My friend Alice Renaud is bringing us her latest story which is part of a great collection and… man, would you just look at that cover???? I’ll focus on her story, an then give you the details for the others too. Just stay with me, all right?
The Sweetest Magic of All by Alice Renaud (part of the Mystic Desire Collection) will release October 1.
Mystic Desire is a collection of brand new supernatural romance stories by award-winning BVS authors!
The Sweetest Magic of All – Alice Renaud When a sexy apprentice witch and a hot warlock go back in time to locate a magical amulet, they find more than they bargained for. It’s May Eve, the most magical night of the year, and normal rules don’t apply…
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Saffy knelt on the grass and opened the book of spells. Book was a strong word for the worn diary in which Auntie May had recorded her enchantments, but all witches had books of spells. So she’d call it a book, just as she called herself a witch.
Though she was only an apprentice. A chill crept over her skin, as if a shadow had blotted out the summer sun. She stared hard at the spidery handwriting, but all she could see was the thin body of her aunt, almost swallowed up by the tubes and machines that were keeping her alive. Only one thing could help her now, the magical amulet that she’d once worn around her neck. The amulet had vanished a week ago, on the day she’d had a stroke, and they’d rushed her to the hospital in Swansea. No one had been able to find it since.
Cold enveloped Saffy and seeped into her limbs. The amulet was her aunt’s last hope. She had to find it. Now.
She took a deep breath. The familiar smells of the seaside meadow streamed into her nose, pushing back the icy fear that dug its claws into her flesh. Salt on the wind. Wildflowers. Good, rich earth, softened by the morning dew. “I can do this,” she said.
She placed the book on the grass and waved her hands above it, the way her aunt had shown her. Auntie May had made magic look so easy. Saffy had never managed to cast a spell on her own, but today she had to try, and succeed. She kept breathing, in and out, to keep herself calm. The spell to find lost objects was supposed to be easy. And this meadow was a special place, where the ancient magic of the world flowed fast and strong. Surely the spell would succeed here.
Saffy laid her hands in the grass, on either side of the yellowed pages. A ladybird landed on her index finger and walked down onto the book, as if to encourage her. She concentrated. All her life seemed to pour into the breath she was taking… into her tongue as it formed the words.
“Bound and binding
See the sight
Hear the sound
What was lost
Now is found.”
She closed her eyes and waited for the vision that would show her where the lost amulet was. All she saw was the red light of the sun, shining through her lids. She opened her eyes. There was only the meadow, frothy with oxeye daisies, and the turquoise dome of the sky. A perfect midsummer day, mocking her and her pathetic attempts at magic. Bitter dismay surged, burning her throat and the back of her eyes. She let out a strangled cry. “Fuck and triple fuck!”
“What have you lost?”
The male voice, behind her, made her jump. She turned. A man, wrapped in a black coat, was staring at her, just a few feet away. A warm tide of embarrassment rose from her neck to her cheeks. He must have heard her say the spell. He’d think she was nuts.
Welcome here Sapphire Seaborne, librarian and apprentice witch
Hi Sapphire, and thank you for being here. Have you ever had a nickname?
Everyone calls me Saffy. They think it’s short for Saffron. I don’t tell anyone my real name is Sapphire, I’m afraid they’ll laugh at me. I mean, I’m hardly a beautiful, precious stone.
Are you happy about your life?
I’m trying hard to be a witch, but it’s hard. I’m the last in a long line of Seaborne witches, but magic doesn’t seem to come naturally to me. My auntie May makes it look so easy, but I fear I haven’t got her talent.
Would you change something about it?
I would give myself magical powers, like my ancestors. They were so powerful, they could even command the weather and the sea. That’s why the local people used to call them sea witches.
Your thoughts on love.
I only had one boyfriend in my life, and he didn’t like me dabbling in witchcraft. He gave me an ultimatum: give up “that nonsense,” as he called it, or he would leave. I chose magic. That was three years ago. Since then, I haven’t given men much thought. It’s better for me to remain single, like Auntie May, and dedicate myself to my craft.
Your greatest extravagance.
I like buying notebooks. Pretty notebooks, covered in bright paper, or cute fabrics. I fill them up with spells, incantations, recipes for magical potions and balms. Not that any of them work, but I keep trying.
Your quirky habits.
I try not have any. I don’t want to stand out.
The quality you most like in a man/woman.
Trustworthiness. If a man says he’s going to do something, he should do it.
The trait you most despise.
I hate people who play games and don’t deliver on their promises.
On what occasions do you lie?
Every time someone asks me what I’ve done at the week-end. I’m not going to tell my friends and colleagues that I spent my Sunday practicing a finding spell, am I?
What are you most afraid of?
That I will fail miserably at being a witch, and there will be no more sea witches in this part of Wales.
If you were an animal, or a shifter, what animal would you be?
I’d love to be able to change into a hare, like Auntie May.
What would you do if you woke up in a room and bed you don’t recognize.
I’d be horrified. I don’t hook up with men I’ve only just met, I don’t do one night stands. I’m not that kind of girl.
(Ah… but that might change once she meets Aaron!)
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In this collection, you will also find these stories.
Bewitching the Wolf – Zia Westfield
The Witch Alice Humphreys has poured her heart and soul into creating a magical B&B where guests experience the fantasy vacation of their dreams! Brodie MacEwan has been sent to investigate the mysterious death of his uncle. He never expected to discover his soul mate in his dreams. But is the illusion real? Alice knows that there is something all too predatory about the Scotsman and he makes her body tingle in places it shouldn’t!
Calling All Angels – Lora Logan
Elijah Baker, an immortal tasked with fighting against demons on earth, finds peace when he meets his new neighbor, Celeste. But when he realizes that their love comes with a cost, he is faced with choosing between his calling and a chance at true love.
Life Saving – Anne Krist
Saving lives isn’t just for adults. Sometimes the innocent magic of a child can do the job better.
Love Knows No Apocalypse – Patricia Elliott
Getting stranded in the middle of a storm was not Samantha Wheeler’s idea of an ideal situation, especially in the middle of a zombie apocalypse. But fighting zombies was the easy part; her heart, though, was a whole other matter. Thanks to a man named Steve Jones.
When they find themselves in danger, she has to decide what’s more important – dying for someone you love or surviving.
Love’s Ghost – R.M. Olivia
“Sorry, babe. I know it hurts to hear.” John frowned. I’ll make this brief. I spoke to the man in charge and he is giving me one last chance.”
“I’m allowed to make love to my wife one last time before I have to cross over. So, are you ready for your husband? Are you ready for me, Ingrid?” He lifted my chin up and ran his thumb along my lips. I felt a chill go down my spine. How could this be real? How could this be happening?
The Anniversary – Richard Savage
A cruel twist of fate wrenched Evelyn and Peter apart on their wedding anniversary. Evelyn’s life descends into darkness. James enters her life giving her a chance of happiness. Evelyn discovers a piece of jewelry, that has the power to grant her time with Peter on their anniversary. She adores James, but needs Peter. Can she ever really let Peter go, while there’s still a chance they can be together?
Unconditional Lust – Breanna Hayes
The massive, hideous merrow leader, Muruch, craves the taste of human flesh. Confined to the ocean, he feeds his horde with sailors from ships pulled into the maw of the Bermuda Triangle. When US Army Captain, Nurys Shaye, puts her life on the line to save him after being captured, his hunger for human flesh is shadowed by the desire for her body and her love. Will she be able to see past his appearance and trust him to break down her walls and teach her to feel?