Authors: Charlotte Abel
-- Amazon Top 20 Bestseller -- Fiction, Sports and Activities
"This book will make you believe in magic." -- J. Timothy King
"Magic, treachery, humor and thrills ... flat out fun to read. Five Stars!" -- Ben Langhinrichs
"Every girl wants their prince charming to be just like Josh. Enchantment made me cry and laugh and gasp ... a make your heart warm and tingle kind of love story!" -- Natasha
While other girls are wearing push-up bras, Channie Belks is trying to hide the fact she's a witch.
Sorta hard to do after her parents slap a chastity curse on her for flirting with "dirty-minded, non-magical, city-boys." She can't even walk by a hot guy without zapping him.
There's a way to break the curse; but one mistake could kill her. It's not worth the risk ... until she meets Josh.
Suddenly, the threat of death isn't such a deal-breaker.
. Available now at Amazon.com
Channie Kerns peered over the edge of the cliff at the outcropping of granite where Toby Hansen died two years ago. It was ninety degrees in the shade, but a chill crept up her spine and made the little hairs on the back of her neck stand on end. This was crazy. She was crazy.
But Hunter Feenie was waiting … and watching. And she’d be damned if she’d chicken out after he’d already jumped.
She backed up ten paces and glanced at Hunter’s clothes, draped over a fallen log. He’d made a point of peeling his shirt off in slow motion like some movie star in a love scene, flexing his muscles, trying to impress her. It annoyed the hell out of her that it actually worked. She’d rolled her eyes for his benefit, but enjoyed the show nonetheless.
For the past two years, Channie had begged Aunt Wisdom to cast a spell on her to make her boobs grow. Just boost her hormone levels a tiny bit, what would it hurt?
But she’d always refused. “Be patient, sweetheart. Your time will come. You’re just a late bloomer, that’s all.”
She was a late bloomer, all right — hadn’t even needed a bra until her sixteenth birthday. But Aunt Wisdom was right. Channie’s time had definitely come. And without the help of magic, thank you very much. She was proud of her new curves, but she wasn’t about to strip down to her skivvies just because Hunter did. Jumping off a cliff was one thing, swimming half naked was quite another.
She tucked the hem of her t-shirt into her waistband, dug her toes into the dirt then took off like a beagle after a rabbit. Her stomach flipped as she hung weightless for a split second, then lurched into her throat as she fell. Toby’s Rock zipped past on her right, a near miss that shot adrenaline into her bloodstream. She tucked her knees to her chest, wrapped her arms around her shins and prepared for impact.
The cold, emerald water needled the small of her back and took her breath away, but the look on Hunter’s face just before she cannonballed him was worth it. He didn’t think she’d do it. Ha!
She came up laughing, sucked in a quick breath of air and grabbed Hunter’s wrist before he dunked her head beneath the surface. They splashed and teased each other until they were so cold and water-logged they looked like plucked chickens.
Somehow, during all the horseplay, the hem of Channie’s shirt worked its way out of her cutoffs. Hunter slid his hands around the bare skin of her waist and pulled her closer. His grip was gentle but firm … steady. Channie couldn’t keep from shivering, but she wasn’t cold. Far from it. Her skin flushed with a rush of heat as her heart pounded against her ribs.
Hunter smirked at her then let go and crawled onto the first ledge of the sheer cliff. He offered Channie his hand and said, “Come on, let’s go get warmed up.”
Ordinarily, she would have raced him to the top. She would have won, too. But she felt a little breathless and lightheaded, so she let him help her.
When they got to the top, Hunter grabbed a faded quilt out of his basket, scooped his clothes up off the log and headed towards The Shack.
Before the quarry closed, the pre-fabricated shed had been the foreman’s office. Now, it served as a hideout for underaged drinkers and secret lovers. Hunter retrieved a key from a hollow stump and unlocked the door.
There were holes in the tin roof and the warped floor was littered with trash, empty beer cans and broken glass. But it was the stained mattress in the corner that captured Channie’s gaze. Hunter covered it with his quilt and sat down. What exactly did he have in mind when he suggested they “get warmed up?”
He patted the quilt and cocked an eyebrow.
Everything Momma and Daddy had ever told Channie about boys flooded her mind. It was bad enough she’d let Hunter talk her into meeting him out here. The old bauxite quarry was off-limits for several reasons. It was outside her clan’s boundaries, the Empties from Whistler’s Gulch claimed it as their own, and it was dangerous. Toby wasn’t the only kid that had died out here. Every year at least one idiot would drown or break their neck diving off the cliff. Or worse … wind up pregnant.
Channie squeezed the water out of her hair and edged closer to the door. “I gotta get home.”
“Oh come on, Channie.” Hunter patted the quilt again. “I don’t bite.”
Channie didn’t need to read Hunter’s energy field to know what was going on. She could see it in his eyes.
His gaze travelled the length of her body then froze. She glanced down to see what had captured his attention and gasped when she realized he could see through the thin fabric of her wet t-shirt. She folded her arms across her chest and raised her shield in case he decided to cast a come-hither spell on her.
Hunter wrinkled his nose and curled his upper lip, scrunching the left side of his face. “What kind of scumbag do you take me for?”
Channie had known Hunter all her life, and she’d had a crush on him for as long as she could remember, but she didn’t trust him. Nobody did. It wasn’t his fault, and he’d never done anything to deserve suspicion — until now. But his momma was an outsider. She swore a death pledge to prove her loyalty and bound herself to the Feenie clan by marrying Hunter’s daddy. That was over twenty years ago, but mages have long memories and an unshakeable belief in the power of blood. It didn’t matter what any of the Feenie clan did, they’d never be accepted — not completely.
Hunter yanked his cutoffs on over his wet boxers but didn’t bother with the zipper. “Why’d you even agree to meet me out here?”
Channie shrugged her shoulders. “I don’t know.”
She wasn’t about to admit it, but she’d sort of hoped that maybe he would kiss her. She was sixteen for heaven’s sake. It was high time somebody did.
Hunter jerked his t-shirt on over his head and jammed his arms through the sleeves as if he wanted to punch someone. “I swear, Channie, you are such a tease.”
“And you’re a royal pain in the ass.” She backed out of the shack, grabbed her willow-twig basket and her bike then headed down the trail. Momma and Daddy were always warning her about how even the nicest boys were ruled by their carnal desires, but they’d neglected to mention that girls could feel lust too. That’s all this was … lust, not love. And it wasn’t enough.
When Channie was about two miles from home, she ducked behind an outcropping of granite and changed into dry clothes. She wrapped her wet things in her towel and shoved them to the bottom of her basket then hid everything under a layer of hastily gathered Elderberry leaves and fruit. If anyone asked where she’d been all afternoon, she’d just point to her basket of medicinal herbs. It was a source of pride for Channie’s entire clan that she was the youngest master-healer’s apprentice in the history of the Ozark Mountain Mages.
She continued on down the mountain side, dodging rocks and fallen logs, but stopped a quarter mile from home when she heard the ruckus. Damn it to hell and back, Daddy’s home. Channie sighed and raised her shield. She’d been caught in the crossfire before. No way was she gonna walk into the middle of one of Momma and Daddy’s violent reunions unprotected.
By the time she reached the granite stepping stones leading to the cabin, the yelling had stopped. Tension hung in the air like the burnt-onion stench of a curse.
She propped her bike against the north side of the cabin then jerked the screen door open to find Momma crushed against Daddy’s chest. He had his arms wrapped around her like a bull snake, trying to squeeze the life out of a squirrel.
Momma and Daddy fought all the time. And he’d been gone for over three weeks, which was a long time even for him, so it was no wonder the argument had turned violent, but Daddy wasn’t squeezing Momma … he was
Channie stood on the threshold, slack jawed, and stared at them while the screen door bounced against her butt. Neither one of them had their shields up, so she lowered hers too. She cast a bug-be-gone spell at the blowfly buzzing around her head then stepped inside. The screen door slammed shut with a resounding
. Momma and Daddy sprang apart like startled deer. Momma had replaced the worn out spring two days ago, but Channie kept forgetting. She cringed and said, “sorry,” then set her willow basket on the pine bench under the front window. As her eyes adjusted to the dimmer light inside the cabin, she noticed that Momma had tears in her eyes. “What’s going on?”
Daddy wiped the sweat off his brow with the back of his hand. “I got some real bad folks looking for me, baby girl.”
“Again?” The word popped out of Channie’s mouth before she could stop herself. Everyone knew about Daddy’s gambling addiction, unpaid debts and tendency to cheat at cards, but nobody was supposed to acknowledge it. Besides, it wasn’t really his fault. His power-name was Money and Daddy was obsessed with it. He invested what little cash he got his hands on in get-rich-quick schemes or gambled it away as fast as he got it.
Daddy smiled, but he also cast a spell to neutralize the energy of Channie’s power-name. He could have just raised his shield, that was insulting enough. He didn’t need to make her feel like a criminal by actively shutting her down. Channie was just a nickname. Her real name — chosen for her by Aunt Wisdom and sealed upon her with the words of an ancient binding spell — was Enchantment.
She couldn’t help influencing people to see things her way any more than Daddy could keep from lusting after money. It wasn’t as if she were enchanting him on purpose — he’d neutralize more than just her name if she tried.
He said, “You can take what ever you can stuff into a pillow case, but hurry it up. I wanna skedaddle on outta here before moon-rise.”
“You want me to go with you?”
Daddy was always running from trouble, but he’d never taken anyone with him before. He shook his head. “We’re all goin’ this time.”
“Aunt Wisdom only gave me a week off. My apprenticeship starts up again in three —”
“I ain’t in the mood for none of your backtalk. Now git on up there and git packed.”
Channie scampered up the ladder to the loft she shared with her older sister, Abundance, and three rowdy nephews — who were, praise the lord, still napping. Once down, the triplets could sleep through anything, even the sweltering heat of a late August afternoon.