Sweep-Stakes – Wicked Witches of Coventry Book 6 by Sara Bourgeois

Sweep-Stakes
Wicked Witches of Coventry Book 6
By
Sara Bourgeois

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When the effects of the zombie curse don’t go away completely, Brighton has to turn to a vampire for help. Unfortunately, a body turns up drained of blood. Brighton and friends have to clear the friendly vamp’s name, but will an evil bloodsucker catch the crew in its snare?

At the end of the last book, we found out that although they ended the Zombie curse, the reset that Gretchen had planned hit Brighton, now her only hope is vampire blood.

Annika, Remy, Meri and Brody are with Brighton discussing how to find a vampire to ask for blood. Not as easy as it may seem since it’s not like vampires advertise their existence.

Brody did go on the dark web and found a paranormal layer, but now he needs the help of Ralph Badersmith, President of the Coventry Paranormal Historical Society. He’s also the bookstore owner who’s still mad that Brighton wouldn’t sell her family’s grimoires. Brody knows where he can get some old texts that Ralph won’t be able to resist. Remy and Brody leave to go get those and then Annika rousts Brighton for a little journey to ask a vampire for help.

Annika knows a vampire, they grew up together but then the family moved away. She has a general idea of where he is and she’s sure Kyle will help.

This is a favorite scene.

“But none of the vampires in the village prey on humans.”

“Animals only. Also like the movie. That’s why they stay together. To stay away from people and to keep each other from being tempted.”

“We’re not just regular humans, though,” I said. “We’re witches. Is our blood more tempting? Are we making a mistake by walking into their midst knowing that they are actively trying to avoid temptation?”

“We won’t just walk into the center of town and announce that we’re looking for Kyle,” Annika said. “We’re going to do things our way. We’ll sneak around the edges and feel things out.”

I wish I could say that her method worked, but Annika didn’t account for the fact that the vampires had predatory senses. It was a minute after we parked the car on the outskirts of the village and began walking around that we were apprehended by a group of vampires and brought to the center of town.

Fortunately for us, Kyle was there and he vouched for Annika and me. We promised never to come into the vampire village again nor tell anyone of its location.

“Hey, Kyle,” Annika said as he walked us back to our car. “Long time no see.”

The gruff expression on his face melted into a smile, and he pulled her in for a hug. “It’s good to see you, old friend. I didn’t think we’d ever meet again.”

“I wouldn’t have come here and bothered you but…”

“You’re not a bother at all,” Kyle interrupted. “Please don’t think that you are. I knew we live in different worlds now, but I am glad to see you again.”

“Thanks,” Annika said, and I saw a hint of blush in her cheeks. “I’m here because my friend, Brighton, needs you,” she said and turned to me. “Brighton, this is Kyle. Kyle, please meet Brighton.”

“Any friend of Annika’s is a friend of mine,” he said and offered me his hand.

“I’m so pleased to hear you say that,” Annika said as I shook Kyle’s hand. “Because the favor I’m going to ask you is a big one.”

“A big favor, huh?” Kyle cocked one of his perfectly manicured eyebrows.

He was everything you’d expect a vampire to be. Pale skin that was as smooth as porcelain and eyes that were a deeper shade of blue than I’d ever seen. They were both icy and full of fire at the same time. His thick auburn hair was pulled back into a ponytail at the nape of his neck. Kyle looked like he’d stepped out of a vampire movie and into our presence. He was also obviously having more of an effect on Annika than she’d expected, and I wondered if that was something intentional he could do to entice a victim or if she just wasn’t expecting to find him so alluring.

“We need some of your blood,” Annika blurted out.

“What?” Kyle seemed confused.

I didn’t think that a vampire could be thrown off guard like that, but leave it to Annika. He narrowed his eyes and studied her for a moment as if waiting for her to say it was all a big joke. He looked at me and I nodded my head yes along with a shrug of my shoulders.

“It’s true,” I said.

“You want to be a vampire?” he asked me.

“Right, so,” Annika began, “I guess you guys didn’t hear about the zombie outbreak because your village is isolated. And of course, because you’re also the living dead, kind of, the zombies probably didn’t come this way. They were all lured toward Coventry, or whatever. Kyle, one of my aunties was murdered while she was casting a powerful necromantic spell to bring her husband back from the dead. Anyway, when she was killed during the casting, the spell flung itself out into the world and began to raise the dead.”

“Okay,” Kyle said dubiously.

“Okay,” Annika responded. “Well, it’s nearly impossible to break a dead witch’s spell, but my aunt came back and told us that if we solved the murder, she’d lift the spell. We did that, and she lifted it. But it turns out that another aunt was the one that killed her. That aunt, Gretchen, had an affair with Margery’s husband. The one Margery was trying to raise from the dead so she could torture him. Anyway, Gretchen decided for funsies that she was going to restart the zombie apocalypse. Margery came through the veil at the last second and snatched Gretchen’s soul from her body. Necromancy is fun, huh? Unfortunately, Gretchen’s spell went off and we couldn’t stop it.”

“So, you need my blood to stop a zombie apocalypse?” Kyle asked. “I’ve never heard of such a thing.”

“No, the zombie apocalypse isn’t actually starting again. In fact, the aunties and witches around the world are working to clean the whole thing up and make the humans forget. Lots of magic going on there.” Annika took a breath. “What we need your blood for is Brighton here. The spell that Gretchen got off hit her right in the heart. The whole thing. It’s trying to destroy her from the inside out, and our magic can only slow it down because it’s another dead witch’s spell. We need the immortality in your blood to counteract the zombie magic. Amelda said that the two will cancel each other out, and Brighton will go back to being a regular witch. She won’t be a vampire or a zombie.”

Kyle looked at me sadly. “Annika, you know I’m not supposed to do something like that without the council’s approval.”

“Those stuffy old vampires?” Annika asked. “They’re not going to want to help a witch. They think we’re still enemies even though we haven’t been for centuries.”

“It’s okay,” I said. “I don’t want Kyle to get in trouble for helping me.”

“This isn’t like the movies, Brighton. They’re not going to decapitate him and burn his body for helping us.”

“Are you sure?” I asked.

“I mean, it was like that back in the old days, I’m told,” Kyle said. “But they can’t be so medieval anymore. The Council lives under the fear that one of us vampires from the younger generation will go public. So, they’re a kinder, gentler vampire council.”

“So then they might give you permission anyway, right?” Annika asked. “Maybe they don’t even hate us anymore,” she offered.

“Vampires don’t hate witches, Annika,” Kyle said with a chuckle. “How long does she have? It wouldn’t take more than a couple of days for me to contact the council.”

“We don’t know, Kyle,” Annika said. “She might not have a couple of days.”

I didn’t know if she was making that up to get him to give in, or if it was true. It was a frightening thought. All the magic possessed by the Skeenbauer Coven might not be enough to get me through a couple of days.

“I can give you a little right now. It should be enough for her to make it until I can formally ask the council,” he said.

“Kyle, come on,” Annika sounded desperate. “What if the council says no? What’s going to happen to my friend?”

“I can’t spare more than a little right now anyway, Nikka. If I give you too much, I’ll frenzy. Just let me do this the right way first, please. No matter what the council says, I won’t let your friend die. Please let me try.”

Annika appeared to be thinking about it. I wasn’t sure if she was deciding whether or not to accept it or if she was scheming a way to get Kyle to change his mind. The problem was it didn’t sound like he could change his mind. I wasn’t exactly sure what happened if a vampire went into a frenzy, but I thought that perhaps I didn’t want to know.

“Thank you,” I said. “I accept.”

“Brighton,” Annika chastised.

“What? It’s my decision. He’s helping us the best he can, and I’m not going to turn him down. Right now, this is the best option we have.”

“Annika, I’m sorry. If I didn’t need to hunt soon… You know that I talk a good game, but just like when we were kids, I’d do anything for you,” Kyle said. “But if I push myself into a frenzy, I could hurt you guys. I can’t risk that.”

“I understand,” she said, and that same little blush crept across her cheeks again.

There was definitely some sort of chemistry and history thing going on between them, but I wasn’t going to judge her for that. Besides, I didn’t have the time or the luxury of putting too much thought into the fireworks and pledges of fidelity going off between Kyle and Annika.

“So what do we do now?” I asked.

“Well, if I was going to change you, I’d bite you and drain most of your blood. Then, I’d let you feed from me. Either my wrist or my neck. But that’s all very intimate, wouldn’t you say? Plus, I don’t have to do the part where I bite you.”

“This is going to be awkward no matter what,” I mused.

And it was. In the end, Kyle bit his own wrist and let me have some of the blood. I won’t go into more detail than that. Since I hadn’t been bitten, it wasn’t something I was craving, so I wasn’t ravenous for it the way people are in the movies.

What I was ravenous for was fried chicken. Right up until I got the vampire blood. Then, the hunger was gone. It wasn’t like the mullein and other herbs the witches gave me. They just took the edge off, but it was still there in the back of my brain niggling at me.

No, with the vampire blood, it was gone. My mind cleared too. It was like thick, gray storm clouds were lifted away. Even my vision seemed sharper.

“Did it help?” Kyle asked expectantly.

“It’s incredible,” I said. “I feel brand new.”

“Yeah, well, please don’t tell anyone that,” Kyle said sheepishly. “The last thing we need is people hunting and harvesting vampire blood as the newest designer drug.”

“We won’t,” Annika said. “We won’t tell anyone outside of the family about any of this.”

“Thank you,” Kyle responded.

“So do we just come back in a couple of days? You said you were going to the council.”

“I can call you,” Kyle said. “We do have phones. I know we live in a remote village and all, but it isn’t actually the nineteenth century.”

And that was it. Kyle and Annika exchanged phone numbers, and it was time for us to go.
Bourgeois, Sara. Wicked Witches of Coventry: Books One – Eleven (7796-7870). Kindle Edition.

Of course, nothing is going to be easy, and things go totally awry when Kyle is arrested for murder. Brighton needs Kyle’s blood and Annika is sure Kyle didn’t kill the Councilwoman Vivian Landers, so they begin their own investigation. It’s then that they meet the new sheriff, Gunner Black. He already knows about Brighton and warns her to stay out of it.

Then the vampire council arrives. The spokesperson for the council is one of Kyle’s brothers, Kirendal and they want Brighton to find the real killer or the whole town will face the consequences. They leave behind Marius another of Kyle’s brothers to give her blood as what she’s already been given wears off.

Brighton, Remy, Meri and Annika, begin their investigation by breaking into first the councilwoman’s office and then because of what they find there, the funeral home. Both times they almost get caught by Gunner, the first time was easier than the second. But Meri puts him to sleep before they could be arrested for trespassing.

Plenty of twists in this one and someone involved I really didn’t expect to be. There’s also a pleasant surprise in the epilogue.

5 Contented Purrs for Sara!

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Sara Bourgeois

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.)

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