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Best Cosy Books

The Halloween Spell (PAPERBACK)

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Paperback. Book 6 in the bestselling The Kitchen Witch series of fun cozy mysteries with magical elements.

This Halloween is maybe Amelia’s worst ever. It’s one too many tricks and not enough treats.

A mysterious woman arrives on Amelia’s doorstep claiming Amelia’s departed Aunt Angelica did a spell for her every Halloween. She insists that Amelia do this year’s spell for her, and that’s when the trouble starts. 

A murder victim turns up and Alder goes missing. Surely things will be better soon, or is that just witchful thing?

PAPERBACK (paranormal cozy mystery) 

 Paperback 336 pages
 Dimensions 6 x 0.76 x 9 inches (152 x 19.3 x 229 mm)
 ISBN 9781922595454
 Publication date December 13, 2021
 Publisher Best Cosy Books


 Paperback 230 pages
 Dimensions  5 x 0.49 x 8 inches (127 x 12.5 x 203mm)
 ISBN  9781925674194
 Publication date  September 2, 2016
 Publisher  Best Cosy Books

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Standing at my front door was a woman I had never seen. She was plump, and her face was kindly. The house must have thought she was well-intentioned, because she hadn’t landed on her bottom out in the middle of the garden.
She looked surprised to see me. The feeling was mutual. I had not been expecting anyone.
I finally found my voice. “Hello.”
“Oh,” she said, “I’m sorry. You gave me a bit of a start. I was expecting to see Angelica. Is she home?”
“Oh my gosh,” I said. “I’m so sorry to have to be the one to tell you this, but Angelica passed away some months ago. I’m her niece, Amelia.”
Her face was ashen, and for a moment, I was afraid she would faint. I took her by the arm. “Please come inside. I know this must be quite a shock for you. I’ll make you a nice cup of tea.”
The lady didn’t say a word but followed me inside. She took a seat on the couch, after I removed some papers to make room for her. I realised that I had left the Book of Shadows on the coffee table nearby, and I quickly dropped the papers over it to disguise it.
The lady looked in the direction of the now hidden book and gasped. “Is that Thelma Spelled’s Book of Shadows under the papers?” she said reverently. “Is that what it is?”
I was taken aback. She certainly seemed to know a lot about my family, but then again, perhaps she had known Angelica well. Although, if she had known her well, she would have known that she had crossed over. I found that a little suspicious but took comfort in the fact that the house appeared to like her, given that she was in the room happily and had not yet run out, screaming.
The lady tapped her chin. “I’m sorry. You must think me so rude. I haven’t even introduced myself yet. I’m Selena Simpson.”
I made the usual murmurs of greeting. “Would you like a cup of tea or something stronger?”
The woman declined. “Oh, here’s a little gift for you. It’s the last three seasons of The Bachelor.”
The house shuddered with delight, and Selena looked alarmed. “Just the strong wind,” I said hurriedly. “Thanks so much. Mind if I put on an episode now? It will distract the, um, cats.”
Selena nodded. “Did Angelica tell you about the spell she did for my sister, Marina, every Halloween?”
“Halloween?” I echoed. My best friend, Thyme, had told me that the locals weren’t into trick or treating and so only a few children did the rounds every Halloween. I had put a box of candies by the front door in readiness for the following week, but I figured she wasn’t here for those.
My friends and I planned our Beltane celebration for the week after Halloween. It wasn’t easy being a pagan in the southern hemisphere. The northern hemisphere was celebrating Samhain, the time the veil was thinnest between the living and the dead, while we were celebrating Beltane, the spring fertility festival. Still, both hemispheres celebrated Halloween at the same time.
I shook my head and walked over to turn on the DVD player and the TV. “I never met my Aunt Angelica.” She raised her eyebrows, so I hurried to explain. “My parents were estranged from her, I suppose because she was a witch. I didn’t even know she existed until she left me this house in her will.”
Selena seemed discomforted by my words. “Oh dear, that does make it difficult. I have to start from the beginning. Every Halloween, my sister, Marina Mercer, came here so your aunt could do a spell for her. You’re probably wondering why. It goes back some decades. Your grandmother, Thelma, was good friends with my grandmother, Nama. Apparently, Nama did a huge favour for Thelma. I don’t know the details as such, but my grandmother did a spell to enable Thelma and her husband Wolff to be together forever in the afterlife.”
I interrupted her. “But wouldn’t that happen naturally?”
Selena shook her head. “No, another witch did something to prevent that, but Nama found a way around it. As a result, Thelma promised to do a spell once a year to help my grandmother’s descendants. And so you see, that’s why you have found me on your doorstep.”
I didn’t see it at all, but I waited for her to continue.
“Once a year, Angelica did a spell for my sister. I’ve never needed anything, so always let my sister come here. This year, I do need something, and Marina was happy for me to come in her place. You’ll have to do this spell for me this year, because you’re Thelma’s granddaughter.”
I didn’t know if this was true, but the house was not reacting badly, although it was happily watching the bachelor walking into the girl prison. Still, I didn’t have a good feeling about it. I had never done a spell for anyone else, and I said so.
She waved a hand at me. “Don’t worry about that. It’s your obligation. It’s a generational witch obligation. You have to do a spell for me.”
My stomach sank. Exactly what did she want me to do?
“Now before you ask me what I want you to do,” she said, fixing me with a steely look, “I’ll tell you. I want you to do a love spell for me.”
“A love spell?” I said rather too loudly. “But really, I don’t believe in doing love spells. And would you want someone to love you just because of a spell? Wouldn’t you want someone to love you because they really love you?”
It seemed my words had fallen on deaf ears. “You don’t understand. I’ve been in love with Nick Smith for months now. His wife is really mean...”
I interrupted her. “His wife?” I said in horror. “You want me to break up a marriage? I’m really sorry, but I can’t be part of this at all.”
The woman did not seem the least concerned by my words. “They’re separated, sort of, or they should be. He is in love with me, he’s just gone funny lately. Anyway, you have to. It’s an obligation, a witch obligation.”
“It’s one I didn’t know anything about,” I pointed out.
“You still have to do it for me,” she said. “And would you hurry up too, if you don’t mind?”
It seemed we were at an impasse. I thought for a moment, and then a brilliant idea occurred to me. Ruprecht would know. “If you don’t mind,” I said, “I’ll just check with a friend of mine, Ruprecht Foxtin-Flynn. Do you know him?”
Selena nodded. “I know the name.”
Fortunately, Ruprecht answered his mobile phone at once. I wasted no time in coming to the point. “Ruprecht, I’m sitting here with a lady by the name of Selena Simpson. She’s told me that Angelica did a spell for her sister, Marina, every Halloween. Do you know anything about it? She says I have an obligation, as Thelma Spelled’s descendant, to grant her the favour of a spell every Halloween.”
“Yes, that’s right,” Ruprecht said. “I’ve never met Marina, but Angelica certainly did do a spell for her every Halloween.”
I thanked him and hung up, and then pinched the bridge of my nose. “This isn’t a practical Halloween joke?” I asked her.
She frowned. “No, I think people only do jokes like that on April the first.”
I circled my head to relieve some of the tension in my neck. “Look, I’m happy to do a spell for you, but not a love spell. It’s against everything I believe in. You can’t force someone to love you.”
The woman wrung her hands in obvious exasperation. “Well, what can you do for me?”
I thought for a moment. “I could do a sugar spell, a spell to make him well disposed towards you. It won’t make him fall in love with you, or anything like that, but it will make him happy. It will sweeten your relationship.”
“So it’s not a love spell, then?” she asked suspiciously.
I shook my head. “It’s more of a spell used in business dealings, to sweeten someone to another person and things like that. However, it will make people nice towards other people. It makes them happy. You know that expression, ‘sweeten the whole deal’? It’s like that; it just makes everything all sweet and nice. Think of it as a happiness spell.”
She was silent for a moment, and then to my relief, she agreed. I don’t know what I would have done if she had insisted I do a love spell for her. “I’ll do the spell in this room,” I said. “I’ll just pop out and get the ingredients.”
I hurried to my altar room. I wanted to get this spell over with as quickly as possible. I fetched sugar, cinnamon sugar, yellow candle, a thorn for writing, and an ovenproof dish, and returned to the living room.
When I got there, my two cats, Willow and Hawthorn, were sitting on Selena’s lap, purring. “I don’t like cats at all,” she said with obvious distaste. “Why are they looking at me like that? I think they’re hungry.”
“They’re always hungry.” I placed the items on the table. “Sugar to sweeten the relationship, cinnamon sugar to give the sweetening some intensity, and yellow for communication. This will simply make him happy and well-disposed to you.”
I did not tell her how to use personal effects or Love Me Oil, or tell her about red clover leaf or damiana. I was going to fulfil my obligation by doing the spell, but I wasn’t going to do anything to help someone fall in love with another person. That was against my beliefs.
I did not even use the man’s name in a name paper in the spell. The weight of the dilemma rested heavily upon me. Apparently, I was bound to do a spell for Selena, but I couldn’t do the type of spell she wanted. I hoped the obligation was simply to do a spell, and not to do it as specifically requested. Still, I had no choice.
I cast a circle and called the quarters, something I didn’t always do, but thought I should in this instance. I placed some cinnamon sugar and plain sugar in the bowl, and then inscribed the word ‘Happiness’ all over the candle with the thorn. I rubbed some Happiness Oil (a mixture of figs, cocoa, and cloves) into the candle, and then rolled the candle in the cinnamon sugar and plain sugar mixture. I lit a candle while focusing on feelings of warmth, happiness, and liking.
The candle flared, just as there was an explosion nearby.
“My cakes!” I screamed. I had cupcakes baking in the oven, and, due to the unexpected visitor, I had completely forgotten about them. Without thinking to close the circle, I sprinted down the hallway to the kitchen. I turned off the oven and opened the oven door, only to be met with a face full of smoke. I opened the kitchen windows as fast as I could, and then ripped the batteries from the blaring smoke alarm. After donning oven gloves, I reached into the oven, seized the oven tray, and threw it into the kitchen sink all in one smooth movement. The remains of the cupcakes frizzled angrily when the water hit them. I jumped backwards, holding up my arms to shield my face.
The billowing smoke followed me as I hurried back down the hallway. I ran past the startled Selena, and opened the living room windows as wide as possible. I opened the front door as well, and then stood there for a moment, watching the billowing smoke wend its way across the landscape at tree level, pushed along by the strong wind.
I turned back to Selena. “I’m sorry. I had cupcakes in the oven, and when you came, I completely forgot about them.”
“That’s all right,” she said. “Do you think the spell will work? The smoke blew the candle out.”
“I might have to do the spell again,” I admitted, “but let’s see how it goes. Often, when the candle goes out, it’s a sign that the spell has been accomplished.”
Just then, there was a text sound from Selena’s bag. “Excuse me,” she said, reaching into her bag. She looked at her phone and gasped. “It’s worked already! I can’t believe it! You’re a miracle worker!” She waved the phone at me. “It’s him, Nick. He wants me to meet him at a restaurant in town for lunch.”
Selena jumped to her feet at once, dislodging the two cats. She hurried to the door, nimbly avoiding the cats that were running between her legs, no doubt attempting revenge.
As I said goodbye to her already departing back, I watched the smoke wafting over town, carried aloft by the strong wind.

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