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Authors: Misty Evans

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Witches Anonymous

BOOK: Witches Anonymous
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This book is a work of fiction. The names, characters, places, and incidents are products of the writer’s imagination or have been used fictitiously and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, actual events, locale or organizations is entirely coincidental.

 

Samhain Publishing, Ltd.

577 Mulberry Street, Suite 1520

Macon GA 31201

 

Witches Anonymous

Copyright © 2009 by Misty Evans

ISBN: 978-1-60504-397-5

Edited by Laurie Rauch

Cover by Natalie Winters

 

All Rights Are Reserved. 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.

 

First
Samhain Publishing, Ltd.
electronic publication: February 2009

www.samhainpublishing.com

Witches Anonymous

 

 

 

Misty Evans

Dedication

As always, this story is for Mark…my dear husband and best friend who never fails to tempt me with laughter and an occasional Dove chocolate.

Special hugs go to my sister of the heart, Chiron. Without her encouragement, this story would still be in the drawer.

And more hugs to my brainstorming partner, Nana, who brought Liddy and her crazy hair to life for this story.

Many thanks to my chocolate-loving editor, Laurie Rauch, for her expert eye for details.

Chapter One: The Thirteen Steps

In a room full of witches, you’d think I wouldn’t stand out. You’d be wrong.

My name is Amy Atwood and I’m a witch. Not one of those goodie-two-shoes Wiccans. No, I’m a Satan-worshipping, Devil-made-me-do-it witch.

However, after catching Lucifer performing a particularly wicked hex act with Emilia, my sister—a tried and true Wiccan—I turned my back on the Devil. I didn’t exactly expect him to be faithful, but bewitching it with my sister? High ick factor. So, no more casting spells to entertain him. No more curses to carry out his desires. No more witchery of any kind.

That’s why I was attending my first Witches Anonymous meeting. Glancing around at the faces staring back at me, with their raised eyebrows and thinned lips, I suddenly realized the last part of my introduction, about the Wiccans, I said out loud. In a room full of the goodie-two-shoes sisters.

Way to go, Amy
. Stepping on broomsticks in less than thirty seconds. A new record, even for me.

Too bad I couldn’t cast a spell and enchant them all, but I’d sworn an oath to stay clean. Because magic is a slippery slope. Even one small curse or spell could put me on the downhill slide back to Lucifer. So far, I was sticking to my oath. I was good now. Normal.

Human.

Yeesh. The thought made me shudder.

Anxiously caressing the square of Dove chocolate stowed in the pocket of my jacket, I gave the witches in the room my most charming smile, full of ear-to-ear goodness. I’d promised myself if I got through the meeting, I could have the chocolate.

And there wasn’t much I wouldn’t do for a Dove.

The door behind me opened, saving me from making a false apology. A tall, good-looking guy with a determined look on his face pulled up short as he took in the circle of women. His T-shirt was a bit too tight and his jeans a bit too loose, but his boots were high-quality leather with snappy silver toes peeking out from beneath the frayed hems of his pant legs.

That’s what I call good
ness
.

His intense brown eyes looked intelligent when his gaze locked with mine. “Uh, hi,” he stammered, his focus dropping to my mouth. It stayed there a second too long before returning to meet my eyes. Thank the devil I’d worn my plum lip gloss. “Is this room 12A? I was looking for the Harley Brothers meeting.”

Men and Harleys? Now that was my kind of group. “I’m Amy.” I stepped forward to extend my hand. “I was looking for that meeting, too. It must be down the hall.”

The grin that passed over his face showed me one perfect dimple. He took my hand with confidence, his warm skin kissing mine like a lover as he pulled me toward him. I noticed an apple with an arrow piercing the core tattooed on his right arm.

“Let’s get out of here, then,” he said, “and let these fine women get back to their…whatever meeting.”

Out in the hall, I put my hand over my mouth and giggled. “Your timing is perfect. You just saved me from being burned at the stake.”

Up close, his brown eyes looked like the color of the Dove in my pocket. The dimple reappeared. “Rescuing damsels in distress is one of my specialties.”

I’d never considered myself a damsel in distress. However, the dimple won me over, saving him from a sharp rebuke. I found myself wondering if his eyes got darker, like melted chocolate, when he got mad.

Or horny.

He took my hand again. Soft warmth enveloped it. “I’m Adam Foster.”

Instantly, I thought of Bananas Foster. Yummy. My mind was already casting a circle of lust around us when I caught myself.

No spells. No charms.

No fun.

“Nice to meet you, Adam Foster.” I took my hand back, wishing I could curse Lucifer and Emilia for forcing me to embrace goodness and normalcy. “I better let you get to your meeting.”

“You’re not coming?”

“No.” I glanced at the door to Room 13C and shuffled my feet. “I swore an oath to be good. I have to go back to this one.”

“Back to the stake, huh?”

“You could say that.”

He gave me a nod. “Maybe after our meetings, we could grab an ice cream?”

A Harley-riding, tattooed man who wanted to go for ice cream? Normalcy wasn’t all that bad.

And revenge on Lucifer, whether by stake or by mortal torment, was extremely satisfying. “I’d love to.”

“Meet you outside later?”

“I’ll be there.”

As he walked away, I watched the back of his dark brown hair brush his neck and thought about touching that same spot with my fingers. When Lucifer discovered I’d taken a new boyfriend—a human one, no less—he’d be mad as hell.

Who says being a good witch isn’t fun?

 

Inside the room, the good witches chatted in pairs. One lonely woman, with glasses covering most of her face, sat alone, staring at the others with a look of distracted interest. Weaving my way through the small groups to get to her, I felt the other witches’ annoyance and fear pinging off me like little balls of hail. Instinct had me forming a protective bubble around my body until I pulled up short. Was protecting myself from negative energy too witchy? Deciding not to take chances, I ignored the energy hail balls and continued on toward the woman sitting by herself. As I stopped next to her, I plastered a smile on my face and pointed at the empty chair on her left. “This seat taken?”

Her eyes widened behind the thick lenses. Straightening, she glanced around at the witches nearest her who were watching the exchange. Was it my imagination, or did tiny bolts of lightning crackle in her hair? She pointed one short finger at the chair as if it were a boa constrictor and eyed me with suspicion. She seemed genuinely surprised. “You want to sit here?”

I nodded, doing my best to look harmless. “Yeah, if you don’t, you know, have a partner.”

“Oh.” Again she stole a glance at the group around us and I saw her discomfort shift to something more determined. Something friendly. The frizzy curls in her hair seemed to relax a bit. “Actually, I was saving this seat for you. I’m Liddy.”

She motioned me into the chair and I dropped like a rock, full of relief. “Nice to meet you, Liddy.” Once the majority had returned to their conversations-in-progress, I leaned closer to her and said under my breath. “Thanks for the save.”

“The save?”

“Yeah, you know, saving me from embarrassment in front of everyone. Me not knowing what the heck is going on and all.”

She gave me a covert nod and cracked her knuckles one-by-one self-consciously. Again, I could have sworn I saw microscopic lightning bolts, this time emerging from the ends of her fingertips. “This is your first meeting, huh?”

“Yep.” I settled back and crossed my legs, curious about the energy she was fighting to hold in. “So, what are we doing, pairing up like this?”

“Step Five.”

I waited for her to explain. When she didn’t, I prompted her. “Step Five?”

She shifted her chair to face me like the other pairs of witches were doing. “Admit to another witch the wrongs we’ve committed against humans.”

Wrongs we’ve committed against humans. Dirty demons, this could get ugly. “Like a confession?”

She nodded at my quick study. “Right. The first step is to admit you have a problem. Then you take a moral inventory and then you unburden yourself to another. It’s redeeming.”

Making a quick mental list of the wrongs I’d committed that fell in that category, I knew it could be a long evening. “Wiccans only perform white magic, Liddy. All that
harm none
stuff. How many wrongs could you have committed?”

She dropped her gaze and started worrying the cuticles on her fingers. She’d bitten her nails to the quicks. Or maybe they were chewed up from the white light zigging and zagging between the tips. “You’d be surprised at the defects in my character.”

Defects? Using my natural-born empathic skills, I opened a small fissure and probed her. Lots of angst, but I couldn’t find any black energy. I leaned in, patted her leg and gave her a wink. “You can always claim the Devil made you do it.”

My stab at humor garnered me her serious wide eyes and a shake of her head. “It wasn’t the Devil. My family made me do it.”

Another display of crackles stood her curls on end. Yep, families could do that to you. Considering my only living relatives were Emilia and our neurotic grandmother who’d holed herself up in a nunnery in Romania, I felt an instant kinship with Liddy. “Mine’s less than stellar too. Don’t sweat it.”

“Your family, are they…you know…in the occult like you?”

“I have a sister who just went to the dark side.” I did my best Darth Vader breathing-through-a-mask imitation, but Liddy looked confused. I waved it off. “Emilia’s the reason I’m here, trying to go good again.”

“Why would you want to worship Satan in the first place?”

The question of the ages. I thought about Lucifer—his dark, brooding eyes, his skillful lips, his talented fingers. A shudder ran down my spine. The bad boy in him called to me, even here, sitting with Liddy and her poor battered fingernails and fried hair. “It’s hard to explain. Luc—that’s what he likes to be called—is sort of the, uh, ultimate seducer. Pretty damn hard to resist.”

Liddy’s eyebrows drew together as if she didn’t get it. Again, I wondered how many defects she could have. I tried an example. “You know in high school how all the girls moon over the hunky quarterback, but, in the heart of the night, yearn for the bad-ass biker boy?”

She tilted her head to one side and stared at me, thinking hard. “You mean like Dean Winchester in
Supernatural
?”

Holey jeans and cocky attitude. “Exactly. You watch that show?”

Her eyebrows drew tighter. “Once. It was too scary for me, but I liked Sam the best.”

“Ah, the wounded-soul, reluctant-hero type.” I placed my hand over my heart and sighed deeply. “Hard to resist those, too.” Especially when seducing them was
so
entertaining.

A heavy energy settled over us. The witches on either side of our chairs had picked up on the thread of our conversation and were openly staring.

Liddy didn’t seem to notice. “But Satan hurts people. You don’t seem very mean.”

Again, the image of Lucifer rose in my mind, his lips curving up in a dangerous, seductive smile. Remembering the dark magic we’d performed together sent a tiny tingling through my veins. Like a trained dog, my thighs tightened in response. I coughed, tried to clear the image of Lucifer’s head between my legs, and squirmed. “The magic I did was for personal gain.” Deeply,
deeply
personal. I fanned myself with my hand. “I never hurt anyone but myself.” And, come to Momma, bad-ass biker boy, I wanted to do it all over again.

Except, probably at that very moment, Luc was making Emilia’s thighs squeeze the same way. My heart jerked inside my chest.

Liddy bit at a non-existent fingernail. “I hate my sister,” she said. Every body part I could see crackled. “I want to do her harm.”

The out-of-the-blue confession mirrored mine so perfectly, I sat back hard in my chair. It squeaked backwards on the linoleum floor. “Really. That’s…um…interesting.”

She slapped her hand over her mouth, her eyes bugging out behind the lenses. Her curls did the hula on top of her head. “Oh, my, God, I can’t believe I said that out loud.”

Me either, but, hey, a girl’s gotta confess what a girl’s gotta confess, and Liddy obviously needed to get some of that crappy energy out of her system. “Your secret’s safe with me.” At her continued look of abject horror, I reached over and patted her knee again. “It’s okay, Liddy. We’ve all been there, wrestling with that blood-is-thicker-than-water stuff. It’s good to get it off your chest. The redemption thing, you know?”

“You.” The Witches Anonymous president, Marcia Something-Or-Other, rose from her chair to my left. She pointed a finger at me. “You made her say that.”

What?
“What?”

Another woman stood and glared at me. “Liddy would never say something like that. She wouldn’t hurt a fly.”

“It’s you,” Marcia said, hands on hips. “You brought out the evil in her.”

“I…uh…” I looked at Liddy’s scared expression and the crazy lightning bolts flashing around her. “…did not.”

Did I?

Had I somehow inadvertently transferred my feelings toward Emilia on Liddy? I pushed back my chair and stood as Marcia and several of the others gathered around my new friend in a protective, human shield. Marcia shook her finger at me again. “If this is your idea of a joke, it’s not funny.”

The rest of the women moved forward and joined the protective ranks. Once again I was staring down a dozen angry Wiccans. Their energy glowed red. Strike two. One more and I was out.
Harm none,
I chanted in my head in case any of them were mind readers. “Look…” I raised my hands and turned them face out to reinforce my innocence, “…I didn’t do anything to Liddy. We were just following your Step Five and she sort of had a personal epiphany about her family. That’s all.”

Liddy’s head popped up over Marcia’s shoulder. Her eyes were still bugged out, but lit with something new. Something happy. “She’s
right
. I had an
epiphany
.” Her voice was almost giddy. Her head bobbed up and down, her now-relaxed curls jiggling with wild abandon.

Marcia glowered at me, but spoke to her. “Shut up, Liddy. You did not have an epiphany.”

“Yes, I did. I did,” she insisted. “I know what’s wrong with me now and how I can make amends.” She turned a glassy-eyed smile on me. “And I owe it all to my new friend, Amy.”

Marcia’s mulish face continued to stare me down as Liddy tried to convince the rest of the witches that she’d just had some kind of spiritual awakening.

After a minute, the women moved off in small groups to gather around a table set up with punch and cookies. Several threw me curious looks over their shoulders. Others still regarded me with disdain. The energy level was now a burnt orange.

Marcia crossed her arms over her chest and narrowed her eyes at me. “Watch your step, Atwood.”

Her tone thoroughly pissed me off. Or maybe it was just her pompous attitude. I clenched my hand around the Dove in order to keep from reaching for her neck. Giving her the sweetest smile I could generate, I channeled mock innocence. “Would that be Step Nine or Step Thirteen, Marcia?”

BOOK: Witches Anonymous
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