Honest illusions(BookZZ.org)

Honest illusions(BookZZ.org) by Nora [Roberts Nora] Roberts

Book: Honest illusions(BookZZ.org) by Nora [Roberts Nora] Roberts Read Free Book Online
Authors: Nora [Roberts Nora] Roberts
her. “Quite well done.”
    “She’s a pistol, Max,” Lester called out. “You ought to let her try it out in front of a crowd.”
    “What do you say, Roxanne?” Max stroked a hand over her hair as he set her down. “Ready to try a solo?”
    “Can I?” Her heart leaped into her eyes. “Daddy, please, can I?”
    “We’ll try it out in the first show, then we’ll see.”
    She let out a shriek and raced to Lily. “Can I wear earrings? Real ones? Can I?”
    She smiled at Max over Roxanne’s head. “You can pick out the ones you like best.”
    “The ones in the window down the street. The blue ones.”
    “Take twenty minutes, Lily,” Max suggested. “A woman needs at least that much time to choose accessories for her costume.” And he wanted a moment alone with Luke.
    “So.” As Roxanne dragged Lily out, Max picked up a deck of cards. He began to do one-handed cuts.
    “You’re wondering why a little girl can do something you can’t.”
    Luke flushed, but his chin stayed up. “I can learn anything she can.”
    “Possibly.” To entertain himself, Max fanned the cards. “I could tell you it’s a mistake to use her, or anyone, as a yardstick for yourself. But you wouldn’t listen.”
    “You could teach me.”
    “I could,” Max agreed.
    “I already know some. I’ve been practicing.”
    “Indeed.” Raising a brow, Max offered the cards. “Show me.”
    Nerves dampened his fingertips as Luke shuffled the cards. “It won’t be as good, because you know how I’ll do it.”
    “Ah, there you’re wrong. A magician’s best audience is another magician. Because they understand the purpose. Do you?”
    “To do a trick,” Luke responded, struggling to concentrate on the cards.
    “As simple as that? Sit,” Max suggested. Once they were seated at one of the tables, he chose a card from the pack Luke held out. “Anyone can learn to do a trick. It only takes an understanding of how it works, and a basic skill that can be refined with practice. But magic.” He glanced at the card, then slipped it back into the pack. “Magic is taking what’s real and what’s not, and blending them into one, for a short period. It’s causing someone who doesn’t believe to blink in amazement. It’s giving people what they want.”
    “What do they want?” Luke shuffled the cards, tapped the top, then turned over Max’s card. His heart swelled at Max’s nod of approval.
    “Excellent. Do another.” He sat back as Luke fumbled through a one-handed cut. “What do they want?
    To be duped, to be fooled, and amazed. To watch the astounding happen under their nose.” Max opened his hand and showed Luke a small red ball. “Right before their eyes.” He slapped the ball on the table, then took his other hand from under the wood. The ball was there, his other hand empty. Luke grinned and set the cards for Aces High.
    “You palmed it,” Luke said. “I know you did, but I didn’t see.”
    “Because I looked at you, in your eyes. So you looked in mine. Always look them in the eye.
    Innocently, smugly, however you choose. But look them in the eye. This makes an illusion honest.”
    “A trick’s a cheat, isn’t it?”
    “Only if you can’t make them enjoy the deception.” He nodded again when Luke drew the four aces from the top of the shuffled deck. “Your mechanics are good, but where is your flair? Where is that drama that tells the audience it’s not simply a well-practiced trick, but magic? Again,” he said, shoving the cards toward Luke. “Astound me.”
    Max watched the concentration come into Luke’s eyes, heard the two deep indrawn breaths as he prepared.
    “I want to do the first one again.”
    “All right. Let me hear your patter.”
    Luke’s color came up, but he cleared his throat and dived in. He’d been practicing for weeks. “I’d like to show you a few card tricks.” He did a fair Russian shuffle, and a snappy turnover. “Now, not many magicians will tell you what they’re going

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