Witches Wild (Bewitching Bedlam Book 4)Yasmine Galenorn
-A Bewitching Bedlam Novel-
A Nightqueen Enterprises LLC Publication
Published by Yasmine Galenorn
PO Box 2037, Kirkland WA 98083-2037
A Bewitching Bedlam Novel
Copyright © 2017 by Yasmine Galenorn
First Electronic Printing: 2017 Nightqueen Enterprises LLC
First Print Edition: 2017 Nightqueen Enterprises, LLC
Cover Art & Design: Earthly Charms
Editor: Elizabeth Flynn
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED No part of this book may be reproduced or distributed in any format, be it print or electronic or audio, without permission. Please prevent piracy by purchasing only authorized versions of this book.
This is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, businesses, or places is entirely coincidental and not to be construed as representative or an endorsement of any living/ existing group, person, place, or business.
A Nightqueen Enterprises LLC Publication
Published in the United States of America
Table of Contents
Table of Contents
Welcome to Witches Wild
Thanks to my beloved husband, Samwise, who is more supportive than any husband out there. (Hey, I’m biased!). He believes in me, even at times when I’m having trouble believing in myself. Thank you to my wonderful assistants—Andria Holley and Jennifer Arnold. And to my friends—namely Carol, Jo, Vicki, Shawntelle, and Mandy. Also, to the whole UF Group gang I’m in. They’ve held my hand more than once this past year as I’ve made the jump from traditional to indie publishing. It’s been a scary, exciting, fast-track ride and I’m loving it.
Love and scritches to my four furbles—Caly, Brighid (the cat, not the goddess), Morgana, and li’l boy Apple, who make every day a delight. And reverence, honor, and love to my spiritual guardians—Mielikki, Tapio, Ukko, Rauni, and Brighid (the goddess, not the cat).
And to you, readers, for taking Maddy and Aegis and Bubba into your heart. Be cautious when you rub a kitty’s belly—you never know when you might end up petting a cjinn! I hope you enjoy this book. If you want to know more about me and my work, check out my bibliography in the back of the book, be sure to sign up for my newsletter, and you can find me on the web at Galenorn.com.
~The Painted Panther~
Welcome to Witches Wild
Can you ever really trust ghosts from your past?
As the mist rolls off the ocean and into Bedlam, October brings with it all manner of haunts and spooks. But the mist doesn’t arrive alone. Fata Morgana returns from the depths of the ocean, bringing with her a message: One of the ancient vampires has risen. He’s coming for Maddy, and he’ll eliminate anybody who stands in his way. Now, the witches wild must band together one more time, if they can keep from destroying each other first.
THE CLUB WAS alive, filled to capacity with a bizarre mix of goth kids and pagan metal heads. Aegis’s band attracted an oddly diverse audience, from the hampires—humans who desperately wanted to join the fangster set—to the audiophiles who loved the mix of Celtic folk and darkwave metal. They came together in a startling meetup, dancing and drinking from the first song to the last encore. It didn’t hurt that Aegis’s voice was heady, deep and rich and reminiscent of a certain “Lizard King’s” voice. Or that he was more than easy on the eyes.
Up on stage in his black leather pants and jacket, his open-to-the-navel silk shirt, and shit-stomper boots, Aegis was the living embodiment of sex on legs. His jet black hair hung down his back in smooth waves and his natural glamour gave him a dangerous, intoxicating allure.
I was sitting at a table to the left side of the stage, nursing a drink, watching as the Boys of Bedlam rocked the house.
The Vulture Underground was a new club in Seattle. With a capacity of five hundred people, it was one of the largest clubs around. The guys had managed to pack it, making the manager happy. Word about their music was starting to spread, and they were getting more and more calls from events wanting to book them for gigs.
Ferris Parks, their rep from DreamGen Productions, was sitting beside me, watching them with a critical eye. She jotted down notes as they played. Part of me wanted to sneak a peek over her shoulder to see what she was writing. It was bound to be something nasty. I didn’t like Ferris, and she didn’t like me, but we did our best to coexist because I sure as hell wasn’t going away, and unfortunately, neither was she.
A woman ran up toward the stage. Before security could catch her, she had scrambled onto the raised dais and was yanking off her underwear. The bouncers managed to catch her but not before she had tossed her panties in Aegis’s face. I let out a groan and rubbed my head.
Lovely. Just lovely.
Aegis swatted them away, managing to finish the song without a glitch. Then, grabbing the mic, he raised his hand for attention. “We’re grateful how many of you came out to cheer us on tonight. Thank you, Seattle, for an awesome reception! Remember, rock on! You can find the Boys of Bedlam merchandise tables out in the hallway. Good night!”
Amid cheers and whistles, and cries for another encore, the guys exited the stage as security escorted the panty-less woman through the exit.
Ferris glanced at me. “That was a good set. I have a page of notes for the guys, but overall, not bad.”
I stared at her. “Not bad? I thought they were brilliant. They set the room on fire. Couldn’t you feel the energy of the audience? They were begging for more.”
Ferris arched her petite, exquisitely groomed brows. “I wouldn’t expect you to see the imperfections. It’s a professional thing. Just nuances, places where they could have made the audience cream themselves had they taken advantage of it.”
I gave her a long look. The heat they had set off in the club hadn’t touched her at all. She was still dewy fresh and polished. Then again, Ferris never looked ruffled. That was only one of a number of things that bothered me about her. She could have passed for one of the Winter Fae, she played the ice queen so well.
“True enough. Focusing on minor imperfections seems to be your job, doesn’t it?” Without skipping a beat, I was out of my chair and headed backstage.
THE CLUB WAS more than just a hole in the wall. The Vulture Underground actually had a dressing room, as well as a green room. Aegis had already changed into dark jeans and a V-neck sweater. The other band members were in the middle of shedding their stage clothes as well, but I didn’t blink an eye. Nakedness wasn’t an issue, at least not for me.
“Great job, guys. You brought the house down.” I slid into Aegis’s outstretched arm, nestling against him. His body was cool, even though he had been playing nonstop for two hours under stage lights. He never sweated. Vampires were always crispy c
ool, like cucumbers.
I had gotten used to it, though now and then I missed snuggling with somebody who generated actual body heat. But I produced enough for the both of us, given my proclivity with fire. If I got too cold, I just raised the temperature of the air around me by a couple of degrees. I couldn’t hold it for too long, but it was enough to keep me from freezing. If I happened to get lost in the snowy woods for days without the fuel to start a fire, I’d slip into hypothermia, but otherwise, I could take the edge off the chill enough to make myself comfortable.
“You think so?”Aegis gave me a quick kiss.
“I know so, regardless of what her majesty’s going to tell you.”
He sighed. My ongoing feud with Ferris both annoyed him and yet seemed to comfort him, most likely because I always took the band’s side against her.
“She had some issues with the gig?”
“Apparently, you didn’t make the audience cream themselves enough.” I zipped my lip as she walked through the door.
Ferris’s gaze bounced briefly onto Aegis, then flickered over Keth and Jorge, but lingered on Sid. I squinted, staring at her for a moment. There was a subtle shift in energy as she watched the bass player. That cold exterior slipped ever so slightly, to one of a tiger waiting to pounce. Could Miss Prissy Pants have a thing for Sid? If so, bad news, since he was married with five kids and Sylvia, a wife who adored him.
Aegis seemed to sense the shift too. He frowned and gave me an ever so subtle nudge, pressing against my side with his fingers. I gave him a curt nod. We had worked out our own form of silent communication, and it seemed to be growing stronger every day.
“I have some notes for you.” Ferris glanced at me, as though she expected me to interrupt.
Ignoring her, I yawned and wandered over to Aegis’s stage wear, folding the leather pants and tucking them into the duffle bag, along with the slinky shirt.
“Aegis, you’re stroking the audience but damn it, man, when a woman throws you her panties, acknowledge the offering. As long as they don’t belong to a blimp, or aren’t grandma panties, whirl them around your head or take a sniff. Just do something to show you appreciate the gift from her pussy.”
I froze. For one thing, none of the band members ever looked at their audience as meat. For another, her crudity made me wince.
Aegis cleared his throat. “The only underpants I’ll ever be likely to smell belong to Maddy. I’m not in the habit of flirting with my fans.”
“It’s all about flirting with your fans, and you’d better get used to it,” Ferris said, her mouth folding into a frown. “At least acknowledge the gift.” She turned to Jorge, the weretiger in the group. “You ever thought of shifting into your tiger shape on stage?”
He stared at her like she was crazy. “For one thing, I’d have to strip and I’m not showing my bits to the audience. For another… Just no. No, no.”
“You don’t have to get snotty. A simple, ‘No, Ferris, but thank you for the suggestion’ would do. I thought it might be fun. You could shift and go around the room, let people pet you—” She stopped as he let out a low growl. “All right, it seems my suggestions aren’t going over well tonight. Keth, you’re next. The horns—will they ever grow out? You ever thought of getting them extended?”
Keth was half-satyr. Satyrs were always male. When a satyr mated with a human, their sons were half-satyr, their daughters, full human. When satyrs mated with wood nymphs, their sons were full satyr and the daughters were full wood nymph. Keth’s mother had been human. As a result, the residual horns on his head would never grow longer. He was heavily tattooed with a Mohawk and had a trippy, freakster vibe to him. All the men in the band were gorgeous, though.
Keth finished pulling on his sweater. “Woman, you have a lot of balls asking that. Are your boobs ever going to grow? Have you thought of having implants?” Sweeping up his pea coat, he glanced at Aegis. “I’m going to warm up the bus. Come on, Jorge. Help me? The guys should have broken down our equipment and loaded it by now.”
The Boys of Bedlam had bought a used school bus, and they were now using it to haul the equipment to their gigs. They had found an artist who had done a film noir-ish painting of the band on the side.
Ferris let out an exasperated sigh. “Don’t get your balls tied in a knot. DreamGen is doing its best to get behind you. We just need you to cooperate. You’re a great band, and we wouldn’t be backing you if we didn’t believe in you. But you have to meet us halfway. If you ever hope to be on the cover of Rolling Stone, you have to get with the program.” She shook her head. “Go ahead. Hey, Sid? Can you stick around for a moment? I want to talk to you. I have some detailed notes for you. The rest of you can leave.”
Sid looked uncomfortable. “All right, but we should hit the road soon or we won’t be home till dawn. Aegis has to get home.”
“You’ll make it in time.” She hustled the rest of us out of the green room.
I conveniently left my purse on the chair next to me as I exited the room. Jorge and Keth had already headed for the bus. I pulled Aegis off to one side, watching until they left.
“What the hell is going on with her and Sid?” I was friends with Sylvia. They had five kids and with the exception of a few glitches along the way, they were happy, in love, and all about their family.
“I don’t know,” Aegis said, glancing back at the door. “Sid hasn’t said much, but he wasn’t very enthusiastic about the gig tonight. That much, I do know. I wish I had an excuse to go back in there.”
“I don’t need one.” I strode over to the door before Aegis could stop me. As I opened it, I said loudly, “Forgot my purse.”
Sid was leaning back on the sofa, with Ferris looming over him. She had one knee on the cushion to his left, and looked about ready to straddle his lap. Her clipboard was on the table, and she had taken her hair down from the chignon she wore it in. He was holding up his hand as though he were trying to ward her off.
“I can’t—” Sid was in the middle of saying.
“Looks like I crashed an impromptu party,” I said. “I forgot my purse. Sid, we’re waiting in the bus, if you’re done here.”
He flashed me an incredibly grateful look. I was surprised. It wasn’t at all the look of someone angry I had interrupted. Sid shifted around Ferris so that he could stand up. Ferris, on the other hand, looked like she wanted to kill me.
“Here’s your purse, Maddy.” Sid grabbed my bag off the chair. “I’m ready. I’ll walk you out.” He glanced back at Ferris and his voice dropped into a mumble. “Thanks for the…notes.”
As I hustled him out the door, I whispered, “What the hell is going on?”
“Wait till we’re on the bus,” he whispered back. “But thank gods you came in when you did.”
Aegis was staring at the two of us, a perplexed look on his face. But he turned and followed us as we made a beeline for the bus. Jorge was driving—he was good with big vehicles—and we buckled ourselves into the cushioned seats the boys had retrofitted the bus with. Without another word, we pulled onto the street and Jorge pointed the bus north as we headed home to Bedlam.
I WAITED UNTIL we were underway, then swiveled around to look at Sid. “You have something you want to tell the band?”
“What’s going on?” Aegis asked.
“I think Jorge better find a parking lot because this is something you all need to address. Isn’t it, Sid?” I knew what was going on.
He blushed, but nodded. “Maddy’s right. Jorge, find us a place to park, please.”
Five minutes later, we turned into the parking lot of a Target store and parked near the end of a row. Nobody was out at this time in the morning, save for the homeless, the night owls, and whatever vampires might be roaming the streets. October in Seattle was blustery enough, but we were into a strong La Niña season, and the weather had shifted to extremely cold and wet. The sky was dark, not a star to be seen, and the clouds hanging thick and heavy, re
ady to burst at any moment.
I glanced out the window at the street running past the store. I didn’t miss living here. In fact, while Seattle was one of the best big cities I had lived in, I was far happier living in Bedlam. Too much congestion, too much traffic, too many sirens blaring along the dark, concrete streets.
“All right. Tell us what’s going on,” Aegis said.
Jorge joined us, but only after making certain the bus doors were locked. “Yeah, I want to get home before it’s morning and I know Aegis wants the same. So what’s up?”
The guys were all good friends, but after a gig, they were all a little wound up and snippy. But beneath all the snark and jostling around, they had forged a bond that was all but unbreakable. I just hoped Sid’s news wouldn’t shake it.
Sid blushed, staring at the floor. Finally, I decided to take the reins.
“I found Sid on the sofa. Ferris was coming onto him so hard I thought she was going to rip his clothes off. Sexual harassment, plain and simple. Isn’t that right, Sid?”
He blinked, then nodded, looking miserable. “I’ve tried to ignore it but she’s been getting more and more blatant. Tonight, well, that’s the farthest she’s gone. I don’t know what would have happened if you hadn’t come back for your purse, Maddy.”
“What would have happened is you would have told her to go fuck herself with a dildo if she’s so hard up.” I was angry. Sex was a wonderful thing, but not when it was coerced.
“Is this true?” Aegis asked Sid, the bewilderment on his face turning to understanding.
Sid nodded, still looking miserable. “Yeah, Ferris has been trying to…seduce isn’t even the right word. She’s been pushing me to fuck her for weeks now. Ever since we signed with DreamGen. I was hoping that she was a temporary rep and that they’d replace her, but when she told us last week that she’d be traveling with us on tour, I knew things were going to get ugly. She knows I love Sylvia, but she just keeps badgering me.”