As one of the #CMCon17 featured bloggers, I get to have a little fun with a few of the fabulous authors who will be hitting the beach for Coastal Magic 2017 by showcasing their many stories. We had so much fun with last year’s At the Beach feature, that we’re doing it again.
Today Deborah Blake is taking us to the beach with Mikhail Day from her brand new Broken Riders series. The first book, Dangerously Charming, comes out October 4th; so if On the Beach: One Wild Ride gets your interest, make sure you check out the Baba Yaga series where the Broken Riders first make their appearance.
On the Beach: One Wild Ride
“Uh huh,” Mikhail Day said, not convinced. He glanced over his shoulder at his companion Beka, whose long blond hair and lithe, Neoprene-clad body made her look like any other gorgeous California surfer chick. If that surfer chick happened to be a Baba Yaga, one of a small number of powerful legendary witches out of Russian fairy tales. “I don’t really see the attraction in trying to catch a ride on a huge wave while balancing on a tiny wooden board.”
“That’s pretty ironic, coming from a guy who spent over a thousand years as a Rider,” she said, coming to a stop next to him at the edge of the water, and propping her brightly colored surfboard onto the sand.
Day winced, since that title no longer applied. A sore spot Beka seemed determined to ignore in her usual perky manner. “I rode a nice well-behaved horse, like a sane person,” he said. “And when the world changed, the horse became a nice, well-behaved Yamaha motorcycle, and I rode that instead. On land, as the gods intended.”
“Pfft,” Beka snorted. “A nice, well-behaved magical horse and motorcycle. Too easy. Where’s the challenge in that? Now surfing, there’s a challenge.” She gave him a sideways look out of bright blue eyes almost the same color as his own. “Besides, a little adventure will be good for you. You’ve been sulking in that cabin in the Adirondacks for too long.”
Day scowled. “I was not sulking. I was healing. And I don’t need any more adventures after the last one, thank you.”
The last one, as she well knew, had been a disaster.
Beka rolled her eyes, pulling her long hair back into a quick braid to get it out of the way. “You promised me anything I wanted for my birthday, Mikhail, and what I want is to spend the day surfing with you. So stop complaining and get into the water. We need to practice the basics I showed you before we can actually get out on the waves.” She pointed out to sea, where similarly clad people could be seen already surfing, some of them seemingly suspended impossibly far out and high up.
“Fine,” Mikhail muttered, picking up his surfboard and wading out a few feet. “I flew all the way out to California to do this; I’m not going to go back on my word now. Just remember that I’m no longer immortal, and if I drown, you’re going to have to explain it to Barbara and Bella.”
“Plus it would ruin my birthday,” Beka said with a grin. “So I guess you’d better not drown.”
Mikhail might not have been an immortal Rider anymore, but he wasn’t exactly your average Human, either, being blessed with unusual strength and endurance, besides millennia of athletic experience. So it only took him a couple of hours of practicing to be up and surfing as if he’d been doing it for years. He found he actually enjoyed it, which surprised him and made Beka look impossibly smug.
“Not so bad, is it?” she said, grinning, as they sat straddling their boards in a lull between waves, out a bit from the shore. “For something not so tame and well-behaved.”
Day flipped his wet shoulder-length hair back out of his face. “I’ve had worse times,” he allowed. Then he peered past her toward the beach, where there was some kind of commotion. “What’s going on there?” he asked.
Beka paddled her board around so she was looking in the same direction he was and suddenly turned pale. “Head in,” she said. “As fast as you can. It looks like someone has spotted a shark.”
Despite her advice to him, she started paddling as fast as she could toward the problem, instead of away. Naturally, Day was right behind her. He might not be a Rider any more, but he’d be damned if he would let a Baba Yaga head into trouble without him.
As they got closer, Day could see why the people on the beach were all jumping up and down and yelling. Two teenage girls on surfboards were being circled by a huge fin. The rest of the great white shark was hidden by the water, but it was clear it was massive and getting closer to the girls with every circle.
“I don’t suppose you can do anything magical,” Mikhail said to Beka, knowing the answer before she gave it.
She shook her head, abandoning the board to slide into the water, since the waves were no longer taking them where they needed to go. “My magic doesn’t work well on the water,” she said. Ironic, since that was the element she was most comfortable with. “We’re going to have to rely on brute force and cunning, I’m afraid.” She reached down to pull a wicked looking knife out of the hidden sheath in her wetsuit. Baba Yagas like to be prepared for anything.
Day grinned at her, feeling surprisingly alive for the first time in a long while. “Brute force I can do. You get the girls. I’ll take care of the shark.” He plucked the knife out of her fingers before she could protest and grasped it between his teeth before setting off swimming strongly toward his target.
The shark was even bigger close up, but it was so intent on its quarry, it didn’t even see Day coming alongside. With a leap that would have been impossible for most men, Day jumped up and grabbed the shark’s dorsal fin and threw himself up onto its back. He held on to the fin with one hand and pulled the knife out of his mouth with the other. He didn’t really want to hurt the shark—after all, it was only doing what was in its nature. He’d met real evil, and this creature wasn’t it. But Day would do whatever was necessary to save those two girls. That was his nature, and as much as he had changed, apparently that part of him hadn’t.
Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Beka herding the teens in the direction of the shore, but then all his attention was focused on the shark, which thrashed around, trying to dislodge its unwelcome passenger, its huge head full of razor-sharp teeth turning around to snap at him repeatedly.
After the last attempt came much too close for comfort, Day gave in to the inevitable and sank the knife into the shark’s side, cutting a jagged line that immediately started leaking clouds of blood into the clear ocean waters. The shark, startled, gave one last twisting buck that caused Day to slide off into the sea, and then swam off towards deeper waters and easier prey.
When Mikhail finally reached the shore, Beka was waiting with their boards, which someone had recovered for them, and a throng of cheering well-wishers. He gritted his teeth, handed her back her knife, and stalked through the group of people, still not up to dealing with crowds of Humans, no matter how well intentioned. Luckily, the refurbished school bus (once a wooden hut, and still enchanted) that Beka lived in was just across the highway and up a steep cliff, so he headed back there with his borrowed board thrown over his shoulder and his head down.
Chewie, Beka’s Chudo-Yudo, greeted them on their return in his guise as a huge black, shaggy Newfoundland, since a dragon would have stood out too much, even in California.
“How did the surfing go?” he asked with a woof, head-butting Mikhail affectionately on the leg and almost knocking him over. “Was it the wild ride Beka promised you?”
Beka and Day exchanged glances and burst out laughing. Chewie’s doggie visage looked confused.
“What did I say?” he asked. “Didn’t you have fun?”
“Well,” Day said with a rueful smile, “it was no day at the beach. But it was definitely wild.”
“Happy birthday to me,” Beka said. “Who wants s’mores?”
Meet Deborah Blake!
Deborah Blake is the author of the Baba Yaga Series from Berkley (Wickedly Dangerous, Wickedly Wonderful, Wickedly Powerful) and has published nine books on modern witchcraft with Llewellyn Worldwide. When not writing, Deborah runs The Artisans’ Guild, a cooperative shop she founded with a friend in 1999, and also works as a jewelry maker, tarot reader, and energy healer. She lives in a 120-year-old farmhouse in rural upstate New York with three cats who supervise all her activities, both magical and mundane.
- Wickedly Magical
- Wickedly Dangerous
- Wickedly Wonderful
- Veiled Magic
- Wickedly Ever After
- Wickedly Powerful
Dangerously Charming (Broken Riders #1)
Everyday Witch Tarot
The Witch’s Broom: The Craft, Lore & Magick of Broomsticks
The Goddess Is in the Details: Wisdom for the Everyday Witch
Circle, Coven, & Grove: A Year of Magickal Practice
Everyday Witch Book of Rituals: All You Need for a Magickal Year
A to Z Spellbook: Wonderfully Witchy Blessings, Charms & Spells
Everyday Witch A to Z: An Amusing, Inspiring & Informative Guide to the Wonderful World of Witchcraft
Witchcraft on a Shoestring: Practicing the Craft Without Breaking Your Budget
Don’t miss your chance to meet over 50 fabulous urban fantasy, paranormal, and romance authors at Coastal Magic next February! This super casual book-lover weekend happens on Daytona Beach, and gives everyone the chance to hang out with fellow readers and amazing storytellers.
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