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ExSpelled (EBOOK)

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Ebook. Book 5 in the bestselling The Kitchen Witch series of fun cozy mysteries with magical elements.

Egged on by Amelia’s recent success in the kitchen, her friends send her to a cooking school on a remote tropical island resort. 
Her teachers’ tempers reach boiling point when they sample her cooking, and worse still, her classmates begin to die one by one.
As a tropical storm brews and the body count rises, can Amelia find the killer before she is expelled, or becomes the next victim? 

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I shook the rain from my umbrella and left it in an ancient porcelain umbrella stand just inside the front door of Ruprecht’s store, Glinda’s. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to shake the rain from my clothes. It was a miserable wet day in Bayberry Creek, and I was drenched from head to toe. Anyone would have thought it was winter and not summer. Even Glinda’s had taken on an uncustomary dismal atmosphere.
“It’s wild out there tonight,” my best friend and employee, Thyme, said by way of greeting.
I nodded, wiped the rain from my eyes, and followed her through the maze of antique furniture to Ruprecht’s apartment directly behind his store.
I could tell something was going on as soon I walked into the kitchen and saw Ruprecht, his granddaughter, Mint, and Camino sitting around the large wooden table. “This is an intervention,” Camino announced happily.
I must have looked shocked, because Ruprecht hurried to correct her. “No, of course it’s not, Amelia!” His eyebrows shot skyward. “It’s a surprise.” He pushed a golden envelope across the table to me and gestured to me to sit down.
I did so and picked up the envelope. “A golden ticket! Am I going to Willie Wonka’s chocolate factory?” I had an insane desire to giggle. It must have been the stress of the last week.
Ruprecht smiled. “Open it.”
I opened the envelope, and there indeed was a ticket, but it wasn’t to a chocolate factory—it had the words, Paradise Island Cooking School emblazoned in bold black writing across the top of a photograph of a tropical island.
“After everything you’ve been through with that man trying to murder you the other day, we all got together and decided to send you away to a remote island,” Camino said excitedly.
I frowned. Mercifully, Ruprecht interrupted her. “It’s not a punishment or anything like that, quite the contrary. You’ve been working long hours, a man just tried to kill you, and you’ve had to contend with your house. I mean, how many other people can say they have a living house?”
“Not many,” I answered truthfully. “The house is like a weird housemate, but at least it protects me.”
Everyone nodded and Thyme patted my arm. “Now, you know how your cooking’s been improving, and we’ve explained to you that it’s because you’re just starting to use your powers as a witch?” It was my turn to nod. Thyme pressed on. “We all thought you should get away and have a nice vacation, so we’re sending you to a lovely cooking school on a tropical island, all expenses paid.”
Nice vacation. Cooking school. Wasn’t that a contradiction in terms? I tried to process the information. “So you’re sending me to a cooking school on a tropical island?” I did my best to look excited as I said it.
Ruprecht beamed. “Yes! A whole week, with luxury accommodation on a beautiful tropical island in the Pacific Ocean. To be precise, it’s in the Whitsundays, off the coast of Queensland. You’ll have peace and quiet and solitude, for a whole week.”
“And cooking lessons?” I asked.
Everybody smiled and nodded.
I bit my lip. “Their insurance premiums will go up.”
Ruprecht handed me a cup of tea. I hadn’t even seen him leave the table. “Amelia, you exaggerate. You haven’t set a kitchen on fire with your baking, since, um, when?”
“Not for a month,” Thyme responded cheerfully.
I did not share their confidence. I was the world’s worst cook. I had set rooms on fire, sent people to the hospital with food poisoning, and my cupcakes had even cracked concrete on more than one occasion. However, my poor baking ability was strangely linked with my (not poor) abilities as a witch. The fact that I had recently started to embrace those abilities had encouraged everyone—everyone, that is, except me. I finally found my voice. “I can’t shut the shop for a week,” I protested feebly.
“Nonsense!” Thyme said. “Business is picking up, and it would make sound business sense if you could learn to produce cupcakes to keep up with the higher turnover. So just take a week off and relax, and learn to cook. Mint can replace you at the store.”
And so it was decided. I was to be replaced by Mint and shipped off to a secluded island in the middle of nowhere—or in the Pacific Ocean just off the coast of Queensland, to be precise—an island which, knowing my luck, was probably populated by cannibals and surrounded by sharks.
I looked up to see Thyme eyeing me speculatively. “Unless, of course, you want to stay in town because you’ll miss someone?”
I glared at her. Thyme had caught me kissing the magnificent Alder Vervain and hadn’t let me hear the end of it since. If only she knew I had kissed him more thoroughly since, sans an audience. Tingles ran through me at the thought. My mind drifted off into a pleasant daydream about Alder, when Camino’s voice snapped me back to reality.
“I bought you a onesie as a gift to take to the island,” she said, delighted.
I grimaced, but managed to turn it into the semblance of a smile. “Wonderful! Is it the bandicoot one you mentioned last week? Or a tiger snake? Maybe a funnel-web spider?”
Camino laughed. “Oh Amelia, I’ll miss your sense of humour when you’ve gone. No, it’s a fruit bat.”
“A bat?” I squeaked. “That’s very kind of you. Bats carry the deadly Lyssavirus, don’t they?”
Camino nodded happily. “Yes, and the Hendra virus too, which is completely incurable.”
Mint waved a pamphlet at me in an obvious attempt to save the situation. “Amelia, you don’t need to worry. It’s a whole week of cooking lessons for beginners.” She pointed to the pamphlet. “It’s for people to learn how to cook using the domestic appliances that they’d have in their own home. There are classes on health and safety, and information on nutrition. The classes include all ingredients and recipes. You’ll be given all the recipe notes to bring home.” She smiled reassuringly as she handed me the pamphlet.
I read the concluding words: Just bring yourself, roll up your sleeves, and have fun. The minimum age is eight years.
Perhaps it was my level, after all. I regarded the photo of the island with renewed interest. It did look a tranquil setting with the turquoise sea and the brilliant white sand flanked by towering palm trees.
I took a deep breath and smiled. I might as well enjoy myself. “Thank you, I’ll do it! What could possibly go wrong?”

Series Order

1) Miss Spelled  
2) Dizzy Spells  
3) Sit for a Spell  
4) Spelling Mistake  
5) ExSpelled  
6) The Halloween Spell 
7) Spellcheck  
8) The Halloween Love Spell 
9) Spell It Out 
10) Wedding Spells 
11) The Halloween Pumpkin Spell 
12) Sweet Spell of Success 
13) The Halloween Onesie Spell 
14) Christmas Spells 
15) The Halloween Truth Spell 
16) The Halloween Time Spell 
17) Baby Spells Trouble 
18) The Halloween Camping Spell 
19) Spell of Silence 
20) The Halloween Cat Spell
21) The Halloween Mystery Spell