NEW: Magic & Mayhem Universe
Paranormal Romantic Comedy
A Dating Survival Guide...for Witches
The road to hell is paved with bad dates.
After a magical mishap with my ex-boyfriend, you can’t blame me for being a little skittish about relationships. But work is all kinds of stressful, so I’m venturing out into the supernatural dating scene.
Dating supernaturals isn’t for the faint of heart, however, nor is it for witches like me who are totally incompetent with magic. So, I need a dating Sherpa, STAT. Surprisingly enough, I find one in a vampire woman named Wren.
Each date presents its own weird challenges, and it’s just my luck that one of them has the potential to unleash something that could destroy our little town of Assjacket, West Virginia and everyone in it.
With the help of my new kick-ass vampire friend, a sexy AF bodyguard, a rat, a cat, and a warlock named Pete, I have no choice but to stop being a screwup and save the town. If I ever want nookie again, that is.
IF THE COCKTAIL I ordered was half as good as the singer rocking Bonnie Raitt and Janis Joplin tunes on stage, I’d be in hog heaven. Unfortunately, I was not anywhere a hog would call heaven, but in a new smoky bar called The Gutted Hog. And my cocktail, which was supposed to be a Bahama Mama, tasted like old gym socks sweetened with tobacco juice and a splash of lime. Why everyone raved about this place, I had no idea. Their taste buds were apparently dead.
This “fine” establishment sat off a lonely highway on the outskirts of the tiny town my cousin Zelda called Assjacket, West Virginia. Assjacket wasn’t the formal name of the community, but it sure did fit. The heart of the town looked like a bunch of condemned buildings, including this bar. It was all an illusion just to keep humans from sticking around long enough to discover all the Shifters and the few witches who lived here.
From the moment I entered The Gutted Hog, however, I had a weird feeling about the place. I get those a lot. Comes with being a witch.
What I don’t get a lot of is nookie, and it sure didn’t look like I’d get any tonight either. My Tinder date, a human hottie named Todd McBride, was a whole half hour late. I took another sip and grimaced as a dude in tight jeans and a Rolling Stones T-shirt with a bright red tongue logo came rushing through the door and straight to my booth. He slid onto the seat, a toothpick bobbing from one corner of his mouth.
“Sorry I’m late,” he breathed, dumping his cell phone on the table with a clatter. “This place looks like shit on the outside. I thought it was deserted. Carly, right?”
“That’s me. Who are you?”
He gave me a WTF look and cocked his head to one side. “Hello, I’m Todd. Duh.”
“Oh…you look a little…different.”
“Oh, yeah, I get that a lot. It’s because I lost some weight. My face looks thinner now.”
Thinner? No, I could deal with something that simple. The issue was that his face looked nothing like his Tinder pic. That face looked like the offspring of Chris Pratt and Hugh Jackman. This face had a serious underbite, an almost-unibrow, and a big-ass mole right on the inside corner of his right eye.
But I like to give people the benefit of the doubt, and I hoped Todd—if that was his real name—just might redeem himself if I gave him the chance.
“Have you ordered food yet?” He yanked a menu out from behind the napkin holder and knocked over the salt, not bothering to pick it up. As he flipped through the menu, he cleared his throat. It sounded phlegmy. I gagged.
“No, I was waiting for you to get here first,” I said, trying to hide the disgust that curled my lips into a sneer.
“You didn’t have to wait. I was busy with my volunteer work.”
“Of course, at the animal shelter, right?”
“Yeah. Lots of dogs to clean up after.”
Funny, his Tinder profile said he volunteered at the homeless shelter. Unless he thought of the homeless as dogs, it sure sounded like Todd wasn’t the honest type.
The waitress came back around, offering me a sympathetic look. She’d already been by three times before. “Ready to order?”
“Yeah, I think so,” Todd said. “I’ll have the Butt-B-Q Platter, with extra Q if you know what I mean.” He winked at her.
She blinked back at him and wrote down his order. “Is this on the same check?”
“Yes,” I said.
“No,” he said at the same time, followed by, “Oh, hey, that’s nice of you! Yeah put it all on her check.”
I sat in stunned silence, unsure what had just happened. The waitress waved her hand in front of me. “Hon, what do you want to eat?”
“Uh…just a burger. Medium rare, please.”
“Okay, I’ll get that right in for y’all.”
She wandered back through the swinging doors into the kitchen.
Todd flashed a toothy grin. “Man, I love you modern women, offering to pay for dinner. That’s awesome. I owe ya’ a nice full-body massage for that one. Thanks.”
“Uh, you’re welcome?” Had that come from any other guy without a big-ass mole on his eye, that might have sounded appealing. Instead it made me cringe. And now I was stuck paying for his dinner. Which happened to be the second most expensive thing on the menu, just under the Hoggo Primo Rib dinner.
The singer on stage—a beautiful woman with a platinum blonde pixie cut—belted out “Piece of My Heart” by Janis Joplin. Instead of a sympathetic look, she narrowed her eyes at Todd as though he disgusted her as much as he disgusted me. There was something different about her, though. Something that didn’t fit in with this dump. Her band—hunky guys who each looked like they could have stepped out of People magazine—also seemed out of place.
But what did I know? I wasn’t exactly a regular here.
“I figured you’d get a salad,” Todd said, gnawing on the toothpick that stuck out of the corner of his mouth. “You have a fantastic figure.”
“I have a fantastic metabolism.” That was also thanks to being a witch, but I didn’t want to tell Todd that. He was a mere human, which meant I couldn’t have kids with him. But I didn’t really want kids, so there wasn’t any reason a witch and human couldn’t enjoy some nookie.
“That burger might be a little much, though, don’t ya’ think? It’ll go right to your thighs.”
Except there was that. Todd What’s-his-face was a complete and total douche.
For the second time that night, I was at a loss for words. I’d decided I could overlook the underbite and almost-unibrow and even the big-ass mole and just focus on the big red tongue logo on his shirt, provided that Todd might actually be a decent guy under all that ugly. Sadly, Todd-o was testing my benefit of the doubt ability big time.
“Excuse me, please,” I said, grabbing my purse to head to the ladies’ room.
“Why, did ya’ fart?” Todd hooted with laughter.
Okay, now he was getting on my bad side. I hurried into the restroom and ridded my bladder of that nasty cocktail. After washing up, I checked my makeup and reapplied my lipstick, not sure why I was bothering. I sure as hell wasn’t getting any nookie tonight from Todd. It’d be me and whatever buzzy thing I could dig out from my underwear drawer. I just hoped I could wipe his ugly from my mind so he didn’t ruin my chances for a good orgasm.
Why did dating have to be so damn hard? The guys were either as boring as watching a drippy faucet or total jerks like the badgers that had almost destroyed my cousin Zelda. Why couldn’t I get lucky like her and end up with a hunky wolf Shifter? I began to think that maybe I was cursed in the love department, that the Goddess was punishing me for what happened to my ex-boyfriend.
Whatever the case, I couldn’t just hide out in the bathroom all night. It smelled like a hog’s ass in here. I’d just have to take my food to go and tell Todd thanks, but no thanks to a second date, go home where I belonged, and never venture into public again.
I walked out, head held high, ready to do just that, but stopped short when I heard someone choking.
Imagine my surprise when I saw Todd’s feet hovering about a foot off the floor, his face turning blue and his hands clenched around the tattooed arm of the blonde singer who’d just been on stage.
So he was ugly and rude, and I really shouldn’t care, but I didn’t want Todd’s death by singer to be added to my growing checklist of things to feel guilty about.
“Hey! Put him down!” I clenched my fists, debating on whether to attempt a binding spell on this lady…this super strong lady who didn’t seem to strain at all holding a guy who probably weighed twice as much as she did.
And then her gaze locked on mine. Holy shit. Yellow eyes. And then she smiled, showing off pearly white fangs. This chick was a vampire. I’d been fangirling over a vampire, and I had no idea. What the actual fuck-a-doodle? Witches and vampires didn’t mix. Vampires can’t be killed with magic. And wouldn’t you know it? I didn’t have any stakes at my disposal.