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Very Bad Wizards (The Wicked Wizards of Oz #1)
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My little dog, Toto, just shifted into a man. A gorgeous, chiseled beast of a man. That was about thirty seconds before the storm hit and he clutched me against his naked body while wild winds raged all around us.
Yeah, we're seriously not in fucking Kansas anymore. There are male witches with toothy smiles, a man with a tin arm, and some wizards. Some very, very bad wizards--and they're all interested in me. Romantically. How ... interesting.
Oh, and then there's Dorothy, the girl who's claiming that she's the good guy, and I'm the bad one, all because the power to control storms sleeps in my fingertips.
My name is Ozora, Oz for short, and I'm a girl from nowhere, destined for somewhere.
VERY BAD WIZARDS (Book 1 of 3 in the "Wicked Wizards of Oz" series) -- is a full-length reverse harem/new adult/fantasy romance novel, a gritty retelling of "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz". Don't expect a children's tale; these characters are nothing like their more innocent counterparts. This book contains: drugs, cursing, violence, sex ... and love found in the darkest shadows.
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-L. Frank Baum
Chicago, April, 1900
I’m sorry, but the heartaches and nightmares have made their way back. And this story, about some very bad wizards, was most certainly written for adults. Sure, the wonderment and the joy are retained, but this time, the modern version of your fairy-tale is fucked. Apologies in advance.”
Oregon, March, 2020
The Magical Fucking Cyclone
The cyclone cellar is the only place in this damn house I can sit and have a smoke without Auntie Em calling the cops on me.
“There's no ventilation in here,” my friend, Yori, says, taking a drag on the joint and passing it over to her boyfriend. I can't remember his name for the life of me, but it doesn't really matter. Yori jumps between boys the way my Aunt Emily hops political causes. She's joined three new activist groups just this week, all of them for causes I'm not a fan of. One of them is pro-GMO, you know, Genetically Modified Organisms. Who the hell is pro-GMO?
“Of course there's no ventilation,” I say, taking the joint from this no-name guy's tattooed fingers. “It's a storm cellar. The whole point is to keep air out, not let it in.”
“We're going to hotbox your poor dog,” she says, tucking long dark hair behind one shoulder and gesturing at the black and brown German shepherd at my feet with ringed fingers. I drop my gaze to his silky ebon fur, chest rising and falling in a deep sort of sleep, and then I get up and climb the steps to the cellar door.
“If I let him out, he barks nonstop,” I say, using one of the boxes of canned food to prop the door open. Outside, there's nothing to look at but gray. Gray grass, gray ground, gray house, gray sky. Everything in Kansas is gray; I hate it here. Maybe there are pretty parts, but all I've ever seen of it is this dump. Sometimes there's corn. Other times, it's just flat and empty and desolate.
I lived in Washington before this, and even though pot was legal, I never smoked it.
I smoke it a lot here; I need it here.
“Hopefully this doesn't draw the witch’s attention,” I say, turning and slumping down to the step before taking a drag on my joint. My dog, Toto, is sitting there and staring at me with warm brown eyes, the level of intelligence in his gaze almost unnerving. It’s like he can see straight through my bullshit and into the dark, damaged depths of my soul.
Or maybe that's just the joint talking?
“Why do you call your mom the witch?” Yori's boyfriend asks, his hair slicked back and frozen solid with too much gel. I'm sort of glad I can't remember his name because clearly, he thinks he's the shit. My lips crease into a frown as he stands up and takes the joint back from me.
“Emily is not my mom,” I say, leaning back and putting my palms on the rough wooden step. Some people in town—like Yori's family—have these fancy shelters in their garages, underneath their epoxied floors with fancy logos and comfy couches, electricity, and mini-fridges full of Coca-Cola.
We have this half-assed hole dug in the ground with a rickety wooden door, a rusty handle, an old sofa, and a recliner with the yellow stuffing leaking out of it. If this place is supposed to protect us from a massive cyclone, we're all screwed. Personally, if a cyclone does show up, I might just lie down in the field and watch it consume the world.
“Ozora!” A shrill voice cracks the eerie silence of the prairie and draws a growl from Toto's lips. In the year since I moved in here, I don't think I've seen the woman smile. Based on those old black and white photos from her wedding, I think my Aunt Emily used to be a happy girl. She was pretty and young and naive, but when she moved out here with Uncle Henry, things changed. It's cringe-worthy, looking through all those pictures and seeing what she looks like now. Broken, sad, desperate. “Ozora!”
I ignore her. She's so superstitious, she won't go near the cellar unless she has to. She's got it in her mind that this dumpy hole in the ground can summon tornadoes. That'd be nice, wouldn't it? To have the power to summon tornadoes?
That's such a high-person thought, isn't it?
“Em is Oz's aunt,” Yori says, waving the joint around and leaving a trail of white smoke that sits so freakishly still it looks painted in the air. Oz is the only name I answer to. If Auntie Em wants me for something, she knows how to get my attention. “Her parents got, like, killed while they were on vacation or whatever.”
I narrow my eyes and reach down for Toto, curling my fingers in the long fur of his ruff for comfort. Yeah, my family did die on vacation. Everyone I knew and loved in the world, save this dog, is gone.