Home > Moonshine & Menace (Moonshine Hollow #5)

Moonshine & Menace (Moonshine Hollow #5)
Author: Kathleen Brooks

 

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Zoey found these quiet times on the dark side of the morning peaceful. She used the time to bake, meditate, and let magic freely flow in and around her. This was her time to reflect on the past, be present for the now, and to prepare for the future.

It had been almost a year since Grand Master Linus had been killed and her father, Magnus Rode, elected the new grand master of the Tenebris. It had been almost a year since she felt the shift in magic when she had killed Ian, the Tenebris Hunter who had helped lead the war against the witches with his leader, Alexander. They’d all heard the cry of fury when Zoey killed Ian and survived the resulting tsunami of blood. Her father had felt the shift too.

However, life had moved on since then. It had been almost a year, but it felt like a lifetime. Witches were happy to be back together and the impending doom Zoey and her father felt was pushed a little farther back in their minds with each day that passed.

Time changed things. Just two years ago, Zoey was a normal woman in Los Angeles. She was a junior associate at a large entertainment law firm working her way toward senior partner. Until one night her action star client got high on drugs, leapt on stage in a strip club, and became the center of an epic battle between his escorts and the club’s dancers. Zoey had vaulted to the stage to try to get him out of the club before the police arrived to save his job from being terminated under the morals clause. Too bad that neither the strippers nor the escorts seemed to appreciate her efforts. Long story short, Zoey was arrested as a prostitute and fired from her job. Slade, the club’s bouncer, bailed her out of jail and convinced her to let fate decide her next move.

Fate had a sense of humor, that’s for sure. Fate sent her to Moonshine Hollow, Tennessee and into a new career as the small town’s baker. Fate led her home one night when she saw Vilma and Agnes, who were like grandmothers to her in the new town, being attacked by blasts of light emanating from a very scary dude. Zoey tried to run to their rescue, but she tripped, screamed, and accidently ingested the powers of the Tenebris hunter who had been trying to kill Agnes and Vilma in order to steal their powers. The magical powers of the male witch triggered Zoey’s heretofore unknown, and long-hidden, powers inherited from her Tenebris witch father, Magnus.

Fate still wasn’t done with her. She’d accidentally become a witch and, as fate would have it, she was now the most powerful witch with powers not seen since the Goddess herself. The female witches, the Claritase, took her in and told her of the war between themselves and the Tenebris Hunters, male witches who had turned bad to gain more power. Then for fun, fate sent Slade back into her life after she’d learned the meaning of the mark of the Tenebris on his neck. Zoey didn’t know if Slade was there to kill her or not, but her heart knew the answer. Led by Slade, the True Tenebris, male witches who wanted to do good in the world, and the Claritase joined to fight the Tenebris Hunters together.

Zoey fought in the war and almost lost her life, but together with Slade and their friends, they’d defeated evil. Or so they’d thought. That night last year with Ian, one-time second-in-command of the Tenebris Hunters, and the mysterious voice that caused the blood rain to fall, made Zoey realize the battle between good and evil wasn’t over yet.

So every morning Zoey came to her bakery and let her powers tell her if they were safe for another day. Zoey turned on the mixer for the cranberry muffin batter and let the soothing rhythmic sound relax her. She closed her eyes, pulled the magic from her heart, and sent the pureness of it out into the world. She did this every morning when she was alone. It was her way to protect the town that had grown so much over the past year.

She saw the white light from her fifth element power float off into the air. She felt when it reached the homes of the people just now waking for the day. She felt the birds, deer, and critters that filled the woods and mountains surrounding Moonshine Hollow. Finally, Zoey took a deep breath and let the good thoughts of protection and love loose over the town. All was safe for the day.

 

People streamed into the bakery the second Zoey flipped the open sign and unlocked the door. Some human. Some not. After Zoey and Slade defeated the evil Alexander, Grand Mistress Lauren of the Claritase and the late Grand Master Linus of the Tenebris had sent out word that Moonshine Hollow was a safe place for all witches, Claritase and Tenebris alike. It was the first time in four hundred years that the witches were living, working, and falling in love together.

Zoey and Slade’s wedding had been the first since the war began. She still couldn’t believe they’d been married nine months now. While she was full of worry about the unknown threat, she felt, for the first time since the night Ian had died, her life was also filled with love and more happiness than Zoey could ever imagine.

“I felt you searching again,” Agnes said as she came to the counter and ordered a muffin.

“Just making sure all is well. And it is,” Zoey smiled at the old witch who had become a grandmother to her since arriving in Moonshine Hollow.

“You’re worried it might not be one day, though,” Agnes’s sister Vilma stated. “You might be able to fool all of them—even Grand Mistress Lauren—but you can’t fool us.”

Zoey glanced at the line of humans and witches waiting for breakfast. The humans had no idea the people standing among them had powers, but humans and witches alike loved one thing–gossip. Zoey nodded to Vilma. “We’ll discuss it later.”

“No need. We know. We saw the blood. We saw Linus die. Ian wasn’t powerful enough to do that. Just remember, we’re here if you need us. We’ve seen you and your father practicing in the woods deep into the night. We might finally be showing our age after a millennium or two, but we still have our powers,” Agnes whispered.

“Now, the most important question,” Vilma said a litter louder. “What kind of cake are you making for the wedding this weekend?”

The bakery went quiet as everyone leaned forward. “Italian wedding cake for the bridal cake and a chocolate salted caramel for the groom’s cake.”

Noise exploded as Vilma winked at her, took her breakfast, and moved to one of the smaller tables in the bakery to eat. The humans had been generous in welcoming the witches. They knew they were friends and family of the core group of witches who had moved in first–Vilma, Agnes, Grand Mistress Lauren, Zoey, Slade, Polly, and Samuel. Polly was Zoey’s best witch friend and Samuel was Slade’s partner at the sheriff’s department and best Tenebris friend. Slowly the rest of the Tenebris and Claritase council were welcomed and over the past six months, a good percentage of witches had either moved or visited the town. They’d also moved into the surrounding mountain towns.

Also exciting was that the Claritase and Tenebris were using their powers as intended once again. It had been four hundred years since they’d been the healers the Goddess had intended. Their role had been to help humans, but the witch war had sent them into hiding. Now they were doctors, therapists, teachers, nurses, and more. They were integrating back into the human world while using their powers. Not that the humans realized it.

“I can’t wait to try your cake. This will be the first wedding I’ve been to since moving here,” Clara said with excitement. Clara had moved to Moonshine Hollow eight months ago to open a small boutique store called Moonshine and Pearls. The women had gone nuts over it. Up until then, they all had to buy their clothes online, drive to a bigger town, or make do with what they could get at the hunting store. Zoey had liked her instantly. She was kind, outgoing, had great clothes, and fit right in. Clara had told them that her momma had been from Moonshine Hollow but left when she’d turned eighteen. A story that was very common in small towns. After Clara’s mother passed, she’d decided to come to Moonshine Hollow to feel closer to her.

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