The Mayor was murdered?
And a magical plant from my garden is to blame?
Even if I wanted that jerk dead, running my Bed & Breakfast takes all my time. There’s no way I could have snuck a murder into my busy schedule, but obviously, someone I know did.
They stole a plant from my garden and poisoned the Mayor. It couldn’t be my hard-working assistant, the delivery driver, or my gardener, could it be? And I’m sure it wasn’t the sexy water witch who spends an absurd amount of time staying at my little Bed & Breakfast…but he does know way more than he should about magical plants.
When the police ask for my cooperation, I begin to investigate myself. Who would steal from me? Frame me? None of my friends look like they could murder anyone…but what does a murderer look like?
But don’t worry, I have this all under control.
I’m a potion witch and have a few tricks up my sleeve.
You’ll love this new paranormal witch cozy mystery because it has everything you want to read about: magic, witches, potions, murder, and romance.
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Books in the Series:
Here’s the first chapter of Magically Poisoned.
In Moonstruck Manor’s luxurious lobby, my assistant Isabella leaned against the registration desk with the phone against her neck. “Aubrey, Room Nine is on the phone. Mrs. Abernathy clogged the bathtub drain with her kitsune’s fur.”
I moaned. “Again?”
“Shh.” Isabella warned with her finger pressed against her red lips, then lifted the phone to her ear. “Aubrey says she’ll be right up to fix it.” Isabella hung up the phone.
Alfred and Layla Abernathy had been at my bed and breakfast for a full week and clogged the drain five times already. “Those creatures have way too much fur with those bushy tails of theirs. I’m going to have to restrict pets to cats and small dogs only.” And non-magical pets, I muttered under my breath.
“Yeah, but Foxy is so cute! I love all three of his tails!” Isabella picked up her dust rag and returned to cleaning the wall of antique potion-making equipment on display behind the desk.
“And obviously smelly,” I added. “But I’ve only had one complaint about Foxy, and that was the last time they stayed here. I enjoy the Abernathys and would hate for them not to come.” In fact, I enjoyed all my guests. Each of them shared experiences with me that I had never had. It was like living a thousand lives, even if I never left the grounds.
Watching Isabella clean was such a contradiction. She had a degree in the performing arts with dreams of becoming a singer someday, and she looked like one with her lush black hair and hourglass figure. Not someone who answered phones and cleaned up.
Isabella was still in her twenties, so she had lots of time to achieve her goals, unlike me. I was nearly forty and pretty much settled in my routine. Besides, I had nothing on the beauty of Isabella. Where her skin was creamy and pale, mine was tan and splotchy from my time out gardening. Her hair was a smooth silk-like black and mine was a frizzy, light brown mess. None of that mattered anyway, since I had nobody to impress, but I wondered why, at twenty-seven, Isabella was still single.
My wire drain snake was still sitting on the shelving right by the garage entrance, beside my garden shovel and gloves, from the last time I used it. When I received this house in the divorce, I didn’t think it would convert me from a witch who dabbled in potions to a full-time maintenance woman. Too bad there wasn’t a concoction I could brew that would repair a one-hundred-and-fifty-year-old mansion turned bed and breakfast.
There wasn’t enough money in the few rooms I rented to hire a maintenance man…or woman. I took care of all thirteen bedrooms by myself, with the help of Isabella who did some cleaning three times weekly, and Ezra, a retired man from down the road who did a bit of my lawn care. I cooked, did most the cleaning, the repairs, and handled reservations during my fifteen-hour day.
Heck, who was I kidding. I even slept here, but the happiness the bed and breakfast brought my guests was worth it.
I hiked up two flights of stairs to the third floor, knocking on Room Nine’s door. “Maintenance.” I called.
The door opened to a plump woman holding her bright orange fox-like pet in her arms, wrapped in one of my big, white fluffy towels. I was sure it’d take multiple washings to get all the colorful fur unwoven from the terry cloth. Why did I allow animals, again?
Because half my clients were witches of some type and never went anywhere without their familiar. I lifted the drain snake and smiled. “I’ve come to the rescue!”
On the bed sat Mr. Abernathy, with an even bigger belly than his wife’s. The room was small, and I had to squeeze around them in order to reach the bathtub my ex-husband thought would attract guests. Each room had a tub right near the foot of their bed.
Honestly, I don’t think that’s what drew my customers. It was more that Moonstruck Manor was the only bed and breakfast that catered to the supernatural, this side of the Mississippi. We were listed on the paranormal web and when the supernatural traveled in this realm, they stayed with me. Unfortunately, they didn’t travel here often enough.
I knelt behind the water-filled tub, and slowly lowered the wire down the drain, turning it and twisting it, bringing up a huge wad of fur resembling a drowned rat. With a gulp and a gurgle from the drain, water began to swirl and splash up, covering my face in kitsune fur. Never a dull day here at my charming paranormal bed and breakfast.
In the divorce, Sam grabbed the money, and by default, I was saddled with the house. I’m sure it was a joke on me, as the bed and breakfast was Sam’s passion, but he lured me in with the massive garden out back, telling me I could have all the time I wanted to work on my potions. When we were first divorced, determination to show my ex that I was capable of anything kept me going. Now, I find comfort in the routine.
As the last of the water drained away, I smiled at my guests. Alfred was an elf, not the Lord of the Rings kind, but more like the Keebler Cookie kind. Layla was a witch, but sensing her magic, she wasn’t very good at whatever it was she did. In all our conversations, I never really approached the subject. I listened to many stories of their children and, of course, Foxy. They were in their fifties and retired. Alfred had been lucky in the stock market in his younger years.
“You’re all set. What are you two going to do the rest of the day?” I asked.
Layla ran a hand down Foxy’s head and scratched under his chin. “Alfred and I are going to go on a little boat ride down on the lake. Those swan paddle boats you have sure look romantic.”
I hoped the boats would stay afloat with the two of them inside. Those paddle boats have been down at the lake since Sam still managed Moonstruck Manor—over five years ago. “Have a great time! People love the lake. I’m surprised you haven’t taken a boat ride yet. You’ve stayed here so many times already.”
“Alfred’s a bit afraid of water,” Mrs. Abernathy said.
“Ah, well, enjoy!” I called out as I crossed my fingers behind my back and headed out of the room, turning around to smack right into Oliver Redmond’s broad chest. “I’m sorry,” I breathed, rubbing my flattened nose. As I scrambled away, the bit of drain snake in my hand twisted and seemed to have a mind of its own, whipping my best guest in the cheek and leaving a black smear down his face. “I’m so sorry,” I repeated, pulling my hand away from my nose to wipe the smudge off his skin, but I only made it bigger.
He smiled a perfect, white smile. Oliver was good looking. Who was I kidding? He was hot—if you liked younger men—and a frequent client of Moonstruck Manor. Business brought him here least every month. He worked for a law firm in New York City, but had clients in our closest town of Black Hallows. Moonstruck Manor was a bit out of his way, but he liked how personal it was compared to the big, corporate hotel that his law firm preferred.
Plus, he found he could be himself. It wasn’t just anywhere that an elemental witch with an affinity to water could stay and sneak in a midnight swim in a real natural body of water…or have a bathtub right in his room.
Perhaps the bathtubs were a good idea my ex had—his only good idea.
“It’s not a problem.” Oliver rubbed his cheek, starting to take the smear away. “It’s always a pleasure to bump into you.” Oliver was smooth—too smooth. He must have a harem of ladies back home.
“Aubrey?” Isabella called up the stairway. “The police are at the door.”
The police? “Excuse me,” I said with a smile. “I gotta go.”
Oliver stepped aside. “Maybe I’ll see you in the garden tonight after my swim?”
I nodded. “Yeah, I’ve been trying to get out there all week. My hostas need a pruning.”
When he flashed me a smile, I took off down the stairs, curious to see what brought the police way out here to Moonstruck Manor.
* * * * *
END OF CHAPTER 1 – Thank you for reading!