Note from Diane: This book stars the winner of my favorite doggy contest held before I even started writing
this book. Copper is a real-life Jack Russell terrier who won the contest. Here is the real Copper.
Editor: Rory Olsen
Cover Artist: Elaina Lee
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Excerpt from "Magic at the Roxy"
Peering through the dirty windowpanes, Celeste Macallister spotted
the tall, dark figure down on the street in front of the theater. She had
been waiting for this man, and he was right on time. Once again,
she reminded herself she needed to clean the filthy windows. There
had been so much to do to the decaying building she had inherited
from Uncle Malcolm after his death. The windows were way down
on the list. Money was number one, and her visitor could be just
Hurrying down the worn wooden steps, Celeste cringed at the noise
her high heels made. For days, she debated over her choice of
wardrobe. Should she dress casually to give him the impression
this was no big deal and her very livelihood didn’t depend on one
man…him? Or should she wear her tailored navy business suit
and her dark red heels to show she knew what she was doing?
She chose the suit and heels. After all, projecting the image of a
confident businesswoman would not be a lie, but she did reject
the idea of hanging her college diploma in the theater office.
Perhaps she would hang it there later, when she knew what
she was doing.
Celeste paused in front of a plain, scarred wooden door and
knocked loudly. “Harry! Harry! He’s here. Meet me in the lobby.”
A muffled, “Coming,” came from inside, but Celeste didn’t wait
for him. She was much too antsy today. Although she dearly l
oved the old man, Harry Cameron walked slowly and he wouldn’t
want to be pressured into moving faster any way.
The old frosted-glass light fixtures in the shadowy hallway had
seen better days. New lighting is just one more thing this
“Please let him like this place.” She talked to herself far too
often…or maybe it was a prayer.
Reaching the end of the hall, she drew in a deep breath for composure, put a smile on her face, and pulled open another old door in bad need of a coat of paint.
“Hello, are you Matthew Stewart?” She moved into the lobby. “I’m Celeste Macallister.”
The tall man, dressed in a smart black dress coat, swung around from his perusal of the poster from the last show performed here on August thirtieth, nineteen sixty-four. The man had the kind of face Hollywood would love with his high cheekbones, straight-as-a-knife nose, and dazzling white smile. His thick blond hair was cut in the latest short style and his kindly brown eyes smiled right along with his mouth.
But—and this was a surprise—he was plainly unwell. His skin was unnaturally pale and dark circles shadowed his eyes.
“Please, call me Matt, Miss Macallister…or is it Missus?”
She took his outstretched hand, noting the long, warm fingers he had. Perfect for performing sleight of hand.
“It’s Miss, but I too prefer to keep things informal; call me Celeste.”
He nodded and released her hand, then passed an elegant dark wood cane from his left to his right hand.
Another surprise. Gorgeous, but handicapped and ill? She had no idea. The talent agent she contacted about snagging Matthew Stewart, magician extraordinaire, had not said a word.
“Would you like to come in my office? We can sit down and chat for a bit.”
Leading the way, she opened the door marked Manager and crossed the small room to her beat-up desk. Matt followed, but she noted he barely used the cane and only limped slightly.
“There’s a coat rack to the left, if you’d like to take off your coat.”
He propped his cane against the visitor’s chair and removed his long black coat, draped it on a hook, and took a seat, favoring his right leg.
“I can see Barbara didn’t tell you I use a cane.”
Heat rushed to her face. Had she been staring at him? The black suit he wore fit his broad shoulders to perfection. This man was powerfully built under his fine clothing. Uh-oh. Would he be expecting more money than she could afford? Barbara had led her to believe he was in her budget.
“I’m sorry, no, she didn’t mention it. I assume she didn’t feel it affects your performance on stage. Is that right?”
The corners of his mouth lifted in a disarming smile. “It does not. I don’t use the cane on stage. My leg acts up on occasion, but I don’t need the cane all the time.”
She returned his smile. “Good to know. We can always work around any accommodations you might need.”
“You mean, if you decide to hire me.”
“Uh, yes. Several years ago I saw your show, in Las Vegas to be exact, and I was very impressed with both your stage presence and the performance.” Leaning forward, she continued, “Would you be interested in telling me how you disappeared from the stage and reappeared in the balcony?” Celeste didn’t recall noticing any hint of illness back then, but then again, stage makeup could do wonders.
The enigmatic smile returned. “A magician never reveals his secrets. But I bet you already knew that.”
Review for "Magic at the Roxy"
Although its multiple, rapidly moving plot points may leave some readers spinning, the light sexual content and feel-good message of hope and community make Wylie’s latest series entry (after Moonlight and Illusions and Magic of the Pentacle) a joy for casual romance lovers.—J. Harris, New Hampshire
Author of Adventure and Romance