What Devilry is This?
Mature Magic Book 1
Psst! Can I tell you a secret? Midlife is a c-r-a-z-y ride. Not what I expected at all. But, I’m having a ton of fun in between the…you know…near death experiences and bladder-testing moments of complete terror.
How did midlife get so out of control? All I wanted was to make my own mark on the world. Start my own business to celebrate my freedom from an uninspiring marriage. What did I get instead? I have a bat in my belfry. Not a metaphor…a REAL bat. I’ve got a woods in my back yard that’s full of something dark from my nightmares. I’ve got a sexy neighbor who seems to appear out of nowhere. And my best friends, yeah, they’re witches. What the..?
My life has become a carnival and I’m sitting at the top of the long drop for the biggest roller coaster.
Things are hairier than my chin. And midlife is definitely not shaping up to be calm and graceful.
"I think the author is a witch! Great book with some wonderfully original characters and a story with some laugh out loud moments that left me with a case of the warm and fuzzies and a smile still on my face ten minutes after I finished it. It must be magic! I will definitely be looking out for more in this series in the future."
More from this series
Praise for What Devilry is This?
Wonderfully Mystical! A non believer is thrown into the realms of Magic, finding friends and family are hiding things, having strange people and beings coming to help her, given nearly impossible tasks to figure out , discovering her true path in life, and so much more in this fascinating tale.
Booksprout Reader Review
A fascinating look into the creation of a deity from the mind of the author. A wonderful story of working together for good under the direst of circumstances. Learning to trust others to have your back in situations totally beyond your control. Brilliant!
Read an Excerpt
A deep, booming gong brought me upright with a pounding heart. “Cuss!” I yelled. “What in the cuss, swear, cuss is that?”
Unfortunately, I’d had a lifelong habit of swearing too much. Saying the words cuss and swear instead of actually indulging in the practice of cussing and swearing was my admittedly weird attempt to change that. It mostly worked like a charm.
Monty jumped up too, tail wagging manically as he barked with alarm.
My eyes skimmed to the cell phone on the bedside table and I reached out, tapping the screen.
I dropped my head into my hands as another gong sounded. The bell. I’d forgotten about the bell. Jeezopete! What was the bell doing going off at midnight?
I considered just waiting it out. By my calculations, I only needed to survive ten more gongs, assuming it was chiming out the hour like a giant grandfather clock.
I rubbed my face, exhausted. But as the bell gonged again, I knew I wouldn’t be able to sleep until I’d seen what I could do to stop it. With my luck, the thing would keep chiming every hour until I found the Off switch.
With a long-suffering sigh, I shoved back the covers and climbed out, feeling every minute of my forty-five years, three months, ten days, eight hours, and some number of minutes which I refused to consider.
I mean, that would just be psychotic.
Monty bounced happily across the bed and bounded down his dog steps, his bright gaze fixed excitedly on me.
What I wouldn’t give to have a tenth of his energy.
“Come on, handsome. We’re going on a middle of the night adventure.”
I slid my feet into my favorite pair of fuzzy slippers with the hard soles. I’d only ascended the bell tower stairs once, and I remembered the wood had been a little rough.
No splinter souvenirs for me, thank you very much.
Remembering the cool mist from earlier, I grabbed a robe I’d thrown over a chair earlier and tugged it on over my nightgown.
Monty bounded ahead of me, his long ears bouncing and his entire back-end wagging with excitement.
I opened the narrow wooden door off the kitchen and realized there was no light on the steps. Fortunately, I’d brought my cell. I tapped the flashlight icon, and light flared into the narrow stairwell.
Monty was already at the top of the steps, his nails clacking over the rough wooden floor above.
The sound of the bell was much louder inside the stairwell. I wondered if it would strike me deaf by the time I got to the top.
Static electricity bit at my skin as I started up. Sparks flared where my fingers tugged my gown up to keep from tripping over it. The stairwell smelled of ozone, as if there was a storm coming. The hairs on my arms lifted from some unseen energy.
I hesitated. If there was lightning in the atmosphere, was it smart to climb to the highest point in the building, like some kind of living lightning rod?
“Cuss, swear, cuss!” I muttered under my breath. I needed to woman up and just get ’er done.
Monty started to bark. Was the little idiot barking at the bell?
“Hush, little boy,” I called out.
He whimpered, and panic flared. “Monty?”
I started to run. The staircase stretched out ahead of me like a nightmare. The rising steps seemed endless as I heard my dog running around the belfry, whining and whimpering.
My heart slammed against my ribs. My thighs burned. Still, the belfry seemed a hundred miles away. What in the goddess’s good name was happening?
Light flared from the belfry, a silvery light that burned my eyes like the sun and gave off physical heat.
I dug in and tried to run faster.
The light eased slowly away, the heat going with it, and the sound of Monty’s barking dulled, seeming far away. My ears were plugged. Panting and feeling as if my legs were going to buckle out from under me at any moment, I ran on, not knowing what else to do.
Suddenly, my ears popped, and I blinked. I was standing at the top of the stairs. The big brass bell was pocked and corroded with the years. The metal clapper in the center trembled as if some unseen force was jiggling it.
By my count, that had been twelve gongs. I should be able to find the brakes for the thing in peace.
“Monty?” Nails danced toward me from the other side of the belfry. I breathed a sigh of relief when the little dog trotted out of the shadows, tail wagging.
“Are you okay?” I asked him, crouching down to run my hands over his soft fur. He seemed perfectly fine…although he was vibrating like the clapper on the bell.
“What in the world happened?” I asked, wishing he could actually answer.
I went very still. Thirteen gongs? No. That wasn’t right.
Monty suddenly whipped around and ran back into the shadows. “Monty, come back here.” I hurried after him. The belfry was giving me the creeps, and I decided I’d wait until morning to fix the bell. If I had to, I’d put earplugs in my ears to get through the rest of the night.
My little dog watched me approach with my light. He stood on his back legs, his front paws resting on the short belfry wall. Whining, he danced excitedly as I reached him, begging to be lifted.
“You can’t go up there,” I told him, eyeing the narrow ledge around the top of the short wall. Rising from the wall on all four sides were open archways that would allow the bell’s music to travel across the countryside.
I looked out on the graveyard in the back, shivering at the sight of the fog roiling over the ground. It looked like a scene from a Halloween horror flick. I pulled my robe closer as I stared out over the fog-shrouded tombstones.
The graveyard was old. Really old. With tombstones that were broken and falling over. The grass and weeds had grown up all around the stones, in some cases obscuring them entirely.
Maintenance on the little plot had been neglected for years. I was going to change that. The ground below me was sacred. The lives within it were important. Giving them back the resting spot they deserved was at the top of the list of things I planned to take care of as soon as I got settled.
Distant lightning spiked from the sky in a jagged spear of light and energy. A moment later, a soft boom told me thunder was hot on its heels. A cool breeze washed over me as Monty started to bark.
Lightning stabbed downward again, significantly closer to my little piece of paradise. We needed to get out of there. “Come on, Monty. We’ll come back in the morning.” With relief, I watched him bolt across the belfry and bound eagerly down the steps.
I started to follow him. But something caught my eye in the graveyard. I turned to look and felt a jolt of fear. Someone was standing out there among the broken stones. I went very still, my eyes locked on the tall form. He…and I was pretty sure it was a man…stared back at me. Though I couldn’t make out any features, just the gentle tilt of his head, I could feel his gaze like a brand against my skin. With a sudden, inexplicable certainty, I knew he was looking directly at me.
We stared at each other for a beat as the fog swirled around his long legs, and then he slowly lifted a hand as if in a wave.
All the hair rose on my arms again.
The belfry exploded into light−detonated in a cacophonous boom.And the world turned charcoal gray beneath it.