SMOKE AND MIRRORS
by Jess Haines
A girl who uses her illusions to fool the world into thinking she’s just like all the other magi.A dragon who sees through her lies.Together they just might survive a world that wants to control or destroy them both.Kimberly may wield ultimate cosmic power, but even a mage has to pay the rent. No one will hire her for her magic talents until she’s got the credentials, so she’s stuck in a crappy rent controlled apartment with her mother, yearning for treats she can’t afford at her part time job in a café, counting down the days until she graduates the secret Blackhollow Academy school for magi. Only then will she have the certificate she needs to land her dream job in a coven.The problem? She needs a familiar to graduate.As an illusionist, she doesn’t have the ability to summon or create a familiar of her own. Her only option is to convince a supernatural creature to let her bind it instead. Since having a powerful Other at her beck and call would guarantee her a place in a coven after she graduates—and legendary treasure hoards are an added bonus—she thinks binding a dragon as her familiar will solve all her problems…Because sometimes a girl needs a dragon, not a knight.
The notion that the thing she’d seen on the rooftop last night wouldn’t be found at street-level skittered through her thoughts, and she glanced up.
All she caught was a glimpse. A monster easily the size of a two-seater plane, but with an unmistakably serpentine form. Wide, sickle-like wings were limned with sunlight and lightning-like flickers of energy that traveled over the outline of the massive beast in the air above her.
Dragon, her mind gibbered.