Authors: Rose Pressey
Charmed Ever After
By Rose Pressey
Things have changed for Halloween LaVeau now that she’s no longer the leader of the Underworld. Her witchcraft skills are seriously lacking and she’s been kicked out of LaVeau Manor. Plus, now that the groom is missing the wedding plans have come to a screeching halt.
The new leader has big plans for the Underworld, but none of them involve Hallie. Will the bride and groom make it to the altar to say I do? Has Hallie lost everything she holds dear? Will the Underworld survive without her leadership? She’ll have to use every ounce of power she can find if she wants to be charmed ever after.
“Rose Pressey’s book are fun!”
Praise for Me and My Ghoulfriends by Rose Pressey
“Rose Pressey spins a delightful tale with misfits and romance that makes me cheer loudly.”
Coffee Time Romance
“Her characters are alive and full of quick witted charm and will make you laugh. The plot twists keep you turning the pages non-stop.”
“I absolutely loved this book! It had me chuckling from the beginning.”
Fallen Angel Review
Rose Pressey’s Complete Bookshelf (click title to preview/buy)
Paranormal P.I. Series
What the Hex?
Chase Charley Series:
For Old Crimes Sake
Seems Like Old Crimes
Haunted Tour Guide Mystery Series:
Walk this Way, Haunt this Way
Haunted Vintage Series:
Book 3 –
Haunt Couture and Ghosts Galore
Book 4 – Haunted is Always in Fashion
Book 5 – Untitled 2016
Maggie, P.I. Mystery Series:
Book 1 –
Book 2 –
Murder is a Beach
The Halloween LaVeau Series:
Book 1 –
Book 2 –
Book 3 –
Third Time’s a Charm
Book 5 –
A Charmed Life
The Hadley Wilds Series:
Book 3 —
Spells a la Carte
The Veronica Mason Series:
Book 1 –
Rock ‘n’ Roll is Undead
A Trash to Treasure Crafting Mystery:
Book 1 –
Murder at Honeysuckle Hotel
All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce this book or portions thereof in any form, (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise) without the prior written permission of the copyright owner. This book is a work of fiction. The names, characters, incidents, places, and brands are the product of the author’s imagination and not to be construed as real. The author acknowledges the trademarked status and trademark owners of various products referenced in this work of fiction, which have been used without permission. The publication/use of these trademarks is not authorized, associated with, or sponsored by the trademark owners.
This is to you and you know who you are.
To my son, who brings me joy every single day and is the love of my life. To my mother, who introduced me to the love of books. To my husband, who encourages me and always has faith in me. A huge thank you to my editor, Eleanor Boyall. And to the readers who make writing fun.
Soon it would be the anniversary of when I’d inherited LaVeau Manor from my great-aunt Maddy. More importantly, it was almost the one-year anniversary of when I’d been named leader of the Underworld. Well, I supposed I hadn’t been named leader so much as I’d just obtained the position by default. I guessed you could say I’d lucked into it… or was that un-lucked into it? That depended on what my mood was when someone asked.
Bridal and wedding magazines littered the kitchen counter. My mother’s big brown eyes were even wider than usual. She buzzed around the room like a hummingbird. I’d never seen her this excited.
She’d been planning this event in her mind since my birth. When she’d realized I had zero witchcraft skills, she’d moved on to hoping I found a dream husband. Actually, it was her ideal husband and not necessarily what I was looking for in a spouse. Honestly, I’d given little thought to getting married. Not that I was against it, but I’d been in no hurry.
Now my witchcraft had improved, but that wasn’t enough to get her to stop thinking about the upcoming wedding. Nicolas Marcos had asked me to marry him and my mother was in full wedding-planning mode. My best friend Annabelle Preston was just as involved with Operation Hallie’s Wedding.
We’d been sipping tea and munching on cookies while we sat in the kitchen—one of my favorite spots in the manor. The kitchen was all white—walls and cabinets. There were so many jars lining the walls that I had lost count. A large black cauldron sat in the giant stone fireplace against the far wall. An island cabinet was in the middle of the space with stools around it. That was where I usually sat to work on my spells.
My mother and Annabelle were currently arguing about what colors should be used for the wedding. Annabelle insisted on pink and my mother wanted lavender. Neither of them bothered to ask what color I wanted, which was a pretty turquoise, by the way. Tiffany blue, to be exact.
Nicolas had thundered into my life like a storm in the night. When he’d asked me to marry him, I wouldn’t deny that I hadn’t doubted my answer just a bit. I truly loved Nicolas though, so I pushed that negativity to the back of my mind. It was fine to question something. We should make this type of decision wisely and not just jump into it.
Maybe rushing a decision wasn’t the only reason for my hesitation. No, I’d thought about it long and hard, but Nicolas had a brother. Well, they were half-brothers, both part-witch and part-vampire. Liam Rankin had asked me to marry him as well. See my dilemma? Though he had taken the proposal back and claimed that it was a spell gone wrong,that I had skewed his judgment and made him ask. I believed him because a spell had been placed on him at the time, but part of me wondered if he’d told the truth
My mother and Annabelle were now fighting over what type of flowers should be used in the boutique. Annabelle wanted roses and my mother wanted lilies. I wanted peonies. With the same blonde hair that reached down past our shoulders, Annabelle and I were often mistaken for sisters. Our eyes matched with the identical shade of blue too. Though Annabelle was a few inches taller than me at five foot five inches. Today Annabelle wore jeans and a pink sweater. That was her favorite color.
My mother wore a long black dress with black leopard print five inch Christian Louboutin heels. She was a stylish witch. I liked fashion, but I saved the heels for special occasions, preferring my white sneakers for every day wear.
My mother wanted to be fashionable and rarely left home without her heels. She had an eclectic mix though. She wore her hair up in a twist with little tendrils falling around her round face and gold bangles covered both of her wrists.
When the doorbell rang, they immediately stopped bickering and looked at me as if to say,
Who the heck is that?
In the past when the doorbell rang it usually brought bad news.
Finally, my mother waved her hand and marched toward the door. “Oh, that must be the wedding planner.”
I jumped up and headed after her. “You hired a wedding planner? But you enjoy arguing about planning the wedding so much, why would you have someone else do it?”
Annabelle was trailing behind us. “So she can have someone else to argue with, of course.”
“I heard that,” my mother snapped.
“I meant for her to,” Annabelle whispered.
“And I heard that too,” my mother added.
We reached the giant wooden door of LaVeau Manor. When I first moved in, I’d never thought I would get used to the size of this place—or the creepiness, for that matter. The rumor was that the bones of an ancestor were hidden in the walls. But I believed it was just that… rumor. Sure, the place was a little haunted, but what old house wasn’t? There was a graveyard right out back. Sometimes my spells had gone slightly wrong (okay, a lot wrong) and I’d brought the dead back to life. That was neither here nor there now though.
I was pretty sure the screwed-up witchcraft was all behind me now. As a matter of fact, my spells were so fantastic now that everyone asked me for advice. Me? I could hardly believe it. Not that I was bragging or anything. Okay, maybe just a little, but it was okay to toot your own horn occasionally, right? Just as long as I didn’t get an inflated ego about it.
My mother grabbed the giant antique brass doorknob and yanked the massive door open. The smartly dressed woman outside wore a black pencil skirt and matching jacket. A crisp white blouse peeked out from underneath. Her auburn hair fell in loose waves to her shoulders. She had a leather binder in her hands. Apparently she meant business and was ready to start work immediately. This wedding planner had no idea what she was getting herself into.
The woman flashed a bright white smile. “You must be Sylvia. I’m Monique, the wedding planner.”
My mother grabbed Monique by the arm and practically yanked her inside. “Yes, yes, come in. We need your help.”
We didn’t need her help at all. My mother acted as if the wedding was tomorrow.
I pried my mother’s hand off of the woman’s arm. “Mom, look at me. Look in my eyes.” I wiggled my fingers in front of her face. “Calm down. It’s a wedding. The day will come and go and everything will be fine. Take a deep breath.”
My mother quirked her one eyebrow at me. And yes, I had said one eyebrow. I’d scorched the other one off years ago in a minor spell accident when I was fourteen. Who knew the thing would never grow back? That was behind us now. I knew my mother wasn’t happy with me.
“Follow us into the kitchen. We can sit down and go over everything. Would you like something to drink? Iced tea or coffee?” I motioned for Monique to follow me.
“Tea would be great,” Monique said as she followed me.
Once in the kitchen, I motioned toward the stools around the island. “Please take a seat.”
“I’ll get you a glass of tea,” my mother said as she headed toward the refrigerator.
Something didn’t seem right about this woman as she took a seat at the island and started going through her binder. Though everyone said I was way too paranoid. How could I not be paranoid when there was someone always trying to do something to me? When I’d discovered the Book of Mystics, I’d instantly become the leader of the Underworld, but that meant other people wanted to be the leader too. And some of those people would stop at nothing to get that book. Maybe if they knew all the headaches that went into the job they wouldn’t really want to do it after all.
The spellbook was a massive leather tome. The pages were a fine cream linen with beautifully scripted font in black ink. The borders of the pages had a fanciful scroll pattern. The outside had the words Book of Mystics with intricate gold symbols and scroll patterns.
“Halloween, are you listening to us?” My mother waved her hand in front of my face.
“Oh, yeah, the wedding cake… I was thinking instead of a cake we could make cupcakes. It could be a three-tiered stand of cupcakes and it would look like a cake.”
My mother, Annabelle, and Monique stared at me with wide eyes and open mouths, as if I had just asked for a nude wedding with clowns and a broccoli-flavored cake.
“Well, that’s something we can do…” the wedding planner said.
She didn’t sound convinced, but I thought it sounded like a fantastic idea.
“Or we could go with my idea.” My mother pulled out her giant white binder.
Across the front was written
Were the all caps really necessary? My mother turned to the page that displayed a photo of a ginormous cake shaped like the Eiffel Tower.
“That’s wonderful,” the wedding planner said breathlessly, as if it was the best thing she’d ever seen.
I looked at Annabelle, thinking that surely she would help me out of this.
“It’s really cute,” Annabelle said in a chipper voice.
How could she betray me like this? Okay, had someone placed a spell on the women to make them love the worst wedding cake ever? Sure, there were worse things than having a cake designed like the most famous monument in France, but this was only the beginning of their crazy plans. Maybe they would like the naked wedding idea after all. I shuddered at the thought.
“Oh, I almost forgot.” Monique grabbed her tote bag. “I have a veil for you to try on. Your mother asked me to bring it.” She kept pulling fabric from the bag. It was like a magician pulling out an endless amount of scarves.
My mother clapped her hands together. “It’s stunning.”
“Breathtaking,” Annabelle added.
Was this one of those hidden camera shows? I looked around for the concealed equipment.
Finally, the veil ended and Monique stood from the stool and walked over to me. “Oh, you may want to remove the necklace, because the lace might catch.”
“The thing actually has to go over my face?” I asked.
She nodded. “You’ll love it, trust me.”
I was always nervous about removing my necklace. The keys to my room and the safe that contained the spellbook was hanging from the chain and they were always with me. But I supposed since it wouldn’t be out of my sight it would be fine. I slipped the necklace off.
“I’ll hold it for you.” Monique stretched her hand out toward me.
I hesitated. My mother motioned for me to hand over the necklace. Finally, I gave it to Monique. We made the exchange and now I had this hideous veil.
“Put it on,” my mother said.
I positioned it over my head and, just as I’d expected, the women gasped with delight. How long would I let this nonsense continue? I didn’t want to hurt my mother’s feelings.
“It’s perfect,” my mother said.
“Stunning,” Monique said.
“I love it,” Annabelle added.
Maybe I was the one with bad taste since they all loved it.
I pulled it from my head and shoved it back at Monique. “I can’t breathe under there.”
Monique handed me the necklace back. “Here you go.”
I draped it over my head and around my neck again. It felt as if part of me was missing when I didn’t have that chain with the keys around my neck.
“Okay, we can work on all of this later. Right now, I just need you to sign the contract so we can get this under way.” Monique opened up her leather folder again and then shoved the paper toward me.
I knew my mother would be devastated if I didn’t sign. Reluctantly, I grasped the pen and signed on the dotted line. Maybe I should have looked at what I’d signed first, but with my mother giving me that expectant stare and Monique hovering over my shoulder, I didn’t even bother. What was the worst that could happen?
After I returned it to Monique, she examined it quickly. “Great. We’ll get started right away. Do you have any questions for me?”
“No, I think I’m good,” I said.
“Do you mind if I use the powder room?” Monique asked.
“Sure, it’s just around the corner and then down the hallway.” I pointed.
“I hope I don’t get lost in this big old house.” She laughed.
“If you get lost we’ll come find you,” my mother said.
Before leaving, Monique took the contract and veil and stuffed them back into her folder. “Thanks,” she said and then walked away.
When I thought she was out of earshot, I said, “Do you really think we need her?”
My mother placed her hands on her hips. “Well, it’s a little too late for that now, isn’t it? You already signed the contract.”
Annabelle nodded as she nibbled on a cracker. “You did sign already. Too late now, Hallie.”
“Why did you let me do it then?” I asked.
“I thought that was what you wanted,” my mother said.
“I only did it because you brought her here,” I mumbled.
“What did you say?” my mother asked.
“Love you, Mom. That’s what I said.” I forced a smile.
Quite a while had passed and the wedding planner still hadn’t returned.
“What’s taking her so long?” I whispered.
“Maybe she really did get lost,” Annabelle said.
Monique had laughed about it, but I supposed it was possible. The place was big, but now that strange feeling came back over me. There had been an odd vibe in the air as soon as Monique had set foot in LaVeau Manor. Now I was really starting to worry.