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Georgette St. Clair

NYTimes Bestselling Author of Paranormal Romance

BBW romance, paranormal romance, and just all kinds of romance

Prologue and first two chapters of my bestselling BBW romance novel “I Married A Warlock”

Copyright Georgette St. Clair, 2013.

TO PURCHASE THE BOOK ON AMAZON:
http://www.amazon.com/Big-Beautiful-Witches-Married-ebook/dp/B00D0YFW2O/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1374151099&sr=8-1&keywords=Big+Beautiful+Witches

Every witch in Twin River City is eagerly primping for the annual Crystal Ball, where they will have a chance to be claimed by a warlock – except for Big Beautiful Witch Fiona, of course. The one warlock she yearns for, the sinfully sexy Enforcer Erik Bloodstone, would never claim a chubby girl like her – would he? He’s been flirting with her for years, but she knows it’s in jest – which makes it sting all the more.
To make matters worse, he’s investigating a series of warehouse thefts in her rundown neighborhood, so she can never get away from him and give her aching heart a break.
As Erik and Fiona grow closer, she comes to realize he may be leading a double life – and leading her on. Will the night of the Crystal Ball finally reveal the truth about Erik and his mysterious plans – and will the truth break her heart?

Prologue:
14 year old Fiona Rosewood clutched her broom so hard her knuckles turned white, looking around the wooded area furtively to make sure that nobody was watching. Her attempts at liftoff in Broom Flight 101 had so far been utterly pitiful, and she was determined to spend the weekend practicing, and to show up in class Monday morning soaring through the air like a fourth-year.

Her best friend Maizie, a talented fire elemental with superb flying skills, had come with her to offer moral support. They were in the Hedge Maze near the back of the spacious grounds at the Briarstone School For Witches and Warlocks, and Fiona planned to spend the day gliding low to the ground between the glossy green walls of hawthorn, where nobody could see her and she wouldn’t have far to fall.
“Do it,” Maizie urged. “You got this!”

Grimacing, Fiona placed the end of the broom handle on the ground, setting it at a 45 degree angle as she’d been taught, settled her plump rear onto the middle of the broom, and clutched the broom handle tightly.

Focus, she told herself, heart hammering in her chest. She visualized the end of the broom lifting off the ground, and yelped as the broom obeyed her command. Now she was hovering, low enough that her feet brushed the dirt beneath her, but definitely hovering,
“Beautiful!” Maizie clapped her hands. “You’re perfectly horizontal to the ground.” She brushed a ringlet of fiery red hair behind her ear, and smiled encouragingly.

Maizie was as slender as the broom Fiona was struggling to balance on, with the school’s black, white and grey plaid skirt emphasizing her pipe-stem legs, and her hair was the ruby red of a pre-raphealite model. Fiona’s hair was the dull black of a raven’s wing, and her mother had had to special order her school uniforms in an extra large – a fact that she reminded Fiona of all summer long, at every meal.
September never came fast enough for Fiona.

The broom wobbled and Fiona forced her thoughts back to the present, until it steadied underneath her. “Well, now we know that I can hold still, two feet off the ground. Goddess, this is so stupid. Why do we still even have to learn Broomstick? Who uses broomsticks for travel any more? That’s what airplanes are for. I might as well learn pumpkin and mouse transformation to create carriages, instead of driving a car.”

“Oh, you know. Tradition. You’ve got to admit, the annual Pride Day Flyover Parade is wicked cool to watch.”
Fiona smiled, envisioning the highly trained teams of witches and warlocks in their color-coordinated robes and conical hats, soaring through the air, doing heart-stopping loop-de-loops, plummeting hundreds of feet and then catching themselves a dozen feet from the ground, zipping over and under arches…

As she pictured it, she rose a little higher; now she was a good three feet off the ground.

“It is beautiful,” she said. “But I’ll never be in the flyover parade. There’s really only one thing I’m good at.” She reached out and stroked the wall of the hedge, and a cluster of tightly furled white buds burst open like tiny white stars. She was a green witch, deeply in tune with all green life around her.

“Actually there’s something else you’re good at. Eating,” a taunting voice came through the end of the hedgerow.
She shrieked and tumbled off the broom, hitting the ground with a heavy thud, and the broom dropped to the ground like a rock, landing next to her.

Arty Moorehead had managed to sneak up on them through the hedge maze, and now he was advancing on them, howling with laughter. Fiona scrambled to her feet, knee scraped and bleeding, and brushed leaves, grass clippings and dirt from her legs.
“Of course you can’t fly! The broom can’t hold your weight!” he doubled over, slapping his knees at the hilarity. “You need a steel-reinforced broom for your double-wide butt!”

Fiona’s eyes burned with tears, and she blinked hard to keep them from spilling onto her round cheeks.
“Get out of here, or I’ll make you sorry,” Maizie hissed.

“What are you gonna do? If you use a spell on me, you’re gonna spend the weekend in detention,” he taunted.
“Leave her alone, loser.” Maizie’s hands balled into fists, and the irises of her eyes, normally green, flared red. Smoke began to curl from the ground around her feet. If he’d been smart, he would have been alarmed – but if there was one thing that Arty would never be called, it was smart.

“Why don’t you go barbecue something for your fat friend?” he began laughing again, so hard that he wheezed as he advanced towards them. “Barbecue…get it? Because you’re a fire witch and she’s fat?”

“Careful, Farty…you really don’t want to get on the wrong side of a fire elemental.” Maizie’s eyes were black as coal now.
Arty’s eyes flared wide with shock. “Don’t you dare call me that! You’re not fit to spit-shine my shoes! My mother paid for the whole music wing! You’re just a – just a – scholarship witch!” His eyes blazed with rage.

“Yes, she’s here because she has actual talent. Your family had to buy your way in,” Fiona snapped.

Artie turned back to Fiona, his pale face bunching in rage. “At least I don’t have to pay double tuition because I’m eating everything in the dining hall!”

Suddenly, Maizie’s fist lashed out, catching him in the nose with a sickening squish. He staggered back, a crimson spray spurting out, and howled in pain, clutching at his face as tears ran down his cheeks.

“I don’t need to use magic to teach a pussy like you a lesson,” Maizie sneered. Fiona gasped in admiration; Maizie came from a rough part of Twin River City, and her language could make a sailor blush when she was mad. Fiona lived for the days that Maizie got mad.

“I’ll get you thrown out! I’ll get you arrested! I’ll –“

“You’ll do nothing.” A tall blond sun god walked around the corner, and Fiona’s heart sank. Erik Bloodstone, the person that least she wanted to witness her humiliation, loomed over Arty.

He glanced at Maizie and Fiona, at the broom on the ground, and then back at Arty, who was holding his noise and blubbering noisily. “What’s going on here?” he demanded.

Although he was a student just like they were, Erik had a way of immediately taking over a situation, of commanding respect. It was in his blood. He came from a long line of Enforcers, powerful warlocks who patrolled the realm and defended it from threats ranging from dragon attacks, werewolf rabies outbreaks, black magic cults, and a host of other dangers.

His thick golden hair flowed over his shoulders, and his eyes were like chips of blue sky. Already at least six feet, at 14 years old, he towered over Arty by a good six inches, and his physique was that of a grown man, not a young teenager. His dark brows drew together as he surveyed the scene.

Fiona’s gaze dropped to the ground. Every time Erik came anywhere near her, she got stupid and tongue-tied, and blushed outrageously. He made her tingle in parts of her body that she was just becoming aware of.

It was ridiculous, really; never in a million years would a model of perfect male beauty like Erik be paired with a chubby, nerdy little bookworm like Fiona.

“Oooh, we’re in trouble now, it’s the cops,” Maizie said in a bored voice. Her family tended to be on the wrong side of the law more often than the right side.

“She attacked me for no reason!” Arty howled. “Call the prefects!”

“By the way, what is the school’s policy on endangering, harassing or distracting students during levitation?” Maizie folded her arms and shot Arty a smug look. For a girl who came from a family of artful dodgers, she was an expert in memorizing rules and regulations.
“You know what the school policy is, Maizie. It looks like you’re both going to be spending the weekend in detention,” Erik said firmly, fixing Arty with a harsh look.

“No WAY! I don’t do detention! I’ll call my mother!” Arty stiffened with righteous indignation.

“Call all you want. The school’s policy is clear,” Erik said. “I will be accompanying you to the office now.”

“I didn’t distract her! She fell off the broom because it wasn’t strong enough to hold up her fat ass!”

Fiona hung her head to hide the sudden spurt of tears that trickled onto her cheeks.

Faster than lightning, Erik’s hands shot out and suddenly Arty was dangling two feet off the ground, legs thrashing in the air. His face turned red and he made frantic gurgling sounds.

“Watch your tongue, or you’ll find it ripped from your mouth,” Erik hissed, eyes sparking with anger. Fiona frantically scrubbed the tears from her face with her sleeve while he was distracted.

Erik dropped Arty to the ground, and Arty gasped and wheezed, sucking air into his lungs as his color slowly returned to normal. There was murder in his glare, but he didn’t say another word.

Fiona glanced at Maizie, who looked completely unfazed by the threat of detention. Then she glanced at the hedge, and concentrated until her temples throbbed and her vision grew hazy, and a vine shot out and snaked around Arty’s ankle, yanking him off balance and sending him tumbling to the ground.

“Detention’s so much more fun when you spend it with friends,” Fiona said, and Maizie flashed her an amused grin.

Erik shook his head chidingly. “Fiona, you’re better than that.”

“Oh, and Maizie isn’t?”

“I think you already know the answer to that question,” he said, shooting Maizie a disapproving look. “Fiona’s a nice girl, Maizie. You should stop being such a bad influence on her.”

That sent Fiona and Maizie into peals of laughter, and they marched off down the maze trail towards the detention office, heads held high, as Erik dragged the protesting, howling Arty along with him by the back of his collar.

Chapter One:
“Got a minute, Erik? I want to go over our open cases with you.” Chief Enforcer First Class Ryan Greer, a muscular warlock with a brush cut and mustache, waved at Erik from his office, inviting him in. “Nice job on the zombie powder poisonings, by the way.”

His office was immaculate, all the paper on his broad mahogany desk organized in file folders tucked into a tall stacked file holder, and wooden shelves full of trophies – including shrunken heads of trolls, the gnarled hand of a Dark Witch, and a row of trophies for winning first place in the City-Wide Enforcers Softball League.

Those losers at the City-Wide Fire Brigade Softball League hadn’t won a tournament in six years.

Erik settled down in the chair facing Greer’s desk. He was dressed casually, wearing black jeans, a studded belt, motorcycle boots and a t-shirt; he liked to work undercover, and dressing down meant that there was that much less that a glamour spell needed to conceal.
“By the way, have you heard anything about all the Illusion Spell in the city being bought up? Might be someone planning a terrorist attack.”
“Sorry, can’t help you there,” Erik shook his head.

“No problem. Now, you did a great job with the zombie case, but I know after three years on the frontline of the Troll Wars, you’re probably looking for a case with a little more action. A little excitement,” Greer continued, reaching for his files.
Normally, that would be true, but Erik had other matters on his mind. “Actually, do you have anything in the Graveyard?”

Greer frowned. “The Graveyard? I mean, your usual garden variety dirtbag murders and whatnot, but who really cares about what happens in the Graveyard?”

Erik arched his eyebrow disapprovingly, and fixed his boss with a cold stare. “I imagine that the men, women and children who live and work there care, for starters.”

“Well, yes, that’s true, but….” Greer stammered, at a loss. “This is an election year. There are several council seats up for grabs. There are a number of more prominent districts filled with very prominent families, who fund our department, and –“

“The Graveyard pays taxes just like the rest of the city,” Erik said. “And they are under our charge and our protection just like every other district. When I took an oath, I took an oath to defend all the citizens of our realm, not just the wealthy ones who take up the society pages. Cases. What do you have for me?” He folded his muscular arms across his broad chest and stared at Greer unblinkingly.
There weren’t many warlocks who could get away with speaking to their superiors like that, but Erik wasn’t just any warlock. He came from an ancient, prominent family, and he was a war hero, having racked up one of the highest number of kills in the Troll Wars that had devastated the Northern Provences.

Which was why Greer hated to waste him on a bunch of dirt-poor nobodies with no political pull and no chance of getting more funding for his department…but Erik was notoriously stubborn. Maybe if he tossed Erik a case or two in the warehouse district, Erik’s do-gooder impulses would be satisfied, and he’d grow tired of working those filthy, lawless streets.

A handsome, politically connected warlock like Erik was much more useful in, say, the Garden District, where the matrons and their daughters would titter with delight at his presence, and then be inspired to donate generously at the Enforcer’s Ball.

He reached into his bottom drawer, pulled out a thick stack of file folders, and thumbed through them. Then his face lit up.

“Here!” he said. “You know where the warehouse district is, on First Street? Southernmost portion of the Graveyard? There’s been a series of warehouse thefts, and the merchants who own those warehouses are quite unhappy about it. We’d get some major political capital out of solving these cases.”

Considerably cheered, he handed the file folder to Erik, who flipped it open and then glanced up at Greer. “What’s our budget for special consultants?” he asked.

“For this case?” Greer leaned back in his seat, lacing his fingers behind his head. “This could be quite a prominent case. If we can save those merchants and their insurance companies some money, we can really make some friends. If you want a paid consultant on this case, go for it. Stop by the budget department, tell them I authorized it.”

A smile spread across Erik’s face. He knew exactly which consultant he’d be hiring.

Chapter Two

“My palms are itchy,” Rosalind announced. “That means something bad’s going to happen before the day is out.”

Rosalind, a busty blonde who wore so much costume jewelry that she rattled when she walked, was a waitress at The Witch’s Brew, the coffee shop next to Fiona’s herb shop. She had come to sit out on the patio with Fiona and Maizie.

It was late in the day, and Fiona and Maizie were finally taking a break after dealing with the steady stream of chatty, empty-headed debutantes and their mothers who’d been cramming into the Greenhouse for days now. The Crystal Ball was only weeks away, and they were snapping up salves and herbs and potions to artificially enhance their beauty, from sunup to sundown. Fiona could barely keep up with the demand.

The Crystal Ball was attended by the most powerful, beautiful, and desirable witches and the handsomest, most eligible powerful warlocks. It was a tradition for warlocks to “claim” their future bride at the ball by proposing in magical and dramatic fashion. Every witch in the city wanted to look her most beautiful at the ball.

“Seriously?” Maizie set down her coffee, leaned back in her chair and fixed Rosalind with an exasperated glare. “This again?”

“My gramma told me. And she’s right. Every time my palms itch, something bad happens.”

Fiona and Maizie glanced at each other.

“Shall you, or shall I?” Fiona asked.

“I shall.” Maizie turned back to their friend, and held up her hand. “Here are the reasons why you’re ridiculous, Rosalind. “ She held up one finger. “Number one, it’s two days before the full moon.” She held up a second finger. “Number two, you’re a werewolf. Of course your palms are itchy. Your whole body gets itchy before the full moon.”

“Yes, but my palms are especially itchy,” Rosalind said earnestly.

“I have herbs for that,” Fiona added absentmindedly, stirring her coffee.

Maizie held up a third finger. “And number three, your little predictions are about as meaningful as the horoscope in the daily paper. You always predict things that are obviously going to happen anyway. I mean, we’re on 25th Street, for Hades sake. Of course something bad’s going to happen today!”

The Graveyard stretched from north to south, from 25th street down to First Street, a neighborhood where only the foolish ventured out at night without magical or hired protection, where murder was a daily event, where hope came to die. And not in its sleep.

Fiona’s store was in a business district on the northernmost block of The Graveyard, just south of a long stretch of tired, blue-collar homes where the residents still struggled to keep up appearances.

“See? So I’m right!” Rosalind beamed happily.

“Oh, bite me,” Maizie grumbled, turning her attention back to her coffee.

“I’m not even turning for two more days,” Rosalind said, puzzled. “And why would you want me to bite you? Werewolf-witches aren’t a good combination.”

Maizie’s irises flared red, and her coffee began bubbling so hard it slopped over the edge of the coffee cup. Fiona leaped in hastily.
“Rosalind, there are customers coming in right now.”

It was true; a cluster of debs and their mothers were inside the coffee shop, reading the day’s specials off the chalkboard wall and giggling excitedly. Dragon’s blood smoothies? Horn of unicorn tea? The drinks didn’t really contain those illegal ingredients, but the tourists who bought them would never know that, and the owners charged a premium for the cheap thrill.

Rosalind rushed off to serve them. “Bless her empty little head,” Fiona said.

“Moron,” Maizie grumbled. “She exceeded my recommended daily allowance of stupid. And now my coffee’s too hot.”

“Take some ice from my icewater.

“Then it will be watered down.”

“Someone’s thong is on too tight. Is it that time of the month?”

A puff of smoke sizzled up from Maizie’s coffee. “I’m a fire elemental! We’re naturally hot tempered! And yes, I’m PMSing. I know, I know, you’ve got herbs for that.”

“I’ve got herbs for lots of things,” Fiona said, unruffled.

“Some of them are even legal,” Maizie smirked. Fiona shrugged. She’d never deal in addictive drugs or poison, but there were certain substances which were not approved by the FDA and which fetched a high price. Sometimes she knew how to grow or find those certain substances. A girl had to pay her rent and keep her protection runes charged up.

“I must say, you seem a little more out of sorts than usual,” Fiona observed, stirring her coffee. “Is it that vampire you’ve been bodyguarding?”

Maizie flashed her a dirty look.

“This bodyguard gig has gone on for an unusually long time,” Fiona continued, unperturbed. “In fact, I heard that you fried the rival vampire who was threatening Stasik’s house, but you’re still working for him. Also, you’ve bought herbs for anemia twice in the past month. Obviously you’re providing him with more than protection. What else is going on there?”

“You know, you’re the only person who could get away with interrogating me and not suffer third degree burns as a consequence,” Maizie muttered, but the expression on her face was more pouty than dangerous.

Fiona snorted. “Then where would you come for treatment when you’ve barely survived a fight?” Then she turned to look at the fashionable women crowding into the Witches Brew. “Good heavens, look at those women. I grew up in that crowd. It’s a wonder I’m still sane. ish.”

She and Maizie surveyed the women in the coffee shop with a critical eye. The fashions among the magical crew this season tended towards the bright and showy, with neon-hued flowers bursting into bloom over and over on the enchanted fabric of their a-line frocks. At the end of the season they’d discard the dresses that cost as much as a year’s salary for people in the Graveyard, and they’d stuff their closets full of the newest lines.

And the clothing never came in extra large. Fiona remembered her mother’s bitter remonstrances every season as she brought in seamstresses to dress Fiona and Fiona’s younger sister Delphine, with muttered words like “tent” and “caftan” nettling the girls like the barbed stingers of bees.

Fiona winced at the memory. She knew Delphine could hardly wait for two more years to pass so she could turn 21, and escape from their mother’s suffocating clutches as Fiona had.

She turned her attention back to the women she’d grown up with, and who she’d been glad to flee. Coming to the edge of the Graveyard district to buy herbs was a major adventure for these women, the ultimate in slumming it. That was part of the appeal of buying herbs from Fiona; the women felt dangerous and naughty.

Of course, they only came in broad daylight, frequently chauffeured by bodyguards who idled in limousines outside the shop as they waited, and they were only on 25th street. None of them would have dared venture so much as another block south, and they were right not to.
Fiona’s neighborhood gave new meaning to the phrase “…and then everything went south.”

But now it was near the end of the day, and the blood red orb of the sun was sinking low, ready to plunge into the lake of fiery orange and yellow clouds that flared up from the horizon. Decaying buildings stood out like black paper cutouts against the flame-hued sky. Their high end clientele was done shopping for the day.

“Who’s the cub?” Maizie glanced at the small werewolf child making her way towards the front door of the herb shop.

Fiona stood up with a sigh. “I’ve got a good idea who. Break’s over.” She and Mazie grabbed their drinks and headed back to the shop.
Her storefront was painted green, and ivy carpeted the outside of the shop. To the left of the shop was a metal stairway leading up to the apartment she rented; behind the shop was her herb garden, where she grew most of the herbs that she sold.

Fiona paused in the doorway to take a deep breath. The scent of a thousand herbs and flowers and roots swirled through the air, comforting, like the smell of family. She could distinguish every smell like a bloodhound, and knew the story of every plant in the little shop.
Inside was comfortable clutter, with shelves full of jars and paper bags and little bins, from floor to ceiling. The store was empty of debutantes now; Renoir, her faerie clerk, was nibbling a cupcake while restocking empty cubbies. He was reed thin and delicate of feature, and he had spiky blond hair tipped with pink; today he wore shiny striped pink and blue leggings and a matching shiny pink t-shirt.
They found the werewolf child in the back, eyes on the floor, hands stuffed in her pockets, shuffling quickly towards the door. Fiona recognized her. Her name was Mala; she was the daughter of a local prostitute.

Maizie stepped in front of her. “Hand it over,” she said sternly. The girl tried to dodge past her; Maizie reached out, grabbed her by the collar, and held her up dangling in the air.

“Let me go! Let me go!” she howled, legs kicking.

“Why, I never!” Renoir glared disapprovingly. “Girl, I am so sorry,” he added to Fiona. “My back was turned.”

“Hand it over!” Maizie snapped. Reluctantly, the girl pulled her hands out her pockets, with a gnarled brown root in one of them. Fiona grabbed it from her, and Maizie put her down. She slunk towards the front door, face bunched up hard as she struggled not to cry. Renoir stood with his hands on his slim hips, tapping his foot and scowling at Mala like a disapproving schoolmarm.

“Get back here,” Fiona yelled. The girl froze in place, hopelessness washing over her little puckered face.
Fiona held up the root. “This causes hairlessness. Is that what you were looking for?”

The cub gasped. “No! My mother has mange! She has it bad. She said I needed to get Capillo Rememdum.”

“Well, you got Levis Rememdum. It cures excessive hairiness. Can’t you read? Oh,” she added as the child scraped her foot on the floor and bit her lower lip. Of course not. Mala’s mother was too busy entertaining clients to pay attention to her child’s education. It was highly unlikely that Mala had ever set foot in a classroom.

Fiona dropped the root back in its bin, then pulled out a root from the bin next to it and handed it to the child. “This is what you need. It must be chopped up into little bits and then boiled in a gallon of water for one hour. Then she needs to use let the water cool, then drink one cup of it, morning and night, for the next three days. Got it?”

“I can’t pay,” the cub said sullenly.

“Obviously, or you wouldn’t be stealing from me. You owe me one. And next time just ask me, before you end up stealing herbs that cause giant boils to pop up all over your body.” With a look of alarm, the cub dashed out of the store, herb clutched in her grubby little fist.
“Aaand, that’s why you’re always broke,” Renoir chided, watching the cub go.

“Eh.” Fiona shrugged. “Filthy lucre. Money’s over-rated.”

“Trollballs. You’re just a sucker, is all,” Maizie joined in the scolding. Then she perked up. “Do you really have herbs that can cause boils to pop up all over your body?”

“Of course not. Who would buy that?”

“I totally would. There’s this stuck up bitch receptionist at the Bodyguard’s Guild who – oh, shiznit. Rosalind was right. I hate it when that little twit is right.”

Fiona swung around, alarmed. “What? Oh, my God.”

Bustling through the door, with an expression of disdain pinching her face, was the last person on earth she’d expect to see in this neighborhood – her mother, the Lady Desdemona Rosewood.

TO PURCHASE THE BOOK ON AMAZON:
http://www.amazon.com/Big-Beautiful-Witches-Married-ebook/dp/B00D0YFW2O/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1374151099&sr=8-1&keywords=Big+Beautiful+Witches