Witch/Paranormal Cozy Mystery
Date Published: July 19, 2017
Dylan Apel is at it again…
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. Continue reading