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Ricky struggled with the heavy box, cursing as he tried to get it in the door of the studio. From behind the reception desk, which was really just for show since the band didn't allow visitors, Calvin frowned.
"What are you doing, human?"
"What does it look like? I guess you couldn't have held the door or anything."
Calvin returned his attention to a video game. "Not really."
Ricky set the box on a table and wondered if it would be worthwhile to say something about Calvin's manners. Since a lecture would probably be a waste of time, he went to the desk and started looking for something he could use to cut the box open.
"There you are, Ricky." Kalila strolled into the room. "You promised to be here half an hour ago so you could hear our new song."
"I needed to pick up a package."
Kalila approached the box and eyed it warily. "I see. And what's in here that's so important?"
She raised her eyebrows. "Not those books."
Ricky stopped fumbling among the items on the desk. "Yes, 'those' books. They're copies of that new book about us."
"You mean the story about how you went from being in fear of your life from us to--"
"Don't give the ending away."
"Who would I be giving it away to? Calvin, you know this whole ridiculous saga, don't you?"
Calvin ignored her, absorbed in his video game.
"Look, would you just help me out, here? I need something to cut open the box with. Or better yet, how about you...?"
"Open it and remove the books for you by magic."
"Because I'm not your personal servant?"
"I thought maybe you'd do it as a favor."
Kalila turned away in annoyance. "Djinns don't do favors," she said, but as she left the room, she waved her hand in the direction of the box.
Ricky hurried over in a rush of excitement, and it opened at his touch.
Empty. He picked up the box, weightless now without the books, and looked around in dismay. "Kalila!"
From the end of the hall, he heard a faint voice. "Come hear our new song, Ricky."
Calvin looked up from his video game. "She didn't hire you to sell books, human. Better go see what she wants."
With a sigh of frustration, Ricky trudged down the hall. "This had better be good, Kalila."
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Yes, folks, the rumors are true. Maelstrom is now available in e-book format from Fictionwise. Information about how to get the print version will follow just as soon as it's available But for now, if you're an e-book fan, go buy a copy of Maelstrom by following this link: Maelstrom!