Douglas needed a miracle. What he got was a genie…
A Gift of Jacinth is a charming, playful paranormal romance novel with a happy ever after and no cliffhanger.
Veterinarian Douglas McCandliss considered himself an ordinary kinda guy with an ordinary kinda life. He had no idea why he’d bought the old silver teapot, and when a young woman appeared before him claiming to be a genie, he almost wished he hadn’t. If only she wasn’t so damned cute.
Ebullient and cheerful, Jacinth loved granting wishes and helping people. So she was thrilled when her teapot’s new owner, a single father with custody of two young children, asked her to stay until he could find a nanny. The problem was, the longer she stayed, the more she was attracted to Douglas, and she was certainly not willing to turn over care of Ben and little Molly to just anybody. But she was a 900 year old genie, and had no intention of falling in love with a mortal man. None whatsoever.
Get your copy and plunge into the magic and enchantment of the Djinn world, and experience a charming and unexpected love story.
A Gift of Jacinth
by Allie McCormack
(Wishes & Dreams #2)
Publication date: June 4th 2019
Genres: Adult | Paranormal | Romance
If of thy mortal goods thou art bereft
And of thy slender store two loaves alone to thee are left
Sell one, and with the dole,
Buy hyacinths to feed the soul.
Rubaiyyat of Omar Khayyam (1048-1123)
From the moment the tingling anticipation woke her from a languorous slumber this morning, Jacinth had known today was the day. In the hours since then, she’d watched customers come and go in the antique shop. Old and young, rich and poor. None of them had been the one. It was almost five o’clock, and soon the lanky, rather dim-witted clerk Julian had hired would go for dinner. Then she’d have to wait another hour before Julian came and opened his shop for the evening.
Still, she was unable to relax her vigil, hugging her knees as she watched the door of the antique shop through the shimmering silver walls of her teapot. Djinn could use anything as a vessel, not just the oil lamp in the Arabian Nights story. Hers was a teapot of the purest silver, tall and slender. It had been crafted for her by a silversmith in her Djinn homeland of Qaf eight hundred years ago, when she had first become a Wish Bearer. Outside it looked like a lovely, graceful teapot with decorative flowers etched into its silver surface, but inside… ah, inside it was like home!
She propped her chin on her hands and sighed, bored with the hours of waiting. Ruefully she admitted that patience had never been one of her virtues. She was consumed with curiosity, eager to meet her teapot’s new owner. Even after all these centuries as a Wish Bearer, granting wishes to mortals, she never lost the sense of excitement, the tingling anticipation, of meeting a new Sahib, the Master of the bottle, to whom she’d grant three wishes. She wondered who the Sahib would be this time. A woman, full of hopes and dreams? A man, dark and brooding from injustice, like her poor Julian?
She’d been feeling oddly restless lately. Almost… well, not lonely, precisely. Perhaps it was because it was strange not to be able to pop in to see Julian whenever she wanted. A 14th century Mage whose spell had gone spectacularly wrong, Julian had been bound to a Djinn vessel, granting wishes for six hundred years. Jacinth had been asked to be his contact with the Djinn, his mentor, helping him through the difficult centuries. Then a few months ago he had met Alessandra, who’d been able to free him from the spell. They’d just gotten married, and it wasn’t right for her to keep dropping in all the time when they were building their new life together. Even before then, though, she’d begun to feel adrift, without a purpose. So she’d retrieved her Djinn vessel from Qaf and put it in Whimsies, Julian’s antique shop tucked away on a side street here in Manhattan, for just the right person to find.
She jumped to her feet, the restless energy making her unable to sit still any more. She wanted her Sahib, the one who would buy her teapot and call her forth, to come now. She paced the length of the vessel and back. Chimes sounded in the shop as someone entered, and she rushed to the wall, the silver cool and silky beneath her fingers. Disappointment shot through her even before she saw the elderly woman’s face. This was not the one. She resumed her pacing.
Almost on the stroke of five o’clock, the door opened and he walked in. There was nothing about him to indicate that he was to be her next Sahib, but she knew… she always knew. Eagerly she studied him as he looked about the shop. A shade over six feet, he had thick hair of mingled brown and blond, like sun-streaked toffee. It was a bit long and rather shaggy, in need of a trim. The face was tanned, as if he got lots of sun, with a strong nose and chin and well-shaped lips. No, not dark and brooding like her poor Julian. But there must be something, some reason he was to be her Sahib.
As he came closer she saw his eyes were a cool blue, almost aquamarine, under well-shaped brows. A plain cotton shirt stretched across broad shoulders, the sleeves rolled up to show strong forearms. It was tucked neatly into a pair of faded jeans that hugged his hips and thighs. Jacinth would bet her stack of gold bangles that he had a great butt. He was also terrifically handsome. Not that she was interested in that way, but there was nothing wrong with appreciating.
His jeans were dusty, as were the black work boots he wore, and she thought he might be in construction. He didn’t look at all like the type to be interested in antiques. Of course, they rarely did.
“Over here,” she whispered, as if she could urge him closer, even though she knew he couldn’t hear her.
The man drew near, stopping before the low table on which her teapot stood. Looking a bit bemused, he reached out to pick it up. Although not a mind reader, Jacinth could feel the flow of his emotions, channeled through his touch on the pure silver of her Djinn vessel. Confusion, of course. Wondering why he was looking at this elegant teapot, and why he was here in this antique shop at all. Ah, there it was. Sharp edges of anger, long suppressed but no less acute for all that. The sense of desolation, of despair. Grief and longing. This, then, was why he was here.
Satisfied, Jacinth could relax now, reclining on her chaise lounge as she prepared to watch events unfold, and wait for him to call her forth.
Exchanging a glance with Jacinth, he saw his opinion mirrored in her face. They had two choices. They could find another mode of travel to New York, or carry two screaming, terrified children onto the airplane. Douglas had never considered himself lacking in courage, but his nerves quailed at the graphic image that conjured up.
“Okay, okay, don’t panic,” he told them. “Give me a couple of minutes here and I’ll think of something.”
He moved a few feet away from the car where they all stood, still in the parking lot at the zoo. Jacinth followed, and he lowered his voice to consult with her.
“What am I supposed to do? Dammit, we’re three thousand miles from home! Did Lilian do this on purpose?”
Jacinth gnawed on her lower lip, feeling her brows pull together as she pondered.
“Probably,” she agreed. “I think you’re going to have to rent the car all the way to New York, Douglas.”
His grimace was rueful. “That distressing possibility occurred to me. At least that would be better than taking the bus or the train, which are our only other options. Four days in a car with two young children, though, is my idea of a nightmare. They’re so little, and it’s been so long since we’ve been together, we’re complete strangers to each other. This is definitely not how I’d choose to get to know each other again.”
Jacinth twinkled at him. “You have a nanny,” she reminded him. “And once you’re home, you have your job to go to. This might turn out for the best for both you and the children. By the time we get to New York you’ll have established a rapport with them.
Enthusiasm fired in her, and she felt a burst of excitement. “It’ll be fun, Douglas. We can play car games, and I can read them stories, and we’ll buy some of those children’s sing-along CD’s. We can eat at truck stops and roadside diners along the way, then stop at motels in the afternoon. The children can nap, then we can go to dinner, and maybe swim in the motel pool in the evening. We can buy postcards and a camera and take lots of pictures.”
She watched Douglas hopefully as he thought this over. Driving across America wasn’t something she’d ever have thought of doing, or even wanting to do, but now she was seized with a great longing. Perhaps it was because of the presence of Douglas and the children, having someone to share this great new adventure with.
“It doesn’t sound like such a bad idea, when you put it that way,” Douglas admitted. “Maybe this could work after all.”
Hope sprang up in her breast as another thought occurred to her. “If we’re not going to fly out from here tonight, could we stay one more day and go to Disneyland tomorrow?”
Douglas broke into laughter. “Okay, yes, we’ll go to Disneyland.”
Hearing him, Benny let out a whoop of excitement, and Molly’s eyes shone like stars. Douglas held up a hand for silence.
“But we’re not staying late,” he warned them. “I’m not fighting this kind of traffic on a Monday morning. We’ll leave Disneyland before it gets dark so we’ll be well out of the city before we find a motel for the night. No arguments when I say it’s time to leave. Agreed?”
He noted with amusement that Jacinth joined in with Benny in assuring him that was fine, while Molly nodded her head vigorously, the curly blond bangs flopping in her eyes. She was so adorable, he wanted to scoop her in his arms and hold her tight. His chest constricted, and his eyes stung a little as he looked at his kids. He loved them both so much.
“Where to now?” Benny wanted to know.
“Now we get groceries. And no,” he warned, giving the children a strict look as he and Jacinth fastened their seatbelts. “We are not getting a lot of junk food. No soda, chips, or presweetened cereal. No cookies or cakes or Twinkies. So don’t even bother asking.”
Two hours later, the car groaning under the weight of sacks upon sacks of food, dry, canned, fresh and frozen, Douglas pulled into the driveway. The children burst from the car like they were spring-loaded, squealing like banshees. Jacinth and Douglas exchanged a resigned look.
“No junk food, huh?” she asked, raising an eyebrow at him. “No soda, chips, or presweetened cereal. No cookies or cakes. Oh, and definitely no Twinkies.”
“They were on sale,” he defended. “It’s cheaper to buy a big box than just a couple of those little packages.”
“You’re completely under their thumbs,” she corrected with a smile, amusement glowing in her dark eyes.
“Daaaa-aaaa-aad!” Benny’s shout could have raised the dead, if volume was all that was required. The children were waiting outside the front door.
“Okay, we’re coming.” Exchanging glances, Douglas and Jacinth got out of the car, Douglas going to unlock the front door and Jacinth opening the trunk.
The largest RV Jacinth had ever seen nosed into the curb and came to a halt in front of the house. Douglas’ parents, already! How could they have gotten here so fast? It was only Sunday; they must have driven straight through from Florida without stopping. Hurriedly she put down the roasting pan she’d been rinsing out and dried her hands. Douglas had taken the children and headed for the supermarket, missing his parents by a bare five minutes.
She was curious as to what they were like. Douglas had refused to tell her about them, just laughing and shaking his head when she’d asked. He didn’t seem overly concerned, though, so he couldn’t be too worried about what they’d think of her. Full of curiosity, she went to the front door, opening it just as they reached the porch.
It was all she could do to keep her jaw from dropping. She knew she was staring, but she couldn’t help herself. Standing on the porch, beaming at her, were two… well… flower children. Aging, yes, but flower children nonetheless.
From their long hair and daisy-chain necklaces to the toe-sandals on their feet, these were hippies. Jacinth smothered a laugh as Douglas’ mother stepped forward, holding out her hand.
“You must be the nanny? Goodness, you’re young.” She smiled, her doe-brown eyes dancing merrily. “Douglas didn’t tell you about us, did he? The naughty boy, he never does. He’ll be so sorry he wasn’t here to see your reaction.”
Jacinth laughed and shook her hand, stepping back for them to come inside.
“No, he’s gone to the store with the children. They should be back in a little bit.”
Douglas’ father offered his hand too. “I’m Blue,” he told her, his eyes–which were indeed blue–alight with every bit as much mischief as his wife. “And this is Skye.”
Blue and Skye. Jacinth had to laugh again.
“I’m Jacinth. Do come in and make yourselves at home. Would you like some tea or coffee?”
“Jacinth!” Skye dropped onto the sofa, kicking off her sandals. “What a pretty name. What does it mean?”
“It’s an old word for a flower,” Jacinth explained. “What you now call a hyacinth.”
Douglas’ mother seemed to sober a bit, exchanging an inscrutable look with Blue.
“So.” Skye patted the sofa next to her. “Come tell us all about you.”
Oops. This was going to be tricky. She made herself comfortable, and there was a brief silence while they all took stock of each other. Douglas had Blue’s build and coloring, but he’d gotten his strong nose and high cheekbones from his mother, who had to be at least part Native American. Her hair was crow-wing black except for a vibrant silver streak down one side, and hung straight as an arrow past her waist, as long as Jacinth’s. There was no gray in Blue’s long locks, which were sun-bleached to a lighter shade than Douglas’ toffee colored hair.
Skye and Blue looked at her expectantly.
A career medical transcriptionist, Allie McCormack is now writing from home full-time. Allie has traveled quite a bit and lived many places all over the U.S., and also a year in Cairo, Egypt as an exchange student, and a year in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia under contract to a hospital there, plus a short stint with NATO while she was in the Army. As a single mom, she raised a wonderful daughter who’s recently married and there are plans afoot for grandchildren. A disabled veteran, Allie now lives in the beautiful Sorona Desert in southern Arizona with her two rescue cats and writes full-time.
Allie says: “A writer is who and what I am… a romance writer. I write what I know, and what I know is romance. Dozens of story lines and literally hundreds of characters live and breathe within the not-so-narrow confines of my imagination, and it is my joy and privilege to bring them to life, to share them with others by writing their stories.”