Charmed Nights – The Witches of Hollow Cove Book 3 by Kim Richardson

Charmed Nights
The Witches of Hollow Cove Book 3
USA Today Bestselling Author
Kim Richardson


They took my Merlin license away.

To get it back, I must complete the witch trials. Okay, so I have to pass a few magical trials. No big deal. Right? Wrong.

The trials are treacherous, ominous, and deadly. I’m not prepared for such brutal, magical tests, but I can’t stop. Stopping means failure, and too many people are counting on me.

But then the worst happens. While I’m trying to focus on the trials, the local baker in Hollow Cove is poisoned and killed. And someone I care about is blamed.

As the clues start to fit together, I realize I have to wade through a pack of lies to find the truth—and to find the real killer.

But first, I’ll need to survive the witch trials.

Although these books can be read as standalones, you will really get more out of them by reading in order.

At the end of the last book, Tessa’s Merlin license has been revoked and she’s been ordered to take the trials. As this book opens, Tessa is nervous and hopes she really is ready for what’s to come. After all it’s been years since her aunts have done the trials.

When she arrives via the ley lines, she still has to walk a bit. She follows the buses arriving and hangs back for a bit. It appears it’s more of an introduction first. With Greta whom she met at the Night Festival, presiding. All was going well except for Tessa muttering under her breath which Greta unfortunately hears. Now everyone in that auditorium is her enemy and rooting for her to fail.

She’s barely made it back when Iris texts her there’s been a death and to meet everyone at the bakery. The Merlins would be in charge since Marcus has been gone for two months now. He had to leave town on the day he and Tessa were supposed have their first date. The unsettling thing is she hasn’t heard from him either.

Once they all arrive they find Bernard Thompson the baker dead on the floor, from just looking he appears to have died from natural causes. However, Ruth spies a vial that had contained a potion she made for him and now she’s convinced she did something wrong and killed him.

To top it off, the Hollow Cove Security Agency has sent a new Chief. Apparently, they couldn’t leave Marcus’ position open any longer. Tessa really doesn’t like the new chief and she’s only had a brief encounter with the woman.

Unfortunately, Ruth has confessed and to Tessa’s dismay has cuffed her with partial blocking cuffs. This allows Ruth to go about her daily business but not use any magic. Her court date is set for December 7, and in the meantime, Tessa still has to do the trials.

While Tessa knew she had a lot to overcome with the trials she never expected to be sabotaged right from the beginning. Apparently, everyone got an email changing the time of the written part to 7AM, except her. It’s nowhere in her email and it didn’t matter because there are no makeups for these tests. Worse still the second part of the test she had to fight herself. That was interesting until it was a low blow and the fake Tessa became her Aunt Ruth. Needless to say the Merlin Marina won that round by failing Tessa.

Returning home, Ronin and Iris are waiting to celebrate her victory, instead Tessa’s determined to find Marcus so he can make things right. When she finds him it’s really pretty funny that she interrupts Marcus’ cousin thinking it was him.

This is a favorite scene.

I stood there on the landing, not remembering why I was here or why I should be angry with him.

A new smile hovered about Marcus as he watched me. I was going to clobber him. Only, I started to shiver, so much so, that my lips were beginning to harden like frozen sausages as my teeth clattered. Guess my rush of adrenaline was over, now that I knew it wasn’t Marcus with Rodeo Barbie.

“You’re freezing.” Marcus reached out and touched my right cheek with his hand. It was warm, and I didn’t pull away.

“Mmmm, hmmm.” The soft touch of his hand on my skin sent my blood humming. I didn’t move.

Marcus moved his hand from my cheek and rubbed my arms with both hands. “Come. Let’s get you warmed up. Carol makes an amazing vegan chili.”

I didn’t come here to swoon over Marcus and some chili, but I was about to go all Frosty the Snow Witch if I didn’t get into a warm place in the next few seconds. A few minutes in a warm place with a hot meal wouldn’t do any harm. Besides, I couldn’t feel my lips anymore.

I let Marcus lead me down the stairs and towards that bigger log cabin. Once inside, I was hit by a rush of heat, like I’d just stepped into a sauna. The air was thick with the scent of chicken soup, chili, and burning wood. A large stone fireplace rose at the end of the room, a blazing fire roaring in it. A rocking chair, with a figure sitting in it, squeaked as it moved.

The place wasn’t a huge space, but it was dressed like a restaurant or pub. A dozen small round tables with chairs were placed around the room. Two men sat at the closest table to us, and a woman and a man sat at the table near a window. They all looked up when we entered, their faces hard as they looked me over. But their gazes turned away as soon as they saw Marcus with me. What was that about?

I was still shivering, so Marcus put his hand on my lower back and steered me gently with him over to a bar-like counter made of polished wood.

He pulled a stool out for me. “Here. Sit. I’ll get you something to eat.”

I did what I was told, too cold to do anything else, and watched as Marcus moved down the bar and addressed an older lady whose wrinkled face stretched into a large grin at the sight of him.

Her hair was long and white, pulled back into a long braid, and she wore an apron over her plaid shirt. Her skin was tanned leather, covered in fine seams and wrinkles. She patted Marcus’s hand, poured him a fresh cup of coffee, and disappeared through a door behind the bar.

“Here’s some coffee. The chili is on the way,” said Marcus as he placed the steaming cup on the bar in front of me, pulled out the stool next to mine, and sat.

I peeled off my mittens and wrapped my ice-cold fingers around the cup. The skin on my fingers burned as they touched the ceramic, but it felt nice all the same. Bringing the mug to my lips, I took a sip. Then another. And another. The bitter taste of coffee was divine, and I moaned as the hot liquid poured down my throat.

I instantly felt better.

Once my lips thawed, I asked, “What is this place?” I set the mug on the counter with my fingers still wrapped around it.

“It’s a shifter colony,” answered Marcus, his eyes still holding some of that laughter from before.

“It is?”

“Silverback gorillas,” he said.

I flicked my gaze behind him to the couple sitting near the window. They were both watching me with identical frowns. “Is everyone here a shifter?”

“Yes. Wereapes,” replied Marcus, and I moved my gaze back to him. “Most of them don’t trust outsiders… non-shifters.”

“So, Anthony is a wereape too, then?”

“Yes,” said Marcus, his unwavering stare piercing. “And my cousin.” He unzipped his jacket and dropped it on the empty stool next to him. Muscles bulged from under his snug black shirt, and I found myself unable to look away because part of me wanted to rip it off just to see what was underneath.

I breathed through my nose, trying to shut him out. He hadn’t even tried to reach out to me in three months. It stung. But it was the truth. I was tired of hating him and wanting him. That was a full-time job on its own. Enough was enough.

“I had no idea there were shifter colonies like this one,” I said, reeling in my feelings. “And you have family here, but you live in Hollow Cove?”

“My family’s from the city. But some wereapes prefer to live away from the modern world. They prefer wide, open spaces, surrounded by nature. They don’t want to have to deal with humans… or other paranormals.”

“Like me.” I nodded. “Well, it is really pretty here. Must be spectacular in the summer.”

Marcus shifted on his stool, our thighs touching as he moved closer. “I’m glad to see you.” His mesmerizing gray eyes had me feeling all kinds of things I shouldn’t be feeling right now—like hot flashes.

I raised a brow. I wanted to say so many things to him right now, things I had been thinking about for the past three months. I opened my mouth to reply, just as the older lady came to the bar.

“Here you go, hon,” she said, all smiles as she set down a bowl of steaming and intoxicating-smelling vegan chili.

“Thank you,” I answered, sticking my nose above the bowl and taking a sniff. “Smells divine.”

The older lady laughed. It was infectious, and I found myself laughing and relaxing for the first time since I came to this freezing campsite. I took a spoon and scooped a large portion of the chili into my mouth.

“Wow,” I said, my mouth full. “This is good. You should package it up and sell this stuff.” I put another spoonful of chili into my mouth.

“Thanks, Carol,” said Marcus, as he and she then shared some secret glances.

Carol leaned her elbows on the bar. “This one came to fetch you. Didn’t she? Hmmm. Must have walked for over an hour to be frozen like that,” she speculated with a smile on her wrinkled face. “She’s still young and in good, childbearing years.”

I spit the chili from my mouth. “I’m sorry. What?”

Carol huffed a laugh and disappeared back into the kitchen area behind the bar.

“Tessa, why did you come here?” Marcus’s question pulled my attention back to him. He dipped his head and stared into my eyes.

I watched him for a long moment, trying to stifle the bubble of betrayal and anger that threatened to pop. I failed.

“Why didn’t you ever call me back?” I accused, my heart beating a little quicker, and I hated that. Hated that I’d let my emotions be the boss of me right now, but I couldn’t help it.

“I couldn’t,” he answered casually, like it was a normal thing, like commenting on the amount of sugar he used in his coffee. “Cell phones don’t work here up in the mountains. And there are no phones. No landlines. I would have called you if I could.” Marcus leaned back. “I never thought I’d still be here, to be honest. Things got… crazy.”

“Does it have anything to do with the pile of burning rubble outside?”

“It does,” he answered. “Here, the wereapes are led by an alpha. Like a chief. The alpha is the strongest and takes care of his or her colony, their family.”

“So, what’s the problem?”

“Too many alphas.”

“So little time,” I laughed. “Sorry. Bad joke.”

Marcus considered me a moment. “A younger male is challenging the alpha wereape. Another male. They’ve been at it for three months.”

“Does it usually take this long?”

“No. Usually, the older alpha submits to the younger alpha. But Stan is a stubborn old brute. He doesn’t want to submit. He thinks he can continue to be the alpha, but his body isn’t like it used to be.”

I swallowed more chili. “Who’s stronger?”

“It’s hard to tell. Both are massive. But there can only be one alpha per clan.”


We stared at each other, and the tiny space between us felt too hot.

I pulled my gaze away before I did something stupid—like jump him right there on the bar. Yeah, I needed help.

“You still haven’t told me why you came,” prodded Marcus as our eyes met again. His lips curved in the smile of a man liking what he saw. “I wish I could say you came because you missed me,” he continued, “but your eyes say something else.”

How perceptive. “It’s Ruth,” I said, my voice tight. “I came here to fetch you because of Ruth.”

Marcus’s eyebrows knitted in the middle. “Ruth? Has something happened to her? Is she okay?”

I shook my head, my insides twisting with dread. “Not really. She’s been—”

The door to the inn burst open. A big, burly man with the biggest arms I’d ever seen came rushing in. He looked like an action figure.

“They’re at it again,” said the stranger, his focus on Marcus as he came up to the bar. “You’ve got to do something. They’re going to kill each other.”

Fun times.
Richardson, Kim. Charmed Nights (The Witches of Hollow Cove Book 3) Kindle Locations (1297-1364). FablePrint. Kindle Edition.

With the Alpha problem solved and Marcus takes off via car while Tessa jumps the ley line home. Marcus was unable to anything to help Ruth since Aldira is the one who arrested her and made the court date. He was really trying to be supportive and investigating on his own to help clear Ruth.

Tessa second trial comes, and for this one Silas who has runes tattooed all over him is in charge. The test, get to the center of the labyrinth. I’m just going to say Silas cheats and Tessa is awesome.

There are so many twists in this book, with Adira as chief, then Tessa and Marcus’ relationship. Not to mention Ruth’s depression and everyone feeling helpless.

I am very much enjoying this series and I am working my way through all the available books.

5 Contented Purrs for Kim!

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Kim Richardson

Kim Richardson is a USA Today bestselling and award-winning author of urban fantasy, fantasy, and young adult books. She lives in the eastern part of Canada with her husband, two dogs and a very old cat. Kim’s books are available in print editions, and translations are available in over 7 languages.

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