Music Behind the Story: Magic and Mayhem Universe!
Happy Friday! I hope you're all doing well. We're HOURS away from the release of Gator Me Twice AND Love Is All Vol. 3 so I thought I'd do a Music Behind The Story for my Magic and Mayhem loving folks!
Three books ago I joined Robyn Peterman's Magic and Mayhem Universe and it's been an absolute blast! I love writing paranormal romance, and the challenge to make it funny and connected to another series of books is one I love. It was tough this time due to the shelter-in-place, but I'm really happy with how the book turned out. Layla and Garrett are certainly challenged in this story and we meet some new characters that I hope you'll enjoy!
As you know, music is usually the root of my stories, and the Shifted series is no exception. Shifted and Ghoul Me Once had very distinct sounds to them, but this time, I dug a little deeper. There are so many cool late 50s/early 60s funky, jangly-guitar sounding tracks that were perfect for this book. This song "She's My Witch" has such a sultry sound...and well Kip Tyler knows the score when it comes to dating a witch.
How super fun are these tunes? It's like a demented surf movie with crazy clothes and hairstyles invaded my little Bayou world this time. It was fun to find more witchy songs than the usual ones everyone knows. Every time I played this playlist while working on the book my family would ask what the hell I was listening to!
And this psychedelic treat with the excellent guitar effects...I'm so digging this. I swear I must have lived a past life during the 50s and 60s as a young adult and then was reborn in 1972 or something because MAN my heart loves this groovy stuff. And you all know how much I love discovering new music, even if it's older than me!
Here's the link to the playlist. Cue it up and have it ready while reading the 20 stories that are part of Blast Off 5! https://open.spotify.com/playlist/2Jp3eKroUY1iJpZt0lv7k0?si=0mMqU-lMR06p_ZoWBtLF0A There are so many great authors in this group! I hope you'll check them all out at www.magicandmayhemuniverse.com
Here's an excerpt from Gator Me Twice:
“Is this one of them there ‘change of life babies’?”
“Yeah, ’cause you ain’t no spring chicken—”
“If either of you old harpies want to reach your next millennia, you will cease with the comments!”
Layla chuckled. Just relax, Marge. I’ve been assured the owl sisters have plenty of experience as doulas, Layla projected telepathically. Being mute, she was grateful she was able to get her thoughts across to people. Made having relationships so much easier.
“Doesn’t mean I have to keep my mouth shut,” Marge muttered. She looked incredibly uncomfortable with her feet in the stirrups and a sheet draped over her bare legs. “I worked hard to never end up in this position.”
“You were working something, that’s for damn sure,” Edna said, and she and her sister, Bessie Chouette snickered. “Now you just relax. This will be over in a jiffy.”
“Is that what he said?”
Layla noticed Marge’s murderous glare at the old women. She knew exactly what was coming next.
No, you can’t zap them, Marge. I’m sorry I don’t know enough about babies to help yet. I’ll try to learn before the next one—
“Bite your tongue, witch,” Marge snarled at Layla as Bessie began the exam. “I’m a one-and-done mother, you hear me? That old fool is getting a warlock vasectomy or he’s never—arrrggghhhh.”
Edna had her arm in there quite far, examining Marge’s cervix. Even Layla winced.
“I’m guessing you’re nearly halfway there, not-so-young lady. Aaaaand…well helloooo there, number two.”
“Number two? What are you saying, you old bat?”
“That’s insulting,” Edna protested. “We’re owl Shifters. That’s like me asking you ‘where’s the wart on your nose?’ Come on now. We may be old, but it’s up to us to stop perpetuating stereotypes that are harmful to other magical kinds.”
Marge looked as though she were ready to climb out of the makeshift stirrups and zap the old owl sisters in the ass. Only Layla’s hand on her shoulder eased her.
“What my sister is trying to say without much tact is that you’re having twins. Congratulations. This tends to happen with more…seasoned witches.”
“Oh, that’s it! Exam’s over!”
Marge sent a wave of magic that knocked the old owl Shifters back—gently, of course, as they were quite elderly—and the women fell onto their behinds, howling with laughter.
“I’ll get you back, you old bitties!”
“Takes one to know one, Grandma!”
Layla pressed her lips together and helped Marge off the table.
“Why is my back so sore?”
Probably the whole pregnant-with-twins status?
“Don’t you start!”
Layla held up her hands. Of course not. Let’s get you comfortable and I’ll try that technique B-man showed me.
“Or I’ll do that technique. Marge, darling, why didn’t you tell me you were seeing the doulas today?”
The women all jumped at B-man’s booming voice.
“My goodness,” Bessie exclaimed. “Where’d you come from?”
B-man frowned and made his way to Marge’s side. “Are you alright? Are you having complications, darling?
“At her age, you can never be too careful—”
“Can it!” Marge shouted, and then she slouched. “This whole thing just has me…I’m sorry. I know you had a right to be a part of this, but it’s so undignified.”
“Congratulations, old man, you’re having twins.” Bessie was just having too much fun messing with Marge. B-man, however, was not offended by the crack at his age.
Roy Bermangoggleshitz was a large man. He dwarfed the entire room as he swooped in to pick up Marge, cradling her to his chest. “Twins? Blessed be! Thank the Goddess. You are incredible, my love. Now, come, let me pamper you.”
Marge gave him a small smile and wound her arms around his neck as he carried her out of the owl sisters’ swamp dwelling.
“How romantic!” Edna swooned, and Bessie sneered.
“Ain’t nothing romantic about caveman behavior like that.”
“You’re just sore because old Francois couldn’t carry you over the threshold.”
Bessie sighed. “The old geezer kicked it long before Edna and I built this place. Women gotta be able to take care of ourselves without our mates, you know. Sometimes we outlast them.”
Layla shivered. She didn’t want to think about that possibility.
She glanced around the room that consisted of a bunch of nooks and vestibules, looking for any mementos these two might have of their late mates. It was actually quite a homey spot. The owl Shifters had built a sprawling place deep in the Bayou out of bits and pieces of old buildings that had survived hurricanes. Garrett had offered repeatedly to build them a new home, but the women refused his offer, saying their home had “character.” Fitting for two of the Bayou’s oldest residents. They’d lived longer than most of the Terrebonne Parish alligator Shifter congregation, and were good friends to Layla’s mate, the congregation’s alpha, Garrett Cocodri.
Garrett. Just thinking about her mate made her swoon, but also…melancholy. Marge’s baby news wasn’t helping with that, either.
“You’ll be a part of this the whole way,” Edna was saying. “We’ll teach ya all you need to know about birthing babies of all species. That way when we, eh, fly south for the eternal winter, we won’t be leaving you and Garrett high and dry.”
Thank you, Layla projected to them. I want to be able to handle everything that the congregation needs.
“You’re going to be fine, girl. We’ll be here to help. Now, you run along and go find that alpha of yours. It’s almost time for the playoff game.”
Heaven forbid you miss your Saints, Layla teased, but her heart wasn’t in it.
She waved goodbye to the owls and made her way through the twisty, turny hallways that led to the front of the dwelling and down to the dock, where her boat was tied. She sighed as she worked at the knot, and she must have been broadcasting her mood.
Chére. What’s wrong?
Garrett’s deep, strong voice enveloped her, warming her even as she hadn’t realized she was cold.
I’m on my way back, she told him.
Good. I miss you. Almost done cutting down traps. I can’t believe some fool humans thought they could hunt in our territory.
Thank goodness no one was hurt. I’ll see you soon. Be careful.
You too, baby. I need you.
Layla smiled. She knew what kind of need he was talking about. She had it, too. They were still newly mated. It had only been a couple of months, and she continued to be drawn to him physically like a pregnant woman to dill pickles and ice cream—
Wow, that hurt.
Hey, what’s wrong? You’re worrying me. Where are you? I’m coming to you.
Layla wiped a tear away. No, please. I’m fine. I’m on my way back to the homestead. Just be waiting with a hug, K?”
When he hesitated, she thought perhaps he was already on his way to her. Finally he grumbled.
You’re cute when you get grumpy. I’ll see you soon.
Layla closed her eyes and reached over the side of the boat. She dragged her fingertips along the water’s surface and the current grew stronger, carrying her little aluminum boat faster toward home.
Home. Layla relaxed and let love fill her soul. She had a home. She had a mate. She’d found her purpose.
She was the most powerful water witch in the Swamplands. The Bayou was her domain now, and she’d spent the past three months learning everything she could about life in the swamp and the magic of the waters that flowed all around them. She and Garrett made an excellent team, both before the congregation and behind closed doors.
Boy, were they ever a great team behind closed doors.
Layla should feel fulfilled, she should be completely satisfied.
But lingering doubts plagued her.
Maybe her brokenness, the thing that had taken her voice, also took her ability to conceive. Garrett hadn’t said anything, but she knew he had to be concerned, too. Most new mates experience a frenzy, that’s what she’d been told, and they’d certainly been mating with a frenzy, but nothing…
She hadn’t voiced her concerns to anyone as of yet—not that she could voice anything—but Garrett had picked up on her moods a couple of times now. She couldn’t fool him for long. She dreaded the conversation, but she missed him and wanted to be near him with all of her being, which led her to put a little more oomph behind her magic to get to her mate with a quickness.
Maybe they could shut out all of their problems for just an afternoon and bask in the beauty that was their lovemaking.
She could hope, anyway.
Get your copy today and let's celebrate next week! I can't wait for you to read this next episode. Monday you'll also be able to pick up Love Is All Vol. 3 so be sure to follow me on BookBub so you get the link as soon as it goes live!
Stay Tuned for more Rock 'n' Romance...