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A Charming Wish

Book 3 in the Magical Cures Mystery Series

Bubble, Bubble. . .

It seems shop owner and newly appointed Whispering Falls Village President June Heal has it all: Beauty, wits, bewitching powers…Sheriff Oscar Park. Life is good. Because life in Whispering Falls is magical.

Cures and Trouble. . .

But when a member of the community is found dead on the steps of A Charming Cure, June’s homeopathic cure shop, and her fingerprints show up at the scenes of local robberies, she is kicked off the village council and her powers fall under scrutiny. Until it’s uncovered who is wreaking havoc on the town…June’s magic is suspended.

Magic Stirs. . .

With the help of a rather obnoxious genie and Mr. Prince Charming, June’s Fairy-God cat, June is determined to figure out who is framing her. Time is of the essence when it becomes clear that the true villain is trying to get rid of her…permanently!

And Trouble Doubles. . .

Oscar Park will do anything to protect June even if that means giving up all of his magical powers. . .or worse, his life.

A Charming Wish

Excerpt

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Chapter One

“Hear ye, hear ye,” Faith Mortimer’s voice echoed throughout the valley, down Main Street and straight into A Charming Cure as she announced the day’s headlines from the Whispering Falls Gazette. “Be on the lookout for a storm brewing. Have you ever noticed the dark purple skies during storms? This message is brought to you by Wicked Good Bakery. Be sure to stop in and get your Peppermint Scone. Be sure to stop in Glorybee. Petunia Shrubwood has reported to our very own Police Chief, Oscar Park, that there has been a huge increase of stray animals. They are not animals from souls; they are the real live furry creatures. Be sure to keep healthy by taking your daily vitamin potions from A Charming Cure. Tell June you heard about this ad and get ten percent off. Whispering Falls Gazette is running a special. Get four weeks free with a six month paid subscription. See Faith Mortimer for details.”

Immediately, I grabbed The Magical Cures Book and tuned out the rest of the morning paper headlines. I had a few minutes before I had to open my homeopathic cure shop, A Charming Cure, to make a quick protection potion. By the sound of Faith’s report, something big was about to happen and I definitely wanted to be prepared.

Not that I thought I needed protection, but you can never be too careful. Faith could’ve been talking about anyone.

Following my finger down the index in the front of my book, I honed in on my intuition to see which protection spell spoke to me. Like always, the print on the right potion became bold, standing out from the rest.

“Ah, ha!” I quickly turned to the spell. “A level twenty-eight spell.”

Level twenty-eight was a stage I had just started to work within and wasn’t having a whole lot of luck in doing so. But I hadn’t given up yet. As we say in the spiritualist world, “practice makes perfect.”

I read the ingredients. Four cups of spring water, one tablespoon of powdered iron, one teaspoon of Vervain, two tablespoons of sea salt, two tablespoons each of frankincense & myrrh, and a pinch of ground ostrich feather from a live ostrich.

The feather might prove to be a bit challenging. Walking behind the counter, I ran my finger along the shelf of ingredients to see if I happened to have any ostrich feathers in stock.

“Of course not,” I sighed, but eyed the sleeping white cat nestled on my stool, “Mr. Prince Charming,” I sang. His fur would have to substitute. I plucked a tuft from his tail.

Meow! Mr. Prince Charming darted under one of the round display tables. The tip of his white tail was the only part of him that could be seen beneath the long red draped tablecloth. His tail slowly dragged on the floor.

“Chicken!” I blew a puff of air toward my bangs to get them out of my eyes. “Besides, you are my Fairy god-cat, not a scaredy cat.”

I stood back and threw a pinch of Vervain into the bubbling cauldron. Shielding my face with my hands, I snuck a peek through the slits of my fingers. My potions had a habit of blowing things up.

The emerald toned tonic frothed, turning an onyx color and letting off a black pepper smell, circling around my fingers and up my nose.

“So far so good!” Cough, cough. I fanned my hands in front of my face. My charm bracelet jingled and jangled in the air. “A little smoky, sure, but nothing tragic.”

Mr. Prince Charming yanked his tail completely under the table, making me a little uneasy. I looked down and grasped my turtle charm, then gently touched the Celtic knot, dog charm, and the small owl. If something was about to happen, Mr. Prince Charming would’ve dropped a charm at my feet or on the counter to keep me out of harm’s way. I was just being paranoid after all of those other…incidents.

Mr. Prince Charming had shown up on my tenth birthday with the turtle charm on his collar, and it wasn’t until a little over a year ago that I was told he had been my Fairy god-cat all this time.

Fairy god-cat…hrrumph! I glared at the table. More like a scaredy cat.

Most little girls dreamed of having a Fairy Godmother like Cinderella. Well let me tell you, that was not how it happened in real life. I got a cat.

I let go of my bracelet, pushed a strand of my black bobbed hair behind my ear and rolled up my sleeves to finish this potion. Grabbing a handful of salt, I threw it in with a chaser of natural spring water and Mr. Prince Charming’s hair.

Vroom!

A puff of smoke shot up and hung over the boiling pot. It fizzed and popped, and slowly I stirred the frothy draught until the bubbles turned into a slow boil.

I closed my eyes, and took a deep breath as I tried to tap into my intuition for any insight of upcoming danger.

Luckily, I have always had a wonderful sense of intuition, but going to Hidden Hall A Spiritualist University for intuition school was one of the best things I had ever done as a spiritualist. Not only did it help me tap deeper into my gift, but it also allowed me to understand my place in the spiritualist world.

When I was a baby, my parents lived in Whispering Falls until my spiritualist dad was murdered. The community moved Darla, my mom who didn’t like to be called Mom, and me to Locust Grove, a nearby “normal” town.

Darla owned A Dose of Darla, which was a booth in the local flea market, and I had grudgingly worked there. What teenage girl wants to be seen at a flea market, much less be running a booth there? Surprisingly she did very well, but passed away right after I graduated from high school, leaving me in charge of A Dose of Darla.

I have to say that I think I did a fabulous job. The more homeopathic cures I made, or you could say potions, the more they sold. Customers started to flock to the booth. When the Whispering Falls Village Council discovered I had inherited my father’s spiritualist gift, they came knocking. Only I didn’t know anything about my gift until I visited Whispering Falls and realized it was the perfect town for my ornery cat and me.

Cough, cough.

“Level twenty-eight sure is smoky.” I reached over and grabbed the Frankincense. My intuition told me to use just a dash.

The smoke cleared and the cauldron stopped bubbling, letting me know the potion making process was finished.

“That wasn’t so bad,” I called in Mr. Prince Charming’s direction. The edge of the tablecloth looked like a beating drum. He batted at the loose hem. Directing my attention back to the potion, I knew I had to pick the perfect bottle.

I scanned the shelf on the wall that was full of empty bottles that just seemed to reveal themselves to me. Usually the right bottle would step up to the plate and glow after the perfect matching potion was made.

“Come on.” I encouraged each bottle not to be shy as I took my finger and went down the line gingerly tapping each one. Nothing. Not a single bottle had a hint of a glow.

Glancing back over them, I couldn’t help but wonder if level twenty-eight required some other sort of intuition skill that I hadn’t quite mastered.

The Magical Cures Potion book, the only thing that Darla left me, flipped shut when I glanced in its direction.

Hmm…I started to walk over to take a look at it, but a bottle suddenly glowed like the sun. “It’s about time,” I said crossly, taking the bottle down from the shelf.

“I wondered what you were going to be used for.” I eyed the twelve-inch hourglass shaped bottle that seemed too large for a potion. You can never have too much protection. . .at least that’s what I thought.

The purple base glowed, showing off the gold specks throughout the glass, and ending in the tip of the glass cork. It was the most beautiful bottle.

“You?” I tapped the bottle and smiled. I had been waiting for the supplier of my smudging ceremonial grass, a Native American who blew in with the wind and out with the breeze, to come in before I used this particular bottle. It had dropped out of the last batch of sage he had brought in. I wasn’t sure if he wanted me to have it or if it was in the bundle by mistake. But it sure was pretty. “Alrighty then.”

Carefully I picked it up and gently placed it on the counter next to the cauldron.

“I do wish I knew how to get a hold of your owner.” I eyed the bottle once more before I gently stirred the potion. The Native American didn’t leave a way to reach him. He always said he knew when I needed a new supply and he was always on time.

I looked back over my shoulder, glancing at the smudging ceremony bundles. There was only one bundle left, which meant he’d be here soon.

With the ladle full of level twenty-eight protection potion, I dripped a little around the perimeter of the shop. What was left would go in the bottle and be put on a shelf for sale. It would sell in no time.

“Thrice around, circle bound. Evil sink into the ground,” I chanted as each drop hit the floor.

The scent of chocolate chip cookies wafted around the room. That was the thing with potions. When I made a potion tailored to a customer, the potion took on the customer’s most favorite scent. But that was before level twenty-eight. I made a mental note to figure out why this protection potion smelled of chocolate chip cookies. Not that I minded, but it definitely wasn’t my favorite smell.

Which reminded me of my delightful stash of Ding Dongs behind the counter. With the last drip dropped, and before I put the leftover potion in the bottle, I took the foiled treat and carefully unwrapped it and took a bite.

Mmm, mmm.

Mr. Prince Charming darted out from under the table and jumped up on the counter. He was the first in line for a pinch. Lucky for him, he wasn’t like every other cat who can’t have chocolate. Fairy god anythings can eat just about everything, and he loved Ding Dongs just as much as I did.

I checked my watch. “I’ve got to get back to work.” It was almost time to open and I wanted to make sure to get the lovely protection potion on the shelf.

Slowly I unscrewed the pointy tip and pulled, and then pulled harder.

“This must be really old.” I tilted it to the side to show Mr. Prince Charming.

Hiss, hiss. His claws hit the glass bottle, shooting him off the counter and to the ground. Landing on his feet, he scurried across the room and scratched at the front door.

“What is your problem today?” I yanked the cork off and the bottle glowed red, burning my hand. “Ouch!”

I dropped the bottle, watching it bounce like one of those kid bouncy balls all around the room.

RROWR! Mr. Prince Charming ran back under one of the tables as the bottle bounced to and fro, landing on its side in the middle of the floor. Indigo smoke spewed up and swirled around, dancing to the sound of a kazoo.

Damn level twenty-eight. I really should have read the Magical Cures Potion book all the way through before I tried my hand at it. “Damn, damn, damn!”

Something told me there was more to level twenty-eight than what was in the potion book, but I was sticking to what I knew.

I reached down to pick the bottle up off the floor. It rolled to the left, and then to the right, making it difficult for me to grab.

Hiss, hiss. Mr. Prince Charming was nowhere to be seen, but he was letting his presence known.

Dropping to my knees, I reached over and pulled up the tablecloth.

“Finally!” the voice boomed out from behind me.

“Ouch!” I rubbed my head after I jumped up and hit it on the table. Potion bottles tumbled down and crashed on the floor.

“Oops,” the same voice said, only a little more meekly this time. “I guess I should have said what I’m supposed to say.”

My mouth dropped open.

“Yep. Your wish is my command.” The large purple man stood before me with his hands on his hips. Rotating his body side to side, his bones cracked with every turn. He took his hands and placed one on each side of his face, twisting his head until it made a popping noise. “It gets a little cramped in there, especially after five-hundred years.”

“You did it this time,” Madame Torres, my snarky crystal ball, chirped from on top of the counter. “This isn’t good. I’m going to have to agree with Mr. Prince Charming on this one.”

“Well, you could’ve warned me,” I hollered out, not taking my eyes off the man. Not because he scared me, but because I’d never seen a seven-foot tall purple-tinted man with a belly protruding over a yellow banana hammock and a pair of gold shoes sporting a jingle bell on each pointy tip. “What?” He glanced down his body to see what I was staring at. He patted his belly. “Yeah, I’m a little out of shape after five-hundred years.”

“I. . .” I stumbled when I remember how the Gazette said something about a purple…hhmm…I tapped the palm of my hand on my head trying to remember exactly what the purple comment was.

Purple? Nah, it had to be a coincidence, even though he had created a little storm in my shop. But that was going to stop right now.

Hiss, hiss, Mr. Prince Charming wasn’t amused with Whispering Falls newspaper headlines or the man.

“You have to unsubscribe from the newspaper and get that…that…whatever that is back in his bottle!” Madame Torres turned a flaming red, glowing throughout the entire shop. Her purple eyes appeared, taking up all the space in the ball. “Half of Faith’s newspaper stories don’t even come true! She’s just too young to be a spiritualist. She needs to go back to Hidden Hall and work on her clairaudience skills.”

Madame Torres rambled on and on about poor Faith Mortimer’s spiritual gift. Granted, she should be able to hear anything inaudible from spirits, wind, or angels when they are predicting the future. There was one small, well, big problem. She only got half of it right. “And he is nothing but trouble I tell you!”

“Argh!” I was at a loss for words. The man hovered in the air with his arms crossed. I held up a finger. “Wait right there.”

There had to be something in the Magical Cure Potion book…something, anything.

“I knew I should’ve taken those potion classes with all the levels.” This had level twenty-eight written all over it.

“I’m waiting to hear what you want.” Sarcasm dripped from his voice. “Honestly, I don’t think you know what you want.”

My mouth popped open, and my brows drew together. “Great, that’s all I need…another smart-alecky spiritualist to deal with. Trust me, as soon as I figure out how to get you permanently out of that bottle so I can put my protective potion in, the better off we all will be.”

“Amen.” Madame Torres clapped and did spirit fingers. “And good luck with that task.”

“What do you mean?” It was the first bit of advice she had offered up. “Madame Torres?” I questioned the coal-black crystal ball and tapped on the glass. She had gone into hiding. “Fine, be that way.”

Before I could make it around the cauldron and look at my potion book, the front door of the shop flew open blowing in a gust of wind and Mr. Prince Charming ran out. The purple man disappeared into thin air and his bottle magically landed right back on the shelf where I found it.

The bell that hangs over the front door dinged as the Karima sisters bolted in.

“Did you hear the newspaper headlines?” Constance Karima waddled over to the broken bottles with her sister, Patience, closely behind her. “See,” she pointed to the bottles and eyed Patience, “looks like the storm has already started in here.”

“Now, now.” I grabbed the broom and dustpan. I had to defuse the situation before it got any messier. Making sure mister purple man was staying put on the shelf, I kept one eye on him while I swept up the mess he had created. “Mr. Prince Charming did it when he was playing with the hem of the tablecloth.” I pointed out the unraveled red thread. “You saw him dart out the door as soon as you opened it.”

“Yep.” Patience wrung her hands together. She curled her nose, causing her beady black eyes to squint. With her nose in the air, she took big long sniffs. She repeated, “Already started.”

 

Chapter Two

The headlines in today’s paper were a little strange and making a little morning visit to Faith Mortimer seemed to be in my future.

Faith was young, fresh out of college and starting to learn how powerful being a fortune teller could be.

“Are you going to find out what she’s talking about?” Constance twiddled her little plump fingers. “And can you ask if there is going to be any deaths in the future?”

“Yes, deaths.” Patience repeated, but didn’t take her bulging eyes off the potion bottle on the counter. The purple man’s bottle faintly glowed. She took a step toward it. Quickly, I untied my apron and casually tossed it on the counter, covering most of his glimmer.

“No. I’m not asking about any deaths.” I brushed my hands off, and then crossed my arms.

“Single handedly, you are killing our business, June Heal.” Constance’s housedress swooshed as she shifted to the right, planting her hands on her hips. Her dress hiked up on one side revealing a tattered pair of black pointy-heeled shoes that were warn around the toes, making them a little more round than pointy. “And I mean that literally.”

Patience’s nose curled, causing her lips to furl. Intently she stared at me, making me a bit uncomfortable. They owned Two Sisters and a Funeral Home and handled all the services for all of Whispering Falls and most of the surrounding cities.

I’ve been told that the sisters had a way of making a service feel a little more like a celebration of life instead of the smell of death. Everyone walked away from A Two Sisters and a Funeral services, saying they felt their loved one was there and it was a little…well…magical.

I hadn’t figured out their entire business, but my gut told me that I was about to learn more than I wanted to know.

“I’m sorry you feel that way, but I haven’t saved any soul that was meant to go to the great beyond.” I walked around, taking a few bottles from here and there, replacing the ones that had taken a tumble from the little storm that happened during the mister purple guy entrance.

“You give them all sorts of witchy medicine to prolong a broken heart, gout, or even protection.” Her eyes drew together, casting a shadow on the balls of her cheeks.

“Mm, hmm. Protection.” Patience’s eyes darted toward the front window of the store. Petunia was flailing her hands above her head as she ran down the street. Her empty dog leash that was usually attached to her wrist was replaced with a long rope that reminded me of a cowboy’s lariat.

We hurried over to get a better look. I opened the shades fully and we glued our noses to the glass.

“Is that a…” Patience Karima pushed her glasses on top of her nose.

“An ostrich,” I gasped, unable to take my eyes off the plush feathers. “I need one of those feathers.”

“What?” Patience snarled.

“Come on!” I tugged on Patience’s arm to get her to follow me.

“I’m not going out there.” Constance declared. “I need protection!”

We all stood there in awe.

The ostrich was getting the best of Petunia as they darted around and around in a circle.

“What are you doing, sister?” Constance toe-tapped her shoe and crossed her arms.

Patience was jabbing to the right and then to the left, looking as if she and the ostrich were in some sort of battle.

A bird and several small sticks flew out of Petunia’s messy up-do as she tackled the feathery beady-eyed bird to the ground and threw her legs over the body of the creature. The ostrich jumped up and darted around as Petunia rode it like a horse, guiding it back to Glorybee.

“I guess that is one of the animals Faith was talking about.” I referred to Faith’s little newspaper report. “Ostrich,” I sighed, making a mental note to stop by Glorybee. I did need some cat supplies, and maybe I could score a couple of ostrich feathers while I was there.

I could easily redo that level twenty-eight potion.

“Yep. All coming true.” Constance shook her finger in my face, and drew near. Her eyes looked deep into my soul. “I’m telling you, June Heal, you’d better get this village back on its feet or we are all in trouble.”

“All in trouble,” Patience echoed in a hushed whispered, never once taking her eyes off that ostrich.

end of excerpt

A Charming Wish

is available in the following formats:

Mar 11, 2013

ISBN-13: 978-1483903866

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