Midnight Spells - Ebook
Midnight Spells - Ebook
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Just when I thought I’d finally gotten my life back on track, the unexpected happens.
It’s the annual Night Festival in Hollow Cove, a paranormal festival extravaganza that lasts for five nights and features a multitude of powerful faces in our paranormal circles. There’s only one little problem. Someone ends up dead. And I’m the one accused of murder.
As my life spirals down the crapper once again, things between me and Marcus are even more confusing than ever before—hot—but ridiculously confusing. And to add to my wondrous good fortune—something or someone is trying to kill me.
So, what is a witch do to? Find the culprit and clear my name, that’s what.
If you like fast-paced urban fantasy adventure with a kick-butt heroine and plenty of action, suspense, and humor, you’ll love Midnight Spells.
Look Inside Chapter 1
Look Inside Chapter 1
I stood before the basement door, my heart thumping with excitement. My aunts had slipped away early this morning, leaving me alone in Davenport House. The six-thousand-square-foot farmhouse boasted enough bedrooms to be considered an inn and enough secret passageways, hidden places, and mysterious closed doors to keep me busy for months. What I should have been doing right now was the dishes, or even weeding the herb garden that looked more like a patch of grass ready for the cows. But my curiosity had a mind of its own, and before I knew it, I was standing in front of the basement door, my toes wiggling in anticipation.
My aunts kept avoiding my questions about this male-lobotomizing basement. The fact was, I had no freaking clue what had happened to those three men down there. They’d gone in, and they’d come out a few days later—alive, but with a few screws missing in their heads. Cheaters, indecent exposure to minors… I guessed Davenport House had done something to them. It had taken away some of their life force, their own mojo, the inner energy all mortals possess. I wouldn’t know anything for sure until I went down there and looked for myself.
Clearly, my aunts didn’t want me to know what happened down in the basement, which only cemented the fact that it was either bad or dangerous. As a witch, dangerous and bad were in my DNA, qualities I was proud of, thank you very much.
A wicked smile spread over my face. I’m going through that door and I will discover House’s secret. So what if I lost a finger? It would be worth it.
I had no idea when my aunts would be back, but I couldn’t think about that right now. I only needed a few minutes, enough time to allow me to snoop around the basement to finally unearth what the hell was down there.
With my mind made up, I reached out, grabbed the doorknob, and turned.
“It’s locked,” I announced to the universe, tugging on the doorknob hard, but the door wouldn’t budge. “You’ve got to be kidding.” Apparently, my aunts didn’t want me wandering in the basement. Either that, or they didn’t trust me to know its secrets. How bad could it be? What the hell was down there anyway?
That’s it. Now I really had to know.
“It’s just you and me, door. And you’re going down,” I told it.
Angling my copy of The Witch’s Handbook against my hip, I flipped through the pages until I found what I needed.
“How to open a lock,” I read. “This is too easy.”
After reading the instructions—which were again, way too easy—I grabbed a spare piece of chalk from my bag and drew a key-shaped symbol on the door. Focusing, I tapped into the power of the elements around me and said the incantation, “Reserare secreta.”
An influx of power washed through me, and the key-shaped symbol on the door glowed a bright gold, looking unreal like a brilliant jewel. I held back the surge of energy that wanted to slip my control, allowing only the barest amount to spill forth. The symbol flashed one last time and then returned to its dull, chalk-like state.
Smiling, I reached out and pulled on the doorknob. But it was like trying to pry open a cement block.
“What the hell?” I twisted the handle again and even yanked it hard for good measure. But still, the basement door wouldn’t open.
Crap. I was sure it would work. I glanced at the incantation, wondering if I’d said the words incorrectly though I’d felt the magic spread through me. Hell, the key-shaped symbol had glowed and reacted to the magic. No. I had done it right. Which could only mean… another force was at work here and wasn’t allowing me to unlock the door.
“House?” I called out, knowing it was the only explanation. “Are you doing this? You better not be.” I put a hand on my hip and looked around the kitchen, the hallway, not sure what to expect.
The pipes in the wall gave a sudden groan and pop that sounded a lot like laughter.
There was my answer.
Frowning, I snapped my book shut, disappointment and anger fluttering inside. “Why? Why won’t you let me through? What’s down there, anyway? I’m a Davenport witch, damn it. I should be allowed in.”
I waited for House to answer, which in itself was a little foolish. House didn’t utter words. It was more like an invisible and mute butler. But hey, you never knew. Weirder things had come to pass in this town.
After another minute of silence, I watched as my chalk-drawn key symbol vanished in three strokes, like someone had taken a cloth to it and wiped it off the door.
“Nice. Real nice.”
“What’s nice, darling?”
A slender figure came through the kitchen’s back door. The petite witch wore beige linen pants with a white linen blouse, which accentuated her tan skin and shoulder-length blonde hair. Her kitten heels clicked on the floor as she dropped four large shopping bags onto the kitchen island.
“You look pale, Tessa,” said my Aunt Beverly, her green eyes pinched. “I have a new bronzer that’ll fix that problem. And you could use some lip gloss.”
“Mmm-hmm.” I stood there, my heart pounding against my chest and feeling like I’d been caught going through my aunt’s closet. Maybe House had erased all evidence of my break-in attempt to save me from further humiliation.
But I wasn’t giving up yet. One day, I will get through that damn door. You just watch me.
“What’s all this?” I asked, moving to the kitchen island. I set my book on the counter and peered inside one of the bags. “Definitely not groceries.” I spied a light blue box with a metallic sheen. “You went on a shopping spree? Looks fancy.” I smiled, knowing my Aunt Beverly was the only one of us Davenport witches who cared about following the latest fashions. I just wore whatever looked clean and didn’t smell.
“… that’s exactly what I told him,” said my Aunt Dolores as she pushed through the kitchen back door with a shopping bag similar to the ones Beverly came in with hanging in her hand. “You can’t mix Avena Sativa and Damiana and sprinkle it on your penis in the hopes that it will grow. The herbs are to maintain an erection. Only a fool would do something so reckless.”
At five-ten, Dolores was the tallest of the Davenport witches. Lean, with a knife-edge wit, her long gray hair was pulled back neatly into a braid. Her dark brown eyes were bright and intelligent as she stood with the posture of a professor, prompting a stumbling student.
“I wish I could be there to see the look on his wife’s face when she sees him naked.” Ruth giggled as she pushed in behind her sister. Nearly a head shorter, all smiles and bouncy on her tiny feet, her white hair was piled into a bun and held in place with two pencils. “Unless she’s into green penises… then, she might like it,” she added, as she made her way toward the kitchen.
Now, that was interesting. “Whose unfortunate penis are we talking about?”
“Jim Forrester’s.” Dolores hung her purse on the wooden peg rack on the wall next to the back door. “The idiot wanted to lengthen his penis. But these herbs are for maintaining sexual arousal. A more natural version of Viagra, if you will.”
Men. “So, now he’s stuck with a stiff green one, huh?”
Dolores snorted. “Yes. He’s in a bit of a panic. But there’s nothing we can do. He’ll be fine. He just has to… wait it out.”
I laughed. “Until little green Jim goes limp again.”
Ruth burst out laughing, her smiling face beaming at the sight of me. She swung her shopping bag up next to Beverly’s on the island. “Are you hungry, Tessa? I can whip up something for you. Pancakes? Or would you prefer an omelet?”
“I’m fine, thanks,” I said, slightly embarrassed that at twenty-nine, I was still a disaster in the kitchen and cereal was my go-to food. Wasn’t everyone’s comfort food cereal?
My gaze darted over the three sisters, a smile creasing my face. “Are you gals all going on hot dates tonight?” Beverly had a date with a different man nearly every week, so that was no surprise. But I hadn’t even known Ruth or Dolores were dating. The three sisters were all widows, at least a good decade since their husbands died. They should be dating. No one should live their life alone. Strange thought, coming from someone who’d sworn off dating after my ex—John the douche—had dumped me four weeks ago after five years. I shook the thought of him out of my mind. This was not the time to wallow.
A pair of mesmerizing gray eyes, framed by thick, black lashes and accompanied by a pleasant musky scent, strong muscular arms, and a wide chest flashed in my mind’s eye instead.
Marcus. The chief here in Hollow Cove.
Heat rushed from my neck to my face. Damn hormones. We didn’t get off to a good start—totally his fault—as he’d called my mother a “waste of space” in front of the entire town. But after what Martha had confessed about my mother’s terrible decision-making by leaving her post, which resulted in the death of Marcus’s best friend, I could understand his hostility and open hatred for me.
Still, he’d helped me take down Samara and her followers. He’d even protected me and carried me home after the battle in the woods with the sorceress. I wasn’t sure where we stood now. Friends? No, we weren’t friends. So, what did that make us?
“You don’t know?” asked Ruth, leaning forward on the island, her eyes wide with disbelief.
I looked at her, my eyebrows meeting in the middle. “Know what?”
Dolores put a hand on her cocked hip. “Didn’t your mother tell you anything about our town and its festivities?”
“Yes. She said you were all crazy.”
“Sounds like her,” muttered Beverly as she tucked a strand of her blonde hair behind her ear.
I shrugged. “I give up. What festivities?”
“Here.” Beverly handed me one of her bags, a trace of a smile on her mouth. “This is for you.”
My mouth hung open for a moment. “You got me something?” I took the bag from her and peered inside. It was the one with the metallic blue box.
“Open it,” encouraged Beverly, her eyes flashing. “Oh—and this one too,” she added and handed me a smaller bag with a white box decorated with purple stars.
Doing as I was told, I pulled the blue box out of the bag and settled it on the island’s counter. The label Boutique Marie France was stenciled elegantly on the top in black letters. Fingers shaking slightly with excitement, I lifted the top of the box and moved the white tissue paper to the side. A sheen of black material peeked up at me, smooth and elegant with thin spaghetti straps, begging for me to pick it up. So, of course, I obliged.
I lifted the article of clothing and gave a tiny gasp as it fell, swiping against my ankles. “You got me a dress?” I stared at the most beautiful dress I’d ever held in my life. Hell, I didn’t even own anything this expensive or elegant. The only dress I owned was a cotton one I got at the Gap a few years back. I’d never felt the material on this one before, smooth and silky under my fingers like liquid metal. It must have cost a fortune. I spied that the price tag was conveniently missing.
“You like it?” asked Ruth, a touch of worry in her voice, as though I’d be crazy enough not to like it.
“Of course she likes it,” said Beverly. “Just look at her. I can always tell when a woman knows that this is the dress. It’s perfect. Fancy and ritzy.”
Dolores snorted. “Like the cracker.”
Beverly was right. “It’s beautiful,” I answered, having a hard time looking away from the silky, uber-sexy dress. “And it looks really expensive. Can we afford this?” Guilt threatened to stop my heart. I was swimming in debt. I could never afford something this exquisite and expensive. My aunts shouldn’t be spending the little money they had on me or this dress. It didn’t feel right.
“We have to look our best tonight, ladies,” announced Dolores, like that was answer enough. She grinned at what she saw on my face.
“Why is that? And why do I need a dress?” I pressed the beautiful black dress against my chest. I couldn’t help it. It was spectacular.
“Because, my darling niece,” said Beverly, a hand on her curvy hip, looking like a classic movie star from the fifties. “Tonight is the Night Festival.”