Authors: tonya kappes
Spies and Spells Series
This book is a work of fiction. The characters, incidents, and dialogue are drawn from the author’s imagination and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to actual events or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
Copyright © 2016 by Tonya Kappes. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews. For information address Author Tonya Kappes, P.O. Box 176988, Ft. Mitchell, Ky. 41017
This book is dedicated to all my readers who have fallen in love with Mick Jasper and Maggie Park as much as I have!
I want to thank Cyndy Ranzau for the amazing editing. I also want to give a huge shout out to Jessica Fischer for the amazing cover design and bringing the story to life in a photo.
A special thank you to the Kappes Krew, the reviewers, and the bloggers who have helped spread the word about my novels. Without you, there would be no me! You make my dream a reality and I love every minute of it. I hope I do not disappoint you!
And last but not least, I want to thank my very own real life partner, Eddy! He allows me the time I need by keeping up with our boys, fur babies, house work, suppers, and everyday life while I write.
Also by Tonya Kappes
Olivia Davis Paranormal Mystery Series
Magical Cures Mystery Series
Spies and Spells Series
Get Witch or Die Trying
Grandberry Falls Series
A Laurel London Mystery Series
A Divorced Diva Beading Mystery Series
Bluegrass Romance Series
A Ghostly Southern Mystery Series
“Oh, Miss Kitty,” Auntie Meme trilled. “You naughty, naughty owl.” Only Auntie Meme’s voice was more sarcastic than scolding.
Closely followed up by the yipping of King, Mrs. Hubbard’s Yorkie.
“Naughty nothin’!” My witchy antennae picked up the subtle increase in tension in Mrs. Hubbard’s voice. “I’m calling the ASPCA because I’m sure, well, maybe not real sure, but I’d put my plastic flower garden on the line that keeping an owl as a pet is not within the law.”
My heart stopped not only because Mrs. Hubbard meant business when she bet her plastic flower garden on anything, but also because Miss Kitty wasn’t just any ordinary owl. She was a rare species that wasn’t indigenous to the United States.
“I’ll take that bet!” A scream clawed in Auntie Meme’s throat. “Who in their right mind plants plastic flowers? You go through all the hassle of digging and planting, so you might as well plant the real deal. But then again, you’d probably kill them.”
Auntie Meme and Mrs. Hubbard were not fond of each other and that was putting it nicely.
That woman is meaner than a skillet full of rattlesnakes,
Auntie Meme would say about Mrs. Hubbard. Mrs. Hubbard would say,
Your aunt is crazier than a shit house rat.
Whatever that meant.
“I don’t think that stealing a package from your neighbor’s front porch is within the law.” Auntie Meme’s voice held uneasiness spiced with irritation.
“I reckon I’m gonna go on in and call the law. Shooo old black bird!” Mrs. Hubbard’s voice carried into the open window of my bedroom. “Come on, King.”
King yipped and yapped. Miss Kitty, unfazed, sat on the railing of Mrs. Hubbard’s front porch.
“I dare you.” Auntie Meme’s voice slid through my veins like a cold needle. She wasn’t going to play nice anymore, not that she ever started out nice, but we didn’t need her doing something to Mrs. Hubbard. The neighbors would notice right off, since she wouldn’t be at the nightly circle when all the old women on Belgravia Court gathered to gossip.
We’d spent the better part of our lives in Old Louisville flying under the radar, trying to look like the people who lived around us. As we’d gotten older, it’d gotten harder and harder. And Auntie Meme has gotten crotchetier and crotchetier. She’s been waiting for the perfect time to throw a little bad luck Mrs. Hubbard’s way and this little confrontation just might’ve been that tipping point, especially when it came to Miss Kitty, Auntie’s owl that just so happened to be her familiar. So Mrs. Hubbard’s threat of calling the ASPCA wasn’t going along with our plan to fit in.
The Jack-and-Jill bathroom between my sister’s bedroom and mine was dark. The door to Lilith’s room on the other side of the bathroom was closed. Was she listening to the bantering going on outside our windows? Or was she really asleep? Either way, it didn’t matter, she wasn’t going to stop Auntie from exposing us. Especially now that she’s found her life’s mission. Mine, I’d yet to fully understand.
I rolled out of bed, the old wood floor creaked underneath me, which I was sure alerted the rest of the women in my family I was up. I parted the curtain and was nearly blinded by the bright early morning sunlight that would soon brighten our door an hour later due to the daylight savings time change in a week. Something my family loved. The shorter the days, the happier we were. Only because we did our best work at night.
Auntie Meme and Mrs. Hubbard were nose-to-nose. Auntie Meme’s red hair was stuck up all over her head like it always was; she was wearing her blue silk kimono, with the blue stars on it, loosely belted around her waist.
“Shoo you old black bird! Get off my flowers!” Mrs. Hubbard was fighting both Auntie Meme and the black bird that I’d seen perched on her porch a few times over the past couple of days. Both seemed to be stubborn because neither of them moved.
Mrs. Hubbard looked as if she’d just been to the hairdresser. Her short grey hair was cut into a perfect bob just below her ears and neatly parted on the left side. Her hands planted on her hips, her brows cocked up under her side bangs. Of course she had on her staples: pearl earrings, pearl necklace and black pleated slacks. The only difference in her day-to-day outfit was the color of her cardigan. Today her choice happened to be green, as in grass green which didn’t go well with the color of her skin, but that was my sister’s Lilith’s job to make her over. Not mine.
Mine was to keep the peace between us and the neighbors on Belgravia Court.
“And that hair of yours.” Mrs. Hubbard tsked. “You know the sayin’ ‘road hard and put up wet’?”
Auntie Meme wiggled her fingers and swung her arm above her head. It was the moment she’d been waiting for. And I was about to squish that moment like a bug.
“Auntie! Whoohooo! Auntie!” I threw the window up and hung my head out. “Miss Kitty!” I yelled and the owl’s wings spread, pumping a couple of times before she lifted off Mrs. Hubbard’s front porch railing.
Miss Kitty hovered over Mrs. Hubbard for a moment too long.
“No, Miss Kitty!” I screamed but it was too late. She’d left a right nice sized present on Mrs. Hubbard’s head before she flapped her wings a couple of times and landed on my windowsill.
“Whoooo, whoooo.” Her brown eyes innocently blinked.
“You know better than that,” I scolded Miss Kitty and grabbed my robe off the chair. “Stay!” I ordered her to stay in or on the house.
I ran down the hall and shoved my arms in the sleeves of my robe as I darted down the stairs. I flung the front door open, cringing when it smacked the wall in the entrance hall, hoping against all the super witchy powers in the world that the stained glass on the heavy wooden door hadn’t broken.
There was no time to waste, Auntie Meme had both hands up in the air and if I didn’t get to her in time, Mrs. Hubbard, I’m sure, would be turned into the wartiest frog Belgravia Court had ever seen.