USA Today Bestselling Author
Fairytales aren’t real, right?
That’s what I thought until they came to Hollow Cove. And when I say they arrived, I mean they actually materialized —they came to life.
Newly engaged, I was looking forward to some quiet, sexy time with my wereape—all kinds of horizontal refreshments in every room—you know the type. But did I get it? Nope. Instead, I get hit with fairytales that plague our town.
Sounds harmless. But not all fairytales are about sunshine and rainbows. Some are evil. And some, well, some… are deadly.
House has ‘birthed’ a miniature of itself, a cottage for Tessa and Marcus who are now engaged. Today is Marcus’ birthday and Tessa wants to do something special for him. However, all the normal things both in the main house and the cottage are gone, no water, no electricity, no magic, just nothing.
At the main house there’s quite the gathering happening, one Tessa, Dolores and Ruth want nothing to do with. It’s Beverly’s group and well you can just imagine what’s being talked about.
When Tessa questions the no power or water dilemma she learns House is on strike. It feels neglected, seems the reason house works the way it does requires payment, the cheating husbands, wayward boyfriends and abusers they throw down the basement are said payment. They are killed but rather looked dazed and confused when they came back up.
This of course will make it difficult or rather impossible for Tessa to cook Marcus a birthday dinner. In the meantime, Beverly wants the appetizers she ordered picked up and sends Tessa. Only before she can get there, screams split the quiet.
She follows the screams and finds a dead girl, Marcus shows up and neither of them recognize her. She died brutally and when Tessa finds a basket nearby with jams, breads and some cheese, it reminds her of the story, Little Red Riding Hood. The uncensored one.
To make matters worse, her mother shows up to invite her and Marcus to dinner that night. Even though she declines it’s like her mother doesn’t hear a word she says. Marcus’ arrival doesn’t help either. Looks like they have a dinner to go to whether they like it or not.
To top that off, the body has disappeared. It wasn’t taken, it vanished before the eyes Scarlet, Cameron and Marcus. Then Gilbert wants everything solved so he can have his Oyster Festival the next day. Just wonderful.
The reappearance of the body followed by an awesome ley line ride reveals the Big Bad Wolf. So much for it just being a fairytale. Seems it’s very much real.
A conversation with Lilith doesn’t reveal much other than Lilith might know who is causing it and Dolores’ suggestion of a rift is more than possible.
This is a favorite scene.
I’ll admit, having superhot shower sex with Marcus lifted my mood a few octaves, yet it did nothing to warrant time with my mother. However, seeing how important his word was to him, I reluctantly agreed.
I tossed my bag in the back seat of Marcus’s burgundy Jeep Grand Cherokee and then climbed into the front passenger seat, all clean, all postcoital.
Marcus climbed behind the wheel and fired up the engine. “Give me your phone,” demanded the chief.
I handed it to him and watched as he pulled out a charger from a USB port on the dashboard and plugged it in. “It’ll take longer this way, but it’ll give you some juice until we get to your mom’s. I don’t like the idea of you not having a working phone. You never know when someone might need to reach you.”
“Yes, sir,” I teased.
Marcus laughed as he pulled his Jeep from the curb and headed up Shifter Lane. I leaned back into the soft leather seat, enjoying the constant hum of the Jeep’s engine. I closed my eyes for the briefest of moments, thinking about how quickly my life had changed in just over a year.
Today was also Marcus’s birthday, but I had nothing to show for it. Did the sex in the shower count?
Having dinner with my mother wasn’t how I wanted to spend the rest of the evening. Yes, she did rub me the wrong way—all the time—but that wasn’t the reason I didn’t want to see her. I was more avoiding her because I knew she would harass us with questions about our wedding. The fact that we hadn’t even discussed it yet had me on edge. What if Marcus and I had completely different ideas? I wanted a small wedding, like just immediate family. What if he wanted a big, fat, witchy-wereape wedding? After meeting his mother, and knowing mine, I was sure they wanted a huge wedding, and I’d be outnumbered. I felt a flush of nerves inside my belly just thinking about it. I hated lots of attention. I knew I would hate a big wedding.
I shook my head, literally shook it, and pushed away those thoughts. It wasn’t like the wedding was anytime soon. I had lots of time to freak out about it. Just not at this very moment.
The thought of seeing my father brought a smile to my lips. He was just the demon to change my mother’s mind. They were stupid cute, these two. And I was glad they’d found each other again after all these years. It just went to show, you couldn’t put timing on love.
“What’s going on here?” came Marcus’s growl-like voice. He slammed on the brakes, jerking me forward. “What the—” My eyes tracked the scene. It was so strange and happening so fast that it was hard to concentrate on just one thing at a time. So, I started with the biggest, most prominent one.
Scratch that. Not just a ship, but a giant, massive traditional wooden galleon of the fifteenth century sat in the middle of Crystal Row. Three masts sprouted from the main deck about a hundred and twenty feet in length. A black flag with a skull-and-crossbones symbol flapped in the breeze, the name Jolly Roger written on the front sail. From what I could see, it was armed with bombards that fired granite balls.
“It’s a ship,” said Marcus, his jaw slack, and I could see the utter shock on his face.
“The Jolly Roger.”
“What?” Marcus was still staring at the ship like it wasn’t real. Like this was just a dream.
It kind of felt that way, but I knew whose ship this was. My adrenaline spiked.
Damn, damn, damn.
Marcus leaned forward in his seat, staring out the windshield. “Are those… pirates?”
I scanned the ship. I could make out about a dozen men dressed in vests, shirts, and coats with dark pants. A few had colorful cloth tied around their necks and tucked in front of their vests, like neckties. Even from a distance, I could see their weathered skin, like those exposed to the elements most of their lives.
“Yup. And that one over there is Captain Hook.” I pointed to a thin man with curly, black hair draped over his shoulders, with the largest maroon hat I’d ever seen. A prominent hooked nose rested above a thin, black mustache. He wore a frilly, white shirt underneath a red coat with gold lining and maroon cuffs. From what I could see, an orange sash over his right shoulder held his sword scabbard at his left hip. His maroon pants looked almost like tights, and he paired them with white, knee-high socks.
And it looked like I’d answered my own question from before. It wasn’t just one fairy tale that slipped into our world. There were more.
Marcus glanced at me, disbelief written all over his face. “Are you saying this is…”
“Another fairy tale come true. Wait—what’s happening?”
Six pirates on the main deck were running around in a frenzy. And then I understood why.
A granite ball exploded from one of the bombards. The sound was like nothing I’d ever heard, as though thunder detonated right next to my head.
My ears rang as the black granite ball sailed into the air and hit one of the houses.
The Jeep shook as the house exploded in a cloud of wood fragments, brick, plaster, and dust like it had been rigged with a bomb. The thunderous rumble echoed up through the Jeep.
The house, which I’d admit I had never really paid any attention to before, was gone. Obliterated. Only a mountain of debris, chunks of wood, and shattered brick stood in its wake. Metal rebar stood up like the legs and arms of a giant skeleton as a soft pattering of dust sifted down from the air.
If anyone was in there, no way could they have survived.
Cauldron help us.
“Fuck!” Marcus leaped out of the Jeep, me right behind him.
Front doors to neighboring houses burst open as paranormals clambered out to see what the blast was. Hell, probably the whole town had heard the explosion.
“Where’s Peter Pan?” howled a voice that I presumed was Captain Hook. My eyes went to the skinny man in the maroon hat stabbed with a tall, white feather. He stood at the edge of the forecastle deck, glowering down at us. “I want Peter! Bring him to me! Come back here and fight me, ya coward! Or I’ll find ya wherever ya are, ya hear me, Peter Pan?”
“Oh, crap.” I looked at Marcus. “He thinks we have Peter Pan.”
“What happens when we don’t give him Peter?” Marcus hauled off his leather jacket.
A chill went through me. “He’ll slap us with his good hand?” I didn’t even know if Peter Pan was here. But if Captain Hook was, I wagered Peter was around here somewhere.
“Prepare the piece!” shouted a voice from the ship, followed by the sound of grinding metal, and then, “Prick and prime!”
I didn’t know what they were saying, but I knew it wasn’t good.
“I need backup on Crystal Row,” Marcus said to someone on his phone. “Now!”
Captain Hook snarled and then beat the air with his hook. Yup, the severed hand with the gleaming sharp iron hook.
“Fire!” he howled.
“Get down!” Marcus crushed his body over mine, and the next thing I knew, we both hit the hard pavement.
Another deafening blast echoed around us. The ground trembled as though an earthquake had hit us.
I pushed myself up enough to see over Marcus’s arm, where a massive pile of rubble was all that was left of the house that had been blown to smithereens a moment ago. Damn. Another house destroyed. Hopefully the owners had run out, but I hadn’t seen anyone coming out of that house.
A weight lifted off me, and the next thing I knew, Marcus grabbed my arm and pulled me to my feet.
“We have to stop them before they destroy the whole town!” cried Marcus, his eyes on the ship as he ripped off his shirt and pants. I glimpsed a very fit, golden-brown body, rippling in muscles, followed by bright light. Marcus’s face and body heaved, stretching his features and body strangely. Then I saw a flash of black fur accompanied by an awful, tearing sound and the breaking of bones.
A snarl came from the four-hundred-pound silverback gorilla next to me. He slammed his fists on the ground. “Ill distraac dem. Yoo desstroy de sshhip,” he shouted. His vocabulary had improved tremendously in his beast form.
“Okay. But you better get your ass out of the way of that ship when I’m ready,” I told him, pulling on the elements around me. Okay, Captain Hook had a mighty ship, but he had nothing on us. We had magic. I just hoped it would work better this time.
I blinked as the gorilla pushed off at incredible speed toward the ship. He climbed up the hull like it was something he did regularly, and there he was, on the deck, pounding the head of some pirate.
“God, he’s hot.”
I turned and saw Ronin and Iris rushing over.
“Hey, is that Captain Jack Sparrow?” asked Ronin, staring up at the ship.
I wished. I loved me some Johnny Depp. “Nope. This here is Captain Hook.”
The half-vampire put his hands on his hips, his eyes glancing from what was left of those two houses to the massive pirate ship. “Houston. We have a problem.”
“The fairy tales aren’t stopping. Are they?” asked Iris, waving her hand at some of the dust and debris falling around us.
“No.” I cast my gaze toward the ship again and spotted Marcus swinging from one of the masts like it was a jungle gym built for him. Pirates swung their long, curved swords at him, trying to slice the wereape, but he was too fast for them. Too skilled. If I didn’t know any better, I would have sworn he was having fun. Was that a grin on his gorilla face?
“What in the blazes is going on here!” Gilbert came running forward as fast as his grubby little legs would allow, staring at the ship like it was an alien craft that had just landed. That would have been just as plausible.
“We’re being attacked by pirates,” I told him.
Richardson, Kim. Witchy Little Lies (The Witches of Hollow Cove Book 12). Kindle Locations (1361-1435). Kindle Edition.
With a pirate ship destroying Hollow Cove, they needed to solve that problem and quickly. Tessa does something she’s never done before and it works. Now they have to find where these things are coming from and destroy it.
Fast paced and fun, this one had me holding my breath as Tessa faces fairytales containing loved ones.
I can’t wait to see what’s next in this series.
5 Contented Purrs for Kim!
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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.