Be Careful What You Witch For (A Family Fortune Mystery)

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9780425264478: Be Careful What You Witch For (A Family Fortune Mystery)

Leaving a traumatic police career behind, Clyde Fortune has returned to her seemingly quiet hometown of Crystal Haven, Michigan. In spite of the psychic powers of its residents, there’s no telling what trouble is brewing in this burg...
 
The highlight of this year's fall festival in Crystal Haven is a bonfire with a witch’s cauldron resting over it. Clyde’s best friend, Diana, leads a ritual to divine the future, but it seems no one foresees that one of their own will drop dead—or that Diana will be a prime suspect.
 
Clyde already has her hands full with her eccentric family, runaway nephew, and burgeoning secret romance with a hunky homicide detective. But after another coven member is attacked, Clyde suspects there’s a witch hunt afoot and focuses her psychic and sleuthing skills to clear her friend’s name and catch a killer.

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About the Author:

Dawn Eastman is the national bestselling author of the Family Fortune mysteries, including An Unhappy Medium, A Fright to the DeathBe Careful What You Witch For, and Pall in the Family. She lived in Michigan for many years in a house full of animals, unusual people, and laughter. She now lives in Iowa with her husband, son, daughter, and one extremely bossy small dog.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

1

Black-robed figures circled the bonfire. Their chanting sent a shiver down my spine that had nothing to do with the cold. Hooded and lit only by the flickering flames and silver moonlight filtering through the naked branches overhead, they were nameless except for their leader, my best friend Diana.

I felt a sharp jab in my ribs.

“When’s the good stuff start?” Aunt Vi said, too loudly. Though a skeptic about Wicca she’d insisted on coming to the ceremony when she heard there would be fire and a cauldron. Her silver braid peeked out from under her borrowed robes and she gawked around the circle.

“Shhh!” I hissed. I felt uneasy anyway, but now several of the hooded figures had turned in our direction.

Deep in Greer’s Woods on Halloween, we were a good fifteen-minute hike from the road. Diana had trekked her supplies to this spot during the afternoon. Wiccans called this day “Samhain” and she planned to summon the spirits of the dead and the Goddess of Shadows to join us for the Wiccan New Year celebration. Putting a Wiccan in charge of the Fall Fun Fest meant the usual lineup of kids’ costume parade and applesauce-eating contest was joined by a midnight ceremony in the woods.

Vi tugged on my robe.

“Clytemnestra, you said we were going to see our future in the fire. I don’t see anything.”

“She just started—give her a minute,” I said through clenched teeth. Vi was purposely using my full name to irk me.

Nearing seventy, Vi had retained what might be politely called a “childlike enthusiasm” for all things paranormal.

Diana lit the black candles on the makeshift altar and called on the four elements to join the circle. I felt the heavy brown bread we’d shared earlier settle uncomfortably in my stomach. When she reached the part about the God of Darkness and Goddess of Shadows, I moved a little closer to Aunt Vi. Diana doesn’t scare me, but sometimes her ceremonies and spells do.

Until six months ago, I had been a police officer. I felt guns, criminals, and drunken idiots were business as usual. Magick, ghosts, and séances were another matter. We lived in Crystal Haven, a town known for its psychics and fortune-tellers, so I should have been used to it. But, hosting the Fall Fun Fest that included a Wiccan ceremony was new. In the midst of this spooky group with only a crescent moon and a bonfire for illumination, standing closer to Vi was only slightly reassuring. The flames cast dancing shadows on the trees, accentuating their gnarled branches. Sparks lifted up and disappeared in the darkness.

Another jab to the ribs. “Nothing’s happening. What about the cauldron?” Vi said, more quietly.

Just then Diana dropped a match into her cauldron and blue flames leaped out and glowed in the center of the circle.

“Oooh,” Vi breathed.

A burning stick of sage was passed around the circle. “Burn and blaze! Into the future we now gaze!” The group chanted, asking to see their future in the fire. Vi joined in with gusto. I thought longingly about séances and tarot cards. Those seemed tame and soothing compared to this.

Mesmerized by the flames, my mind wandered. Without meaning to, I stared deeply into the fire. I saw a vision of a house. The cottage was covered in vines and set back in a dense forest. I felt myself drawn to it, as if I’d been there before. The atmosphere of the ceremony and the chanting of the circle had breached my wall of protection. I habitually guarded against any messages from other realms. I shook my head to clear it of the smoky fog that had settled over me.

Vi squeezed my arm through my robe. “You saw something, didn’t you? What was it?” Vi was always on the lookout for any sign that my “gift” was active.

I shook my head again, although she wasn’t likely to get the signal in the dark, while I wore a hood. “Nothing, I—”

A scream cut through the chanting. One of the robed figures had fallen into the center of the circle, the face covered by the hood. The voices stopped and the inky figures blended together as they rushed to the crumpled form. Diana arrived first and pulled the hood back. It was Rafe Godwin. He clutched his throat, his face dark in the dim light of the clearing. His huge, terrified eyes made it look as if he were choking himself. Then, grabbing Diana’s wrist, he pointed to his throat with his other hand.

“Is he having a heart attack?” a hooded figure asked.

“His lips are swelling, it looks like an allergic reaction,” another voice volunteered.

“Call 911!” Diana said.

Gasps and concerned tskings made their way through the circle.

“Oh my,” said Vi, at my side again.

“Rafe, where is it?” Diana asked.

He wrestled with his robe and Diana began pawing through the folds.

“Diana, what are you doing?” I said. I knelt down to help her.

“He’s got an EpiPen in here somewhere. I think he’s going into shock.” She continued wrestling with his clothing and a few others knelt to do the same.

The group began muttering about bees and wasps. But at midnight in October the likelihood that an insect sting was involved seemed remote.

“Here it is!” Diana held a short tube the length of a pen over her head. She popped the injector out of its plastic holder and jabbed it into his thigh right through the robe.

Now that I stood closer, I saw the mottled dark color of his face, the swollen lips and eyelids. He fought to take weak raspy breaths.

The crowd got very quiet. I expected Rafe to take a deep breath, and for his eyes to return to normal size. Nothing happened. He stopped struggling, but otherwise I saw no change. Certainly not the miraculous recovery I had come to expect from watching television.

Diana shook his shoulders but he didn’t respond.

One of the people who had pushed through to the front of the crowd began CPR. Someone else announced that an ambulance had been dispatched. As we stood helplessly watching, I realized Rafe Godwin would not be seeing the future.

2

Muffled sniffles and sobs punctuated the otherwise quiet clearing. We’d known he was dead a few minutes after CPR had started. Fortunately, one of the group members, a nurse, took over the evaluation and finally made the decision to stop CPR. Visibly shaken, he sat with his back against a nearby tree, head in hands, while the rest of us held vigil and waited for the paramedics to arrive.

Diana sat next to Rafe on the ground and seemed to be in a trance. Her hood lay flat on her back, her orange curls reflecting the glow of the bonfire. I knelt next to her, murmuring reassuring platitudes and feeling helpless. I knew how close Rafe and Diana had been.

Vi stood nearby. Her eyes glittered in the flickering light and the shadows accentuated the furrows and creases on her face.

The wail of a siren intruded on our stunned group and then we heard the EMTs crashing through the trees.

Two men burst into the clearing. One looked about fifty, red faced and breathing heavily from the sprint through the woods. The other could have kept running all the way into Crystal Haven. Surely just out of his teens, he’d need to show ID every time he bought a beer. They quickly assessed the mood of the crowd and let their equipment slump to the ground. After verifying that Rafe was dead they moved the stretcher toward Rafe’s body to carry him out of the woods. Diana looked confused at their approach and leaned over as if to protect him from attack.

“Diana, he’s gone,” I said. I touched her shoulder.

She looked at me with wet eyes.

“But I gave him the epinephrine. Why didn’t it work?”

I shook my head and helped her stand so the EMTs could do their work.

“Let them get him to the hospital,” I said.

“Is there any next of kin?” the older man asked as he scanned the crowd. I saw his eyes grow wide as he took in the cloaks and hoods, the cauldron and altar.

Several people shook their heads, and turned to Diana.

“No, I’m the closest thing he’s got to family.” Her voice broke, and she rubbed her eyes with her sleeve. Rafe Godwin was Diana’s father’s oldest friend. He’d been like an uncle to her and her brother growing up, and a source of support after their parents died.

The younger EMT had shuffled closer to his partner and scanned the crowd as if he were a rabbit who had stumbled into a fox den.

“What’s going on here?” the older one asked.

“It’s part of the Fall Fun Fest,” I said. I stuck out my hand. “I’m Clyde Fortune, and this is one of the scheduled activities.”

He took my hand in a warm grip. They both relaxed at this—festivalgoers were apparently less threatening than free-range witches.

After they lifted Rafe onto the stretcher, a couple of the men in the group stepped forward to help carry it. We filed out of the clearing after them, making a procession of dark-robed figures through the woods.

3

The next day, the crisp, clear November air held just a threat of the winter to come. It brought back my best memories of growing up in Western Michigan, spending time in the woods, and it was a welcomed feeling after experiencing last night’s tragedy there. I closed my eyes to let the sweet, sharp smell of the fallen leaves block out all other sensations. The midnight ceremony was meant to kick off the weekend Fall Fun Fest. So far, the great weather and promise of good food had overshadowed the pall of a death in the woods. I was helping Diana at her vendor’s stall, which was doing a brisk business selling everything from herbs to jewelry. When I’d driven her home the night before, I’d offered to cover for her that morning, but she’d insisted she would feel better if she stayed busy. As the organizer of the Fall Fun Fest, she said she would go crazy sitting at home wondering if there was anything she should be doing. I’d learned over the years that arguing with Diana when her mind was set led nowhere.

Diana owned Moonward Magick, the busiest Wiccan supply store in the area. She had also worked from mid-August to set up the Fall Fun Fest. In past years it had been held in Grand Rapids but the organizer was getting older and had health issues. Diana had been talked into running it this year and decided to move it to Greer’s Woods outside of Crystal Haven. I wondered if this would be her first and last time organizing it. Based on the muttering and swearing that had occurred since early September, I was glad she didn’t believe in curses.

Everyone was talking about the sudden death at the ceremony. The stories I overheard in the crowd varied widely, from seizure, to heart attack, to spirit possession. The one thing they all agreed on was that Rafe and Diana had always been close, and that she had tried to save him. I saw that she was wearing her mother’s rose quartz pendant. She only wore it when she was stressed or upset, but her warm and caring manner with her customers gave no indication of her feelings.

She refused all questions about the death, and would not engage in any conversation that wasn’t directly related to her business or the festival. She was a master at putting off an emotional outburst until the appropriate time, unlike me. I was a master at putting off emotional outbursts forever. I could tell it was depleting her energy.

“What’s good around this place?” I stiffened as a familiar voice floated through the crowd.

Before I could duck behind the display board, Aunt Vi and my mom approached the table.

“Clyde, there you are!” my mom said in a tone that suggested she’d trekked the Himalayas for a week to find me.

The sisters were almost the same height, both with silver hair. Vi had hers in its familiar braid, and she wore a multicolored skirt with two cardigans and a shawl. Mom had her hair in a bun, as usual, and wore a light blue tracksuit and sneakers. This was her venturing-into-the-woods outfit.

“I knew it! I knew all that Halloween chanting and fire gazing would lead to trouble.” Vi fixed me with her fierce black eyes. I refrained from reminding her that she’d insisted on being there.

Vi, a pet psychic, and Mom, a tarot reader, had been unpleasantly surprised to learn a Wiccan ceremony would be part of this year’s Fall Fun Fest offerings. Mom held a long-standing wariness of spells and potions. Vi approached the Wiccans as an entertaining subculture, but one not to be entirely trusted.

I sliced across my neck with my hand and jerked my head in Diana’s direction.

Violet had taken a breath to begin her inquisition when she noticed my not-so-subtle maneuvers. The sisters glanced in Diana’s direction and fell silent. Violet did something gymnastic with her eyebrows but I gave up trying to figure it out. My aunt and mother truly did communicate with glances and nods, a skill I had not developed, at least not with them.

I walked away from the booth and they followed. Once out of earshot, we began rapid-fire whispering, sounding like angry geese.

“What are you two doing here?”

“We came to support Diana in her . . . endeavors.” My mother clutched her amethyst amulet for protection. “Vi told me about what happened last night.”

“It’s all anyone in town will talk about,” Vi said. “Witches in the woods, rituals, death. Hey, I heard there was good food here. Where’s the giant turkey legs?” Vi stood on her tiptoes.

“I think you have this confused with a Renaissance fair. There aren’t any turkey legs here.”

“Oh. No swords or jousting?”

I shook my head.

Violet dropped her heels and the corners of her mouth at the same time.

“Do you know any more about what happened?” Mom glanced in Diana’s direction and lowered her voice. “To Rafe?”

I assured them I had no information. My status as a former police officer led them to believe I had an inside track on such things. Last spring, after shooting a suspect while working as a police officer in Ann Arbor, I had come home to recoup and think about what to do next. I had had very little time for either when Crystal Haven had its first homicide in decades. One murder led to another and by the time the crime was solved, I found myself with a small inherited house and a large inherited bullmastiff. Now that I had my own place, the ladies in the family had taken to semi-stalking me, a side effect I hadn’t considered when I decided to stay in Crystal Haven and leave police work behind.

I described the death of Rafe Godwin to Mom with minimal detail. She walked back to the booth and embraced Diana, both of them welling up and sniffling. In spite of her feelings toward Wiccans in general, mom loved Diana.

Violet and I stood with our arms crossed, shaking our heads.

“Diana, I’m so sorry. That must have been so horrible for you after losing your parents. Now you’ve lost Rafe as well,” Mom said.

“I never liked that Rafe Godwin,” Vi mumbled out of the side of her mouth.

“What are you talking about?” I said. “Everyone liked him. He led a very popular coven in Grand Rapids, did charity work, and was a huge support to Diana and Dylan.”

“No, not everyone.” She shook her head. “The cats don’t trust him. They say he’s not as nice as he seems and they would know. They’re very good judges of character.” Vi nodded once to punctuate.

Slow deep breath. It was my own fault for thinking Vi would have real information about anyone. Her pet psychic abilities were highly exaggerated in my opinion, but she and my mother took it very seriously.

“Okay, well, he’s dead now so the cats don’t have to worry,” I said and turned b...

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Descrizione libro Penguin Putnam Inc, United States, 2014. Paperback. Condizione libro: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. Leaving a traumatic police career behind, Clyde Fortune has returned to her seemingly quiet hometown of Crystal Haven, Michigan. In spite of the psychic powers of its residents, there s no telling what trouble is brewing in this burg The highlight of this year s fall festival in Crystal Haven is a bonfire with a witch s cauldron resting over it. Clyde s best friend, Diana, leads a ritual to divine the future, but it seems no one foresees that one of their own will drop dead or that Diana will be a prime suspect. Clyde already has her hands full with her eccentric family, runaway nephew, and burgeoning secret romance with a hunky homicide detective. But after another coven member is attacked, Clyde suspects there s a witch hunt afoot and focuses her psychic and sleuthing skills to clear her friend s name and catch a killer. Codice libro della libreria ABZ9780425264478

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Descrizione libro Penguin Putnam Inc, United States, 2014. Paperback. Condizione libro: New. Language: English . This book usually ship within 10-15 business days and we will endeavor to dispatch orders quicker than this where possible. Brand New Book. Leaving a traumatic police career behind, Clyde Fortune has returned to her seemingly quiet hometown of Crystal Haven, Michigan. In spite of the psychic powers of its residents, there s no telling what trouble is brewing in this burg The highlight of this year s fall festival in Crystal Haven is a bonfire with a witch s cauldron resting over it. Clyde s best friend, Diana, leads a ritual to divine the future, but it seems no one foresees that one of their own will drop dead or that Diana will be a prime suspect. Clyde already has her hands full with her eccentric family, runaway nephew, and burgeoning secret romance with a hunky homicide detective. But after another coven member is attacked, Clyde suspects there s a witch hunt afoot and focuses her psychic and sleuthing skills to clear her friend s name and catch a killer. Codice libro della libreria BTE9780425264478

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Descrizione libro Penguin Putnam Inc, United States, 2014. Paperback. Condizione libro: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. Leaving a traumatic police career behind, Clyde Fortune has returned to her seemingly quiet hometown of Crystal Haven, Michigan. In spite of the psychic powers of its residents, there s no telling what trouble is brewing in this burg The highlight of this year s fall festival in Crystal Haven is a bonfire with a witch s cauldron resting over it. Clyde s best friend, Diana, leads a ritual to divine the future, but it seems no one foresees that one of their own will drop dead or that Diana will be a prime suspect. Clyde already has her hands full with her eccentric family, runaway nephew, and burgeoning secret romance with a hunky homicide detective. But after another coven member is attacked, Clyde suspects there s a witch hunt afoot and focuses her psychic and sleuthing skills to clear her friend s name and catch a killer. Codice libro della libreria ABZ9780425264478

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Descrizione libro Berkley. Paperback. Condizione libro: New. Mass Market Paperback. 304 pages. Dimensions: 6.7in. x 4.2in. x 0.9in.Leaving a traumatic police career behind, Clyde Fortune has returned to her seemingly quiet hometown of Crystal Haven, Michigan. In spite of the psychic powers of its residents, theres no telling what trouble is brewing in this burg The highlight of this years fall festival in Crystal Haven is a bonfire with a witchs cauldron resting over it. Clydes best friend, Diana, leads a ritual to divine the future, but it seems no one foresees that one of their own will drop deador that Diana will be a prime suspect. Clyde already has her hands full with her eccentric family, runaway nephew, and burgeoning secret romance with a hunky homicide detective. But after another coven member is attacked, Clyde suspects theres a witch hunt afoot and focuses her psychic and sleuthing skills to clear her friends name and catch a killer. This item ships from multiple locations. Your book may arrive from Roseburg,OR, La Vergne,TN. Mass Market Paperback. Codice libro della libreria 9780425264478

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