A late season hurricane bears down on Richmond, causing power outages and property damage. When the doggie day care closes early, Matt leaves work to take Sadie home. Unfortunately, a sudden tornado and washed out road take him on a detour he didn't expect. His beloved Jaguar skids out of control and off the road, leaving Matt unconscious in a ditch.
When he comes to, he finds himself in the merry old Land of Oz.
As Matt struggles to find his way home, Vic has a much more pressing problem -- locating his lover, who has suddenly gone missing in a violent storm. Can the two men find each other again before it's too late?
JMS Books |
Slowly Matt became aware of an insistent tapping on the driver’s side window. Tap tap tap. It seemed to mimic the throbbing in his head.
Tap tap tap.
He stirred, and suddenly felt hot breath on the nape of his neck. For one flitting moment he thought, Vic? But the wet tongue that licked his ear, causing him to jump in surprise and hit his head again on the windshield, brought to mind someone else. He flapped a hand ineffectually behind him. “Sadie, stop.”
Of course, she didn’t listen. Matt rolled away from her and felt the steering wheel dig into his ribs. Where was he again?
Tap tap tap. This time, a familiar voice followed. “Hey, are you dead in there, or what?”
Why does it have to be Roxie? he thought, opening his eyes to stare at the tree sprawled across the crumpled hood of his car. Gingerly, he eased himself back into the driver’s seat, rubbing his head with one hand. He glanced out the window, saw Roxie’s impish face pressed to the glass, and closed his eyes against the sudden flare of pain across his temples.
Then he opened them again, wide this time. What the hell was she wearing?
Roxie tapped the window again, using the shining star atop what looked like a fairy wand in her right hand. She still wore the double ponytails, but now a sparkly tiara sat between them, and her usual Goth makeup had been replaced with glittery pastels and metallic stardust. What looked like a pair of gossamer wings sprouted behind her shoulders. When she saw him staring, she smiled. “Good, you’re alive. Now get out here so I can kick your ass, mister!”
Matt groaned. God, what now? He fumbled for the door latch, remembering it’d been stuck before, but this time when he tugged on it, the door opened with ease. But what began as a slow extraction took a nasty tumble when Sadie bullied her way past him out the door, leaving Matt on his hands and knees in a trickling creek bed.
A strong hand caught him under his arm. “You okay?” Roxie asked, hauling him to his feet. “You just about ran me over when you came flying out of nowhere, man. What the hell kind of witch are you, anyway?”
“What?” He brushed her away, but stumbled back against his car. “I’m not a witch. What are you talking about?”
Now he saw the rest of her getup -- a barely-there shift made of some sort of shimmery material that moved easily with her and left little to the imagination. A pair of three-inch heels were on her feet, covered in ruby red sparkles. He so didn’t need this right now.
With her wand, Roxie pointed after Sadie, now squatting by a nearby bush. “Then is that the witch? How’d you get here?”
“Where’s here?” Matt countered. Pushing away from his car, he took a few steps up a lush, grassy embankment and turned to stare at what remained of his beloved Jaguar. The hood had accordioned up against the spider-webbed windshield, and even from this distance, he could see the scratches in the paint. “Fuck. Look at my car!”
Despite her painful-looking footwear, Roxie moved nimbly in the grass to where Matt stood. There she turned and frowned at the Jag. “Yeah. Tough shit. Guess you won’t be getting home in that, will you?”
He looked at her, unable to think of anything to say except, “Where’d you come from, anyway?”
She grinned. “I live here, stupid. You’re the one who dropped in.”
Matt pressed his hands to his head in an effort to make it stop hurting. “You live in the Fan,” he told her. “Downtown. I’ve been to your place. This is ...”
Where was he, exactly? He’d been driving down Hermitage when he saw a twister, then the road had washed out, and he hydroplaned ... “Where is this, again?”
Roxie held out the hand not holding the wand. When he just stared at it, she grabbed his own hand and pumped it once in greeting. “Welcome to the merry old land of Oz.”
“Oz,” she said again. “I’m the Good Witch of the North, and you just about plowed me down when you came falling out of the sky.”
Oz. Matt laughed. It hurt his head worse when he did, but he couldn’t help it. “Oz,” he said out loud. “To be honest, my money would’ve been on you being the Wicked Witch of the West.”
“Where do you think I got these kick-ass shoes?” she asked, indicating them with a swish of her wand. “You caught me on a good day. Stick around long enough, and I’ll turn wicked on you.”