BABY, IT’S COLD OUTSIDE Excerpt (Christmas in Havenport anthology)

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Jane placed the opened book in front of Winnie with a flourish. “Love spells.”

“Ooh,” one of the women leaned across the table for a closer look. “Do they work?”

Jane gave a slight negative shake of her head to Winnie’s inquiring look. Winnie, of all people, knew how well a spell could work when read by the right person. But Jane wasn’t concerned. She had no intention of casting such a spell, and intent was extremely important when dealing with magick of this nature.

The consequences of conjuring for personal gain could be dire. The spells almost always went wrong, causing nothing but heartache for the witch who used them.

No. She wasn’t using magick to find love. No matter how much she wished it were that simple.

“On Bringing Forth True Love.”

She paused to smile at the small group listening with rapt attention.

“Bring to me, what I cannot see,
“I have been blind, please set me free.
“A love that’s true, will stand through time,
“I pledge my heart, my soul, my mind.
“The one I seek, so shall I find.”

An image of Adam flashed across her mind and filled her with longing. She pushed him from her thoughts as she continued reading the words, but that sense of desire couldn’t be denied.

“To one who’ll love, and be with me,
“I shall be true, so he shall see.
“From where he dwells, so far, so vast,
“Bring my love home from days gone past.”

A shimmer of nerves skittered up her spine. Maybe reading this hadn’t been such a great idea. But the ladies looked at her so expectantly, she gathered up her courage and finished the passage.

“If it please, so mote it be.”

Jane gasped as a rush of wind swirled around her. What the…?

“What was that?” Winnie whispered out of the corner of her mouth while smiling at the women before them.

“I don’t know,” she replied just as quietly so no one else would hear. “It’s almost like the spell is working, but I don’t have any of the ingredients so it shouldn’t be possible.”

Winnie pulled the book toward her. “Blood of the hopeful, sage, crystals—yellow jasper, clear quartz, etcetera,… Jane, have you actually looked around the shop?”

“Of course I have. I’ve been all over the place today.”

Winnie pointed and Jane followed the direction of her finger toward the ceiling. “Oh.” She clapped her hand over her mouth to squelch her yelp of surprise. Beautiful multi-colored crystals—was that yellow one jasper?—hung from the ceiling, creating a twinkling, fairylike canopy over their heads. Winnie coughed and the direction of her finger changed to flit about the room, pointing out small dishes filled with potpourri. Jane sniffed and caught a hint of—bloody hell—sage, among others. The ingredients for the spell surrounded them.

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