Another excerpt to whet your appetite!
As we entered the shop—a bright, warm little bakery with three tables and two benches for customers who were waiting their turn, I took a number. We headed over to one of the side benches when I froze. Ralph Greyhoof was sitting there. When he saw me, Ralph looked like I was the last person he wanted to see right now. He stumbled to his feet—hooves—and cleared his throat.
“Maddy. Hey…” His gaze was shifty as I took a step closer, cutting off any chance of a retreat they had without going right through me.
I held out my phone, bringing up the picture. “Is this the woman you were talking about?”
He startled, straightening his shoulders, which told me I was right on key.
“Yeah…um…Where did you get that?”
“None of your business. You sure you don’t remember her name?”
He shook his head, slowly. A lie and I knew it.
“You damned well do remember her name. Give it to me now. Somebody’s looking to mess with me and I want to know who and why. You showed up in my bathroom, sneaking around trying to steal my hair. What are you up to Ralph? Are you and your brothers trying to ruin my business before I even manage to open the doors?” I wasn’t known for being calm, and now, seeing him in front of me and remembering the flits I had seen from George’s account, I heard my voice rising along with my temper.
Ralph’s musky scent flared as he narrowed his eyes. “Face it, Maddy, you’re a competitor now. If you can’t take the heat, stay out of the fire. And if you can’t take competition, stay out of the bed-and-breakfast business. Our inn’s been around for three decades and now you barge in, determined to yank our clientele away from us. Who the hell do you think you are?” He was getting irate, his nose was pinched and his face was getting red.
I stared at him. “Are you serious? I’m not after your clientele. We’re not running a whorehouse at the Bewitching Bedlam. Hell, most of your “clientele” tend to be horny women who need some respite in their boring lives. My B&B is out for the tourists—not sex-starved Satyr-Fets.”
“Maddy, calm down—the owner is coming out from the back.” Sandy tugged on my sleeve.
I frowned. She was right. This wasn’t the place to have an altercation. I turned away, intent on apologizing to the Calou’s owner when Ralph, apparently deciding that I was rudely ignoring him, shoved me from behind. I lurched forward, into the crowd who had been staring at us. One of the men kindly caught me before I fell but not before Ralph stomped forward, his eyes blazing.
“Shut your mouth, Maddy, or I’ll shut it for you. I swear, I’ll make sure your business goes under and you with it!” He was raving now, his arms flailing wildly as he did his best impression of a windmill gone amok.
“Break it up,” a voice from behind me said. But I knew who it was, even before I turned around. Sure enough, Derek Lindsey, a cop and a member of the Majestic Mountain Squad—a league of search-and-rescue witches who specialized in healing—broke through. He was also one of the main detectives on the Bedlam Police Force. He turned to Ralph. “Did I hear you just threaten Maudlin?”
Blood Music (Bewitching Bedlam #1—prequel novelette)
Holiday Spirits (Chintz ‘n China holiday novella—wrap up of series)
Fury’s Magic (Fury Unbound #2)
Fury Rising (Fury Unbound #1)
Shadow Silence (Whisper Hollow #2)
You can preorder Souljacker