Read Some Like It Witchy Online

Authors: Heather Blake

Some Like It Witchy

PRAISE FOR HEATHER BLAKE'S WISHCRAFT MYSTERY SERIES

The Goodbye Witch

“Blake continues to craft her characters with extensive histories and very believable progressions and growth. . . . Sentimental, but never saccharine, this often harrowing mystery entertains with beloved characters, a deeply moving plot, and an undeniably satisfying conclusion.”

—Kings River Life Magazine

“A modern-day version of
Bewitched
with a little bit of
Cinderella
thrown in.”

—Open Book Society

“Exciting. The entire concept of witches, spells, and the magical forest is certainly spellbinding. . . .
The Goodbye Witch
is a delightful read and will certainly keep readers' attention.”

—Fresh Fiction

“Blake has written another winner! Her narrative and character growth keep getting better with each book. The plot is entertaining and fast moving. . . . Readers will want more from this megatalented author.”

—
RT Book Reviews

The Good, the Bad, and the Witchy

“This extremely charming mystery has, in its third installment, created a world of magic with a complex, but very coherent mythology. . . . This series is full of charm, magic, and delightfully humorous and entertaining characters.”

—Kings River Life Magazine

“In a world of culinary cozies, bookshop cozies, and cozies about every topic imaginable, the Wishcraft Mysteries stand out on their own as being wonderfully unique and full of mystique and magic.”

—Cozy Mystery Book Reviews

“Completely magical . . . stuffed with all the mystery you could imagine. . . . If you enjoy the world of witches and magic, you will love the way it comes complete with mystery and suspense.”

—Fresh Fiction

“An exciting entry in a great series.”

—
RT Book Reviews

A Witch Before Dying


A Witch Before Dying
by Heather Blake is quite simply a fantastic read from cover to cover. It's a magical tale, but it's also a very human one, and it's a perfect companion for the lazy, magical, seemingly endless days of summer.”

—The Season (top pick)

“A fun twist on typical witchy mysteries . . . with a delightful cast of characters.”

—The Mystery Reader

“Four magic wands for
A Witch Before Dying
—get your copy today!”

—MyShelf.com

It Takes a Witch

“Blending magic, romance, and mystery, this is a charming story.”

—
New York Times
bestselling author Denise Swanson

“Magic and murder . . . what could be better? It's exactly the book you've been wishing for!”

—Casey Daniels, author of
Supernatural Born Killers

“Blake successfully blends crime, magic, romance, and self-discovery in her lively debut. . . . Fans of paranormal cozies will look forward to the sequel.”

—
Publishers Weekly

“Fantastic.”

—Cozy Mystery Book Reviews

“Wow! Ms. Blake has taken the paranormal mystery to a whole new fun yet intriguing level. . . . This story is . . . mysterious, whimsical, [and] delightful. . . . Heather Blake makes it work!”

—Once Upon a Romance

“Heather Blake has created a wonderful new spin on witches in Salem that is both lighthearted and serious. An all-around wonderful read.”

—The Hive

“A good quick, breezy read.”

—Pagan Newswire Collective

“This stellar standout series debut has set the bar. High.
Extremely high!
 . . . Wickedly delicious.”

—Blogcritics

OTHER MYSTERIES BY HEATHER BLAKE

The Wishcraft Series

It Takes a Witch

A Witch Before Dying

The Good, the Bad, and the Witchy

The Goodbye Witch

A Magic Potion Mystery

A Potion to Die For

One Potion in the Grave

OBSIDIAN

Published by the Penguin Group

Penguin Group (USA) LLC, 375 Hudson Street,

New York, New York 10014

USA | Canada | UK |Ireland | Australia | New Zealand | India | South Africa | China

penguin.com

A Penguin Random House Company

First published by Obsidian, an imprint of New American Library,

a division of Penguin Group (USA) LLC

First Printing, May 2015

Copyright © Heather Webber, 2015

Penguin supports copyright. Copyright fuels creativity, encourages diverse voices, promotes free speech, and creates a vibrant culture. Thank you for buying an authorized edition of this book and for complying with copyright laws by not reproducing, scanning, or distributing any part of it in any form without permission. You are supporting writers and allowing Penguin to continue to publish books for every reader.

OBSIDIAN and logo are trademarks of Penguin Group (USA) LLC.

ISBN 978-1-101-63601-5

PUBLISHER'S NOTE

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

Version_1

Contents

Praise

Other mysteries by HEATHER BLAKE

Title Page

Copyright

Acknowledgments

 

Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

Chapter Nine

Chapter Ten

Chapter Eleven

Chapter Twelve

Chapter Thirteen

Chapter Fourteen

Chapter Fifteen

Chapter Sixteen

Chapter Seventeen

Chapter Eighteen

Chapter Nineteen

Chapter Twenty

Chapter Twenty-one

Chapter Twenty-two

Chapter Twenty-three

Chapter Twenty-four

Chapter Twenty-five

Chapter Twenty-six

Chapter Twenty-seven

Chapter Twenty-eight

Chapter Twenty-nine

Chapter Thirty

Chapter Thirty-one

 

Excerpt from
Ghost of a Potion

For baby J
with so much love, little one.

A
CKNOWLEDGMENTS

Much gratitude to the usual suspects: to Sandy Harding and everyone at New American Library/Penguin Random House, to Jessica Faust and the BookEnds team, to Bella Pilar for her beautiful cover art, to booksellers and readers. Thank you all for everything you to do bring Darcy to bookshelves.

A special thank-you to Lynn W., who came to my rescue when I reached out via social media to name a fictional armored truck company. The name Back Bay Armory is all hers. Thanks again, Lynn.

Finally, a thank-you to my daughter, whose fascination with mythology helped spark an important element of this novel. Much love.

Chapter One

S
omething wicked this way came.

It blew into the Enchanted Village as surely as the warm breeze that rustled oak leaves barely unfurled from tightly wound buds.

Villagers had been coaxed out of their homes by an early mid-May heat wave to bask in the warmth after a long arduous winter. Flowers bloomed, morning dew glistened on vibrant green grass, and sunshine beamed down.

It should have been bliss, but as I stepped off the front porch at As You Wish—my aunt Ve's personal concierge business where I both worked and lived—and scanned the village square, I couldn't shake an uneasiness that had the baby-fine hair at the back of my neck standing on end.

My companion, Curecrafter Cherise Goodwin, paused in her descent of the steps to look at me, concern etched in her eyes. “Something wrong, Darcy?”

Wind suddenly gusted, carrying bad juju along with the sweet scent of lilac from colorful bushes dotting the landscape.

There was evil in the air, whirling around as surely as the magic that made this village so special.

Long strands of dark hair flew across my face. “‘Something wicked this way comes,'” I said, properly quoting Shakespeare's
Macbeth
. Looking around, I tried to see something,
anything
, that would explain the feeling.

The Enchanted Village, a themed touristy neighborhood of Salem, Massachusetts, was truly magical, filled with Crafters, witches who'd lived on this land for hundreds of years. As a fairly new Wishcrafter—a witch who could grant wishes using a special spell—I believed it to be the most extraordinary place in the whole world. I'd moved here almost a year ago from Ohio, and now I couldn't imagine living anywhere else.

Being enchanted, however, didn't mean this village was immune to wickedness. There'd been several murders here over the past eleven months. Cases I helped solve. I'd become accustomed to trusting my instincts, and right now I couldn't shake a strong sense of foreboding.

In her fifties, Cherise knew this village inside and out—and as a Crafter she knew not to dismiss seemingly random feelings outright. She had the decency to wait a few seconds.

“Nonsense!” She came down the steps and linked arms with me. “It's a glorious day. A more flawless one I couldn't have conjured even with the best weather spell out there. Breathe deeply, Darcy. Raise your face to the sun. Take it all in. It's the perfect day to buy a house, don't you think?”

If Cinderella's fairy godmother had a cool hip sister, it would be Cherise. She had a kind round face, flawless skin, and razor-sharp eyes. A silver-blond bob accented a pointy chin, and chunky earrings tugged at her lobes. She was one of the first Crafters I met after moving in with my aunt Ve last June, and though our friendship started off a bit rough
when a wish-gone-wrong made her daughter-in-law and granddaughter disappear (temporarily, thank goodness), we'd grown closer over time. Which was why we were together now.

Cherise had hired me through As You Wish to help her house hunt within the village. Years ago, she'd moved out of the neighborhood, closer to the Salem coastline, and was now at the point in her life when she wanted to come home, so to speak. She was looking for the perfect place to set up a home-based business. Though every Crafter in the village knew her as a Curecrafter, a healing witch, mortals knew her as a naturopath. Her talents were in high demand.

“You really don't feel it?” I asked, rubbing my arms to get rid of the goose bumps. Squinting against the sunshine, I scoped out the village green. Tourists wandered around, browsing shops, picnicking, and enjoying the walking paths twining in and around the square.

Cherise let out a sigh. “No. Maybe you're nervous about the upcoming election?”

My aunt Ve was running for village council chairman against her former fiancé, Sylar Dewitt. She'd thrown her name on the ballot as a last-minute decision when Sylar, a mortal, declared he was in favor of a proposal to allow a section of the Enchanted Woods to be razed so fifty new homes could be built. Representing most of us Crafters, Ve took a stand. The woods were . . . sacred. Magical. The section designated for the new neighborhood included the mystical meadow belonging to the Elder, the governess of the Craft. The land had to be saved. There was no other option.

Ve had been running around like a crazy witch the last couple of months, but Election Day was finally approaching. Next Tuesday the madness would be over, and next Wednesday would be the council vote that would decide the fate of the neighborhood proposal.

“No,” I said. “It's not that.”

“Perhaps you meant, something
witchy
this way comes.”
She laughed at her own joke. “After all, the Roving Stones are due to return this weekend. I know there's a history between you and Andreus Woodshall.”

The village green, empty right now except for the picnickers, would start filling with numerous tents and booths tomorrow in preparation of opening to the weekend crowds. The Roving Stones was a traveling rock and mineral show that made stops in the village a few times a year. The last time the show was in town its director, Charmcrafter Andreus Woodshall (nicknamed Mr. Macabre), who specialized in black opals, and I had been mixed up in a murder case. We hadn't exactly parted as friends. “Maybe,” I said. It seemed the most plausible reason. If anyone carried around bad juju, it was Andreus.

“Would you like a calming spell?” Cherise asked, eagerly rubbing her hands together. “Serenity is at my fingertips.
Om.

Her exuberance made me smile. “Thank you, but I'll be okay.” I didn't like to take advantage of my friends' abilities. Often. “I'll just keep an eye out.”

“For what?”

“No clue.”

Tipping her head back, she laughed. “Let's focus on the positive. Let's look at the Tavistock house and decide once and for all if I should increase my bid. Come, come.”

The village's real estate market hadn't suffered from the recent crash that shook most of the country. Sales remained strong—one of the reasons Sylar claimed the village needed more housing. Even so, the response to the sale of the Tavistock house—calling it a “fixer-upper” was putting it mildly—had astonished me. In the two weeks it had been on the market, there had been so much interest that a bidding war had broken out. Last night, the real estate agent listing the house, Raina Gallagher, had contacted all interested buyers and told them to bring their best offer to the table by midnight tonight. A final decision would be made in the morning.

To make matters more exciting, the transaction was being overseen by a national TV producer who wanted to set a house-hunting show in the village, so the whole venture had turned into a job interview of sorts for Raina. She was the front-running choice for hosting the show, and it made sense. With her short jet-black hair and dark eyes, she was exotically pretty and also vivacious and outgoing. The life of the party. Not to mention she was a Vitacrafter, a witch who was able to read people's energy, which made her extremely good at her job.

We were due to meet Raina at ten a.m. to have another walk-through of the property, and we were running late. Fortunately, Cherise and I didn't have far to travel. One lone residence stood between As You Wish and the Tavistock house. The sandwiched home belonged to Terry Goodwin, who happened to be the ex-husband of both Cherise and Aunt Ve. The elusive Elvis look-alike and my aunt had rekindled their love affair last fall, but their relationship was fizzling more than igniting. As a Numbercrafter who worked as an accountant, Terry had been swamped during tax season and had little time for dating, and now Ve had her election to deal with, and Terry wasn't exactly a supporter. He thought she was busy enough as it was and that running for office would further strain their relationship.

His stance hadn't been a popular one with Ve, and they'd had a couple of arguments about it already. I had the feeling Ve was using her campaign as an excuse to distance herself from him. Because at the heart of the matter was the fact that Ve had commitment issues. Big ones.

Archie, a scarlet macaw who lived with Terry, sat in his elaborate cage in Terry's side yard, regaling a group of tourists with a dramatic reading of the opening text crawl of
Star Wars
(the original).

There was little Archie enjoyed more than being dramatic.

“‘Pursued by the Empire's sinister agents,'” he intoned, his deep voice rich with a rising and falling British accent.

Enraptured tourists looked on with awe. I waved to Archie as we passed by, and he winked at me. The tourists didn't know Archie wasn't just a parrot with a good memory—he was a familiar, a Crafter spirit who had chosen to take on an animal's form.

Once upon a time he'd worked as a London stage actor. He clearly hadn't lost an ounce of his theatrics.

Cherise slowed to a stop in front of her dream house, and leaned on the wrought iron fence that enclosed a weed-infested yard.

The old Tavistock place.

Over the years the large bungalow had been maintained only enough to appease village ordinances. The prior owner, Eleta Tavistock, a Geocrafter who'd lived in this house her whole life—seventy-four years—had been agoraphobic, never once leaving the house in all the time I'd lived here.

Her unusual behavior fostered a rumor that she had also cursed the house itself to keep people
out
. I had the sneaking suspicion Eleta herself had spread that gossip so people would leave her alone.

Apparently others shared my suspicion, if the bids on the home were any indication. There was no lack of potential buyers.

I personally had never met Eleta, but I'd felt a great sense of sadness after her death two months ago because her lone living relative, a distant cousin, had no interest in Eleta or her funeral. Only a handful of villagers had attended her services.

The cousin had opted to sell the house, and it had taken a bit of time to go through proper probate procedures until now here we stood.

Cherise's hand curled possessively around a bulbous finial as though she already owned it. “It needs some work, I admit. But I think it's a good investment. Don't you?”

The two-story Craftsmanesque bungalow had three gables, one centered on the second floor, and two smaller ones
that flanked it on the lower level. The front porch sagged, and a rotting pergola to the right of the house had collapsed under the weight of out-of-control wisteria vines. A few of the stacked stones on the front porch columns had long crumbled, and the blue-stained clapboard facade desperately needed new paint and repair. Overgrown shrubs and a large oak tree in the front yard practically begged for a good pruning. A wooden post with a dangling Magickal Realty
FOR SALE
sign cast a long shadow across an uneven brick walkway invaded by grass.

I wrinkled my nose. “Don't you think the cottage on Maypole Lane is a better choice? The location isn't as good, true, but it's cheaper and it needs only minimal renovations.”

The sun made Cherise's eyes sparkle. “Darcy, you're not trying to talk me out of this house so you can have it for yourself, are you?”

I had to confess to a pang of envy. Something about this house had drawn me in the moment I found out it was for sale. It was a visceral connection. One I couldn't quite explain. I'd love to own it, to put my stamp on it, and bring it back to its original glory. “You know I do love it, but it's simply not for me.”

Though I wished it were. I really did, which was all kinds of silly. My life was . . . settled.

I couldn't really imagine moving out of As You Wish, leaving behind all the things that were starting to feel like home. Then there was village police chief Nick Sawyer to think about. Our relationship had never been better. We've been dating for almost a year, and it was becoming clear it may be time to take the next step, and he and his daughter, Mimi, already had a lovely house a couple of blocks away. Having two homes was a complication we didn't need to take on.

But this house . . . I sighed. It felt like it was supposed to be mine.

“And hardly a realistic possibility,” I added, trying to talk
myself out of the impossible. Though I had a decent inheritance from my late father, it wasn't near the money I'd need for a house like this. “I don't have your kind of resources, Miss Moneybags.”

She laughed again, and squeezed my arm. “If I get it, I promise to take good care of it.”

If I couldn't have the home, then Cherise was a great choice. She would honor the character, the history. But it was a big if. The other buyers didn't seem to be backing down.

“Let's go have another look, shall we?” Cherise finally let go of that poor finial, and I followed her to the front door. She knocked, then tried the knob.

“Locked,” she said, glancing at her watch. “It's unusual for Raina to be late. She's always early.”

“I'm sure she'll be here soon. It's a busy time of year for her.” The spring housing market had exploded. Magickal Realty, owned by Raina and her husband, Kent, had dozens of listings in and around the village. “And don't forget Scott Whiting is following her around, asking every question under the sun.”

Scott Whiting was the producer in charge of the home show that had its sights set on filming in the village.

“True enough,” she said, grinning. “What a hoot it would be to have a show taped here, no?”

“Maybe,” I reasoned. “But some things around here aren't easily explained.” Like how Wishcrafters showed up on film as bright white starbursts.

“True, true,” Cherise said, nodding as though just considering those kinds of issues.

Currently, there were two obstacles that stood in the way of the show starting production. The first was that a special filming permit needed approval from the village council—which was also going to be voted on at the next village council meeting—and second was that Scott Whiting had to definitively decide on a host for the show.

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