Monday, September 9, 2019

Read it here first!! Chapters One and Two of All's Fairy in Love and Murder

Chapter One

“Fairy, fairy, quite contrary, how does your boredom grow?” I stared at my reflection in the courtyard fountain’s translucent water while plucking plum-colored petals from an orchid’s long stem. I dropped them into the fountain and watched as they floated out of reach to the other side. If I sprinkled some fairy dust in the water, I’d be able to observe into the human world, but I’d grown weary of having only a bird’s eye view.
“You are outrageously melodramatic, Juniper.” My best friend and fellow fairy, Iris, sat on the edge of the fountain and crossed her ankles. The ends of her wings dipped into the water. She lifted her face toward the sun, exposing her pale, slender neck.
A palace guard stumbled over his feet as he passed by. He caught himself before spilling to the ground and his cheeks turned a rosy shade of red. I understood his clumsiness around her. Iris was the second most beautiful fairy in our land. My mom, Queen Poppy, being the first.
I waited for the guard to disappear down the corridor before lowering my voice to a near whisper. “Are we on for tonight?”
Iris grumbled a few unintelligible words under her breath and the tips of her wings flickered to highlight her agitation. She reached into her dress pocket and retrieved the parchment. She placed it on the edge of the fountain. “You are the biggest cliché. The sheltered princess has everything she could possibly desire but wants to slum it with the humans instead.”
I tossed the orchid stem at her and picked up the missive, glancing around again to make sure we weren’t being watched. “Be judge-y later. What’s the fairy errand?” I unfolded the paper and read the name and address. John Bleaker, 325 Palmer Road, Lilac Cove.
“The human male needs a sprinkle of fairy luck to help with an interview tomorrow. This is the closest FE I could snag. He’s a boring man who lives only a few miles away in a boring little town on Florida’s gulf coast. Lives by himself and is in bed most nights by nine p.m. It’s a simple in-and-out job.” She grasped my wrist and gave it a gentle squeeze. “If we get caught, your parents will feed me to the trolls. Or worse, they won’t let me live in the palace anymore.”
“Now who’s being dramatic? We won’t get caught,” I assured her, but she only fluttered her eyelashes in an exaggerated eye roll and fluffed the blonde curls that circled her head like a golden halo.
I’d been planning my one-night excursion into the human world for more than a year, ever since my twenty-fifth birthday, when I should have been allowed to join my fellow fairies as a fairy godparent. I’d trained alongside all the other fairies and, at the last minute, my parents had pulled the palace rug out from under me.
Being a godmother was my birthright, after all.
I took in the lush, green courtyard and the pristine gray bricks of the palace walls. Being the only heir to the North American fairy throne happened to be my birthright, too. According to my parents, that took precedence. Not to mention that a couple of fairies had left our world to live in the human world over the past couple of years and that made the entire kingdom nervous. There were only so many of us left.
For twenty-six years I’d been trapped inside the protective magical dome of our home in the swamps of Juniper Springs, Florida. That’s right, I’m named after our fairy land.
Every other fairy took on the responsibility of godparent on their twenty-fifth year. They then ventured out to wave their wands and sprinkle enchanted dust to help the humans. We called them fairy errands or FEs. With so much evil in the world, humans needed every sprinkle we could give them. That’s what I needed to be doing, too.
Instead, I had to spend my days preparing to ascend to the throne.
Don’t get me wrong. Living with the humans on a permanent basis didn’t hold any appeal so my parents fears were unfounded. And fairies who chose that path didn’t get the option to come back. Just ask my Aunt Mossandra, who I’ve never actually met and have only seen in a portrait hanging on the palace wall.
But day after day of palace duties like arranging nobility banquets and settling fairy disputes and this gal needed a little break in the routine. An adventure.
My only two connections to the world where everyone else traveled was the courtyard fountain and the human-written books Iris smuggled back from her assignments.
The king’s distinct voice boomed from somewhere inside the main halls.
“Uh oh. King Hypnum sounds mad. Again. I’m out.” Iris stood and shook the water off of her wings. She stretched out her arms and allowed a pout to pull down the edges of her glossy pink lips. “I’m losing my shimmer and am in desperate need of a glitter bath.” She pulled me to my feet and placed light kisses on both of my cheeks. “There’s still plenty of time to change your mind about tonight.”
I tilted my head to the side and held her violet gaze. “You know I won’t.”
Her shoulders sagged. “That’s what worries me most—your inability to let go of something once you’ve set your mind to it.” She fluttered her wings and lifted a few inches from the ground. She glided to the nearest exit but picked up her pace once my father came around the corner, his always present entourage close behind.
“When I find out who’s been skimming, they’ll spend their eternity with a wad of thorns stuck up their…” He caught sight of me and stopped short.
I waved the tips of my fingers at him. “Don’t stop on my account, Daddy. Where will the thorns be going?”
He pursed his lips and met me at the fountain. “Hello, dearest. I didn’t see you there.” He gave the top of my head a quick peck. Between my parents, I mostly resembled my dad, with his dark brown hair and gray eyes with a sharp, pointy nose settled in between.
I warmed under his affection, almost feeling guilty for my devious plans later on that evening. Almost.
“Who’s skimming what?” I asked.
Irritation returned to his expression. “The enchantment dust harvesters are reporting stolen crop.”
“We’ll find the culprits, your majesty,” Amaranth, the captain of the royal guard and my on-again, off-again boyfriend, assured the king.
Amaranth and I avoided eye contact with each other as at this moment we happened to be in the off-again territory. He’d caught me outside the palace walls with a copy of the works of Edgar Allen Poe. Long story short, we’d argued about what he’d called my “infatuation with the human world.” The nerve. Just because something interested me didn’t mean I’d become infatuated with it.
Dad must have noticed the tension between us because he cleared his throat a few times before gesturing toward the main hall. “Your mother awaits me in the throne room, so we’ll be on our way. You have your itinerary for the remainder of the day, I assume. Will you be dining with us this evening?”
I turned on my sweetest, daughterly smile but my pulse quickened. “Iris and I have plans tonight. Tomorrow?”
“I look forward to it.” He led his private guards and the other palace lackeys out of the courtyard.
I blew out a hard breath and waited for my heart to return to its normal pace. My wings twitched, and I flicked them to work out the tension. At least I’d been able to avoid my mom all day. She could take one look at me and know when I was up to something—like a sixth sense.
I glanced at the sun and estimated that I had four hours before I set my plan into motion. Just enough time to immerse myself in my newest book. The itinerary my father spoke of, which included picking flower arrangements for the main hall’s dining tables, could wait.
I snapped my fingers, making my wand appear in the palm of my other hand, and then withdrew the miniaturized version of Pride & Prejudice from my pocket. I tapped it three times and said, “Big.” The book grew to normal size and I clutched it against my chest.
If the person I planned to visit tonight was half as interesting as Elizabeth Bennet or Fitzwilliam Darcy, I was in for quite the treat.

Chapter Two

A succession of knocks in a rhythmic pattern sounded from the other side of my door shortly after sundown. I cracked it open and found Iris on the other side, dressed in a hooded cloak.
“What’s with the weird knocking?” I asked.
“It’s a secret knock so you’ll know it’s me.” She pushed through the door, a dress laid over her arm and a bag in her hand.
I closed it behind her and turned the lock. “It wouldn’t have mattered who knocked, I still would have opened it.”
Her expression warred between a smile and frown. “I don’t think this is a good idea.”
I took the shimmering dress from her and worked it over my body. A little tight, thanks to my curves and Iris’s lack of. I regarded myself in the full-length mirror. “Why? Because I don’t get the point of the secret knock?”
She took my hand and pulled me around to face her. “I love you lots. Like the sister I never had.”
“You have a sister. Her name is Marigold, remember?”
She looked up at the ceiling like I’d just made her point for her. “Don’t take this the wrong way, but you’re a bit naïve about the way the human world works. It’s not your fault. It’s your sheltered palace life that’s to blame.”
I yanked my hand back and placed it on my hip. “You’ve been going to the human world for only a year, and you live in the palace too. I’ll be as world-wise as you before morning.”
She perched on the edge of my bed, staring off at something distant out the window. “But I’ve seen things. So many things. They’re seared in here forever,” she said, tapping the side of her head.
I dug my toes into the plush carpet. “I want to see things, too. Searing or not. And if you really loved me, you’d stop trying to change my mind and help me finish getting dressed.”
Her eyebrows drew together sharply. “Manipulative. Nice. You might do well in the human world after all.” She opened her sack and pulled out a yellow mop that reminded me of a dead animal covered with pollen.
“What’s that?” I asked.
“Your wig. We have to change your appearance to look more like me. While my wand will get you past the gates, the guards still know you, and a lot of them know me too, if you know what I mean.” She winked and made a kissy face.
Despite her claim of my naivety, I knew exactly what she meant. Iris was a shameless flirt.
Our wands were our main source of identification, each fairy having a particular wand fashioned from a juniper tree and blessed by the king and queen. “I’ve planned for that. I know the guard schedule tonight. It’s a newbie. I’m almost positive we’ve yet to cross paths.”
“Still, wear the wig, just in case.” She twisted and piled my dark hair onto my head and jammed the wig on top, securing it with a few bobby pins. “There. Now for your face.”
I poked at the thing on my head. “I have to change my face, too?”
“I wouldn’t be caught dead without a healthy layer of glitter. Since you’re technically going to be me, you should play the part.” She nudged me to sit in front of my vanity. “Close your eyes.”
I did as she instructed and felt a pouf bounce across my face. I sneezed after some powder went up my nose.
“Okay, open,” she said, and stood back. “Perfection.”
I opened my eyes to a reflection of true ridiculousness. Purple, pink, and silver glitter covered every inch of skin on my face. I shifted the wig. Good thing I’d be able to hide most of it beneath the cloak’s hood.
Iris clapped her hands. “This might actually work.”
“Of course it will.” I’d waited a year for this perfectly-planned night. Rarely was the palace without guests, but tonight it was only the royal family.
A chime from the main village sounded three times, alerting the fairies that is was time for them to attend to their godparent duties. The main guard would turn an hourglass and for fifteen minutes an exit would form in the protective dome. After the sands finished sifting through, the exit would close until they turned it over again at daybreak. No one else out and nothing could get in.
I lifted off of the ground, the excitement pushing my wings to beat faster.
Iris removed her cloak and arranged it around my wings and shoulders. She pulled the hood over my head, and I could see her hands shake.
I kissed her on each cheek. “I’ll be back by daybreak, and we’ll laugh over all the wonderful and amazing things I’ve seen.”
She bit her bottom lip, but nodded and opened my door.
I stepped into the hallway checking for voices. “All clear.”
As soon as I vacated the doorway, the door shut hard behind me and I heard the lock click into place. I lifted off the ground and navigated to and through the palace kitchen. The kitchen workers bustled around and nobody so much as glanced in my direction. With a rush of adrenaline, I whooshed out the back door and floated down to the village.
Fairy men and women formed a line at the main exit. The dome shielded us from human eyes, as well as other magical beings that would like to see fairies become extinct.
I kept my gaze trained on the ground and when my turn came up for my bag of enchantment dust, I lowered my voice. “Nice evening, huh?”
“I guess,” the gate guard answered.
I presented my wand and as he handed over my bag, a familiar voice caught my attention.
“I’ll take over here, soldier. Why don’t you take a break?”
I snatched my bag out of the guard’s hands. “See ya.”
“Wait,” Amaranth called after me.
I stopped, not wanting to cause a chase scene. I pulled the hood down further around my face and waited for him to approach me.
“Juniper?” He leaned down into my face while lifting the top of the hood. “What are you doing?”
“Shh.” I pulled him to the side and glanced at his face for the first time since our argument. It was a face I’d seen almost daily since we were six years old. As handsome as any fairy male could be, his chestnut hair and matching eyes were features I’d memorized long ago. “How did you know it was me?”
He lifted an eyebrow. “The birthmark near your elbow.”
Ah. Apparently he’d memorized some of my features too. The birthmark must have shown when I reached for the bag. My own impatience had done me in.
His gaze took in my moppish wig and glitter disguise. “Please tell me you aren’t sneaking out to the human world.”
I smiled and tugged the hood back into place. “Okay, I won’t tell you.”
He squared his shoulders. There were many great qualities about Amaranth, the top being he took his job as captain of the guard seriously. “I can’t let you go.”
My smile died along with my excitement. I’d been so close. “You can. You don’t want to.”
He crossed his arms.
I grabbed his forearm. “Please do this for me. I’ll be back before anyone else knows I’m gone.”
The newbie called to us from his position near the stacked bags of dust. “Hey Captain, the gate is closing in a minute. Is she going through or not?”
“She’s not.” He shook off my hand. “It’s for your own safety, Princess.”
My chest tightened. Why didn’t he understand?
The sands poured through the hourglass faster by the second. I gripped my wand tight and turned as if walking back toward the palace with him.
Then I did something I haven’t done since we were kids. I lifted into the air and shoved him hard enough to knock him down. “I’m sorry, but I am going.”
Before Amaranth could scramble to his feet, I zipped through the portal and turned to watch as it closed behind me. Anger had lit up his face, but I’d deal with that and his disappointment in me later.
If I didn’t have my adventure tonight, I’d never have another chance.

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Prompt #1 - Part 3 Dara and the Manuscript

Continued from the previous post.

Dara traced the sketch with her index finger. This had to be a gag. Although the emergency room doctor had convinced her at the time that she’d had an allergic reaction at her bridal shower, after bits and pieces of the day came back to her in dreams, she’d suspected it’d been something else.

And this sketch proved it. Or did it. What if Ris knew she overheard her and the old guy at the café and planted this manuscript for her to find? She wouldn’t give the Walker sister that much credit to come up with this elaborate of a ruse.

Dara lifted the manuscript into the light. The artist or Sir what’s-his-face had drawn the Tea Haven and everyone sitting at her table the day of the shower. The woman who resembled Dara floated off the ground, her feet pointed toward the floor. The woman drawn next to her resembled her mother-in-law to an alarming degree.

She wanted answers. The mayor’s birthday dinner would have to wait.

Dara shoved the manuscript in the bag and rushed to her car. Standing in front of her driver’s side door was the creepy old man who’d taken up residence in her café.

“What do you want?” she asked.

“Hello, Dara,” the man said. “I’m Sparsh and you seem to have acquired something that wasn’t meant to be purchased by anyone in this town.”

She pulled the bag to her stomach. No way would she give up her newfound prize. “I don’t know what you’re talking about. Get away from my car.”

A woman approached her as if from out of nowhere. She had flowing white hair and wore a dress that shimmered. She placed her hand on Dara’s shoulder. “Dear, you really must give that manuscript to my husband.”

As if she couldn’t control herself, Dara held out the bag and handed it over to Sparsh. What the heck! That’s not what she wanted to do. “That’s was a gift for the mayor,” she said, the words coming out on a whine.

The woman gave her shoulder a squeeze. “You’ll find a better gift in one of the shops on the square.”
Dara nodded in agreement. “I’ll find a better gift,” she repeated.

Sparsh walked away and after he’d turned the corner, the woman released her shoulder and walked in the same direction.

“What just happened?” Dara said to no one and anyone listening. She blinked hard over and over and wondered back into her café. She sat in the first booth she came to and waited for the brain fog to lift.
This has to do with the Walker sisters. Witches! She was sure of it now and those two had been their cronies.

Maybe it was time she paid more attention to what they all did in their spare time.

The End

I hope you enjoyed the first prompt short story!! Stay tuned for more from the side characters that you've come to enjoy. Remember, Book 1 of Lost Souls ParaAgency is only .99 or Free to read with the Kindle Unlimited program. CLICK HERE TO GRAB YOUR COPY

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Prompt #1 - Part 2 Dara and the Manuscript

Continued from the previous post...

Dara slammed the cell phone on the counter and folded her arms across her chest. Of course Patrick wouldn’t be making it home for his mother’s birthday dinner. He’d asked Dara to pass along the bad news and give his mother a kiss for him. As if.

The diner was unusually slow today and she flipped the “closed” sign even though the hours on the glass said she’d be open for another hour. The people of Burberry could get their fried chicken from the grocery store if they needed it bad enough.

 In the back office, she’d put the mayor’s gift in a decorative bag with fluffy pink and blue tissue paper sticking out the top.

The mayor’s birthday dinner didn’t start until seven which surprised Dara since she couldn’t imagine the Biddies Bridge Club members usually stayed up past seven-thirty. The mayor’s entourage was invited to every family event. Annoying, but useful in that they were loyal to the mayor and therefore loyal to her by association. Inherited minions.

Thanks to Patrick being gone again, she’d have to deal with the entire lot on her own. She huffed and plopped into her desk chair and reached in the bag removing the manuscript.

Who was this Sir Henrique Malachi? The swirly handwriting on the parchment was illegible in some places but she found a date on the second page, along with a title.

1893, The Future of Burberry

“That’s odd,” she said to the manuscript. “I helped the mayor with the town history, and I know for a fact that Burberry wasn’t around in 1893.” She tapped the paper to emphasize her point. It was literally one of the few facts she knew about the town.

She flipped past a few more illegible pages of scribbles, then stopped on a page titled Walker Witches. Surely, not the same Walker women who poisoned her at that gross tea shop at her bridal shower?

The Walker women will serve tea and find love in strange ways.

She sat back in her chair and laughed. Not Ris. But the other two, Amira and Ally, had suspiciously bagged a couple of hotties.

This can’t possibly be about the same women. She flipped a few more pages and sat up straight.


Monday, August 19, 2019

Prompt #1-Part 1 Dara and the Manuscript

Welcome to prompt no. 1. As I said in the previous post, I pulled these prompts from Bryn Donovan and will use a character from my Lost Souls ParaAgency series to create a super short story. Today’s pick is Dara!

You can expect updates on the stories at least once a week or maybe more so be sure to check back often or watch my Facebook page for updates. Sometimes they will be in two or three parts and sometimes it will be a one-shot. Don't be afraid to let me know what you think.

PROMPT: A collector buys an unpublished manuscript by an obscure writer that describes a terrible historical event a year before it occurred. The collector learns the writer wrote many unpublished stories…

The character: Dara Henry – sassy, southern brunette who isn’t afraid to use her charms on any of the men in Burberry. She’s married to the mayor’s son and thinks that boosts her status in the community.

Nemesis to Ris Walker who dated the mayor’s son before Dara stole him.

The story:

Dara Henry parked her convertible in front of the motor home that had set up shop outside the city limits of Burberry. Mystical Mayhem & Tomfoolery. Not a very appealing shop name.

She pulled down the visor and opened the vanity mirror to apply another layer of bright pink lipstick. A smile curved her lips. How easily she’d taken over the use of the color on everything and watched the Walker women wallow in jealousy. Especially Ris.

She lifted her sunglasses and settled them on top of her head to push her hair out of her face. The weird guy who’d taken up shop in her diner had sent Ris here for whatever reason to pick something up for him. A gift for his wife or something.

She’d have kicked the old man out long ago, but he tipped well and when she eavesdropped, he provided some interesting gossip. Like this indie book and herb shop. With the mayor’s birthday right around the corner, Dara needed something to impress. The man, Sparsh, had said the word relic and the mayor collected old crap that could be considered relics.

“Patrick should be doing this himself if he could be bothered with staying home once in a while,” she murmured to her reflection. Whatever. At least she had his money and someday the mayor’s. She blew herself a kiss before exiting.

A generic “Open” sign hung from the door handle. She twisted the knob and with a creak the door pulled open. The acrid scent of burning incense hit her nostrils hard. She’d always hated that smell.
The inside of the camper was cramped with shelves lined with books and jars of unlabeled herbs and other things. She shivered.

“Can I help you?” A woman sat at a small table and lifted a vaping pipe to her mouth.

“I need something antique and expensive.” Dara didn’t care what it was at this point as she’d already made up her mind to get out of the place as quickly as possible before the smell stuck to her clothes. She lifted her wallet out of her Hermès purse. “I’ll pay cash.”

“Good thing,” the woman started. “I only take cash.”

Dara could tell the woman had an accent but didn’t care enough to place from where. Something foreign and thick. The woman needed a good hair brush and an even better pair of tweezers for her brows and upper lip.

“What do you recommend for a collector?” Dara asked.

“That depends on what kind of collector.” The woman paused for another vape.

“I don’t know. Books, I guess.” This conversation was taking way too long. Dara glanced around at a pile of parchment sown together with leather binding. She picked it up and blew off a layer of dust. “Is this like an original Shakespeare play or something?”

The woman snorted a laugh. “No dear, that is an original manuscript of Sir Henrique Malachi. Some say he could predict the future and that it drove him mad.”

A weird book with a creepy story. Good enough. “How much?”

“Three hundred dollars,” the woman said.

It was Dara’s turn to laugh. “I don’t think so. I’ll give you one hundred for it. If it’s an original.”
“Deal. It is the only one. His manuscripts were never published.” She held out her hand for the money. “But I should warn you—”

“You’ve already made the sale, lady,” Dara interrupted. “Stop while you’re ahead.”

Dara tossed two fifties on the table and scooted to the exit. Back in her car, she flipped through the pages. She should have checked to make sure it was complete first, but again, whatever. She set it in the backseat and checked her reflection. Still looking like a goddess. 

She turned her head and sniffed her sleeve. Gross. But not smelling like one. Now, she’d have to change before opening the diner for lunch. At least she’d have time to wrap the present for Patricia.

She settled her sunglasses over her eyes and headed back to Burberry.


Sunday, August 11, 2019

Spooky Shorts from the Characters You Love!

Coming soon! 

Thanks to the awesome spooky writing prompts from author Bryn Donovan, I'm going to put my characters from prior books in some fun situations. 

Wouldn't you like to see how Nuala from Right Witch Wrong Time would react to finding out that everything in a carnival side show is fake except for one thing. Or if Ally and Sidney from LSP and the Illusion of a Vampire had to worry about dead people coming out of the ocean. 

The stories will be short and fun and will hopefully provide you with some entertainment while I'm working on the next book in one of my series. 

Stay tuned and happy reading! ~K.M. Waller

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Read it here first! Chapters One and Two of LSP 4

Hey, hey happy readers! Here are the first two chapters of Lost Souls ParaAgency and the Mysterious Bag of Bones. Enjoy!!

Chapter One – The Assignment

Meet me at the following address at 2 p.m.
Don’t tell any of the Walker Witches ~ S

Sidney Cross edged his sunglasses down his nose and checked the sidewalk for familiar faces. Thankfully, Burberry’s town square didn’t have a lot of foot traffic on a Tuesday afternoon. Before the rectangular piece of parchment fizzled in his hand, he double checked the address against the number above the door. Right place.

He made a fist to catch the confetti poof which the note became soon after. Just like that old show Ally liked to watch where the mission tape self-destructed or some nonsense. 

Clandestine meetings in small towns were an effort in futility. Everyone knew everyone in this town and they weren’t afraid to spread gossip faster than a picture of a frowning cat on the internet. He rolled his shoulders to shake off bad vibes. Why Sparsh would choose Dara’s of all places confused Sidney even more.

He stepped into the diner and if vampires could feel a chill, then one would have raced up and down his spine. When Ally, his mild-tempered and adorably witchy girlfriend, found out he entered the restaurant owned by her sister’s nemesis willingly—and with the speed of this town’s gossip, she would learn of at some point—he’d never hear the end of his betrayal. 

The diner, like the sidewalk outside, was mostly empty. It had a standard set up with booths along the walls and tables for four or six patrons in the middle. Today’s special was written in swirly script on a chalkboard plaque and boasted of a Thanksgiving themed open-faced carved-turkey sandwich. A light scent of burned gravy permeated the air. He scanned the dining area for the head of the LSP, Sparsh.

Dara Henry spotted him first and shoved a tray of food into the hands of the nearest waitress, sloshing the drinks onto the floor. The petite brunette made a bee-line for him and inwardly he cringed. Dara was married to the mayor’s son, but she flirted with any and every man in sight.

“My, my, Sidney. I haven’t seen you in a while, but I always knew you’d be back for my fried chicken.” She tugged the front of her shirt to show off more cleavage—if that were possible. The last time he’d been in was a few weeks ago when he and Ally needed answers to a few blood-sucking questions. Ally had vowed never to step foot in the diner again. The unspoken rule was that Sidney would vow the same.

Before he could respond with a vague pleasantry, a woman sitting in a nearby booth glanced in their direction and upon making eye contact with him, practically leapt from her seat. She came forward and wrapped her hand around Sidney’s arm, her red nails biting into his flesh. “Dara, you must introduce me to your friend.”
Her grip tightened when Dara narrowed her eyes. The only other patrons were a mom and her teenaged daughter in the far corner. They were busy with what appeared to be an intense discussion on turkey versus chicken and didn’t notice him, but he knew what would happen if they did.

For the past two weeks every time he made eye contact with an available woman, they chased him down like a pack of wild dogs fighting over a rabbit. Something must be in the air in the small South Carolina town.

The waitress who’d had to take the tray from Dara was the next to approach him. She swayed her hips and winked at him with dark eyelashes. Her wiry black hair strained against the pink scarf holding it back. “Hi, handsome. You can sit in my section.”

“Ladies, if you don’t mind. Mr. Cross and I have a business meeting.” A deep voice boomed out from the entrance behind him.

Sparsh. The man could bring order with a raise of his eyebrows. Sidney let out a sigh of relief. The faster they finished this secret gathering the better.

He untangled from the three women and followed the grumpy warlock to a booth along the wall occupied by another LSP agent, Lex Dimas. Not just any agent, the legacy agent. Lex’s grandfather had created the agency. And while Lex and his grandpops were both human, they’d fallen in love with witches and that was enough to bring them to the aid of all paranormals.

Sidney gestured at the women behind him. “Thanks for the help, Lex. You watched them paw at me from over here?”

Lex grinned, tapping his manicured fingers against the table. His neatly trimmed dark hair glistened in the florescent lights. “It was mildly entertaining.”

Sparsh settled into the booth seat opposite Lex and they nodded in greeting. Although the two agency men differed in looks and age, they mirrored each other in a business-like dress and frowns. Sparsh being the stuffier man by wearing a sports jacket and tie to complete his man-in-charge appearance. His wife, Tippie, kept him from having a doomsday appearance by making him wear humorous ties. Today’s ridiculousness—a pilgrim and a turkey holding beer mugs.

Sidney glanced down at his cargo shorts and well-worn gray T-shirt that said Slacker. Definitely the odd fellow out with this group.

He grabbed a chair from a nearby table and pulled it to the edge, opting not to sit beside the aging warlock or the cocky human. “You’re a jerk,” he said, acknowledging Lex’s entertainment comment.

“Not a junked jackrabbit or freckled yak?” Lex asked, making fun of the fact that Sidney couldn’t cuss because of a curse Sparsh put on him. “Where’s your jacket? Are you even trying to blend with the humans?”

Sidney popped his fangs. He fit in a lot better than the pretentious, pretty-boy real estate mogul. And he wouldn’t pretend to be cold when he wasn’t.

“Gentlemen,” Sparsh interrupted. “Continue the male aggression thing on your own time.” He reached into the inside pocket of his jacket and removed a black jewelry box. He pushed it across the table to Sidney. “This is an upgrade. It should help with the love spell the elder Walker witches placed on you.”

“I knew Aunt Tizzy put something in the tea,” Sidney grumbled and retracted his fangs. His girlfriend’s great-aunts wanted to wreck his relationship with Ally and they weren’t above resorting to magic to do it. They wished better for her. Some days he couldn’t blame them.

Lex snorted. “You call her Aunt Tizzy?”

“You don’t?” Sidney placed the new amulet around his neck before removing the old one. He glanced around to make eye contact with a female patron to see if the upgrade indeed worked. He caught the eye of the teen, and she wrinkled her nose in disgust. Good enough.

The agency amulet made it possible for him to daywalk. It also returned some of his vampire super-abilities that had been stripped by the Council on Crimes Against Humans when he’d been less of a good guy. All of the agents in the LSP wore one. It gave them a magical boost during assignments. “Any chance of getting back a few more of my vamp powers too?”

“One thing at a time,” Sparsh answered with a typical non-answer. He waved to the nearest waitress. “Four coffees.”

“Four?” A frown wrinkled Lex’s brow. “We really should hurry before the town gossipers catch us in here and report it to Amira or Ally.”

“Or worse. Ris,” Sidney added, naming the Walker’s nineteen-year-old sister. The three witch sisters were as different as sisters could be but there was one thing they agreed upon, loyalty from the men in their lives. And since Lex dated the eldest Walker sister that meant he’d also be crucified if caught in Dara Henry’s café. 

“I see you figured out the Council’s poof since the last time we met.” Sidney dropped the leftover pieces of the secret mission confetti-paper onto the table. “So why the sneaking around? It must be bad if we can’t even tell Amira you needed to meet.”

There would only be one reason not to tell any of the Walker witches about their meeting. The Council, his former incarcerators, still pushed to get their controlling hands on the women and use their powerful witchcraft. But for what means, no one knew for sure.

Once, the Council had been a fair governing system with the LSP working beneath them trying to stop out-of-control paranormals from exposing their community. It also stopped human government agencies from using paras as laboratory guinea pigs. Now, a new leadership wanted something different, and the agency feared it meant putting more of his kind in cages.

Sparsh leaned forward. “As I’ve mentioned before, there’s been a definite split between the Council and the LSP. While we are technically at a truce, there is a steady effort to recruit to the opposing sides. We need a sanctuary of sorts.”

“What do you mean by sanctuary?” Lex asked.

Sparsh tapped the top of the table with long, thin fingers. “We’re going to pick a few small towns around the country and in Europe, and we’ve decided Burberry will be the test case. The Council wants to focus on the safety of humans while we feel it is important to do the same for paranormals. We will move in paranormal families and cloak the town so that the Council can’t track them with their seers.”

“Whoa.” Sidney sat back hard against his chair. “Why here?”

“We have a group of very powerful witches who already live here. Their combined magic will help hold the concealment spells.” Sparsh’s intense gaze focused on him. “This will assist in your own hiding from the Council.”

Sidney’s gut clenched. His safety came in second. “Ally’s not going to like that. She’s not big on magic or helping with spells or change in general.”

Sparsh’s gaze didn’t waver. “She won’t have a choice.”

Sidney grunted. His girlfriend of less than a month was already on edge since a sinkhole had indefinitely closed the elementary school where she taught third grade. “Good luck convincing her.”

“That’s part of your assignment. You will distract her until we’ve made certain changes. Then she’ll have no choice but to conform.” While Sparsh’s tone was firm, it had a soft undertone. Sidney knew his boss liked the Walker sisters but ultimately would do what was best for the greater good.

Lex had been silent for too long. Sidney gestured at him. “Dude, help me out here.”

Lex glanced around the diner. “I can’t say I think this is a terrible idea. I’ve been looking to settle closer to Burberry. Amira might get on board with this plan too, especially if it keeps her sisters safe. The more paras working toward a common goal in one area the better.”

Two against one. He didn’t like the way the odds were stacking against him. “Then Amira can distract Ally. I don’t want to lie to her.”

“Don’t lie, just don’t tell her everything yet,” Lex said.

Right. “Does that work in your relationship?”

Sparsh cleared his throat. “That’s not all we’re here to discuss.”

Sidney didn’t want to hear any more of their plans. “There’s something worse than moving paranormals into Burberry?”

Dara’s squeal of excitement broke into their conversation. Sidney hadn’t planned on turning his head until he saw the expression change on Lex’s face from pensive to disgust. Their waitress dropped the four mugs of coffee on their table and rushed away.

Behind them, former television star and fake ghost hunter Samuel Chase tugged a gleeful Dara away from his chest. She bounced and hopped around him as if he’d been a present wrapped just for her. Everything about the man screamed flamboyant, from his designer jeans to his style of the week haircut. He wore a gold chain with a cross that dangled at the V of his neck in a thick bed of black chest hair.

“No,” Lex said. “Absolutely not.”

“I admit I’m not the brightest candle maker in this group,” Sidney joined in, “but what does that fame-hog have to do with turning Burberry into a paranormal hub? Wouldn’t we want to hide it from a bottom feeder like him?”

“He’s our newest recruit.” Sparsh paused to take a sip of his coffee. He curled his lip and reached for the sweetener packets. “We’ve made a mutually beneficial arrangement to bring him to our side.”

Sidney growled, low and guttural. “Flumpy Pete! You can’t be serious. The LSP doesn’t have standards anymore?”

Sparsh reached into his jacket pocket again and took out five dollars. He slid it to Lex. Lex grabbed the bill, but his angry expression remained.

Sidney pursed his lips, momentarily distracted by the money. “Did you two have a bet on how long it would take me to attempt to cuss?”

Sparsh raised a bushy brow in answer.

“Chase can’t be trusted.” Lex crossed his arms. “From his history of moral ambiguity to the mental breakdown, he’s not what we need right now.”

Sidney pointed to Lex as a gesture of agreement. He hadn’t even known about a breakdown but that solidified the fact the man needed to be anywhere but in Burberry.

“It’s not your job to worry about Mr. Chase at the moment.” Sparsh nodded toward Sidney. “That’s his. You have a different assignment which involves two of the three aunts. At your grandfather’s request.”

Lex rolled his eyes but didn’t continue his argument. Ally had mentioned before that Lex never went against his grandfather.

“So, not only do I have to distract Ally from noticing a slew of paranormals hanging out in the Tea Haven, I have to watch over that poser too?” Sidney pushed his chair back and stood. “You’re asking a little much. She’s already on edge about the elementary school closing. Her teacher friends are taking jobs in the next county over.”

“We called the school shut down phase one.” Sparsh added the contents of another pink packet to his coffee. “A good percentage of parents will move closer to their kids’ schools.”

Sidney sunk into the chair again and scooted it forward. “You staged the sink hole?”

Sparsh flicked his wrist. “The LSP has different plans for the school.”

Lex crumpled the five still in his hand. “Are you going to share them?”

“Not yet.”

Samuel signed a few autographs and made his way to their table. “Hey, guys. Did you start without me?”
Lex retreated farther into the seat as if sharing the same air offended him.

Sidney stood nose to nose with the newest addition to their meeting and popped his fangs, careful the few other patrons in the diner couldn’t see.

Samuel laughed and tapped Sidney’s chest twice with the back of his hand. “Down, boy. I’ve been growled and hissed at for the past two months since Sparsh here decided to recruit me. I’m used to it.”

Sidney wanted to sink his teeth into the other man’s wrist. Then maybe break his arm. His gaze dropped to the amulet around Samuel’s neck tucked behind the cross and his fangs retreated. It was true. The LSP had lost their collective minds and added a monster hunter to the ranks. One who’d tried to blackmail the Walker sisters into a reality television show which centered on their magic abilities. The man cared more about dollar signs than people.

He turned to Sparsh. “What am I supposed to do with him?”

“Help him settle in at the B&B and let Samuel do what he does best. Don’t get in his way. If we have a ghost hunter here while we are moving in paranormals, the Council won’t put the two together.”

“They will at some point,” Lex said. “Then we can get rid of him, right?”

Samuel slicked his hair back, using his phone as a mirror. “Hey, guys, we’re on the same side now. And I’m nothing if I’m not a team player.”

“You’re nothing,” Lex and Sidney said at the same time. 

Even if he and Lex were frenemies on a good day, they had Amira and Ally’s best interests at heart. Samuel Chase only ever had a wallet where his heart should be.

An unease settled over Sidney that he hadn’t felt since a paranormal had shoved Ally into a wooden box a month ago. His gal wasn’t stupid. She’d quickly find out about the celebrity being in Burberry and notice the increase in paranormals roaming the town square.

He played with the amulet around his neck. Maybe he could convince her to go on an extended vacation until everything settled. Sparsh didn’t say exactly how he had to distract his astute girlfriend.

“I couldn’t believe it,” The mayor’s voice boomed from the entrance to the diner, “when my darling daughter-in-law texted and told me all these young gentlemen were in her café.”

Sidney almost didn’t recognize her without the Biddies Bridge Club entourage hen pecking around her heels. When she turned her head, a few curlers bobbed in her gray hair. Her clothes were shrouded by a black cape, and it dawned on him that she must have come straight from the hairdresser.

The heavy set woman advanced on their table. “Lex dear, you do know that you need to reserve a decent reception hall at least a year in advance. Better get on that proposal to Amira.” 

Lex mumbled something under his breath but smiled and gave her a nod.

Mayor Henry looked down her nose at Sidney. “Sidney. Still here I see. Yet we are no closer to having our librarian replaced. An occupational hole that actually needs to be filled. Not another town handyman up to no good.” She’d used air quotes when she’d said handyman. “I still can’t believe the Berry brothers went against good common sense and hired you for the bed-and-breakfast.”

Sidney winked in response. The mayor hadn’t been team Sidney when he’d come strolling into town. Apparently, that sentiment wouldn’t change any time soon. He realized that handyman as an occupation didn’t endear him to the upper crust but her dislike came across as personal. But no matter her distaste for him, he always gave her a wink and smile. 

Just for the fun of seeing how long she could hold a sneer.

She turned her attention to the celebrity, her demeanor shifting to one of endearment. “Mr. Chase, I am so excited that you have chosen our little town to be your rise back to the top. I have so many ideas for you. I hope we can set up a private meeting for later this evening.”

Samuel grasped her hand for a quick limp handshake. “Ms. Patricia, it’d be my pleasure.”

She saved a long, lingering gaze for Sparsh. “I don’t believe we’ve met.”

Her words came out on a purr, and Sidney hid a smile. The recently widowed mayor would have her hands full with a man like Sparsh, but first she’d have to get past the man’s siren wife. Good luck with that.

Sparsh nodded but didn’t introduce himself. She waited a few more seconds before murmuring about bad manners under her breath. “If you’ll excuse me, gentlemen. Now that Mr. Chase is back in town, I must call an emergency meeting of the Biddies Bridge Club. A celebrity in town means we need to plan a worthy festival.”

Galloping chicken gizzards. The mayor’s next stop would be the Tea Haven, the favorite meeting place of the Biddies, and she wouldn’t hesitate to tell the Walker witches every single person she’d seen in Dara’s. 

He had to get to Ally first.

Chapter Two

Ally Walker rummaged through the metal gardening shed behind her sister’s two-story wood-framed house. Her oldest sister, Amira, stood in the doorway, a worried expression making her nose scrunch.

“It’s the middle of November,” Amira said, and pushed her cropped blonde hair out of her face. The afternoon sun glinted off of the top of her head. Unusually warm for November, they both wore light sweaters and slacks.

Ally pushed open the lid of a gray storage container and grabbed a trowel. “So?”

“It’s not the best time to pick up a gardening hobby. That’s all I’m trying to say.”

Ally agreed. She could think of at least ten other things she’d rather be doing. One being to prepare her students for Thanksgiving break. Her former students, she reminded herself. Her chest tightened, and a lump made it difficult to swallow. The tips of her fingers let out little sparks. A clear sign she needed to calm down and focus her energy elsewhere. She swung around. “I have to do something.”

She’d already triple-cleaned her townhome. Rearranged the kitchen in the Tea Haven again, which she’d owed Amira anyway since she and Sidney had demolished it a few weeks before. In full desperation mode, she’d even agreed to help the mayor with this month’s town theme when and if the mayor ever decided on one. And she’d taken up jogging. Real jogging instead of the run but mostly walking thing she’d done every morning before school.

Amira’s shoulders dropped, and she tugged at one sleeve of her lilac sweater. The color accentuated her soft features and bright blue eyes. She favored their deceased mother more and more every day. The eye color she shared with both her sisters, but Ally had inherited their father’s sharp nose and pronounced cheekbones.

“The school could reopen,” Amira said.

“Optimism is my thing, remember? And I’m all out of it. Schools don’t reopen after parents are notified there’s a sinkhole issue.” Ally made her way to the front of Amira’s house where weeds had overtaken the boxwoods. She’d grown up in the house along with her sisters and had stayed well after her parents passed on until she found a practical townhome on the other side of town. Their younger sister Ris had moved out too, and they now thought of it as only Amira’s. Her older sister would fill it with love and children’s laughter again someday.

But for now Ally would help spruce it up.

Her sister didn’t have the time to pull weeds since she’d started working with the Lost Souls ParaAgency and still managed the tea shop. Ally had volunteered to help since she now had copious amounts of free time. She slipped on the gardening gloves and positioned the knee pad at the edge of the bushes by the steps. She’d drawn out landscaping plans for around the front porch. First, all the old bushes and weeds had to go.

Amira sat down on the porch steps. “Mayor Henry is looking into options for rebuilding the school.”

“That could take over a year. Suzy and the other teachers are already taking positions out of Burberry.” Ally’s eyes watered and she sucked in a deep breath to steady her emotions. She missed her friends and her students. Worst of all, she’d been actively but secretly searching for jobs in different towns. So far, the only interest came from Miami, Florida. Far away from the cozy South Carolina town where she’d grown up.

The rumble of a motorbike could be heard from two streets away. Ally smiled. “Ris is coming.”

Amira’s frown deepened. “I hate that moped thing. Why can’t she drive a sensible car like the rest of us?”

The moped in question sputtered around the corner and Ris cut the engine at the same moment she hit the brakes, causing it to slide into the driveway. She muttered something as she took off her helmet, freeing her chin-length green hair. She wore a black sweatshirt that covered her tattoo sleeve on one arm. When she noticed them by the bushes, she gave a short wave. “I need to use the basement.”

She didn’t stop as she ran by them toward the front door. Lately, she’d always been in a hurry and muttering to herself. On her way in, she let out Amira’s two rescue mutts, Jekyllpup and Hydepup. She muttered something else and held the door open for a few seconds longer than necessary. Ally expected Amira’s cat to come sauntering through but after another second Ris let the screen door slam behind her.

Ally shook the trowel in her direction. “Something’s going on with her. She has been a little distracted since you guys came back from the woods. Weirder than usual.” Last month, Amira, Ris, and the Walker great-aunts tried to undo a heritage curse some angry witch had placed on their family years ago. The women in the family had to fall madly in love and have kids before thirty to pass on their magical abilities. 

The curse didn’t make much sense, but it created problems within the family and sometimes that’s all a curse had to do. Ally didn’t think it applied to her since she didn’t plan to have kids, but she still hated her sisters had to deal with it.

Amira ran her hand along Hydepup’s back as he settled beside her. “I think she’s as determined as ever to break the curse since our failure. The aunts too, although having them work at the Tea Haven seems to keep them from causing more trouble than we can handle. Ris needs a hobby other than magic to take up her idle time.”

“Then let Sparsh recruit her.”

 “Did those words just come out of your mouth?” Amira placed a hand on her chest.

Ally dropped to her knees on the kneepad and began turning the soil with the trowel. The sweeter of the two dogs, Jekyllpup, joined her. She understood Amira’s surprise. She disliked anything to do with magic. Several weeks ago she’d tested her finger-sparking power but after doing little more than shocking Sidney from time to time, had since decided magic could be too unpredictable. Besides, there’s nothing wrong with wanting to be normal. 
Jekyllpup licked her elbow and nosed a path to the back of the bushes. After a few quick paws at the dirt, he started a digging rhythm of dig, dig, sniff, dig, dig, sniff. 

Ally leaned forward and patted his back. The shaggy dog was in need of a trim. “Hey, Jekkie-poo, are you going to help me with these bad old weeds? Good boy.”

“He’s always loved that digging spot.” Amira’s phone chimed and she stood to pull it out of her back pocket. After a few seconds, she pulled in her lips. She probably chewed on the inside of her cheek too. 

The last thing Ally wanted was to add to her older sister’s list of worries. They had enough going on being three witches hiding in plain sight. Ally didn’t practice witchcraft, so hiding became easier for her. All she had to do was keep the sparking under control.

 “Is that Lex?” she asked.

“Yeah, he says pack a bag.” Amira put the phone in her back pocket. “Another assignment already. Things have stepped up the past few weeks.”

“Go. I’ll be fine. Ris will be fine. What you do is important.”

“Being a teacher is important too.”

Ally’s classroom and teaching her third graders had been her rock against the shifts within her family over the last few months. She didn’t know if she could handle any more changes. She tried for a fake smile to ward off her sister’s concern. “I’ll figure it out.”

Hydepup yipped and Ally turned her head to see Amira’s neighbor, Judy, descending upon them.

Amira padded up the front steps to avoid the older woman. Ally glanced around. With her hands occupied with digging, she didn’t have a quick escape.

Judy wasn’t a bad neighbor, and in fact, she helped Amira with her dogs, cat and parrot when her sister worked long hours at the Tea Haven or tracked down unruly paranormals with her boyfriend Lex. However, what Judy enjoyed above all was being nosy and spreading gossip. And commenting on the Walker sisters’ love lives.

“Oh, Ally,” Judy started, her thin lashes fluttering with sympathy. “I’ve been thinking about you ever since the school closed.”

Ally stopped digging and sat back on her heels. “Thank you for your thoughts.”

“I’m sure your new boyfriend can keep you occupied better than this though.” She giggled and took over Amira’s spot on the steps, a sign she’d settled in to talk. 

Ally’s manners wouldn’t allow her to be rude, but she really didn’t want to talk about her vampire suitor with the town’s biggest gossip. Not that Judy knew he was a vampire.

“I’m helping Amira out since she’s so busy… doing things.” A lame answer.

Judy glanced around. “Maybe Sidney can help you with this once he’s done eating lunch at Dara’s.” A smile tickled her lips. “Since he’s a handyman and all.”

Ally’s hand tightened on the shovel’s handle. She must have misheard. “He’s eating where now?”

“Well, I was just on the phone with Mayor Henry discussing something or other, and she mentioned that she saw Sidney, and Amira’s sweetheart too, with a very handsome older gentleman in Dara’s.”

The only reason Lex and Sidney would be in the same place at the same time in a diner that none of the Walker sisters would enter would be for LSP business. Sparsh would be the handsome gentleman Judy referred to. 

Two weeks ago, she and Sidney had made the stern pact that she didn’t want to know about any paranormal business from the Lost Souls ParaAgency. While she believed in the work the agency did to keep humans and paranormals safe; she sometimes took issue with their methods. 

Feeling like she needed to help cover for the guys even though she didn’t intend to be a part of the LSP business, she smiled and nodded her head toward the house. “I think Lex is planning something for Amira. Something big, if you know what I mean.”

Judy’s eyes widened and Ally could see the gossip wheels turning. She shouldn’t have said that. Usually, she’d never give anyone in town fodder against her sisters and a twinge of guilt made her bite her upper lip. She needed a job. Then she wouldn’t be turning into a town gossip like Judy and her network of town spies.

Amira came through the door, an overnight bag slung over her shoulder. “Hi, Judy.”

Judy wiggled with excitement. “Where are you off to this time?”

Her sister’s cheeks deepened to a rosy shade of pink. “A little getaway.”

Judy stood and grabbed Amira by the shoulders in a weird half-hug. “I’m so glad you girls aren’t going to be spinsters like your aunts. We were all so worried for a while there.”

Amira sighed, and Ally swore the corner of her eye twitched. She turned her attention to where Ally continued digging out weeds. “Ally, can you take care of the menagerie?”

“I’ve got them.” She patted Jekyllpup again, but he maintained his focus on something buried deep in the dirt. 

“Slow down, boy. You’ll wear out your paws.”

Amira waved them off, and as she backed out of the drive, a shriek came from somewhere in the house. The basement. Before Ally could stand up all the way, Ris bounded through the screen door and tore down the steps.

Her mossy green-colored hair stood on end. “I’ll clean up the mess later!” she yelled and yanked her helmet on her head.

Ally knew she wouldn’t.

“My word,” Judy said. “It’s always the baby of the family that turns out to be the wild child.”

Their neighbor had no idea.

Ris’s motorbike sputtered to life, and she made a circle in the yard before pulling onto the road. A sense of loneliness settled back into Ally’s stomach. Both Amira and Ris had found their callings as witches and it felt as if she’d lost hers.

“Why the frown, beautiful?” Sidney’s husky voice cut through her thoughts. 

Both the dogs yipped in surprise and started in with a series of barks announcing their usual displeasure of having a vampire nearby. 

Ally was used to Sidney popping up, but Judy grabbed her chest. “Oh, my. Sidney, where did you come from?”

The early 1900s. But Ally kept that information to herself. She pushed the shovel into the dirt and Sidney rushed over to help pull her to her feet. She squeezed his hands and drank him in even though she’d seen him earlier in the day. His dirty blonde hair curled against his forehead and hung past his ears. His brown eyes took in everything around them but settled on her. His lazy smile never faltered.

He gave her a quick kiss on the forehead and an even quicker hug. Then he focused his attention on Judy. “Good afternoon, Judy. What’s the word on the street?”

Ally cut her eyes at him and pulled off the gardening gloves. He loved to encourage the town gossips. 

Judy preened under his focused attention. “The word is all about you today, it seems. Eating at Dara’s new cafe?”
Ally could see the shift in his posture and instantly she knew there would be LSP business in his future, like it or not. 

Hydepup had descended the stairs and stood a good three feet away from Sidney but the one-eyed pup never stopped barking. Jekyllpup resumed digging in the dirt behind the bushes. If he didn’t stop soon, he’d be too dirty to return inside the house.

“Judy, will you grab Hydepup and put him inside while I get this Jekyll-manic? I really don’t know what’s got his attention like that.”

As soon as Judy was inside and out of earshot, Sidney opened his mouth but she held up her hand to remind him of their pact. “Wait. I have only one question. Are my sisters and I in any kind of immediate danger?”

“Nope.” He didn’t hesitate.

“Good, then I don’t want to know the details of your meeting with Sparsh and Lex. I plan to remain as oblivious as possible to any paranormal on goings.”

Not giving him a chance to respond further, she grabbed Jekkie around the middle but he didn’t come willingly. She tugged and noticed he’d latched onto something in the dirt. 

And that something had latched onto a bush.

She finally wrenched the dog away from his find and picked up what could only be a forearm bone attached to a bony hand. “Oh snap!” she screeched and dropped it. The bones wiggled and pulled at the ground like something out of a horror movie.

Sidney placed his hands on his hips. “What in the blazing barnacles is that?”

Ally tightened her grip on the wriggling dog who wanted to get back to his treasure. “I have a feeling that is because of Ris.”

Did you enjoy the excerpt? LSP 4 is available July 28th. Grab your copy HERE!