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  • Writer's pictureVictoria Rogers

The Witch and the Dreamwalker: Chapter One

“Congratulations on your presentation. Your prototype is the talk of the convention.”

Vivian McKinley turned around to face none other than Xavier Prince, owner, president, and CEO of the largest paranormal security firm in the country, Prince Charms. He smiled at her while offering her a flute of champagne. His eyes crinkled warmly. Her fingers brushed his as she took the glass. She felt her face heat up as the pianist on the far end of the ballroom began a soft, tinkling piece that had couples taking to the parquet dance floor.

She had never spoken to Mr. Prince before; she was merely a researcher in his firm, one of half a dozen. As a storied ex-paramarine and playboy, he stood tall and broad-shouldered. His immaculately tailored tuxedo showed off his athletic shape causing him to stand out among the middle-aged men who populated the room. He had a jaw as sharp as glass, and his brown eyes glittered in the candlelight.

“Thank you,” she said, pulling her hand away abruptly, not wanting to be caught savoring the feeling of his touch. The champagne splashed out of her glass and onto her cocktail dress. “Oh!”

“Careful,” he warned.

Vivian’s face burned. The nervous laugh that erupted from her was high-pitched and short.

“Whoops!” She plucked a napkin from a server’s tray and dabbed at the black sequins. Her dress would be fine. It was only champagne. She tossed her red hair over her shoulder and forced a smile.

“Thank you,” she repeated. “I’m glad it went well.”

“Well?” Xavier’s face lit up in a broad smile. “We have people lining up to buy your charm. We haven’t seen pre-sales like this since the personal were ward.”

She rose her brows and pressed her lips together as her stomach did a few flips of excitement. “Oh! That’s wonderful,” she said.

“It’s more than wonderful.” He touched her arm and began leading her away from the crowd.

His fingers on her bare flesh caused a ripple of warmth through her. She took in a sharp breath. Easy there. He’s your BOSS, she reminded herself.

He continued, unaffected by the situation. “I’ve been asking about you. Your work is exemplary. John says you know charms like the back of your hand. You get along with your colleagues and are described as intelligent, a hard worker, and you think outside the box. Apparently, we’ve never seen talent like yours.”

Vivian took a sip of champagne and squirmed in her heels.

“John’s retiring. Gave me his notice today. Normally, for someone in his position, I’d ask for a few months lead time from him, but I think we already have a candidate.”

She met Xavier’s gaze and stared at him. Her mind whirled. Was he… Was he offering her the position of head researcher? Her stomach did a few more somersaults. She opened her mouth and then closed it, not quite sure if she should say something or let him continue.

He laughed then, a deep masculine laugh that caught her by surprise. “Yes, Vivian. I’m offering you the position of R and D head. You’d report to director of R and D, Richard Simeon.”

Richard Simeon. That was a name that would make anyone flinch. He was a right old bastard, but he knew his stuff. He was older than John, why didn’t he retire? Working with him would be a sore point, but she would get to manage the Research and Development Department. She would guide the direction of their research and in turn, help guide the future of Prince Charms.

By the gods! This was a dream come true. She had been the first woman in her family to attend university, and now she was going to be the first to climb the corporate ladder. The McKinley women would no longer be solitary witches of the woods.

“You haven’t said anything,” he said from over the rim of his own glass.

“I… Wow. This is incredible. I was not expecting this.” She laughed and shook her head. “You caught me off guard, is all.” She laughed again, her brain struggling to put sentences together. She took in a deep breath, ignored Xavier’s amused look, and paused for a quick moment to compose herself. “Yes. I would love to take on the role. Wow. Thank you.”

“Wonderful! Congratulations, Vivian. You’ve earned this.” He clinked his glass with hers and gave her a wink as he took a sip. “Ah! Troy, just who I wanted to talk to.”

Vivian swallowed and looked to who Xavier was addressing. The man, Troy, looked to be around the same age as Xavier -- mid thirties, she thought. He had blond hair, cut short with a side part. He was shorter than Xavier, though was just as wide. While his tuxedo was not tailored as well as the CEO of Prince Charms, it was clear he spent a lot of time at the gym. He strode over with a confident swagger that immediately set off alarm bells in Vivian’s mind. She had met plenty of men like this one before.

“Troy, meet Vivian. Vivian, meet Troy. We go way back. We were marines together.”

“It’s a pleasure to meet you, Troy,” she said with an outstretched hand.

He gripped her hand and squeezed harder than was necessary. She resisted the urge to squeeze back and smiled sweetly instead.

“The pleasure is all mine,” Troy said with a smile in return. The smile didn’t reach his eyes. “Xavier,” he said, turning a shoulder to Vivian, “I’m glad I caught you before you headed off for the night.” He looked her up and down a moment before looking at Xavier expectantly.

Vivian gritted her teeth.

Xavier nearly spat into his drink. “This is Vivian McKinley. She invented the psychic vampire ward we showcased yesterday. She’s just been promoted to head of R and D. Vivian, Troy is the president of ParaSecurity.”

“Oh,” Troy said, not bothering to turn. “Congratulations, Miss McKinley.”

“Ms.,” she corrected.

He blinked.

“It’s Ms., not Miss.”

“Of course.” He gave her a curt nod. “Xavier, I wanted to hear more about this idea of yours.”

“I thought I had your attention!” Xavier clapped his hand on Troy’s shoulder. “C’mon, let’s discuss details over a cigar.” He smiled at Vivian as he reached for a silver case inside his jacket pocket.

“John will want to hear the news.”

Vivian knew a dismissal when she heard one, even if it was accompanied by a smile that lit up her chest.

The two men disappeared through the open glass doors into a forest of potted palms on the balcony, leaving Vivian to herself. She glanced around the ballroom through the sea of tuxedos and the occasional glittering wife. She judged that some were mistresses, mainly because of the age differences and the way the women clung to their balding partners. She immediately regretted her choice of dress. No wonder Troy had been so dismissive, she was dressed like one of them. She had chosen to wear a just-above-the-knee black-sequined cocktail dress, sleeveless with a sweetheart neckline. She wore her grandmother’s single strand of pearls and matching pearl earrings. Maybe she should have put her hair up? She sighed, annoyed with having to navigate being a professional in a man’s world right at the moment she should be celebrating.

“I couldn’t help but notice you were talking to our hunk-in-chief.”

Vivian snorted and turned to face her friend Jenny. She was the receptionist for the Research and Development Department. The blonde wore an emerald green off-the-shoulder dress with a large bow on the right hip.

“Here, you look like you need one of these.” Jenny thrust a shot glass into Vivian’s hand.

Vivian shook her head, “No. Thank you. This is work.” She passed the glass back to Jenny.

Jenny made a face. “Vivian, dear, this is a party. Work ended the moment you stepped foot into this ballroom.”

“Not true. This is work. Everyone here is networking. Besides, I was just talking business with Xavier.”

Jenny’s brows shot upward. “First name basis, are we? Not Mr. Prince? At any rate,” she said, not giving Vivian the chance to answer the question, “look around. People are here to attend a party. The bar is already on its fourth bottle of whiskey.”

Vivian ignored her. “I’ve been promoted, Jenny. I’m now head of R and D!”

“What? Congratulations! That’s so exciting! Wait! That means you’re my boss? Holy shit, Vivian! I’ve never had a woman boss before. You get it, Viv. Make these men quake in their shoes. You’ve got to do a tequila shot with me, then.”

“Tequila? You want me to be sick? No, thank you. I’m fine. I should talk to John. Have you seen him?”

“Oh, yeah. He’s at the bar talking to Drew from sales.”

“Thank you,” Vivian replied.

“I will get you to do a shot before the night is out.”

“No. You won’t,” Vivian called over her shoulder.

John was exactly where Jenny said he was -- at the bar enjoying a glass of cognac with Drew from sales.

“Vivian!” John bellowed, waving her over. “Saw you talking to Mr. Prince. Has he taken my advice?”

Vivian grinned. “If your advice was to have me take up the mantle, then yes. Yes! By the gods, John. I don’t know what to say. I haven’t had time to process this yet.”

John beamed and took her hand and patted it lightly. “I’m proud of you, Vivian. You’re going to go far. You’d be wasted in that shop, peddling basic charms.”

“I wouldn’t call my grandmother’s charms basic. She taught me all I know. She’d have a few choice words to say to you if she heard that!”

“I stand corrected.” He chuckled, belly bouncing with each percussive breath. “Drew, have you met Vivian? She’s now the head of R and D.”

The salesman laughed at first, but when John didn’t laugh in response he quickly sobered. “What? Where are you going, John? Is Simeon finally retiring?”

John shook his head. “No. I’m retiring, Drew. It’s time I spent more time with the grandkids.”

“Oh, come on. You’ve got a few years yet.”

“No, no. It’s time to go home. I can’t compete with these kids anymore. Vivian’s ward is one hell of a piece of work. I would never have been able to dream that up.”

“The psychic vamp ward? The one I’ve got people lining up to order? That was you?” he asked while looking at her, mouth agape.

John snorted. “Of course, it was her, she gave the presentation, didn’t she?”

“I thought… I thought she gave the presentation to…”

Vivian arched a brow. “To what, exactly?”

“You know, to, to sell --”

“She’s goading you, Drew. And I’d stop with that thought right now. Vivian here knows her stuff, and she’s going to put Prince Charms on the global map.”

Vivian could hear the clack of Drew’s teeth as he snapped his mouth shut.

“I think a drink is in order, don’t you?” John turned toward the bartender. “Three bourbon, neat.”

“Oh, I don’t think that’s --”

“Nonsense. This is a party, and if you’re going to hang with the old boys you have to play by their rules. Here, have a cigar.”

Vivian stared at the offered stogie.

“Might as well join us in smoking them. You’re going to be stuck in smoky rooms and end up smoking them anyway. It’s better firsthand.”

Vivian wasn’t sure she followed John’s logic on that one, but she reached out for the cigar anyway.

“That’s my girl. Now, here, you cut them like this.” He snipped the end of the cigar with a gold-plated cutter he pulled from his pocket. “And let me get that for you,” he said, flicking open his matching lighter.

She didn’t cough. She knew enough from her father that you didn’t actually inhale a cigar, unlike a cigarette.

John grinned as she exhaled like a professional. “Now.” He clapped his hands and rubbed them together. “Time for bourbon.” He passed both her and Drew a glass and then held his aloft. “To

Vivian, who’s going to shake the paranormal world so hard it won’t know what happened.”

Vivian expected everyone to sip their drink, but no, down their gullets the amber liquid went. She tried not to gag at the flavor. A whiskey lover she was not.

“It’ll grow on you,” John said with a thump on her back as if reading her mind. “Bartender! Another round.”

Jenny was right, it seemed. It was a party. Already the dance floor was full, the bartenders were busy at work and there were servers everywhere.

“First conference with us, Vivian?” Drew asked after Vivian examined the room.

“With the company? Yes. I’ve been to ParaCon before. My family used to attend.”

“Family? What company?”

“Oh, we were small business, really.”

Drew’s interest waned at that. “I see.”

“Vivian here is a witch! Long line of witches.” John puffed on his cigar. “Successful women. They’ve been running a shop downtown for over a century,” he said on the exhale. “She studied at Serenity State in their Occult Sciences program, one of the first to graduate out of that program, and, I might add, she was at the top of her class. I was lucky to get her on board.”

Vivian smiled fondly at the white-haired man. “Oh, you would have gotten me eventually. It was just a matter of whether or not it was after a master’s degree or a doctorate.”

“This is corporate. With your experience you don’t need a doctorate. Besides, you can still get one. You’re young, yet.”

“For over a century? That’s impressive. What shop?” Drew asked, zeroing on the only thing he cared about: money.

“Ceridwen’s, on Hillcliff Lane.”

“That’s in old historic, isn’t it? That section of downtown that’s all blocked off from traffic?”

Vivian nodded. “It is. Do you visit our little neck of the woods often?”

Drew looked up from his cigar, startled. “What? No. Can’t take the Lamborghini there.”

“What do you plan on doing with the shop now that you’re head?” John asked, handing out the glasses of bourbon.

Vivian accepted a glass and tried her best to not let her distaste show. “I can’t just up and sell it. I’d be breaking tradition, and I have aunts and cousins who’d wring my neck if I did. I could wait for one of them to offer to buy it, but there’s a stipulation in the will that I’ve gotta hold on to it for at least five years. It’s supposed to ensure it stays in the family. I can’t design charms and wards there like grandmother did, not with working at Prince Charms. What I design is owned by them. I’m not sure yet. I’m thinking of moving into the apartment above, though.”

John took a much smaller sip of his drink this time around. He nodded. “Nice location. Central to everything. It’s a fairly large space, isn’t it?”

Vivian set her glass down on the bar and smiled at one of the bartenders to get their attention.

“It’s enough for me. I mean, why not, I own it. Why pay rent when I’ve already got a place? Besides, it’d make grandmother happy, and she deserves that.”

“Amen. To good ol’ Patricia McKinley, matron of charms and wards. May she rest in peace,” John said, raising his glass. He swallowed the last of the bourbon. “Now, enough serious talk. We’re at a party! C’mon, Drew, let’s go find those wives of ours.”

Vivian shook her head as the pair wandered off. “Soda and lime,” she ordered from the bartender as he finally made his way over. She tossed a bill into the tip jar as she waited.

At this rate she was going to need to go to bed at ten. She stubbed the cigar out in the marble ashtray but kept it as a prop, hoping it would dissuade anyone from offering her another. With John halfway into his cups the news of her promotion would spread like wildfire, and she wasn’t sure she was ready for that. She squeezed the lime into her drink and left the lime slice on a napkin. Bathroom. There would hardly be anyone in there since men outnumbered anyone else in the ballroom. She could escape and process there.

The bathroom was old and gaudy and coated in marble and fading gilt. It had a twelve-foot arched ceiling, and a maroon carpet. There was a sumptuous sitting area adorned with cream colored wing-back chairs and there were grand mirrors for women to, presumably, powder their nose in. The toilets were farther on through a gilded archway and a fan of potted plants.

The place was empty, thank goodness. She sat down at the far end in a chair by a counter. She put the cigar in an ashtray on the mirrored side table and leaned back. Head of Research and Development. Twenty-seven years old and the head of R and D. She clenched her fists and bit her bottom lip, kicking her feet in excitement. By the gods! Her. Vivian Mary McKinley, Head of Research and Development at Prince Charms. This shouldn’t be happening. It was supposed to take her years and years and years to achieve this, not three years and a major project later.

But then again, Xavier had founded Prince Charms at the age of twenty-six. If he could take a small paranormal security company and rocket to the largest in the country in just nine years, well, she could achieve big things too.

Her stomach was busy flipping about when the big wooden door with brass handles and ornate hinges swung open.

“Oh, honey, I thought I’d find you here,” Jenny said as she flopped down in a chair opposite Vivian. “People are asking about you out there.”

“Yes, well, they’re going to have to wait,” Vivian said with a wave of her hand. “I need a moment to myself first. Plus, John made me drink bourbon. I need a break.” She reached for her glass of soda water and took a sip.

“You’re not going to be sick, are you?”

“What? No. I’ll be fine. I just wasn’t expecting this, you know? It’s a lot to take in.”

“You better not be doubting yourself because you deserve every ounce of this promotion. You’re smart, and you’ve got ideas, and you have every bit as much wherewithal as one of those smug-ass bastards out there. No one has ever come up with a psychic vampire ward! No one, not ever, until you figured it out. You got there before anyone else in the world. Vivian, Vivian, look at me.” Jenny pursed her red lacquered lips.

Vivian ripped her eyes away from the ashtray and met Jenny’s pout with a laugh. “Yes! Yes! I hear you. On paper it all fits, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy to accept.”

“What? Why not? Any one of those assholes would accept it without batting a lash. Even Peter, from accounting.”

“OK! OK,” Vivian conceded. “Fine. I deserve this promotion.”

“Yeah, you do, babe.” Jenny grinned. “Now, how long are we going to hide in the bathroom?”

“Give me a few more minutes.”

“Whatever you need.” Jenny managed to stay silent for thirty seconds before she spoke again. “So. What’s he like?”


“Mr. Prince! I’ve never met him. He never comes down to the labs. Mr. Simeon always goes upstairs to the offices for meetings. I’ve only ever talked to Pam, the receptionist upstairs.”

“I talked to him for all of three minutes. He smiled a lot, but he was promoting me. I assume most people smile at the person they’re promoting.”

Jenny giggled. “I wouldn’t know.”

Vivian looked up to the ceiling and sighed. “He seemed nice.”

“He’s a god in mortal form is what he is,” Jenny interjected. “Have you seen him on the tennis court?”

“Well, yes, at the club, but he’s our boss.”

“Just because he’s the boss doesn’t mean you can’t look.”

Vivian shook her head. “That’s not what I’m here for, Jenny. I’m here to be a professional. To grow and learn and well… be successful at it all.”

“You can do all that and still look,” Jenny said with a shrug.

“All right. Let’s go back to the party if it means I don’t get regaled with nonsense like this.” Vivian stood and picked up her matching clutch from the chair next to her.

“Anything to help,” Jenny said, smirking.

Vivian flipped her head and ruffled her hair to give it a bit more volume. When satisfied with the height of her curls, she reapplied her lipstick and blotted her lips on a tissue.

When they ventured back out into the ballroom, it was a lot quieter than it had been. The dance floor was empty, and people seemed to have formed scattered conversational groups.

“Well, this isn’t the party I left a few minutes ago,” Jenny murmured.

Vivian sighed in relief. Thank goodness people were settling down. The last thing she needed was more booze. No one seemed to notice her triumphant return to the party which pleased her to no end. Jenny, however, had her trademark pout.

“Well, this is no fun. Where’s the dancing? We’re supposed to find handsome dance partners and be whisked away on the dance floor.”

“It’s nineteen eighty-two, not nineteen fifty-three.”

“Well, if it means I get whisked off my feet it should be. Hey,” Jenny said, her voice slow and low as she got an idea. “What if there’s one of those psychic vampires in here ruining the party? You said they could be anyone, some people don’t even know they are one, right?”

“They’re a lot more common than you think,” Vivian said, nodding.

Jenny looked around to see if anyone was watching them and then nodded her head toward the roped-off dais at the front of the room. Vivian’s pride sat there for all to marvel at. The psychic vampire ward. It was an amalgamation of solitary witch tradition and cutting-edge science -- an energy conductor with an amethyst core. One flick of the switch would cause a single light to glow and a whole lot of nothing, unless you were a psychic vampire. If you were a psychic vampire, you would be driven away. It was not an elegant solution, but that was why it was a prototype.

“Why don’t we turn it on and see?” Jenny suggested.

“What? No! We can’t just walk up there. There’s guards.”

“Why not? You invented the thing. You’re the Head of the Research and Development Department. They won’t be able to stop you.”

“We can’t!” Vivian said under her breath.

“Why not? Isn’t this what the thing was invented for?”

“It was designed to stop vampires from manipulating others.”

“Well, I’m going to guess there’s a lot of serious manipulating going on here. Look around, Vivian. This isn’t the same group we were with moments ago.”

Vivian cast a glance around the room. Indeed, it seemed a lot more subdued than when John and Drew trotted off to find their wives. She spied them in the far corner. Drew was talking animatedly while John scowled at him. She could see Xavier and Troy still on the balcony. Xavier leaned on the railing and looked out over the Las Vegas strip, cigar stub between his fingers. Troy was talking, his body turned away from her. She couldn’t make out what they were discussing. A cluster of men stood to their right. Two appeared to be disagreeing with each other, while a mistress in a red contoured gown gave a bored sigh and tugged at her paramour’s jacket sleeve.

“The signs do point to something going on, I’ll admit.”

“I’m glad you agree,” Jenny said with a grin. “Come on. Let’s get this party started again.”

Vivian followed Jenny as they skirted along the edge of the room toward the raised dais. A big man in a suit intercepted her, shaking his head.

“This area is off-limits, miss.”

“Even for the Head of Research and Development?” Jenny asked sweetly, head tilted to the side.

Vivian took that moment to step forward. “Hello. Vivian McKinley, I made that thing, and I would like to show Miss Williams how it works.”

“Ms. McKinley, of course,” the man said. “I didn’t see you there. Please, by all means,” he said as he stepped aside.

Vivian led the way up to the dais. “This is the energy conductor. Over five kilograms of amethyst is in its core.”

“Yeah, yeah, yeah,” Jenny whispered. “I was there at the presentation. Turn it on!”

“I’m supposed to be explaining to you how it works,” Vivian responded from the corner of her mouth. “Coupled with oil of rosemary and yarrow, this is a psychic vampire repelling machine.”

“By the way, that, was never a good joke.”

Vivian huffed. “They laughed at the presentation.”

“They were being nice. Where’s the on button?”

“It’s the only button.”

“That’s easy, then!” Jenny said and flicked the toggle switch upward.

The toggle switch glowed red, but other than that nothing happened. Just a soft whir as the mechanisms inside heated the amethyst.

“Well, that’s just fascinating,” Jenny said loud enough for the security guard to hear. “Aren’t you a clever little thing?”

Vivian cleared her throat. “Not a problem, Jenny.” She watched as the mistress in red tugged vehemently at her partner and whispered something in his ear. He nodded at her before shaking the other men’s hands and the pair left the party.

Jenny pulled her off the dais before she could catch any more of that group’s interactions.

“That was Renee,” Jenny said. “I’m not surprised she’s a psychic vampire.”

“We don’t know that,” Vivian replied. “She wanted to leave before we turned that thing on.”

Movement on the balcony caught her attention as they walked by the security guard. He nodded as they passed. Troy emerged from between two plants, a deep frown on his face as he quickly crossed the room. Someone said something to him on the way out, but he waved him off and left the ballroom.

A few more people left right after him.

“That’s six, I’ve counted,” said Jenny. “Six psychic vampires.”

“Or people who just had enough of the party.”

Jenny narrowed her eyes. “Vampires.”

“Fine, if that makes you feel better, they’re all psychic vampires.”

“Truth be told, I’m excited about seeing the prototype in action. I’m looking forward to seeing how this pans out.”

“You won’t have to wait long, look,” Vivian said, pointing out the couple making their way to the dance floor. Soon the dance floor was a flurry of movement and color.

“Vivian!” said Xavier from the balcony. “Just who I wanted to see. Time to make the announcement, shall we?”

Vivian blinked. “Announcement?”

“John’s retirement and your promotion. Have you seen John?”

“Last I saw him…” Vivian stood up on her toes and strained her neck to get a better look at the crowd. “Yes, there he is in the far corner, talking to Drew.” The two men were laughing now.

“Miss Williams, would you fetch Mr. Godfrey, please?”

“As you wish, Mr. Prince,” Jenny said with a smile before she trotted off to find Vivian’s mentor.

“I can’t express how much I look forward to working with you, Vivian,” Xavier said with a smile as he guided her through the whirling couples and to the piano where a microphone stood ready.

Vivian swallowed, her mouth drying out. “Thank you for saying so, Mr. Prince.”

“Call me Xavier, please.”

“Xavier, then.”

“This is the part where you tell me you look forward to working with me,” he teased.

Vivian’s cheeks flushed. “I do! I mean, I do look forward to working with you.”

His laugh was a clear boom from the chest. “I hope you have a speech prepared,” he said with a wink as he approached the microphone.

Vivian’s heart sank.

“Attention, everyone! Attention! I have an announcement to make.”

The pianist trailed off and people turned and moved to get a view of Xavier Prince at the head of the room.

“Thank you for indulging me in this little conceit. You are all gentle people. But of course, you’ll pay attention, because I’m footing the bill for this evening’s festivities.” The room chuckled and murmured appreciatively. “I have news, friends, and it is with fond thoughts, we say farewell to John Godfrey.” A collective gasp went through the crowd. “I know! I am as shocked as you are, but John has decided to retire from Prince Charms, and well, who am I to stop this man from doing what he wants? Thank you, John,” he said, reaching out to the man as he approached the stage, Jenny behind him. “Thank you for the years you spent with us. We wouldn’t be the company we are without you.” The two men shook hands before Xavier passed the microphone to John.

“I won’t bore you all, I know I’ve done that enough in the last decade.” Polite laughter filled the room.

“Then stop talking!” someone yelled from the crowd. Laughter erupted for real.

“Ha!” John guffawed. “Well, lucky for you, I’m just going to pass this here baton to the next generation of Prince Charms. I want everyone to extend a warm congratulations to Vivian McKinley!”

Before she knew it, the microphone was in her hands and John was nodding reassuringly at her. Xavier was clapping and smiling with the rest of the room.

“Wow!” she laughed into the microphone. “I wasn’t expecting this tonight, so please forgive me if I ramble. I’m Vivian. I’m a witch. I’m from a long line of witches that spans centuries, many of which were spent in Serenity, where Prince Charms’ HQ is located. As solitary witches, it’s our job to ensure the safety of our community from paranormal harm. We are to protect and care for our community. Well, that tradition is what I bring to Prince Charms. A longstanding tradition of safety, security, and well-being. Couple that tradition with cutting-edge science, well, we can be unstoppable. I look forward to working with everyone and seeing what heights we can achieve. Thank you.”

Vivian exhaled through her nose as the room erupted into applause. Xavier shook her hand, and suddenly she was in a whirlwind of activity. Here was the head of marketing, and there was the CFO. A cigar was pressed into her hands, and whiskey burned her throat.

She did it.

She was Head of Research and Development. All rights reserved. Copyright ©2021 Victoria Rogers

BIN: 010051-03262 Formats Available: Adobe PDF, Epub Mobi/PRC Publisher: Changeling Press LLC 315 N. Centre St. Martinsburg, WV 25404 Editor: Kira Stone Cover Artist: Bryan Keller

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