The prequel to the Pet Psychic Magical Mysteries. Learn how Officer Peter Flint solved his first magical murder and gained the trust of his partner.
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This prequel is set six years before the rest of the series. Peter Flint is a rookie and being held back by his experienced partner Dick Smite. He’s been relegated to doing everything except patrolling or anything else resembling actual police work.
Peter has been picking up coffee and donuts for the crew, for the last six months and never once has he gotten a thank you. He also makes a special stop to get cheese Danishes for Edna, the precinct’s secretary, she thanks him.
One of the things worrying Peter is six-month reviews, if a rookie doesn’t have an arrest he’s let go. All Peter ever wanted to do is be a police officer and help people like his good friend and mentor retired cop Jack Montperre. If something didn’t break for him soon, he’d be out.
Fortunately, his being the youngest both in age and appearance is going to be a good thing for him. Inspector Bon has a case for him, an undercover one at Blackwood Academy of the Magical Arts. It seems there is a cheating ring, and the headmistress is concerned that if she can’t end it, she’ll not only lose her position, but the school will lose its credibility.
Peter’s partner wasn’t happy about this at all, and Peter wasn’t thrilled either. His memories of high school aren’t exactly good ones. He really doesn’t have a choice here as he’s the only one that fits the bill.
His quarry are the popular, very wealthy students. Their grades have suddenly gone from failing to gold marks in everything. No one can figure out how they are doing it.
The first inkling we get is in the potions class where he meets Arthur a scholarship student. Arthur tells him to stay away from the very students he’s investigating. Breen, her boyfriend Zane, Caul and Leigh are in this class but for some reason Caul is missing today.
The class is disturbed when Breen, Zane and Leigh rush to the window and Breen screams at Caul who is racing across the square. Zane and Peter race to follow him but are unable to catch him before he jumps off the cliff.
Now it’s not only cheating it’s the strange death of one of the cheaters.
This is a favorite scene.
That night I gathered around the enormous bonfire in the woods with Blackwood Academy students, their families, and the faculty. I’d popped by my flat to grab my black mourning cloak, then returned to the school grounds and the thick forest that bordered the maze.
Hooded figures flitted among the tall trunks, the dark night aglow with the flames the mourners carried and with the bonfire that burned hot and orange in the center of the clearing to my right. As was tradition, everyone in attendance carried candles, lanterns, or lit the ends of their wands —a symbol of the memories the living still carried of the deceased.
Breen’s sobs cut through the reverential silence among the trees, the tall, broad-shouldered Zane at her side. On the other side of the big fire that stretched stories high, the headmistress led a funeral dirge, echoed by the group of black-clad witches and wizards gathered in the clearing.
“And though we feel empty,
Adrift and blind at night.
We know you are still with us,
Your soul, in us, alight—”
I set my jaw. Somewhere nearby, Caul’s parents mourned their son. I’d make sure that they saw justice done for him.
A movement to my left caught my attention. I whirled just as Arthur turned his long face away and crashed through the brush, away from the memorial. I licked my lips and glanced back toward the bonfire. Something about Arthur’s hasty retreat piqued my interest. I doubted he had anything to do with Caul’s death. Still… I couldn’t ignore my gut.
I turned and followed him, listening for the sound of his steps. A twig snapped. A bird took flight. I followed his trail until I could make out the hem of his black cloak fluttering behind him. I blew out my candle and waited a few moments for my eyes to adjust to the darkness, then followed the light of Arthur’s lantern until he came to a stop.
I paused behind a thorny bush and peered through the brambles. Arthur had entered a forgotten, run-down graveyard. Stone markers protruded from the mossy ground at odd angles, many covered in brambles or half crumbled.
The kid set his lantern on top of one, then opened his cloak and dug around inside. I reached for my wand and closed my fingers around the leather-bound hilt. Arthur withdrew a bottle of a glowing fuchsia liquid and used his thumb to uncork it. He raised it to eye level.
The hairs rose on the back of my neck. Whatever he was about to drink, I doubted it was legal. I strode forward from my hiding place, lifted my wand, and commanded, “Potion, fly to me.”
The bottle yanked out of Arthur’s hand before he could react and flew into mine.
The kid looked me up and down, eyes wide. “What the shell are you doing?”
I swallowed, then held up the bottle. “What’s in it?”
Arthur curled his lip and scowled. “None of your business! Give it back.” He bared his teeth. “Now!”
I shook my head and adjusted the grip on my wand. “What is it?”
Arthur glared at me, his voice a low growl. “It’s just a wakefulness potion, okay? I need it to cram for exams.”
I looked at the glowing liquid, then used my wand to magic the cork from the ground back into the bottle. Once I’d stoppered it, I tucked it into my pack. I slung the bag over my back and pulled my cloak back around me. “Trust me. You don’t want to get caught with that stuff. It’s illegal for minors to possess or use it.”
Arthur scoffed. “Okay, Dad!” He started toward me. “I want it back.” He drew his wand and leveled it at me. I licked my lips. Drawing a wand on a police officer was a serious offense, but the kid didn’t know I was one. He just thought another student was trying to tell him what was best for him.
I took a deep breath and held up my palms. “Trust me, Arthur. I’m helping you.”
The kid scowled at me. “Trust you? I don’t even know you!”
He had a point. I tried for an even, understanding tone. “Just relax, okay? Look, I get it, tensions are high right now. I’m upset, too. Caul’s death was… horrible.”
Arthur rolled his eyes. “Psh. I’m not upset that Caul’s dead. I’m upset they’re making him into some kind of hero.”
I blinked in surprise.
He threw an arm toward the bonfire, his cloak swishing around him, the hem partly unraveled. “Did you know that ‘Saint’ Caul got suspended last year for slapping the old music teacher? She quit because of him.”
“Wow.” I’d have to look into that. She might have a hefty motive for wanting the boy dead. I turned my focus back to Arthur. “Look, just lower your wand and walk away. It’s for your own good.”
Arthur’s lip twitched and he adjusted the grip on his wand. “I will. After you give me that potion.”
My breath caught. I didn’t want to hurt Arthur, but the kid was stubborn. Just how far would he go to get this potion back? His lips parted and he sucked in a quick breath, as if to cast a spell, when the sound of singing floated through the trees.
Erin Johnson. Saved by the Spell: A fresh, funny magic mystery prequel novella (Kindle Locations 680-719).
It’s kind of ironic that Peter gets caught with the illegal potion by a Carclaustra prison guard. Who with his dog Daisy sniffing out he’s lying takes him to the headmistress.
Now he has to prove what is slowly becoming more than just a suspicion about the potion.
I love the way this story comes together, with Peter solving everything in spite of the roadblocks thrown at him. The way Daisy comes to be his police dog had me smiling as well.
5 Contented Purrs for Erin!
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A native of Arizona, Erin loves her new home in the Pacific Northwest! She writes paranormal cozy novels– stories that are mysterious, magical, and will hopefully make you laugh.
When not writing, she’s hiking, napping with her dogs, and losing at trivia night.
Erin’s had a ton of different jobs, from blackjack dealer to PA on a horror movie to Pilates instructor but has finally embraced her true calling as a writer. Thanks so much for your interest and for supporting her!