Meet Cecily Plum! A witch who doesnt know she’s a witch…yet.

I’m excited to introduce another new series for you to enjoy! Cecily Plum has had magic all her life, but only after she gets a job at a mysterious crime-fighting agency does she find out that she is a witch! Book one is called Witch Is How To Find Your Magic.

I love writing about this fun new character, and these stories aim to bring a series of a lighter hearted, fresh, rapid-read stories into my Magicwild Universe mysteries. Cecily is in her early twenties and is just at the start of her life’s adventures, and you will get to learn all about the magical world along with her as she makes all of her discoveries.

In book one, Cecily must deal with the promise of her new life threatening to fall apart when her new flatmate goes missing. She is determined to use grit and determination to find out what happened to her friend rather than magic, because believing in magic is simply crazy, right?!

Read a sample chapter below:


I was excited. I dragged my heavy suitcase up the long staircase one step at a time. It weighed about a ton but today nothing could get me down.

I was starting my brand new life today. I was going to be a normal serious adult, and had even decided it was time to stop using my magic. Mum had said I was imagining it and that it was only going to get me in trouble, and she had been right.

New job, new me. Mum would have been proud.

“Whoopee!” I squealed under my breath and then laughed at myself for being childish.

Being serious would start later on today when I arrived at my new office. For now I just wanted to enjoy this giddy feeling.

I lugged the behemoth of a suitcase up one last step to the landing at the top. It was heavy because it had all my precious books in it. After wiping my brow, I gave a little skippety-hop, and promptly nearly fell down the stairs.

I grabbed the bannister just in time to save myself.

“Cecily Plum, twisting your ankle now will ruin everything,” I chided myself.

Chuckling, I turned to contemplate the door of my new apartment. “The Loft,” as my friend Lola called it. The loft was hers and she had said I could stay with her until I found my own place.

The door was one of those great big stout wooden ones. Very fancy looking. But I was a bit worried it might creak loudly when I opened it. If that didn’t wake Lola, the sound of me lugging all my luggage and boxes inside would.

Lola was not a morning person. She liked her beauty sleep and I did not want to start things off on the wrong foot by disturbing it.

I took my phone out of my pocket to check if she had replied to my messages. She had not.

She was probably completely zonked out. When I had last spoken to her yesterday afternoon, she’d told me she’d be going to a club last night and wouldn’t be checking her phone. Lola loved to be out and about having fun. She was dating some new guy too. She had a busy life, and it was no wonder she wasn’t replying to my messages.

Ooh! Maybe I would finally meet this mystery man she had been raving about!

To give Lola a bit more time to sleep in, I decided to lug the rest of my boxes up here first.

I skipped all the way back down several flights of stairs to where I had left the rest of my stuff below, humming a tune beneath my breath.

I stopped when I realised that I was humming, “Every little thing she does is magic.”

Mum had never liked that song. It had the word magic in it. All things to do with magic had scared her. She had always been so worried my over-imagination and me antics were going to get me in trouble.

The rest of my stuff was where I had left it at the bottom of the stairs. In my old neighbourhood I would never have left it all lying around untended. But this was St Katherine Docks, and I felt safe already.

This exclusive and secluded little area of London was like its own self-contained village. Plus it was dawn and no one was around.

Also, Lola had told me only our top-secret loft had access to this lobby. Top secret because no one was supposed to know we were living here.

Chuckling at this bit of mischief, I went to grab another box.

A loud yowl of discontent stopped me in my tracks.

It came from a cat carrier. Beastly was inside looking very annoyed with me.

“Okay, okay,” I murmured fondly. “I’ll let you out if you promise not to trip me up on these stairs. Is that a deal?”

Beastly glowered at me from within his little prison and refused to meow in agreement.

I crossed my arms over my chest and held out.

We had a little staring match – his baleful green eyes versus my sparkly blue ones.

Beastly was still just a kitten really. A scraggly floofy ball of grey fluff. I had rescued him and his siblings from a fire. I had managed to give the rest of them all away, finding lovely homes for them, but I had not had the heart to give Beastly away. I was sure that no one could love him as much as I did.

Beastly won our staring match. He was just too cute. With a sigh, I let him out, and tickled his adorable little nose. He ignored me, and proceeded to scamper up the stairs, determined to explore his new home.

I scooped him up before he could escape.

“If you see Lola, hide,” I cautioned him in a whisper.

I hadn’t told Lola about Beastly yet. I planned to introduce the two of them carefully. He was not the scampering playful little thing that his brothers and sisters had been. It would take a little more work to persuade Lola that once you got to know grumpy little Beastly, he really was the most wonderful darling.

After setting him free, I hoisted up another box. Ouch. Heavy. This one had more books in it, and the big suitcase had exhausted my muscles already.

I managed to go up only one flight of stairs with it before I had to stop and rest. This was going to take forever. At this rate I was going to be late for work.

I could not afford to be late on my first day.

I took a quick peek around. No one was here. Of course they weren’t. This was a secret loft after all.

Okay then, one last time wouldn’t hurt I told myself.

I stared really hard at the box I was carrying, and wished really hard for it to be as light as a feather.

My magic rewarded me. The box wafted gently up into the air.

I gave a squeal of delight and clapped my hands together. The box crashed back down to the ground with a sound like thunder.

With a gasp of dismay, I caught it with my magic and lifted it back up again.

At least magic was the word I used for what I was doing. The thing is that I wasn’t even sure what it was. Sometimes when I wasn’t doing it, it seemed like it couldn’t possibly ever have really happened. Since I was a kid I would guiltily use it and afterwards I would tell myself that it wasn’t real and had never happened. That was easy to believe, because how could magic possibly be real?

This time I continued to concentrate really hard as I guided the box up the stairs ahead of me. I did put my hands under it as if I was carrying it, but this was only in case Lola happened to come down the stairs and see me.

If the box really was floating, she was bound to scream and think it was a ghost carrying it or something. Lola believed in wacky things like that.

I hoped the thunderous thumping when it had dropped before hadn’t woken her up yet.

I carried the rest of my boxes up that way, feeling a little bit guilty by now, because mum had never liked me to use magic.

I told myself that it was the possibility of me getting caught doing it that she hadn’t liked, rather than me using magic. She had been so scared that someone would find out I was abnormal.

This one last time would not hurt. And then I would stop. Because whatever this thing I called magic really was, it was the reason I found it hard to make friends because I had to keep it a big fat secret. It made me feel so alone.

Plus mum had cautioned me that it wasn’t normal. That one day it would get me in big trouble if I kept doing it.

Mum was gone now. I could imagine her up there somewhere in heaven frowning down at me for doing this.

As I floated up the last box, I whispered, “Sorry, mum. You know I love you really.”

When I had finished with my boxes, I eased open that great big door with my shiny new key.

I had been right. The hinges creaked loudly.

Beastly scampered in ahead of me. I walked into the new apartment, and fumbled around for the light switch. When they came on, I almost squealed out loud. Instead I silently screamed in joy and clapped my hands quietly.

I was still scared about waking Lola.

I had to celebrate though. Even if it was silently. The apartment was amazing. Ahead of me was a huge open-plan kitchen-diner-lounge, wonderfully decorated in plush furniture.

The rent for this apartment was no doubt an absolute fortune. I could never have afforded it. In fact, with her job as a funeral home cosmetician, Lola could not afford it either. I had no idea how she paid for it. Maybe her rich granny had left her some money in her will.

However Lola had got this place must have been a little bit dodgy because she had told me she lived here on the down-low. No one could know.

I couldn’t blame her for not wanting to lose this place. This apartment was the dream.

I felt like I had won the lottery of life.

Just a couple of weeks ago I had been living in a tiny box room with mildew on the walls and a bathroom that I had to share with the eight other residents of my house. I had been working paycheck to paycheck as a waitress, worrying about becoming homeless if I couldn’t make the rent, and spending all my evenings and nights applying for the kind of job I had hoped to have after leaving university.

And now here I was, about to start a dream job with the police. Well, actually, not exactly the police. The Agency. It was some sort of private and confidential detective unit that worked alongside the real police.

I hadn’t even applied for the job. The interview invitation had just turned up one day in my email inbox. I had no idea how they had got hold of my CV.

The guy who had interviewed me had told me I would be serving in an administrative position, working alongside a team of crime investigators.

I wasn’t really sure what the job was all about, but I knew that the salary was enough to pay rent on a decent apartment and not have to spend sleepless nights worrying about the bills.

And even better, when I had mentioned to Lola that the job was in Central London, she had offered to let me stay! I couldn’t believe it! Lola and I had been close when we were young, but had grown apart, mostly dropping out of touch when we had gone to separate universities. It was really nice of her.

It felt like everything in my life was coming together magically.

Magic. That word again.

Beaming, I looked around to make sure that Lola was not anywhere in the lounge or kitchen area, and then I used my magic to float my luggage and boxes into my bedroom.

Beastly watched me, looking disapproving.

I didn’t care.

My brand-new bedroom had a huge four poster bed! I couldn’t believe it. With gauzy curtains hanging down all around the plush bedding. And it had its own attached bathroom!

I gave a little groan at the thought that sooner or later I would have to leave this place. Any apartment that I found was never going to be as wonderful as this.

But I refused to waste time worrying about this. Today was going to be a wonderful day.

I had no time for unpacking. I should have moved in a couple of days ago but my boss at the café I used to work at had gotten sick. I had felt too guilty about leaving them a waitress short so had worked there until the very last minute. That was why I had been dragging my boxes across London at the crack of dawn today. My new job started in a couple of hours.

So after taking a shower, I found the dress that Lola had talked me into wearing for my first day.

I held it up against me and looked in the mirror. It was a very nice tailored dress, but I wasn’t sure about it. It was red. The kind of brilliant cherry red that was completely unashamed of itself.

I had loved the dress when I had picked it out at the shop, but while the cut was perfect for work, I wasn’t sure about the colour.

But super-confident Lola had told me that the best way to get through life was to make a big impression. That I couldn’t afford to be meek on my first day. I had to make a splash.

So before I could think twice about it, I hurriedly put the dress on, pairing it with some nude tights and sensible shoes. Then I spent an absolute age trying to style my red hair into a neat chignon.

A few dozen pins later and I still wasn’t happy with it, but it would have to do. I tucked one of the wayward tendrils behind my ear, and went out into the lounge hoping that Lola would be up, and would tell me I looked exactly like I ought to look.

There was no sign of her. I frowned, and checked my watch.

Lola might like to party, but she was very professional when it came to her work. She would never be late. She should have been up by now getting ready, but I couldn’t hear a peep of sound from her room.

I went over to her bedroom door and knocked lightly. There was no response.

“Lola?” I called.

Still no reply.

I eased the door open and took a peek inside. The curtains were wide open and sunlight was streaming in. The bed was empty. Lola was nowhere to be seen.

End of Sample chapter.

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A new series: Witches Of Brimstone Bay

I am so excited about my new series, the first book of which is going live today on Amazon. It’s called Witch In Charm’s Way and is about a witch who is down on her luck and fleeing home to her magical town of Brimstone Bay with a big problem. A secret that is deadly to herself and others. But let’s not think this is too grim – it is a cozy mystery after all!

Brimstone Bay itself was partially inspired by Hogsmeade in Harry Potter, a place where only magical people live. But I’ve added a beach to it because who doesn’t love the sea and sand, and some magical cats to keep the beach pleasantly warm at all times of year, given that this is England with it’s very long winters that we are talking about! Plus a cliff with a view, a lovely old castle for Esme to live in (oh the romace of living in a medieval castle!) and all the magically delicious cakes you could dream of eating.

I decided to set this book in the same fictional universe that my Percy Prince books are based in – The Magicwild universe. If you have accompanied Percy and Nan to the Magicwild Market and the store that sells happiness – Flaffiness Emporium – you will have encountered part of Esme’s world already. Esme is from the Westbrim witching family, who are famously the only witches in the world capable of making flaffiness, due to the side effects of a fairytale curse  (no less!) and it is Esme’s family who run this marvellous store.

Esme wants to hide away in her castle and find a solution for her disastrous problem, but matters only get more complicated when a body turns up on her doorstep, followed soon afterwards by a ridiculously handsome investigating Special Agent.

Read a sample chapter from Witch In Charm’s Way below.

Note: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. This will cost you nothing extra.


Running away was not something that I, Esme Westbrim, of the famous witching family of Westbrims, had ever planned to do.

My phone beeped. I opened up the text message to take a look.

It said, Where are you?

I stared at it in shock for a moment. Then I hit delete and put the phone back in my pocket.

I felt hunted. Paranoia, I told myself.

It was past midnight. The lights above blinked on and off as the train juddered onwards through the night, making my empty carriage feel more than a little eerie.

“You’re the scariest thing in here, Esme,” I muttered to myself.

And then gave a little snort of laughter. I didn’t feel like it.

I could move into another carriage where the lights worked, but it might not be empty, and it was better for me to be alone right now.

When the train shuddered to a halt, I looked out of the window, straining to see into the darkness. It was pitch black out there. Why couldn’t they put lights over the name-signs in English countryside train stations?

I squinted harder and was glad to have to strain. I couldn’t see in the dark yet. That was good. Maybe it meant that the malady that had made its way into my bloodstream really was being held at bay by my magic.

By the faint glow of a distant street lamp, I caught a glimpse of a sign with the station name on. It told me the train had reached the penultimate stop in my journey. I gave a sigh of relief. Just one more stop to get home.

I buttoned up my coat and readjusted my knitted scarf tightly around my throat and the lower half of my face. I was cold. All week I had been cold. It felt like the chill was radiating from my insides out.

But soon I’d be safely tucked away in my bed at Mansion House with a mug of hot cocoa in my hands and a log fire roaring somewhere nearby. There was nothing I wanted more in the world right now.

Thank goodness for my Great Aunt Adele, who had left me Mansion House in her will. Somewhere to hide away and think, and figure out what to do next, before anyone found out what had happened to me. And before my family found out that I had come home.

Home to Brimstone Bay where I had once said I would never return to live again. Bewitching Brimstone Bay as the local tourist office liked to call it.

The train’s engine died unexpectedly. Everything went quiet. All I could hear was my own jittering legs. The occasional hooting of an owl came from the otherwise great big silence outside. I didn’t like it.

“Come on, train. Let’s get going,” I muttered.

The longer we sat here, the greater the chance someone might come into my carriage.

My phone beeped. Unable to resist it, I opened up the text message.

It said, Don’t ignore me. Where are you?

I glared at it and hit delete again.

But my anger was mixed in with hurt. I was trembling. What they had done to me was the ultimate betrayal. Tears came to my eyes and I wiped them away.

Just think about happiness and it will be so, Granny Selma used to say. But the happiness magic had never worked for me.

The train had been halted for what felt like a very long time. I glanced out of the window anxiously. I was relieved when the engines suddenly rumbled back to life.

Just as the train was about to depart, a dark figure dashed past my window, yelling, “Wait just one minute!”

The figure slammed into the doors of my carriage with a great thump.

The doors swooshed open, admitting a blast of frigid air that made me grateful for my over-large droopy beret and great big bundle of a scarf.

As a man entered the carriage, I pulled my beret down lower over my face. I had a pair of big sunglasses inside my handbag. I would have put them on if I wasn’t worried they would make me look even more conspicuous than I already felt.

I waited for the man to go and sit on the opposite side of the carriage to me. This was what strangers in London would do, never wanting to be too close to each other if there was an alternative option.

The guy was big and hulking. He was a dishevelled looking sort with a bushy, overgrown beard and a brownish strain all down the front of his hooded jacket. He came to plonk himself down right near me.

I was immediately on edge. Couldn’t he tell just by looking at me with my face all covered up and my purposefully hunched up body language that I didn’t want him anywhere near me? How rude!

The train started up again, chugging resolutely towards Brimstone Bay. At least it was just one stop.

My phone beeped again. I couldn’t stop myself from reading it.

What’s happened has happened, said the message. Can we talk about it?

I stared in disbelief. Not even an apology! The nerve of it!

The message was from my best friend Sarah. Or former best friend after tonight. Because there were some things that you could never forgive, and if you did that just made you an idiot. And I was tired of being an idiot.

Earlier tonight, after a whole week of terrible sickness, I had dragged myself out of bed and gone to Sarah’s house, desperate for someone to talk to. I knew I couldn’t talk about the awful thing that had happened to me, which in itself was against magical law, but I had at least been hoping for a good old natter to put me back in a hopeful mood.

I had arrived to find my husband Drew’s car outside Sarah’s house. To my surprise the front door had been ajar. Feeling concerned for Sarah, I had gone in and had seen something that I wished my eyes had never had to see.

Flaffiness Is Happiness was my family motto, and in that moment the last traces of happiness I’d had left in my rather limp balloon of the stuff had made a rude farting noise and floated away.

If Sarah thought I was going to reply to her message, she had another think coming. She had probably only messaged me because Drew had told her to. He no doubt wanted to know where I was in case I was going to barge in on his sordid business again. It made me grind my teeth.

I angrily typed out a message. I never want to talk to you again. You can have him for all I care.

I wanted to add a curse word or two, but I knew I would regret it, so I hit send before I could change my mind.

It only took a few moments for the phone to beep again.

Don’t say I didn’t try. And for your information, I already have him.

I ground my teeth and let out a quiet scream of rage. Then I shut up because I remembered I was no longer alone in the carriage. How mortifying.

The stranger was now looking at me. His shifty eyes considered me the way a dog might eye up a rabbit to see if it was worth chasing. I looked away, out of the window, into the darkness, hiding my face from him.

I could picture the two of them together even now. I’d bet the last tenner in my purse that Sarah would waste no time at all moving into the very nice Knightsbridge apartment that I had shared with Drew. They were probably there already.

There together, while I was alone in a rattling old train carriage with just one backpack hastily crammed full of a measly change of clothes and several big bottles of precious sunblock.

I shifted uncomfortably. I could feel the stranger’s eyes were still on me. It felt menacing. I had nothing to defend myself with. Unless I squirted the sunblock on him. Take that, you hulking beast!

I took another quick peek at him. It was all I needed to confirm my original suspicion. The guy was a werewolf.

Growing up without much magic in an entirely magical and paranormal community, I had learned a few things my peers hadn’t needed to bother with. Like being more attuned to the subtle signs that gave away what sort of eldritch being somebody was.

It was something in the way that people carried themselves, or the look in their eyes, or the way that they spoke, or chose to dress themselves. It all combined to tell me whether someone was a werewolf or an incubus or a succubus or angelus or any one of the other supernatural beings who lived in Brimstone Bay. Unless they were trying to hide it.

This guy was not. And by the way he was fidgeting and shuffling and kept rubbing his face, he was off his head on something too.

I had kept up with witching news for the sake of safety in a big city where a large number of magical and eldritch folk I did not know were hidden in plain sight. Just the other day I’d read in The Daily Oracle about a new dangerous magical stimulant that was doing the rounds. It would be just my luck if this werewolf was taking it.

My phone beeped again. With gritted teeth, I opened up the message. My patience was gone. I was going to say something really mean to Sarah.

Except it wasn’t from Sarah. It was from my cousin Allegra. Biting my lip, I read it.

Enough is enough. We are all coming to see you with Feverfew potion. You better open your door or we are coming straight in. Brace for impact!

I felt a wave of panic.

By ‘all’ she meant her and her two sisters, Viviana and Flaffy. They were going to etherhop to London to rescue me.

Due to being so ill this past week, I had skipped my usual weekly coffee date with Allegra and been terrible at replying to her texts. In the end I’d been forced to admit to her that I’d had a fever.

Now all three of them were coming to London and they were going to find me missing. It was going to ruin my plan to quietly hide out.

Please don’t, I’m fine, I quickly typed out.

Then I deleted it. It wasn’t going to be enough. She probably thought I was on my death bed or something. Which wasn’t far off the truth.

Keeping one eye on the werewolf, I called her instead.

She answered immediately, saying, “Finally! Are you alive or not?”

I laughed. “Yes, I’m alive.”

“Oh good!” she sounded relieved. “What was it? Why didn’t you let me drop off some potion earlier in the week? Why did you have to suffer like a Humble?”

“You know me. I just want to be alone when I’m sick.”

“But this me we are talking about,” she said, sounding offended. “Or is it that you thought I’d cramp your honeymoon-first-sickness-lovely-dovey-new-hubby-nursing-you-better style?” She made a gagging noise.

I couldn’t help but laugh.

“Something like that,” I lied.

I hated lying to Allegra.

“Where are you?” she said, suddenly sounding suspicious.

I was paranoid she’d somehow heard the train in the background. It would be just my luck if the conductor chose this moment to make an announcement.

“Actually, Allegra, I have to go,” I said quickly. “Don’t come around. I’m much better and we’re a bit busy. But I promise to call you later, okay? Bye.”

“Later when?” she demanded, but I pretended not to hear and hung up.

I hoped I done enough to stave her off for a day or so. Later I would have to think of a good enough reason to explain my odd behaviour.

A sudden noise made me look up.

The werewolf had gotten sick of sitting down. He had bounced to his feet, and was pacing up and down the central aisle of the carriage, stomping harder than necessary. There was an aggressive touch to it.

And he kept looking at me.

Finally he said, “Alright love?” and came to sit in the seat opposite me.

I tensed up. The guy was trouble. What did he want? Money? I couldn’t afford to give him the last bit of money in my purse, and even if I could have, I refused to be intimidated into doing so.

His shifty eyes scanned my face as if sizing me up.

“Nice night, isn’t it?” he said, scratching his nose.

I didn’t reply. It was best not to be confrontational. Perhaps my stoic silence would discourage him.

He leaned closer and seemed to enjoy it when I shifted away. He gave me a sickly leer.

If only I’d still had my pink hair to scare him off with. I had been born it, a throwback to my family’s Magicwild heritage, and a sign to those in the know that I was a powerful witch. Supposedly. But in the Humble world it’d had the opposite effect of making people think I was ditzy. Drew had never liked it. I had dyed it brown a long time ago.

No pink hair, plus all the signs I’d been living in the Humble world for too long. Now this werewolf thought I was going to be easy pickings.

“Bit late for you to be out all alone, isn’t it?” he said.

He had taken my silence as weakness.

I glared at him. “I’m fine thanks.”

“Yeah, you look fine.” He looked me up and down. Then he looked at my handbag.

Darn it! Was he planning to mug me?

I was sick of running away. I wanted to glare at him until he backed down. But what if he did not?

It wouldn’t be long until the train reached Brimstone Bay station. But at this time of night, no one would be around. What if he decided to follow me to where he could corner me?

I had a long walk ahead of me to get to Mansion House. I couldn’t call for a taxi. My Uncle Radaghast ran the local taxi service, and he was the last person that I wanted to know about my coming home.

“Excuse me,” I said to the werewolf.

I stood up abruptly and grabbed my backpack.

He stood up too. Very quickly. He was blocking my way with his body.

When it looked like he might try to stop me, I gave him a small smile that I hoped had more confidence in it than I felt. I took my wand out of my pocket and pointed it at him.

“Say hello to my little friend.”

The werewolf blanched and took a couple of quick steps backward.

“That’s right,” I said. “Keep walking.”

He did, but only halfway down the carriage, from where he stood and glowered at me.

Dammit. He knew something was up.

An angry witch would have done something to him by now. Like singed that stupid beard off his face to teach him a lesson. But I didn’t dare attempt to use my magic, and he was eyeing me up as if he was fast reaching this conclusion.

“And stay there,” I said in what I hoped sounded like a voice full of contempt, like one particular mean girl I had gone to school with.

Witches and wizards were top of the pecking order in Brimstone Bay, and living so close by, this werewolf would know to be wary of a certain type of witch.

Giving a snort of disgust, as if I couldn’t bear to be in the same carriage as him, I opened up the interconnecting door that led into the next carriage.

Only after stepping through it and shutting it firmly behind me did I let out a sigh of relief.

“Stupid tweeking werewolf,” I muttered to myself, thinking there was no one within earshot.

And then I gave a little cry of shock.

This carriage was not empty like I had thought. A man was sitting very still and quietly in a seat nearby.

A man who was very different from the werewolf.

This guy was dressed neatly in pressed tan trousers and a jacket that fit all too attractively over his broad shoulders. Even his trim beard was neat. I didn’t usually like men with facial hair, but there was something undeniably appealing about this one. He looked vaguely familiar.

I gave him an apologetic glance, hoping that he had not heard what I’d said. He looked like a Humble, a non-magical human, and if he had heard me muttering about werewolves he would definitely think that I was off my rocker.

But clearly he didn’t give two hoots about whether I was sane or not. He had not even spared me a glance.

Frowning, I did the civil thing and marched past him towards the opposite end of the carriage to give him his space.

From the corner of my eyes I saw him stand up. I glanced backwards just in time to see him put his hand on the door that I had just come in by. Clearly he meant to go through it.

Maybe he had heard me after all and had no intention of sitting in a carriage with a batty woman.

And now he was going into the carriage with the werewolf in it!

“No don’t,” I said quickly.

He turned to look at me, his brow furrowing.

I hurried towards him, intending to physically get in his way if I had to.

I had made the werewolf angry by pointing my wand at him, and I couldn’t let this poor Humble take the brunt of the werewolf’s rage.

Werewolves were much stronger than Humbles. I wouldn’t put it past the werewolf to pick a fight with him.

I gave the Humble man a smile, intending to put him at ease. This did not have the effect I wanted since my scarf was covering up my face. So I pulled it down just a little and tried again.

The man did not smile back.

“You don’t want to go in there,” I said. “There’s a guy in the other carriage who—”

I stopped speaking abruptly. I had just realised why he looked familiar.

It was Chris Constantine!

The Chris Constantine himself. That light brown hair, those blue eyes with a hint of green, six feet tall. His beard had confused me, but it was definitely him — the hunky Hollywood actor who played Captain Shield, America’s favourite superhero.

“What are you doing here?” I blurted out.

He gave me a tense smile as if he was tired of being asked this question.

“Did you want something, madam?” he said coolly.

“Er, well, I just… Er…”

Dammit! I was blithering like a fool and clearly he thought so too by the look on his face.

I cleared my throat and tried again. “I was just going to say you don’t want to go in there. There’s a guy in there who is off his head. A very unpleasant sort.”

He shrugged. “I think I can handle it,” he said.

I glared at him. The arrogant fool.

“I doubt it,” I said, unable to keep the snap from my voice.

Just then the train jerked to a stop. I nearly fell into him. I grabbed a seatback to catch myself just in time.

We had arrived at Brimstone Bay Station. I was immensely relieved. Now we could all get off the train and it would be fine.

But to my annoyance, Chris Constantine turned his back to me and opened the door to the next carriage.

“What are you doing?” I said in irritation, reaching out to grab his arm.

“Let go,” he snapped.

But instead of doing so, I held on harder, determined to stop him and give the werewolf a chance to leave first.

A look of disbelief came onto Chris Constantine’s face, but I didn’t care. He would never know what I had saved him from, but I would.

He tried to yank his arm away, but I threw myself onto him and wrapped both of my arms around his waist.

“Get off me!” he said urgently.

I held on, and started laughing.

I couldn’t help it. I was forcibly hugging Chris Constantine.

How Allegra would laugh, if only I could tell her about it. And Viv and Flaffy would be green with envy.

He struggled to throw me off, and I enjoyed the brief tussle a bit more than was necessary. I was saving him, even if he didn’t realise it.

I looked past him to see where the werewolf was, and was astonished. The werewolf was staring at the both of us, his eyes wide with fright.

And then he turned and ran out of the train as if his tail was on fire.

Laughing harder, I let go of Chris Constantine.

“Sorry about that,” I said between chuckles. “I was doing you a favour.”

Chris Constantine glared at me. “You stupid woman!” he growled. “You’ve let him get away!”

End of sample chapter.

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Hello world!

My first book, Potions and Pageants is live on Amazon today. Wow. It is amazing to be sending this book out into the world! The book was inspired by my love of fantasy fiction and crime TV. The blend of creative influences that inspired it include so many of my favorite things: The Harry Potter Books, Agatha Christie’s Marple and Poirot, TV shows Like Monk and Psych. Even my love for Buffy The Vampire Slayer and Veronica Mars are in there somewhere.

Here’s a sample chapter for you to enjoy:


“Mr Bramble?” called Persephone Prince, fighting her way through the thorny blackberry bushes at the bottom of her garden to get to the underground house where her friend Mr Bramble lived.

Halfway through the thick brambles, Percy came to a sudden stop. A particularly spiky blackberry stem had become snarled in her long green hair. Wincing as she attempted to untangle it, Percy let out a few choice curses.

As she had no magic to speak of and no wand either, nothing happened. Certainly her hair did not magically untangle itself, and neither did the pesky thorns incinerate themselves, which she would have very much preferred. Not that Mr Bramble would like it if she had been able to achieve such a feat. He loved his brambles.

“Mr Bramble!” called Percy.

He did not respond.

Percy had a bad feeling about this. It had been three whole weeks since she had last seen Mr Bramble, the little heg who lived at the bottom of her mother’s garden.

Come to think of it, she hadn’t seen him since he had worked himself into a right tizzy of upset after Percy had fired Nanny Nora at the start of the month.

“He’s not there,” said a mournful voice in Percy’s ear.

Percy gave a start of shock. The blackberry stem, which she had almost managed to pull free, promptly became tangled up in her hair again.

“Darn it, Jeeves!” said Percy. “What have I told you about sneaking up on me like that?”

Jeeves, the family poltergeist, was floating beside her, completely at ease among the thorns, and wafting about in an airy-fairy fashion that she was sure was contrived to irritate her.

“That you don’t like it,” said Jeeves.

“Then will you stop doing it?” said Percy tartly.

“Never,” he said. “Your mother would definitely approve of me startling you every once in a while. She told me to keep my eye on you. Both of them, in fact.”

“Don’t I know it,” muttered Percy, yanking a strand of hair from the thorns with such force that quite a lot of it got wrenched out from her scalp.

“Ouch! Are you going to give me a hand or are you just going to float there?”

Jeeves reached out and began to patiently untangle Percy’s hair.

“What did you want old Bramble for?” he asked.

Jeeves was always curious about things that he knew perfectly well were none of his business.

“Never mind,” said Percy. “I’ve changed my mind.”

There was no point telling Jeeves that she had wanted to speak to Mr Bramble about her mother. If anyone knew whether the famous and fabulous and most excellent witch, Gwendolyn Prince, was going to come home for Halloween in a month’s time, it would be Mr Bramble.

Jeeves would get over-excited. He loved a good party, and the last thing she wanted was to listen to him talking night and day about Gwendolyn and her parties.

Jeeves finished untangling Percy’s hair. She fought her way back out of the bushes and emerged onto the lawn with a face full of scratches.

“You could have helped me out!” she said, knowing this would annoy Jeeves into leaving her alone.

She’d find Mr Bramble later, preferably when Jeeves wasn’t following her.

Jeeves went into a huff as expected, and Percy was able to leave him behind. She charged back into her house, which some people would call a mansion, and up to her room to change her clothes into something fit for Humble London. She needed a walk, or better yet, a drive. And damn the consequences!

When you were a Meek, you had to invent your own fun. It sucked to not even have enough magic to burn a bit of toast. Percy stomped down the stairs feeling bored. Nanny Nora’s absence made the house feel empty.

All this loneliness was almost enough to make her want to go to Humble High. But imagine having to go to school with Humbles who didn’t even know about the existence of magic or of supernatural beings! It sounded awful.

If only she didn’t have this ominous feeling growing inside her that she would never ever have any friends. Percy stalked out of her house, intent on making the feeling go away. And she knew exactly how.

Percy didn’t bother to tell anyone that she was leaving. Her mother, her only parent, was heaven knew where — probably somewhere hot and sunny that had a fabulous beach and beautiful people to look at and tasty drinks to stylishly sip. And Percy had decided she could look after herself now, thank you very much!

Nanny Nora had been the last in her long succession of nannies. Percy had fired her without her mum’s permission. But three weeks of being good just in case her mum found out was enough to drive anyone potty. It was time to blow off a little steam.

“Freedom!” Percy muttered, quietly shutting the front door behind her.

And then she screamed.

Jeeves had flown right through the door and her, making her feel she’d been doused in frigid water.

“What did you do that for?” she yelped.

Then she turned, half hoping to see Mr Bramble open the door, his little legs pumping as he tried to keep pace with Jeeves.

The little heg only came up to Percy’s elbow, and was in the habit of asking, “Where on the good green earth are you going?” whenever Percy left home in one of her moods, which he was very attuned too.

Percy hated it when little Mr Bramble was upset with her.

Her hopes were dashed. He was not there.

“Just where do you think you are going?” demanded Jeeves, with none of Mr Bramble’s cheery charm.

“To the Ice Cream Hut in Leicester Square,” said Percy airily. “Where a horrid girl called Octavia Smythe-Smith is having a charity quiz night. I was looking at a poster for it a few days ago, and can you believe she had the nerve to tell me that I couldn’t come? I’m going to show her that Percy Prince goes wherever she darn well pleases!”

What she did not mention was that there had been a boy with Octavia Smythe-Smith who had given Percy a sympathetic look. This sympathetic look had outraged Percy even more than the Octavia girl’s snooty attitude had. How dared he look at her that way? She was going to go to this quiz thing tonight to show him that Percy Prince was no one to be pitied!

Plus there had been something about this particular boy and girl that made Percy fiercely curious about them. They had been different to other people somehow. Percy hated when people were mysteries. She liked to know what was what.

Because of all the parties that Gwendolyn Prince liked to throw, Percy had met a great many different types of beings from the Eldritch and Witching communities. But she had never met any like these two.

It was not that they might be Eldritch or magical which had pinged her curiosity radar. It was something else. Something slightly ominous. And there was nothing Percy liked better in life than to stamp out any little niggles of curiosity that invaded her mind.

She planned on spending the night observing the two, and figuring them out like a puzzle and then tossing the solved puzzle aside.

“I’ve just put your lunch in the oven,” protested Jeeves. “Lasagna dripping in cheese, just how you like it!”

“I’ll have it later. I’m going out to do what teenagers do,” she told him. “It’s Saturday. We living have got to live!”

Thinking that this would likely send him into a huff back into the house, she bounced down the rest of the stairs.

“Mr Bramble is lost!” declared Jeeves in tones of horror, bringing Percy to a halt.

She turned to face him. “What do you mean he’s lost?”

She saw a passerby look at her curiously. Percy looked back until the woman hurried on. Humbles could not see poltergeists and no doubt the woman had thought Percy was batty, talking to herself. Fortunately Percy did not care much for a stranger’s opinion.

“Why didn’t you tell me that first?” she hissed.

“Because you never listen!”

“Isn’t he moping about in his house? He hasn’t been to visit me up at the main house in weeks!”

“I went to check his house. Floated right in. You know he doesn’t like me to do that, but I’ve been worried. He hasn’t even come to the kitchen for a meal ever since you fired Nanny Nora.”

Percy’s stomach lurched so hard it felt like it had dropped right through to the ground.

“Why didn’t you tell me that?” she demanded.

“Where he eats is his business,” said Jeeves sniffily.

Percy could tell that Jeeves was more annoyed than he was letting on. Jeeves loved to cook, but lamented it was no fun if there was no one to cook for, since he couldn’t very well eat his food himself.

“But how do you know he is missing?” she demanded. “He hasn’t… Oh Jeeves! He hasn’t gone walkabout?”

“A casserole was rotting on his kitchen table!” said Jeeves. “Mr Bramble would never let fresh food rot. It looked like it has been there for weeks!”

He looked at Percy with an expression of comical dismay, and then swept right through her so that he could swoosh out onto the street to look up and down it as if Mr Bramble might suddenly appear.

Percy gave a great gasp of shock, feeling like she had been plunged into ice water. She had barely recovered when Jeeves came back, his hands pressed to the sides of his head in a comical expression of horror.

“He’s not here!” he cried in despairing tones. “He’s gone!”

“Why would he be hanging about on the street?” said Percy impatiently, thinking rapidly.

This was terrible news. Mr Bramble was almost always in his garden if he was not visiting the main house where Percy lived. He very rarely went anywhere else. But sometimes he did go to see his friends. He also went on long walks to think. This was not a good thing for Mr Bramble because cities were terrible places for hegs.

Hegs loved nature and got disorientated in the absence of it.

Mr Bramble had gone walkabout a few times before and on three occasions he had become lost. Each time he had become so befuddled and panic-stricken by the traffic and the smog and smells and the thousands of people everywhere all looking at him with their suspicious eyes that he had ended up lost and homeless.

No food, no shelter, all alone out there in the great big world. Percy’s heart clenched at the thought.

The first two times she had searched for days before finding him. Each time she had eventually found him in Hyde Park, where he had taken refuge amongst the deepest parts of the greenery. The last time she had gone straight to the two places in the park where she had found him before, and been lucky to find him in the second.

Jeeves was floating back and forth, wailing, “Oh, Mr Bramble. Poor Mr Bramble! What will become of you?”

“I need to go,” said Percy hurriedly. “I need to find him.”

He followed her onto the road and when she stopped beside a car and started digging around in her bag for her keys, he looked astonished.

“You are not going in that horrendous contraption!”

“Do you want me to find him or not?” she demanded.

The previous week Percy had used her mother’s credit card to order herself a cheery sky-blue mini car. This was the benefit of having a mother who knew only how to use witching gold. Gwendolyn was in the habit of putting generous amounts of Humble funds into a bank account for Percy’s sole use, and had not yet realized that she had been providing far more money than an average teenager needed.

Percy had hired a university student who lived in her neighborhood to give her driving lessons up and down the local streets, and was sure she had the hang of it by now.

“Not in that thing!” said Jeeves. “It will be the death of you!”

Jeeves had died long before cars had been invented. He disapproved of many modern inventions, and had a particular dislike for cars.

“Relax, Jeevesy,” said Percy. “I’m an excellent driver.”

“You are not!” said Jeeves.

Unfortunately for him, Percy had found the keys and was already getting into the car. She gave him a little wave before driving off.

An hour later Percy was trampling through all of the densest bushes in Hyde Park and up along the various waterways, yelling, “Mr Bramble!” at the top of her voice.

Passersby stared at her but Percy did not care. She charged into an overgrown thicket of shrubs next to the Serpentine lake, shouting, “Pease Mr Bramble! I’m sorry I upset you! Please come home!”

Nettles stung her legs, the tiny barbs working their way into her tights, but Percy gave a great shout of relief.

Right next to the muddy banks of the lake was a tree, and sitting huddled by its trunk was a little figure.

He was draped in what looked like old brown sacks but Percy knew it was Mr Bramble right away because about twenty ducks and a couple of swans were clustered all around him.

Mr Bramble loved birds and birds loved Mr Bramble.

“Mr Bramble!” she shrieked, flinging herself through the crowd of waterfowl, ignoring their protesting quacks.

She dragged him to his feet and hugged him tightly, not caring that he was grimy and bewildered and trying to push her away. She even allowed a couple of tears to slip down her cheeks.

“Mr Bramble!” she said. “You promised! You promised not to do this again.”

Mr Bramble’s bottom lip was trembling, and he seemed to not know who she was.

She sank onto her knees so that her face was level with his and gently told him his name over and over. She reminded him of where he lived, who his friends were, and how he loved to eat Jeeves’s apple pies smothered in piping hot custard.

“I’ll have him make you one as soon as we get home,” she promised. “And I’ll sit and eat it with you and then we’ll tuck you into bed all cozy and warm. You’ll like that, won’t you?”

He wasn’t listening to her. He was listening to the ducks, who were quacking their complaints to him.

“Oh never mind these selfish ducks,” she said. “They’ve got all the park visitors to feed them bread. What about all your old bird friends in our garden? They’ll be wondering where you have got to. They’ll need you before winter comes. You had better come home now before they all fly away in protest.”

It took him several minutes before his big black eyes widened a little, and he asked hesitantly, “Percy?”

Percy nearly burst into tears.

Admonishing him gently to never go walkabout again, but knowing that he would and that she was going to have to figure out how to keep a closer eye on him, she guided him gently down the path towards the nearest gate out of the park.

When he saw the car his beetle black eyebrows waggled dangerously.

“But… But we’re not going on this mechanical contraption!” he said anxiously. “These wheels go too fast. So fast. They’re always trying to run me over!”

He looked so alarmed that she had to hold onto his arm firmly to stop him from going running back into the park.

“It’s the quickest way to get home,” she told him. “Don’t worry, Mr Bramble. I’m an excellent driver.”

She cajoled Mr Bramble to climb hesitantly into the driver’s seat and firmly shut his door, then went around to the driver’s side.

“There’ll be a bit of traffic,” she told him in a soothing voice. “But you’ll be safe inside here with me.”

Mr Bramble distrusted traffic even worse than Jeeves. He intensely disliked living in a city. Had the bottom of Gwendolyn Prince’s huge garden not been such a wild and wonderful wilderness, Mr Bramble certainly would not have chosen to live in London.

The knowledge that Percy had bought herself a car while he had been absent seemed to bring Mr Bramble back to himself a little.

“You should not be driving, Persephone Prince!” he admonished tremulously. “Your mother will turn me out of house and home if you come to harm. Until your mother sends a new nanny, I have to make sure that you stay safe.”

His rough little hands were clenched into nervous fists on his lap. His lip trembled as he remembered once again how Percy had fired Nanny Nora.

The mention of the nanny situation annoyed Percy so much that she was unable to stay silent.

“Mother is not sending a new nanny!” she said firmly. “I’m far too old for all of that. And anyway, as far as mother is concerned, I already have a nanny. Because I never fired my current one, did I Mr Bramble?” She gave him a stern look.

He looked despairing.

“You’re asking for trouble, Persephone Prince,” said Mr Bramble.

He had no idea her fateful his words would be. Ten minutes later, as Percy was navigating a particularly busy crossroads, a little white bunny rabbit hopped in front of her car.

Percy was too busy keeping an eye on the cars in front of her to notice, but Mr Bramble — who had a very close affinity with nature — noticed the rabbit right away, and let out a piercing shriek of panic.

At his yelling, and the frantic stabbing of his stubby little finger, Percy noticed the rabbit a moment before she was about to run over it, and yanked the steering wheel aside just in time.

And crashed.

The very moment she crashed, it hit Percy that she was in big, big trouble.

But for the moment it mattered little because her airbag had deployed, boofing her so hard in the face she felt her brains had been scrambled, and there was a horrible pain in her neck and chest, and she momentarily blacked out.

When she came back to consciousness she was most relieved to find Mr Bramble calling for her, “Persephone. You wake up right this moment! Oh, my little Persephone Prince, don’t be gone! Oh, what is your mother going to say?”

With a gasp of shock and horror, Percy sat bolt upright in the driver seat of her car, and patted her head to make sure it was still attached.

Then she patted little Mr Bramble on the top of his curly haired head to soothe his cries of alarm.

“I’m quite all right, Bramble,” she said in a croaky voice, “Thank gosh you’re okay. Are you okay?”

She looked at him enquiringly and was immensely relieved to see the little heg looked his usual round-faced self, not a spot of blood or a bruise marring his stout little body. She was particularly reassured by the look of dawning horror in his beetle-black eyes – which had no whites at all – as he contemplated the possible repercussions of this car crash.

Percy let out a peal of laughter. She could not help it. “Hells bells, what a pickle!”

“It’s not funny, Persephone Prince. We’re in for it now! Where is your thingum? Your lexxicity thingum? You call Nanny Nora at once!” he urged.

But Percy was too busy counting her lucky stars, and being glad she had not vanished up into the great big beyond, to pay attention. Plus, she was having a very difficult time attempting to stagger out of the car.

She threw her shoulder against her car door to try and open it, but the thing was crumpled and mangled, so she was forced to climb into the back seat, where she landed in an untidy sprawl. She lay there for a moment gathering her breath before exiting via the rear of the car.

When she had succeeded, she began to wish she had not. Because now she could see that she had not crashed into a wall as she had hoped, but into another car, which was a mangled mess a short distance away.

In alarm she ran over to it, and saw that the car she had crashed into contained none other than Nanette Gooding. Do-gooder Nanette Gooding, who Percy had once known very well indeed, but who Percy had not seen in five years.

Percy groaned. Her first thought was, of all of the people in all of the great wide universe, why did I have to crash into Nanette Gooding?

Her second thought was, almighty heckeries! Nan isn’t moving!

Nan’s mother, Mrs Gooding, was in the driver’s seat of that car, shaking the unconscious body of her daughter, and screaming, “Nan! My darling! Sweetie! Wake up!”

Nan’s airbag had failed to deploy, and a trickle of blood was sliding down her forehead. So when she sat up all of a sudden, her eyes as wide and round as saucers, Percy screamed.

So did Mrs Gooding. “Baby! You’re alive!”

Nan took a great big gasp of air and stared at her mother as if she had never seen her before in all of her life. She took a look around the car and out of the window and groaned as if everything she was seeing was an absolute horror. And then her eyes focused on Percy and they filled with rage.

“Percy Prince, you… You DEMONLING! You have ruined my life!”

Percy stumbled closer to Nan’s open window, and bending over until her face was inches from Nan, she whispered, “Oh shut up, Cherub! You’re perfectly alright.”

She did not mention how very immensely relieved she was at this fact, because this would have been a far too soppy thing to say out loud.

“I am not alright!” shouted Nan. “And don’t call me Cherub!”

The two girls stared at each other. Percy was five years taller and ganglier than she had been when Nan had last seen her, but her wild hair was as oddly green as ever. She was still as terribly, wonderfully Percy-like as ever.

Nan had changed. Her face might have been as big-eyed and cherubic as it had ever been, but her once bouncy riot of golden curls were now tame and neat, and so was the rest of her.

The moment of astonishment and shock of being so near death and finding themselves alive began to fade away. Both girls saw it in each other’s eyes. What was left was an odd and uncomfortable moment.

Many years ago, when they had been much smaller, Percy and Nan had been the best of friends. Two little toddlers who had giggled and held hands and got into all sorts of trouble and fondly called each other Demonling and Cherub.

But then they had grown up and discovered that though they were both the daughters of witches, that only one of them had the magic she was supposed to have and the other did not. And things had changed.

At a loss for anything to say, Percy spotted a lurid black and rainbow colored poster on Nan’s lap. She had seen it before.

“You’re going to that Ice Cream Hut Charity Quiz thing,” Percy said.

“Not anymore,” Nan said. “You’ve ruined it. You can never do anything right, can you?”

The moment the words came out of Nan’s mouth, her cheeks turned pink and a look of regret came into her eyes, for Nan Gooding was not the sort of person to say mean things.

But it was too late. Percy felt a stab of hurt, and took a step back.

“Sorry about your car, Mrs Gooding,” she said stiffly to Nan’s mother.

Now that it had been established that the occupants of both of the cars involved in the crash were largely fine, the two teenage girls were bundled into the ambulances which had just arrived and carried off to hospital. There, doctors deemed that their injuries were surprisingly minor for such an alarming accident and both girls were allowed to return home.

Late in the evening Persephone Prince trudged back into her grand mansion of a home, accompanied by the now tottering wreck that was Mr Bramble, who had suffered through a grilling by first the nurses and doctors and then by two Humble policemen.

Mr Bramble scurried as fast as possible through the house and into the gardens, where he vanished into the depths of the thorny bramble patch.

The policemen had been very suspicious of Percy with her green hair and unrepentant manner, and had blamed her oddities on Mr Bramble in his frayed brown robes. They had looked like they wanted to lock someone away, and they were thinking that someone might need to be Mr Bramble, who had been the only adult in the car at fault.

An escape had been made when Percy had feigned a fit of convulsions and then dragged Mr Bramble away from behind the curtained bed that the nurses had put her in.

An exhausted Percy now made her way to her kitchen, where poltergeist Jeeves was waiting with a pot of hot tea, a steaming lasagna, and a sympathetic look of epic proportions on his face.

Percy sat down and stared at her lasagna.

“Apple pie,” she mumbled.

But Jeeves knew his business well, and was already dishing up a huge portion of apple pie and custard. He swept through the garden door after Mr Bramble, intent on feeding the traumatized little heg.

He came back some minutes later and complained when he saw Percy had not taken a single bite of her lasagna.

Now that she’d had a moment to just sit and be quiet, Percy felt very odd indeed. In fact, she was beginning to feel not like herself at all.

The relief at having brought Mr Bramble safely home was overshadowed by a queasy feeling in her stomach and a sense of impending doom.

It felt like something momentous and terrible was rushing towards her like a great tidal wave.

She felt terrible about seeing Nan again like that after all these years. She had not thought this was how their reunion would go. She’d had grand ideas of somehow becoming fabulous, maybe even suddenly developing magic as wonderful as Nan’s in the interval, but this had never happened.

And it wasn’t the anticlimax of still being the same old Percy which was making her feel so awful. It was something else.

A very odd memory was beginning to take shape in her head. A memory of a time before she had even been born. A memory that surely could not be real.

She got shakily to her feet and said to the still fussing Jeeves, “I’m not feeling well. I think I’ll go to bed.” And promptly passed out.

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