Casual Curses & Meticulous Magic by Lee Roland


A Gramarye Novel Book 1

Synopsis: What happens when a dysfunctional witch and a tough PI work together to save an aging apartment house filled with ghosts, dragons and one oversexed house plant?

Spirits, spells and mayhem…Magic rises in the Gramarye

Melian Devlin is a witch who often resorts to exotic and slightly illegal methods of acquiring money to maintain the 300-year-old Gramarye, the stone apartment house that’s her heart and home. Her life is a series of skirmishes that occasionally end with her behind bars.

Titus Moran is a no-nonsense PI who makes big bucks busting insurance fraud schemes. So how did he wind up in a tortuous battle to keep Melian out of jail? Did the delightful young witch with her gray eyes and magic at her fingertips enchant him—or does the Gramarye hold greater mysteries?

Titus will enter a new exciting world when he joins Melian in her quest to save the Gramarye. Melian will fumble along in her usual impulsive way, leaving a trail of disasters behind her. If they’re lucky, they might survive.

Review: I already had the opportunity to read another book written by Lee Roland, a novel that I enjoyed by the way, so when I discovered this new release I was immediately intrigued. And I must say that the synopsis was interesting as well. Ghosts, witches, dragons? Oh yes, I had to read it! Besides, it’s not all because we also have succubi, semi-conscious plants, demons, voodoo and many other things. You’re Intrigued, right?

Melian is a young witch who comes out hard in her life. The family members are all trying to manipulate her to get what they want and finding herself without money, the thefts she often commit places her in custody. If only she could live like all witches, but her inability to properly use her powers causes disasters in all circumstances. But it is too much for her uncle Rat, the head of the family who is determined to put the girl on the right path. How is that? Oh by blackmailing her, forcing her to take care of a young man, Titus, to teach him the intricacies of their family, while the latter is obliged to keep and guard Melian in the greatest secrecy. But our heroine is also a guardian, the one of an ancient magic building: the Gramarye where many strange creatures live. And although everything is perfect for Melian, sorcerers always want to appropriate the place and especially the magic that resides there to use it as they please, something that does not fit at all to the young woman and she doesn’t hesitate to tell that. Thus she is in the middle of a power struggle where she is the key and that will change her life forever.

I loved follow this young witch! Oh yes because she is so funny. She doesn’t care of the consequences of her actions and acts only as she wishes. It was really nice to get to know her and see the next disaster she would cause. She is also determined, doing what needs to be done, and she is willing to do anything to protect those she loves. I was curious to see where she would lead the investigation with Titus, even if it is true that this is an aspect that is perhaps a little further back in the story. And what about Titus? Ah this man will be propelled into a world he does not know anything about and he will quickly have to adapt to survive. I loved seeing his surprise at these revelations, to see that she gradually fell in love with the young woman while trying to wonder how he was going to be able to keep her out of prison. This is a man who knows how to keep control of situations but can also act in no time. And then we have Drake. I confess that I was quite angry with this policeman. Oh yes, because he is determined to bring Melian down as he does not like her at all, but by this way, he will also discover that he is much more than that. But would he accept that? In the meantime he will make life hell for the girl!

In conclusion I had a good time with this novel even if it’s true that for me the end perhaps went a little too fast. This is not an extraordinary novel, but I had a good time with the colorful characters and I would love to read more.

4
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EXCERPT

Chapter 1

 

Melian Devlin considered her arrest late Friday evening an ill omen, a portent of dire thingsto come. At the very least, it would ruin her weekend. Her bad luck had continued after her arrest when she’d found herself standing before Judge Franklin P.O. Merkle. Merkle’s exact words were, “You again?”

 

He’d set her bail at an obscene five thousand dollars.

 

Psychic readings weren’t illegal in the City of Ashburn, Florida, but selling magic potions skirted the legal line of medicine, hence her arrest. And then there was the sticky issue of not having a business license—again. Minor infractions. So why did Merkle have such a burr up his ass? Maybe because he was working late on Friday? The malicious cop with an aversion to psychics hadn’t helped either.

Standing behind bars at ten o’clock that night, listening to her Great Uncle Will royally chew her butt, confirmed Mel’s dismal assessment of the situation.

“Psychic?” Will’s deep voice rumbled the word. His tired eyes watched her from a weather worn face. “Mel, honey, you ain’t no psychic. You’re a witch. You’re supposed to use magic.”

He shook his head. “I understand why you can’t get a regular job, but can’t you find something irregular you’re good at? Or at least something legal?” He glanced over his shoulder and pitched his voice lower. “You should’ve marked a cop soon as he walked in the door, then spelled him out of making an arrest. You’re allowed basic self-defense. I taught you that.”

Mel winced at Uncle Will’s words. He had taught her. She was simply incredibly incompetent at casting spells and making potions, and utterly terrified of making a mistake. What if she hurt someone? Pretending to be a psychic and selling a few harmless herbal elixirs was easier—and safer.

They’d put her in a simple holding cell inside the precinct station after she’d seen the judge. The arrangement gave detainees a chance to post bail before they moved them to the main jail downtown, something Mel had hoped to avoid. Prospects didn’t look good.

 

The sparse cell had a single bench bolted to the floor and air filled with the odor of acrid, nose-searing bleach. Her cellmates, two tough prostitutes, sat on the bench staring straight at the wall. Imperfect witch she might be, but she could still deal with the bullying they tried when she first came in.

“Will, please,” Mel begged. “Go talk to Milo for me. Give him an IOU. I’ll get the money some way.” Milo the Bail Bondsman, her father’s second cousin, usually handled her bail. Milo hadn’t returned any of her numerous calls.

“Yeah. Sure.” Will laughed, but it didn’t sound funny. “Gettin’ money some way is what landed you here. I can hear Milo now. Cousin Melian? She told my Granny Panopoulos to put all her money on a horse named Show-Too in the third race and—”

“I told her thirty dollars to show on the number three horse, not… Oh, hell.” She wrapped her hands around the bars to steady herself.

Granny Panopoulos had cried to Mel about not being able to pay her mortgage and buy food in the same month. She figured Granny could lose thirty dollars and learn an excellent lesson about the futility of gambling. How was Mel to know the woman had fifty thousand dollars tucked in her mattress and a persistent bookie looking over her shoulder? Oh, right, she was supposed to be a psychic.

“Okay, girl, here’s the deal.” Will shoved his hands in his pockets like he always did when he had to deliver bad news. “I’ll get you out on Monday—” “Monday?”

“Yep. I’m not going to call Milo on a Friday evening or ruin his weekend. And I don’t trust anyone else.” Will’s head bobbed. His sorrowful expression tore at her. His eyes remained bright and his mind-dagger sharp, but time had worn his aging body. He loved her, and she shouldn’t have troubled him.

“Ya’ know Mel…” He sighed. “Honey, you’re twenty-seven years old. Couple of days and nights in jail won’t hurt. ‘Bout time you learned a lesson. Past time, in fact. While you’re there, think about having to stay longer, what might happen then.” He turned and shuffled out of the room.

Mel leaned her forehead against the cold hard bars. What a stinking mess. She wasn’t a true psychic, but the power, the magic she lived by, occasionally gave her glimpses into the situations surrounding people. A haphazard thing she couldn’t control, but between it and the potions, she made a little money—as long as some cop with an attitude didn’t arrest her.

Mel had paid little attention when the nervous young man with dark, curly hair entered her low-rent storefront room four hours ago. He had a sweet, shy smile and almost pretty face. Not a hint of a cop in him. He paid her forty dollars for a reading and asked her if he would ever find true love. His precise words. “True love.” That alone should have tipped her off. She felt sorry for him and tried to sell him a magic potion. Only a twenty-dollar mixture of Vitamin B and Ginseng, but with the power of suggestion, it might be enough to adjust his outlook on life. He was far too good-natured and attractive to be alone. Then his partner had charged in and gleefully busted her. It didn’t take much to make some cops happy.


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35 thoughts on “Casual Curses & Meticulous Magic by Lee Roland

  1. I don’t think I’ve read a real « witch » read all year–it’s so rare to find really really good ones. BUT I love how this one seems to stand out and i’d love to follow the young witch and her journey. Brilliant review 🙂

  2. Glad you are having such great luck with this author, I love it when that happens. 🙂

    I love all the different things this book has going on for it with witches and dragons and other things, sounds interesting for sure!

  3. This sounds like a really fun book Melliane! One that once you start reading, it’s hard to put down and return to real life things like work. Boo. I was sold at the mention of dragons, and then sold even further when I scanned back up and read the synopsis – an oversexed house plant? Definitely curious now:)

  4. Oooh, this is new to me, and I like the sound of Melian and Gramarye! I laughed out loud when I read the blurb:  » an apartment house filled with ghosts, dragons and one oversexed house plant? » Hee-hee, I’m in and I’m adding this one for sure. Thanks Melliane. 🙂

  5. This one is new to me but I’m loving the sound of all the paranormal elements! I’m glad you liked it, I’ll definitely have to check it out. Plus I really like that excerpt.

  6. This book has a bit of everything. I want to know how a dragon fits in an apartment building. Sounds like a fun book and I love funny heroines. I’m not sure if the policeman is the villain, but I like the sounds of him as a bad guy.

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