Blurb from Moira’s Web site:
“The job was supposed to be easy. Lifting a magic charm from the house of a reclusive wizard in the middle of a swamp is a breeze for Max, a shapeshifter who has made his reputation by putting an end to dark wizards and the evil magic they use. Getting locked into a closet with an infamous thief wasn’t part of the gameplan, but Max has always improvised well...especially when a hot woman is involved. The one thing Max didn’t plan for was the possibility that Polly would beat him at his own game.”
That Old Black Magic is a short story that doesn’t feel like a short story. In many ways, it doesn’t have a clear cut beginning or ending. Instead, it feels like a passage cut from the middle of a much longer story, like a snapshot in time that captures the essence of the main characters and their stories, but comes nowhere near offering the complete picture. That Old Black Magic jumps straight into the action, as though the reader is already familiar with the characters. It then ends, leaving these characters locked in the middle of their sexual battle for dominance. It’s unlike many of the short stories I’ve read, and absolutely brilliant.
My main problem with short stories is that I like to get to know a character. I like plot. I like details. I like fretting over the dilemmas the main characters are facing. That’s the joy of reading for me. Short stories, by the very nature of what they are, do not have the ability to give me exactly what I want. Until, you know, now, apparently. I’m completely in love with this short story. It has the pace and feel of a novel. Instead of a lengthy introduction, the characters are introduced by way of their actions and, as a reader, I felt I really understood them and their motivations. The pace is fast moving, the action never slowing down or fizzling. And, the sex is ridiculously hot! But really. Super hot.
More importantly, though, it’s believable. Both the sex and the characters. Sure, these are two supernatural beings who have an outrageously hot encounter while in the midst of a magical heist. Not exactly a realistic plot, I know. But even in such a short tale, enough of their world is built and described that they are able to move within that world without leaving the reader confused. No matter how paranormal the tale, the battle of the sexes is timeless. No matter how paranormal the characters, strong willed males and females will typically act in certain ways to get what they want, whether it is the upper hand, unrestrained sex, or both. Polly and Max make a perfect pair of rivals. Both are intelligent, cunning, and powerful in their own ways. They aren’t afraid to get their, ahem, hands dirty in work or play. Each has an agenda and, naturally, their personal agendas are at odds. The tension between them is primarily sexual, and they take their battle of wills and wits to the bedroom (or the cramped confines of a closet). There’s nothing more normal than that.
I do have one very large problem with That Old Black Magic. I desperately wish it was longer. Between Polly and Max, I would love to know how the story ends.
If you are interested in reading That Old Black Magic, you can download it for free at Moira Roger's Web site.