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A Charming Secret

Book 6 in the Magical Cures Mystery Series

Bubble… Bubble…

June Heal has it all.

A Charming Cure, her magical cure shop in the town of Whispering Falls, is thriving and she’s engaged to her childhood sweetheart and sheriff, Oscar Park. Petunia Shrubwood is taking over as Village President and there is a new bed and breakfast in town, Full Moon Treesort.

Life in Whispering Falls is good.

Cures And Trouble…

Evil begins to lurk as June’s nightmares return, sending her intuition into a downward spiral.

A Charming Cure goes up in flames and there is a dead body in the attic, clutching one of June’s cures, sending some of the residents of Whispering Falls on a hunt. . .and she’s the one they are looking for!

Magic Stirs…

June flees to her hometown of Locust Grove, reopening her cure shop at the local flea market, giving her the opportunity to use her intuition and put her sleuthing skills to work.

And Troubles Double…

Will June wake up from this nightmare in time to save Mr. Prince Charming, her Fairy-God cat, after her nightmare reveals his ultimate demise?

A Charming Secret

Excerpt

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Chapter One
“Mr. Prince Charming?” I fanned the smoke trying to clear a path in front of me. Nothing but darkness lay ahead. The sounds of crackles rang in my ear. The uneasy feeling poked my gut, sending a sick feeling to my stomach. My intuition telling me something was wrong. Something evil was surrounding me. Frantically, my eyes scanned for a sighting of my cat’s white tail. I screamed, “Mr. Prince Charming!”

Fear knotted my insides. The thick heavy black soot filled my lungs. The crackle of the fire was getting louder. The structure around me groaned as though it was telling me it was giving up. Caving in. For a second the smoke lifted around me. Mr. Prince Charming’s tail danced in the air off in the distance.

“Mr. Prince Charming! No!” I screamed sensing the danger.

A loud crack above me was deafening. I covered my arms over my head and dropped to the floor right before the burning beam came crashing down, barely missing me. My eyes slid across the floor. There was an inch above the ground where the smoke hadn’t touched, though I was unable to escape the heat. The hairs on my arms sizzled as the temperature rose around me.

A bright yellow glow illuminated in front of me. My eyes darted in that direction. “Madame Torres,” I whispered reaching out to my crystal ball.

Madame Torres was more than an arm’s reach away. She glowed as bright as fire. Swirls of red, yellow, blue, and purple took up all of her glass ball.

“Help me,” I begged, coughing the words out of my mouth. My fingers inched toward her. Reaching, reaching, reaching, but she was too far.

Loyal, true, trustworthy, unwavering. The black words flashed in bold in her ball.

“No!” I rolled to my side as I watched the fire creep onto my fingertips, covering me like a snake, coiling around my arms, around my legs, my torso, all over my body, choking the life out of me.

“It’s okay,” the familiar sound of Oscar Park woke me up along with his hand caressing my hair. “It’s just a dream.”

I gasped for air, sitting straight up in the bed, flinging him off me.

“Where is he?” My eyes darted around the bedroom of my little cottage, searching for my fairy-god cat. I patted my body realizing I was not burnt to a crisp. “Mr. Prince Charming!”

Mewl. My furry, solid white feline lifted his head from his curled position at the edge of my bed. He yawned before nesting his head upside down to continue his night’s sleep.

I burst out in tears.

“It’s okay.” Oscar pulled me closer trying to calm me in the midnight hours. His black hair gleamed in the moonlight that was darting through the window. “It’s okay.” His voice faded to a hushed stillness, making me feel somewhat better.

I looked into his blue eyes, so comforting. I ran my finger over my left ring finger where my mother’s wedding ring had found a home when Oscar had asked me to marry him.

“Are you okay?” he asked.

I nodded my head and glanced out at the full moon. Something told me it wasn’t going to be all right.

 

Chapter Two
Oscar was long gone before I got up to get ready to head down the hill toward A Charming Cure, my homeopathic cure shop in our magical village of Whispering Falls, Kentucky.

To the world, Whispering Falls was just another town on the map with cute, eclectic shops with unique gifts and gift ideas. Whispering Falls was much more than that. So much more.

The town I had called my home for a couple years now was magical. Every shop owner had a spiritual talent the mere mortal couldn’t comprehend. Thanks to my father’s side of the family, I had the gift of intuition.

It came in especially handy in my potion shop. Not all the time, but most of the time a customer came to my shop for a homeopathic cure, when in reality they need a little dose of magic added—life instead of the cure for heartburn, they needed my love potion to set their life back into motion.

Harmless. Good witch sort of things. Technically I was a Good-Sider witch. Only we didn’t call ourselves witches, we were spiritualists. We uplifted people’s spirits.

“Are you ready?” I asked Mr. Prince Charming as I took one last look in the mirror.

I ran my hands down my short black bob to smooth out the edges before I ran a comb straight down my blunt bangs. Today I chose to wear my new purple long-sleeved jumpsuit with the black belt and my new black wedge knee-high boots. The weather was turning to fall and it would be dark by the time I got home.

Mr. Prince Charming darted ahead of me. The smell of a fresh pot of coffee waited for me. Oscar was the best, making sure I had my cup of jolt before I headed out to work.

“As ready as I’ll ever be,” Madame Torres chimed in from her glass ball sitting on the kitchen counter. “I’m sort of sick of hearing about people’s ailments.” She cocked a brow; her purple eye shadow glistened. Her flaming red hair floated in the space around her. Her lips were painted a high red and her cheeks the same.

I opened the cabinet where I kept the mugs and grabbed my favorite one with the picture of a broom. It read: Don’t Drink and Ride. Cracked me up every time I read it. I filled it up and took a few whiffs, letting the aroma wake up my senses before I took a drink. The most anticipated drink of the morning.

“Well? Are we going or not?” Madame Torres was good at ruining a moment.

“I was talking to Mr. Prince Charming, but I guess you should come along too.” I took another long sip and looked outside the window above the kitchen sink.

It was a perfect view of all the shops in the village.

My cottage sits on the top of the hill behind the shops. I had a gorgeous view of the village and the backdrop of the mountains our town was nestled in. There was only one street in Whispering Falls, Main Street.

In the far distance on the right, Two Sisters and a Funeral was the first charming building to greet the visitors. It wasn’t probably the best one since it was a funeral home, but it was gorgeous. The two-story Victorian was much different than the other shops in town, but it was also a much different type of business. The Karima sisters, Constance and Patience, owned and operated the funeral home. They were Ghost Whisper spiritualists and were good at their job. Though, they were always hoping to find a fresh dead body somewhere. You had to be careful if you ever closed your eyes, one of them would pick up your wrist to check for a pulse in a minute.

Down from Two Sisters was Wicked Good Bakery, owned and operated by Raven Mortimer along with the help of her sister Faith. Raven was an Aleuromancy spiritualist. Her visions came in the form of baking dough. Faith was a Clairaudience. She was able to hear things that were inaudible to the natural ear. It was cool when she would receive messages from the angels, guides, spirits or future.

Next to them was The Gathering Grove Tea Shoppe. Gerald Regiula, our only British citizen, was the master of fantastically brewed teas and coffee. He was a tealeaf reader. Next to his shop was Mystic Lights, the home of our crystal ball reader, Isadora Solstice. She had the latest and greatest, not to mention antique lighting elements that were popular and sought after from all over the world.

Ever After Books was next door to Izzy. Ophelia Biblio was the owner and operator of the beautiful bookshop. It was delightful to go in there and peruse the shelves. She was the typical witch in every sense of the word. What the mortals assumed to be a witch, Ophelia was that. Good one, though.

Across the street from Wicked Good was Bella’s Baubles owned by village Astrologer Bella Van Lou. She has the most beautiful jewelry around. And Mr. Prince Charming was a frequent customer of hers.

Magical Moments, the florist in the village, was owned by Arabella Paxton, the daughter of Gerald. She made everything come to life. Her flowers and arrangements were all over Whispering Falls, adding life to the party.

Next to her was my shop. A Charming Cure. Then next to me was A Cleansing Spirit Spa where owner Chandra Shango looked into the future of her customers by reading their palms.

The last shop in the village, at the opposite end of Main Street from Two Sisters and A Funeral, was Glorybee Pet Shop. Petunia Shrubwood was the owner and animal spiritualist in the village. She recently married Gerald and tonight was a big night for her. She was going to take over as Village President. Currently, I held the presidency and had no intention of keeping it. I had a hard time staying neutral, taking in everyone’s requests while keeping everyone else happy. I was gladly giving my short term over to her. Besides, she’s been a spiritualist all her life. I’ve only been a spiritualist a short time.

On this cool crisp fall morning, the fog hung over the shops; it had a fascinating way of lifting just in time for the customers to stroll into town.

Mewl, mewl. Mr. Prince Charming jumped up on the counter, batting at me to hurry. He jumped back down.

Meow, meow. He darted between my legs, dragging his long white tail around my shins getting my jumper all hairy.

I bent down and picked him up, giving him a good scratch. “What would I ever do without you?” I snuggled him close.

He batted at my wrist.

“Yes.” I had almost forgotten to wear my charm bracelet, which was something I knew I needed today.

The nightmare I had last night made my soul uneasy and my bracelet would keep me safe.

I put Mr. Prince Charming down and rushed back to my room, picking my charm bracelet up off the dresser. I dangled it in the air taking a good look at all the charms Mr. Prince Charming had given me over the years.

In fact it was my tenth birthday when he showed up on the doorstep of my house in Locust Grove. He was the cutest guy wearing a dingy collar with a silver turtle charm hanging off it.

Oscar and I had spent several days trying to find the owner and when no one came forward and Mr. Prince Charming decided he was staying, Darla, my mom, let me keep him.

It wasn’t until years later I had found out he was my fairy-god cat and brought me protection charms to keep me safe. Needless to say, I had several charms on my bracelet and if I ever needed protection, it was now. Especially since my nightmares had been returning.

I didn’t have typical nightmares. When I had a nightmare, somehow they had a way of transpiring into the real world. My real world, hurting people I love.

“You have to stay close to me.” I pointed a finger at Mr. Prince Charming.

Mewl.

“How do you stand being around the ball of fur?” Madame Torres curled her lip. She had never been a big fan of my cat. Well, she wasn’t a big fan of anyone but herself.

“Whatever.” I picked her up and stuck her in the bottom of my bag.

I would’ve left her at home, but having her with me made my uneasy stomach a little more at ease.

I grabbed my black long cloak off the hook next to the door, locked it behind me and headed out down the hill. It was a tad bit chilly and I needed a little more caffeine to chase the nightmare away.

Mr. Prince Charming darted in and out of the field of mums, his tail dancing above the golds, oranges, and browns dotting the hillside.

“Boo.” Eloise Sandlewood snuck up behind me.

I nearly jumped out of my skin.

“Are you okay?” She peeled off the hood of her black cloak exposing her short red hair, a deep-set worry in her emerald eyes.

Eloise lived in a tree house a little beyond the wooded area behind my house. Of course I ran into her a lot, not only because we lived near one another, but she was also Oscar’s aunt and Darla’s best friend. She didn’t own a shop, but she did cleanse the village every single night with her incense when everyone was gone and asleep.

“Oh honey.” She grabbed me by the arms. “You aren’t looking so good.” She put her hand on my chin and moved my face side to side. “You know I love you like my own daughter. You have me worried.” She grabbed my elbow and guided me down the hill toward town. “What is going on with you?”

It was true. Eloise was sort of my surrogate mother since my mother was deceased. She was Darla’s confidant, her true friend. Darla hadn’t been a spiritualist. She lived in the community for a short time while my dad, who was also deceased, was the police officer in Whispering Falls.

I guess what they say is true about a girl marrying a man like her father since Oscar was a lot like my dad.

“I’m having nightmares again.” I confided in her more than I had Oscar. She would understand and I just needed a little girl talk. “Bad ones too.”

“Do you have time for a coffee?” she asked, changing our course of path and heading us toward The Gathering Grove Tea Shoppe.

I glanced at my watch. I didn’t have to open the shop for another half hour and I generally liked to go early to: make sure all the potions were filled, flip on my cauldron, and get ready for the day.

“I guess.” I sucked in a deep breath. The nightmare still had me unnerved and maybe talking to Eloise would help out.

We hustled across the street and dipped into The Gathering Grove where Gerald Regiula was already helping a line full of customers. We tucked ourselves away at the corner café table by the window.

“Ladies,” Gerald took his top hat off and tipped it toward us. “What do I owe the pleasure so early in the morning? Are you here because of the scuttlebutt of Full Moon?”

“Full moon?” Eloise asked. “It’s definitely not a full moon.”

“No, silly.” Gerald scoffed. His mustache bounced up and down. “It’s the new bed and breakfast in town. It went up like a firecracker. Overnight.”

That was how things worked around here. Sometimes you wake up and there was a new business in town.

“The Elders must be busy.” I sucked in a deep breath and wondered why there was a bed and breakfast opening up.

“Well, we are in need of a little pick-me-up jolt of caffeine.” Eloise winked, untying the cloak from around her neck, changing the subject.

“A little pick-me-up you shall have.” Gerald rubbed the edges of his mustache, his wedding ring bright and shiny.

“I must say, that ring looks mighty fine on you.” I smiled, remembering the long journey to marriage he and Petunia had traveled down.

“Yes,” his thick heavy English accent blurted out. “Love of my life.”

“Oh, Daddy.” Arabella Paxton walked up behind us with a large bouquet of fresh flowers in her arms. “I thought I was the love of your life.” She winked, letting him off the hook and went about her way filling the empty flower vases on the tables with the fresh ones from her shop, Magical Moments.

I watched as Arabella’s slim figure moved gracefully from table to table, creating the perfect designs on the spot. She was as lovely as her flowers. A rose herself with her long black flowing hair and crystal blue eyes to compliment her delicate features.

“I’ll be back with a special just for you two.” Gerald tented his fingertips and drummed them together in delight.

“We have to watch that one.” Eloise lifted a brow.

There were rules to be a spiritualist and Gerald was notorious for trying to get around them. Rule Number One especially. It stated that a spiritualist cannot read another spiritualist unless given permission. Gerald had the gift of tealeaf reading, making it easy for him to read anyone in his shop.

“So, tell me what is going on?” she asked reaching over the table taking my hands in hers.

“I have been having new nightmares and they aren’t good ones either.” I tried to swallow the lump in my throat. The images of the nightmare tormented my memory. “It’s about a fire. Me and Mr. Prince Charming are trapped in a building.”

“What building?” she asked.

“I have no idea.” I shook my head hoping to shake out some of the images of the dreams. “All I know is something in here,” I pulled my hand out from underneath hers and pointed to my gut, “is telling me it isn’t good. You know and I know, I’m right ninety-nine percent of the time.”

“Do you think it’s. . .” she paused, “Ezmeralda?”

“Stop,” I said through gritted teeth. “Don’t say her name. Don’t.” I ran my hand over my charm bracelet. I was going to need more than protective charms to deal with her. “Don’t speak her name.”

Ezmeralda was a beast from my past. Gerald’s ex-wife and Arabella’s mom who had turned to the Dark-Sider world of spirituality. She had vowed to come back to Whispering Falls to help me meet my demise. Something told me the nightmares had nothing to do with her. Or at least I hoped they didn’t.

“I don’t think it’s her. My intuition isn’t giving me that feeling.” My intuition wasn’t giving me any feeling but bad. That was why I had brought Madame Torres along with me.

She might be a snarky crystal ball, but she was my snarky crystal ball and had my best interest at heart. Maybe her best interest. Because if something happened to me, she didn’t go anywhere but a garage sale or thrift store.

“Petunia is looking forward to the smudging ceremony tonight.” Gerald set two cups of liquid in front of us, breaking the tension in the air between me and Eloise. “She is excited to have her family come in to see her become the Village President.”

“Wonderful.” I clapped my hands, trying to put the veiled threats from Ezmeralda behind me. “I’m excited for her.”

Petunia had spent the last few months training with Isadora Solstice to become the next leader of our village. It was an honor given to me, but I was proven to be a little too young and not necessarily wanting to have the responsibility of the village on my shoulders. After all, my five-foot-four frame could barely hold all the issues I did have on my own. I was just fine being responsible for me, Mr. Prince Charming and Madame Torres with Oscar by my side. Tonight I would resign and give her the reins. Fine by me.

“This smells delicious. What is it?” Eloise asked, bringing the cup away from her nose.

“A special blend for cool fall mornings to put a spring in your step.” He held his hand out and held his fingers up one-by-one. “1 Tbsp. fresh grated ginger, 2 cups filtered water, 1 Tbsp. raw honey or pure maple syrup, ½ lemon, juiced, 1 cinnamon stick, Chamomile flowers, from my daughter of course.” A prideful smile appeared under his mustache. He continued, “Echinacea tincture, fresh mint leaves, pinch of cayenne pepper.” He tapped his temple. “I think that is it.”

“Did you leave the leaves out?” I swirled my cup in front of me looking into the liquid. He was known to put a few tea leaves in without the recipient knowing. And I didn’t want anyone—other than who I told—to know about my dreams. It would send the town into a downward spiral.

“Of course I did.” He shuffled off to help another table.

“Hm.” I picked up my spoon and twirled it in the cup. There was a little skepticism in his tone. I lowered my eyes. “I wouldn’t believe him even if I gave him a truth serum.”

Eloise and I laughed.

“Does Oscar know about the nightmares?” She started back up the conversation I was ready to end.

“Unfortunately he saw how frantic I was when I woke up in the middle of the night.” I recalled the look on his face. “But he doesn’t know I’ve been having them nightly.”

“He’s spending the night?” Eloise drew back. She remained uncomfortably still.

Even though Oscar and I were spiritualists, Eloise still had old-fashioned ways. And spending the night before marriage was not appropriate. She made sure she was a parent to both of us.

“I’m glad he was there. I was so upset there was no way Madame Torres would have been able to comfort me. Or even sweet Mr. Prince Charming.” I took a sip of the tea and set it back down on the saucer. “This is delicious.”

“There you are.” Oscar appeared behind me. He bent down and kissed my forehead. “I went to the shop but your sign was still turned to closed.”

He walked around and gave his aunt a kiss before he put a small paper sack on the table and I knew what was in it before he even told me.

“I thought you could use a little treat.” He smiled and pushed the Wicked Good Bakery bag toward me. “And Raven said it just came out of the oven.”

“You are so sweet.” Eloise grinned. “I can’t wait to see what your babies are going to look like.”

“Hello?” My eyes widened. I was just getting used to the idea I was engaged; not even close on having children. “Cart before the horse.”

“No joking.” Oscar looked so handsome in his Whispering Falls police uniform. “I’ve got to get going. Colton said we are expecting a crowd for Petunia’s ceremony tonight. I also kind of told him we would grab a bite to eat with him and Ophelia beforehand.”

“That’s good.” The more distractions the better.

“Take care of each other.” He kissed Eloise and me again. “You are the most important girls in my life.” He bent down again. He whispered in my ear, “You are the most important.” His mouth moved over mine with exquisite tenderness replacing the knot in my stomach with a tingling.

Eloise and I sat in silence watching Oscar leave and walk down the sidewalk toward the station.

“You two are so adorable. I just can’t stand it.” Eloise picked up her cup and took a sip. “But we need to figure out these dreams.”

“I’ve even used my mom’s fairy dust potion and it’s not working.” My mom was a homeopathic curist; she just wasn’t able to make potions and get to the root of someone’s aliment since she wasn’t a spiritualist.

She left me a secret book of spells (Magical Cures Book) she had gotten from Eloise, and I had scoured it to find some sort of new potion to help me get rid of these terrible nightmares.

“Fire nightmares aren’t anything to mess around with.” Eloise wasn’t making me feel any better.

“Tell me about it.” I drank the last sip of tea from the cup and got up. I didn’t leave without the bag from Wicked Good Bakery. It would be a treat for later. “I’ve got to get going. I have to find out where Mr. Prince Charming went before I open the shop. I have to keep him close.”

“I’ll be by later to check on you.” Eloise nodded. “I’m going to have another cup of this delicious brew.” She lifted her hand in the air. Gerald acknowledged another round with a big grin. I waved ‘bye and headed out the door.

“June! June!” Petunia waved her hands in the air. With each bobble of her head, a butterfly flew out from her messy updo, knocking out a few twigs as well.

A few people trailed behind her. She held a bag from Wicked Good in her hand. “We just came from the bakery and I told my family the June’s Gems were to die for. Especially since they were named after one of my friends.”

That was one of Petunia’s personality traits I loved. She thought everyone was her best friend. And everyone did love her. She had a sunny disposition and her love of all creatures exuded from her.

“They are delicious.” I held the bag in the air. “I’m saving mine for an afternoon treat.”

June’s Gems was Raven Mortimer’s take on a Ding Dong. The chocolaty treat was my favorite. We had seen a lot of stressful times together. The Ding Dong knew how to calm me down. Since we didn’t have a supply of Ding Dongs in Whispering Falls, Raven was gracious enough to make an even better version, naming it after me.

True or not (I like to lean toward the true side), Raven said June’s Gem was her best seller.

“This is my sister, Peony.” She pointed to the girl next to her, who looked very young. The light blue wrap dress made her blue eyes pop against her pale skin tone. Her small hands gave a slight wave hello before she ran her hand down her high blond ponytail. I couldn’t help but feel a little envious of her taupe stilettos. Definitely got the fashion sense of the two sisters.

“Nice to meet you.” I nodded, offering a smile.

“My cousin, Gwendolyn.” Petunia showcased her cousin like she was on display, just like one of those game shows on television. “Gwenie for short. But she’s just like a sister to us.” Petunia looked at Peony giving a quick nod. Peony backed her up.

Gwendolyn was a little plumper than the other two. Her hair was not as messy as Petunia’s and not as neat as Peony. She was a mix between the two of them. Her hair was brown like Petunia’s and pulled into a bun. She folded her arms in front of her. Her dark eyes lowered. There was not a smile on her face as there was Petunia’s and Peony’s.

We politely nodded, neither of us smiling.

Petunia’s arms curled around the third woman. “This is my bestest friend in the entire world. Amethyst Plum. They are here for my induction. But Amethyst is here forever.”

“So nice to meet you.” I shook each of their hands, not getting a good feeling from cousin Gwendolyn. “Forever?”

“Yes.” Amethyst said with a flat voice. She wore a black pair of pants and a black buttoned blouse. Her black hair lay in loose curls down her back. Her thick black brows arched perfectly over her dark eyes. Her long lashes swooped down with each blink. She was beautiful. The only pop of color was the tips of her red heels. “I own Full Moon.”

Petunia clasped her hands in front of her, twirling her body from side-to-side, grinning from ear-to-ear.

“June owns A Charming Cure, with all sorts of homeopathic cures.” Petunia nodded enthusiastically. “You will get to know each other really well. And,” Petunia squealed. “You can join our book club! We meet once a month at Ever After Books. You are going to love it.”

“We will see.” Amethyst’s brows rose.

“Really? You own A Charming Cure?” Peony bounced on her toes. She grabbed Amethyst. “Isn’t that cool?”

“No.” Gwenie quipped. “I go to a doctor. A real doctor.” Her eyes lowered, glaring at me. “Aren’t you the one who took the Village President’s job right out from underneath my cousin?”

“I…” I stuttered. “I didn’t. . .”

“Gwenie!” Petunia’s hand clasped over her mouth. “That’s in the past.”

“She’s just asking a question,” Amethyst chirped in. “I’d like to hear the answer.”

Gwenie never took her eyes off me, making me a bit uncomfortable. “Aren’t you?” She wasn’t going to let it die.

“June, I’m sorry for their behavior.” Petunia stepped up and nervously fiddled with a strand of stray hair that had fallen out of her updo. “Gwenie’s just looking out for me. I’m sure Amethyst is nervous about Full Moon opening. It’s her first shop. After all. . .”

Amethyst’s voice was bold. “You did call me every day for a month complaining about her and how she stole it right out from underneath you after you had been working toward it all your life.”

“But that was before I knew the chosen one was among our village,” Petunia said.

She was right. I had no idea why or how I was the chosen one, but I was. Evidently I wasn’t the chosen one to be the Village President because I just couldn’t do it. In my gut, there was a task out there for me as the chosen one, only I hadn’t found out what the task was. I figured it would rear its ugly head. In the meantime, I couldn’t worry about the task and had to live my life.

“Don’t sugar coat it.” Peony laughed elbowing Amethyst. “Really she means no harm.”

“I think you are way off base.” I wasn’t going to stand there and let her accuse me of coming to Whispering Falls to deliberately take the Village President dream from Petunia. “You have no idea what you are talking about and until you do. . .”

“What?” Amethyst questioned me.

“Oh dear.” Petunia wrung her hands. “Oh dear.”

“Yeah, what?” Gwenie took a step forward.

“What potion girl? Are you going to give me some evil potion to shut me up?” Amethyst stood tall and scared me a little. She tapped the toe of her shoe.

Cousin Gwendolyn took another step closer like they were some gang backing each other up. “Because I’m here to tell you no one, not even a little two-bit potion witch is going to hurt my family.”

“Is something going on here?” Colton Lance stepped up behind us.

Colton took his police hat off; his messy blond hair fell down around his ears. He and Ophelia were an item. They came to Whispering Falls together and they lived above Ever After Books. He was in charge of the police department after a misunderstanding with Oscar a few months back, but now they were both in charge.

“Colton.” Petunia’s worry lines softened. “This is my sister, Peony, my best friend, Amethyst, and my cousin, Gwendolyn.”

Colton was gracious enough to shake their hands before he turned to me. “Are you okay, June?”

Gwendolyn and Amethyst walked off toward Glorybee.

“I’m fine. Just looking for that ornery cat of mine,” I looked past Colton to make sure they weren’t going to A Charming Cure’s line of customers.

“Oh cute white one?” Petunia’s sister asked bringing me back to the present conversation. Petunia’s face balled with a smile and her head nodded. “He was at Glorybee.”

“Yes. I would guess that.” The fog was slowly lifting and some cars were driving by. I had to get the shop open.

“He’s a little charmer that one.” Peony smiled.

“Yes, he is. He loves a pretty face.” I instantly liked Peony. Anyone who loved my cat, I liked. He didn’t just like anyone either.

“We might have given him a few treats before we walked down here.” Petunia blushed knowing I had asked her to stop giving him so many since he was putting on a little weight.

“I better get going,” I said before I started to cross the street. There was a line already forming outside of A Charming Cure.

“I love the name of your shop.” Peony and Petunia crossed with me.

“Thank you. I’m a little partial to it.” I could feel the pride written on my face. I knew Petunia had already told her, but maybe she was so young she had forgotten. She seemed a little flighty.

The shop has come a far way since my days of selling the homeopathic cures in the Locust Grove Flea Market.

“Can we go in there later?” She turned to Petunia.

“Of course.” Petunia bent down and picked up a fallen tree branch off the road and stuck it in her hair. “I want to take you into every shop before you go back home.”

“See you soon.” I waved and darted between the cars like a human game of Frogger. Colton had crossed the sidewalk a distance down and he seemed to be waiting on me.

“Was Petunia’s friend threatening you?” Colton asked when I approached him.

“No.” I shook my head refusing to let her ruin Petunia’s moment. “I’m sure she’s nervous about Full Moon.”

“It sure sounded like she threatened you and you said something about casting a spell on her.” His words stopped me dead in my tracks.

“I did no such thing.” I had to clarify. “She badgered me.” My words came out more frantic than I wanted them too.

“So she did threaten you?” he asked again.

“She was only taking up for her best friend,” I assured him. “Something about the history between me and Petunia with the whole Village President thing. But that is going to be corrected tonight.”

“You said she badgered you.” He cocked a brow.

“She asked if I was going to put some sort of spell on her or something because I started to take up for myself before I decided to let it go.” I tucked a piece of hair under my chin. His questions were making me nervous. “Ridiculous.”

“What did you say about a shop?” Colton asked.

“Amethyst owns the new bed and breakfast in town.” I looked around to see where it was. “Full Moon.”

“So, that’s her.” Colton’s head went from side-to-side, trying to get a look at Petunia and the girls off in the distance. “I heard there was a new shop, but it’s on the outskirts of town. Something about the Elders not wanting visitors to see all the magical happenings in the middle of the night.”

“I never thought of it, but I guess it makes sense.” I shrugged. “I’m just a bit shocked they approved a sleepover shop. I never thought we’d need a bed and breakfast. The Elders must be busy.”

The Order of Elders consisted of three past Village Presidents from different villages. They approved shops for all the villages and came when there was a crime committed. I had gotten to know them pretty well when I had found myself a suspect in a crime I had not committed. The Marys, as I so lovingly called them since their names were Mary Sue, Mary Ellen and Mary Lynn, were harmless.

I had a sneaky suspicion I was going to see them while they were in town. I scoffed the idea away and took off toward my shop.

end of excerpt

A Charming Secret

is available in the following formats:

Oct 4, 2014

ISBN-13: 978-1502580627

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