumor that Ms. Manchester takes tea and scones with this superhero Electromancer.
GG: I can honestly say I’ve never witnessed that, and I would know. But Electromancer has kindly announced to the public that Ms. Manchester is not to blame for the disaster at The Mick, our local power plant, or any of the other mishaps. She’s even gone so far as to fight off evil on behalf of all humanity. If you ask me, Electromancer is an incredible being. Worthy of a crown.
DA: Are you saying that she’s not of this world? That she’s alien?
GG: Certainly not. I would have no such knowledge. Six inches longer, your skirt, that is.
DA: But it seems that hemlines are rising.
GG: I’m an old fashioned woman. Heaven forbid that those Dowdy twins be allowed to traipse all over town through another season wearing those miniskirts. Leaves the men in a state, if you know what I mean, all that flesh.
DA: Electromancer certainly shows a lot of flesh.
GG: Well, she can’t very well fly at the speed of light in an overcoat.
DA: There’s a rumor that Ms. Manchester is going to break off the engagement with The Mayor, Bobby Baumgartner. Is there any truth to that?
GG: I don’t meddle in the personal affairs of my employer. Are you really a fashion reporter?
DA: Not exactly. An investigative reporter looking into Electromancer.
GG: [Gadberry went slack jawed.] On the record, I have nothing official to say. Off the record, you shameless hussy, taking advantage of my good graces.
With that, Gadberry once again began arguing with the proprietor about the stain in the table cloth. I took a close look at that table cloth—if that’s what it was. Because it seemed to be of a platinum color—and strangely shaped like a jumpsuit. Unfortunately, before I could follow up, the proprietor took the fabric and put it in the bin, and Gadberry walked outside and into a limousine driven by a strikingly handsome, though formal man. Was that the mysterious Sigfred Sawyer, valet, butler, and all around tip-top servant? Methinks this reporter must investigate.
Meanwhile, follow along as my investigatory column continues to provide more and more facts about Electromancer and the citizens of her community. In the meantime, you can also learn more about Electromancer and others in the romantic, thrilling, superhero novel, Electromancer.
Genre: Romance, Fantasy,
Superhero, Paranormal, Thriller/Suspense
Publisher: Crimson Romance
Date of Publication: 2-1-16
ISBN 10: 1-4405-9687-5
ISBN 13: 978-1-4405-9687-2
eISBN 10: 1-4405-9688-3
eISBN 13: 978-1-4405-9688-9
Number of pages: 234
Word Count: 70,000
Cover design by Fred Machuca,
Illustration by Ricky Ostendi
With a heart as pure as platinum and electricity at her fingertips!
She soars like a falcon and travels at the speed of light!
She’s … ELECTROMANCER!
When arch villain Momo threatens to destroy the world with The Big Zapper—a weapon of mass destruction the likes of which has never been seen before—it’s up to Alexa Manchester and her new electricity-harnessing superpowers to stop him.
With a little help from her sexy chauffeur, Sigfred Sawyer, and some exciting encounters with the mysterious and handsome Blue Arrow, soon Alexa’s love life is charged up, too. And to defeat the seemingly invincible Momo, it might just take the naturally super power of love to save the day.
Offering all the Kabam! Pow! Zap! of beloved comic book sagas with the beating heart of a love story, this over-the-top, genre-blending send-up is sure to delight superhero fans and romance readers alike.
Book Trailer: https://youtu.be/5GE2uOWM_3M
Excerpt from Chapter 6
Sigfred couldn’t be sure whether the mayor’s proposal pleased or displeased her, but it wasn’t his place to ask. He could do one thing—help her get that blasted ring off her finger. He went to the pantry and retrieved a bottle of olive oil—cold pressed extra virgin, of course, because this was Yurdlemon’s kitchen.
“Let me help you get that off,” he said.
“No, I’ll do it myself.” She paused suddenly, staring at the big green stone as if transfixed. “Maybe I’m not sure I want it off.” She shook her head. “But I do, I do. Oh, I don’t know what I want.” She sighed. “Wait! Yes, I do. I want to talk about last night.”
“Of course, if you wish.” He waited for her to speak, but she seemed stumped.
Then she said, “What did you think about last night?”
He cleared his throat and said, “Yes, right. It was quite—”
“Sigfred!” She slapped her hands down on the sink and looked back at him. “It was nothing like quite, it was more like Oh-My-God in the highest order. No offense.”
“Don’t keep saying quite! You could say yes, shocking or even jiminy crickets or holy ‘expletive omitted,’ but there was nothing quite about last night. I mean you were there, you saw everything.”
He couldn’t think of an appropriate response—at least, not one that he could articulate to his employer.
“Am I right, you did see everything?” she asked.
“Yes,” he said. “It was unintentional, of course, Ms. Manchester. I found you lying on the floor next to The Magpie.”
Her eyes widened, and her eyebrows arched upward in disapproval. “I didn’t mean that, Sigfred. I’m talking about my hands shooting those bolts of lightning from my fingertips—pure electricity!”
He cleared his throat again. “Ah, yes. And there was that.”
“It’s ridiculous. Absurd. People don’t emit electricity. Gladys says I should see a doctor. That I must have been exposed to the Electromite. Am I cursed?”
“It doesn’t seem to be life-threatening. On the contrary, you’ve become stronger by it, or so it seems. If I’m not mistaken, you saved the child from drowning because of it. Perhaps it’s not a curse, but a gift.”
She seemed to consider this, absentmindedly pulling at the mayor’s ring.
“Just a moment,” he said. “I think I can assist you with that little problem you’re having.” He opened the bottle of olive oil and drizzled some over her ring finger. Then, very gently, he began working the ring back and forth. He thrilled when he touched her, but she didn’t seem to react.
“I can fly, you know,” she said, her tone surprisingly casual.
“Yes, madame. I suspected that’s how you saved the boy.”
“What happens if I try to fly, and then these magical abilities suddenly vanish?”
“Perhaps they won’t ever vanish.”
“Yes, perhaps you’re right,” she said in a quiet, serious voice. “And that would mean I haven’t been infected at all. Instead, I’ve been inalterably changed. It would mean that there’s no cure. It means my body and spirit have been transformed into something ... alien. It means I’m not Alexa anymore.”
“You’ll always be Alexa,” he said, reaching up and tipping her chin toward him with slippery fingers. His eyes locked on hers, and he spoke with hushed solemnity. “Nothing can ever change that.” He wanted to call her lovely Alexa, kind Alexa, beautiful Alexa, but of course, that was impossible.
“When I was inside The Magpie, I heard my father’s voice. Is that crazy?”
“Not at all, Ms. Manchester.”
She studied his face. “You don’t think I’m crazy?”
“Not at all.” And he meant it. Things went silent as they looked into each other’s eyes. Sigfred had just swayed imperceptibly closer to her when a sudden dull thunk interrupted them. The ring had finally fallen off, clattering into the sink. The moment was lost. He realized, with some awkwardness, that he was still touching her face and dropped his hand.
She colored and looked away, speaking a bit brusquely. “My father called me Electromancer. I get the ‘electro’ part of it, but what’s a ‘mancer’? Have you any clue?”
“You’ve got me there, madame.”
“Mancer? It must mean something.”
“Almost like Romancer.”
Her jaw dropped. “Oh, Sigfred. Not you, too.”
He stiffened. He wasn’t about to explore his feelings with her or to take the liberty of allowing his romantic thoughts about Alexa to go unrestrained. It was his utmost duty to remain her servant and protector, always physically near but emotionally distant. But when she’d transformed into this Electromancer, he had to admit to himself that she was absolutely and without a doubt the sexiest woman alive. Any red-blooded male would be hard pressed to deny that fact.
“What are you going to do about the mayor’s proposal?” he blurted out. So much for knowing his place. “He’s not worthy of you.”
“Bobby Baumgartner is the mayor of Kensington City. He might be prime minister one day.”
“I don’t care if he’s prime minister, king, and president of the Americanas combined. He’s beneath you.”
“And just who are you to talk about rank?”
Her words stung, the pain more intense than the damage those thugs had inflicted the previous night. “Quite right, madame,” he said. “My station is lowly. But I’m one thing the mayor isn’t. I’m a man of integrity.”
“I saw the way you looked at me last night. I may have been Electromancer, but I know when a man is gawking at me.”
“I wasn’t gawking. I was appreciating the qualities of ... You’re a beautiful woman, madame.”
“You mean, Electromancer is beautiful.”
“No, madame. I mean you. Alexa Manchester.”
She looked at him in surprise.
“What’s the meaning of this?” Chef Yurdlemon bellowed from across the room. “Who is invading my kitchen? You are trespassers.” He pointed at Sigfred. “Especially you, Sigfred Sawyer.”
Sigfred nodded slowly. He was trespassing, though not in the way Yurdlemon meant.
“This mess with the olive oil is all my fault,” Alexa said. “I was using it to try to get this ring off. It was stuck on my finger. Sigfred was just trying to help me.”
“You used my cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil to remove a ring?” Yurdlemon cried. “Such olive oil is not for ring removal. Such olive oil is to make a divine dinner as only I can make it. The olives for that oil come from a small orchard in Sicily that produces only two hundred cases a year! Do you know what that costs? More than a Chateau Latour Bordeaux. More than a fine Sauternes. I need it for my dinner preparations. Oh, everything is ruined now. Each and every minute of preparation is accounted for. There won’t be time enough left in the day, not now. Not when I’m forced to return to the market, where I can only get inferior olive oil.” Chef Yurdlemon grabbed the sides of his head and looked as if he were about to sob. It wouldn’t have been the first time.
About the Author:
Daco is an award-winning author of the espionage-thriller series featuring CIA operative Jordan Jakes. Her debut novel, The Libra Affair, was a 2013 #1 best seller. Of The Libra Affair, Publishers Weekly said, “The keenly sharp intelligent female characters soar in this edge-of-your-seat adventure...”
Her short story The Pisces Affair was a 2015 Global Ebook Awards double gold medalist (Best Thriller Fiction and Best Science Fiction), a 2015 Shelf Unbound Notable 100, a 2015 Royal Palm Literary Award winner, and a Publishers Weekly “PW Pick”.” In its review of The Pisces Affair, Publishers Weekly wrote, “Jakes is a lively and witty narrator with the wits and skills of James Bond, and readers will savor her fresh perspective on being a woman in the male-dominated spy world.”
Her story The Virgo Affair is part of Killer Nashville Noir: Cold-Blooded (Diversion Press, October 2015), an anthology, including numerous best-selling authors.
Electromancer (F+W Media, Inc./Crimson Romance, February 2016), is her first superhero novel, featuring Electromancer and Blue Arrow.
Upcoming works include The Scorpio Affair, a Jordan Jakes novel, and The Ophiuchus Affair, another Jordan Jakes short story.
Daco holds a B.A. and M.A.S. from The University of Alabama in Huntsville and a J.D. from the Cumberland School of Law. She is a member of the International Thriller Writers, Mystery Writers of America, Romance Writers of America, Authors Guild, Alabama Writers Forum, Florida Writers, and Alabama State Bar.
Follow along as the investigatory column continues to provide more and more facts about Electromancer and the citizens of her community.
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