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Upstaged by Betrayal

With a corpse lying in her theater, and the kingdom at risk from betrayal, a mage becomes a murder suspect.
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Nevis Conarkin, mage owner of a sorcerous theater, is being framed for murder when a dead body is found in the royal box. Unfortunately, Nevis has no alibi, but she does have a motive. Although Nevis suspects the true murderer, the evidence points to one of her actors.

Meanwhile, Nevis is preparing her chaotic cast and crew for the opening night of a play she detests, but Devlin Graham, the monarch and Nevis’ lover, insists on. The play commemorates the anniversary of her defeat of a renegade mage and his plot to allow an invasion by Cashogi foreigners. At the same time, the king is attempting to re-establish amicable relations with the visiting trade minister of Cashogi.

Against a background of malicious acts targeted at Nevis, her friends, and the kingdom, Nevis struggles to uncover the murderer and traitor.

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Upstaged by Betrayal
by Virginia G. McMorrow
November 27, 2018
Charlotte Volnek - Designer
ISBN 978-1-77392-030-6
359 Pages
Retails $6.99
Categories: Magic, theater, murder, betrayal, actors, orphans


“Come in, child. I’ve been expecting you.”

Nevis paused at the entrance to the cozy parlor above the bakery, eyes adjusting to the soft lamplight, seeking without conscious thought the wooden walking stick whose carved head held a dragon’s fiery image to Nevis’ eyes. “And why is that?” she quietly challenged, shutting the door behind her with one boot, not turning her back on the older woman.

“Shopkeepers in Port Jambi hear all sorts of rumors about people in the public eye. And when careless people let secrets slip, such as Mage Conarkin’s dire financial troubles—”

“They’re nonexistent.”

“Would you feel less threatened if I offered my shop as collateral rather than taking a loan from Devlin or having you even consider selling off your theater to that pompous parrot?” Dark brown eyes watched Nevis as the younger mage refused to answer. “I meant that as a genuine offer.”

Nevis stood motionless in the doorway “Why?”

“As a measure of good faith, for what you and I once shared.”

“You were my mentor, and refused to believe me when Adrian turned rogue, and I have to wonder why,” Nevis whispered, her tone deadly in its gentleness. “Was it because you already knew the truth, had indeed been leading him down that path of betrayal and greed?”

Clarissa’s eyes held honest pain. “How can you say that to me after twenty years of my teaching, guiding you to follow your heart and tap into your sorcery? How can you accuse me of such appalling behavior?”

“How can I say anything else when you refused to believe me, turned away in dismissal, treated me as though I had gone mad—”

“I turned away from your words because it hurt too much to see what Adrian had become,” Clarissa whispered, her rough voice trembling with the threat of tears, “to admit that he had rejected my teaching. I didn’t help him, Nevis. I swear that.” When the younger woman turned away, leaned her head wearily against the door, she repeated, “I didn’t help him.”

“You didn’t try to stop him either. You left that for me.”“I’ve no answer for that,” Clarissa admitted, surprising Nevis. “It’s haunted my dreams for the last ten years. My biggest regret, for Adrian’s sake and yours, was that I didn’t help you. If you’ve anger still raging at me, let it be because I failed to be there when you faced the worst decision your young heart had ever faced. Let it be because I was a coward, and failed horribly at being your mentor.”

Nevis groaned, pushed back from the door, and fled back into the sweet-scented night, putting distance between her grief and Clarissa’s.





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