Today we shine the spotlight on Desdemona Wren and
Marjorie Diaz's Unfortunate Introduction To Magical High Society
Girl meets boy. Girl falls in love with boy. Boy hunts girl for sport.
Marjorie Diaz has no idea who Patrick Watkins is. When he saunters into her senior seminar class during her last semester of college, the last thing she expects is to fall in love with him.
She’s swept up into a whirlwind—and often times fairytale-esque—romance. That is, until his family kidnaps her and sends her to the last place she ever thought she would go again.
Now, with the help of her best friend Lucian Maravalle, she has to run for her life, and try not to think too hard about the fact that everyone important to her has been keeping a dangerous secret. A secret that could cost Marjorie her life.
The Ticking Clock that is Destiny
The Ticking Clock that is Destiny
Marjorie Diaz took a deep breath and squared her shoulders before she pushed open the door to Johnson Hall Room 101. This was her last semester at university and she was feeling nostalgic. Most of her classes had been in this room. At least, all the classes that mattered. Now, she wanted the chance to be alone here for one last time before the semester began.
She stepped into the room, the wooden floor fading into dull grey carpet beneath her feet. She smiled down at it before she raised her head and looked around the room.
There were three long wooden tables set up in a U-shape with another, shorter table at its center. In the front of the room was a large wooden desk where so many of her professors had sat. Behind the desk was a large chalkboard and in the corner, the podium where she’d given so many oral presentations.
She set her bag down at the third seat of the long table closest to the door and walked across the room to run her fingers over the wooden podium. She would give several presentations in this room over the course of her final semester, but there was something about having it to herself, away from the prying eyes of all of her classmates. Marjorie found herself mostly unimpressed by her peers. They were largely secretive loners or people who were far too obsessed with themselves to see the bigger picture. She’d spent four years here and, at this point, she’d met absolutely everyone in her major that she was going to graduate with.
At least, she thought she had until someone she’d never met before sauntered into the classroom behind her professor. She paused for a moment, stepping away from the podium and backtracking towards her seat with her eyes glued to him, trying to figure out who he was. He caught her gaze and ran his hand through his black hair, giving her a disarming grin.
Marjorie winced and rolled her eyes, turning away from him and trying to slip past the numerous students that were now spilling into the classroom, so she could take her seat. There was a chorus of greetings as she slid past, and she responded in kind to her classmates, catching the mystery man’s eye again just in time to catch him winking at her.
Marjorie could feel her stomach turn at the sight of him, a look of utter disgust crossing her face. In turn, his smile widened, eyes crinkling at the edges and dimples forming on his tan cheeks. Marjorie rolled her eyes.
She guessed that’s probably why, later in class, they got assigned to the same group project. As some sort of sick penance for her utter disdain for whatever breed of fuckboy this was. She had never worked with him before, but from their brief, non-verbal encounter, she already knew she didn’t want to.
“Hello,” he said, brown eyes shining as he extended his hand in her direction, “I’m Patrick Watkins.” He had a slightly lilting English accent.
“Marjorie Diaz.” She shook his hand with a frown.
“Pleased to meet you,” he said, flashing his too-white teeth at her.
She glared at him.
“Is something the matter?” he asked, his lips twitching downwards.
Marjorie shook her head and sighed. “No, let’s just start working on this. The sooner we decide our strategies the better.”
She had never had a class with him and she’d never seen him on campus, yet according to his incessant rambling, they’d been in the same major for the past four years. Now, she had the privilege of working with him on what was probably the dumbest project she’d ever been assigned.
“I get the feeling you don’t want to work on this project with me,” he said after she’d spent the better part of a half hour responding to his idle chit-chat with “yeah”, “uh-huh”, and “hmm”.
Marjorie sighed and rolled her eyes, leaning back in her chair. She crossed her arms over her chest and let out a short breath through her nose. “What gives you that idea?” she asked, scowling. She wasn’t particularly fond of this project in the first place, considering most of the other groups had three people, but she and Patrick, who were—according to her professor—the strongest students in the class, could manage it on their own.
“You’re welcome to join one of the other groups of three,” Patrick said, gazing out over the room.
Marjorie followed his gaze. Everyone else in the room had already pulled out their phones and were presumably checking their schedules for times to meet as a group. Or they were taking selfies together.
“I could probably do this whole project on my own,” he said, leaning over and bumping his shoulder into hers. “I’m one of the smartest out of this lot, after all.”
Marjorie sucked in a sharp breath, leaning further away from him. She ignored the strange warmth she felt rising up in her chest, pushing the feeling down in favor of her anger at being touched by someone she hardly knew.
“Or,” Marjorie began, shoving him away from her when she noticed just how close he’d gotten. “You could join one of the groups of three and I could work on this project on my own. I think I’d prefer that, all things considered. I can already tell I’m smarter than you.” She narrowed her eyes.
Patrick tilted his head back and laughed, long and loud. He wrapped his arms around his waist and made a whole show of doubling over and laying his head on the table. The entire room fell silent, watching him.
Marjorie’s face burned with embarrassment. “Will you stop?” she bit out between her clenched teeth. “You’re making a scene.”
“Do you two need any help?” Dr. Mendez asked, glaring at them from her desk at the front of the room.
“No,” Marjorie said, her voice almost sickly sweet. “We’re fine, Dr. Mendez. Patrick is experiencing some sort of mental breakdown, it seems.”
Patrick stopped laughing then, placing his hand on her forearm and wiping the non-existent tears from his eyes. “Don’t be so modest,” he said, brown eyes flashing dangerously as he winked and turned to regard Dr. Mendez. “I must apologize, I couldn’t help myself. Ms. Diaz has an excellent sense of humor.”
Marjorie bit the inside of her cheek and stared down at where his hand was on her arm, her face burning red hot with shame and something else she refused to acknowledge.
“You two are supposed to be deciding on strategies,” Dr. Mendez said, pinching the bridge of her nose in irritation.
“We are,” Marjorie said, snapping her attention back toward the front of the room. “I’m sorry, Dr. Mendez. I won’t tell any more jokes.” She forced a smile.
“Okay,” she said, turning away from the two of them to address the rest of the students. “Remember the strategies are due next class.”
Once everyone had turned away from them, Marjorie looked at Patrick, jaw clenched hard. “Never do that again,” she growled.
He held up his hands in surrender, smirking at her again.
“Of all the people in this class,” she grumbled. “I had to get stuck with you.”
“I’m glad I got grouped with you,” Patrick said, smiling at her warmly.
Marjorie felt her stomach erupt with butterflies, her teeth set on edge.
Patrick’s smile fell for a moment. “Even if you seem to dislike me for whatever reason, considering we’ve never formally met. Though I must say, your reputation precedes you.”
Marjorie narrowed her eyes in suspicion. “What reputation?” She leaned away from him, her mind racing with whatever the people in her major could possibly have had to say about her.
He shrugged, turning back to his open notebook and picking up his pen. “Nothing you don’t already know, I’m sure.” He wrote down a few words in his notebook.
“I’m sure I don’t,” Marjorie bit out, leaning closer to him to read what he was writing down.
Patrick moved his hand so it was covering his words. “I find that hard to believe,” he said, lowering his head so he was right in her line of sight. She’d managed to move far too close to him for comfort.
He smirked at her and winked again. She was beginning to think the only two things he knew how to do were smirk and wink.
“What are you doing?” she asked, glancing at the people in the room surrounding them. No one was looking at them, too buried in their phones.
Patrick leaned his head on his hand, invading her space again. “I’m messing with you,” he said, voice low. His breath hit her cheek and she felt her stomach turn, her skin erupting with goosebumps.
“That’s all the time we have,” Dr. Mendez said, clapping her hands together at the front of the room. “Don’t forget your strategies are due next class. And do the reading in the syllabus or you will be lost on Wednesday.”
Marjorie stood up from her seat so quickly it tipped and clattered to the floor behind her. The thin gray carpet did little to muffle the sound of something that large making contact with the concrete floor beneath it.
Everyone turned to look at her.
By now, Patrick was sitting up straight and no longer crowding her space, but rather smiling serenely up at her instead. Who the fuck was this guy and why did he make her feel all sorts of, for lack of a better term, gooey inside?
“Is everything okay, Marjorie?” Dr. Mendez asked from the front of the room. None of her classmates had moved yet, their eyes glued to Marjorie as she had whatever sort of breakdown she was dead set on having in the middle of her first class of the semester.
“I’m alright. Just...uh, thought I saw a bee,” she said, smiling sheepishly.
Marjorie winced. “When you apply that sort of logic to it, it seems silly.”
Several of her classmates chuckled and stood up as well, their chairs noticeably staying on all four legs.
“I’m deathly allergic to bees, so I have to be extra cautious,” Marjorie said, her face heating up even more the longer she drew out this embarrassment. Truthfully she just wanted to go back to her apartment and pretend she didn’t exist for the next few hours. Or, at least until she had her next class. She didn’t pay thousands of dollars a year for her professor to call her out like this in front of everyone. Granted, this close
to the end of her education she should probably know what season it was and adjust her lame excuses accordingly.
That, or she could have blamed Patrick for her adverse reaction. She found herself not exactly wanting to, though. She glanced back down where he still sat next to her, his silvery eyes watching her with amusement. Her heart pulsed and thudded. She thought his eyes had been brown the first time she’d looked at him, but now she could see that they were a bright, almost luminescent and silvery gray. Her gaze was glued to his, watching his eyes.
Dr. Mendez clapped her hands together again and Marjorie jumped, snapping out of it. “See you Wednesday,” she said, letting go of whatever lame story Marjorie had spun in favor of retreating to her office upstairs.
Marjorie’s classmates followed after her, stealing glances at Patrick and Marjorie as they exited. Their whispers were going to haunt Marjorie’s dreams for weeks, no matter how much she pretended she didn’t care.
Patrick stood last, placing his hand on Marjorie’s elbow and offering her a soft smile. “See you Wednesday,” he said. He let his hand fall away from her elbow and he meandered slowly across the classroom to the open doorway.
When had he packed up? She hadn’t even noticed that and she’d been staring at him for an embarrassing amount of time. Marjorie shoved her notebook, syllabus, and pen into her bag quickly, not bothering to check if she’d managed to bend any papers, and she raced out of the room. A few hours with some of her favorite retro video games and maybe a nap should be enough to distract her from how irritating this class had been.
When she exited the room, her feet landing on the hardwood floor, her stomach sank into oblivion. Patrick was there, a few feet away, head bent slightly and kissing the most beautiful woman Marjorie had ever seen.
She was petite and otherworldly beautiful, nothing like the hulking monster Marjorie was. Her hair was a cloud of tight kinky curls that framed her angular face perfectly and her eyelids were painted with gold. The edges of her blood red lips quirked upwards into a smile as they kissed.
Marjorie took a deep breath through her nose and pushed every iota of attraction she’d felt for Patrick Watkins down so deep she’d never have to worry about it again. It wouldn’t be so hard to forget the imbecile. He wasn’t so smart, not so attractive, and he preferred teasing her to getting any work done in class. Now she had to work on those stupid strategies alone. She never even figured out if he had free time outside of his classes.
Marjorie sighed, gripping her bookbag straps and slipping out of the side door of Johnson Hall before Patrick noticed she was there, gawking at him.
Get the book:
Coming soon, Marjorie Diaz' Unfortunate Introduction To Ancestral Politics And Foul Play:
Marjorie Diaz has been marked for death.
After her relationship with Patrick Watkins ends, Marjorie discovers that everyone in her life has been lying to her. Even her best friend, Lucian Maravalle.
Now, Marjorie is being hunted by a powerful magical family who will stop at nothing to kill her.
Lucian and her family have sworn to protect Marjorie from these nightmarish beasts, but Marjorie isn’t sure she can trust them. They keep secret after secret and, even after Marjorie has begged for them to tell her everything, they continue to keep her in the dark.
Marjorie struggles with her own mortality as she embarks on a futile journey to remain alive and reason with the beings that are hunting her.
She finds out the hard way that humans don't matter on the other side of the veil. Unless Marjorie has something of use to offer, she's better off dead.
Available April 2, 2019.
About the author:
Desdemona Wren has two cats named Oliver and Ophelia who have traveled the world. From The Great Smoky Mountains, to the tallest peaks of The Cascades, and even to the Grand Canyon; they've been everywhere.
She has written two full-length novels: Marjorie Diaz’s Unfortunate Introduction to Magical High Society and Marjorie Diaz’s Unfortunate Introduction to Ancestral Politics & Foul Play; one novella: Bloom: A Monster Love Novella (Book 1); and one short story for a Cinderella Anthology: Call Me Eli.
You can contact Desdemona via email at firstname.lastname@example.org