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WHAT IT’S ABOUT:
Pretty Wiccan Rebecca Colby borrowed money from her father to start a bakery, and now he’s calling the loan due. When she learns he fell off the gambling wagon and owes big money to some scary people, she has to start making a profit—and fast—before the loan shark takes a bite out of her.
Hot Cowboy Dru Tanner is looking for his missing sister who left Texas to explore their New England Wiccan roots. She’s the only family he has left, and he’s desperate to find her. Dru has to hide the fact that he’s not a Wiccan long enough to infiltrate a coven in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. It’s the only lead he has.
Dru needs a job and a place to stay while he searches for his sister. Rebecca needs cheap help so she can work some baking magic. Dru makes Rebecca an offer she can’t refuse—if only lust doesn’t drive them crazy first.
READ AN EXCERPT:
The bell above the door tinkled, signaling a customer. Jumping to her feet, Rebecca mumbled into the phone, “I’ll have to call you back, Dad.” She hung up and took a deep breath to compose herself.
Plastering a smile on her face, she turned toward the counter and caught her first glimpse of the most incredible man she’d ever seen. He was tall, at least six feet. His jeans hugged lean hips in such a way as to leave little to the imagination, yet he moved in them casually, looking totally comfortable.
When he reached the counter a gorgeous smile softened his rugged features. Blue eyes and sandy brown hair peaked out from under the well-worn cowboy hat. Am I looking at a real live cowboy here in New England?
He tipped the brim of his hat. “Mornin’ ma’am. Or I should say good afternoon. I guess it’s past noontime, after all.”
If he was rambling a little bit, she was grateful for it. She didn’t think she could speak right away.
“I was wonderin’ . . . that help-wanted sign in the window . . . ?”
Shoot. Should she tell the guy she might not be in business very long? Her Wiccan values had her believing that honesty was the best policy, but she could at least let him finish his sentence.
“Yes?” she prompted.
“Well, this is gonna sound pretty stupid if I’m wrong . . .”
His hesitation only lasted a moment. Then he gazed into her eyes with his piercing blue ones. “Are you by any chance a witch? Because if so, maybe we can help each other. I’m willin’ to trade my services for your help findin’ my sister.”
That sure wasn’t what she expected him to say. She almost tipped her head toward the ceiling to thank the Goddess.
“I—uh . . .Yes. I’m Wiccan. Do you want a locator spell?”
“Sure. If that’ll help me find her.” He reached into his shirt pocket and produced a picture of a young woman. She resembled him, but she looked much younger. Long blonde hair tumbled down from a similar cowboy hat, and she wore a checkered shirt, but the major similarities were her blue eyes and easy smile.
Rebecca hadn’t done a locator spell in a long time. And she’d never done one to find a human being, but the trade was a perfect idea. Witches aren’t supposed to make money by performing spells for other people, but a trade to save some money doesn’t count. Does it? She’d ask Hanna, later. For now, she was intrigued by the idea and the cowboy was waiting for an answer.
“Can you bake?”
He laughed. “I can learn.”
“No need. There are plenty of other ways you can help. I’ll have you fill out an application, and later I’ll check your references. By the way, our coven is meeting tonight. Would you be interested in attending?”
His brows shot up. After a brief hesitation he asked, “Do you think that’ll help me find my sister?”
“It might. You could also check out Myranda’s Occult Shop. She’s got loads of expertise and you can find any ingredients you need for a spell there.”
“A spell . . . Uh, sure, I’ll talk to Myranda.”
“Good! I hope to see you tonight,” she said. “I’ll get you that application now, and if your references are good you can start tomorrow.”
“Great. Can I get that application with a side of cherry pie?”
“Sure thing.” She smiled, already feeling a bit lighter.
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Witch meant “wise woman” to our Pagan ancestors, as it does to me. I cannot think of any more appropriate term.
Laurie Cabot (the official witch of Salem, MA) warned, “Do not teach this craft to fools.” I don’t think I hear that quite enough. There is great power, thus great responsibility, at our wand-tips. Those who are governed by knee-jerk reactions or vindictiveness have no business wielding magic as a weapon. For those who fear modern day Wicca, know that the number one fundamental lesson we are taught is “Harm none.” The next item on the Witchcraft 101 lesson plan is the rule of three. If you send out any black magic, it will backfire on the sender three times.
A craft is something creative. It’s also something we practice. Authors create and practice their craft each time they write a story. Wiccans may draw a magic circle and put an intention out to the universe as part of practicing their craft. Because I wish to be a wise-woman, I never told a certain ex-friend that I was involved with the craft. She had a hair trigger temper and revenge was something she thought was good to get. Right after Hollywood released, “The Craft” she asked me if I knew where she could learn witchcraft. I told her she should probably realize that Hollywood wasn’t real. I went on to mention that Witches today were more like a bunch of earthy, peace-loving hippies. She quickly lost interest.
My latest series, Love Spells Gone Wrong is about a coven of good witches that goof! Hey, we all make mistakes, right? How did I get the idea for this series? Well, it happened to someone who asked for my help. (By the way, other than sending healing white light, witches can’t perform magic for another person without their specific request.)
So, my male friend asked for a date for New Year’s Eve. I felt he was a tough case, because he wasn’t exactly good looking (putting it mildly.) I supercharged my spell, using red (passion) instead of pink (romantic love.) My mistake! On January first he called me and demanded, “What did you do?”
Uh oh. “Why? What happened,” I asked, innocently.
He shouted, “I was practically date-raped last night.”
Yikes! As it turned out, he bumped into an old girlfriend who was obsessed with him. Coincidence? People who don’t believe in magic would say ‘yes.’ People who do believe in magic would tsk-tsk and tell him to find another witch.
Now, I have to confess, I’m a lazy Wiccan. I haven’t practiced in years and no one has asked for my help recently. (Thank goodness.) I don’t do spells for myself anymore, because my life is almost perfect, and I don’t want to mess it up!
But nothing is wasted on a writer! I’m able to use what I know to craft a believable story. And maybe that’s all I should do!
Ashlyn Chase is a best selling author who writes funny and sexy, light paranormal romances and erotic romances. Her latest releases for Lachesis Publishing include the The Cupcake Coven and Tug of Attraction in the Love Spells Gone Wrong Series. Connect with Ashlyn on her website and on facebook and twitter.
Ashlyn is organizing a reader/writer conference called FALL IN LOVE WITH NEW ENGLAD: ROMANCE READER/AUTHOR CONFERENCE in 2016.