I’m trying to get back into the habit of Monday excerpts.
Here’s an excerpt from Bad Candy, one of the new Halloween shorts in my upcoming Bewitch Me More collection – finally ready for this October! In this short, Dulcie is trying to make friends with the hunky new warlock on the block, but he’s having a little trouble controlling his magic. This is their first encounter. Enjoy!
HEATH FELT LIKE HE WAS going to come out of his skin. Quite literally. For the last few weeks, he’d felt it, the slow buildup of power that meant his warlock abilities were advancing again – something like a renewed puberty that hit warlocks of a certain breed every few decades give or take, which is why the centuries-old witches and warlocks were inevitably more powerful than the younger crew. It was more than just experience and knowledge, it was literal leveling up.
Heath had been leveling up in earnest for the last three days as his system tried to accommodate the surges of power. Most warlocks siphoned off the excess until it stabilized, safely expelling it into inanimate objects like lakes and trees. Sure, this caused some temporary mischief – trees that could uproot themselves and replant somewhere else, bodies of water that teemed with unseemly species for a few weeks. Usually, the magic wore off on its own, or in extreme cases, the witch or warlock responsible would simply return to deal with the matter when their powers stabilized. It was flashy, but completely normal.
Nothing about this advancement felt normal.
The surges of power were expected, but when Heath tried to expel the excess…nothing happened. And so the power was filling him up like an overfilled water balloon, escaping in odd little spurts that were beyond his control, but resisting his attempts to tap into it to safely dispel it from his system. Heath couldn’t control the changes in temperature, so the house alternated between jungle hot that made the new wallpaper peel, and icicles hanging off the banister. The surges of magic were unpredictable, and he’d spent the morning cleaning pulsing green pods off the kitchen walls that had magically appeared when he’d yawned over the coffee pot. Worst of all was the feeling of growing power under his skin, energy that he wasn’t sure he’d be able to contain. He worried about what might happen to him when it finally burst through. He worried about what might happen to the neighborhood.
Heath huddled under a blanket on the couch, shivering, and worried about the neighbors.
It had been an inauspicious start to his new life. He’d grown up alone, abandoned and raised in magical foster homes with a series of disinterested temporary parents, and had decided to work his way through an education in the arts instead of flitting around the realms like so many young warlocks. He’d finally started making some money off the paintings he’d created using both mortal and magical techniques – the first warlock to bridge the gap – and after all this time, was excited to finally have a gallery space in the mortal world and a home to call his own in a friendly human neighborhood. He craved connection and friendship – things he’d never really had. However, he’d barely moved in when he felt the first surges of power, and had been struggling to contain them ever since.
He might still be learning about humans, but he did know that first impressions were everything – best to wait to meet the new neighbors until there was less of a chance of accidentally transforming them into salamanders or something equally unsavory.
The knock on the door was an unfamiliar sound. Purple smoke and strange sparks shooting up at odd hours of the day or night was hardly the way to endear oneself to skittish suburban mortals who may not have had any experience with magic, and not one of the new neighbors had come by to introduce themselves yet. Right now, however, Heath wasn’t exactly in the right state to be dealing with visitors. The temperature shifted again, and Heath heard another knock as the weather in his living room went from sub-arctic to tropical. He peeled off his shirt, belatedly remembering that he should probably be clothed when answering the door. He shrugged it back on, but didn’t bother to button it – it was too fucking hot to care.
Another knock, and Heath nearly tripped over his discarded blankets trying to reach the door.
“I’m coming, already, for fuck’s sake. Keep your panties on,” he grumbled, yanking it open.
He immediately wished he could take the words back, for a couple of reasons. First, from the thundercloud of a scowl on her face, it was obvious that the woman had heard him, and second, no heterosexual male in his right mind would encourage this woman to keep her panties on. She was all delicious, rounded curves clad in a voluminous sweatshirt and jeans on a frame that barely came up to his shoulder. Her skin was gold and cream and spoke of a Hispanic heritage, but it was her lips that Heath focused on – lush and wide and designed for sex. Her chocolate eyes were dark with annoyance at the moment and the mass of glossy black spiral curls bounced, unconfined, as she folded her arms, body rigid. The move pushed her fabulous breasts up a notch under soft fleece. She was speaking, and Heath tried to focus.
“What was that?”
“I said, there’s no need to be rude.”
Her eyes practically sparked with irritation.
“This isn’t really the best time,” said Heath, as sweat plastered the open shirt to his back.
The gorgeous woman’s eyes widened, as though she’d just realized he wasn’t totally dressed, and Heath forgot about the power surging through his system for a moment as her gaze skimmed down for a fraction of a second. Heat of a different kind sizzled up his cock.
“This will just take a second. I’m Dulcie Valencia. My son Harry and I live down the block.”
“It’s nice to meet you, but seriously, another time – ”
He started to close the door, surprised when Dulcie slapped a hand against the wood to stop him.
No wedding ring, he thought to himself.
“I just need to talk to you about Halloween.”
Heath felt a surge of power wriggling to escape his grasp and dug deep.
“You know, the big holiday with the candy and the pumpkins?”
She was looking at him like he was an idiot. Which he was. Under other circumstances, Heath would have made an admittedly pathetic attempt to flirt – he wasn’t good at initiating contact with the opposite sex. Right now, however, he needed to get the distractingly lovely Dulcie off the porch so that he could go explode in private without burying her in a hail of golf balls, submerging her in tomato sauce, or whatever other form his power chose to present itself.
“This Halloween is really important to Harry, and I want to make sure he has a good time.
You don’t have to go overboard, but I’d really appreciate it if you could make a bit of an effort when he comes to your house to trick or treat.”
It was possible that the house would be a smoldering pile of rubble by Halloween.
“I’m not really doing Halloween this year,” said Heath, gripping the edge of a door, desperately trying to hold himself together.
Dulcie scowled, her lush mouth pursed.
“Do you have any idea how much this neighborhood loves Halloween? You’re going to disappoint a lot of kids.”
“Look, Ms. Valencia,” said Heath, resentful at being taken to task, “I’ve got more important things to worry about than a bunch of kids overloading on candy.”
And he wished it weren’t true. Halloween was special for warlocks, and Heath had dreamed of creating an incredible haunted house for the kids and maybe endearing himself to the neighbors. But, until he got a handle on his power, all of that was out, and he didn’t want to promise anything he couldn’t deliver, even if it meant disappointing the hot soccer mom who was currently looking at him like she’d stepped in something awful.
“That’s a terrible attitude,” she said, “And I thought the magical world loved Halloween.”
And now she was looking at him like he’d completely failed as a representative of his species.
Heath was getting annoyed and he really needed to close the door. The power was beating against his skull now, hungry to escape.
“Mostly, it’s just an excuse for us to get seriously drunk and slum with fuck-hungry humans,” he snapped.
He winced internally as he said it and Dulcie gasped, though it wasn’t terribly far from the truth – Halloween was a grand excuse to let off some steam and indulge. Of course, magical hooch and orgies weren’t for everyone. Heath knew he’d have to apologize at some point, but right now, he just needed her off his porch before he accidentally injured her.
“Boy, did you pick the wrong neighborhood,” said Dulcie in frigid tones, “Sorry I bothered you.”
With a last icy glare, she whirled around, hair bouncing, and flounced off the porch. Relieved, Heath closed the door, but not before catching a glimpse of Dulcie’s ass in motion.
Lord have mercy, he thought, and let go of the reins.
The feral magic blew from every pore into a shower of sparks that covered ever surface of the first floor in glittery, orange jingle bells shaped like Jack O’Lanterns.