Things go from amazing to appalling for Brighton in the course of one evening.
First, there’s a marriage proposal. Then, there’s a creepy thing at the edge of the woods.
That’s all followed up by a dead witch who was dabbling in necromancy. More than dabbling, actually. That crazy witch was rolling around in it like a pig in mud.
Unfortunately, Brighton and friends will learn the hard way how tough it is to break a dead witches spell.
At the end of the previous book, Brighton and Thorn have finally ended it. In spite of his original wanting things to work for them he’s done the unthinkable anyway. He’s not only going back to his ex-wife he’s moving to the city and has a job there already. All that without mentioning one word. Goodbye and good riddance to him. It’s Remy who’s waiting when she arrives home after that revelation, and it’s no surprise that he comforts and kisses her.
This book begins six months later as these two are on a date and when dessert comes, instead of red velvet cake, there’s a red velvet box. Once she opens it Remy proposes and she runs to the restroom to call Annika, she kinda panicked. She returns and accepts the proposal and the restaurant burst into applause. Brighton is worried about Amelda’s reaction to their news though Annika has said not to worry that Remy will handle her.
They are just at the town limits when they both see something but are unsure what. They followed for a bit, but they found nothing. Once back at Hangman’s House there’s champagne in the refrigerator, a sure sign the house approves of their engagement. Meri however has to add some snark, pointing out they just got rid of Brody (he got his own place) and now Remy would be moving in. Meri also thinks she’s not giving enough time and energy searching the tunnels they found for a possible rift in the veil allowing demons through. Brighton does convince him to let her and Remy celebrate their engagement and leaves to investigate more of the tunnels.
However, it seems demons are the least of their worries at least for now, as a zombie appears on Brighton’s porch. Brighton grabs breakfast for her and Meri and they go out the back and run to her car. They can’t leave the zombie to wander so Meri does something to make her walk in a small circle, before they head to the courthouse to get Remy.
After luring the zombie into the garage, the three of them drive back to where Remy and Brighton had seen something the night before, and things there just seem wrong. What they find is a very dead witch, who was doing something very bad, and whom Remy is able to identify as his Aunt Margery. After taking pictures, they have to get Amelda involved. They really can’t let the human authorities handle any of this, especially with the Zombies involved the publicity would be devastating.
This is a favorite scene.
“Oh, Margery,” Amelda said before exhaling a puff of hair through her nose. “I don’t understand how perfectly good witches let themselves get sucked into these dumb situations.”
“I’ve heard she never recovered from her husband dying,” Remy offered.
“While that’s probably true, Margery knew better than to go around trying to bring him back from the dead. That violates the most sacred of the Coven’s laws, and this is why,” Amelda said. “Does anyone else know about this?” “We came straight to you,” Remy said.
“We haven’t spoken with anyone else, and the undead woman is concealed in the garage at Hangman’s House.”
“We thank you for that,” Amelda said to me. “And thank you to you too,” Amelda said to Meri. “I can only imagine that they couldn’t have done this without you.”
Meri looked a little shocked. “You’re welcome.”
“Our family doesn’t have a familiar, but we do hope that when one finds us, they’ll be like you.”
Meri shook his head in disbelief. I imagined it was the kindest words he’d heard from Amelda in a long time. In fact, they both looked a little sad. I wondered if Amelda had any regrets about her family banishing Meri.
“What should we do?” Remy asked his grandmother.
“I think I can get my assistant to cover the library while I gather some of the other elders to go out and handle the death scene,” Amelda said.
“We can do it,” I said.
“What?” both Amelda and Remy asked at the same time.
“We can do it,” I said again. “Remy and I can handle it. We could get Annika too. I don’t think Brody is ready, but we’ve got Meri.”
Amelda didn’t immediately say no. She thought it over for a few minutes. “It would be better to involve as few people as possible. Wait here.”
She hurried off and left Remy, Meri, and me standing in the Obscure Occult Practices section of the library. No other witches were in the paranormal part of the library that day. We assumed we were alone, but none of us talked about what was going on after Amelda left. It was probably best to just take a moment and breathe.
When Amelda returned a couple of minutes later, she had a ruby amulet in her hand. She reached out to me. “Wear this while you’re there,” she said. “It will bring you under the protection of the family.”
“Thank you,” I said.
“You’re not going to need an amulet to do that for long. At least, that’s what I assume the ring means,” Amelda said. Her eyes zeroed in on the engagement ring.
“Grandma, you know that’s what it means,” Remy said with a smile. “I told you that last night.”
“We’ll get together for dinner soon. When we’re sure this is over,” Amelda said. “Until then, the amulet will provide you with all the protection the Skeenbauer Coven can provide. It will also bestow some… inspiration upon you if there are spells we use that you don’t know.”
After we left Amelda, Remy, Meri, and I went to Annika’s shop to see if she wanted to come with us, but she had several customers milling around and waiting in line. Not wanting to interrupt her good sales day, we left without saying anything.
“We can handle this,” I said as Remy drove us back to where Margery’s body lay in wait for us. Waiting for anyone at all. “We’re a good team.”
“We were supposed to be getting your family to help us,” Meri said.
“They’ll help us,” Remy said. “Amelda will put the word out that they need to direct their energy to protect and assist us. Plus, Brighton has my grandmother’s amulet. She’s got the power of the Skeenbauers behind her, and that’s combined with her power as the only truly active Tuttlesmith witch. My future wife is a force to be reckoned with,” he said and kissed the back of my hand.
“But I thought she didn’t want anyone to know,” I responded. “How will the rest of your family coven help us if she doesn’t tell anyone what’s going on?”
“Oh, she won’t tell them why they are doing it,” Remy said. “They’ll do as she says and won’t ask questions.”
He was right. When we got back to the area, I could still sense the horrible darkness, but it was like it couldn’t quite reach us.
With the oppressiveness lifted, it was far easier to walk around the scene. Remy walked back over to the body while I circled around the far edge of the larger area of effect.
I cringed when Remy pulled the athame out of Margery’s back. “The first thing we need to do is figure out who this belongs to,” he said.
“Did you really have to do that so… abruptly?” I asked.
“Would you have rather I did it slowly?” Remy countered.
“Good point,” I said. “Any idea who it might belong to? Any clue at all?”
“I thought it was just a knife with a black handle but have a look,” he said and beckoned me over.
There was a carving on one side of the smooth, black handle. It looked like a sigil of some type, but I didn’t recognize it. We’d need to do some research to find out what it meant, but since I didn’t want to carry the knife around, I snapped a quick picture of the symbol and sent a copy to Remy.
“What are we going to do with her?” I asked. “We can’t just leave her here, and it’s not like we can take her to the funeral home.”
“I was thinking the crypt,” Remy said.
“The crypt with the scary dead Skeenbauer witches who come back to life whenever you go inside?” I asked. “I mean, I guess they’re only part-time zombies and they’re not out roaming the streets.”
“Yeah, that one. That seems like a fitting place, actually,” Remy said.
“How are we going to get her there? It’s not like we can just drag her through town. Maybe we should just bury her out here. It’s natural and stuff,” I said. “Eco burial. It’s all the rage in California.”
“We’ll put her in the trunk,” Remy said matter-of-factly. “We’ll wrap her up in a tarp and drive her over. We can use a spell to keep her from rotting, and we’ll take her into the cemetery after dark.”
“You’re twisted,” I said.
“Uh oh, am I in trouble with my queen?” Remy teased.
“No, I don’t mind a little twisted. I’m glad I have you to think of these things. I’d probably have just buried her out here,” I said. “We’d have blisters on our hands from digging. Or I suppose we could just use magic to do the digging.”
“What’s this?” Meri asked interrupting our body relocation discussion. He was standing a few feet away from us in a spot of taller grass.
Remy and I walked over to where he was standing. Meri was next to a torn scrap of fabric. It wasn’t black like Margery’s robe.
“It looks like a piece of fabric. Maybe from the murderer,” I said. “I don’t know, though. Could just be from someone walking around out here. Do you think many people walk around out in these woods? There aren’t any trails or anything.”
“We can figure that out,” Remy said. “Bring it with you. I seriously doubt someone was just milling around. There are much nicer places in Coventry to take a stroll or commune with nature. You’re right about that part.”
I put the cloth in my purse wrapped in a napkin. “So do you have a tarp in your car?”
“Not exactly,” Remy said. “All I’ve got is the standard tire change kit. I don’t usually dispose of dead bodies.”
“Well, I guess I could run to Nailed It and buy one? You guys could stay here and makes sure no one finds the body. Perhaps look for more clues?”
“Oh, that sounds like a delightful time,” Meri mused. “I’m so glad you two have gotten us involved in this mess. Being one big happy family with the likes of you guys is going to be so much fun.”
“We’ll do it. Just hurry, please,” Remy said. He shot Meri a look but didn’t say anything.
Bourgeois, Sara. Wicked Witches of Coventry: Books One – Eleven. Kindle Locations (6835-6895). Kindle Edition.
It’s still just the three of them taking care of the witch, and when Brighton goes to buy a tarp, she sees yet another zombie, she sets that one to walk in circles and returns to Remy and Meri.
They go back to the new zombie when a ghost appears in the back seat, Remy obliges her by doing something about the zombie, but Brighton does the wrong thing with the binding and now she’s got this dark spell inside her that just might kill her.
A visit from Aunt Margery’s specter results in a witch’s contract that will remove the zombie spell after they solve her murder. No pressure.
Before they can begin investigating, they have to do something to fix Brighton’s zombie tendencies. Ruby’s Apothecary doesn’t have what they need, but Remy’s Aunt Gretchen is there and gives them the Mullein she purchased to help Brighton. Oh, and put Margery in the crypt as well.
They enlist Annika and Brody to help both with finding things to help Brighton and the investigation. They don’t have much Mullein and they have to solve this quickly while the rest of the Coven works on controlling the zombie problem, which extends outside of Coventry.
There are plenty of twists in this book as they solve the murder, but seriously the cliffhanger ending left me speechless.
More than ever I’m glad this is the boxset, so I won’t have to wait to know more.
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Sara Bourgeois is a Midwesterner through and through. She spends her time writing, reading, herding cats, and standing in her driveway during tornado warnings. (You can’t see them from the basement.)