As promised, here is my installment in the fabulous round-robin romance story that I co-authored with the fabulous writers of Written Fireside, hosted by amazing author Lori Connelly . Romance, mystery, and the spookiness of the season…
Written Fireside October
A Witch by Chance, Part 8 — By Lynn Marie Hulsman
Ivy strode quickly as she could down the path to her grandmother’s house, given she could only see one step in front in the blackness. The cat wriggled but Ivy didn’t dare let him go. “It’s always darkest before the dawn, handsome. Trust me and we’ll get there together.”
She saw dim light coming through the cracks in the windows. Her cells tingled with warning, but she soldiered on. Was the white-hot urgency in her belly a hunger for Chance, or for answers? Either way, she knew what she needed lay ahead.
The wind picked up. Without warning the sky opened, pelting the girl with a mix of fat drops and stinging hail. Ivy burst into a sprint, clutching Karma to her breast. Just as she reached the porch, a fiery light encircled the front door. Karma screeched, jumping from her arms. With a loud boom, she was blown backward into silent darkness.
Ivy awoke with a throbbing head, and aching bones. “Where am I?” she asked out loud, eyes closed against the light. No one answered. Under Ivy’s fingertips were cool, scratchy cotton sheets. She peeled open one eye to see a small woman in the bed next to hers. “Hello.” She turned to face her. “I’m Ivy Mitchell.”
The woman turned her face. It was her grandmother. “No, you are Regina Lamia,” she said. Her voice sounded like a thousand voices, like a chorus. Ivy felt a chill as she watched the stiff body float upward, disappearing through the ceiling.
“Sleeping Beauty! Welcome back. It’s been over a week.” A nurse pushed through the door, and picked up Ivy’s wrist to take her pulse. The bracelet had twisted itself around her ring finger! “Where’s my cat?”
The nurse laughed. “We’ll ring your mother at home. And tell me how to get in touch with your gorgeous fiancé. He’s asked that we keep you peaceful.”
“I don’t have a fiancé! Chance is a spirit. He needs a bride. No matter the pull she’d felt, the attraction, Ivy knew she’d never be wed to Chance. Her fate was written. What day is it?” The nurse pointed to a pumpkin brooch on her uniform front. “Halloween!”
Ivy bolted from bed, pulling the drip from her arm. “Wait,” called the nurse. “You can’t leave.”
Barefoot, in a dressing gown, Ivy ran down the fire stairs, out of the hospital, and across the town green. Get the book. She felt neither the stones under her feet, nor the cold nor fatigue. Infused with inexplicable power, she reached the path to her grandmother’s house in a seeming blink of an eye. His destiny is not your destiny; Karma holds your true fate.
She knew what she’d see before she burst in the door. Chance, dressed in wedding clothes, smiling sexily in welcome. She heard yowls and screeches coming from a square wicker basket. Chance had one foot on the leather-bound book. “I knew you’d come to me, Ivy.”
The girl squared her shoulders and raised her jaw. “I’m not Ivy, I’m Regina Lamia, Queen of the Witches.” The wicker basket began to shake and rumble, and gray smoke seeped out through the cracks. “Now give me my book.”