Excerpt from The Last Sorceress © 2011 Dana Ann Ozak w/a Marguerite Arotin. Cannot be reprinted, reproduced, or distributed without permission from the author. Comming soon to Passion in Print Publishing.

She was a failure as a mother and a gamer. Spence hated her now. Nothing she could do, nothing she could say would change that fact. A small voice deep inside whispered, Your son is right.

Maybe she did have a few confidence issues. Any woman who stuck by the guy she loved when he was a geek only to be tossed aside when he got better looking would feel the same. Any woman who was constantly compared to her perfect sister growing up would think she wasn’t worth much. But Janet hated to hear it from the mouth of her only child.

When they headed for the exit, a grayish green hand grabbed her shoulder. She turned and looked into those big, warm eyes and expected to see disappointment. But there wasn’t. Those amber brown eyes glittered with what looked like amusement. He handed her a brown paper package.

“Here, open it when you leave,” Glenn said.

“Um, thanks, I guess. Will you be doing another conference in the Cleveland area anytime soon?”

“We will meet again, very soon. Do not worry, Maurelle.”

He was gone before she could ask why the heck he’d called her Maurelle. Janet did see him hand identical packages to Spencer and Anita. Anita gave her an awkward little smile as Spencer rushed straight for the exit. His face was red and his fists were still clenched. She wanted to say she was sorry for giving up without a fight. Her pride prevented her from speaking to him at all.

Spencer charged through the door and stopped. Janet almost ran into him.

“Spence, what the—” She broke off as she looked over his shoulder.

One white stone room, covered in thick vines, was all that remained of the massive convention hall. She would never know if the vendors or the rest of the convention goers noticed that the entire network room had vanished, but her jaw dropped as she turned. They stood in the middle of a huge forest. There were no forests in Cleveland. The Metroparks ran through the suburbs, but even the Metroparks had roads. Tall, majestic trees surrounded her. Deer ran wild and free. A dragon with thick, blood-colored scales soared above their heads. It’s wild, lion-like call held Janet spellbound. Hold it, a dragon? No, it’s an airplane. It has to be a plane, if it was a dragon that would mean we were all in the...

“M-mom, d-did y-you s-see that t-th-thing?”

“It’s an airplane, sweetheart. That’s all it was. Come on, let’s go find our car.”

“N-no, that was not an a-airplane.”

“Spencer is right,” a small voice whimpered. Anita approached. Her entire body trembled. “It was red. It had scales. I heard it roar.”

This cannot be happening. Carnitha is not real. We’re still in downtown Cleveland. We’re not that far from Burke Lakefront Airport. It was just a special airplane decorated like a dragon. Maybe the air show was in town?

A tree branch snapped behind them. Janet turned to see a very large ogre with golden-brown eyes smiling at them. “Open the packages now. It should explain a lot.”

The paper crinkled in her hand when she slowly ripped through her package. She didn’t know how to react when she found the leather get-up Maurelle wore and a large, golden book. The only thing missing was the staff. But before she could say anything, the handsome man dressed in an ogre costume handed her a golden staff with a large opal stone on top.

He grinned, and Janet shuddered at the sight of his glistening fangs. “It was too large to wrap. Go try it on. I’m eager to see how you look in it.”

 “Okay, this isn’t funny, Shrek.”

She winced when Spencer looked to the sky, as if he prayed for a dragon to fly by and carry him off to its lair. Sorry, kiddo. I know that one was pretty bad. Slipped out of her mouth before she could take it back. She sighed when Dazzart laughed. Why is everything I say or do the end of my child’s mortal existence? Then again, she was pretty sure this was the end of their mortal existence.

“Shrek, yes, I saw the movie,” the ogre replied. His raucous laughter filled the forest before he continued, “Real life is far more interesting. I wonder where your movie moguls get their ideas from.”

“Okay, we’ve gotten off track here. We shouldn’t be discussing movie ogres. We should be talking about why you gave us this stuff. Number one, I don’t have the body to wear this sort of thing...”

“Oh, I beg to differ.” He laughed. “Look down.”

 Her boobs had ballooned to twice their normal size. Now, she wasn’t about to complain about it but did feel pretty uneasy about the sudden chest growth spurt. It wasn’t just her breasts, though. Her legs were longer. Janet’s jeans looked more like capris. She reached behind her neck, gasping as she realized her plain old short hair was gone. It was longer and felt like it had been braided. She grabbed the braid, tossed it over her shoulder, and saw that it was velvet black.

Janet glanced over at Spence and Anita. They had changed too. Anita was now a pretty little elf with silvery blonde hair and very pointy ears. Spencer was a tall elf with black hair, dark blue eyes, and a frightened look on his face.

“What the hell did you do to us?” she shouted. “Change us back right now.”

“I can’t,” the ogre replied. “You are no longer Janet Lind. Henceforth, you shall be Maurelle Windhaven, your son shall be Nidhogg Windhaven, and Anita, you shall be Gilraen Elenzar.”

“No, no, no! No, this sort of thing doesn’t happen. This is a sick joke. Did my ex put you up to this? Take off that ridiculous costume now and change us back.”

“Why is my human form more appealing to you, my sorceress? I saw the way you looked at me during the conference.”

His voice was still very husky and very sexy. It made her long to see the man beneath that mask again. She reached forward and gave his chin one heck of a yank. Very odd—it didn’t feel like latex.

He grabbed her arm, and she felt a loss of circulation from his strong grip. “I would advise you not to do that again. Put on your uniforms now, please. The others are all waiting at Fort Greenbalm, and I have to return in time to welcome the rest of the gamers to our world.”

She stood there, frozen for a moment, rubbing her pulsating temples. Her heart pounded, and she could barely breathe. Okay, so the guy I thought was my knight in shining armor is really an ogre, I am not Janet anymore. A dragon flew over my head. Holy crap, the growth on the walls of the network room, that’s how the bastard lured us here. It was real. This place is real. I’m really a sorceress. Oh shit, that must mean Adieal really existed. At that point she did what any woman in her position would do. She freaked out.

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