Gilbert Sullivan hates his name, but refuses to go by Gil because of a rhyme he fears is a prophecy. When he meets Jack Sowerby, the new head of SearchLight, he’s terrified the rhyme will come true and he’ll lose his place as Crown Prince of the basilisks, but his attraction to Jack won’t let him stay away.
Jack, born human, is, above all things, practical. Still, when he meets Prince Gilbert, his need for the prince blossoms and he’s unable to resist -- at least until he’s forcibly changed into a magical creature. He’s terrified of the new world he’s entering. When Gilbert tries to fight the rhyme, will their shattered relationship ever be restored?
Praise for Rhyme of Longing (Jack and Gil 1)
"...a great start to the Jack and Gil series, it was a beautifully done romantic novel. The characters were what I was hoping for, and they felt like real people. I enjoyed reading this and can't wait for more from the author and this series."
-- 5 Stars from Kathryn, Amazon Review
"This is an interesting story."
-- 4 Stars from DLB2572, Amazon Review
"I enjoyed this book. It was an interesting read. The use of the nursery rhyme in this story was a unique touch, and I liked the characters. Good world building."
-- 4 Stars from Nin-chan D., Kobo Review
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Rhyme of Longing (Jack and Gil 1)
All rights reserved.
Copyright ©2023 Emily Carrington
Jack wanted so badly to be done with this night that he felt uncomfortable in his skin. That was not the proper way to begin thinking about his sixty-eighth birthday, his five-year anniversary as the head of SearchLight Academy. This was a party for both those things but no one said “no” to Agent Weinberg.
Not necessarily the most powerful magical being in the world, she was still the head of the entire organization. Even though she held the nominal title of “head of Public Relations,” SearchLight’s whole reason for existing was to protect the relationship between magical and nonmagical peoples. Which was, of course, officially, no relationship at all. SearchLight was a secret and must remain so.
The influence she held would make most magical creatures bow in submission. Jack, being merely human, was suitably impressed. And although as yet not cowed, he was too fond of his life to waste it needlessly. Not that Agent Weinberg had killed anyone. Recently.
Jack took a deep breath in through his nose as the limousine pulled up to the curb. He’d been commanded to take this limo and the implicit service of a driver, and although he hadn’t enjoyed it particularly, he was glad that he hadn’t needed to find a place to park in downtown Washington, DC. So, unsure if he was supposed to tip the driver but wanting to show his appreciation, he stepped around to the driver’s side after the car was parked at the curb and offered the person behind the wheel, whom, his telepathic sense, told him wasn’t human, ten dollars.
“Would you be trying to bribe me to take you home, Agent Sowerby?”
Jack saw the humor in the green eyes turned up to his and smiled. “Never in life,” he told the Irish-sounding sprite or Faery or leprechaun. Damn, sometimes he wished for a werewolf’s sense of smell so he’d know the magical creatures around him at once.
“You’re a good man, Agent Sowerby. Don’t let her bully you now.” And with that, he winked and rolled up his window. Jack stepped around the car to the sidewalk and watched the limo drive away.
“Hey there.” The voice was soft, lightly accented, and full of a syrupy, sarcastic undertone that put Jack’s hackles up. He turned more slowly than he could have, wanting to appear older and so less threatening. He gazed at the three people facing him and saw they were all armed.
He was aware of others watching from the doorway of the restaurant but knew they wouldn’t intercede unless it became obvious he couldn’t handle himself. That was one thing about Agent Weinberg he didn’t like much. She believed in the “sink or swim” philosophy.
The woman who’d spoken was smiling in a particularly condescending way. “Got a handout for me?” She twirled the knife in her right hand as she reached out with her left for the ten spot Jack still held.
Jack offered it, keeping a good distance from her, forcing her to step forward to take the bill. He was aware of the other two moving to flank him. He disliked using his telepathic sense against what he considered to be defenseless people, magical or mundane, and yet he wouldn’t risk his own life to preserve theirs. “I suggest you take this and be on your way,” he said softly, putting a slight psychic push into the words. He blanketed the area with his calming presence, lacking the ability to focus on more than two people at once. Both of the men who’d been flanking him stopped. One of them shook his head but the other was definitely under Jack’s control.
“Back off,” Jack said and watched the woman lower her knife a little.
She snatched at the bill and her knife hand flicked upward.
Jack dropped the ten spot and caught her wrist. The knife’s blade skidded across the waterproof material of his trench coat. He forced her to drop the knife as he said, “Go away.”
The man under his control turned and fled. But the other lunged at Jack. Yanking the woman close, Jack used her as a shield. The other man’s blade slid between her ribs. He swore, stumbling back, and lost his grip on his knife. As he turned to flee, Jack lowered the woman to the ground. He shouted, “Someone call nine-one-one.”
Someone joined him out on the sidewalk. It wasn’t Agent Weinberg. It wasn’t a SearchLight agent he knew. There was regal bearing in the other’s posture as he crouched beside Jack. “Let me heal her.”
Jack didn’t protest, although he did skate his telepathic sense outward to determine if this was a magical creature. The fact that he’d said “heal” rather than “help” argued for him not being human. He came into contact with an impenetrable psychic wall and winced as his telepathic sense bounced off. Well, there weren’t all that many humans who could resist even his most casual reach. Ergo, this was a magical creature.
Jack nodded and said, “Go ahead.” He retreated inside his own head and as he pulled out his cell phone, unwilling to trust to others to call for help, he watched the broad-shouldered male beside him spit into his hand and press the palm against the wound even as he pulled the knife free.
Dragon, Jack thought. Dragons could heal with their saliva or a blood exchange. But this wasn’t a dragon Jack knew.