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A Toxic Trousseau by Juliet Blackwell - Excerpt


In this excerpt from Chapter One of A Toxic Trousseau by Juliet Blackwell, Lily Ivory's day does not start off too well!  A Toxic Trousseau, the 8th Witchcraft Mystery, will be published on July 5th by NAL Obsidian.



A Toxic Trousseau by Juliet Blackwell - Excerpt




Chapter One

Small business owners have their morning routines. Some people switch on the lights, brew a cup of coffee, and read the paper before engaging with the day. Some count out the money in the register and tidy up the merchandise. Some sweep and hose down the front walk.
       Each morning before opening my vintage clothing store, Aunt Cora’s Closet, I sprinkle salt water widdershins, smudge sage deosil, and light a white candle while chanting a spell of protection.
       Such spells can be powerful, and for a small business owner like me they serve an important purpose: to help customers maintain their composure in the face of fashion frustrations, keep evil intentions at bay, and discourage those with sticky fingers from rummaging through the feather boas, chiffon prom dresses, and silk evening gowns and then trying to shove said items into pockets or backpacks or under shirts.
       But protection spells aren’t much good against litigation.
       “Lily Ivory?” asked the petite, somber young woman who entered Aunt Cora’s Closet, a neon yellow motorcycle helmet under one arm. She had dark hair and eyes, and I imagined she would have been pretty had she smiled. But her expression was dour.
       “Yes?” I asked, looking up from a list of receipts.
       She held out a manila envelope. “You have been served.”
       “Served?”
       “You are hereby notified of a lawsuit against you, Aunt Cora’s Closet, and one errant pig, name unknown. By the by, not that it’s any of my business, but is it even legal to own livestock in the city?”
       I cast a glare in the direction of said pig, my witch’s familiar, Oscar. At least, I tried to, but he’d disappeared. Only moments earlier Oscar had been snoozing on his hand-embroidered purple silk pillow, resting up for a busy day of trying to poke his snout under the dressing room curtains while customers tried on vintage cocktail dresses, fringed leather jackets, and Jackie O pillbox hats. Now only the slight rustling of a rack of 1980s spangled prom dresses revealed his location.
       “My pig’s being served with legal papers?”
       “Not so much your pig, as you. Your property, your worry. At least, that’s how it works with dogs, so I assume . . .” The woman trailed off with an officious shrug as she headed for the front door with long strides, already pulling on her helmet. “But that isn’t any of my business; I just deliver the bad news. Have a nice day.”
       “Wait—”
       She didn’t pause. I followed her outside, where someone was revving the engine of a large black motorcycle. The woman jumped on the back and they zoomed off.
       “Duuude,” said Conrad, the homeless young man who slept in nearby Golden Gate Park and spent the better part of his days “guarding” the curb outside of my store. In San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury neighborhood, many young homeless people lived this way, panhandling and scrounging and generally referring to themselves as “gutter punks.” Over the past year, Conrad—or as he liked to call himself, “The Con”—had become a friend and the unofficial guardian of Aunt Cora’s Closet. “You get served?”
       “Apparently so,” I said, opening the envelope to find some scary-looking legal-sized documents filled with legalese, such as “party of the first part.”
       My heart sank as I put two and two together. My friend Bronwyn, who rents space in my store for her herbal stand, had filled me in on an incident that took place a couple of weeks ago while I was out scouting garage sales for resaleable treasure. It seems a woman came into the shop and started flicking through the merchandise, pronouncing it “unsuitable—too much of that dreadful ready-to-wear.” Bronwyn had explained to her that Aunt Cora’s Closet doesn’t deal in high-end vintage; our merchandise consists mostly of wearable clothes, with the occasional designer collectibles. The woman then turned to my employee Maya and started grilling her about the ins and outs of the store, making none-too-subtle inquiries about where we obtained our specialty stock.
       Oscar started getting in the customer’s way, making a pest of himself and keeping her away from the clothes. Bronwyn tried to call him off, but he kept at it, almost as though he was trying to herd her toward the exit. Finally the woman picked a parasol off a nearby shelf and started whacking Oscar, and there was a scuffle.
       The woman had screamed and flailed, lost her balance, and fell back into a rack of colorful swing dresses. Maya and Bronwyn hastily extricated her, made sure she was all right, and offered profuse apologies. The woman had seemed fine at the time, they both said, and she stomped out of the store in high dudgeon.
       But if I was reading the legal papers correctly, the woman—named Autumn Jennings—was now claiming she had been “head-butted” by an “unrestrained pig,” had been injured in the “attack,” and was demanding compensation.
       It was a mystery. Oscar had never herded—much less head-butted—anyone in Aunt Cora’s Closet before. He wasn’t the violent type. In fact, apart from a few occasions when he intervened to save my life, Oscar was more the “let’s eat grilled cheese and take a nap” type.
       He was also my witch’s familiar, albeit an unusual one. Oscar was a shape-shifter who assumed the form of a miniature Vietnamese potbellied pig when around cowans—regular, nonmagical humans. Around me, his natural form was sort of a cross between a goblin and a gargoyle. A gobgoyle, for lack of a better word. His was a lineage about which I didn’t want to think too hard.
       “Bad vibes, Dude,” Conrad said with a sage nod. “Been there. Dude, I hate being served.”
       “You’ve been served?” I asked. Conrad was in his early twenties and lived such a vagabond existence it was hard to imagine why anyone would bother to sue him. I could easily imagine his being picked up by police in a sweep of the local homeless population, but how would a process server even know where to find Conrad to serve him papers?
       He nodded. “Couple times. But at least yours arrived on a Ducati. That’s a nice bike.”
       “What did you—” My question was cut off by the approach of none other than Aidan Rhodes, witchy godfather to San Francisco’s magical community. His golden hair gleamed in the sun, a beautifully tailored sports jacket hugged his tall frame, and a leather satchel was tucked under one strong arm. As he strolled down Haight Street with his signature graceful glide, strangers stopped to stare. Aidan’s aura glittered so brilliantly that even nonsensitive people noticed, though they didn’t realize what they were reacting to.
       This is all I need.
       I girded my witchy loins.
       Things between Aidan and me were . . . complicated. Not long ago I’d stolen something from Aidan, and I still owed him. And when it comes to debts, we witches are a little like elephants, bookies, and the Internet: We never forget. Even worse, Aidan feared San Francisco was shaping up to be ground zero in some sort of big magical showdown, and he wanted me to stand with him for the forces of good. Or, at the very least, for the good of Aidan Rhodes. It was hard to say exactly what was going on—and exactly what role I was willing to play in it—since the threat was frustratingly nonspecific, and Aidan played his cards infuriatingly close to his chest.
       “Good morning,” Aidan said as he joined us. “Conrad, it’s been too long. How have you been?”
       Despite their vastly different circumstances and lifestyles, Aidan treated Conrad with the respect due a peer. His decency sort of ticked me off. My life would be simpler if I could dismiss Aidan as an arrogant, power-hungry witch beyond redemption. His kindness toward my friend was difficult to reconcile with that image.
       The two men exchanged pleasantries, chatting about the beauty of Golden Gate Park when bathed in morning dew and sunshine, and whether the Giants had a shot at the pennant this year. And then Aidan turned his astonishing, periwinkle blue gaze on me, sweeping me from head to foot.
       Suddenly self-conscious, I smoothed the full skirt of my sundress.
       “And Lily . . . Stunning as always. I do like that color on you. It’s as joyful as the first rays of dawn.”
       “Thank you,” I said, blushing and avoiding his eyes. The dress was an orangey gold cotton with a pink embroidered neckline and hem, circa 1962, and I had chosen it this morning precisely because it reminded me of a sunrise. “Aren’t you just the sweet talker.”
       “You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar,” my mama used to tell me. Did this mean I was the fly and Aidan the fly catcher?
       “Is everything all right?” Aidan asked. “Am I sensing trouble? Beyond the norm, I mean.”
       “Dude, Lily just got served,” Conrad said.
       “Served? I fear we aren’t speaking of breakfast.”
       “A lawsuit,” I clarified.
       “Ah. What a shame. Whatever happened?”
       “Oscar head-butted a customer.”
       “That’s . . . unusual.” Aidan had given me Oscar and knew him well. “Was this person badly injured?”
       “I wasn’t there when it happened, but according to Bronwyn and Maya the customer seemed fine. But now she’s claiming she sustained ‘serious and debilitating neck and back injuries that hinder her in the completion of her work and significantly reduce her quality of life,’” I said, quoting from the document I still clutched tightly in my hand.
       “That sounds most distressing. Might I offer my services in finding a resolution?”
       “No. No, thank you.” The only thing worse than being slapped with a slip-and-fall lawsuit—the boogeyman of every small business owner—was being even more beholden to Aidan Rhodes than I already was. Besides . . . I wasn’t sure what he meant by “finding a resolution.” Aidan was one powerful witch. If he got involved, Autumn Jennings might very well wind up walking around looking like a frog.
       “You’re sure?” Aidan asked. “These personal injury lawsuits can get nasty—and expensive, even if you win. As much as I hate to say it, you may have some liability here. Is it even legal to have a pig in the city limits?”
       “Don’t worry about it; I’ve got it handled,” I said, not wishing to discuss the matter any further with him. “Was there some reason in particular you stopped by?”
       Aidan grinned, sending sparkling rays of light dancing in the morning breeze. He really was the most astounding man.
       “I was hoping we might have a moment to talk,” he said. “About business.”
       My stomach clenched. Time to face the music. I did owe him, after all. “Of course, come on in.”
       The door to Aunt Cora’s Closet tinkled as we went inside, and Bronwyn fluttered out from the back room, cradling Oscar to her ample chest. She was dressed in billows of purple gauze, and a garland of wildflowers crowned her frizzy brown hair. Bronwyn was a fifty-something Wiccan, and one of the first—and very best—friends I had made upon my arrival in the City by the Bay not so very long ago.
       “Hello, Aidan! So wonderful to see you again!” she gushed.
       “Bronwyn, you light up this shop like fireworks on the Fourth of July.”
       “Oh, you do go on.” She waved her hand but gave him a flirtatious smile. “But, Lily! Our little Oscaroo is very upset, poor thing! Maybe it has something to do with the woman with the motorcycle helmet who was just here—what was that about?”
       “She was serving Lily with legal papers,” said Aidan.
       “Legal papers?” Bronwyn asked as Oscar hid his snout under her arm. “For what?”
       “Remember when Oscar”—I cast about for the right word—“harassed a woman a couple of weeks ago?”
       Oscar snorted.
       “Of course, naughty little tiny piggy pig pig,” Bronwyn said in a crooning baby voice. “But I have to say, she really was bothering all of us. But . . . she’s suing you? Seriously?”
       I nodded. “I’m afraid so.”
       “Well, now, that’s just bad karma,” Bronwyn said with a frown.
       “You said she wasn’t hurt, though, right?”
       “She was fine!” Bronwyn insisted. “She fell into the rack of swing dresses. You know how poofy those dresses are—there’s enough crinolines in the skirts to cushion an NFL linebacker, and she’s, what, a hundred pounds soaking wet? I saw her just the other day, when I brought her some of my special caramel-cherry-spice maté tea and homemade corn-cherry scones, and she seemed fine. As a matter of fact, when I arrived she was up on a ladder, and she certainly didn’t seem to have any back or neck injuries. She was a little under the weather, but it was a cold or the flu.”
       “When was this?”
       “Day before yesterday, I think . . . I thought I should make the effort, since you weren’t even here when it happened. I just wanted to tell her I was sorry.”
       “How did you know where to find her?”
       “She left her business card. . . .” Bronwyn trailed off as she peeked behind her herbal counter. “I have it around here somewhere. Turns out, she’s a rival vintage clothing store owner, which explains why she was so interested. Her place is called Vintage Visions Glad Rags, over off Buchanan.”
       “Really. That is interesting. What’s it like?”
       “Very nice inventory, but if you ask me not nearly as warm and inviting as Aunt Cora’s Closet. She had some ball gowns that I’m sure were from the nineteenth century. But those are more museum pieces than anything someone would actually wear. The whole place was too snooty for my taste, by half. And expensive! Too rich for my blood.”
       “Did anything happen while you were there? Did she say anything in particular?”
       Bronwyn frowned in thought, then shook her head. “Nothing at all. She didn’t seem particularly bowled over by my gift basket, but she accepted it. But like I say, she told me she was a little under the weather, so maybe that accounts for her mood. She did have a very sweet dog, and I always say a pet lover is never irredeemable.”
       “Okay, thanks,” I said, blowing out a breath. “If you think of anything else, please let me know. Aidan and I are going to talk in the back for a moment.”
       “I’ll keep an eye on things,” Bronwyn said, lugging Oscar over to her herbal stand for a treat. Oscar was a miniature pig, but he was still a porker.
       In the back room Aidan and I sat down at my old jade green Formica-topped table. I bided my time and waited for Aidan to speak first. In witch circles, simply asking “What may I help you with?” can open up a dangerous can of worms.
       “I have to leave town for a little while,” he said.
       “Really?” Even though I knew perfectly well that he had lived elsewhere in the past, including when he’d worked with the father who had abandoned me, in my mind Aidan was so associated with San Francisco that it was hard to imagine him in any other locale. “How long do you think you’ll be gone?”
       “And here I was rather hoping you would beg me to stay,” he said in a quiet voice, his gaze holding mine.
       “Far be it from me to dictate to the likes of Aidan Rhodes.”
       He smiled. “In any case, I need a favor.”
       Uh-oh.
       “First,” he said, “I’ll need you to keep tabs on Selena.”
       Selena was a talented but troubled teenage witch who had come into my life recently. She reminded me of myself at her age: socially awkward and dangerously magical.
       I clenched my teeth. It wasn’t Aidan’s place to tell me to watch over Selena; she needed all of us with whom she had grown close. But it was true that Aidan and I had both been helping her to train her powers. In her case, as in mine, the biggest challenge was learning to keep control over her emotions and her magic in general. But even as he was asking me to partner with him, Aidan still fancied himself the head of the local magical community—me included. It was very annoying.
       “Of course,” I said. “I have been.”
       “Of course,” Aidan repeated. “And Oscar can come in handy with that as well.”
       I concentrated on reining in my irritation. It wouldn’t do to send something flying, which sometimes happened when I lost my temper. Proving that Selena and I weren’t that far apart in some areas of our development.
       “You’re not Oscar’s master anymore,” I pointed out.
       He nodded slowly. “So true. Alas, I will leave that in your more than capable hands, then. Also while I’m gone I need you to fill in for me and adjudicate a few issues. Nothing too strenuous.”
       “Beg pardon?”
       He handed me a heavy, well-worn leather satchel tied with a black ribbon. “You’re always so curious about what I do for the local witchcraft community. Now’s your chance to find out.”
       “I never said I wanted to find out. I’m really perfectly happy being in the dark.”
       Aidan smiled. “Why do I find that hard to believe? In any event, find out you shall.”
       I sighed. As curious as I was about Aidan’s world, I hesitated to be drawn into it. However, I was in his debt and the bill had come due. “Fine. I’m going to need more information, though. What all is involved in ‘adjudicating issues’?”
       He shrugged. “Little of this, little of that. Mostly it means keeping an eye on things, making sure nothing gets out of hand. Handling disputes, assisting with certifications . . . Valuable job skills that really beef up the résumé, you’ll see.”
       “Uh-huh,” I said, skeptical. At the moment I didn’t need a more impressive résumé. I needed a lawyer. “What kind of certifications?”
       “Fortune-tellers and necromancers must be licensed in the city and county of San Francisco. Surely your good friend Inspector Romero has mentioned this at some point.”
       “He has, but since I’m neither a fortune-teller nor a necromancer I didn’t pay much attention. So that’s what you do? Help people fill out forms down at City Hall? Surely—”
       “It’s all terribly glamorous, isn’t it? Resolving petty squabbles, unraveling paperwork snafus . . . The excitement never ends,” he said with another smile. “But it’s necessary work, and you’re more than qualified to handle it while I’m gone. You’ll find everything you need in there.”
       I opened the satchel and took a peek. Inside were what appeared to be hundreds of signed notes written on ancient parchment, a business card with the mayor’s cell phone number written on the back in pencil, and a jangly key ring. I pulled out the keys: One was an old-fashioned skeleton key, but the others were modern and, I assumed, unlocked his office at the recently rebuilt wax museum. “Aidan, what are . . . ?”
       I looked up, but Aidan was gone, his departure marked by a slight sway of the curtains. Letting out a loud sigh of exasperation, I grumbled, “I swear, that man moves like a vampire.”
       “Vampire?” Bronwyn poked her head through the curtains, Oscar still in her arms. “Are we worried about vampires now?”
       “No, no, of course not,” I assured her as I closed the satchel and stashed it under the workroom table. “Sorry—just talking to myself.”
       “Oh, thank the goddess!” said Bronwyn, and set Oscar down. Whenever Aidan was around, Oscar became excited to the point of agitation, and his little hooves clicked on the wooden planks of the floor as he hopped around. “Never a dull moment at Aunt Cora’s Closet.”

Excerpt used with permission.





A Toxic Trousseau
A Witchcraft Mystery 8
NAL Obsidian, July 5, 2016
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 352 pages

A Toxic Trousseau by Juliet Blackwell - Excerpt
The New York Times bestselling author of Spellcasting in Silk continues as witch and vintage boutique owner Lily Ivory cracks open a Pandora’s box when she investigates some alarming apparel…

Even the most skilled sorceress can’t ward off a lawsuit, and Lily is not at her enchanting best with her hands full as the temporary leader of San Francisco’s magical community. So after her potbellied pig Oscar head-butts rival clothier Autumn Jennings, Lily tries to make peace without a costly personal injury case.

But any hope of a quiet resolution is shattered when Autumn turns up dead. As one of the prime suspects, Lily searches for a way to clear her name and discovers a cursed trousseau among Autumn’s recently acquired inventory. Lily must deal with a mysterious dogwalker and spend the night in a haunted house as she delves into the trunk’s treacherous past. She’s got to figure out who wanted to harm Autumn fast, before the curse claims another victim…





About Juliet

A Toxic Trousseau by Juliet Blackwell - Excerpt
Joseph Schell Photograph
Juliet Blackwell is the New York Times bestselling author of The Paris Key. She the also writes the Witchcraft Mystery series and the Haunted Home Renovation series. As Hailey Lind, Blackwell wrote the Agatha-nominated Art Lover's Mystery series. A former anthropologist, social worker, and professional artist, Juliet is a California native who has spent time in Mexico, Spain, Cuba, Italy, the Philippines, and France.



Website  ~  Twitter @JulietBlackwell  ~  Facebook  ~  Pinterest

Guest Blog by Bailey Cates, author of the Magical Bakery Mysteries - July 4, 2015


Please welcome Bailey Cates to The Qwillery. Bailey is the author of the Magical Bakery Mystery series. Magic and Macaroons will be published on July 7th by Obsidian (NAL).



Guest Blog by Bailey Cates, author of the Magical Bakery Mysteries - July 4, 2015




Magic and Macaroons is the fifth Magical Bakery Mystery featuring kitchen witch and one-third owner of the Honeybee Bakery, Katie Lightfoot. Katie has been in Savannah, Georgia for a year and a half now, and is still learning about the Craft from the members of the spellbook club. Mimsey Carmichael specializes in flower and color magic and dabbles in divination, while Bianca Devereaux focuses on traditional Wiccan spell work and moon magic. Jaida French is a tarot expert, and Cookie Rios -- well, she's a generalist since she turned away from the voodoo she grew up with in Haiti.

But Katie's specialty is hedgewitchery, or green magic, like her aunt Lucy whom she works with in the bakery. Together, they use their special knowledge of herbs and spices to gently bewitch the delicious goodies they bake up at the Honeybee with spells for love, prosperity, health, peace and more. She's also learned that she's a lightwitch, and while that might account for why she stumbles into so many murder investigations involving magic, she still doesn't know exactly what else being a lightwitch entails. Her mentor in that regard, Detective Franklin Taite, is now dead, and she's waiting for the replacement he promised would show up in her life.

As Magic and Macaroons begins, it's an unseasonably hot August in Georgia, and Katies is battling the heat with cool treats for the Honeybee patrons. But then a meeting of the spellbook club is interrupted by a stranger collapsing on the floor of the bakery, mumbling something about a missing talisman and voodoo queens. Soon an impossibly dead body is added to the mix.

Katie is compelled to investigate, and the first thing she does is enlist a reluctant Cookie Rios' help to find out more about Savannah's infamous voodoo queens and the possible uses for the missing talisman. She meets several members of this largely underground community, all quite different, and all possible suspects at first.

But they aren't the only suspects, and with the help of the members of the spellbook club, her boyfriend, Declan McCarthy, Declan's improbable Uncle Connell, and Steve Dawes, Katie tracks the magical killer.

I'm fascinated by the different aspects of magic, and how they relate to everything from quantum physics to psychic readings. However, friends became a bit alarmed when I started researching voodoo. It has a reputation for dark magic, for voodoo dolls and curses. I heard quite a few interesting stories during the year I conducted research.

However,there are many, many flavors of voodoo/voudou/vodou/hoodoo. Almost all are based on West African religions that date back centuries, but many of those have been added to, subtracted from, or altered by local culture. In the end, my goal was to address the magical aspects of voodoo with the respect I try to show all magical or pagan practices in the series. I did a lot of reading (a LOT), and spoke numerous times with a voodoo queen a friend referred me to. She was enormously helpful.

One thing I learned from my exploration of voodoo? Well, here's how Cookie Rios puts it in the book when she's trying to explain the ideas of dark and light magic to Katie: "[Voodoo] is black. It is white. It is purple and green and red. You and the others always talk about gray magic, as if the only colors of magic can be found on some continuum between white and black. But magic is bigger, wider, deeper than that."

This more expansive vision of magic rings true, however you happen to define it in your own life. Besides the spell work side of things, there's always a lot of food in the Magical Bakery Mysteries! For Magic and Macaroons, I include a recipe for coconut macaroons (what else?).

My (Katie's) version is also a thumbprint cookie. You can fill the center indentations with any kind of jam, but I also provide recipes for making your own pineapple jam and pomegranate jelly. The other recipe is for Pao de Quiejo, or Brazilian cheese bread. I am completely addicted to these cheese puffs made with tapioca flour, and had to share how super easy they are to make. As an added, if unintentional, bonus, all these recipes are gluten free.

Next up: Enchanted Garden Mystery #1! This is a new series starting in January of 2016, which I write as Bailey Cattrell. The first one is called Daisies for Innocence (the titles reflect the language of flowers) and features perfumer and gardener (miniature fairy gardens!) named Elliana Allbright. And, of course, I'm also working on Magical Bakery Mystery #6, Spells and Scones!

For information about all my books, please visit cricketmcrae.com





Magic and Macaroons
A Magical Bakery Mystery 5
Obsidian (NAL), July 7, 2015
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 320 pages

Guest Blog by Bailey Cates, author of the Magical Bakery Mysteries - July 4, 2015
From the New York Times bestselling author of Some Enchanted éclair comes a tale of delicious desserts and supernatural sleuthing…
 
For magical baker Katie Lightfoot, the only way to beat the Savannah summer heat is to whip up some cool treats for the Honeybee Bakery’s patrons. But when a meeting of the spellbook club is interrupted by a stranger collapsing on the floor of her shop, mumbling something about a voodoo talisman, Katie drops everything to begin investigating.
Her search for answers quickly leads her into a dangerous blend of Savannah’s infamous voodoo queens, a powerful missing charm—and a deadly witch who seems to be targeting the city’s magical community. And with the case getting hotter by the second, Katie will have to work fast to track down the talisman and the killer before the timer runs out…

RECIPES INCLUDED





About Cricket / Bailey

Guest Blog by Bailey Cates, author of the Magical Bakery Mysteries - July 4, 2015
Author of the Magical Bakery Mysteries. Also writes the Home Crafting Mysteries as Cricket McRae.

A former resident of the Pacific Northwest where her novels are set, Cricket McRae has always dabbled in the kind of practical home crafts that were once necessary to everyday life. The magical chemistry of making soap, the satisfaction of canning garden produce, and the sensuous side of fiber arts like spinning and knitting are just a few of the reasons these activities have fascinated her since childhood. As a girl she was as much a fan of Nancy Drew as of Laura Ingalls Wilder, so it's no surprise that her contemporary cozy series features a soap maker with a nose for investigation.

For two years Cricket managed her own soap making business, including all product design, manufacturing and marketing. She has also worked at a variety of other jobs, ranging from driver's license examiner to program manager at Microsoft. This fulfills her mother's warning that she'd never have a "regular" job if she insisted on studying philosophy and English in college.

Now she lives in Colorado, fitting her interest in all things domestic around writing, hiking, biking and, currently, learning how to hate the game of golf.

Website  ~  Twitter @WriterBailey  ~  Facebook





Upcoming

Daisies for Innocence
     as Bailey Cattrell
An Enchanted Garden Mystery 1
NAL, January 5, 2016
Mass Market Paperback and eBook,

Guest Blog by Bailey Cates, author of the Magical Bakery Mysteries - July 4, 2015
From Bailey Cattrell—who writes the New York Times bestselling Magical Bakery Mysteries as Bailey Cates—comes the first Enchanted Garden Mystery featuring custom perfume maker Elliana Allbright…

The Enchanted Garden behind Elliana Allbright’s perfume shop draws people of all ages with its fragrant flowers and lush greenery. But when the magical serenity is interrupted, it’s up to Ellie to sniff out a killer.

Ellie’s life has blossomed in Poppyville, California, since she opened Scents & Nonsense, a custom-made-perfume store. Her skills with aromas and botanical essences—some from her very own garden—seem almost…supernatural. Her perfumes can evoke emotions,  bring about change, or simply make people happy. Customers are flocking to the store to buy her wares or just to sit in her beautiful garden, sip tea and enjoy homemade cookies.

But she smells trouble when she learns that her part-time assistant Josie is dating her ex. And before she can tell the young woman to beware of his charms, she finds Josie dead in the Enchanted Garden. Now the prime suspect in Josie’s murder, Ellie must search for the real culprit in Josie’s past—because it’ll take a miracle to nip this problem in the bud….




Previously

Brownies and Broomsticks
A Magical Bakery Mystery 1
Obsidian (NAL), May 1, 2012
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 336 pages

Guest Blog by Bailey Cates, author of the Magical Bakery Mysteries - July 4, 2015
EASY BAKE COVEN

Katie Lightfoot’s tired of loafing around as the assistant manager of an Ohio bakery. So when her aunt Lucy and uncle Ben open a bakery in Savannah’s quaint downtown district and ask Katie to join them, she enthusiastically agrees.

While working at the Honeybee Bakery—named after Lucy’s cat—Katie notices that her aunt is adding mysterious herbs to her recipes. Turns out these herbal enhancements aren’t just tasty—Aunt Lucy is a witch and her recipes are actually spells!

When a curmudgeonly customer is murdered outside the Honeybee Bakery, Uncle Ben becomes the prime suspect. With the help of handsome journalist Steve Dawes, charming firefighter Declan McCarthy, and a few spells, Katie and Aunt Lucy stir up some toil and trouble to clear Ben’s name and find the real killer.



Bewitched, Bothered, and Biscotti
A Magical Bakery Mystery 2
Obsidian (NAL), December 31, 2012
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 336 pages

Guest Blog by Bailey Cates, author of the Magical Bakery Mysteries - July 4, 2015
A WITCH WITH A WHISK

As a new witch—not to mention owner of Savannah’s most enchanting bakery—Katie Lightfoot is still getting used to casting spells, brewing potions, and mastering her magical powers. But that doesn’t mean she can’t find time to enjoy a picnic with firefighter Declan McCarthy…until she stumbles upon a corpse.

The dead man’s tattoo reveals he was a member of a secret society—and it turns out he's missing an object that was very important to the group. When Katie learns the killer was after more than the man's life, she and her Aunt Lucy leave the baked goods on the rack to cool and set off in hot pursuit of a killer.



Charms and Chocolate Chips
A Magical Bakery Mystery 3
Obsidian (NAL), November 5, 2013
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 336 pages

Guest Blog by Bailey Cates, author of the Magical Bakery Mysteries - July 4, 2015
A HALF-BAKED HEX

Between brewing magically spiced treats at Honeybee Bakery and volunteering with a local conservation group, Katie Lightfoot barely has time to see her firefighter boyfriend, Declan McCarthy, much less delve further into her destiny as a witch. But avoiding her fate won’t be as easy as whipping up a new recipe—especially when Katie finds herself once again mixed up in murder.

When a fellow volunteer for the conservation group is found dead, Katie’s mystical senses tell her that there’s more to the death than meets the eye. Her suspicions are confirmed when members of her coven are targeted next. Katie will have to embrace her powers quickly...or she may find herself chewed up and spit out by some serious black magic.



Some Enchanted Éclair
A Magical Bakery Mystery 4
Obsidian (NAL), July 1, 2014
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 336 pages

Guest Blog by Bailey Cates, author of the Magical Bakery Mysteries - July 4, 2015
FLOUR POWER

When Hollywood invades Savannah’s historic district to film a Revolutionary War movie, magical baker Katie Lightfoot, and her witches’ coven, the Spellbook Club, take a break from casting spells for casting calls. One of the witches snags a part as an extra, while Katie’s firefighter boyfriend, Declan, acts as on-set security. Katie and her aunt Lucy decide to stay out of the action, but after the movie’s “fixer” fires the caterer, the Honeybee Bakery comes to the rescue, working their magic to keep the hungry crew happy.

But when someone fixes the fixer—permanently—and a spooky psychic predicts Katie will find the killer, the charming baker and her fellow conjurers step in to sift through the suspects…before someone else winds up on the cutting room floor….

A Toxic Trousseau by Juliet Blackwell - ExcerptGuest Blog by Amanda Flower and Review & Giveaway of Crime and PoetryGuest Blog by Delia James and Review and Giveaway of A Familiar TailReview and Giveaway: Death of A Bad Apple by Penny PikeReview and Giveaway: A Ghoul's Guide to Love and Murder by Victoria LaurieGuest Blog by Bailey Cates, author of the Magical Bakery Mysteries - July 4, 2015Review: Fatal Fortune by Victoria Laurie Guest Blog by Penny Pike and Review and Giveaway of Death of a Chocolate Cheater - June 5, 2015Guest Blog by Heather Blake and Review and Giveaway of Some Like It Witchy - May 7, 2015Review: The Readaholics and the Falcon Fiasco by Laura DiSilverio

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