As a solitary witch, Maddy McKinley’s job is to ensure her community is safe from paranormal harm. When a routine neighborhood exorcism goes wrong, Maddy finds herself haunted by a poltergeist that has been hounding her family for generations.
With the help of the hunky godling across the street, Maddy must learn to set aside her family traditions and work with another before the poltergeist destroys her.
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PRAISE FOR THE WITCH AND THE STAG…
“Rogers seems to have set her world up for a series, and I’m excited to dive into the rest of the McKinley Women’s stories!!!” – Torri Heat, Paranormal Romance Author
“This book was an absolute delight!…The romance was steamy and just the right amount of intense.” – Bee, Goodreads
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Copyright ©2021 Victoria Thompson
Maddy felt the cool air on her nostrils, and the rising and falling of her chest as she deliberately regulated her breath. In, two, three, four, out, two, three, four.
Her mind’s eye focused on a circle of light dancing on the backs of her eyelids. With practiced discipline, she kept her focus and her stomach settled as her spirit rushed dizzily up her astral cord and to the astral plane.
The park was quieter here, in this space. Gone were the sounds of barking dogs that should have been on a leash but weren’t. Gone were the children’s squeals and parents’ plaintive shouts to be careful. Instead, there was a sea of glowing green grass and grayish blobs she knew to be playground equipment. Her inner eye searched carefully for the telltale sign of the poltergeist. This one would be brown. Or maybe red, she thought to herself. Come out, come out, wherever you are.
In the end, she heard the sound before she saw it. It let out an ear-piercing screech and rushed at her from behind. The poltergeist stopped just short of the circle of salt she had drawn around her, its shrill voice hitting decibels her physical ears would never have been able to detect.
She winced. I bet every dog within two miles is howling now.
The thing clawed at the invisible barrier separating the pair of them. Maddy took in a deep breath and pulled on the iron bell she had clipped onto her belt. “Silence now, my wayward soul. Rest, I bequeath to thee. Silence now, my wayward soul. Rest now, so mote it be.”
She rang the bell three times. At each clear ring, the poltergeist screamed into the plane and raked at the salt barrier. She flinched at the ferocity of it. Unconsciously, she reached for the locket filled with protective dill she wore around her neck. She swallowed and firmed her jaw. “Silence now, my wayward soul. Calm, I bequeath to thee. Silence now, my wayward soul. Calm now, so mote it be.“
By the time she rang the bell twice, the poltergeist charged the barrier with such force that Maddy fell backward and out of her protective circle.
“Witch!” it accused, throwing itself at her.
She used the impossible physics of the astral plane to her advantage and pushed off the poltergeist with her feet, flying away from it. She managed to ring the bell for the third time before it was on her again. Its cold talons raked across her spirit form. Down in the grass, her physical body shuddered.
“Silence now, my wayward sou –” Maddy screamed as it slashed at her astral cord. An intense cold radiated through her. She held up her locket in front of her and the poltergeist hissed and backed away. “Silence now, my wayward soul. Quiet, I bequeath to thee. Silence now, my wayward soul. Quiet now, so mote it be!“
The spirit retreated farther away from her, sneering. “Witch! Witch!” it cried.
She rang the iron bell three times, and with each melodious chime, the poltergeist shrank in size until it was nothing at all, its cacophonous wail fading with its form.
Maddy’s spirit slammed into her body as something bashed against her cheekbone. She blinked back stars and held her face in her hand, shocked more than anything. The poltergeist wasn’t supposed to be able to do that. In all her twenty-eight years of life, she had never been physically hurt by a poltergeist before. What happened? What was that?
“By the gods, are you all right?”
Maddy opened her eyes and saw a bright red Frisbee lying on the ground next to her. A Frisbee? She had been hit by a Frisbee? She touched her cheek and frowned at how puffy it felt. Of all the damn things that could happen while she was putting a damn poltergeist to rest, she was hit in the face by a Frisbee.
“Yeah,” she said without looking at the speaker. She picked up the Frisbee and shoved it in their direction. “Watch where you’re throwing the damn thin –” She stopped short when she looked up. A shirtless man — a shirtless muscular man — crouched next to her. He wore blue Serenity State joggers, silver aviators, and one hell of a smile. His dimples were —
“Ouch,” he said, interrupting her thoughts. “I really got you there. I’m so sorry. I’ve got a first aid kit in the car, if you just wait here, I can run over and grab it.”
Maddy stared at his plump bottom lip. “Uh… What?” she shook her head. Get a hold of yourself, Maddy.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Victoria Rogers is an award-winning podcaster, game designer, and storyteller known for their immersive worlds and strong female characters.
Witches, warlocks, gods, and spirits fill their dreams and stories. Consent and healthy communication are two major aspects of their work – after all, you can’t have what you want unless you ask for it.
Victoria can be found in the garden and in the kitchen making fruit wines, brewing beers, and infusing spirits. When not feeding friends, they attend tabletop gaming conventions and sit on storytelling and world-building panels, teach about online marketing, and produce live events.