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Witch Way to Romance & Ruin (Book 2 EBOOK)

Witch Way to Romance & Ruin (Book 2 EBOOK)

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To win the Decadent Dessert’s competition, you have to crack a few eggs.

Gran is gearing up to finally take down the reigning winner of Whitefall Cove’s annual Decadent Dessert’s competition, only the former victor turns up dead, and Gran is the number one suspect. Now all eyes are on us. How on earth do I keep two feuding covens from outright war, prove Gran’s innocence, and keep my new bookstore afloat?

My budding friendship with Detective Jackson Ward is my only recourse, but first I need to get past the prickly defenses of his girlfriend, Police Officer Liliana Miles, and convince Jackson to let me in on the case.

Easier said than done when Gran is flirting up a storm with every male within a ten-mile radius and basking in the spotlight. The hot new lawyer hired to clear her name is not only mysterious but a distraction I don't need, and the witches are misbehaving trying to prove who has more power and spark, which begs the question, can we catch the killer before the next spell is cast?

This paranormal murder mystery will have you completely spellbound and laughing out loud!

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Give me a quick list: what can I expect?

  • Cool Powers and Magic
  • Witches
  • Vampires
  • Slow Burn Romance
  • Snort Worthy Hilarity
  • Hot Cop
  • Small Town
  • A Cat!
  • Cozy Mystery

Want a sneak peek? Read a sample

“Oh my god, here he comes! Quick, get out of here.” Wendy waddled away from the front window of The Dusty Attic bookstore, hands caressing her swollen belly. I snatched up my bag and was almost home free when the bell over the front door chimed, bringing with it a gust of air and the unmistakable scent of Detective Jackson Ward’s cologne. Clutching my bag to my chest, I waited for the inevitable.

“Ah good, you’re back.” The ghost of Whitney Sims immediately appeared, as she did whenever Jackson and I were together in the store. It appeared his necromancing powers, combined with my witch magic, tethered her to the Dusty Attic. It had been two months since her death and each time she appeared, she didn’t seem to notice the discrepancy in time or how long she’d been gone. “I’ve got more ideas for the book club.”

She floated across the floor and a shiver danced up my spine, as it always did whenever she was near. I was new to ghosts and didn’t think I’d ever get used to having her around.

“Harper Jones,” Jackson drawled, a knowing grin curling the corners of his mouth. “You weren’t leaving, were you?”

“I swear to god, you duck in here just to amuse yourself,” I grumbled, tossing my bag back behind the desk that served as a counter. Plastering a fake grin on my face, I tuned out Whitney, who was rattling on about the book club and slowly drifting up to the mezzanine level. “What can I do for you, Detective?”

“I hear the book club is reading an Agatha Christie novel this month,” he began, nodding a hello to Wendy, who eased herself into the chair behind my desk.
“How’s it going, Wendy?”

“Despite being the size of a whale and no longer able to see my feet, I’m remarkably well, thank you,” she replied, her whole demeanor radiating an Earth-Mother vibe.

I’d taken pity on Wendy when she had to take leave from her job as a nurse, due to her pregnancy. Being on her feet for twelve-hour shifts was too much, so I’d offered her part-time work here at the bookstore. Despite the fact that the ghost of her best friend, Whitney Sims, haunted the place—and that Wendy had been having an affair with Whitney’s husband and was, in fact, carrying his child—it had all turned out remarkably well. It seemed ghost Whitney held no grudges, unlike the living Whitney, who’d been a bully and a terror.

“Yes, we’re reading The A.B.C. Murders. Why? Did you want to come?”

He shrugged, a sheepish expression flitting across his face.

“Oh! You do want to come.” My grin widened. “Well, that will make it interesting. You do know I hold the meetings here. And that if I’m here, and you’re here...” I trailed off and he filled in the gap.

“Then Whitney will be here.”

“Yup. Think you can handle that?”

“You’re forgetting I’m a necromancer. I see ghosts everywhere, of course I can handle it.”

“Oh really? How come you couldn’t see Whitney until that day when my magic leaked through?”

He lifted one shoulder. “Don’t know. Who really knows how the afterlife works? But I can tell you that there are no other ghosts inhabiting your store.” He seemed pleased to impart that piece of information.

“Anyway, that’s not the point. The point is Whitney is going to bug the hell out of the book club members,” I pointed out.

“Hey!” Whitney drifted back down to us and stood with her hands on her hips. “I heard that. And I’d love to sit in on the book club. I promise I’ll behave. Please come.”

This last comment was directed at Jackson, and she sidled up to him in what I imagined was meant to be a flirty swagger. As a floating ghost, though, it was lost in translation and she sort of bobbled toward him.

“It’s up to Harper, it’s her book club.”

I looked from Jackson’s hopeful face to Whitney’s pleading one. “Oh fine, you can come. Thursday at seven sharp.”

His smile lit up his face and stole my breath. He really was gorgeous to look at, and I had to remind myself, again, that he was dating Liliana, his co-worker.

“Thanks, Harper. I’ll be here.”

He opened the door and I called after him, “You’ll need to bring your own copy of the book.”

“Will do.” And then he was gone.

Wendy fanned herself dramatically. “Phew wee, that boy is hawt.”

“That’s your hormones talking,” I chided, crossing to the coffee pot and pouring myself a cup.

“Yeah well, I’m dead. Pretty sure I don’t have hormones, and I agree, he’s as hot as a summer day,” Whitney said, just before she vaporized into thin air.

Cradling the cup in my hands and inhaling the intoxicating aroma, I closed my eyes in bliss, soaking in a brief moment of silence before my eyes popped open and I pinned Wendy with my gaze. “Have you two talked yet?” I asked.

“Not really.” A blush crept up her neck and she wrung her hands together. “But she doesn’t seem angry at me and, you know, apparently, she says she knew about me and Bruce, and was planning on leaving him anyway, so...”

“Maybe you’ll get the chance for a quiet word at the book club, if you’re coming?” I prompted.

“Well Bruce and I were both intending to come, but now I’m not so sure it’s a good idea, if Jackson is coming. Because then Whitney will definitely be there, and she hasn’t seen Bruce since…you know.”

“She died.” I nodded. It was a strange love triangle, but if ghost Whitney was okay with it, who was I to question it. Wendy pushed herself to her feet and crossed the floor to tape a piece of paper to the front window.

“You going?” she asked, nodding at the poster she’d just put up, advertising the annual Whitefall Cove fundraiser ball.

“Sure am. I wouldn’t miss it.” Heaven help us all. I hadn’t intended to go, hadn’t wanted to go, but once more I’d underestimated small-town politics and sense of community—it seemed the whole town was attending and Gran wouldn’t forgive me if I bailed.

“You don’t look very happy about it.” Wendy pointed out. She wasn’t wrong.

“You know the story,” I grumbled. “The last ball I went to was the one where I caught Simon cheating. That was two months ago. I’m really not in the mood for another.”

Ever the optimist, Wendy beamed at me. “It will be different this time, you'll see. No stuffy professors or librarians—no offense—and everyone here knows you, loves you. It’ll be great.”

“This Decadent Desserts competition is new.” I changed the topic.

“Oh yes, they brought that in, oh, about three years ago, I think.”

“And I hear Bonnie Emerson has won all three years.” Now it was my turn to grin, for I’d been listening to Gran rant about knocking Bonnie off her perch this year and taking over the coveted position of first place with her chocolate crepe cake.
Wendy rubbed her belly in appreciation. “Mmm, Bonnie’s angel food cake is divine, that’s for sure.”

“Well, brace yourself. Gran is determined to topple her rival with her chocolate crepe cake. But keep that under your hat, I think it’s a secret,” I quickly added, belatedly remembering Gran had sworn me to secrecy as she practiced in the kitchen. She’d gone through several dessert recipes before deciding the chocolate crepe cake was going to be the one that wins this year.

* * *

“Is that what you’re wearing?”

Turning from the mirror, I smoothed my hands down over my hips and eyed one of my best friends, Monica. “Why? What's wrong with it?”
She peered at me with her exotic blue eyes, tossing her hair over her shoulder as she reclined on my bed. I hadn’t seen much of Monica since my return to Whitefall Cove, our schedules out of sync since she’s a vampire and I’m a witch. Not that our species are enemies or anything, just that she’s a night owl, sleeping during the day, and I keep more traditional hours.

Archie, my cat—and familiar—jumped up onto the bed and headbutted Monica for attention. Absently, she ran her hand over his orange fur, eliciting a loud purr of appreciation.

“You need”—she paused, pursing her lips—“to be showing more skin.”

“You’ve been hanging out with Gran too much,” I muttered. Gran was into exposing quite a lot of flesh. Her fashion sense was enough to make your eyes bleed, but Gran was, well, she was Gran. Unique. And I loved her to pieces, but I’d seen way too much of her eighty-year-old body than any granddaughter should have to endure. Which was also why I was moving out. The old lighthouse caretaker’s cottage had become available to rent and I signed the lease last week.

“But seriously…” Turning back to the mirror, I twisted my hair and held it on top of my head with one hand, moving this way and that to capture every angle of my reflection in the strapless ruby red evening gown I’d squeezed myself into. “This is okay, right? It’s been a long time since I’ve attended the Whitefall Cove Annual Fundraiser Ball.” I ignored Monica's previous comment of showing more flesh—my arms and shoulders were bare, that was more than enough.

“It'll do, I suppose.” She yawned before moving Archie from her lap and standing. “I'm getting hungry. Best I go before I get too distracted by that throat of yours.”

She was gone before I could respond. As it was, my hand fluttered at my throat—I never knew how to respond to Monica's jokes about drinking blood. Would she really take a bite out of me if she let herself get too hungry? We'd grown up together, she was a born vampire, and never in all that time had I seen her succumb to bloodlust. I knew she'd adopted a purely synthetic diet, and that appeared to keep her fully functioning as a vampire, but was it enough?

After one last critical look, I released my hair and unzipped the dress. It immediately fell in a puddle at my feet and I stepped out of it, picking up the crimson fabric and securing it back on its hanger. The ball was this weekend and the only formal dress I had was back in East Dondure—and I had zero intentions of contacting my ex-fiancé, Simon, and asking him to ship it to me.

That's if he even still had it. I'd left it in a crumpled heap on the bedroom floor when I fled, just before Christmas. And here we were, days away from Valentine's Day, and I still hadn't heard a peep from him – aside from the boxes of belongings that had suddenly turned up, no note, no nothing, and the handwriting on the labels hadn’t been Simons. Maybe his girlfriend had got sick of my stuff and sent everything on. Everything except for the ballgown that is. Not that I wanted to hear from Simon. Oh no, I wanted nothing from that cheating piece of trash, but still, the lack of communication did sting, just a little. So, this dress would have to do. As it was, I'd spent a small fortune on it at The Twinkle Star Boutique.

The front door slammed and simultaneously Gran shouted up the stairs, “You home, Harper?”

“Coming!” Pulling on jeans and a sweatshirt, I hurried downstairs to see Gran trying to lead a cow through the front door. “What on earth is that?”

Gran paused from pulling on the rope around the cow's neck to look at me. “I would have thought it's perfectly obvious what it is. It's a cow, Harper.”

“I know it's a cow.” I rolled my eyes. “But what is it doing here? And for god's sake, don't bring it into the house!”

“I have to.” She continued to pull on the rope, but the cow mooed and held firm. Tilting my head, I considered the door’s width and the cow’s girth and figured the cow was right—it wasn’t going to fit, no matter how much Gran tugged on the rope.

“Gran,” I warned, and she had the good grace to look sheepish. As sheepish as you could in purple leggings, yellow Ugg boots, and a black-and-red plaid shirt with a white fluffy vest over the top. She stopped tugging and threw her hands up in the air in apparent defeat. “Okay, look. This here cow”—she pointed at the black-and-white bovine—“is Annie’s Dalmatian, Rupert.”

Clapping a hand over my mouth, I tried not to laugh. “What did you do?” I choked out.

“I need fresh milk for my recipe!” Gran exclaimed, hands waving madly, “Can't get any fresher than straight from a cow.”

“But, Gran, he's not really a cow. He's a dog,” I pointed out.

“Yes, well, he's temporarily a cow. I just need to milk him.”

“Uh-uh, absolutely not.” I wagged a finger at her. “Annie will go mental if she discovers you turned her dog into a cow!” I shook my head at her. “I'm sure milk from a carton will do just fine.”

Annie Robins was the head witch of the Sisters of the Sacred Flame coven, of which Gran—and me, by default—was a member. And I very much doubted that Annie knew Gran had absconded with her pet.

“You spoil all my fun.” Gran pouted, chin almost resting on her chest. I put my arm around her shoulders and gave her a squeeze. “Sorry, but you know I'm on probation with Drixworths. We've got to keep our magic squeaky clean.”

“I'm so glad you've got your magic back.” Gran perked up immediately, “And without needing a wand to boot. Goes to show what a powerful witch you are!”

“I wouldn't say that,” I demurred, but Gran was right. I'd re-sat my witch's license exam and passed. However, my transgression in using magic to harm humans was a big one and Drixworths Academy of Witchcraft and Wizardry were keeping a close eye on me, which was why I was on probation and had to meet with the headmistress of our local branch on a weekly basis. It was Izzy who'd informed me that I was, indeed, quite powerful, that I didn't need a wand to channel my magic. That was also why they'd assigned Archie to me, to keep a dampener on my power.

“Come on, Rupert, let's get you sorted out, hmm?” Moving Gran to one side, I nudged Rupert out of the doorway and back into the garden. Closing my eyes, I visualized turning him back into a dog, whispered the spell under my breath, and poof, it was done. Rupert barked and jumped up with his paws on my shoulders, licking my face.

“Okay, okay. Down, boy.” Grabbing his collar, I handed him to Gran. “Now take him back.”

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