A Charming Voodoo
Book 10 in the Magical Cures Mystery Series
Bubble. . . bubble. . .
Whispering Falls is abuzz with the new
housing development and new shops
popping up all over the magical
village right before the annual All
Hallow’s Eve celebration.
Cures and trouble. . .
June Heal’s intuition
is on high alert and she just can’t shake
that something bad is about to happen.
Magic stirs . . .
June finds Violet Draper standing over a dead body
In the new pumpkin patch hours before it’s supposed
to open for hayrides.
And trouble doubles . . .
Once again, June has to put her sleuthing skills to work
and figure out who the real killer is before the new
citizens pack up and move right back out of town.
A Charming Voodoo
Book 10 in the Magical Cures Mystery Series
A Charming Voodoo
“Good morning.” I nodded to all the tourists as I walked down the main street in Whispering Falls. I made my way past my shop, A Charming Cure, on a mission to run across the street and grab some June’s Gems from Raven Mortimer. My cloak was neatly tied around my neck and flapped in the fall breeze behind me. My tall brown boots clicked with each step.
The sun had just popped over the mountain and poured its magical orange glow on the crisp fall morning. There was just something about this time of the year that got my little witchy soul all stirred up.
“Good morning, June.” Gerald Regiula stood outside with a cup of coffee in his hands. His top hat sat perched on top of his head, his mustache neatly combed, and his tuxedo jacket’s tails hung down to his knees. He was a dapper fellow and owner of The Gathering Grove Tea Shoppe right next to . . .
Not only did my feet stop dead in their tracks, so did my heart, but in a good way.
“I knew you’d need this once you saw that.” Gerald turned to face the space that as of yesterday had been empty between his shop and Wicked Good Bakery, just where I so happened to be going. “Here you go.” He stuck his gloved hand out for me to take the morning elixir.
“I. . .” I stumbled for the right words and tucked a strand of my short black bob behind my ear before I took the cup, immediately taking a sip. “I needed that.”
The steam from the cup curled up around my nose and tickled my senses awake.
“Scented Swan Candle Co.,” I read the name on the awning above the door that sat just beyond the ornamental gate.
All of the entrances to the shops in our little village set in the foothills of Kentucky had ornamental gates that lead up to the colorful doors of the clapboard homes that held our very own secrets and unique gifts inside them.
Whispering Falls wasn’t your ordinary town. It is a magical village full of what we like to be referred to as Spiritualists. The mortal world would call us witches, but that word leaves us with a bitter taste in our mouths. It had a negative, demeaning tone to it. Gerald is a tea leaf reader so he naturally owned The Gathering Grove Tea Shoppe. I am a homeopathic healer with an amazing intuition. A Charming Cure is my shop where I sold potions or homeopathic cures for what ailed anyone who walked through my shop doors.
But it was my keen sense of intuition that told me exactly what the customer needed or what their real problem was when they walked through my shop door.
Up until a few days ago, Whispering Falls had only consisted of eleven quaint shops. The Gathering Grove and A Charming Cure were two, along with Bella’s Baubles, Wicked Good Bakery, Magical Moments, A Cleansing Spirit Spa, Glorybee Pet Shop, Full Moon Treesort, Ever After Books, Mystic Lights, and Two Sisters and a Funeral as well as a police station where my husband, Oscar Park, just so happened to be a co-sheriff with Colton Lance, both wizards.
“Two in week.” Gerald shook his head.
I couldn’t tell if he was happy or upset about it.
“And right in time for All Hallows’ Eve.” I took in a deep breath, my shoulders lifted and then fell when I exhaled. “I knew I smelled a breath of fresh air on my way down the hill.” I smiled.
Gerald still didn’t return my smile. He was bothered.
“I don’t know.” He shook his head. The shadow of the top hat’s bill covered his eyes. “It just seems so strange that there are two new shops in a matter of days,” he said again.
“New businesses mean new tourists and new tourists are always good for business.” I held the cup of coffee up in the air. “Thank you for the coffee. How are Petunia and baby Orin?”
Petunia Shrubwood was Gerald’s wife and owner of Glorybee Pet Shop, which was a cover for her gift of talking to animals. They had a baby boy named Orin who was the cutest little thing.
“They are good.” That brought a smile to his face. “Orin is something else.” He rubbed his chin, there was pride written all over his face. “He has just started saying da-da. You are going to have to ask Petunia about it. She’s beside herself because he hasn’t said mama.”
“You do know that da-da is much easier for a baby to say because their tongue is strong from eating and with mama, they have to be able to form their lips.” I took another sip.
“You don’t need to tell her that.” He chuckled and waved his hand in the air. The line to his shop was starting to form out the door and it was his cue that his staff needed him.
I walked down a little bit and stopped in the front of Scented Swan Candle Co.. The awning was bright yellow with the name written in red and two red swans on each side. The gate that opened up to the path of the shop had stained glass showing long-stemmed tapered white candles with yellow flames. The sunlight hit it perfectly, making it look as though the candles were really lit.
I continued to walk next door. The heavenly smells of pastries swirled around me. My insides nearly melted into sugary goodness as soon as I opened the door.
“June,” Raven Mortimer greeted me with a warm smile. Her long black hair hung in loose curls across her shoulders and down her Wicked Good apron. “How was your honeymoon?”
“Tulip Island was amazing.” My eyes darted between all the delicious pastries, making it hard for me to decide which ones to pick for the now two new shop owners of Whispering Falls. “You know,” I pointed behind me to the new shop that had popped up a couple days ago, “Hidden Treasure’s owner, Violet Draper, actually grew up on Tulip Island and after I told her where I lived, she moved here.”
“Have you been in her shop?” Raven’s voice rose with excitement. “She’s an amazing clothing designer. Faith has already spent her paycheck on a new wardrobe.”
“Where is Faith?” I looked around.
Faith usually helped Raven out in mornings and did the morning deliveries to the surrounding mortal towns like Locust Grove, where I grew up.
“She is off snapping pictures of the new pumpkin patch for the new art gallery.” Raven tossed dough in the air. She snapped her fingers and the big ball of flour exploded into an assortment of doughnuts. The ones with sprinkles caused my mouth to water. “Blue Moon Gallery.”
“Blue Moon Gallery?” I hadn’t seen that new shop.
“It’s so cool. Since there are so many new shops, they came in this morning and asked Faith if she could do a show with her photos and do a write up in the Gazette.” Raven opened the oven. The scent of cinnamon and sugar billowed out when she took the scones out and placed them on a white, tiered platform that sat on top of the glass counter.
“That’s so cool. Where is the shop?” I asked.
“It’s next to Two Sisters and a Funeral. There is all the underdeveloped land.” She pointed to the right. “Have you seen the pumpkin patch?”
“No, I had no clue all of this was going up.” I shook my head. “I bet Oscar is a frantic mess going around and distributing all the by-laws to them.”
“He’s got his hands full with all the new people.” Raven smiled.
“That’s why I’m here this beautiful fall morning.” I dragged my finger down the glass counter and pointed to the June’s Gems that were named after me and tasted exactly like my favorite treat and go-to stress relieving food, the Ding Dong. “I’ll take four June’s Gems, two each in two separate boxes along with a half dozen of your choice.”
“That’s a lot of sugar.” Raven plucked two of the pink and green to-go Wicked Good Bakery boxes and started to fill them up.
“I am going to take one to Hidden Treasures and,” I pointed in the direction of the new candle shop, “one to Scented Swan Candle Co. and you might as well throw in a few more for the other new businesses.”
I just added them to my schedule.
“What about that? Four new shops in a couple of days.” That was twice that I’d heard someone say comment on the new shops, which wouldn’t normally be strange, but it sent my intuition on high alert.
“I figure they are just in time for the All Hallows’ Eve celebration.” The thought of our annual night before Halloween festival made me giddy.
The shops handed out candy to tourists and their children who were dressed up and pretended to be well. . .us. Last year we’d added a small carnival and I was happy to see them back again this year. It was our favorite time of the year where we could actually dress the part without being judged.
“I hope you are right.” Raven did a little shimmy-shake when she handed me the boxes. My intuition went off a second time.
“I’ll take a couple of June’s Gems for myself.” I figured I’d better get my nerves under control and June’s Gems were the only thing that helped. I looked down when I felt something on my feet. “There you are,” I bent down and picked up Mr. Prince Charming, my fairy-god cat.
He jumped back, not letting me pick him up.
“Meow,” he purred softly as something dropped from his mouth. A sick feeling washed over me, it was the third time my intuition kicked in. Only this time, it nearly knocked me off my feet.
With my mouth stuffed full of a June’s Gem, the two boxes stuck under my armpit, the leaf charm Mr. Prince Charming had dropped at my feet now in my hand, and my fairy-god cat trotting next to me, I scurried across the street to Bella’s Baubles.
I smacked the ornamental gate not taking in the embedded gems that made crystal rainbows on the sidewalk like I normally did. I had to see Bella. It was of the utmost importance.
The pink wooden door to the cream cottage-style shop was propped open. A few leaves shuffled across the threshold from the light fall breeze. Mr. Prince Charming batted at them.
Bella sat behind the counter with the lope held tight in her scrunched up eye. She was looking at a gem.
“I’ve been expecting you.” She tossed her long blond hair behind her shoulder. She smiled, exposing the gap between her two front teeth. Her cheeks balled. “Our little friend brought you his present?”
“He did.” I uncurled my fist and held out the leaf charm. It seemed harmless, but I knew different. “Well?” I twisted my wrist around. The already full charm bracelet jingled as she unclasped it.
“This one is about the seasonal change. It’s a season of transition, it embodies a culmination. It’s nature’s ‘last hoorah’ before retiring into winter’s slumbering mood. This is a hustle-bustle-boogie down month as preparations are made and he is just making sure with the new shops and development in town that you keep focused.” Bella quickly added the charm to the others he’d given me.
“All of that sounds nice and flowery, but you and I both know that every charm on that bracelet came with a price. A price of protection when I needed it.” I reminded her how Mr. Prince Charming was my familiar and he gave me a charm when I needed protection the most.
“Just stay true to you and listen closely to your intuition.” She held the bracelet up and gestured for my wrist. A couple of tourists walked in. “Those smell divine.” She tapped the boxes from Wicked Good. “Excuse me.”
She got up from the chair behind the counter. She stood all of five feet, two inches, much short then me.
“Welcome to Bella’s Baubles,” she greeted the two women. “I’ve got a lovely jade pendant that will match your go-getter personality.”
“How did you know I was looking for a jade stone?” the woman gasped. Her eyes popped opened as they turned to her friend.
“I told you somehow all the shops have exactly what you need.” Both of them bounced on the balls of their feet in delight.
Joy filled up my troubled soul. Yes. The feeling of excitement that bubbled up in me had to do with All Hallows’ Eve.
Development. My eyes lowered as I considered that Bella said something about a development.
“Excuse me,” I touched Bella’s arm after she showed the ladies the piece of jade. “Did you say development?”
“Yes. Isn’t it wonderful?” Her eyes sparkled from the insides. “New residents and new shops. It is a special time of year.”
Suddenly my intuition did it again. Something was going on that didn’t sit well with me. I rubbed my hand around my wrist and felt my charms. I needed to go visit these shops and see what was going on.
“Mewl!” Mr. Prince Charming stood on his hind legs and batted the dangling charms, then he darted out the open door right before it slammed shut.