Southern Witching

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Southern Witching

Bless Your Witch, Book 9

The happiest day of Dylan’s life has finally arrived…her wedding day!

All of Silver Springs is ready for a celebration to remember. But things get off to a rocky start when Grandma Hazel calls down a flock of eagles that try to eat the wedding doves. Then Dylan sees Roman before the ceremony. Things couldn’t get any worse, could they?

Never ask a question you don’t want answered.

When a ghost from Roman’s past threatens the happy couple’s future together, the wedding is put on hold. That’s fine. Dylan and Roman will get things straightened out. But when that same ghost from the past winds up dead, Roman is arrested for murder.

Now it’s up to Dylan to find the real killer before Roman is sent to witch prison for a crime he didn’t commit. Can she do it? Or will she become the killer’s next victim? And more importantly…

Will Dylan finally get the happily ever after she’s been dreaming of?

Chapter One

“No, the doves don’t get released until after the wedding. After,” I said, emphasizing the word.

My grandmother Hazel blinked innocently, or was it dumbly? As in playing dumb? “Dylan, I understand that. I’m not trying to let them loose.”

I smacked my forehead. “Then why are you standing by the cage with a key?”

My grandmother’s mouth pulled back into a mischievous smile. A silver key glinted in her liver-spotted hand, and as her lips parted, I noted a gray cap peeking out. “Dylan, I was only feeding the birds some food and water. The doves looked a little hungry. See that one there?”

She pointed to one of the two dozen white doves. I had no idea which one she was actually referring to, but I politely nodded.

Grandma rapped the wire cage. “That one there looks peckish, don’t you think?”

Black beady eyes stared at me about as blankly as Grandma had been staring at me a few seconds before. “Grandma, they all look hungry. They’re supposed to be. When they’re released tomorrow after the ceremony, they’ll fly into the air looking for food.”

I didn’t know if that was actually true, but it sounded good.

“What’s going on here, toots?”

I turned. My other grandmother, the almost-sane one, Milly Jones, caned up to us.

We stood outside the event house where my wedding was supposed to take place tomorrow.

That’s right, wedding! I would be marrying the man of my dreams in less than twenty-four hours. Needless to say, I was a bundle of frayed nerves. Actually I was more like a wad of popping corn kernels.

I was elated and also completely terrified.

I didn’t know why. Not true, I did know—this was a huge, wonderful change that I was about to be experiencing.

Change made me nervous—like hyperventilating nervous. Like I had to keep visiting the bathroom because my stomach was upset nervous.

Was that too much information?

I glanced from Milly back to Grandma. “Grandma is trying to set the doves loose,” I said coldly.

Grandma straightened up and threw half of her purple gauzy scarf over her exposed neck. “Dylan, why would you ever think I was going to do that?”

“Because you’re holding a key in your hand and that new silver cap you got put over your tooth makes you look like a pirate.”

Milly snorted with laughter. “I got to hand it to the kid. She’s right about the tooth.”

Grandma folded her thin arms. “I only wanted them to experience what life would be like free in the wilds of America.”

I exchanged a glance with Milly. “They’ll get to do that tomorrow. Right now I’m trying to have a normal, regular wedding. Can we please do that?”

Grandma sniffed. “I suppose so. But Dylan, don’t you think it’s mean to cage the birds? Look in their eyes; don’t you see that all they want is to be out of their confines and sailing the seven skies on the wings of eagles?”

That made no sense. I gave her a hard nod. “Sure. All they want is to be lying on the back of one of their eagle friends while he flies them around. I get it. I get it. But don’t you think their eagle friends would eat them? Eagles are large birds.”

Grandma’s face dropped in horror. “No! I would hope not. Maybe I should cancel the order for eagles.”

The hair on the back of my neck pricked to attention. “Grandma, what did you do?”

She shook her head with such gusto I thought it might bob right off. “What? Me? Nothing. Absolutely nothing.” Grandma took my hand and led me toward the event house. “Why don’t you go inside and have a nice cup of tea?”

I dug my heels into the ground. “No. Tell me right now what you did.”

From behind us, Milly laughed. “I bet she ordered a flock of eagles.”

I whirled around. “Did you do that? Did you order eagles?”

Grandma patted my hand. “Now, now. Of course not. Why would I do something so silly? I mean, why would I want a carnivorous bird at a wedding? It might try to fly off with the bride.”

“Or the groom,” Milly added.

Grandma shot her a dark look.

I flared out my arms. “No one is freeing the doves until tomorrow, and no eagles are swooping down and stealing anyone. I want a nice, quiet wedding, and if that’s too much to ask, all of you can go home.”

Grandma pouted out her lip. “I was only trying to help.”


I froze. “What was that?”

Milly pointed the bottom of her cane toward the sky. “Our friends the eagles.”

I glanced up. The sun had just finished burning down the horizon. Darkness blanketed most of the night sky except for a patch of white. It was in that patch that I saw them.

A hundred bald eagles headed straight for us. Their talons pinched as if they were readying themselves to grip my shoulders and fly off with me. Their beaks gnashed like they were practicing crushing my bones.

I couldn’t move. Fear paralyzed me. “Call them off,” I said.

Grandma didn’t respond. I think she was as shocked by the sight as I was.

“Call them off,” I repeated.

Her fingers flew to her face. “I don’t know how.”

My eyes flared. I grabbed Grandma by the shoulders and gently shook her. “Grandma. Please. This is no time to joke. Those things look like they want to eat us. Get rid of them.”

She twisted her fingers. “I don’t know how.”


“Then I suggest we run,” Milly shouted.

The eagles dove toward us. They didn’t look as if they were going to stop. They looked like they wanted to eat me.

Yes, I could tell. There was something dark and insatiable in those eyes of theirs.

I yanked Grandma’s hand and raced to find cover behind a tree. I glanced back at Milly. My intention had been to run back and nab her, but she was gone.

“Looking for someone, toots,” came a voice from behind me.

I twisted my head over my shoulder. There stood Milly. She shoved her gnarled nose right in my face.

I threw up my hands. “Ah! Don’t do that. Don’t scare people. It isn’t nice when I’m worrying about being eaten by giant birds.”

Milly rubbed my shoulder. “Loosen up, kid. You’ve only got one life to live. Might as well have fun.”

Grandma threaded her fingers through her silvery hair. “Is that really true? Only one life? I think we could work on that, Milly. Live another life after this one.”

Milly nodded thoughtfully. “Or at least extend this one. Now that, I’m sure we could do.”

I raked my fingers down my face. “Would you two please stop it?”

The eagles screeched as they fluttered to the ground. I cowered behind the tree, hoping they wouldn’t see me and attack.

Yes, I know I was probably being a little too dramatic, but trust me, my sense of fear has been what’s kept me alive ever since I discovered I’m a witch.

Oh, that’s right. I haven’t told you. See, I come from a long line of witches. In case you hadn’t guessed, Grandma used some of her magic to call the stupid eagles down from the sky the day before my wedding.

Thanks, Grandma.

Two of the birds inspected the cage holding the white doves that were meant to be released tomorrow.

After the wedding.

When I would be walking down the aisle arm in arm with my husband.

Can you tell I’m a litte p-o’d?

One of the eagles jumped on the cage. It curled its thick yellow talons around the wires, spread its wings and flapped. The cage scraped along the ground but didn’t rise.

It was too heavy for the bird to lift.


But another bird, apparently eyeing the difficult conundrum, jumped on the other side of the cage. The birds spread their wings. Dust kicked up as they flapped.

This time the cage tilted to one side and lifted from the ground.

Oh no. No way. I was only going to have one wedding in my life (as far as I was concerned), and at that one ceremony there were two requirements. One being a string quartet and the other a flock of doves flying into the sky during the wedding march.

That’s it. Two things.

And if these stupid eagles thought they were going to fly off with my birds and ruin my wedding, they had another think coming.

I stepped out from behind the tree. I spread my legs, crossed my arms and tried to look as terrifying as I could with my five-foot-two frame.

“Hold it right there, busters.”

The eagles kept their wings extended but stopped fluttering.

“Put the cage down,” I said.

They stared at me blankly. I mean, could they even understand what I was saying? Probably not. But surely they could understand body language, and if bodies could talk, mine meant serious business.

One of the eagles cocked its head toward me. It uncurled the tip of its wing, and in one fluid motion, swooped its wings downward. The other bird joined in, and the cage rose a foot in the air.

I didn’t want to do it, not in a semipublic place, but if it came down to me working magic to win my doves back, I would do it.

“Stop right now,” I said.

The eagles regarded me in a way that made me feel I was no more significant than an ant to them.

I raised my hand.

One of the birds cocked its head toward the flock waddling on the ground around me. My gaze jerked toward the other eagles, who seemed to eye me with interest.

“Oh no, I don’t think so,” I said.

The birds opened their wings and lurched toward me. I unleashed a spray of magic into the ground. Dirt flew into the air, burning the grass. Acrid smoke curled up my nose.

But lucky for me, that was all it took for the eagles to tuck in their tail feathers and fly back from whence they came.

The two with the cage in their talons, well, that was a different story.

I pivoted to them and said, “I love animals, I do, but I will blow your tail feathers right off if you don’t put that cage back where you found it.”

The birds exchanged a look. I’m not kidding. They actually met beady eye to beady eye.

They rose higher in the air.

Sweat sprinkled my brow. I narrowed my gaze, focusing on a hairpin of a point on the cage. All I wanted to do was knock it from their grasp. That was all I needed. Nobody had to get hurt.

And I didn’t need PETA on my rear end. Not before the most important day in my life.

I aimed my finger at the cage. A trace of magic spun from me, coiling in the air before it zapped the grids of steel under their talons.

The cage rocked back and forth before the birds released it. I opened my palm, thought about a sofa-sized pillow.

A fluffy white cushion appeared on the ground.

The cage plopped onto it, and the eagles flapped away.

I wiped the back of my arm over my forehead. “Whew, that was close.”

Milly and Grandma appeared from their hiding spot behind the tree.

Grandma clapped her hands. “Dylan, that was real talent you showed just now. Absolutely outstanding. Why, I knew you’d make a fine witch someday.”

Milly snorted. “Yep. Good work, toots. How’d you get them to release the cage?”

I smiled, feeling awfully smart with myself. “I made it hot. They let it go before it burned them.” I brushed my palms together. “I saved the birds and everything’s perfect.”

Milly glanced at the doves. “Uh-oh.”

“What?” I said.

She pointed at the cage. “I think you made it too hot, toots.”

I glanced at the doves. The spots that I’d heated up had burned straight through. The wiring had vanished, and the birds were escaping, flying into the night sky.

“Oh no,” I screeched. “We’ve got to get them back.”

Milly caned over to me. “Don’t worry. It’s late. They won’t go too far.”

Grandma tapped a bony finger to her chin. “I don’t know.”

I didn’t like the sound of that. “What do you mean, you don’t know?”

Grandma was silent.

Panic fluttered in my chest. I took a deep gulp of air, trying to calm down. “Seriously. What do you mean?”

Grandma grimaced. “I mean the doves I ordered were magic birds from Fairyland. I think they might be headed home.”

I fisted my hands. “Are you telling me that my perfect wedding—”

Grandma nodded. “It might not be so perfect.”

I smacked my forehead. Oh boy, here we go again.