Sometimes love finds you in the darkest places.
Magdalay Rousseau is having a bad day. She can’t find the charging cable to her laptop, and when she goes into her husband’s office to look for it, she discovers he’s been cheating on her. She decides to hire a private investigator to dig into her husband’s secrets, but what the detective discovers about her turns her world upside-down.
Carter Zusak is a private detective–and a cat shifter. When a new client shows up, he’s almost certain she’s a flake. What kind of woman writes romance novels and owns a shop selling supplies for witches? He’s sure she’s got a bat or two loose in her belfry–until he delves deeper into her case. No one in her life is what they seem, and Magdalay has just put herself in danger more insidious than he ever imagined. Something about this witch sets his heart on fire. But he’ll have to figure out a way to save her before they
both get burned…
Published By: Etopia Press * Oct 27, 2015 * ISBN # 9781944138158 * Pages: 99
Magdalay Rousseau stared at her lifeless laptop and groaned. It wouldn’t turn on. Again. So much for a lasting battery. Already irritated from lack of sleep, she pressed the on button one more time and tried to recall where she’d left the charger. It should be in the little plastic bag she usually kept next to her laptop, but it wasn’t.
“Great. I can’t believe this. I ought to just spell you and be done with it.” She growled and pushed herself up from the small space at the kitchen table. Perhaps it was in her work bag in the foyer. She hated resorting to magic when real world solutions worked just fine. It had been a point of contention with her mother for years. Besides, she wasn’t very good at it. Wish for rain and get a flood in her kitchen. That was her life right now. Magdalay peered into the bag. Nothing.
“Oh. This is just getting better and better.”
Magdalay spun on her heel and considered her next move. She had a deadline for her publisher, and today would be her only day off with no distractions until next week. Not that she could focus anyway. Not with the antics Russ was pulling lately. Her mind kept circling him like a dog with a bone. He’d been out with the boys from the club, but something in the back of her mind kept digging at her. Their poker games didn’t last that long. Neither did their dinners at the club, which she now refused to attend. Not after the last time with his uppity friends and their equally unpleasant wives. She didn’t fit in with the country club scene, and that was more than all right with her.
Russ hadn’t come home—again—by the time her head hit the pillow last night at midnight. It was becoming par for the course. Magdalay couldn’t concentrate on anything and that included leaving her damn charging cable someplace. She could swear it was next to her workstation last night when she went to bed, but she could have been dreaming. She couldn’t remember, and that just pissed her off, making her already foul mood even more noxious.“Did you wash my pants?” Russ called out from the bedroom, his voice lacking any of the warmth she used to receive from him.
“Yes,” she ground out, barely containing her urge to demand where the hell he’d been all damned night. It didn’t do any good. He never answered her anyway. “They’re folded on the dryer.”
Her husband, Russ, clad in a blue pullover shirt and tighty-whities bolted from their bedroom down the short hall toward the laundry room. The door opened and shut, and she caught a streak of blue out of the corner of her eye but no acknowledgement or thank you. Next time she ought to let his clothes just pile up and see what happened. Well…she took that back. A week ago, she’d been too busy to keep up with the laundry and he’d shaken her awake after a long day at the shop and writing, demanding to know when she would get around to it. The icy stare was enough to motivate her into preemptive action. She’d never been afraid of her husband before that night, but things had changed between them at an alarming rate.
She poured the water into the coffeepot and flipped on the switch, sighing as the rich aroma of the Columbian blend pervaded the kitchen. It was still early, and she’d spent a sleepless night tossing and turning and imagining his car wrapped around a pole or worse. The man hadn’t come home until after two. At least that was the last time she recalled on the blinking clock on the nightstand. Russ hadn’t even had the decency to let her know where he was or if he was OK. Magdalay didn’t remember him sneaking in. She’d tried to stay awake so she could talk to him or at least give him a piece of her mind, but she must have drifted off in a wave of jittery exhaustion.
Last night had just been the latest in a long line of whatever was happening in their marriage and fixing it was becoming a pipe dream. He’d grown more and more distant over the past three months and she didn’t know what had gone wrong. Well…except for her working. He hated the hours she spent away from home, but with her mother’s passing, Broomstix had become hers. The irony wasn’t lost on her. A witch who didn’t want to be, or worse yet, was terrible at it. She thought back to her mother’s last days and the love she had for her trusty cat, Jules. They’d been inseparable.“You need a familiar, love. Sometimes having someone at your back and by your side is the most powerful magic in the world.” Magdalay’s lips twisted and she sighed. It wasn’t like she hadn’t tried. Every cat she’d gotten went missing in a matter of days. When she’d gone to Russ about the missing animals, he’d had nothing to say.
Frustrating wasn’t even half the word for it. Perhaps she wasn’t cut out for animals. Then she thought all she needed was her soul mate. That would have to be enough. She’d always thought Russ was that person, but more and more, she sensed a tremendous gulf between them, and it left her hollow inside. Last month she’d been at the stitching circle and each of the ladies was practicing poppet magic. The little cloth dolls danced and frolicked in anticipation of whatever task they were intended for. Hers lay there, looking still and unresponsive. It was to be a creative muse for her magic. She figured if she could cast a spell and have a poppet work on some of her overdue plot lines and synopses, she’d be ahead of the game. No such luck.
The stitching circle, full of her mother’s old friends, thought it was hilarious. Now on top of her writing schedule, it was her responsibility to keep Broomstix going. People depended on her, and she was trying to learn as much as she could. Gaining the knowledge she needed wasn’t going as smooth as she’d like.Her gaze raked the cluttered counter where her husband paid bills and recoiled. No way was she touching that. “Not a chance.” Then she remembered Russ had the same model laptop she did. She could borrow his charger and pick hers up tomorrow when she went back into work. Problem solved.
“I’m out. See you tonight,” came the clipped response from the front hallway followed by the slamming of the decorative lead glass door. He hadn’t even come into the kitchen. Not even for coffee.
“Wow.” Now she knew he was avoiding her and likely hiding something. Magdalay shook her head, the bitterness of her new reality sliding down her stomach like a Ping Pong ball. His behavior stung, and she didn’t know what to make of it. She moved down the hall, her linen nightgown floating around her legs. In the Texas heat, it helped to have something comfortable and the Eileen West nightgowns were her guilty pleasure. Goddess knew she needed something. She paused in the doorway to his office and sighed. Goddess, she hated invading his space. Maybe the charger was right out in the open and she could snap it up and be out before she disturbed anything of importance. Then she saw it. Propped on a pile of paperwork next to his computer was her small, holiday design-covered Ziploc bag with her cord dangling off the desk over the top of it.
“What the heck?” Her lips slid into a frown and she unclenched her hands. He took it. Probably to do the same thing she’d been about to do, but at least she would have replaced his where she found it as soon as she was done. She reached down to pick up the bag and wind up the charging cord, and her hand brushed the mouse on his desk, the darkened screen erupting to life. His e-mail was up. She wouldn’t have stopped save for the name on the screen.
Slowly, Magdalay lowered herself into the chair and began to read. She hadn’t meant to intrude on his privacy. They’d always respected each other enough to be honest. At least she’d always thought so. But with every line she read, the trust she believed her marriage was based on was revealed to be nothing more than a lie. She hated wives who resorted to sneaking into their husband’s phone records and all of those things to find out what they’d been up to. Now, here she was, and she didn’t have a clue what to do about it. What was done was done and couldn’t be taken back. One e-mail turned into two. Two turned into a dozen, and at that point she had to stop, the contents of her stomach churning like wildfire in her gut.
Fuck me. Fuck me like you did in your office.
I want it all.
Tears stung her eyes. There was no other explanation was there? It was all laid out in black and white. The only thing missing was a frigging video of them fornicating. Her stomach lurched. The lump in her throat threatened to overtake her, and she had to pause and take a deep breath. Her mother’s absence was a raw and gaping wound. Eleanor would have known what to do, but Magdalay was frozen with indecision. Her thoughts turned to the ladies in her stitching circle. They met once a month but it wasn’t scheduled until next week. Goddess, but she sure could use some comfort now. Or at least, a sounding board for her fury. Her fingertips itched to zot the fucker but no…not yet. Not that she was fully capable, but her circle was. She’d seen it time and again.But the emails…she read the last line again. I want to run my fingers down your long, long legs and part your… She had to stop. Nausea threatened to overwhelm her once again.
“You cheating bastard,” she whispered. She had to be sure. It was possible it was only emails. In her heart, she knew that was a lie. Magdalay stood, her knees shaking and made her way out of Russ’s office to her work space in the kitchen. She hooked up the laptop to the charger and shoved the plug into the wall.
Magdalay considered her options. She could wait and confront him when he got home. Whenever that would be.
Or she could hex him where he stood and watch as his dick shriveled up and fell off. A tiny smile twitched at the corner of her lips at the idea. If only. With her luck, she’d turn him into an overlarge piece of beef jerky and have to explain that one to the police. Not a good idea. Her magic was unpredictable at best. She’d hid it from him, not wanting to go there. It wasn’t her fault she was born a witch. It was her choice whether or not to use it. If something needing a spell came up, she waited until her hubby was off doing engineer things or sleeping in front of the television. Proof. She needed more proof. The laptop whirled to life and she pulled up her search engine.
What about a private detective? She had a little mad money put aside for the dress she wanted for the romance writer’s convention in a few months. Magdalay had no idea what the detective would cost, but she had to know. With unblinking eyes she typed, private investigator Spinnaker, Texas then she closed her eyes, rolled the mouse, and clicked on the Blue Moon Detective Agency.
Dana Wright has always had a fascination with things that go bump in the night. She is often found playing at local bookstores, trying not to maim herself with crochet hooks or knitting needles, watching monster movies with her husband and furry kids or blogging about books. More commonly, she is chained to her computers, writing like a woman possessed.
She is currently working on several children’s stories, young adult fiction, romantic suspense, short stories and is trying her hand at poetry. She is a contributing author to Ghost Sniffer’s CYOA, Siren’s Call E-zine in their “Women in Horror” issue in February 2013 and “Revenge” in October 2013, a contributing author to Potatoes!, Fossil Lake, Of Dragons and Magic: Tales of the Lost Worlds, Undead in Pictures, Potnia, Shadows and Light, Dark Corners (upcoming), Wonderstruck, Shifters: A Charity Anthology, Dead Harvest, Monster Diaries, Holiday Horrors and the Roms, Bombs and Zoms Anthology from Evil Girlfriend Media. She is the author of Asylum, The Invitation and Texas Twister.
Dana has also reviewed music for Muzikreviews.com specializing in New Age and alternative music and has been a contributing writer to Eternal Haunted Summer, Massacre Magazine, Metaphor Magazine, The Were Traveler October 2013 edition: The Little Magazine of Magnificent Monsters, the December 2013 issue The Day the Zombies Ruled the Earth. She currently reviews music at New Age Music Reviews and Write a Music Review.