Hold Your Witches

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Hold Your Witches

Bless Your Witch, Book 11

Dylan and Roman are back!

When Dylan’s brand new detective business gets its first customer, she should be elated. Problem is, that customer is her grandmother. Milly Jones claims Polly Parrot is missing. She needs Dylan and Roman to find the magical bird before Polly is forced to divulge Milly’s deepest, darkest secrets.

Though Dylan thinks the whole situation is a stunt by her grandmothers to keep her busy, she grudgingly agrees to help.

But when a client appears on her doorstep with a missing persons case, Dylan plunges in head first—despite a warning from Roman. But when that case turns sinister and Dylan realizes a close member of her own family is entangled with the wrong group of people, she must act fast to save them. Can she do it? Will she lose a family member forever? And also—can Dylan find Polly Parrot?

Chapter One

“The water won’t stop squirting me! Will you please turn this hydrant off before my bones are soaked?”

Up until that moment my morning had been blissful. Serene, actually. I’d had a cup of coffee with a blueberry and cream cheese Danish for breakfast. Afterward I had only kicked myself mentally in the rear end for thirty minutes for splurging on that two-thousand-calorie goodness. I mean, y’all, that takes up most of my calories for the day. Actually, all of them.

Then I’d walked to the office. New office. Well, not technically new. Roman, my brand-new husband, and I had converted the back of my store, Perfect Fit, into a space for meeting with potential clients.

Witchy clients with witchy problems.

Well okay, maybe I should be a bit more mature now that I had two companies and call these people what they were—witch clients with witch problems.

In case I forgot to mention it—and I often do because let’s face it, I have a ton of clutter filling up my brain—my name’s Dylan Bane and I’m a witch.

I wasn’t always a witch. In fact I didn’t know anything about my powers until I was twenty-eight. When I was a child, my parents had both perished in a car accident, and the grandmother who raised me and my two sisters, Sera and Reid, never bothered to mention our magical heritage.

Some secrets only fester under a pressure cooker, building up steam until the only choice is for the lid to blow sky-high.

That’s sort of what happened in our case. Queen Witch planted herself in our little town of Silver Springs, Alabama, explained that we were witches and taught us how to use our powers.

Sort of.

Fact is, the three of us were pretty much still in training. For how complex the intricacies of witchcraft were so far, we’d probably be in training for the rest of our lives.

Which is the situation I found myself in after my wonderfully satisfying breakfast of two thousand calories that were going to plaster themselves immediately to my thighs.

I pressed my thumb into the sinewy wire of the picture I was about to hang behind my brand-new desk. It was nice—one of those Thomas Kincaid knockoffs of a country scene with a small windmill, a cottage. Lightning bugs glowed as the sun burned into twilight.

Roman didn’t care for it, but I thought it was nice and serene.

Anyway, I had one thumb jacked up underneath it while my baby sister Reid was supposed to be making a pot of coffee.

A pot of coffee, y’all. How hard could it be?

Apparently I shouldn’t have asked, because the next thing I knew, water was spraying like a geyser throughout the office.

“What did you do?” I yelled.

With her arms braced in front of her, Reid shouted, “I’m trying to get it off.”

I watched as magic trickled from her index finger and wrapped around the sink. The power contracted around the metal. The sink screeched as if the magic was pulling and yanking on its guts.

Apparently it was.

The faucet blew sky-high, clattering across the floor with a clank.

Reid screamed.

I dropped my beautiful Thomas Kincaid knockoff. Glass shattered as the frame cracked on the linoleum floor.

And y’all, water was everywhere. As they say in certain parts of the South, “it come up a flood.” Just like Noah and the Ark.

Within seconds the water was inches deep. I jumped from the chair and sloshed over. It seeped into my sneakers, soaking my socks. My toes squished in my shoes.

Oh my gosh, it was horrible. Really. I hate wet feet. It’s almost as bad as when you’re out all day in the heat and humidity. By the time you get inside, you could wring out your bra, it’s holding so much water. If I had a choice between wet, yucky bra or soaked feet, I’d take wet bra every time.

“What did you do?” I screeched, slogging through the river.

Reid wiped away the burgundy hair plastered to her face. “Nothing! I just tried to get the stupid thing to stop. It’s not my fault you’ve got a crappy sink.”

I shot her a look of death.

She didn’t even flinch.

I must be losing my touch.

I grabbed the faucet head from the creek that was now my floor. “Let’s get this thing fixed.” I shuffled through the water, and I swear, y’all, it was like the spray had a mind of its own. If I moved left, it found a way to squirt me; if it moved right, the hole still managed to spit at me, hitting me square in the chest.

Finally I reached the sink. I pressed the faucet onto the gaping mouth. Water spewed out around it, zooming straight into my ear. I shook my head, dislodging the drops.

Now I am not a plumber. First of all, I make sure my pants cover my tush crack. Secondly, well, I’m simply not that technically savvy, so the best chance I had of fixing this thing was to use magic.

Yep, the same magic that Reid used, but I’d been practicing a bit longer.

I concentrated on the power that rested in my core. Magic flared to life. I could feel it hum through my body, making my arms and legs tingle. A colorful thread of light shot out from my hand and wrapped around the metal.

“Come on,” I pleaded. “Close. Meld. Do something.”

The metal twisted as if it was going to do what I wanted. My heart leaped with joy. “You can do it,” I said.

The faucet snapped in two. A hard spray of water squirted me in the eye.

“Reid, I’m going to kill you,” I said.

She threw up her hands. “Me? I didn’t do anything.”

The front door opened. “What in the world are you two doing?”

Roman strode in. Water sloshed over his shoes. He took one look at me, placed his hands on his hips and shook his head.

I pointed to Reid. “She did it.”

He crossed to the sink, opened the cabinet beneath it and shut the water off.

The gushing geyser died. The only sound in the room was that of water dripping from my clothes onto the floor.

Roman rose and turned to face us. “Did you use magic?” he said in a voice that bordered on accusatory.

“Yes,” I said quietly.

“It has a valve,” he said.

“I see that now. Thank you for saving us. It was horrible. There was all this water and it’s humid outside and now I’m not going to look pretty for the rest of the day.”

The corner of his lips quirked up. He pushed his hips from the edge of the counter and raked his fingers through his short blond hair.

“I’ll go get the shop vac.”

Reid raised a hand as if she was in class. “You sure you don’t want me to use my power to clean up the water?”

“No,” Roman and I said in unison.

“I was only trying to help,” she whimpered.

“You’ve helped enough,” I said.

Reid fisted a hand to her hip. “It’s not my fault you have a crappy sink.”

I sighed and rolled my eyes at the same time. Roman squeezed my hand as he passed by and whispered in my ear, “Breathe, darlin’.”

“I am breathing.”

He pressed his lips to my temple. “I meant in a way that’s soothing.”

I bit back a laugh. “You don’t think sighing is breathing.”

“Not the kind you need.” He suctioned his lips from my temple and darted outside to his SUV, where I’m guessing he’d hidden a shop vacuum for such emergencies as this one.

Reid wrung out her hair. A small waterfall landed in the lake we were standing in. “I’m going to the house to change. You need anything?”

I fished in my purse, snagged my keys and tossed them to her. “Yeah, can you bring me a bra, panties, jeans, a T-shirt and a hairbrush?”

Her jaw fell. “You sure you don’t just want to come with me?”

I tsked. “Today’s the first day Roman and I are officially open for business.”

Reid grimaced. “And I just made it a hot mess.”

I waded over to the picture and pulled it from the floor. The water hadn’t reached it yet. I rested what was left of it in a chair. “You didn’t ruin anything. Everything will be fine. Roman and I will clean it up.”

The door opened. I expected to see Roman but instead laid eyes on my paternal grandmother, Milly Jones, and my other sister, Seraphina, Sera for short.

“If you wanted to have a pool party,” Milly said, snorting, “you should’ve at least made sure you had a lifeguard.”

Reid slogged past them. “We had an issue with the faucet.”

Sera held a bakery box over her head. “My heels.”

“The water’s not that high,” I said, pointing to her hands.

She blew a strand of glossy hair from her face. “It feels like it.”

“You’re exaggerating,” I said, cutting through the water at a snail’s pace because, well, you know, water.

Milly thumbed her nose. “Why don’t we get rid of this, shall we?”

With one clap of her hands the water vanished, my clothes dried and I exhaled a sigh that was so deep I swear it started at my toes.

“Got the shop vac,” Roman said, striding in.

There were times when I forgot exactly how built my husband was. When I was standing beside him, for instance, the last thought running in my head was how swollen his biceps were or how cut his thighs looked in his jeans.

Of course I didn’t forget when a pretty little thing gave him the eye. I had no problem giving her the eye of death in return and also a wedgie. I mean, it’s not like I could set her hair on fire or anything, and wedgies were harmless. Annoying but harmless.

Roman stopped when he reached the back room. “I see my job is done.”

Milly winked at him. “Don’t worry; I was happy to do your job for you.”

“I’m sure I’ve got other jobs you can do for me,” he said.

She leaned both gnarled and knotted hands on her cane. “Trust me, son, I wouldn’t want to do any of your other jobs. Too dangerous.”

Roman gave her a tight smile. There was a truth to her words that clearly struck a chord in him.

“I left the police force for the PI firm,” he said. “Should be a lot cushier.” He spread his hands wide. “Well, what do you think? Do you like the official office of Bane & Bane, Magical Detectives?”

Sera’s heels clicked over the linoleum as she set the baked goods on the table. “It’s nice and not obvious.”

Unable to resist an overdose of sugar, I popped the lid and plucked a cranberry muffin from the box. Oats coated with sugar hit my tongue, dissolving in heavenly sweetness.

I moaned.

Everyone stared at me. “What? It’s delicious.”

“Well,” Milly said, stepping forward. “As much as I’d love to say I’m here on a social visit, I’m not.”

I shot Roman a confused look. “What other kind of visit could you be here for?”

Milly plopped down in a chair at the front of the desk. She twisted her head and gave me a once-over. “Why don’t you take a lucky guess? You’ve got a business. I’m sitting in the front seat.”

I dropped the muffin onto a napkin and nearly crawled over the table in excitement.

“Oh my gosh. You’re our first customer. You need us to do some detectiving for you?”

I pulled the broken picture from the seat. Milly wiggled liver-spotted fingers at it, and the frame magically sewed itself back together.

I propped it against the wall. “Thank you.” I sat next to Roman and folded my hands. I gestured for him to start.

He cleared his throat and leaned back. I could tell he thought Milly’s appearance was a bunch of hogwash, but he was going to play along, same as me.

“So,” he said in a deep voice. “You’re in need of our services?”

Milly’s eyes narrowed, twisting her features into those of an old hag’s. I will just say that the shapeless brown cardigan, lack of makeup and nude-colored support hose did not help her case any.

“Yes, I’m here because I need help.”

Roman ran the pad of his thumb over his bottom lip. “Okay. How can we help you?”

Milly’s lips tightened to a thin line. She smacked them a few times. “Something’s gone missing from my house. I need you to find it.”

“Okay,” Roman said slowly. “What is it?”

I laughed nervously. “Milly, I know I’m your granddaughter and everything, but we’re not here to find the good silver you left outside on your barbecue grill.”

She scowled. “How do you know about that?”

My gaze darted to Sera, who whistled while eyeing the ceiling. “Wow, is that paint peeling over there? Let me just see what that’s about.”

Milly frowned at my sister. “Tattletale.”

Sera kept right on whistling, ignoring Milly.

My grandmother turned to us. “I’m not here because I accidentally forgot where I hid the good silver. I’m here because something important has gone missing and I need you to find it.”

I rubbed my forehead though I felt like tearing out my hair because clearly she wasn’t being serious. She was only trying to give us something to do. “What’s gone?”

Milly’s knuckles paled as her grip on the cane tightened. “Polly Parrot. My magical wooden bird. He’s gone missing, and I need you to find him.”