The Midnight Magic Festival is upon Coventry, and Kinley Skeenbauer is excited to participate for the first time. Since her shop, Summoned Goods & Sundries, is the newest thing in Coventry, she’s been invited to provide swag bags and decorations for the festivities.
With Meri at her side, Kinsley is ready to pull out all the stops and make this year’s Midnight Magic Festival the best her hometown has ever seen.
There’s just one problem…
A new witch, Astra Argent, has moved to Coventry and opened a competing shop across the street from Kinsley’s store. When Kinsley comes to work one morning only to find her windows smashed, decorations destroyed, swag bags missing, and Astra’s wallet in the glass, she’s furious. A confrontation the whole town witnesses goes down in front of Astra’s shop, The Summoning Scroll.
Thirteen hours later, Astra is found dead on Kinsley’s front porch. Her body is sitting in a rocking chair with a cocktail in her hand. The macabre staged scene sends a shockwave through Coventry.
Someone wanted Astra dead, and they wanted Kinsley to go down for the crime. Can Kinsley and her friends solve the murder, or will she end up caught in a killer’s wicked snare?
This book opens with Meri still bemoaning the fact he’s a kitten and not a full-grown cat anymore. No one can find a way to reverse the granting of his wish. Kinsley doesn’t have time for his antics, she’s got decorations and gift bags to finish for the Midnight Magic Festival and the grand opening of a new store next to the Brew Station.
Nothing gets a witch madder than someone trying to undermine her business. That’s exactly what the new witch in town Astra Argent has done. Astra opened her store next to Viv’s knowing full well it was in direct competition with Kinsley’s Summoned Goods & Sundries. Kinsley plans are to run the deceiving witch out of town, however, Astra has conniving plans of her own.
Things could have been worse if not for Viv and Meri who calm her down but that doesn’t stop her from issuing a threat to Astra. Reggie shows up with lunch for her and to help put together the swag bags for the festival.
Kinsley hasn’t heard from Thorn all day, he’s working a double shift and needs to hire a new deputy to take the night shift.
It’s after dinner when Azriel shows up at her door, he’s scared and frantic and is calling in the favor she granted him in the last book. He needs her to save his dog, Tangerine/Geri, the only thing he’s ever truly loved.
After grabbing Meri they go with Azriel to his home above the factory where his MC hung out.
Kinsley does her best but apparently Azriel had tried to save her first and the two magics cancel each other. Of course, Azriel isn’t going to let it go so Kinsley with Meri’s help uses the dark magic she avoids to bring Tangerine back.
This is a favorite scene.
When I’d finished with the circle, I poured the wine into the glass and took a huge gulp of it. After a deep breath, I drained the glass and poured another.
“Are you getting drunk?” Azriel asked as he returned with a box of candles.
“Just a little,” I said. “It helps me cross the veil. I’d normally use some jimsonweed or maybe psychedelic mushrooms, but I’m working with what I have.”
“How does hallucinating help you?” he asked as he set the box of candles on the floor next to me.
“Those things don’t make you hallucinate,” I said. “People think they do, but what they are actually doing is opening you up to the other side. People don’t realize how powerful or dangerous it is. They think it’s imagination, but it’s not. The things that you see are real.”
“I could probably come up with some mushrooms or LSD,” Azriel said. “I’d just need to go ask around. Would LSD work too?”
“The wine will do,” I said. “Let me set up these candles. We need to get started.”
“What can I do?” Azriel asked.
“Does the wine have any effect on you?” I asked.
“Some but not as much as it would on you.”
“Okay, well, finish the bottle then, and you can help me set up the candles.”
He drank the wine, and we arranged the candles into the shape of a pentagram.
“Do you need anything else?” Azriel asked when the pentagram was done.
“This should do it,” I said to him and then turned to Meri. “Are you up for this?”
“What’s a little necromancy amongst friends?” he asked. “I’ll do my best to keep anything nasty from coming through when the veil is down, but you’ll need to act fast. The longer it’s open, the more that will come.”
“What will come?” Azriel asked.
“Demons, evil spirits,” I said. “Heck, just regular spirits who are curious or want to be on this side. We have to keep all of that from crossing over and just bring Tangerine back.”
“You can do that?” He sounded unsure for the first time.
“You wouldn’t have come to me if I couldn’t,” I said. “Is the wine having any effect on you?”
“A little. What does it matter?”
“Because you’ll be the one calling her back. I’ll open the veil with magic, and you have to call her back to you. So, I need you to be able to see the other side. Shouldn’t be hard as you live half in and half out. I need matches or a lighter,” I said but then thought better of it. “You know what? Never mind.” I snapped my fingers and all the candles lit at once.
“Kinsley,” Azriel said breathlessly.
It was obvious he was awestruck by what I’d just done. I would have thought it would take more to impress someone who had lived for so long, but he probably hadn’t spent much time around witches. Historically, we didn’t mix well with vampires, but I didn’t know why. Perhaps it was related to how we reacted to each other. I wasn’t prepared to accept that it was just Azriel that I experienced a stark connection with, but it wasn’t the time for those thoughts. There was an important task at hand.
“Focus,” I said. “You can be astounded by my powers or whatever once we have Tangerine back.”
“What do I do?” he asked. “How do I help?”
“You stay inside the circle and wait quietly until I say. When I give the word, you call her back. She’ll come to you, but she has no idea who I am. Otherwise, I’d tell you to wait outside.”
“I’m sorry I didn’t ask this before, but are you in any danger? Can you be hurt by this?” Azriel asked.
“I should be fine. I have Meri to protect me, and there’s not much out there that can overpower me.”
“But it’s not for certain?” Azriel asked.
He looked back and forth between me and Tangerine as if for the first time he realized he could be trading me for the dog’s life. Azriel’s face was tormented with conflict. He hadn’t thought this thing through, but instead had acted on pure emotion. I wasn’t angry at him for that. I couldn’t be. It happened to us all.
“I don’t know if I can let you do this…” He sounded as if all the fight had gone out of him.
“We’ve come this far, and we’re going to see it through. I’ll bring her back to you,” I said. “I can handle this.”
I could already feel the chaos seeping into me, the prick of darkness boosting my hubris. I had to keep control and not let it get its hooks into me entirely. The darkness promised power, but if you let it, it would consume you.
“Okay,” he said. “Let’s do it.”
I focused all of my attention on thinning the veil and murmured words of chaos that I’d only ever heard Lilith use. I’d seen her reach out to the shadows a few times as a child, and I knew which words were the key. Words that cannot be written down but must only be whispered in the quiet of the night.
I could feel the veil thin to the point of being threadbare. The pull of the other side was as intense for me as it must have been for the dead to our side. I resisted the call of its mystery. I wasn’t going to find out what happened if I answered the call and crossed over. I had too much to live for, but I did have to remind myself more than once. The allure of the hereafter was seductive to someone with chaos in their blood. It didn’t help that I’d crossed the line and actually used necromancy. Azriel had been right to be worried. I needed to finish the ritual and disconnect myself from the darkness.
“Call her now,” I said as I felt the opening begin to contract. I’d opened it as far as I could. All we could do was hope it was enough.
“Tangerine,” Azriel said and then whistled. “Come here, girl.”
I heard a happy bark and felt my heart lift a little. She was still close, and she’d heard him. I also felt the nasty, oily muck of something evil creeping closer.
“Call her again. We need her to come through now. I have to close the passage,” I said.
“Tangerine. Come here, pretty girl,” he called out. “Do you want some cheese?”
With that, I heard more happy barking and the sound of tiny claws clicking towards us. A moment later, the transparent specter of Tangerine emerged as if from thin air.
She walked over and pantomimed sniffing her body, and a second later she was pulled back into it. The tether was thankfully still intact, and it brought body and spirit back as one without the little dog having to understand what was going on.
As soon as she stood up and ran to Azriel, I let the veil close. Not a second too soon as I felt the icy fingers of something just beyond what I could see reach out for me.
I snapped my fingers again and the candles went out. By that time, Tangerine was in Azriel’s arms licking his face happily.
When I recognized it was over, I collapsed onto the floor. I didn’t pass out or anything, but I was just sitting there cross-legged and staring into space. I’d never felt so drained in my life. I put my hands on my knees to keep from folding over and sprawling on the floor.
Meri ran over and rubbed against my leg. It made me feel a little better, but I was still bone-tired. My eyes and body were in a competition as to which felt heavier.
“Are you all right?” Azriel asked.
He sat down on the floor next to me with Tangerine in his lap. I reached over and scratched her behind the ear, and in return, she let out a happy yip.
“That took a lot out of me,” I said. “I need something to eat and I need to rest. Can you take me home?”
My eyes started to drift shut, and I almost fell over backward. Fortunately, the feeling of falling snapped me back to attention, but it would only last so long.
Azriel stood up and offered me his hand. “Why don’t you rest on the sofa for a bit. I’ll send one of my men out for food. You can eat and then I’ll take you home.”
“I have food at home. I’ll be all right until we get there.”
“I’m not leaving you alone like this,” Azriel said and used the hand that wasn’t holding Tangerine to pull me to my feet. “You can eat here, and when I’m sure you’re fine, I’ll take you home. You saved my Geri, and I’m going to take care of you.”
Bourgeois, Sara. Midnight Magic (Familiar Kitten Mysteries Book 2). Kindle Locations (343-413). Kindle Edition.
While this is successful, it knocks Kinsley out. Then just to make things interesting, Thorn and his deputies show up at the warehouse. This isn’t going to turn out well for her.
Thorn true to form is angry and jealous but does his job. It doesn’t help that the next morning she discovers her shop has been broken into and without entering the store she finds Astra’s wallet in the glass from the front window. Unfortunately, she picks it up and confronts Astra before calling Thorn. Astra does and accuses her of stealing the wallet.
Now a lot happens between Kinsley and Thorn, before her day is done. She also goes to see Azriel before going home. He offers her comfort in the aftermath of her talk with Thorn. When she does get home it’s to find Astra dead on her porch.
There are many twists and turns in this book and Kinsley once again needs to clear herself of murder charges. Reggie is very helpful and Kinsley has to tell her about being a witch. She will also tell Viv, but you’ll have to read all that for yourself.
I am truly enjoying these quick reads.
5 Contented Purrs for Sara!
Click the Cover for Buy Links and More!
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.)