MAGIC & MAYHEM SERIES
“What in the hell does that asswaffle think he’s doing?” I snapped as I narrowed my eyes at the scene unfolding on the beautiful front lawn of my newly inherited house.
Crawling up onto the window seat I pressed my face against the glass to make sure I was seeing things correctly. Unfortunately, I was.
Chuck, the ginormous bear Shifter, had concocted a noose and was trying to hang himself in a large tree. This was not going to happen in my yard. Dead stuff smelled horrific and I had an over active gag reflex, as did most witches I knew.
Opening the widow with a pissed off blast of magic, I leaned out and prepared to zap his idiot ass. As the newly minted town Shifter Whisperer—or Shifter Wanker as I liked to refer to my job title—I wasn’t about to heal a self-inflicted broken neck.
“Chuck, what in the Goddess’s name do you think you’re doing?” I shouted as he fell off the ladder he was standing on and plopped ungracefully to the ground with a thud.
“Well, I was trying to hang myself until you scared the bejesus out of me,” he explained logically as if what he was doing was even remotely logical.
“Well okay, but you’re going to have to take your freak show to someone else’s tree. I have a lot of shit to do today and watching you die is not on my list.”
“But I have to do it here,” he informed me as he ambled up to the porch.
“I am about to ask a question I have no desire to know the answer to—but why?”
Shifters were the weirdest species ever. I had always thought witches were nuts. We had nothing on the Shifters.
“I can’t tell you,” he mumbled into his shoulder.
He was a beautiful and kind man and I liked him, which annoyed me. I was getting far too attached to the oddballs in Assjacket, West Virginia. I had chosen to stay after I had paid my penance to the Witch Council, but if these dorks were going to pull stunts like hanging themselves in my trees, I was out of here.
“I call bullshit,” I snapped. “You can’t just off yourself in someone’s Silver Oak and not tell them why. It’s rude.”
“I’m sorry, Zelda,” he apologized as he rocked back and forth in embarrassment. “If I could tell you I would, but I can’t break the rules. I could end up naked and wedged in a time warp with elevator music.”
“You lost me,” I said as I reconsidered zapping his ass just for making my brain work too hard at 8 AM.
“It’s no big deal. I can try again another time when you’re out shopping. I’ll just be on my way,” he said with a smile.
I really wanted to shut the window and pretend I hadn’t just seen the dumbass try to end his life, but my newly found conscience wasn’t on the same page.
Biting down hard on my tongue, I attempted to keep my words from flying out of my mouth—no fucking go. Apparently speak first and think later was my new motto. Damn it.
“Chuck, um…emotions and being nice are not really my thing, but I’m feeling kind of wonky here. Are you depressed? Can I heal that?” I asked as mentally slapped myself for caring.
“Actually, I’m not down at all,” he replied with a shrug and a happy little grunt. “I’m quite content, but thank you for your concern.”
“Ooookay then, you should probably take the ladder and rope with you,” I mumbled not quite sure what was socially acceptable to say in a situation like this.
“Can I just leave them here for next time?”
“Um, no. You can’t.”
“Alrighty,” he said as he gathered up his death tools and loaded them into his truck. “Oh and by the way, when I do bite it, I’d like you to have my truck.”
“Really?” I squealed with excitement and then purposely banged my head against the windowsill. It was a kickass truck, but I’d rather win it in a poker game than inherit it due to his demise.
“Absolutely not,” I hissed to cover my wildly inappropriate reaction. “You are not going to die. I will kill you if you do.”
“Would you?” he asked hopefully.
“Would I what?” I rolled my eyes in exasperation.
“Holy shitballs, I wasn’t serious,” I shouted. “I’m the freakin’ Shifter Wanker. It’s my job to heal you furry jackasses, not kill you.”
“Right,” he said with a nod and a grin. “My bad.”
“I should say so,” I muttered.
“Do you still need me to fix the refrigerator?” he asked.
“Um… yeah unless your going to lock yourself in it and freeze to death.”
He chuckled and slapped his knee. “Nope, too big for that. I’ll come back later today and fix it up like new.”
“And you’ll leave the death tools at home?” I asked warily.
“Will do,” he said with a wave and drove away.
I closed the window and flopped down on the cushy couch. This day was going to be a long one. I could feel it in my bones.
“Zelda?” a loud masculine voice boomed from the kitchen. “Do you want French toast or pancakes?”
I heaved a put upon sigh and stood up. “French toast would be a nice change, Naked Dude. But where are all the groceries coming from? Are you using bad credit cards again?”
“I really wish you would just call me Dad,” Naked Dude said as he stuck his head out from the kitchen. “I’m not naked you know.”
He was correct. He wasn’t naked. However, he was buck-ass naked when I made his acquaintance only a few weeks before. It had been traumatic and repulsive. No one should have to see their father’s nads. Ever. Not to mention he’d been my cat for the past two years.
As the story goes, he never knew about me. When he found out he had a daughter he tried to contact me, but my not so motherly mother had put a spell on him that turned him into a mangy cat. That mangy cat had become my familiar, much to my disgust. The spell could only be broken if he gained my love.
Of course it took him almost dying for me to admit I loved him. Now we were trying to get to know each other. It was challenging and somewhat amazing, not that I would admit that to him. I’d always thought he didn’t want me—at least that’s what my mother had told me. The relief I felt when I learned he never knew about me was so absurd I ignored it. I wasn’t real good at maintaining relationships, but I was going to try.
“Look, I could drop the Naked and just call you Dude. Would that help?” I bargained.
His grin was infectious and his sparkling green eyes matched my own. “It’s a start.”
“I could call you Fabio. That is your name,” I added as I sat down and dug in. I’d broach the bad credit card issue after my stomach was full.
“I’d really like you to try Dad,” he said as he added two more pieces of French toast to my plate.
Thank the Goddess witches had crazy fast metabolism or I’d be the size of a house. Eating was my favorite hobby next to shopping and Naked Dude could cook.
“And I’d really like the Prada bag that isn’t out yet,” I shot back.
“Not a problem,” Naked Dude slash Fabio slash Dad said with a sly grin on his ridiculously handsome face.
My dad, for lack of a better word, liked to buy slash steal me designer duds and accessories. This was a bad thing. I knew it was a bad thing. It was a terrible, bad, illegal thing. However, his logic that he also used his questionable credit cards to give tens of thousands to charity made me feel a little better about keeping my dubious booty.
“You can do that?” I asked as I poured an obscene amount of syrup on the mountain of French toast.
“I can transport to Milan, buy the bag and be back in an hour or two,” he told me as he took the sugary goo from my hands before I could drain the bottle.
“Buy being the operative word.”
“But of course,” he replied with an innocent look that probably worked on most people except me.
“But I would have to call you Dad,” I pondered aloud.
“That’s the deal.”
I considered it. I’m ashamed to say I really did.
“I’m not there yet, Naked Dude—I mean Dude. As much as it pains me to say no to the bag—and it does pain me, I’m just not ready to take that step.”
“I understand,” he said as he lovingly tucked some of my wild red locks that mirrored his behind my ear. “I’ll just get the bag and keep it in my closet until you’re ready.”
“That’s unacceptable, not to mention blackmail,” I said as I slapped his hand away and tried to bite back my giggle. “You totally suck.”
“I know.” He gave me a lopsided grin and transported to Milan in a cloud of silver smoke.
“What a dick,” I mumbled to no one since I was finally alone.
My year had been an interesting one. I’d spent nine months in the magic pokey for killing my cat who miraculously rose from the dead and turned out to be my father. To be fair to me, it had been an accident. When I heard the first crunch I’d freaked out so much that I hit reverse and drive simultaneously a few times before I got out of my car and screamed bloody murder. I buried him in a new Prada shoebox and left the super soft shoe bags inside as a blanket and a pillow. After Naked Dude’s resurrection, he’d complimented me on his cozy coffin.
Of course, it didn’t matter to Baba Yaga, the most powerful and horrendously dressed witch in existence, that it had been an accident or that my cat slash dad had actually lived. I had to serve time in the pokey with a heinous cellmate, Sassy the Violent Witch from Hell. Not that she enjoyed that moniker so much, but annoying her even a fraction as much as she had me helped pass the time.
After my release, I found out I had an aunt who had left me her house—a dead aunt I never knew. My mission ended up being avenging her, taking over her job as the Shifter Whisper and maintaining the magical balance in Assjacket, West Virginia. I had no clue what Sassy’s mission had ended up being, I was just delighted to be rid of her.
It hurt like a motherfucker to heal the random wounds of all the idiot Shifters in town, but secretly I kind of liked my new job—not the pain—the job. I’d never stayed anywhere very long and had few friends to show for it. Sassy did not count. Belonging somewhere was new to me and it felt nice. However, I refused to get used to it. I was a survivor and had gone most of my life as a loner. Less messy that way.
The best thing about Assjacket was Mac. The redonkulously hot wolf Shifter who mistakenly thought I was his mate.
Speaking of hot asses, broad shoulders and outstanding lip locking, I had a lunch date with the werewolf this afternoon.
Maybe today wouldn’t turn out as badly as it had begun.
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Witches and glitches and testicle obsessed cats… Oh my.
One dilemma down and approximately 74,876,283 to go. I think being the Shifter Whisperer is hard—or Shifter Wanker as I enjoy referring to my new job—but healing wounded Shifters is easy compared to finding and eliminating the lurking freaking evil.
Throw in a ghost, a potentially explosive ex-cellmate, a long lost dad and a smokin’ hot werewolf who’s convinced he’s my mate, and suddenly it’s party time—from hell.
And this is my mission?
Life is getting messy and I don’t do messy. With feelings I didn’t know I was capable of having, and the word love being thrown around like a football on Super Bowl Sunday, poofing away with a magical twitch of my nose is becoming more appealing by the moment.
But to show I’m not a weenie, I’m gonna pull up my big girl panties and hurl some fireballs at Baba Yaga’s older than dirt warlock posse if they don’t pony up the info I need. If I don’t burn the town of Assjacket down while trying to save it, I’m donning my red cape and playing who’s the big bad wolf with a for real wolf who’s hotter than any fireball.
I just pray to the Goddess my heart doesn’t get burned in the process…