AMERICAN WITCH: Friday Snippets (4)

Happy Friday!

Here’s today’s Friday Snippet of AMERICAN WITCH for you! This snippet concludes Chapter Three. As always, this is draft material and things are subject to editing (and possibly deletion), so please don’t share.

Hope you enjoy!

~ Thea

WANT AMERICAN WITCH NOW?

You can buy the full novel from my webstore now, before it’s available from the third-party vendors. If you can’t wait for the whole story, you can buy it today! Just click here to be taken to my webstore.

Or pre-order AMERICAN WITCH at any of these vendors.

Amazon  |  B&N |  Apple Books |  Kobo |  Google Play

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AMERICAN WITCH

Chapter 3 (continued)

Back in her hotel room, Molly threw the card on the table and spent the rest of the evening taking tags off her new purchases and putting them away.

Josiah claimed to have removed the spell on the card, and she couldn’t sense anything, but it gleamed against the dark wood as if enticing her to pick it up again.

She had felt overwhelmed before and talking to him was the equivalent of having anothertidal wave wash over her head, only this one was bigger than the first. Now she felt so far underwater she had no idea how to swim to the surface.

As he had painted the picture of a possible future in his compelling, rich voice, she could see everything play out like a movie.

A life with no limits. Hadn’t part of her always yearned for that? She had made her choices and she had tried to stick to them. God, she had tried.

Austin had been her career. She had done everything from picking up dry cleaning to helping him make and foster the right connections. She had poured everything into his law practice, into building their life together.

In an age filled with takeout and professional catering, people had relished her sophisticated, home-cooked cuisine. She knew how to talk to legal professionals, and she had prided herself on being warm and welcoming to everyone.

But she hadn’t been loved or valued. She had been someone to get under control. With a fierceness that made her shake, she wanted to hurt Austin the way he had hurt her over the years. She wanted to make him cry like a baby. And wouldn’t it serve him right to see her thrive while he suffered?

Josiah had said she could be powerful in her own right. Buy her own fashionable house in an upscale neighborhood. Buy multiple houses in different parts of the world. She could have all the lovers she wanted and more money than she could ever need.

And while she’d been blessed with good genes and still looked youthful, over the past few years a couple of delicate lines had appeared at the corners of her mouth and eyes, and her blond hair had lightened at the temples. She hadn’t gone gray, not yet, but she would if she didn’t do something to hide it. Or maybe she could do something to stop it from happening entirely?

But something felt off. She had to pick through her reactions to figure out what it was.

For one thing, she didn’t trust herself right now. Normally she wasn’t vengeful, but she was too angry and hurt, and what sounded good in this moment might turn out to be just as toxic as what she was escaping.

And Josiah was sexy. Very sexy. She felt too raw to be comfortable with how part of her had liked it when he’d touched her. The gentle rasp of his callused fingers against her skin had been distinctly pleasurable. It had been a very long time since she had felt simple desire.

Something else made her uneasy. He had been too calculating, too pushy. At some point during their talk, he had come to a decision and had zeroed in on it like a heat-seeking missile. Powerful men did that. She had watched it happen before, and he had already said he had ambitions.

And even if everything he had told her had been the truth, she wasn’t willing to become the consequence of another powerful man’s decisions.

After settling that in her mind, she deleted all the texts, emails and phone messages clogging her phone.

Some were from her mother, and she bit back a sigh. Molly couldn’t put off going to see her any longer. She would far rather communicate everything in an email, but she should tell her mother what had happened in person.

Or at least they needed to talk about how she had left Austin. Her mother was the quintessential conservative and had consistently voted against any political platform that promoted the interests of the Elder Races or magic users. It would be beyond disastrous to talk about witches, spells, and suddenly acquiring Power.

Ugh, ugh, ugh. Tomorrow was going to suck. Grimly, she got ready for bed, and later that night she dreamed again.

When she came to awareness, she was sitting at the butcher-block table again while the woman stood at the counter, chopping herbs. This time the woman wore jeans and a black T-shirt, and her graying hair had been piled into a knot on top of her head. Molly glanced out the window. There was no sign of the shaggy blond man. Instead, rain lashed against the glass panes. A storm was rolling in.

“You’re a metaphor, aren’t you?” She huddled into herself. “Something I’ve created. You, this kitchen, and everything in it—it’s some kind of message I’m trying to tell myself.”

The woman’s voice was gentle. “Because everything is all about you?”

“No, of course not! But I’m making this dream up. Right?”

The woman shrugged. “If you say so.”

Uneasily, she shifted and rubbed her bare arms. “If I’m not making it up… You put a spell on me to find you. Why?”

“Seemed like a good idea at the time.” Chop-chop-chop. The herbs smelled good and fresh. Molly recognized the pungent, distinct scent of sage.

“What if something happens?” she persisted. “What if the spell breaks? What if I don’t want to come? What if I don’t want to be controlled?”

“The spell will work if you want it to.” The woman gave her a reassuring smile. “And it won’t if you don’t. It’s as simple as that. You’ll find me when you’re ready. Or not. It’s entirely up to you.”

Molly muttered, “I don’t find that at all reassuring.”

Throwing back her head, the woman laughed while outside the window, lightning flashed. Then the scene fell away, leaving her even more in the dark than before.

She woke with another headache, and Sunday went from bad to worse.

Early in the morning, she set up the new laptop and portable printer she had purchased. Then she organized the contents of the satchel that contained everything from their safe and started scanning files.

As she worked, she found a set of papers in a folder she’d never seen before. They looked like copies of bank statements, but they were from no bank she knew. And the numbers listed were astronomical—in the millions.

Millions she’d had no idea existed.

A cold chill raised goose bumps along her skin. As a partner, Austin made mid-six figures annually, which was quite a fine income. They owned their house and hadn’t worried about money for a long time.

She could afford to stay in a comfortable hotel, buy nice clothes, and eat good food. She could also afford to take time as she figured out her next steps, and she felt extremely grateful to have her needs met while dealing with the emotional fallout from the end of her marriage.

But those numbers… She couldn’t imagine how he might have gained access to so much money.

She didn’t have time to obsess over it. Quickly, she organized everything else, finished an Excel spreadsheet listing all the assets that had been in the safe, and emailed the spreadsheet to herself along with a zip file of the scanned documents.

Afterward, she showered and braced to face her mother.

Visiting her mother was always like taking a trip into the past. Gloria Addison still lived where she had when her husband Samuel had been alive. The old, spacious house was on the National Register of Historic Places and had been in the family for several generations.

As Molly parked, the front door opened. Gloria’s silver hair had been meticulously arranged, and she wore a stylish gray-and-pink dress with matching low-heeled shoes.

“I wondered when you might finally show up.” Gloria’s voice was chilly, her back ramrod straight. Both were indicators of how the visit would go.

Molly bit back a sigh and walked into the house. “Hello, Mother.”

Gloria led the way to the kitchen, and Molly followed. She slid into a seat at the table while Gloria put together two salads.

While she worked, Gloria said, “Austin called me yesterday.”

Trying to remain calm, Molly rubbed her temples. Gloria had always approved of Austin. The fact that he had gotten in touch with her first put Molly even farther into the doghouse. “What did he say?”

“He was looking for you.” Gloria pulled salad dressing out of the fridge. “He thought you might be staying here. He said you’d had a fight, but I already knew that. Melinda found out. Her son Graham is dating one of the Johnson girls that works at Austin’s firm.”

“I wondered if you’d heard something.” Again, she lied. She had to find a way to stop that. Where was her authentic self when Molly needed her the most?

Her mother brought the salads over along with silverware and the dressings, then sat to eat. “So, have youtalked to Austin?”

“No.” She pushed the plate away.

“Well, don’t you think it’s time you did? You’ve had your fight, but it’s over. Now it’s time to move on. He’s worried about you, and he’s hurt.”

No mention of Molly’s feelings. No question about whether or not she might be hurt.

She asked, “Did Melinda tell you what the fight was about?”

Gloria speared a small, bite-sized piece of ham. “It doesn’t matter. It’s all in the past. The important thing is that you work on fixing your marriage and look to the future.”

Her blood pressure was rising with every passing minute. “I’m not going back to Austin. I’m filing for divorce.”

Gloria’s eyes flashed up. She set down her fork and knife. “Impossible. You can’t. He’s the breadwinner, and he has been for the past fifteen years. You haven’t done anything in your life except support him.”

“Yes, by all means.” Her jaw angled out. “Let’s ignore the fact that being a successful law partner’s wife can be a full-time job in itself, or that I fundraised almost three hundred thousand dollars last year for a charity just by working as a part-time volunteer.”

“None of that paid you a living wage.” Gloria pointed at her. “You’ll take him back if you know what’s good for you. You’ll never be able to get a job that will give you the lifestyle you’ve grown accustomed to.”

Her temper started to bubble over. “I can’t stand the thought of being in the same zip code with Austin, let alone trying to live in the same house or, my God, sleeping in the same bed again. The marriage has been over for a long, long time. I’m meeting with an attorney tomorrow. The money will work out somehow.”

Gloria’s gaze fired with an angry light. “I did not raise you to quit on your marriage just when things get tough.”

“When things get tough?” she repeated incredulously. “Mom, he cheatedon me.In my own bed.He cheated on me repeatedly—and then he was verbally abusive about it. The only thing I regret is staying with him as long as I did when, deep down, I knew better.”

“So he cheated on you,” Gloria said bitterly. “Men cheat. It’s what they do. You can’t expect to find another man who will treat you any differently, and you’re too old to start over. You have no real job experience, and your degree is eighteen years old. If you leave him, you’re throwing your life away with both hands.”

Halfway through Gloria’s speech, Molly realized that once again her mother wasn’t talking about her. Gloria was talking about herself.

“Mom, what are you saying? Did Dad cheat on you?”

Gloria looked down at her napkin as she folded it precisely. “Your father and I had our share of problems, but that’s none of your business. He loved you, and he wanted the best for you, as do I. You’re making a huge mistake, Molly Ann. Go back to Austin while you can.”

Talking to her mother was as draining as she’d known it would be. “We’re not going to see eye to eye on this. You’ll just have to trust that I know how to look out for myself.”

But Gloria remained unconvinced, and eventually Molly gave up and made her escape. In the car, she checked her phone. There were more messages, several from Austin. She deleted them and started her car.

As she approached the city, the Atlanta skyline came into view. The tops of two of the buildings were tipped with gold, and as she drew nearer, lights illuminated the floors of several of the towers, sparkling like diamonds.

In the rosy gentle light of the deepening spring evening, the skyline looked like a fabled city in a fairy tale, a place that someone might fight with everything they had to reach, where one might hope to find brains, a heart, some courage, or to discover the way to go home.

As for the wizard… There was only one person that could be. Josiah. But he was too magnetic and powerful in a way she had never known before, both personally and magically. His dark, polished essence frightened as much as it enticed her.

She could feel the urge to go to him, and it disturbed her. He tugged at the weakest, most vulnerable part in her right when she needed to find her strength, not collapse into old, negative patterns of behavior.

Consumed by her thoughts, she parked the Escalade in the hotel parking garage and made her way to the lobby’s bank of elevators. All she wanted to do was take a shower and put her feet up, maybe watch some mindless television and then go to bed.

“Molly!”

She had been watching the floor as she walked. At the sound of Austin’s voice, she jerked her head up.

He strode across the lobby toward her, handsome face hard and eyes glittering.

Her mind launched into frantic speculation. How had he found her? Had he used the firm’s private investigator? Or—damn it, she had used her credit card. All he’d had to do was check their bank’s website.

Whatever. It didn’t matter. The expression on his face, along with the tight, fast way that he moved, told her everything she needed to know. He was the angriest, iciest she had ever seen.

Another quick glance told her that nobody was around to witness what happened next. Earlier the hotel had been busy, but by an odd trick of circumstance, now traffic was at a minimum. And nobody stood at the concierge desk or the check-in desk.

She didn’t pause to question her instincts. Instead, she bolted.

__________________________________

Copyright: 2019 Teddy Harrison LLC

All rights reserved

WANT MORE AMERICAN WITCH NOW?

You can buy the full novel from my webstore now, before it’s available from the third-party vendors. If you can’t wait for the whole story, you can buy it today! Just click here to be taken to my webstore.

Or pre-order AMERICAN WITCH at any of these vendors.

Amazon  |  B&N |  Apple Books |  Kobo |  Google Play

One Response

  1. Erin Valentine says:

    I bought this last night, read it last night, and I loved it! Not surprised, since I haven’t read a Harrison novel yet that I haven’t loved.

    I can’t wait for the continuing series. I’m already wondering about the further stories of Everwood’s denizens and their newest friends. And Richard. THAT man has a story to tell.

    Brava!

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