Tag Archives: Etopia Press

A Great New Read – Year in Review 2015

2015 ~ A Year in Review

Time to give a shout out to all the authors who allowed me to showcase their fabulous works this year, and for their continued support of this blog. 2015 was a pretty fabulous year all around, both for them and for myself too. While the below is merely a small sampling of all the fabulous books that came out from the various publishers my author friends and colleagues write for, it was a busy year for us all it appears. So let’s take one last look at what came to A Great New Read in 2015 – and here’s hoping 2016 is just as productive.

AGreatNewRead-2015YearInReview

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Holidays in Hell (MF) ~ Erzabet Bishop @ErzabetBishop

12 Dec 21st - HolidaysInHell

Blurb:

This year Christmas just got a little hotter.

Deck the halls with all things kinky. Jonas is an incubus with an incurable lust for women, gingerbread, and holiday lights. He needs one more soul to meet his quota. Amid the baubles and frivolity of the Winter Carnival, he meets Holly Pendleton—a woman with emerald green eyes and a body built for sin—and marks her as the final soul to end his contract. But now Jonas faces a heart-wrenching decision: take what he needs to feed his hunger, or sacrifice himself for the woman who has lit his own demonic soul on fire. Tied up with red ribbons, Holly just might be Jonas’s deepest Christmas wish and the one woman who could set him free.

Holly Pendleton is still recovering from the death of her husband and Dom. The holidays are especially lonely until a dark stranger walks in the door to Harlowe’s Bookery and Christmas Shoppe. The man’s enigmatic gaze holds her and ignites her body and her mind. When Holly accepts a job to decorate the sexy client’s apartment, she unknowingly steps into an age-old battle between the forces of darkness. Jonas Corsair is a man who makes her blood run hot and her dreams even hotter. But will she survive his hold on her soul?

Be warned: BDSM, bondage, wax play

Holidaysinhellpresentationfinal

Excerpt:

Holly Pendleton balanced a pile of books in her arms and made her way out of the stockroom. She glanced over at her boss and best friend, Gracie Harlowe, at the register and smiled. She enjoyed the busy throng of people at the winter carnival and usually looked forward to it. She had worked other retail jobs in the historic downtown shopping district, but working here was a dream come true. When Gracie had called her up three months ago and offered her the assistant manager’s job, she had taken it and hadn’t looked back.

Teetering on the edge of depression for months after watching her husband die of cancer, Holly was having a hard time finding the holiday spirit this year.

Derek had only been thirty-four, she thought bitterly. They’d been married for nine years, but she had known him since she was a geeky freshman in high school. The hole was too big to fill, and it left her feeling empty.

Still, she was grateful to Gracie for kicking her in the pants and getting her out of bed and back into the world again. Just in time for the holidays too. It was a special time that she and Derek had always shared. He would have wanted her to be happy.

She laid the stack of Christmas cookie books on a festive table near the window display and straightened the array of titles. Her gaze wandered to the small kitchen at the back of the store, and she made a mental note to grab some more cookies to refill the party trays on the dessert table.

“Holly!” Gracie waved her arms. “Can you grab me another stack of Fifty Shades of Grey?”

She glanced at the display where the books were and found they were down to one copy. Not good. Sales had started to slow down, but erotica had been steadily increasing over the past few months. It made her laugh to see the smut novels near the holiday displays, but it made the customers happy, so who was she to quibble? Besides, she loved reading them herself.

“I’ll get them!” Holly wound her way back into the stockroom and yanked a box off the overstock shelves. She grabbed a box cutter, deftly opened the box and placed the books on a cart, adding some of the second, third, and the new fourth book in the series, as they were getting a little on the low side too.

Erotic romance books were one of the few things she let herself enjoy these days, and she had several customers who came back to ask her about the latest and greatest. It was a fantasy land that took her beyond the walls of hospitals and now, the silence of the apartment at night. Reading was safe. She never even considered dating again. That part of her life was over.

Holly shook off the melancholy and hoofed it back onto the shop floor. Stacking the books onto the table, she arranged them in orderly piles of gray covers with erotic masks, ties, and handcuffs. She passed the romance section and gathered up some of her favorites to restock her promo shelf at the storefront. Cherise Sinclair, Kallypso Masters, Jasmine Haynes, Red Phoenix, Rachel Kramer Bussel…she loved them all. There were so many great writers that had made bondage erotica take off. Fifty Shades may have gotten the public reading again, but she had been a fan for years. Now the movie had come out for the famous books, and she wondered how it compared.

Smiling wistfully, she caressed the covers and wished her husband were still with her. She missed his firm hand and their power exchanges. He had been more than just her husband. He had been her Dom. Losing him had been the collapse of her entire world. If it hadn’t been for these books and Gracie, she would still be huddled in a miserable ball, crying her eyes out and wondering why he had to die. He was so young, and they hadn’t had much time.

“Can you help ring for a second?” Gracie called out and made a quick jaunt to the restroom in the back of the store.

Holly moved behind the counter and smiled as a woman arrived in front of her to check out. It was a unique store, and she loved being here. Gracie had crafted a special place for book lovers, and every holiday she spruced it up beautifully. Even when she wasn’t working here, Holly loved to come and check out the newest selections and pick up a couple of items for the house. Halloween, Christmas, or whatever was happening, Gracie always seemed to have the perfect balance of home décor and books to dive into, whether it was a cozy mystery or a pulse-pounding thriller. In the early days, it had just been decoration, but now she had expanded the business to selling the trees and offering to spruce up clients’ homes. The shop was every bit as special as Gracie, and it had, over the years, become Holly’s second home, even before she started working there.

Decorating clients’ businesses and homes and working behind the shop counter kept her busy. Putting up a tree gave her joy, and she saw how other lives were touched by a few twinkle lights and some tinsel. She’d done some decorations for the folks in the cancer ward, and this was a natural transition. If she could bring happiness by hanging a wreath or by delivering an order of books to a shut-in woman, then she was pleased to do it. It took her mind off the loneliness and gave her a purpose. This time of year especially.

The front door opened with a blast of snowy air, and an imposing thirty-something man sporting a thigh-length leather coat blew in. His chiseled features and mass of dark hair made her catch her breath and falter in her task of ringing up the woman in front of her. The black sweater he wore under his coat looked striking against the dark blue of his eyes. The gray slacks draped over his frame, his black boots befitting the weather outside. He said nothing to her, his gaze captivated by the display of holiday decorations.

How odd.

He reminded her of one of the Doms in her collection of books. Heat spiked through parts of her she’d thought were as dead as her husband. She wondered how it would feel to unwrap that package.

Blushing, Holly turned back to the customer in front of her. Good grief, she hoped he hadn’t noticed her staring.

Holly finished ringing the books up and slipped them into a bag. She tossed in a candy cane with a card offering their holiday decorating services attached. “Here you go. Have a wonderful day.”

The woman waved good-bye and shuffled out the door into the snow. Looking anywhere but at the enigmatic man in front of her, Holly fought the sensation of butterflies fluttering in her stomach. He was incredible. The way his well-built form filled the space made her eyes automatically seek him out. Warmth stirred in her lower belly, and she nibbled on her lip.

“Hello. Welcome to Harlowe’s.” She fiddled with the hem of her sweater and felt a surge of heat rush up the sides of her face.

Ugh. How lame was she to just blurt that out?

The man raised an eyebrow, a dark and sensual smile sliding over his features. “Thank you.” His voice melted over her like chocolate, and she shivered.

Holly turned away and busied herself with stuffing bags with holiday activity lists. What kind of horrible woman was she to even be reacting to another man just a year after her husband’s passing? Lusting after the man in gray. Her lips thinned. No. She wasn’t ready for those feelings. Especially not from a stranger she had seen for all of thirty seconds.

She sneaked a glance at him while she straightened gift bags. He walked up to the Christmas tree in the front window and stroked its branches. Fingering the ornaments, he explored their small holiday store with a reverence that reminded her of a priest in church. Men usually didn’t bother with Christmas tree ornaments, but he was enraptured. It was mystifying.

A flush crept across Holly’s face. Stirrings of longing zapped through her body as she wondered if this dark-haired stranger knew his way around a flogger. Sighing deeply, she knelt down to pick up a bag that had fallen off the counter while she worked.

“Time for a cold shower tonight,” Holly mumbled. Sensing someone in front of the register, she stood.

“Hi. Did you need help finding anything…?” The very source of her temptation stood right in front of her. Oh God. She wanted to reach right across the counter and run her tongue over those amazing lips.

Buy Links:

Etopia Press  ~  Amazon (US)  ~  All Romance

Erzabet picAuthor Bio:

Erzabet Bishop is a bestselling and award winning author who loves to write naughty stories. She is the author of Lipstick, Dinner Date, Crave, The Science of Lust, Wicked for You, Arcane Imaginarium: Spirit Board, Holidays in Hell, Sigil Fire, Written on Skin, Club Beam, Pomegranate, A Red Dress for Christmas, The Black Magic Café, Fantasies in Red, Sweet Seductions: The Erzabet Bishop Collection, Holiday Cruise, Fetish Fair, Temptation Resorts: Jess, Temptation Resorts: Marnie, Taming the Beast, The Erotic Pagans Series: Beltane Fires, Samhain Shadows and Yuletide Temptation along with being a contributor to many anthologies. Erzabet has been a finalist in the GCLS awards for 2014 and 2015, winning the Goldie for her spot in two anthologies. She has been nominated for the 2016 Golden Flogger Award for Crave. She lives in Texas with her husband, furry children and can often be found lurking in local bookstores. She loves to bake, make naughty crochet projects and watch monster movies. When she isn’t writing, she loves to review music and books.

Author Links:

Website  ~  Review Blog  ~  Facebook  ~  Twitter  ~  Amazon  ~  Goodreads  ~  Pinterest  ~  Lesfic Blog  ~  Authorgraph


Spirit Board (MFM) ~ Erzabet Bishop @ErzabetBishop

11 Nov 27th - SpiritBoard

Blurb:

Arcane Imaginarium, 1

Two mates are better than one…

Vanessa lives vicariously through the romance heroines in her overflowing bookshelf. No real man can ever measure up to the sultry, shapeshifter heroes with their feral smiles—or so she thinks until a creepy costume shop and a chance encounter with a fortuneteller shake up her ordinary life. When Vanessa’s best friend brings her to a sexy costume party, she realizes more than fur is going to fly.

Rick is an Alpha cat shifter and co-owner of the Imaginarium. When he scents the luscious Vanessa, he has no intention of letting her slip away. But Rick isn’t the only man searching for his one true love. Cian is a former Captain of the Winter Court in Faery, wielder of shadows and magic. When Fey enchantment and shifter might collide, more than mere hearts are caught in the crossfire. And as a threat looms closer with the turning of the season, both men may be the keys to Vanessa’s heart—and her survival.

Be warned:  menage (mfm), BDSM, spanking

Excerpt:

“Do you want your fortune told, my dear?” The crone’s rheumy eyes met hers, and a shiver slid down her back. The woman gave her the willies.

“I…”

“Please. Be my guest. It will be my treat to show you your fortune.”

Indecision warred within her. “I’m here with my friend.”

“Go ahead! Get your fortune read.” Aria came up beside her and looped an arm around her neck. “Let’s find out what kind of night you’re going to have at the party.”

“OK.” Vanessa made her way to the small table and lowered herself into the seat. In front of her laid a strange-looking Ouija board printed with an alphabet and a yes and no.

The older woman took an item out of a wooden box and placed it carefully on the surface of the board.

“What’s that?”

“It’s called a planchette, silly.” Aria rolled her eyes and grinned at the annoyed look Vanessa gave her.

“I’ve never used one of these, OK? My father would kill me.”

“Why? Does he think they’re a portal to some other dimension or something?”

Vanessa wrinkled her nose. “I’m not sure. He just never let anything like it in the house. It’s beautiful.” The workmanship of the board and the intricate lettering transfixed her. She reached out to touch the planchette but the older woman stopped her.

“Not yet, my girl. First you must think of a question.”

“What kind of question?”

The woman’s thin lips curved upward. “The spirit board offers much guidance but also warns of things to come. Ask the right questions and you’ll find the answers you seek.”

“Cryptic, much?” Aria yawned. “Why don’t you play with the board and I’ll find you something to wear.”

“Sure. Whatever.” Vanessa focused her attention on the board in front of her. The letters weaved in front of her eyes.

“Now,” the old woman began, her eyes bright in her pale face, “think of the question you would like to ask the spirits. But be warned…”

“Of what?”

“The truth can wound or it can set you free.”

Vanessa held out her hand and the old woman enveloped it in her own. She placed Vanessa’s hand on the planchette and released her. “Fingertips only. Now…think of what you want to ask.”

Vanessa moved her fingers until only the tips touched the planchette. Her mind raced. There were so many questions she wanted answers to. Who was her mother? Not her father’s wife, but her biological mother. Should she go to this party with Aria on Friday or stay home like she always did, safe behind a pile of books?

Before the woman placed her own fingertips on the planchette, it took off toward the yes. Then it sped to the letters and began to spell out something.

“What the—?” Vanessa snatched her fingers away as if they’d been singed.

“Goddess…” The fortune-teller stood abruptly, knocking her chair over. Her brow contorted and her eyes were owlish with fear showing a ring of veined white around the iris. “Stop.”

“It’s still moving,” Vanessa whispered, her pulse hammering beneath her skin. “I’m trying to make out what it’s saying, but the thing is going too fast.”

“What’s going on over here?” Aria scrambled back toward the table, an expression of horror on her face. “Jesus, Vanessa.”

“I didn’t do it,” she snapped. “It’s wigging out.”

“Obviously.”

The old woman backed up, her eyes wide. “You must go to the party. Something you need will be revealed to you there. That is all I can tell you.” With that, she yanked the planchette off the board and swiftly tucked it back into the wooden box it came from. Without looking at either of the girls, the fortune-teller retreated into the back room, the door shutting behind her with a resounding thud.

“Thanks,” Vanessa called, a little too late.

“OK then. That wasn’t weird.” Aria grimaced. “Come on. I have a couple of dresses you need to look at.”

“Yeah. Sure. OK.” Anything to get her mind off of whatever just happened. “Freaky” didn’t even begin to cover it.

“How about this?” Aria raised her arm and a flowing Egyptian priestess costume dangled from her fingertips. The white fabric was sheer, but it had so many layers, it had the potential to work. Around the hanger was a plastic bag complete with golden armbands and some kind of bluish lapis necklace.

“OK,” Vanessa replied reluctantly. “Hand it over.”

Aria scurried over and passed the dress off, a smirk on her full lips. “This is going to look great on you. Just wait.”

“Sure.” As long as it got her out of here faster. Vanessa decided putting distance between the fortune-teller and her would be a good thing. “Why did I let you talk me into this again?”<

“Cause you love me and you’ll have lots of fun?”

“You haven’t even told me what kind of party it is.”

Aria gave her a cheeky grin. “And ruin the surprise?”

Buy Links:

Amazon (US)

Erzabet picAuthor Bio:

Erzabet Bishop is an award winning author who loves to write naughty stories. She is the author of Lipstick, Dinner Date, Arcane Imaginarium: Spirit Board, Holidays in Hell, Mallory’s Mark (upcoming 2016),The Devil’s Due (upcoming 2016), Charity Benshaw’s Enchanted Paddle Emporium (upcoming 2016),Tethered, Sigil Fire, Glitter Lust (upcoming 2016), Written on Skin, Club Beam, Pomegranate, Fantasies in Red, Sweet Seductions: The Erzabet Bishop Collection, Holiday Cruise, Fetish Fair, Temptation Resorts: Jess, Temptation Resorts: Marnie, Taming the Beast, The Erotic Pagans Series: Beltane Fires, Samhain Shadows and Yuletide Temptation along with being a contributor to many anthologies.

Erzabet has been a finalist in the GCLS awards for 2014 and 2015. She lives in Texas with her husband, furry children and can often be found lurking in local bookstores. She loves to bake, make naughty crochet projects and watch monster movies. When she isn’t writing, she loves to review music and books.

Author Links:

Website  ~  Facebook  ~  Twitter  ~  Amazon  ~  Goodreads  ~  Pinterest  ~  Lesfic Blog  ~  Authorgraph


The Invitation (MF) ~ Dana Wright @danawrite

11 Nov 26th - TheInvitation

Blurb:

Every witch needs a familiar. Sometimes maybe two…

Morgana is a hedge witch with a problem. Her sisters are conspiring against her and she has a ghost with a fork phobia living in her shoe closet. When the chance comes to crash a party she just knows she should have been invited to comes along, she enlists the aid of her trusty cat Nona to help her cast the spell for the perfect dress. But crashing this party isn’t the only thing that’s going to rain on this witch’s parade.

Marcus of Pendleton is a cat shifter in search of his brother. Then a lead at the Warty Frog takes him on an adventure filled with magic and well…zombies. Can the prince find the fair witch and the answer he seeks? And he might just be the familiar she’s looking for…

Excerpt:

“He’s been missing for months. How can you not care?” Marcus Pendleton ground out, staring at his father in disbelief. The king sat on his throne gnawing on a turkey leg, grease sliding down his pudgy face.

“Because my boy, Rhys was the younger son. He may have been a prince, but you’re the one who will inherit the throne.”

“So why did you bother searching the kingdom for a princess and having a ball?”

The king narrowed his eyes at his son. “That happened to be for you. Scheduling a dragon-hunting trip for that weekend was in atrocious form. Your mother was highly disappointed.”

“I’ll bet.” Marcus kicked his foot against the dais. He fought down the urge to shift and show his father his extreme displeasure. No doubt the old man would have an apoplectic fit if he found out his son had been bitten and turned into the one animal he despised the most. Not even a beast like a wolf, but merely a cat. His father loathed the animals and forbade having them on the castle grounds.

“You need to focus on finding yourself a princess, not running about the kingdoms slaying beasts and bothering with that fool brother of yours. The last time anyone saw him, he was following some skirt around and blathering on about a missing shoe.” His father shuddered, holding his hand up in disgust. “There were twelve of them. All dressed alike too. The men were talking about it. Prattling, dancing, blonde things with wings.” His wandering eye drifted toward a serving wench with a rather tight bodice.

Marcus couldn’t believe his ears. Twelve of them? That didn’t sound right. Neither did his father’s decision not look for Rhys. It was unthinkable. Right now, if he could have, he would dump his inheritance in his father’s lap and be done with him. The man’s priorities were limited to two things. Food and sleep.

No. Make it three. His father had the wandering eye of a lecherous pig farmer. He didn’t know how his mother stood it. Given the chance, he was surprised she hadn’t chucked him over the palace walls years ago and been done with it.

“Wait, Father. Did you say he was sniffing around a girl with a missing shoe?”

“Yes,” his father chuffed. “What of it?”

“What of it, indeed…” Marcus stalked out of the throne room, an idea forming in his head. Someone else must have seen a shoeless maiden, and he was damn well going to find out what was going on. And twelve girls all dressed the same? How very odd indeed. He wasn’t known as the best tracker in the two kingdoms for naught. If he couldn’t find out something about them, he may as well go sit up in the tower and sew with his mother’s handmaidens.

“Marcus. Come back here. Marcus!”

He shut the door on his father’s ranting, encountering his servant boy on the other side of the door.

Geoffrey, Saddle my horse. Tonight we ride.”

Buy Links:

Amazon (US)

DanaWrightAuthor Bio:

Dana Wright has always had a fascination with things that go bump in the night. She is often found playing at local bookstores, trying not to maim herself with crochet hooks or knitting needles, watching monster movies with her husband and furry kids or blogging about books. More commonly, she is chained to her computers, writing like a woman possessed.

She is currently working on several children’s stories, young adult fiction, romantic suspense, short stories and is trying her hand at poetry. She is a contributing author to Ghost Sniffer’s CYOA, Siren’s Call E-zine in their “Women in Horror” issue in February 2013 and “Revenge” in October 2013, a contributing author to Potatoes!, Fossil Lake, Of Dragons and Magic: Tales of the Lost Worlds, Undead in Pictures, Potnia, Shadows and Light, Dark Corners (upcoming), Wonderstruck, Shifters: A Charity Anthology, Dead Harvest, Monster Diaries, Holiday Horrors and the Roms, Bombs and Zoms Anthology from Evil Girlfriend Media. She is the author of Asylum, The Invitation and Texas Twister.

Dana has also reviewed music for Muzikreviews.com specializing in New Age and alternative music and has been a contributing writer to Eternal Haunted Summer, Massacre Magazine, Metaphor Magazine, The Were Traveler October 2013 edition: The Little Magazine of Magnificent Monsters, the December 2013 issue The Day the Zombies Ruled the Earth. She currently reviews music at New Age Music Reviews and Write a Music Review.

Author Links:

Website  ~  Facebook  ~  Twitter  ~  The Romance Reviews


Texas Twister (MF) ~ Dana Wright @danawrite

11 Nov 16th - TexasTwister

Blurb:

Blue Moon Chronicles

Sometimes love finds you in the darkest places.

Magdalay Rousseau is having a bad day. She can’t find the charging cable to her laptop, and when she goes into her husband’s office to look for it, she discovers he’s been cheating on her. She decides to hire a private investigator to dig into her husband’s secrets, but what the detective discovers about her turns her world upside-down.

Carter Zusak is a private detective–and a cat shifter. When a new client shows up, he’s almost certain she’s a flake. What kind of woman writes romance novels and owns a shop selling supplies for witches? He’s sure she’s got a bat or two loose in her belfry–until he delves deeper into her case. No one in her life is what they seem, and Magdalay has just put herself in danger more insidious than he ever imagined. Something about this witch sets his heart on fire. But he’ll have to figure out a way to save her before they both get burned…

Excerpt:

Magdalay Rousseau stared at her lifeless laptop and groaned. It wouldn’t turn on. Again. So much for a lasting battery. Already irritated from lack of sleep, she pressed the on button one more time and tried to recall where she’d left the charger. It should be in the little plastic bag she usually kept next to her laptop, but it wasn’t.

“Great. I can’t believe this. I ought to just spell you and be done with it.”

She growled and pushed herself up from the small space at the kitchen table. Perhaps it was in her work bag in the foyer. She hated resorting to magic when real world solutions worked just fine. It had been a point of contention with her mother for years. Besides, she wasn’t very good at it. Wish for rain and get a flood in her kitchen. That was her life right now.

Magdalay peered into the bag.

“Oh. This is just getting better and better.”

Magdalay spun on her heel and considered her next move. She had a deadline for her publisher, and today would be her only day off with no distractions until next week. Not that she could focus anyway. Not with the antics Russ was pulling lately. Her mind kept circling him like a dog with a bone.

He’d been out with the boys from the club, but something in the back of her mind kept digging at her. Their poker games didn’t last that long. Neither did their dinners at the club, which she now refused to attend. Not after the last time with his uppity friends and their equally unpleasant wives. She didn’t fit in with the country club scene, and that was more than all right with her.

Russ hadn’t come home—again—by the time her head hit the pillow last night at midnight. It was becoming par for the course. Magdalay couldn’t concentrate on anything and that included leaving her damn charging cable someplace. She could swear it was next to her workstation last night when she went to bed, but she could have been dreaming. She couldn’t remember, and that just pissed her off, making her already foul mood even more noxious.

“Did you wash my pants?” Russ called out from the bedroom, his voice lacking any of the warmth she used to receive from him.

“Yes,” she ground out, barely containing her urge to demand where the hell he’d been all damned night. It didn’t do any good. He never answered her anyway. “They’re folded on the dryer.”

Her husband, Russ, clad in a blue pullover shirt and tighty-whities bolted from their bedroom down the short hall toward the laundry room. The door opened and shut, and she caught a streak of blue out of the corner of her eye but no acknowledgement or thank you.

Next time she ought to let his clothes just pile up and see what happened. Well…she took that back. A week ago, she’d been too busy to keep up with the laundry and he’d shaken her awake after a long day at the shop and writing, demanding to know when she would get around to it. The icy stare was enough to motivate her into preemptive action. She’d never been afraid of her husband before that night, but things had changed between them at an alarming rate.

She poured the water into the coffeepot and flipped on the switch, sighing as the rich aroma of the Columbian blend pervaded the kitchen. It was still early, and she’d spent a sleepless night tossing and turning and imagining his car wrapped around a pole or worse. The man hadn’t come home until after two. At least that was the last time she recalled on the blinking clock on the nightstand. Russ hadn’t even had the decency to let her know where he was or if he was OK. Magdalay didn’t remember him sneaking in. She’d tried to stay awake so she could talk to him or at least give him a piece of her mind, but she must have drifted off in a wave of jittery exhaustion.

Last night had just been the latest in a long line of whatever was happening in their marriage and fixing it was becoming a pipe dream. He’d grown more and more distant over the past three months and she didn’t know what had gone wrong. Well…except for her working. He hated the hours she spent away from home, but with her mother’s passing, Broomstix had become hers. The irony wasn’t lost on her. A witch who didn’t want to be, or worse yet, was terrible at it.

She thought back to her mother’s last days and the love she had for her trusty cat, Jules. They’d been inseparable.

“You need a familiar, love. Sometimes having someone at your back and by your side is the most powerful magic in the world.”

Magdalay’s lips twisted and she sighed. It wasn’t like she hadn’t tried. Every cat she’d gotten went missing in a matter of days. When she’d gone to Russ about the missing animals, he’d had nothing to say. Frustrating wasn’t even half the word for it. Perhaps she wasn’t cut out for animals. Then she thought all she needed was her soul mate. That would have to be enough. She’d always thought Russ was that person, but more and more, she sensed a tremendous gulf between them, and it left her hollow inside.

Last month she’d been at the stitching circle and each of the ladies was practicing poppet magic. The little cloth dolls danced and frolicked in anticipation of whatever task they were intended for. Hers lay there, looking still and unresponsive. It was to be a creative muse for her magic. She figured if she could cast a spell and have a poppet work on some of her overdue plot lines and synopses, she’d be ahead of the game. No such luck.

The stitching circle, full of her mother’s old friends, thought it was hilarious. Now on top of her writing schedule, it was her responsibility to keep Broomstix going. People depended on her, and she was trying to learn as much as she could. Gaining the knowledge she needed wasn’t going as smooth as she’d like.

Her gaze raked the cluttered counter where her husband paid bills and recoiled. No way was she touching that. “Not a chance.” Then she remembered Russ had the same model laptop she did. She could borrow his charger and pick hers up tomorrow when she went back into work. Problem solved.

“I’m out. See you tonight,” came the clipped response from the front hallway followed by the slamming of the decorative lead glass door. He hadn’t even come into the kitchen. Not even for coffee.

“Wow.” Now she knew he was avoiding her and likely hiding something. Magdalay shook her head, the bitterness of her new reality sliding down her stomach like a Ping Pong ball. His behavior stung, and she didn’t know what to make of it. She moved down the hall, her linen nightgown floating around her legs. In the Texas heat, it helped to have something comfortable and the Eileen West nightgowns were her guilty pleasure. Goddess knew she needed something.

She paused in the doorway to his office and sighed. Goddess, she hated invading his space. Maybe the charger was right out in the open and she could snap it up and be out before she disturbed anything of importance. Then she saw it. Propped on a pile of paperwork next to his computer was her small, holiday design-covered Ziploc bag with her cord dangling off the desk over the top of it.

“What the heck?” Her lips slid into a frown and she unclenched her hands. He took it. Probably to do the same thing she’d been about to do, but at least she would have replaced his where she found it as soon as she was done. She reached down to pick up the bag and wind up the charging cord, and her hand brushed the mouse on his desk, the darkened screen erupting to life. His e-mail was up. She wouldn’t have stopped save for the name on the screen.

WTF?

Slowly, Magdalay lowered herself into the chair and began to read. She hadn’t meant to intrude on his privacy. They’d always respected each other enough to be honest. At least she’d always thought so. But with every line she read, the trust she believed her marriage was based on was revealed to be nothing more than a lie.

She hated wives who resorted to sneaking into their husband’s phone records and all of those things to find out what they’d been up. Now, here she was, and she didn’t have a clue what to do about it. What was done was done and couldn’t be taken back. One e-mail turned into two. Two turned into a dozen, and at that point she had to stop, the contents of her stomach churning like wildfire in her gut.

Fuck me. Fuck me like you did in your office.

I want it all.

You motherfucker.

Tears stung her eyes. There was no other explanation was there? It was all laid out in black and white. The only thing missing was a frigging video of them fornicating. Her stomach lurched.

The lump in her throat threatened to overtake her, and she had to pause and take a deep breath. Her mother’s absence was a raw and gaping wound. Eleanor would have known what to do, but Magdalay was frozen with indecision. Her thoughts turned to the ladies in her stitching circle. They met once a month but it wasn’t scheduled until next week. Goddess, but she sure could use some comfort now. Or at least, a sounding board for her fury. Her fingertips itched to zot the fucker but no…not yet. Not that she was fully capable, but her circle was. She’d seen it time and again.

But the emails…she read the last line again.

I want to run my fingers down your long, long legs and part your… She had to stop. Nausea threatened to overwhelm her once again.

“You cheating bastard,” she whispered. She had to be sure. It was possible it was only emails. In her heart, she knew that was a lie. Magdalay stood, her knees shaking and made her way out of Russ’s office to her work space in the kitchen. She hooked up the laptop to the charger and shoved the plug into the wall.

Magdalay considered her options. She could wait and confront him when he got home. Whenever that would be.

No.

Or she could hex him where he stood and watch as his dick shriveled up and fell off. A tiny smile twitched at the corner of her lips at the idea. If only. With her luck, she’d turn him into an overlarge piece of beef jerky and have to explain that one to the police.

Not a good idea. Her magic was unpredictable at best. She’d hid it from him, not wanting to go there. It wasn’t her fault she was born a witch. It was her choice whether or not to use it. If something needing a spell came up, she waited until her hubby was off doing engineer things or sleeping in front of the television. Proof. She needed more proof. The laptop whirled to life and she pulled up her search engine.

What about a private detective? She had a little mad money put aside for the dress she wanted for the romance writer’s convention in a few months. Magdalay had no idea what the detective would cost, but she had to know. With unblinking eyes she typed, private investigator Spinnaker, Texas then she closed her eyes, rolled the mouse, and clicked on the Blue Moon Detective Agency.

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DanaWrightAuthor Bio:

Dana Wright has always had a fascination with things that go bump in the night. She is often found playing at local bookstores, trying not to maim herself with crochet hooks or knitting needles, watching monster movies with her husband and furry kids or blogging about books. More commonly, she is chained to her computers, writing like a woman possessed.

She is currently working on several children’s stories, young adult fiction, romantic suspense, short stories and is trying her hand at poetry. She is a contributing author to Ghost Sniffer’s CYOA, Siren’s Call E-zine in their “Women in Horror” issue in February 2013 and “Revenge” in October 2013, a contributing author to Potatoes!, Fossil Lake, Of Dragons and Magic: Tales of the Lost Worlds, Undead in Pictures, Potnia, Shadows and Light, Dark Corners (upcoming), Wonderstruck, Shifters: A Charity Anthology, Dead Harvest, Monster Diaries, Holiday Horrors and the Roms, Bombs and Zoms Anthology from Evil Girlfriend Media. She is the author of Asylum, The Invitation and Texas Twister.

Dana has also reviewed music for Muzikreviews.com specializing in New Age and alternative music and has been a contributing writer to Eternal Haunted Summer, Massacre Magazine, Metaphor Magazine, The Were Traveler October 2013 edition: The Little Magazine of Magnificent Monsters, the December 2013 issue The Day the Zombies Ruled the Earth. She currently reviews music at New Age Music Reviews and Write a Music Review.

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