Witching After Forty

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Ava and Drew are getting married!

SQUEE!

But it’s not going to be easy. C’mon, this is Ava we’re talking about.

As her powers go completely bonkers, everything that can go wrong suddenly does. After all, she’s a witch and her beloved is technically a witch hunter.

Drew’s family isn’t helping matters either. Everyone Ava loves turns out to be a creature that freaks them all out.

Witches? Check.
Vampires? Check.
Shifters? Check.
Ghouls? Check (Check, check.)
Add in the devil, a snarky talking cat, and the fae (boy, they are not helpful at all).

It seems like the only direction anyone will be marching is away from each other as quickly as possible.

The last thing Ava needs as she tries to get to the altar is an old nemesis turning up, so surprise, surprise that’s exactly what happens. As chaos wreaks havoc for the witches and hunters alike, Luci decides that now is the perfect time to go MIA. The devil is in the details, and it turns out no one knows anything about this demon king after all.

Will it be hell on earth or happily ever after for the newlyweds?
No one’s really sure yet…

 

 

Excerpt

Chapter One: Ava 

“Negative.” 

Why was I sad? I wasn’t sure, to be honest. I was so beyond my baby-making days. Then again, the thought of having a little bundle of joy and a little piece of Drew growing inside me wasn’t such a bad thing. 

I’d only had about an hour for the idea to fester. Once Larry and Zoey had gotten back from the closest drug store with the home pregnancy test, Drew and I had rushed to my bathroom. Then I’d peed on the stick. 

Three minutes later. No baby. 

Drew slipped his arm around my shoulders and pulled me close as we balanced on the edge of the tub and looked at the pregnancy test. “Have you had any other symptoms, besides your powers being off kilter?” 

Shaking my head against his shoulder, I sighed and breathed in his clean, citrusy scent. The new body wash I’d ordered smelled divine on him. “No. I don’t know why I thought this would say positive. It’s the least likely option, really.” I was on birth control to help regulate my crazy midlife hormones. And getting to the age where a pregnancy would be dangerous for both me and the baby. It wasn’t ideal, me being knocked up. 

Could someone tell my heart, please? 

Lifting up my mood wasn’t going to be easy, but nothing had changed. “I still have to figure out why my powers still aren’t working right. And try to fix it. If something happens to us, I’m not going to be much help.” 

“Listen.” Drew took my hands and caught my gaze. “The only thing that’s going to happen is we’re going to get married, and then leave for one heck of a spectacular honeymoon. Everything will be great.” 

How dare he? Pulling back, I glared at my soon-to-be husband. “After all we’ve been through, you’re going to put something like that out into the universe?” 

“What?” He had that look on his face like he thought I was crazy but was going to placate me. “Put what out there?” 

“Now that you’ve said that everything is going to go well, something will go wrong, absolutely.” I jumped up, then pulled him to his feet. “Turn around in a circle three times or spit over your fingers or something.” There had to be a way to break the curse he’d just set on us. “Salt! I need salt.” 

Rushing out of the bathroom, I bustled down the stairs and completely ignored the startled gazes of pretty much everyone I knew and loved as I rushed toward the kitchen. 

Was I acting a little bit insane? 

Yeap. But what else was new? Insane was my life. 

Was this behavior keeping me from crying about a baby I was never pregnant with? 

Also yeap. 

I grabbed the saltshaker and hurled salt over my shoulder to dispel whatever bad omen Drew had birthed into the world. 

Ugh, birthed was a bad word choice.   

“Ow!” Olivia squalled behind me. “What’d you do that for?” 

Whirling around, I found my best friend dancing around the kitchen with her hands covering her eyes. “Oh, it burns.” 

Sam hurried from the room and returned a moment later with my bottle of contact solution. Of course he knew I kept some in my office. He knew me so well, even though we hadn’t been as close since I’d moved away from Shipton all those years ago. Even after moving back, I was closer now to Olivia than Sam. 

It was weird how life worked sometimes. 

We helped her rinse her eyes out, and then I had to explain my antics while everyone crowded in the doorway to watch. “Drew said something about everything between now and the wedding going smoothly. I was trying to compensate by doing every ward-off-evil thing I could think of.” 

“Ava.” Olivia glared at me with blazing red eyes. “Forget Drew’s faux pas. What did the test say?” 

Oh. That. “It was negative.” 

Their shoulders slumped, sort of as one unit. It was a little bit comical. If I wasn’t so disappointed still, I would’ve laughed at them. Everyone rushed forward and soon I was enveloped in hugs from my mom and dad, aunt, and the best friends I could’ve ever asked for. 

“Come on,” Alfred said. “I’ve got a cup of tea ready.” He guided me through the sea of bodies and to the kitchen table where everyone continued to fuss over me. 

“I’m okay,” I said after taking a swallow of tea to get Alfie off my back. “I’m a little disappointed, but honestly it’s nice that I won’t have to get up at all hours of the night.” 

“You do that anyway,” Zoey said. “There’s always something going on.” 

“Haven’t you ever heard of declaring your intentions?” Drew asked, finally joining the rest of us in the kitchen. 

Larry nodded, his head ever-so-slightly wobbly, even now, with him fully fleshed out. It never did want to reconnect correctly. “I have. You speak out what you will to happen in your life, and it will manifest.” 

I tried to cover up my snort with another swig of tea, but it was hot, so I ended up gasping instead. “No, that’s not how that works, my love. If you declare something like that, the universe does everything in its power to prove you wrong.” 

That set off an argument amongst my friends, each of them trying to explain why their side of the debate was more reasonable. 

Olivia used the cacophony to start pushing people out of the kitchen. “Go,” she urged. “Argue elsewhere.” 

Eventually, it was just us in the room. Sam and Drew had wandered out onto the back porch with Uncle Wade and Owen. Sam hadn’t been a vampire long, and being in the crowd was probably a lot for him.  

“I’m sorry.” Olivia scooted her chair close and put her head on my shoulder. “I really wanted you to have another baby. I was gearing up to convince Sam we needed one, too, so we could be pregnant together.” 

Aw, that would’ve been fun, but… “With the way our lives have been going?” 

Olivia snorted, and we both dissolved into giggles. “Can’t you just see Luci babysitting?” she asked. 

I looked over at her and my giggles quieted. “Yes, actually. He probably would’ve loved it. Every minute of it.” 

Well, crap. Now I was sad again. 

Distraction in the form of a firm rap on the door saved me from settling into melancholy. I stood to answer, but Alfred was closer. Except, before he got close enough, it opened on its own.  

Winston must’ve known—and liked—whoever was on the other side of the door. He didn’t welcome very many people with open doors. 

An older woman, tall with short silver hair, glided through the door. Someone was on the porch behind her, but I couldn’t see since the outside light wasn’t on. 

If Winston was being so helpful, he could’ve turned it on. As if he’d heard me, the porch flared into light, illuminating a large man holding several suitcases. He was thinner, but not overly thin. More lean muscles like he worked out. His hair was dark brown and he looked super grumpy.  

I opened my mouth to welcome this person and ask who they were, but Lucy-Fur appeared from somewhere in the living room, beating me to it. She stopped short, her wide blue eyes surprised against her pristine white fur. “Who the hell are you?” 

Everyone dissolved into quiet giggles at her question, but I wanted to throttle the sassy feline. “Lucy!” I  exclaimed. “Don’t be rude.” 

If a cat could shrug, it sure looked like she did as she sort of lifted her shoulder into one. “What? I’ve never seen her in my life and she’s just waltzing into my house.” 

Hurrying forward, I glared at Mr. Snoozerton’s girlfriend. “It’s my house, and you hush.” Looking at the older woman in my entryway, I held out my hands. “I’m so sorry. She’s got a mouth on her and no sense of decorum.” 

Rather than replying, the woman sniffed and looked around. “I expected as much.” 

I fisted my hands and was about to inform this broad who she was talking to when Drew walked in from the back porch with Wade and Sam.  “Grandmother? What are you doing here?” 

Holy freaking crap. She was Drew’s grandmother. I recognized them now from a family portrait hanging in Drew‘s living room. Dang it. The silver hair should’ve tipped me off.  

Pearl Walker had an intimidating reputation. She was the matriarch of the hunters, and as cold as ice. Drew loved her to pieces, but at the same time, he knew who she was. Not someone to mess with. 

Hell, she was everything he’d walked away from. 

She wasn’t the baking cookies and knitting kind of grandma. She was the kind of grandma who gave crossbows and flamethrowers as Christmas gifts. 

Standing in the foyer, Pearl looked up at Drew, and the woman’s expression didn’t crack one whit. No gladness to see her grandson. No emotion whatsoever. 

Freaking ice.  

“Isn’t there a wedding coming? Shouldn’t I be here?” 

“Of course, you’re always welcome,” I said while Drew moved around his grandmother to take some of the suitcases from the man waiting patiently behind her. “Please come in.” 

“Nice of you to finally ask me,” she grumbled and moved toward the living room as Drew greeted the man behind. 

A while back, Drew and I had the conversation about inviting her and he hadn’t wanted to, because there would be no way she’d ever accept me for who I was—a witch-necromancer hybrid.  

“Ian,” he said, sounding genuinely pleased. “Get in here, little brother.” Ah, so this was Ian. I greeted him with a warm smile. 

Ian gave Drew an awkward hug while I looked him over. They had similar features, but Ian’s nose was flatter and his eyes brown rather than Drew’s vivid blue. He wore an enormous knife strapped to his hip, too. Bit of overkill around here, but okay. His expression was… less than pleased. 

Turning to follow his gaze, I understood. Pearl stood in the entry to the living room, utterly silent as an absolute mob of people stared back at her. 

And Zoey’s tiger ears were out. Welcome to our normal house, hunter family. “Uh, Zo?” I whispered. 

Her ears twitched as she heard me. I pointed to the top of my head, and a few seconds later, she grunted, and the ears disappeared. 

I swept my gaze across the rest of the assembled crowd to see if anyone else was looking less-than-human. They all looked normal, except for Winnie. She was half-naked again, wearing what looked like a party dress that probably had to be taped over her boobs so it didn’t expose her nipples. Thank the gods for small favors? 

She’d been doing that a lot lately. Ever since she got a younger, Playboy body, at least. 

Pearl sighed and turned around to walk into the mostly empty kitchen. “I’m here to see if I need to put a stop to this wedding.”