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       The Secret Life of a Witch, p.1

         Part #1 of Mystic Willow Bay, Witches series by Jessica Sorensen
 
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The Secret Life of a Witch


  The Secret Life of a Witch

  Mystic Willow Bay Witches, #1

  Jessica Sorensen

  Contents

  Chapter 1

  Chapter 2

  Chapter 3

  Chapter 4

  Chapter 5

  Chapter 6

  Chapter 7

  Chapter 8

  Coming Soon

  About the Author

  Other books by Jessica Sorensen:

  The Secret Life of a Witch

  Jessica Sorensen

  All rights reserved.

  Copyright © 2016 by Jessica Sorensen

  This is a work of fiction. Any resemblance of characters to actual persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental. The author holds exclusive rights to this work. Unauthorized duplication is prohibited.

  No part of this book can be reproduced in any form or by electronic or mechanical means including information storage and retrieval systems, without the permission in writing from the author. The only exception is by a reviewer who may quote short excerpts in a review.

  Any trademarks, service marks, product names or names featured are assumed to be the property of their respective owners, and are used only for reference. There is no implied endorsement if we use one of these terms.

  For information: jessicasorensen.com

  Cover design by Mae I Design

  Created with Vellum

  Chapter One

  A bowl of cereal is balanced on the steel table in front of me, along with a copy of The Proper Way to do a Magic Lobotomy, my magic wand, and the Mystic Willow Bay Daily newspaper. The top headline: “Another body missing from morgue! Cops say decaying spell went awry, but town members concerned we have a rapid vampire problem!”

  I have exactly fifty minutes to read through the newspaper and a chapter of my textbook, finish my breakfast, and get dressed for the one morning class I have today. Like usual, I’m running way behind schedule and should’ve probably skipped having breakfast in the basement with my older sister, but I’m the only person she has to talk to at the moment.

  “Another dead body’s gone missing,” I mutter as I skim through the article. “I need to put some more charms up.”

  “Charms aren’t going to stop anyone from stealing me,” my sister says through a dreary sigh. “Or from a decaying spell.”

  “It’ll keep you better hidden, though.”

  No suspects have been arrested. No sign of suspicious foul play. I roll my eyes. Only in Mystic Willow Bay would missing bodies be considered nothing to be alarmed about.

  I wouldn’t normally concern myself with bodies poofing into thin air, but now that I have a dead body to worry about, I want to find the culprit. It won’t be the first time I went out searching to solve a mystery.

  Back in middle school, a lot of lockers were robbed, including mine. When I found out the person had not only stolen my new leather jacket and the Fog Inducing Ring from my grandma for my birthday, I went ballistic and set out on a mission to find the perpetrator. After spending over a week interrogating every single person I went to school with, I discovered that the lockers were robbed because of a hazing going on in the popular crowd. While I didn’t out any of the participants, I accidentally left a trail of clues on my blog that the principal found, which led to some suspensions and a few expulsions.

  Needless to say, my already sucky popularity status went down to an eating-by-the-dumpsters-at-lunchtime level. I thought my social life—and any hope of ever having friends—was over at that point. However, it turned out not to be as sucky of a year as I thought, because that was the year I met Hunter.

  Le sigh. Hunter. Hunter. Hunter. The only guy who’s ever unknowingly broke my heart over and over again.

  “If you don’t put the newspaper away, you’re going to end up not having time to do your homework,” my sister’s tired voice yanks me out of memory lane.

  “Yeah, you’re probably right.” I try to shove thoughts aside of body thieves, memories of living in Loserville, and hopeless, will-never-progress-to-anything-more-than-a-friendship crushes, and concentrate on reading through yesterday’s assigned reading. But books about magical lobotomy aren’t the most entertaining, and I quickly find myself looking more at the photos and less at the scientific words filling up the pages.

  “Some of the photos in here are super disgusting.” I crinkle my nose at a photo of a guy getting his head cut open. “I seriously think my professor might be twisted in the mind for making us look at these.” I slant closer to get a better look at the picture while shoveling a spoonful of cereal into my mouth. Milk dribbles onto my sister’s leg, and I quickly wipe it up, hoping she doesn’t notice. “Ew, I can see his brain.”

  “I don’t know what’s worse,” she murmurs. “The fact that you’re eating while looking at that book, or that you’re looking at that book while I’m stuck lying on this damn table.”

  I pat her cold, bluish foot. “Relax, big sis. I won’t make you look at the photos.”

  “That’s not why I’m worried.” Her purplish-blue lips move like a marionette puppet. “I’m worried you’ll turn me into your test dummy.”

  I recline in my chair with my fingers pressed to my mouth in mock offense. “I’d never do that to you.” I lower my hand and turn the page, smiling to myself. “Not while you are still coherent, anyway.”

  “Wow, Evalee. I’m glad you find amusement in my pain.” Her voice cracks, making me feel like the biggest asshole ever.

  While she’s been a bit temperamental lately, she does have a reason to be, considering her circumstances.

  “Ry, I’m so sorry.” I stand up and lean over the table to meet her gaze. “I was just trying to lighten the mood.” I gesture around the damp, murky basement, lined with a few shelves, boxes, and a washer and dryer that look straight out of the eighties. “This place is so depressing. I hate that you’re down here twenty-four seven.”

  “God, so do I.” Her open eyes focus on the florescent light above the table, making her look like a possessed doll.

  Even dead, she still resembles the gorgeous older sister I grew up idolizing. The only difference now is her long, blonde hair is lily white; her big, blue eyes are a tiny bit bloodshot; and her golden tanned skin is pale. Still, she could definitely pull off the whole hot zombie look. That is, if I can figure out how to complete the spell to bring her back to life. Until I do, she’s stuck on this table every day of every hour, waiting for me to visit, since I’m the only person who was graced with the lovely gift of being able to talk to the dead. Insert sarcasm on the lovely part.

  Don’t get me wrong. I’m grateful to be able to talk to my sister, even after she died, yet my gift definitely has down sides. Like every time I go to a funeral and have to pretend the deceased body in the coffin isn’t begging me to save them from being buried alive.

  I used to try to carry out their wishes, and even attempted to help my grandpa flee. Let’s just say mourning families don’t take too well to some stranger passing along a pleading, “save me” message from their dead loved ones. And my parents weren’t very thrilled about me trying to drag my grandpa out of his coffin. Afterward, they took me to a bunch of specialists to try to find out what was wrong with me.

  Each specialist had their own theories and treatments; some of which included cutting open my head. Fortunately, my parents weren’t total nutjobs and told them no freaking way. I stopped seeing specialists after that and was allowed to live a normal life. Well, normal except for the rare occasion when I’m near a dead body. I also get the occasional warning to be on my best behavior whenever I attend a funeral.

  “The lights are so dim down here,” my sister gripes, yanking me out of my thou
ghts.

  I rest my elbows beside her head. “I’m sorry. If I could keep you someplace else, I would. But this is the only place that’s both safe and has the right temperature to …” I press my lips together, worried finishing that sentence will only upset her more.

  “Keep my rotting stench under control.” She heaves a heavy sigh, her bloodshot eyes drifting in my direction. “Look, I’m sorry I’m getting upset. I don’t know why I’m being so moody. I was never this bitchy and whiney when I was alive.”

  “No, you weren’t.” I place my hand over her clammy one and offer a smile. “But that’s okay. Death is a legit reason to be a little bitchy.”

  “Maybe. That doesn’t mean I need to be bitchy to you. Not when you’re trying to bring me back to life.” Hope sparkles in her lifeless eyes.

  I force a smile, but my stomach knots with nerves. While I have been trying to bring my sister back to life, I’m far from completing the spell. A spell that’s extremely complicated for a powerful witch, let alone someone like me who’s been cursed since birth with weak, uncontrollable powers.

  Yep, on top of being the only witch and paranormal creature in all of Mystic Willow Bay—that I know of—who can chat it up with dead bodies, I’m also known as the town’s magic klutz because of my sucky skills at casting spells, brewing potions, and dancing naked under the full moon.

  Just kidding on the last part. I don’t really dance under the full moon naked. Well, unless I’ve had a few too many drinks and decide to play a game of truth or dare.

  “What’s with the frown?” My sister’s fingers twitch beneath mine, a sign she’s probably trying to put her hand over mine to comfort me. Unfortunately, no matter how hard she tries, she won’t be able to move anything except her eyes and mouth, and only I can witness that. To everyone else, she looks exactly as she is—a dead body lying on a cold steel table with my half-eaten breakfast and a book about removing parts of the human brain.

  “I was just thinking about some of the ingredients I need for the spell,” I lie, turning back to my book to avoid eye contact. “There’s some really weird stuff required.”

  “Like what?” she asks. When I don’t respond, mostly because I don’t want to worry her, she adds, “If you tell me, maybe I can help you.”

  She may be right. After all, my sister was what a lot of townspeople considered a witch genius.

  “I need a bottle of moonlight, which I have no clue how to get since no supply store has it.” I pace the table, counting down on my fingers. “A demon scale, which I have no clue how I’m going to get that one. A mermaid’s scale, and every mermaid I’ve asked so far has told me no in a very not-so-nice way. Seriously, mermaids have dirty, potty, pee mouths.”

  She chuckles, life fleetingly sparkling in her eyes. “Dirty, potty, pee mouths? What are you, like, seven years old?”

  “No, but it got you to laugh.” Smiling, I stop beside her head. “I haven’t heard you laugh since I brought you down here.”

  “Yeah, I know. Sorry, I’ve been having a pity party. It’s been a long three weeks.”

  “I’ve been told that while you’re dead time moves a lot slower.” I bite on my thumbnail, debating whether or not to ask the question that’s been tickling at the tip of my tongue all morning. “I know you told me a few days ago that you haven’t, but I wanted to check and see if, by chance, you remembered how you died … Mom called me this morning and told me that the police declared your death accidental—that you accidentally cast the spell on yourself.”

  Her gaze returns to the ceiling, the spark of life in her eyes extinguishing. “I’m sure if they declared it, then that’s what happened. The police aren’t morons.”

  “That’s a matter of opinion.” And not my opinion, or anyone else who pays attention to the abundance of accidental deaths that have happened in Mystic Willow Bay over the last seven to eight months.

  Sure, we’ve always had a higher death rate than any human town, but that death rate has frequently spiked way, way up lately. And many of the deaths have been super strange, like my sister who was found petrified to death beside her car. There are only two known ways that a person can die of petrification. One being from a spell, and the other from ingesting bark from the ancient aurora tree growing in the center of Mystic Willow Bay Forest.

  At first, the police thought perhaps someone snuck up on my sister and attacked her with the spell. After looking into the details of her death, though, they decided she unintentionally disarmed her wand and blasted herself with the spell. I’m not buying into that theory, and anyone who knew Ryleigh would agree with me.

  “You’re way too smart and talented to accidentally blast yourself with a spell,” I tell her. “That sounds more like something I’d do.”

  Her gaze darts to me. “How many times have I told you to stop being so hard on yourself?”

  “I’m not being hard on myself. I just know what I am and don’t like pretending I’m anything different.”

  “You’re not what you think you are. You just have a warped self-perception because of all those years of specialists and kids lying to you, telling you how weird you are. They don’t get that you are just a little different, and there’s nothing wrong with that.”

  “Just a little different?” I question, motioning at the basement. “I’m standing in a basement, eating cereal and staring at photos of people with their heads cut open while talking to my dead sister’s body. I am a total weirdo.”

  The edges of her lips droop. “No, you’re not. And I know a ton of people who’d agree with me.”

  “You little liar.” I flash her a teasing smile. “But that’s okay. I love you for lying and trying to cheer me up.”

  “I’m not lying,” she insists. “You’re not a weirdo.”

  “Yes, I am. And I already accepted that a long time ago.” I lean over, resting my arms on the edge of the table. “I am who I am, and that will never change. Honestly, I kind of don’t want to. At least with some things.”

  “I don’t want you to change. I just want you to realize how amazing you are.” Her gaze strays toward her feet and the corners of her lips tug into a ghost smile. “And here’s someone who will back me up.”

  I whirl around while reaching for my wand, worried one of my roommates got past my illusion spell and found the basement. But my fear goes poof at the sight of the lean, tall, and ridiculously sexy wizard standing in front of me, who knows about my weird little gift and me digging up my sister’s dead body from the grave.

  I move my fingers away from my wand. “Oh, it’s just you.”

  Hunter—aka one of my best friends in the entire world, who I’m secretly in love with—presses his hand to his chest, pretending to feign hurt. “Just me? You wound my heart deeply, Evalee.”

  “Easy, wannabe Shakespeare. I reached my cheesiness tolerance with you last night.” I sneak a glance at my reflection on the steel table. My long, light brown hair is a tangled mess, bags reside under my iridescent eyes, and my skin looks paler than a ghost. I look like a hot mess.

  He taps his finger to his lips, his blue eyes sparkling with amusement. “Why? What happened last night?”

  I turn my back to him, mostly to hide any hurt that might be rising in my expression. “Like you don’t know.”

  He moves up behind me, his arm brushing against my hip as he rests his hand on the table beside me. “I said a lot of cheesy things last night, so please enlighten me on which one you’re talking about.”

  “All of them.” I make eye contact with my sister, and I swear the redness in her eyes has faded into a sea of pity. “You’re seriously the biggest flirt I’ve ever met.”

  “Hey, I thought you liked that about me?” His tone carries a hint of playfulness. “If you want me to stop, you can always say so.”

  My sister gives me a pressing look, silently begging me to do it.

  Ha, yeah right. The last thing my popular, adored by everyone, magically skilled, too gorgeous and charming for hi
s own good friend wants to hear is that his spacey, uncoordinated, average looking, hangs out with dead bodies in the basement friend has secretly been in love with him since she was fourteen. Yep, I bet he’d be doing cartwheels and shaking pompoms right after he ran away screaming.

  “If you want to flirt, then go ahead.” My eyelids involuntarily shut as his breath dusts across my neck.

  For a lunatic of a moment, I get lost in the scent of his cologne, the feel of his chest brushing against my back, and the daydreaming images of me backing him into the wall and crashing my lips against his. Then I open my eyes to see my dead sister watching me curiously, and reality douses over me, reminding me of who I am—a person Hunter sees as a friend.

  Clearing my throat, I step forward to put some distance between us, and then turn around to face him. “Just don’t come complaining to me about all the girls stalking you. It’s your own damn fault for leading them on.”

  His lips part in shock. “How the hell do I lead them on?”

  Jeez. Guys can be so dense sometimes.

  “By flirting with them and telling them they’re pretty.”

  He aims a finger at me, seeming a little irritated, which is strange for Hunter since he’s usually all jokes and smiles. “Hey, I don’t tell them they’re pretty.”

  “You so do.”

  “Do not.” His lips expand into a charming grin as he sweeps his chin length blond hair out of his eyes. “In fact, you’re the only girl I’ve ever told is pretty.”

  I lightly pinch his chest, causing him to chuckle. “Don’t try to charm your way out of this.”

  “I’m not trying to charm my way out of anything. I’m giving you a compliment,” he insists, stealing a bit of my cereal. Then his face bunches in disgust. “That’s super soggy.”

  I try to breeze over his compliment and not let my stomach turn into a bundle of crazy butterflies. As much as I’d love to get all girlie, girlie, ah, that’s so sweet, let me swoon now, I’ve known Hunter since middle school, and he’s been a natural flirt pretty much since freshman year when he went from a gangly, bean pole to a lean, too-hot-for-his-own-good hottie.

 
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