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A brilliant action packed scary adventure.

Amazon reviewer

Welcome to White Haven, where Samhain can be deadly.

A Shifter family arrives in White Haven, one of them close to death. Avery offers them sanctuary, only to find their pursuers are close behind, intent on retribution. In an effort to help them, Avery and Alex are dragged into a fight they didn’t want but must see through.

As if that weren’t enough trouble, strange signs begin to appear at Old Haven Church. Avery realises that an unknown witch has wicked plans for Samhain, and is determined to breach the veils between worlds.

Available in paperback at all these stores. This lists all audio and ebook stores, too: https://books2read.com/all-hallows-magic

Also available in Audio, narrated by Diana Croft: $7.99 at my store, $10.99 at Kobo, Chirp, BingeBooks, Apple, NookAudio, Scribd, GooglePlay – more to come!

*Amazon links are Associate links #CommissionsEarned

Chapter One

Avery looked out of the window of Happenstance Books and sighed. Winter was on its way.

Rain lashed down and water poured along the gutters, carrying crumpled leaves and debris. The street was populated by only a few hardened individuals who scurried from shop to shop, looking windblown and miserable.

She watched a young man struggle down the road, his arms wrapped around him in an effort to keep his leather jacket sealed. He really wasn’t dressed for the weather. He had a beanie pulled low over his head, and she suspected it was soaked.

He paused in front of her shop and looked up at the sign, hesitated for the briefest of seconds, and then pushed the door open, making the door chimes ring. A swirl of damp air whooshed in before he shut it behind him and shook himself like a dog. He was of average height with a slim build, and his jeans hung off his hips. He pulled his woollen hat off and wiped the rain from his face, revealing light brown hair shorn close to his scalp. He looked up and caught Avery’s eye.

Avery smiled. “Welcome. You’ve picked a great day for shopping.”

He smiled weakly in response, but it was clear that his mind wasn’t on the weather. “I had no choice. I’m looking for someone.”

Avery frowned, sensing she already knew what was coming. She’d been feeling unsettled for days, and tried to put it down to the change in the seasons and the coming of Samhain in a couple of weeks. Unfortunately, that didn’t explain the unusual tarot readings she’d had recently. “Who are you looking for?”

He looked around nervously, noting a few customers tucked into the armchairs she had placed around the displays and in corners. The blues album playing in the background contributed to the mellow feel, and the shop smelt of old paper and incense. Nevertheless, his eyes were filled with fear.

Avery smiled again, gently. “Come and talk to me at the counter. No one will hear you.” She moved around behind the till, sat on a stool, and hoped the young man would feel less threatened with something between them.

He followed her, leaning on the counter and dropping his voice. “I’m new to White Haven. I arrived here recently with my family, drawn by the magic here. We’ve been trying to work out where it comes from—or rather, who,” he said, rushing on, “and you’re one of the people I’ve narrowed it down to.”

Up close, Avery could see his pallor under his stubble, and his fear was more obvious. Despite that, he looked her straight in the eye, as if daring her to disagree. She kept her voice low and even. “May I ask how you can detect magic?”

“I may have some ability,” he said, vaguely.

Avery hesitated, casting her awareness out. She could sense something unusual about him, but he didn’t feel like a witch. He was risking a lot, she could tell, and suddenly it seemed mean to be so circumspect. “Your abilities have served you well. How can I help?”

“My brother is ill. He needs a healer.”

“Why don’t you take him to a doctor?”

“They would ask too many questions.”

“I’m not a healer. Not a good one, anyway.” His face fell. “But I do know someone who is. Can you tell me more?”

“Not here. Later. Can you come to this address?” He reached into his pocket, pulled a piece of paper out, and slid it across the counter.

She glanced at it, recognising the street. It ran along the coast on the hillside. There was no way that just she and Briar were going there. She didn’t sense danger, but she didn’t know him or his family. “Okay. But there’ll be more than two of us, is that okay? We’re all trustworthy.”

He swallowed. “That’s fine. So are we.” With that he turned and left, a blast of cold air swirling behind him.

Avery went to the window and watched him run up the street, wondering where he was from, what magic he possessed, and where this visit would lead. It seemed the relative peace of the last few months wouldn’t last.

Since Lughnasadh, the night they had successfully fought off the Mermaids with the aid of the Nephilim, life in White Haven had calmed down. She and the other four witches—El, Briar, Alex, and Reuben—had been able to get on with their lives without fear of being attacked. Their magic, released from the binding spell, still hung above the town, but it had reduced in size. The unusual level of spirit activity had continued, which meant they were still casting banishing spells regularly, but the three paranormal investigators—Dylan, Ben, and Cassie—monitored most of that.

Avery was disturbed from her thoughts by movement in her peripheral vision, and she turned to see Sally, her friend and shop manager, coming back from lunch.

Sally frowned. “You look deep in thought.”

“I’ve just had a visitor.”

“Oh?” Sally raised her eyebrows.

“He’s scared and needs our help.”

Sally knew all about Avery and other witches’ powers. “You don’t know him, I presume?”

“No. He’s just arrived in White Haven. I need to phone Briar and Alex.”

“All good. Have your lunch and take your time. It’s not like we’re run off our feet.”

Avery nodded and headed to the room at the back of the shop where there was a small kitchen and stock room. From here there was a door that led to her flat above the shop, and she headed through it and up the stairs.

Her flat was in its usual, chaotic state. Books were scattered everywhere, the warm woollen blanket on the sofa was rumpled and half on the floor, and the room needed a good tidying. That would have to wait. It was cool, the central heating turned low, and she adjusted it slightly so it would be warmer for the evening. She pulled her phone from the back pocket of her jeans and called Briar while she put the kettle on and heated some soup.

Out of all of the witches, Briar was the most skilled at Earth magic and healing. She ran Charming Balms Apothecary and lived alone in a cottage off one of the many lanes in White Haven. Fortunately, Briar was free that evening, and after Avery arranged to collect her at six, she called Alex, hoping he wouldn’t be too busy at work.

Alex owned The Wayward Son, a pub close to the harbour, and he was Avery’s boyfriend, although she always felt really weird calling him that. It sounded like they were fourteen. But what else could she call him. Her lover? That sounded too French, and somehow seedy. Her partner? Sort of, but they didn’t live together. Anyway, whatever she called him, he was all hers and completely hot, and she was smitten. They’d got together in the summer, and things were still going strong.

“Hey kitten,” he said when he answered her call. “How are you?”

“Kitten! I like that. I’m good, what about you?”

“Busy. The pub is pretty full for the lunch rush. I’m not exactly sure where they’re coming from in this weather, but I can’t complain.”

“It’s quiet here,” she explained, leaning against the counter and stirring her soup. “But that’s okay. Look, I’ll get to the point. I’ve had a visitor, no one we know, but he knows we’re witches and needs our help. Are you free tonight?”

She could hear the concern in his voice and the background noise fade away as he moved rooms. “What do you mean? He knows about us?”

“Yes, but he wouldn’t explain. I sensed some kind of magic, but he’s not a witch. He said he needs a healer, so I’m picking up Briar at six. Can you come with us?”

“Yes, absolutely. And I’ll stay at yours tonight, if that’s okay?”

She grinned. “Of course. See you later.”

***

It was dark by the time the group pulled up outside the whitewashed house on Beachside Road. It was a double-fronted Victorian villa, used for holiday rentals. A portion of the front lawn had been turned into a drive, and an old Volvo hatchback took up most of the space.

“First impressions?” Briar asked from where she sat next to Avery on the front bench of her Bedford van. She was petite and pretty, and her long dark hair was pulled back into a loose ponytail.

“I can’t feel anything magical,” Avery said, feeling puzzled but also relieved.

“Me, neither,” Alex agreed. He sat on the end, next to the passenger window, looking at the house. Like Briar he was dark haired, but far from petite. He was tall and lean, with abs to die for, and his arms were covered in tattoos. He often wore his shoulder length hair down, but tonight it was pulled back into a top knot and his jaw was covered in stubble. “It worries me. Didn’t you even get a name?”

“Nope. He didn’t stick around long enough,” Avery answered. “But I didn’t get anything dodgy from him. He was just scared.”

“Come on,” Briar said, pushing Alex to move. “If someone’s hurt, we need to get on with it.”

The rain still lashed down, and they raced up the path and sheltered beneath the porch as Avery knocked on the door.

A young woman with long, purple hair opened the door and scowled. “Who are you?”

“Charming,” Alex said, amused. “We were invited.”

A voice yelled, “Piper! You bloody well know who it is. Let them in.”

Piper glared at them and then turned and stomped off, leaving the witches to let themselves in.

Briar smirked and shut the door behind them. “She seems fun.”

They stood in a large hallway with doors on both sides, and directly ahead stairs led to the upper level. Piper had already disappeared, but the man Avery met earlier bounded down the staircase, looking both relieved and harassed. “Thanks for coming. I wasn’t sure you would. Follow me.” He immediately turned to head back up the stairs.

Alex called him back. “Hold on, mate. Before we go any further, who are you, and what’s going on?”

He stood for a second, speechless, and then seemed to gather his wits. “Sorry. I’m not thinking straight. I’m Josh.” He shook their hands. “My brother is really ill, and I’m worried he might not survive. That’s what’s upsetting Piper, too. She has a weird way of showing it. Look, I get that you’re worried, but I’m not a threat. It’s easier if I just show you.”

It seemed that was all they would get from Josh, and he ran up the stairs. Alex glanced at Briar and Avery, and followed him. Avery could already feel their combined magic gathering, but she still didn’t sense any magic from elsewhere. She gave a last sweep of the hall and then followed the others up the stairs.

On the first floor, Avery detected a strange smell. She wrinkled her nose. It was odd, unpleasant, and cloying.

Josh led them into a room at the back of the house, and as soon as they stepped inside, the smell magnified and Avery tried not to heave.

They were in a large bedroom, and in the double bed in the centre of the room a man lay writhing in a disturbed sleep. A young woman sat next to him, watching with concern, and trying to hold his hand. She looked up when they entered, and a mixture of fear and relief washed over her.

What is going on here?

The man was covered in a sheen of sweat, and his hair stuck to his head. He was bare-chested, but most of his trunk and one of his arms was wrapped in soiled bandages, and it was from these wounds that the smell emanated.

Briar ran forward. “By the Great Goddess! What the hell’s happened to him? His wounds are infected!”

The young woman stood, moving out of the way. “Can you help him?”

Briar barely glanced at her. “I’ll try. You should have come to me sooner. What’s his name?” She placed her box of herbs, balms, and potions on the floor, and started to peel the man’s bandages away. He immediately cried out, his arms flailing, and Alex leapt forward to help restrain him.

Josh explained, “He’s Hunter, my older brother. This is my twin sister, Holly.”

Holly nodded briefly at them, and then went back to watching her brother helplessly. Avery could see the similarity between her and Josh. They both had light brown hair and hazel eyes, although Holly was shorter than her brother, and her hair fell in a wavy bob to her shoulders. The man writhing on the bed had dark, almost black hair, a light tan, and a muscular build.

Avery asked, “What happened to him?”

Josh met her eyes briefly and then watched Hunter again. “He was attacked several days ago. We’ve been on the road, and only got here recently. It has taken me a while to track you down.”

Avery watched Briar resort to using a sharp pair of scissors to cut the bandages away. Avery recoiled as the smell hit her, and then gasped at the size of the wounds. He had long, deep claw marks across his chest, back, and left arm, and they were inflamed and oozing pus. As Briar pulled the sheet away, they saw more bandages around his legs.

Alex looked up. “What the hell did this? And why didn’t you go to a doctor?”

“Because they would have involved the police,” Josh explained. “We can’t afford that to happen.”

As they watched Hunter twist and turn, Avery scented magic, and she looked around, alarmed. Briar and Alex must have too, because they paused momentarily.

“What’s causing that?” Avery asked sharply, raising her hands, ready to defend herself.

“What?” Josh asked, his eyes wide.

“Magic. We can sense it now.”

“Oh no,” he answered. “He’s changing again.”

“He’s what?”

But Avery could barely finish the question when Hunter shimmered in a strange way, as if his body was melting, and then his shape changed into a huge wolf, snarling and twisting on the bed.

“Holy crap!” Alex exclaimed, leaping backwards out of the way of his snapping jaws. “He’s a Shifter! Why the hell didn’t you warn us?”

“Because we hoped you wouldn’t have to know,” Holly said tearfully, running forward with Josh to try and calm her brother down. In a split second, she changed into a wolf too, leaving her clothes behind as she leapt onto the bed. She yelped, and her presence seemed to calm Hunter down. Within seconds, he lay back on the bed, panting heavily. His wounds looked even worse in this form if that was possible; his fur was matted and bloodstained.

Avery dropped her hands and sighed heavily. “You’re all Shifters?”

“’Fraid so,” Josh said with a weak smile.

“So, I guess he was attacked by another Shifter?”

“You could say that.”

Briar leaned back on her heels. “This will probably make things a bit trickier.”

“But can you still help?”

“Yes! I’m a good healer, but I have limited experience with Shifters.”

Like none, Avery thought, just like the rest of them.

Briar continued, “Does he change a lot at the moment?”

Josh nodded. “He doesn’t seem to be able to control it. His change won’t last long, but we think it’s getting in the way of his healing. His wounds keep opening, and we can’t get them clean.”

She nodded and thought for a second. “I need to give him a sedative. It will calm him down, which will hopefully prevent him from shifting.”

“You have a spell for that?” Josh asked.

Briar shrugged. “In theory. I’ll have to make it stronger than usual. I need your kitchen to make a slight change to one of the potions I have with me.”

“I presume you’re all witches, then?” Josh asked. “I mean, I thought that’s what I sensed, but I wasn’t sure.”

“Yes, we are,” Avery said. “But we’ll talk later. For now, let Briar work her magic.”