Witch/Paranormal Cozy Mystery
Date Published: July 19, 2017
When the Magical Abilities contest is announced, Dylan couldn't give a flip about entering. But when she discovers the prize is the coveted Never Forget, a spell that makes you immune to mind erasing, she's all in.
That is, until the potion is stolen. Now, she's on lock down in Castle Witch with a thief on the loose. But lucky for her, the witching elite has also arrived, and Dylan's convinced one of them is the Master, an elusive criminal who she believes committed a heinous murder twenty years ago. All Dylan has to do is slip a magical ring on the right person's finger and she's got her killer.
But when the ring is stolen, Dylan's not sure who to trust. Things get worse when her boyfriend is arrested for a theft he didn't commit, a close friend can't remember important details, and Dylan herself is accused of cheating in the contest. Before things get any worse Dylan must find a thief and a murderer—before she becomes the next victim of the Master.
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An arm snaked around my waist. My breath caught in my throat.
“It’s been too long since I’ve smelled your hair,” came the gruff voice over my shoulder.
I narrowed my eyes. “I didn’t know you had a hair fetish. That’s totally weird.”
Hot breath parted my locks like fingers. “You’ve got a knack for ruining romantic moments. Did anyone ever tell you that?”
I giggled. “Anyone ever tell you that telling a girl it’s been too long since you smelled her hair is weird?”
Roman spun me around. I pitched forward only to be caught by muscular arms as soon as made of iron as they were of flesh and blood.
“Hold on there. Don’t fall over.”
I straightened. Sea-green eyes met my poo-brown ones. Yes, they were poo brown.
Blond hair grazed the top of his shoulders. I wove my fingers through the ends, pretending to be getting out a bit of lint or something, but really I just wanted to touch his hair.
He wrapped me in a quick hug. “You do smell good.”
We parted and he smiled at me. A goopy look filled his gaze. I bit down on the lopsided grin I knew was stitched on my own face.
“So,” I said. “Fancy meeting you here.”
Roman pocketed his hands. “You come to weddings often?”
“All the time.”
“I bet you go to pick up men.”
I rocked back on one heel. “Am I that obvious?”
Roman leaned on one hip, studying me. He rubbed his chin. “You’re not that obvious. It’s more of a sense I get from you.”
I quirked a brow. “Oh?”
“You seem like the type who goes to weddings, picks one guy, dances with him all night. It’s just long enough for that guy to fall a little bit in love with you. Then you dump him.”
My jaw fell. “That’s horrible. Why would someone do that?”
Roman shook his head. “Ever heard of a black widow?”
I rolled my eyes. “You’re terrible. I’m not a black widow. If anything, you’re a dark assassin.”
It was time for Roman to do some major eye rolling. Which he did. Which didn’t surprise me. “Right. Listen, how about you agree that I’m right and we do some dancing?”
I folded my arms over my chest. “Is that the proper way to ask a lady to dance?”
In a flourish of testosterone, Roman dropped to one knee and extended his hand to me. “My lady, would you care to dance with this poor soul?”
I nearly busted my gut laughing. Tears blurred my vision as I said, “Yes.”
Roman guided me out past the chairs. The quartet strings thrummed as he twirled me into the space. Others quickly joined and the post wedding fun kicked into high gear.
I have to tell you, those of us who weren’t centaurs had to make a lot of room for them.
Laughter buzzed in the air as the romance of the wedding took hold of us. Roman and I fell into a smooth rhythm, my head on his shoulder, his arms wrapped around me protectively. There was no place else I would rather have been.
A crack of light splintered into the center of the dance floor. People screamed. Others leaped back. Roman pushed me behind him, shielding me with his body.
My heart hammered against my ribs. Heat rose in my chest, rippling up my neck. I peered over Roman’s shoulder.
A man stood in the center. He wore an ebony cape with lapels starched up to his eyebrows. His amber hair was slicked back and he had a deep widow’s peak that plunged down his forehead.
He clapped his hands. “Greetings, everyone!”
The air stilled. The looks of shock on people’s faces quickly changed to confusion.
The man’s gaze washed over the crowd. He studied the gathering as if analyzing us in bits and pieces. He clapped his hands again. “I’ve come with good tidings to the happy couple.”
From his seat at the wedding table, Pearbottom gave a stiff nod. Eliza clutched his hand, her knuckles stretched to white.
I was surprised that neither Pearbottom or Roman had moved on this guy. The small bit of analytical brain I had quickly realized they didn’t consider him to be a threat. That one notion made me relax a tiny bit, the muscles in my neck and shoulders unknotting.
The man flashed a brilliant smile. “This year’s Magical Abilities contest is open for submissions. The grand prize is a vial of Never Forget.” His eyes swept across us once more, landing on me. His piercing gaze made my stomach knot. Maybe it was the cape, but I felt kinda creeped out by him.
The man raised his hands. “You may enter the contest,” he brought his watch to eye level and said, “starting now!”
A puff of gray smoke billowed up around him. The smoke took on lines, becoming sharper at the edges, more delineated until small circles broke off from the edges. These orbs of gas transformed into doves. Their wings fluttered as they rose high into the sky before disappearing.
A shimmering picture remained where the caped wizard had been standing. A halved roman column sat squat on the ground. Resting on it was a small, golden trophy. A halo shot out around it. After a few seconds the picture faded away, revealing a red banner with yellow script.
REGISTER NOW FOR THE MAGICAL ABILITIES CONTEST!
ALL ENTRANTS MUST BE RECEIVED WITHIN 24 HOURS
From all around me, the wedding crowd released a collective breath.
Roman turned. “You okay?”
I dragged my gaze from the banner. Energy still bubbled in my stomach from where the wizard had stared right through me.
“Hmm?” I said. I shook my head. “Yeah. I’m fine. Wow. That was totally weird. What was that all about?”
“I’ll tell you what it was about, toots.”
I glanced over and saw my paternal grandmother, Milly Jones, caning up to us. She’d dressed up for the occasion. Oh, she still wore black orthopedic shoes, beige support hose, a dark skirt and a shapeless cardigan. But this sweater had sequins!
“Milly, you’ve out done yourself,” I said.
A loud snort jutted from her gnarled hook nose. “I spare no expense when it comes to weddings. What can I say? I love seeing people get married. The only thing better than that is playing with babies,” she said flatly.
I really didn’t know if she was being serious or not. Milly loving babies? That was kind of like an alligator liking small deer.
Not that Milly was going to eat said children. She didn’t do that. Of course not. But she just didn’t strike me as the type to love playing with sweet, cooing babies.
I’d been known to be wrong before, though. It could happen again.
Milly eyed Roman like a pirate eyed treasure—with a glint. The only thing she was missing would have been a metal hand and maybe a gold tooth.
“Roman, it’s good to see you.”
“Good to see you, Milly.”
She studied the magical banner. People were milling about, taking their places once again on the dance floor.
“So I missed the announcement,” she said.
I pulled a tissue from my clutch purse and dabbed a splotch of sweat from my neck. “Where were you?”
“Bathroom.” She drifted toward the banner. “So it’s time again, huh? Time for the contest.”
I shrugged. “Looks like.”
Her neck snapped back to me. “You know you need to enter.”
I dropped the tissue. I shot her a panicked gaze. “Me? Why me? Why do I need to enter?”
She thumbed her nose. “All of you do. You and your sisters.”
“Why do we have to enter?”
Milly’s lips coiled into a serpentine smile. “So that you can win the Never Forget spell.”
I frowned. “Why would I need that?”
Her eyes dragged across the pavilion until they landed in my grandmother Hazel’s direction. “You need the spell,” she said slowly, “so that you can start remembering.”
Confusion fogged my brain. “Remembering what?”
Milly glanced back at me, her eyes stony cold as she said, “Everything your other grandmother makes you forget.”
About the Author
Amy Boyles grew up reading Judy Blume and Christopher Pike. Somehow, the combination of coming of age books and teenage murder mysteries made her want to be a writer. After graduating college at DePauw University, she spent some time living in Chicago, Louisville, and New York before settling back in the South. Now, she spends her time chasing two toddlers while trying to stir up trouble in Silver Springs, Alabama, the fictional town where Dylan Apel and her sisters are trying to master witchcraft, tame their crazy relatives, and juggle their love lives.
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