I’m busy working Magic Flirts! which should be out this summer. Here’s a sample of the first story, Hex Addict. Enjoy!
Vicky Valentino snagged a stool at the bar and ordered a drink. It was the perfect night for love: a full moon, a crowded room, a tingle in her tummy. That feeling usually meant something amazing was going to happen.
She didn’t always hit bars looking for couples to cast her love spells upon. But like it or not, that’s where most of her matches were made. Some might think a bar was a place for desperate souls, or those who just wanted a fling. But she’d made most of her true blue love matches in bars and taverns and night clubs across Boston. Her family had been doing it for generations in old pubs and church socials, with mixtures of herbs and potions and spells. But modern technology rocked. There was nothing like programming a spell into your wand. It was accurate and fast and fun.
Vicky looked around the bar for a potential match. Sometimes she snuck into a wedding reception to do her work. People always seemed to have love on their mind there: Will I ever find it? Do I want to find it? Is that dark-haired hottie across the room looking at me? High school reunions were good possibilities, too. Once in a while it would happen somewhere unexpected, like on the subway or right on the street. But there was nothing like a good old fashioned bar to help the right people fall in love.
Vicky sipped a cocktail as she surveyed the room. She’d ordered a virgin daiquiri so she could think straight. She wasn’t a messy matchmaker. She was dealing with people’s lives, after all. With the divorce rate among humans at fifty percent, she had to be careful. AHA—the Agency for Human Advancement—worked to improve lives for humans, not mess things up. Some in the witching world scoffed at what she did, but she took great pride in helping people find happiness. Besides, a botched spell would mean a visit from the Council and give them one more reason to state their case that witches shouldn’t meddle with human affairs. Like Drake Vanderly. As mean as he was handsome, he was an enforcer who seemed to enjoy tracing a caster’s every move, hoping to find a misstep. Even though she’d never left him a mess to clean up, the two of them had gotten into plenty of arguments.
“It’s not meddling, it’s assistance,” she always liked to tell him. “It’s charity work, really.”
His dark eyes would narrow. “It’s none of our business. The less attention we draw from the humans, the better. Remember a little thing called Salem?” He always harped on and on about the Salem witch trials.
“Those people weren’t even witches!” she’d say.
“Exactly. But look what happened when humans thought they were. Let Cupid deal with humans and their love.”
“There’s not enough of them to make a difference,” she’d say.
“And one busy body witch such as yourself is going to make a difference?” he’d ask.
“There are dozens of us working as matchmakers, and I’ve helped more than two hundred couples fall in love, so I think I’m making a difference.”
Their arguments would go on and on like that until the two of them would eventually storm off until their next fight.
It was true, though. Cupid provided a similar service. Occasionally when she was out working, she’d bump into a member from Cupid’s crew. At least they valued help from the witch matchmakers. And frankly, the humans should appreciate it most of all. She’d much rather be hit be a spell from a wand than an arrow from a bow. The humans didn’t remember the sharp prick of love delivered by cupid, but it certainly hurt when it happened. She’d seen it before.
But cupid wasn’t here tonight. The bar was packed, so she was hopeful for some soul-mate action. Two people kissing in the corner caught her eye, but they didn’t have a blue hue around them that would suggest a potential love match. Their hue was red hot lust. Some matchmakers would try to force it anyway, but not Vicky. She only wanted to handle true blue love. “No future there,” she mumbled to herself, frowning at the couple.
“Why do you have to work tonight?” her friend Grace whined behind her.
“I took an extra shift,” Vicky explained.
“So dedicated,” Kat said, teasing her.
Her friends Kat and Grace were matchmakers, too. They were off duty, but since they all planned to hit the bars in the magic district later, they were tagging along while she worked. Yep, bars were popular matchmaking grounds for witches, too. Not that Vicky had time or interest for finding love for herself. She’d tried before, but it was hard to find a good witch. So many of them hid their true selves with spells and enchantments. You never knew what you were really meeting. It all seemed so much easier for humans who couldn’t hide behind anything more than makeup or clothes.
One guy Vicky had dated appeared to be tall and well built with wavy blond hair, always ready with a funny joke or comment. After a few dates, she discovered he was one-hundred-twenty-something years old, hunched over and grizzled, with a joke writer feeding him lines.
Another guy had turned out to be a twelve year old with very advanced charm skills. Luckily, before things had progressed to the kissing stage, his height charm wore off and he shrunk before her eyes. Honestly, sometimes she thought she should provide matchmaking services for the witching world, instead. But love spells were forbidden in their world. So, it was very hard to meet the right witch. That was probably one of the reasons she loved her job so much.
Vicky scanned the hues of all the people in the room. Only people ready for true love were surrounded by blue hues. Sometimes people who didn’t think they were looking for love had the hue; many of the people who were looking for love didn’t. She’d seen a lot of heartbroken people surrounded by the healing hue of yellow as their hearts mended. Nothing she could do to help them no matter how much they wanted love. But when she found a true blue, it was her mission to guide that person to another blue.
She noticed a handsome man sitting at the bar, turning his glass round and round as he stared across the room. There was a pale blue hue around him. Vicky’s heart kicked up a notch. If she could find someone else in the bar surrounded with a hue that same shade of blue, she had a potential match. Her throat tightened just thinking about it. Casting a soul mate spell had a certain effect on a witch.
She followed his gaze and spotted the cute brunette he was checking out. Vicky sucked in a breath. Her blue hue was very similar to his. But the woman hadn’t noticed him. Sometimes, people with matching blues would find each other. Usually though, they needed a little help from her.
“Girls, get ready to feel the love because I just found two true blues.” Vicky hopped off the barstool and pulled her wand out of her purse, ready to conjure her strongest love spell. She turned around, looking for her friends. It wasn’t everyday a girl found two potential soul mates. Kat and Grace would want to see this, and she couldn’t wait to feel that rush she got every time she made a match. She tipped up on her toes, scanning the bar for her friends. A frown creased her face when she spotted the tall, dark-haired witch at the door, watching her.
She groaned. It was Drake Vanderly. Talk about killing the mood.
Smiling, Drake pushed off the wall and came toward her. “Busy meddling with the humans again?”
Vicky ignored him and programmed the spell into her wand disguised as a cell phone. Here we go again. “It’s charity work, Drake.” She had to shout over the racket in the bar. How any humans hooked up without her help in a place like this was beyond her imagination.
“It’s a mess waiting to happen, one that I’m just going to have to clean up when it goes bust.” He crossed his arms, biceps bulging.
Those have got to be fake, she thought. Probably had access to the best spell makers in town to get a body like his. “I don’t make mistakes.”
“Your time could be better spent elsewhere. Why not let cupid’s workers handle this? They train for this sort of thing.”
“So do we. And cupid’s angels can’t be everywhere. You know why we casters do what we do.” She glared at him, and let her eyes flash yellow.
He flashed an orange color right back at her. “I know why the agency tries to get humans to fall in love. Saving the planet and all that. But why do you do it? It’s been six years, you’ve broken all the matchmaking records. Most people would move onto something more challenging. Or less challenging, like management. Yet here you still are. Casting hexes.”
“They’re love spells, not hexes.” Vicky flipped her long, blond hair over her shoulder. “And here’s a better question: don’t you have anything better to do than check up on me? Like you said, I’m the top matchmaker. I don’t need supervision.”
“It’s true, I don’t have to fix too many mismatches from you.”
“You don’t have to fix any of my spells. I’ve never had a mismatch,” she clarified.
“But still, you do enjoy the hunt more than any of the others.” He took a step closer to her. “And I want to know why. Don’t worry, I’m here out of personal curiosity, not professional.” His voice was deep, and he talked slowly, like he meant to force someone to listen to him longer than they’d like.
Sadly, she’d probably be dreaming of his voice later that night. Drake might be a total pain in her broom, but he was a gorgeous annoyance. And now he was tailing her?
At five foot eleven, she was only a few inches shorter than him, making it all that much easier to shoot him a nasty glare. She tipped up her chin and narrowed her eyes. “Desperate times. The humans need as much love in their world as they can manage. I like thinking I’ve made a difference.”
He shook his head. “I don’t think that’s why you do it.”
Panicked, she almost dropped her wand. Does he know the real reason why?