Witch Kissed (Old Sarum Witch Cozy Mystery Series, #1)

By: K.E. O Connor

Old Sarum Witch Cozy Mystery Series, Volume 1

Chapter 1

“If Kim Elliott didn’t have so many dirty thoughts this wouldn’t be a problem.” Ivy Thornheart smacked a glass vial full of dried herbs onto the counter.

“We all have dirty thoughts.” Ivy’s sister, Bryony, gave her an indulgent smile. “I bet you’ve had several this morning.”

Ivy swiped her long dark hair over one shoulder. “But our client is permanently blue. All of Kim’s thoughts can’t be that bad.”

“Perhaps she reads a lot of racy novels,” said Bryony, inspecting one of the silver rings on her slim fingers. “Those thoughts might be considered naughty by the curse she’s under.”

“Whoever cursed Kim knows her well. It’s the perfect curse, changing color every time you think about something you shouldn’t.” Ivy uncorked the glass vial and dumped the herbs into a granite bowl before grinding them with a small pestle.

“I feel sorry for Kim. Nobody deserves to be cursed like that.” Bryony looked around the inside of the Love Cauldron, the store she’d run with Ivy for the last two years. It was a simple, mainly wooden structure, with a counter by the door, rows of ready prepared spell mixtures for clients to buy lining the walls, and a stack of spell books to browse. There was a comfortable green sofa and chairs they used when discussing spells with clients or for taking a rest from the popular business of spells and potion making. The store also had a small apartment upstairs where the girls lived, a stock room out the back, and a quiet room they used to raise familiars in.

“I bet she does deserve it,” said Ivy. “I’m never certain about Kim. She always seems so cheerful.”

Bryony laughed, her bright blue eyes sparkling. “You say that about me. Does that mean I deserve to be cursed to turn blue as well?”

“You’d probably benefit from a curse or two.” Ivy shot her younger sister a dark look. “I haven’t forgotten you ate the last brownie from the tin yesterday.”

Bryony stuck her tongue out. “A truly curse worthy error. I have already replaced them with a fresh batch.”

Ivy shook her head and tapped the herbs neatly into the center of the bowl on the counter. “Come see what you think of this mixture. If we add a few drops of chamomile and perhaps a dash of dried pumpkin, it could remove the curse.”

Bryony lifted her floor length cream colored skirt off the ground and walked to the counter. She dipped her finger into the herb mixture and tasted it. Her nose wrinkled and she grimaced.

“It’s not meant to taste nice,” said Ivy with a frown. “It’s meant to counteract the curse. Although it would help if we knew who created it in the first place. We all have our own talents when it comes to spell creation. If Kim figures out who cursed her, we can go straight to the source and discover what was used to create the curse and break it easily.”

Bryony sampled the herbs again. The gritty substance on her tongue tasted of cloves, thyme, and something bitter she couldn’t identify. She watched Ivy as she turned from the counter and extracted more ingredients for the counter curse spell. Ivy had a penchant for darker magic; spells that could frighten and scare. But she was also the expert when it came to new spell creation and had a knack for identifying the perfect combination of ingredients for a powerful spell or a curse breaking potion.

“You’re right about adding the chamomile,” said Bryony. “You need something to counteract the punch of arsenic in there.”

Ivy twisted towards her sister, her hands full of ingredients. “I’m impressed you can taste it.”

“It was a guess. But it’s your poison of choice.”

“It’s not a poison, not when it’s used correctly,” said Ivy. “I find it adds an interesting kick to most spells I create. No client has ever complained about it being used. And nobody has died.”

“Well, they wouldn’t complain, your spells always work.” Ivy might have a dark side, but everyone knew what an amazing witch she was. Possibly the strongest witch in Old Sarum.

“This one doesn’t want to work.” Ivy dropped the ingredients she held onto the counter. “This must be the tenth variation of a counter curse we’ve tried.”

“We’ll get there eventually,” said Bryony. “I’ve never known one of your mixtures to fail us.”

Ivy dripped three measures of liquid into the herbs and stirred vigorously. A few seconds later, a pungent scent of damp moss drifted around the store and black smoke filled the air. Ivy kept her head down, her long dark hair concealing her features.