Shadow Witch - Ebook
Shadow Witch - Ebook
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Being dumped by my boyfriend was not how I expected to start my day.
Or suddenly homeless and broke.
So, when my three eccentric aunts make me an offer to join the family business—protecting our town and killing anything that would want to harm it—I take it.
I'm back in Hollow Cove, the paranormal community, where werewolves, witches, and other paranormals live comfortable lives away from prying human eyes.
Enter Marcus, the town chief, who's as powerful and deadly as he is handsome. The downside? He hates my guts. Of course I'm inexplicably attracted to him because life just loves to mess with me.
Things soon spiral down the crapper when people in our community start dropping like flies. And when demons start showing up, everything falls apart…
You'll love Shadow Witch if you like:
✔️witches and magic
✔️a grumpy and sexy town chief
✔️small town mysteries
✔️a cast of quirky characters
✔️paranormal women’s fiction
✔️a healthy dose of snarky humor
Look Inside Chapter 1
Look Inside Chapter 1
“I don’t love you anymore.”
Okay. So, those were definitely not the words I was expecting to hear coming out of my—now ex—boyfriend’s mouth. I had hoped for a “You look beautiful today,” or “Those jeans make your ass look great,” but I would have settled for a “Pass the salt.”
Turns out, the douche had been sleeping around on me for the past three months.
Yes, I’ll admit it. It had hurt like he’d taken a knife and stabbed me in the heart with it and then twisted the knife around in my gut. The not-in-love-anymore sucked, but the betrayal was worse. I had a “temporary” meltdown moment, which consisted of me throwing a mug at his head followed by a milk carton, the TV remotes, an orchid (I felt terrible about the orchid later), and anything within arm’s length. I never hit him with any of those, but hearing his squeal and seeing him squirm and duck was satisfying enough.
Though I had noticed a change in John’s behavior, his declaration had come as a surprise.
Yup. He was sleeping with us both at the same time. Real classy. The thought made bile rise in the back of my throat. It was the worst deception ever. The guy didn’t even have the balls to tell me before he jumped into bed with another woman.
I had cried that night, but not as much as I thought I would. I was even more surprised that the anger had quickly turned to numbness… and then nothing. I realized then that his sleeping with someone else (I did not care to know her name) had severed whatever feelings I’d had for him. Like a switch. They turned off. Completely.
I would not let myself fall in the depths of despair for a man who didn’t love me, or any man. I deserved better.
So, the next morning, I’d packed a bag, stuffed with only the necessities that fit in my one suitcase, and grabbed the first Greyhound bus out of New York City.
It didn’t help that I was broke—way down in the crapper broke. That’s what happened when you tried to follow your boyfriend’s lifestyle with a graphic designer’s salary. He was a lawyer on his way up the corporate ladder, and me, I was fifty thousand in the hole from credit card debt and personal loans and had no idea how I was going to pay it back.
I’d always paid my portion of the rent, food, and bills. I was just too damn proud to admit I couldn’t even afford my half.
I’d fallen in love with John when I met him in a pub in Manhattan five years ago. I was finishing my BFA in Design at the School of Visual Arts and living with three other roommates in an apartment the size of the school’s bathroom.
We dated for three months. And when he asked me to move in with him, I said yes.
At the time I hadn’t realized it was the biggest mistake of my life—not in terms of the relationship but finances. I’d really put myself deep in debt.
I let out a long breath and shifted in my seat, staring at the beautiful landscapes of rolling green hills that wound in and out among thick, tall trees and sparkling lakes and ponds. I was furious with myself to have let it go this far. The only good thing that came out of this was I couldn’t dig myself any deeper in the crapper. So I hoped.
This was my rock bottom. There was only uphill from here, and I would climb my way out. I swore it.
The seven-and-a-half-hour bus ride from Manhattan to Maine had seemed like a lifetime as I stared at the window, contemplating my life choices and seeing five years of my life flash by me. I’m not going to lie. I dipped here and there into a bit of depression. It was hard to admit that the man I thought I was going to spend the rest of my life with thought I was garbage and not important enough to remain faithful.
But as soon as I caught a glimpse of the Atlantic Ocean, a strange calm came over me. I sat straighter in my seat as I saw the rugged coastline dotted with lighthouses and picture-perfect seaside villages painted in every color of the rainbow.
My heart sped up with excitement. If I could have rolled down my window, I would have stuck out my head and let my tongue loll like a dog’s.
A large wooden sign with a picture of a lighthouse overlooking the ocean and peppered with seagulls came into view: WELCOME TO HOLLOW COVE. And below that, in a handwritten font: Beware. We will turn trespassers into toads!
I jerked in my seat as the bus came to a halt.
“This is my stop!” I said happily to my seat-neighbor as I stood up. She was in her sixties, and her wrinkled face pinched, looking annoyed that she had to get up and move if she didn’t want me to climb over her to get out. Which was exactly what I’d do if she didn’t move in the next three seconds. I might even use a few elbows too. Maybe a knee.
Taking her sweet time, the woman got up and moved out of my way. I rushed out of the bus, looking forward to getting the blood flowing back into my legs. My butt was numb from sitting for so long, and I was pretty sure it had flattened. No kidding. I needed to get out and breathe in the fresh air. After I grabbed my suitcase—the only one with duct tape holding the sides together, which the driver kindly left on the side of the road for me—I wheeled it around and started my journey toward Hollow Cove Bridge.
Fire hydrant red metal beams glimmered in the late evening sun as I made for the bridge, my suitcase’s wheels squealing loudly like a dying animal.
Hollow Cove Bridge sounded grand and huge, but in reality, it was a two-minute walk across the tiny two-way bridge that separated Hollow Cove from the rest of the world—the human world, that is. It was a tiny patch of land, surrounded by water and many other things.
As soon as I stepped on the bridge, I felt it.
An influx of energy rushed from my toes all the way to my head, my skin riddling in goosebumps, and then it left me.
My pulse leaped and my breath quickened. An ordinary human wouldn’t have felt the waves of supernatural energy that I’d just walked into, power so terrifying and exhilarating and exceptional that I nearly fell to my knees and sobbed.
But I wasn’t ordinary.
With a new hop to my step, I trudged along the bridge, pulling my suitcase behind me. The water below the bridge stirred, the surface reflecting in the sun with thousands of brilliant white lights.
“Tessa? Is that you?” called a woman’s voice the moment I stepped off the bridge.
A plump woman in her early sixties marched my way. Her long, flowing dress of loud patterns in a mix of burgundy and purple billowed around her as she neared. Her dark hair was pulled back in a tight bun, showing off her bejeweled glasses sitting on a small nose. At the sight of me, her dark eyes intensified, framed by layers of caked-on mascara, and her smile was infectious.
“Hi, Martha.” I slowed to a stop since the woman had purposely positioned herself in front of me to block my way.
A familiar wave of energy hit me, sending a swirl of prickles along my skin as the power crested. A mix of rose perfume and the scent of lavender rolled off her. But it did nothing to hide the scent of pine needles, wet earth, and leaves mixed with a wildflower meadow—the scent of White witches.
Her eyes widened in delight. “Oh! I knew it was you! I just knew it! Knew it! Look at you. You haven’t changed a bit—except that you lost a bit of weight. Are you feeling okay, my dear?”
“I can’t wait to tell Liz that you’re back,” she prattled on, a long red fingernail pointing at me. “She’ll be so jealous I saw you first. Oooh! Can’t wait to see the look on that witch’s face when I tell her.” She placed her hands on her wide hips. “When was the last time you were here?”
“Five years ago,” answered the large woman. “Wasn’t it?”
I sighed. “Yes.” Perhaps I should stay quiet since the witch was answering her own questions.
Martha narrowed her eyes. “Your mother’s not here, darling. She left two years ago. Not for the first time that witch ups and leaves in the middle of the night. Like a thief that one. You know what I mean?”
My chest clenched. “I know.”
Her face took on a sloppy pity look. “Oh, dear. Did you have another quarrel? The two of you never seemed to get along. Pity, as you’re her only daughter.”
“Pity that she’s my only mother.” I frowned. The nerve of this woman. The more I stood here, the more I understood why my mother never wanted to live here permanently.
Martha was nodding slowly, gossip forming behind those gaudy glasses. “How old are you now?”
“That’s when wrinkles start creeping up on you.” Martha’s eyes flashed. “You can’t have those, hon. Before you know it—you’ll look like a hag.”
“I thought beauty came from the inside?”
A narrow smile curved her lips. “Beauty comes from the inside. The inside of my salon.”
“You look like you’ve been crying.” Martha took a step forward, her eyes so round I could see all the whites. “You’ve had a lover’s quarrel. Haven’t you? Yes. Yes. It’s why you’ve come back!” She was practically squealing in delight at the prospect of my heartbreak.
The woman was a menace. But it was also my cue to leave.
“I’ve got to go,” I told her. “My aunts are waiting for me. Nice to see you, Martha.” The witch opened her mouth to say something, but I’d already made my way around her. I didn’t care if it was rude. I was not here to talk about my life to the town’s gossip queen.
“When you’re settled in you have to swing by my salon!” called Martha. “I’ll give you my ‘two for one special’ on my facial hair removal spell. Nose hairs free!”
I rushed down the cobblestone road, my suitcase bumping along behind me. Shops lined both sides of the street, their windows packed with their latest products and whatever was on sale. Bottles and boxes of potions and charms sat in the windows beside tottering piles of spell books and rolls of parchment.
I moved past a shop with a yellow door and a sign that said POTIONS FOR ALL AFFLICTIONS and another that read GET YOUR FREAK ON and HAVE A BOOTYFUL DAY!
All around me, Hollow Cove was just as vibrant and strange as the last time I was here. Not because of the colorful residents—okay, maybe just a little—but because it was the only town for miles where the paranormal lived.
To the human eye, Hollow Cove was just another coastal town with its quaint shops and nosey residents. To us, it was where you’d see a nymph take out her trash, a werewolf mother scolding her kids in the park that pulling the wings of pixies was not a good idea, where trolls manned their pubs and brewed their beers, and where witches sold their potions and their spells.
If you were human, chances were you couldn’t see the supernatural. And that was just fine and dandy to the town’s people.
“Out of sight. Out of mind,” was what my aunts used to say.
Two women outside Wicked Witch & Handsome Devil Pub watched me as I went by. The shorter one shook her head, her voice rising to reach me. “Her mother kept moving around and around. Dragging that poor child all over the country. The child can’t be normal after that kind of dysfunctional upbringing. She was trying to shake the witch out of her, that’s what.”
Child? I thought about stopping and telling this stranger what this child was capable of, but I didn’t have the energy. I ached from traveling. And what little energy I had left was needed to keep my legs moving.
I hit the town square just as shop owners and customers were coming out, closing for the day. Heads turned my way. They pointed and gazed open-mouthed, whispering excitedly as I rushed by.
Don’t look. Don’t look, I warned myself. If I made eye contact, I was in for it.
As I passed another block, I glimpsed eyes on me—the same ones I’d seen a few moments ago. I looked up, and there was Martha, whispering something into the ear of a short man who looked familiar.
How the hell did she get there so fast? Didn’t matter. Now everyone knew I was back, with some tragic, made-up scandal no less. The more scandalous, the better. Wasn’t it always the case in small towns?
I moved swiftly through the streets, aware of every glance shooting my way. I kept my head down and walked as fast as I could without it being considered a jog.
Now I was running.
It was the most awkward run of the century, pulling the suitcase behind me. But I would rather risk looking like a giant idiot than discuss my personal life right now. I wasn’t in the mood, and it was no one’s business but my own.
The walk to Davenport House from the bridge was usually a half-hour walk. At a run, I’d made it in ten minutes.
Davenport House was a massive farmhouse beauty with a black metal roof, white wood siding, and a glorious wraparound porch supported by thick, round columns. It was one of those houses that made you do a double-take and triple-take, stopping whatever you were doing to take a look. It was that awesome.
The enormous house stood on the edge of a cliff looking out toward the ocean, three floors of majestic views furnished with balconies. The property sat on twenty acres of land and waterfront and was built by the first Davenport witches.
I stood for a moment, taking it all in.
I hadn’t set foot in Davenport House in more than five years. Memories came flooding in, bits and pieces like flipping through an old photo album. My mother often took me to Davenport House, well, when we were in town. This house had always been my “happy place” as a child. It was so big, I’d often get lost in it, on purpose of course. So many doors and secret hideaways, it was a kid’s dream.
Now, looking at it after all these years… it looked perfect. And I mean like it was newly built. I couldn’t see a single flake of old paint on the siding, not even a crack on one of the many windows or a warped plank of wood from the porch. It looked… well, it looked brand spanking new. But the house was over two hundred years old. The salt from the sea was enough to do some serious damage to the wood siding, but the planks were smooth, as though they’d just been sandblasted and painted.
I let out a lengthy sigh and made for the stone path leading to the front of the house and flanked by rose bushes and Annabelle hydrangeas. A wind blew, carrying the scent of the ocean mixed in with the fragrance of roses. Red geraniums and purple petunias draped from the flower boxes that hung over the porch’s rail.
My legs felt like jelly as I yanked my suitcase up with me and stood by the wide birch front door with a stained-glass window portraying the image of a witch flying on her broom next to a full moon.
An engraved metal plate next to the door written in large bold letters read: THE MERLIN GROUP. And just below that written in smaller letters: Magical Enforcement Response League Intelligence Network.
Yup. It was good to be home.
And with that warm feeling in my gut, I turned the doorknob and stepped inside.