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Wishful Thinking
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ISBN-10: 1-55404-336-0
Genre: Romance/Fantasy/SF
eBook Length: 64 Pages
Published: February 2011

From inside the flap

Heartbroken Rory tries to resurrect her lost love. On Halloween night she draws a pentagram on the floor, lights some candles and casts a spell. But instead of bringing back her lost fiancť, she snags Gareth, a neíer-do-well and general all-round scoundrel cursed to wander forever for his sins. Rory does everything in her power to send him back, but nothing works. Sheís stuck with a sexy, rogue ghost.

Wishful Thinking (Excerpt)


Rain spattered the cobblestone street. Aurora tugged on the lapels of her sweater, trying to keep the nightís chill from working its way under her collar and down her spine. She hadnít planned on rain. Then again, she hadnít planned on being out alone on Halloween night wandering down the townís most spooky street.

Old town was almost deserted at that hour as the clock ticked toward 11 pm. One hour to accomplish her goal. Pulling her sweater tighter still, she hurried on trying to ignore the wind that picked up, throwing fat, icy raindrops in her face. The wind pushed against her, throwing her momentarily backward. It was as if nature conspired against her, trying to prevent her from reaching her destination.

The sign appeared seemingly out of nowhere. Tinaís Spell Shop she read, squinting against the rain. Potions and Potables.

Lightning crackled overhead. Rory jumped. Hesitating, she stood on the street in what had become a veritable downpour. This was what she came for. Why was she hesitating now? In an hour, the opportunity would be gone forever. She hauled on the door handle. For a moment she was certain it was locked, that the proprietor had taken notice of the weather and left early, leaving the neon sign that said Open íTil Midnight still lit.

But then the door sprang open, admitting her to the gloom inside.

The inside of the shop smelled musty and damp from the rain. Wan light sifted in from the streetlights, diffused by the water-laden air. The old floor creaked under foot as she stepped inside and pulled the rickety door shut behind her. Rory looked around in the dim light. The interior of the shop was lit entirely with candles. They burned on the edges of the display cases, dripping frozen waterfalls of black wax. It would make a huge mess to clean up tomorrow, she thought absently. With another glance at the amount of wax on the counter she realized the candles had been there for a long time.

"Never can have too many candles," said a voice out of the gloom. The owner of the voice stepped into a circle of light. Rory bit back a gasp.

A green-faced witch strode toward her complete with a beak nose and a giant wart on her chin. Upon closer examination Rory realized both the nose and the wart were prosthetics expertly applied, as was the green makeup. By her slender figure Rory guessed that the person beneath the Halloween costume had to be about her age.

As Rory studied her, the witch laughed. "Most of my colleagues wouldnít be caught dead dressed like this, but this is a tourist area and I like the theatre of it all."

"Well, it is Halloween," Rory agreed.

"And what a night for it," the witch said, staring out the windows at the miserable night beyond. "I really count on the extra business at Halloween. But I think the weather has kept everyone in tonight. I was just about to close up shop."

"Well... if youíre closing... " Rory said, courage leaving her all at once.

"Oh, no problem." The witch tore her attention form the rain and centered Rory in her probing gaze. Her eyes were amber, she realized suddenly. They made a striking contrast against the green makeup. "Youíre the only customer Iíve had in hours. You have my full attention. What can I get you?"

"Iím looking for a book of spells," Rory said, then added. "Nothing complicated, though. Iím new at all of this."

The gaze grew more intense. "Are you certain thatís what you need?" the witch asked. "Magic is not something to be tampered with lightly."

"Itís just for research." Rory regretted the lie instantly. The witch, for all her theatrical makeup, seemed like a nice person.

Those amber eyes gave her another once over. Rory couldnít be sure whether she believed her or not, but she strode off toward a towering bookshelf. "Iím sure I have a spell book for beginners up here somewhere." A ladder led to the upper shelves. Putting one foot on the ladder, she turned back. "Iím Tina, by the way. Help yourself to some mulled cider there in the caldron. Itíll warm you up."

"Thanks." Rory knew Tina expected her to give her own name, but the less she knew the better. If she knew what Rory really intended to do with the spell book, she certainly wouldnít be offering her refreshment.

Rory wandered off in search of the cider. The smell of spice wafted from a black cauldron. She stirred it once with the ladle and poured a measure into a mug shaped like a skeletal fist. The cider sent a wave of warmth all the way to her belly. She hadnít realized how chilled sheíd gotten from wandering about in the rain.

Tina climbed down from the ladder carrying a small book. She blew the dust off the cover, allowing Rory to see that the jacket had been designed to look like a miniature grimoire. The title Simple Spells for Beginners was written in blood red ink. "I can give you a ten percent discount on this one," Tina said. "On account of the dust."

Rory glanced down at her watch. Eleven fifteen already. She really had to get going. "Thatíd be great. Iíll take it."

In a swish of black robes, Tina strode to the cash register. "Cash?" she asked hopefully.

"Sure," Rory said.

Trying not to look as anxious as she felt, she handed over the money, while Tina put the book in a black plastic bag that said Tinaís Spell Shop, written in silver. She handed the bag to Rory, but didnít let go of it.

"I realize you only want this for research... " Her tone of voice said she didnít believe a word of it. "But really, magic is a dangerous thing for a novice to be playing with." Probing amber eyes added weight to her warning.

"Research," Rory said, giving Tina her most disarming smile. She put her mug back down on the counter and gave the bag a gentle pull. "Thatís all."

"Okay then." Tina let go of the bag. "Happy Halloween."

"Happy Halloween," Rory echoed. And fled from the store back into the rain.