Authors: Rose Pressey
A CHARMED LIFE
by Rose Pressey
Book 5 of the Halloween LaVeau Series
"Rose Pressey’s book are fun!” Janet Evanovich
Praise for Me and My Ghoulfriends by Rose Pressey
“Rose Pressey spins a delightful tale with misfits and romance that makes me cheer loudly.”
Coffee Time Romance
“Her characters are alive and full of quick witted charm and will make you laugh. The plot twists keep you turning the pages non-stop.”
“I absolutely loved this book! It had me chuckling from the beginning.”
Fallen Angel Reviews
Rose Pressey’s Complete Bookshelf (click title to preview/buy)
Chase Charley Series:
For Old Crimes Sake
Book 2: Seems Like Old Crimes
Haunted Tour Guide Mystery Series:
These Haunts are Made for Walking
A Walk on the Haunted Side
Haunt the Haunt, Walk the Walk
Haunted Vintage Series:
Book 1 – If You’ve Got It, Haunt It
Book 2 – All Dressed Up and No Place to Haunt
Book 3 – Haunt Couture and Ghosts Galore
Book 4 – Untitled 2016
Book 5 – Untitled 2016
Maggie, P.I. Mystery Series:
Book 1 –
Book 2 –
Murder is a Beach
The Halloween LaVeau Series:
Book 1 –
Book 2 –
Book 3 –
Third Time’s a Charm
Book 5 – A Charmed Life
The Hadley Wilds Series:
Book 4—Ghoul of My Dreams
Book 3 — Spells a la Carte
The Veronica Mason Series:
Book 1 –
Rock ‘n’ Roll is Undead
A Trash to Treasure Crafting Mystery:
Book 1 –
Murder at Honeysuckle Hotel
Book 2 – Honeysuckle Homicide
The Haunted Renovation Mystery Series:
Book 1 –
Flip that Haunted House
Book 2 –
The Haunted Fixer Upper
All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce this book or portions thereof in any form, (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise) without the prior written permission of the copyright owner.
This book is a work of fiction. The names, characters, incidents, places, and brands are the product of the author’s imagination and not to be construed as real. The author acknowledges the trademarked status and trademark owners of various products referenced in this work of fiction, which have been used without permission. The publication/use of these trademarks is not authorized, associated with, or sponsored by the trademark owners.
This is to you and you know who you are.
To my son, who brings me joy every single day and is the love of my life. To my mother, who introduced me to the love of books. To my husband, who encourages me and always has faith in me. A huge thank you to my editor, Eleanor Boyall. And to the readers who make writing fun.
“Halloween, I love you, but you need to tell me the truth. I’m your mother and I can help you out of this situation.” My mother Annette LaVeau pushed the hair from my shoulder.
“There is no situation.” I stepped back over to the kitchen counter.
She waved her hand and blew her blonde locks out of her eyes. “Pish posh, that’s nonsense. Remember, the board members have to be involved and if you’re doing something illegal, I’m not sure I can help.”
My mother stood in front of me with her hands placed on her round hips. She wore a long black skirt and an emerald-green silk blouse. Her skin looked exceptionally radiant this morning. Her latest beauty potion must be working. My mother had a beauty shop, and I was now making food with my magic. She probably would’ve preferred that I’d branched out into cosmetics, but I felt more comfortable with the cooking. She should just be thankful that I was doing something right.
The longer she glared at me the more it felt like I was six years old all over again. Except this time instead of being scolded for doing subpar magic—I’m talking the worst magic imaginable—now I was in trouble for performing magic that was too good.
I tossed my hands up. “I can’t make you happy. If I’m bad with magic you’re upset with me, and if I’m good you’re suspicious.”
We were in the kitchen of LaVeau Manor. Or should I say, my kitchen? Even after months of owning this place, it still felt odd to call it home. My great-aunt Maddy had left me the place when she’d passed on from this dimension. Bless her heart, she’d only been one hundred and twenty.
“Halloween, we all know how bad a witch you’ve been your entire life. It just seems odd that now you’re this phenomenal. Everyone is suspicious.” My mother tapped her foot against the floor.
“So you’re just worried about how my actions will reflect on you?” I said.
She rolled her eyes at me. “Don’t get sassy with your mother.”
I released a deep breath. “Listen, Mom, I’ve done nothing wrong.”
She was right though. I’d always been bad at magic. Actually, I’d been voted the worst witch of the year just a few years ago. The only reason they didn’t give me that distinction every year was out of pity.
That had all changed recently. Magic came easily for me now. I assumed that was because of my new status as leader of the Underworld.
“Did you ever stop to think that it’s just the Book of Mystics that’s helping me out?” I asked.
She shook her head. “You were so bad even the Book of Mystics couldn’t make you this good. There was only so much there for the Book of Mystics to work with. And don’t scowl like that, it causes wrinkles,” she said, pointing at my face.
I’d turned my great-aunt’s old house into a bed-and-breakfast. Well, I used the term bed-and-breakfast loosely. I really wasn’t that good of a cook and I didn’t have much business experience either. What had made me think I would be able to run a business?
Things had taken a sudden change though now that my magic was much better. Maybe I was kidding myself. What if even with the improved magic, my spells were not that great? Sure, I had a few guests staying at my new bed-and-breakfast on occasion, and I didn’t accidentally ruin spells for all other witches within a twenty-mile radius—these were good things. It was difficult to let go of my self-doubt, although I worked on it every day. I would push the doubts to the back of my mind. There was nothing to worry about.
My new venture as a bed-and-breakfast proprietor was going better than I’d anticipated. How much of that was due to the mysterious guests? The guests who had turned out to be much more than I’d anticipated… but more about that later.
Since moving into the manor, I’d discovered the Book of Mystics. Not long after the discovery, I’d become the leader of the Underworld. My magic had slowly improved and now I was still trying to work my way around the new title. I was learning as I went. My great-aunt Maddy had never explained about the powers of the book. Maybe she hadn’t expected for me to find the ancient tome. It was a good thing I’d uncovered the thing though. Without a leader, the Underworld would be chaotic.
I might not be the best witch to ever stir a cauldron, but I had other assets that made me qualified to be the leader. At least I thought I had qualities. First of all, I was level-headed. I could make quick decisions when needed. My lack of experience aside, I was doing okay. One tiny problem though—with my improved magic, everyone was suspicious of me. How could my spells possibly be that much better?
“You won that fall festival baking contest hands down. The judges never tasted a cake so delicious. I’ve never tasted a cake so delicious in my entire life!”
“It was just a little spell to help the moistness of the cake.” I picked at the edge of the hand towel on the side of the sink.
My mother sat on the stool at the kitchen island. “I’m just saying, you’ve raised a lot of eyebrows with your improvement.”
I snickered. Sure, it was a tad immature, but I couldn’t help myself. I should be ashamed of myself, but life doesn’t always have to be serious. Laughter was good for the soul.
My mother pointed at her face. “Oh, is my one eyebrow funny to you?”
I shook my head, but still fought back the laughter. When I was sixteen, I’d accidentally seared one of my mother’s eyebrows off while performing magic. Needless to say, I was still hearing about it all these years later.
Finally I composed myself and my mother said, “Frankly, the whole town just doesn’t believe you. I’m trying to smooth it over, so you need to tell me the truth.”
“I told you everything. My magic is better and I don’t know why.”
Yes, the Book of Mystics was supposed to improve my magic, but she was right, it had been so bad before that there was no way the Book of Mystics could improve it this much. I had no idea why I was so much better now, but I wasn’t questioning it… much. I’d decided to enjoy it. After being bad for so long, this felt pretty darn good. I had people looking up to me now. I’d never thought that would be a possibility.
“How about I do a spell right now and then you’ll know that there’s nothing funny about it?” I asked.
My mother pointed at her one real eyebrow. The other one was just penciled on. “Should I really let you do that?”
I shrugged. “It’s up to you, but don’t say that I didn’t offer.”
She waved her hand. “You’re right, you’re right. What was I thinking? Those days are behind us now. No more scorched eyebrows, no more accidentally turning your neighbor into a garden statue.”
I pointed. “Oh, that was totally not my fault. I thought I was helping with her flowers. I can’t help it if I didn’t see her behind the rose bush.”
“Never mind that now. What kind of spell did you have in mind?”
I glanced at the oven. “I figured I’d bake something.”
“What will I lose this time?” She frowned.
“Oh, don’t be so dramatic, Mother,” I said, pulling out a big bowl from the kitchen cabinet. “I’ll make you some cupcakes.”
She sat on the stool at the kitchen island. “All right, but make chocolate.”
Sunlight flooded the room, making the shades of white around the room even brighter. The tiles, cabinets, and appliances were all white. Shelves filled with apothecary jars lined the other walls.
“Chocolate cupcakes coming up.” I pointed with the wooden spoon.
I hurried around the kitchen gathering my ingredients and put them all in the bowl. My cat Pluto sat in the corner of the room looking at me suspiciously. Even he didn’t believe that I was telling the truth. If I dropped crumbs of the cupcake he wouldn’t even be impressed with that. He’d just walk on by.
I recited the words that had now become familiar to me, since I’d been making so many cupcakes. “Element of Earth, I call to you. Make the cupcakes divine, make them superb. As soon as you taste the treat, you’ll want another.” I stirred the batter. “Element of Air, I call to you to. Make the cupcakes divine, make them superb.” I poured the batter into the pan, reciting the words. “Element of Fire, I call to you. Help me bake the best cupcakes ever.” To complete the spell, I shoved the pan into the oven. “Element of Water, I call to you. Bake the cupcakes with love and happiness.”
Soon I had whipped up a batch of baked goods that looked spectacular. The sprinkles were perfect—not too many and not too few. Icing was swirled on top like a work of art, not a bit over the edge of the little paper cups.
I placed one in front of my mother. “Here, have a taste.”
She looked at me with a little bit of fear in her eyes.
I motioned. “Go ahead, take a bite.”
She peeled back the paper cup and bit into the chocolate cake. Her eyes widened and she let out a moan of delight. “Halloween, this is the best cupcake I’ve ever had in my entire life.”
She seemed lost in the cupcake, as if she’d forgotten her entire reason for coming to see me. My mother licked the wrapper until there wasn’t a crumb of cake, a dab of frosting, or a single, solitary sprinkle left. She then focused her attention on the rest of the cupcakes, still sitting on the serving platter.
“Would you like to take the rest of the cupcakes home with you, Mom?” I asked, waving my hand in front of her face.
She snapped out of her trance. “Oh, no, I couldn’t.” She pushed to her feet and then patted her hips. “I wouldn’t want to gain weight.”
“They don’t have any calories,” I said, trying to keep a straight face.
Her eyes widened and she moved closer to the counter. “Are you serious?” She clapped her hands and wiggled her hips. Her expression was priceless, as if she’d just won the lottery.
I chuckled. “Of course they have calories. I’m good, but I’m not that good.”
She frowned. “That’s not funny, Halloween.”
I pulled out the plastic cupcake carrier and placed the remaining cupcakes inside. I handed the container to her. “Here, don’t worry about the calories. Just cut back on something else and you’ll be fine.”
She didn’t protest as she took the carrier from my outstretched hand. “Well, just this once, I guess it can’t hurt. Okay, I have to go now, dear.”
I followed her out of the kitchen and through the big old house toward the front door.
When we reached the front door, she turned to face me. “Just be safe, Halloween. The witches aren’t happy.”
I shrugged. “What’s new?”
“I guess you are the leader now. I’ll just tell them to mind their own business.”
“That sounds like an excellent idea,” I said.
She hugged me and then walked out the door with the pink cupcake carrier securely in hand. She wasn’t about to let it go.
I tried not to be too confident about my new skills. Not so long ago I had been voted worst witch of the year. The only reason they hadn’t voted me worst witch of all time was because the coven liked my mother.
I waved as my mother drove off down the driveway. The wind stirred the branches on the old moss-covered oak trees surrounding the manor. It was as if the trees had a mind of their own and acknowledged my presence. They stood guard over the place.
I’d barely made it back to the kitchen when the doorbell ran
It was one of those loud and extravagant affairs that chimed an entire song just for one push of the button. The clangs and dings echoed through the entire house.
“Who could that be?” I asked Pluto.