New Release! Check out COURAGE OF THE WITCH by Deanna Chase – Includes an Excerpt!

Welcome to Keating Hollow, the magical village full of love, family, and spirit.

After Hanna Pelsh lost her sister over a decade ago, she vowed to live her life to the fullest. And she does just that. When she’s not running the family coffee shop and volunteering her body to research for the mysterious disease that took her sister, Hanna dives head first into every adventure she can find. The only problem? The man she’s loved since she was fifteen doesn’t seem able to commit.

Rhys Silver has his dream job working at the Keating Hollow brewery. The only thing missing is a partner by his side. He’s known who he wants for as long as he can remember. He also knows he’s no good for her. But when the worst happens, he has a choice to make… overcome his fears or lose her forever.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Jump to the Witches of Keating Hollow Series!

 

 

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Excerpt

CHAPTER ONE

“Hanna!” Faith Townsend yelled as she rushed into the Incantation Café. “I need a cupcake, STAT.”

Hanna turned from the baking counter and spotted her friend mid-yawn, her eyes droopy with fatigue. Her pale hair was pulled back into a ponytail, but tendrils had escaped, making her look disheveled. “Goodness. Is someone keeping you up late at night or what?”

She let out an exasperated snort. “I wish that’s why I was so beat. It would certainly make Hunter happy.”

“Busy at the spa?” Hanna asked, handing her a red velvet cupcake with one hand and pouring the milk for her fully-leaded double latte with the other.

“Busy doesn’t begin to cover it. Ever since Vivian started as a sales rep, we’ve been booked solid. If I don’t get a second therapist in there soon, I’m going to drop from exhaustion.”

“Got any promising prospects?” Hanna gathered up some day-old cookies for her best friend, wishing she could be more helpful. But it wasn’t like she could just go lend a hand. Faith needed a trained therapist, not a baker who’d only ever worked at one place.

“Yes, thank the gods. I had someone inquire a few days ago, but she’s coming in from out of town and can’t make it until next week. I just hope she’s as good in person as she is on paper, because if not, I’m going to have to hire the girl that smells like stinky cheese or the dude who winked at me no less than twenty times during his interview.” Faith visibly shuddered at the thought.

Hanna chuckled as she finished up the latte and handed it to Faith.

“Thank you,” Faith said, giving Hanna an exaggerated wink that made her laugh harder.

“You’re welcome. Now go wrap someone in seaweed or scrub them down with coffee grounds or whatever witchcraft you wield over at A Touch of Magic.”

“Next up is a salt scrub followed by a cupping treatment.”

“Cupping treatment? That sounds dirty.” She pushed the bag of cookies toward Faith. “Please tell me you haven’t turned the place into one of those happy-ending spas.”

Faith choked on her latte as she snorted out another laugh. “Stop,” she said once she got herself under control. “Listen, can I take a raincheck on our girls’ night tonight? I’ll probably fall asleep in my stuffed trout.”

“Sure, honey.” Hanna gave her a gentle smile. “You get some rest. We can meet up this weekend or whenever you have time.” She was careful to keep her tone light and full of understanding, but the truth was Hanna was disappointed. Faith had been leading a very full existence lately with her new business, a new man in her life who came with a young child, and a house that was being rebuilt. It was all good, but it didn’t leave a lot of time for girls’ night, and Hanna was missing her friend.

“I promise we’ll get together in a few days. Just let me check with Hunter to coordinate schedules, okay? I’ll text you.”

“Okay.” Hanna waved and gave her an encouraging smile as she rushed back out the door.

“That’s too bad. I know you were looking forward to seeing her. I guess that means you’re free tonight?” Mary Pelsh asked from the door of her office.

Hanna glanced over at her mother and shrugged. “Yeah, I guess. But it’s okay. It gives me a chance to finish reading Robyn Peterman’s latest release.” Hanna smiled at her mom. “Her books are hilarious.”

“Mmhmm. Sounds like a nice relaxing evening, but a girl your age should be out on the town on a Friday night.”

Hanna suppressed a sigh. She was at the ripe old age of twenty-seven, and her mother was getting anxious about her love life. She had a feeling Mary was just dying to plan her daughter’s wedding. “Maybe next week, Mom.”

Her mother gave her a skeptical look and then disappeared back into her office.

Annoyed by her mother’s judgement, Hanna moved to the sink and waved a hand. Immediately the water turned on, filling the basin. After it was three-quarter’s full, she placed the dirty dishes in the sink and waved her hand again, causing the water to churn. The spell was an old one that Hanna had perfected years ago. Within ten minutes, the dishes would be sparkling clean, and Hanna could spend her time doing something more useful, like prepping the batter for the next morning’s cookies. She’d just added the butter to the large mixer when the bell on the front door chimed.

“Be with you in a minute,” Hanna called over her shoulder.

“Take your time, love.” His familiar rough voice made gooseflesh pop out on her arms and she scowled.

She hated that Rhys Silver had that effect on her. Why couldn’t she just get over him already? Oh, right. It probably had something to do with the fact that he took care to come in every Friday afternoon during their slow period so that he could flirt with her when no one else was around.

“What do you want, Rhys?” she asked and winced when she heard her exasperated tone. The only thing worse than him causing a physical reaction was letting him know that he got under her skin.

“I was hoping for a large coffee, one of those chocolate scones, and a date for dinner.” He said it so casually she actually thought she’d heard him wrong.

She spun, trying to look anywhere but right at him. But he was right there at the counter, taking up all the space with his broad shoulders, thick dark hair, and smiling dark eyes. Rhys had two moods. He was either full of laughter and amusement, or he was brooding and distant. His recent Friday afternoon visits had, without fail, been the former. And it pissed her off because it made dodging him that much harder. “I’m sorry, what was that?”

“Large black coffee, a chocolate scone, and dinner tonight at seven at Woodlines,” he said, his lips forming a sexy little half smile that he knew she had trouble resisting.

“Coffee and scone coming right up.” Hanna turned and blew out a breath. This was the third week in a row he’d asked her out. And it was going to be the third week in a row she turned him down.

“I hear Woodlines has crab-stuffed trout as the special tonight,” he said.

Her mouth started to water with the suggestion.

“Tuna tartare, too, and lobster bisque.”

He was speaking Hanna’s language, but still, falling back into the friendship he’d blown off a year ago wasn’t in her master plan. “Sorry,” she said. “I’m busy.”

“Really?” He raised both eyebrows, clearly skeptical. “I just ran into Faith on the way in here. She said she was feeling bad because she had to cancel girls’ night. Come on, Hanna. I know you’re still angry with me. Let me make it up to you.”

Dammit, Faith, Hanna thought. It was infinitely easier to dodge him when she legitimately already had plans. That was the danger of living in a small town. Everyone knew everything about everyone. “I just don’t think—”

“Hanna!” Mary Pelsh called as she rushed out of her office again. “I’ve got great news.”

“What is it, Mom?” Hanna asked, grateful for the distraction.

“Barb Garber’s stepson, Chad, arrived last week. You remember him, don’t you? He spent a summer in Keating Hollow and helped us here in the café.”

Hanna had a vague recollection of a pale, skinny boy with acne and unruly curly hair that was always hiding his eyes. “Sure, Mom. He was here spending time with his dad and was hoping to get into some performing arts school, right?”

“That’s correct. He ended up studying music at a school down in San Francisco.” She grinned at her daughter. “He’s quite the accomplished pianist now. Anyway, he’s moved to Keating Hollow, and I told Barb you’d be happy to introduce him to the locals, grab some dinner, help him get reacquainted. Is seven okay? He could pick you up here, and you won’t have to spend another Friday night home alone.”

“I don’t spend my Friday nights alone,” Hanna huffed. “Are you forgetting about Bandit?”

“Bandit is your neighbor’s dog, honey,” Mary said, rolling her eyes. “That’s not even close to the same as male companionship.”

Hanna shrugged. “I like hanging out with her. Someone has to when Chelsea works double shifts at the hospital.”

“So, can I tell Barb you’re good to go?” Mary said, bulldozing over Hanna’s dodge.

Silence hung in the air as Hanna tried to swallow her irritation. Not only did she have zero desire to show the new guy around town, her mother had just confirmed to Rhys that she actually didn’t have plans that evening. He’d already figured it out, but she’d been planning to make up something about having already texted Noel, Faith’s sister. If she still went with that excuse, she’d be lying to her mother as well as Rhys, and the thought made her stomach churn. She never lied to her mom. The woman could always tell anyway. That particular ability was really annoying, but it had conditioned Hanna to always tell the truth.

Rhys cleared his throat.

“Oh, hello Rhys,” Mary said, smoothing her black curls as she smiled at him. “Forgive me for being so rude. I didn’t even realize you were standing there.” She let out a nervous chuckle. “Gosh, I guess I was just a little excited to set Hanna up on a date. It’s been a really long time since she—”

“Mom!” Hanna barked.

“What, honey?” Mary blinked innocently at her. “I was just trying to help.”

Hanna narrowed her eyes at her mother, trying to figure out her game. Mary Pelsh was not clueless. In fact, Hanna was fairly certain her mother knew that she’d had a thing for Rhys for years. So it didn’t make sense for her to try to embarrass her in front of Rhys unless—

“Hanna already has plans tonight,” Rhys said. “I’m taking her to dinner at Woodlines and then a late movie over in Eureka. Maybe she can catch up some other time with… what’s his name? Chad?”

Mary nodded and beamed as she said, “Yes. Chad. He’s really good looking, too.” She leaned into Hanna. “A real frog-to-prince story.”

“Right,” Rhys said. “Anyway, maybe Hanna can catch up with him another night.”

“Oh, well, isn’t that lovely,” Mary said with a pleased smile. She turned and patted her daughter on the shoulder. “I’ll just let Barb know tonight’s not a good night. I’m sure Chad will be just fine.”

After her mother disappeared back into her office, Hanna eyed Rhys. “I never agreed to dinner.”

“You can still back out,” he said, shrugging one shoulder. “But then you’ll have to hang out with Chad.” There was a gleam in his eye, one that said he knew exactly what she was going to do. And it both infuriated and amused her. She hated that he knew her so well. It made it impossible to keep him at arm’s length.

“Fine. Woodlines at seven. But no movie,” Hanna said. “I’ve been up since five a.m.”

His grin widened. “Seven it is.”

 

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