Witch My Grits
Bless Your Witch, Book 7
Will Dylan marry Roman?
Southern witch Dylan Apel’s to-do list is stacked high—decide whether or not to marry her boyfriend, try to stay sane amidst her crazy family’s antics, and make a quickie dress for a shotgun wedding.
The easiest of those is making the dress—or at least it’s supposed to be.
But when one of the bridesmaids confesses that she’s a witch, Dylan is immediately suspicious. Witches aren’t supposed to talk about their powers—every true witch knows that. Yet things turn lethal when that bridesmaid winds up dead—and the evidence points to Dylan!
Now Dylan must clear her name, stop Grandma Hazel from torturing the bride for information (oh, boy) and decide on a path for the rest of her life. Will she get that chance? Or will she become the next victim of a murderer?
Does Dylan say yes?
“Why is that needle unraveling the wedding dress?” I shrieked, yanking the gown from the pointy tip of the steel implement.
I kicked the needle. It skidded across the room and fell to the floor.
Reid, my baby sister, shuffled sideways. “As long as it doesn’t come after me, we’re okay. Cause I don’t want to have to magick that thing into next year.”
Grandma Hazel flared her arms. “Don’t run and it won’t follow. All predators smell fear.”
I curled my fingers around the wedding gown I’d been trying to finish and glared at my grandmother. “It’s a needle. It can’t ‘smell’ anything. Besides, I thought you said it would help me sew the dress for this shotgun wedding in no time.”
I’d been hired to build a gown with little notice for a super rich bride. I had been surprised by the short term engagement, but didn’t turn up my nose at the paycheck, or the fact that we got to spend the weekend with the entire guest list and the bridal party at a manor located outside my home town of Silver Springs, Alabama.
Grandma Hazel flashed me a smile that meant she was much wiser than I. “Dylan, you never know what a thing can and can’t smell. Why, once I met an anteater. Had an extremely long nose. The witch police were using it to smell out bad witches. Seems ‘badness’ has a scent. Anyway, the animal couldn’t smell a thing. The creature was useless to us.”
My other sister, Seraphina—Sera for short—brushed a curtain of hair from her blue eyes. “So what’d you do?”
Grandma poked the air with authority. “It was up to me and me alone to sniff out the evil witches.”
“Guess you didn’t find too many,” Reid grumbled.
I smirked and watched as the four-inch-long sewing needle rose from the floor, zipped upward and pointed straight back at the wedding dress.
“Grandma,” I said. “You’re the one who spelled that needle to help me. All it’s doing is erasing the work I’ve done.”
Okay, so in case you haven’t guessed, I’m a witch, and so are my sisters and grandmother. Sera and I had both been hired for this quickie wedding. She was in charge of catering, and I was dealing with a disaster of a wedding gown.
I’d been fighting a head cold all week, which luckily was waning, but the downside was that I hadn’t been able to work that fast, or use my magic to help me construct a dress quickly, which I normally would have done.
Grandma thought that she would pitch in by offering a magic needle she kept at the house. I should’ve known better than to accept her offer.
The needle that was supposed to be assisting with the gown by laying thread, had been trying to yank out the stitches I’d already sewed.
“Dylan,” Grandma scoffed. “You’re the one who said you needed the help.”
The silver needle probed the hem of the gown. I jerked the dress away. “Yes, help. I need help. I don’t need to redo everything I’ve already completed. And if someone from the bridal party walks in and sees this, we’re in big trouble.”
I slapped the needle. It flew through the room, shook itself off and zipped back toward me.
“Stop it with your magic, Dylan,” Grandma said.
The needle had been great at first, but then it got a mind of its own and decided to rip out all the work I’d already completed.
Now I was doing everything I could to stop the stupid thing from taking the dress apart.
The point hammered into the silk. I backed up and raised my hand.
“Sometimes that thing gets a mind of its own,” Grandma mused.
“Now you tell me,” I grumbled.
“Dylan,” Sera interrupted, “let me lock the door in case someone attempts to walk in.”
“Hurry,” I said. “This thing is going to destroy all the work I’ve done. The wedding’s tonight.”
Sera ran to the door. As she extended her hand to flip the lock, it opened.
I sucked in a deep breath of air. Please don’t let it be Rose, the bride. I bunched the gown and pulled it tight toward me. If anyone saw magic being worked, me and my sisters would be in a heap of trouble.
Though we wouldn’t be punished to the full extent of the law, we’d still be in some sort of conundrum. I’m just not sure exactly what.
At least, that’s what I’d come to understand from Inspector Jonathan Pearbottom, who was an investigator for the witch police. A while back, I’d solved a string of murders that involved a queen and her daughters. Because of that, I’d been given a bit of immunity from getting into trouble with the witch police. I needed whatever help I could get because it always seemed I was doing something wrong, like working magic in front of regular people, or nonmagics as they’re called.
Performing magic before someone who isn’t a witch is a big no-no punishable by horrible means.
The way things were looking with this needle, I needed all the immunity I could bribe out of a top-level official.
The door cracked open, and a head of dark hair emerged.
“Hey, ladies, I thought I’d find y’all here.”
Brock, Sera’s boyfriend and king of the winged monkeys, slipped inside and shut the door behind him. He spoke with a velvety-smooth Southern accent that fell from his lips like honey. His shoulder-length dark hair was thick and full of waves and his dark eyes twinkled as he pulled Sera into a hug.
Brock flashed a look to me. “Dylan, why does it appear that a sewing needle is trying to attack that dress?”
I blew a strand of dark hair from my eyes. “Because it is. You can thank Grandma.”
Grandma finger waved at Brock.
“I just stopped by to see if y’all needed any help,” Brock said. “I’m on my way back to Monkey Town and thought I’d give a quick hello.”
“No, I don’t think we need anything,” Sera said.
The tip of the needle bit at the hem. Time to take control of the situation. “Okay, y’all, stand back. I’m going to try to stop this needle.”
I focused my magic. Threads of energy tightened in my core. I felt my stomach muscles cinch. The burst of power rushed in streams from my fingers out into the world.
Magic flashed toward the needle. Instead of cutting through metal, my power slashed through shining white silk and tore a hole straight through the gown.
“Ah,” I yelled.
The needle zigged to the right. I threw another shot of power at it. The needle zagged left. My magic hit the floor and singed a hole in the carpet.
“Stop moving,” I screeched.
“Dylan, when did you become such a lousy shot? I thought you were much better than that,” Grandma said.
I threw her a scathing look as the needle zipped through the room. “Listen, this is all your fault. If that stupid needle ruins this wedding dress, I’m holding you supremely accountable.”
Grandma bobbed her head. “I was only trying to help.”
“Help me have a heart attack, more like,” I mumbled.
I raised my hand again. The needle shot past me and headed toward the custom curtains draped over the windows. With a flash of silver, the implement darted in and out of the fabric. Three seconds later the curtains lay in a heap on the floor.
My eyes widened.
Sera stepped up beside me and crossed her arms. “If we don’t do something about that thing, it’s going to take the clothes right off our backs.”
The needle stopped. It hovered in the air, its sharp point facing us. It floated on some sort of invisible current. For a brief second I wondered if the thing had understood what Sera said.
When it aimed for the pockets of Reid’s jeans, I was certain it knew exactly what it was doing.
“Grandma,” Reid shrieked as she galloped across the room. “Stop this thing!”
Grandma grimaced. “You know, I knew there was a reason why I didn’t use that needle to do any sewing.”
“Now you tell us,” I yelled. “It’s out of control. Can’t you stop it?”
Reid whacked at the end of it. “Stop it! Right now! Down!”
“It’s not a dog,” I said.
“Just stop it,” she yelled.
The door opened. The five of us held our collective breaths. In walked my paternal grandmother, Milly Jones.
“I thought I smelled magic,” she said.
Sera scowled at Brock. “You didn’t lock the door? With all this magic going on?”
He shrugged. “I guess I was too overcome by your beauty to think about it.”
Sera bunched up her shoulders and flashed him an innocent smile. “Well, when you put it that way, how could I be mad?”
I rolled my eyes. They were cute, no doubt about it, but sometimes I needed a bit of common sense thrown into a lovey-dovey conversation.
Milly Jones sauntered to the middle of the room and splayed out her legs. Her nude support hose wrinkled a bit at the ankles as if the leggings had been stretched out too many times. Her brown cardigan fell to the hips of her brown skirt, and her black orthopedic shoes dented the carpet where she had walked.
“Who brought the needle?” she said.
I threw the wedding gown on a table and rushed over to Reid. I kicked the needle and sent it sprawling across the floor. “You’ve got three guesses. The first two don’t count.”
Milly thumbed her nose. “Hazel, I thought you burned that thing.”
Grandma shrugged. “I thought this time it would be different.”
Milly cackled. “That’s what you always say.”
I frowned. “About what? When does she say that?”
Milly scowled. “Your grandmother says that about everything that might get her into trouble.” She cracked her knuckles. “Now, it’s time to do a little magic and stop that thing before we’re all standing here buck naked.”
I grimaced at the thought. “Yes, please don’t let that happen.”
Milly raised her hands and mumbled, “Stop.”
The needle jerked to attention, point down. Then it fell to its side on the floor. I shot a breath of air from my lungs.
“That’s it?” I said.
Reid picked one of her pockets off the floor. “That was easy. Why couldn’t you have done that, Dylan?”
I narrowed my eyes to slitty wedges of death. “Why didn’t you?”
She plumped her burgundy curls and pinched her lips before saying, “Because I haven’t been a witch as long as you.”
“Everyone’s an expert,” I said.
I raked my fingers through my hair and secured it into a tight ponytail as I surveyed the remnants of the room. I picked up the needle and wove it through my shirt at the shoulder so I wouldn’t lose sight of it. “It’s going to take some serious magic to fix all this.”
A voice drifted in from the hall. “Thank goodness I’m a witch. I can have this done in half a second.”
My gaze locked on Sera’s. We slowly pivoted toward the door and the mysterious voice.
In the hallway stood a short, plump woman with blue and purple mermaid hair. I flashed Sera a quick look as if to say who is that?
My sister shrugged.
The mermaid-haired girl walked into the room. She assessed the damage, jutted out one hip and said, “Y’all are so lucky I’m here. I’m Lilly Grand, and I’m a witch at your service. I’ll have this place cleaned up in three minutes. Just don’t tell anyone, because regular folks aren’t supposed to know I’m a witch. I’m also part of the wedding party. Watch this.”
Lilly Grand closed her eyes and raised her hands. “Stand back, everyone. I don’t want y’all to get hurt. I’m somewhat new at this whole magic thing, and I can’t control my power that well.”
“Great,” I said.
Sera shot me a look like I was supposed to do something about this, but what? I wasn’t the one working magic; it was this other witch.
Lilly flexed her fingers. “Ready. Set. Go.”
Her eyes widened. Her fingers flared.
And nothing happened.
Right then the bride, Rose Wood, stepped into the frame. Blonde curls tumbled over her shoulders. Her makeup had already been done for the day, and she wore a T-shirt that read BRIDE.
“What’s going on in here?” Rose said.
“Well…” I started.
Then Rose’s gaze washed over the scene of carnage, also known as a giant hole in her wedding dress. Rose brought her hands to her cheeks and screamed.
What a way to start a wedding.