Kiss and Spell (Enchanted, Inc.) - By Shanna Swendson Page 0,1

fact to discredit him, and now most people in the magical world distrusted him. His life was easier while his restored magic remained a secret, and that meant my newfound powers had to be a secret too.

“I’ve developed a few shield spells that mimic the effect of magical immunity,” Owen went on, passing some handwritten pages to Rod. “They’d block and dissipate any attack spells. The use of magic would be apparent to anyone who’s really paying attention, but in the heat of a fight when there’s a lot of magic flying around, no one should notice.” He gave me the shy smile that always made my knees go weak and added, “After all, us being affected by magic would also reveal more than we’d like.”

Then we settled down to the lessons. Owen was developing spells for me to learn, but Rod handled the teaching. It had turned out that Owen, while being an expert in the science and theory of magic, wasn’t a very good teacher. He used magic instinctively, so he was impatient with anyone who didn’t automatically grasp it the way he did, and he didn’t understand the need to break it down into steps. Instead, he studied the way my magic worked while Rod worked through preschool-level magic lessons with me.

Or maybe elementary-level. I must have worked my way at least to second grade by now, which was pretty good, considering I’d only been working at it for a few weeks. My job for the time being was to learn enough to be useful and play guinea pig for Owen’s research while still putting up a front of doing my old marketing job at the company.

Rod jotted a few notes on Owen’s spell—probably adding those necessary steps that Owen forgot to mention because they were instinctive to him—then said, “Yeah, I think this’ll work. Let’s see what you can do. Owen, I’ll need you to provide an attack in a second.”

I listened as Rod talked me through the combination of words, mental images, and magical control needed to carry out the spell. I had to memorize and then internalize the words so that all I’d need to do was think them to make the spell work. Once I got that down, the rest was easy because the magic just flowed for me. I was having more fun learning magic than anything else I’d ever studied. It was truly awesome.

“Okay, I think you’re ready to test it,” Rod said with a satisfied nod when I’d mastered the magical manipulations. “Owen, something relatively harmless and visible, please.”

I maintained the spell while Owen sent a ball of light flying at me. I fought not to duck and to focus on my spell as the ball came toward me and then fizzled harmlessly a fraction of an inch away from me.

The guys turned to each other. “Whattaya think?” Rod asked. “Did it look like a shield to you, or just like magical immunity?”

“It looked like a shield, but only because I know what to look for. In a real-world setting with a fight going on, I think it should be okay. They’re not going to just use fireballs, and it’ll be less obvious in blocking other spells.”

“So while I’m doing this, no one can turn me into a frog?” I asked.

Owen grinned. “No, you should be safe from that.”

“Then why don’t I just keep this shield up all the time? And why don’t you people shield yourselves all the time?”

“People would notice the magic,” Owen said. “And it’s an energy drain. If I did some tinkering, though, it might be commercially viable as a shield for certain situations, like the magical equivalent of body armor …” His voice trailed off as he started mentally developing the idea.

“I think we’ve lost him for the day, and he may have just made his next million,” Rod said with fond amusement. “Now, let’s see how fast you can put that spell up.”

He drilled me in spells for the next hour while Owen scribbled frantically in his notebook, occasionally mumbling things to himself. I knew I should have been exhausted by the time the lesson ended, but I was exhilarated. I felt like I’d finally found something I was really good at. “You’re a natural,” Rod confirmed with a proud smile.

“Not too natural,” I said. “More like a freak of nature.”

“That just means you’re special,” he said, patting me on the shoulder. “Now I’d better get back to work. I’ve got a ton of