“What do you mean you sent my anniversary present back?” I stared at the silver haired biker witch. She wore chaps, a leather jacket with fringe, and had an obnoxious rhinestone skull do-rag knotted around her neck. Sue me when I felt the urge to yank it tighter.
Yes, my Grandmother’s gang of witches was…unusual. Word had it, they’d been a regular coven before a demon had kept them on the run for thirty years. After that, they’d had to move fast, stay on the road. They’d started riding Harleys. Then came the biker nicknames, the tattoos, and boyfriends named Lizard Lips. The rest was history.
At the moment, I was tempted to call Ant Eater by her real name. Mildred.
Her eyes widened behind her green tinted hippie sunglasses as I glared at her. She held up her hands. “I’m telling you, Lizzie, it looked like another box of empty beer cans.”
That got a definite frown from the hunky shape-shifting griffin to my right. “The package was addressed to me,” he growled.
Damn. I always liked having him on my side. Luckily, I’d been smart enough to marry him. Dimitri stood a foot above the tallest one of us, a wall of muscle and grit. And I’d never get enough of my husband’s lyrical Greek accent, even now, with Ant Eater pulling one of her stunts.
“Fairy mail usually requires a signature,” I said.
Fae paths were strictly regulated. Reliable, too. Fairy postal workers could find anyone, anywhere in two to three business days. It was the best way to get things while we were on the road.
Ant Eater shook her head. “If you want to return something, you just gotta tell them it isn’t for you.” She blew out a breath. “I should have looked at the whole who it was addressed to thing,” she said with a wince, which was as close to an apology as we’d get. She shot a glare at the blonde witch closing in on her left. “I was trying to save our asses. I don’t care if Frieda collects what she drinks,” she said, turning up the volume, “but if that woman doesn’t stop ordering beer cans on eBay, we’re going to be buried in rusty Schlitz cans.”
“Those cans are vintage,” Frieda said, as if we were dissing her children. “You show me a 1954 Schlitz that doesn’t have rust.” She brought a bright pink painted fingernail to her chin. “And if we’re cleaning up, maybe I should toss all those bras you have hanging down by the creek.”
That earned her a glare from Ant Eater. “Do it and you die.”
“What the frick, people?” I asked. And when did this become my life?
Yes, I’d run off with my grandma’s gang of biker witches. They’d taught me how to fulfill my destiny as a demon slayer. They’d also saved my butt more than once. In return, I’d hoped I could calm them down a little. I’d been a preschool teacher in my former life. I’d made my peace with chaos.
This was a whole new brand of it. And somewhere along the way, they’d gotten me into wearing leather pants. And bustiers.
I wasn’t quite sure how that happened.
In any case, we didn’t need to be fighting about beer cans. Or dirty undies. I got that riding Georgia’s winding back roads could make a person spit dust, but, “No unpacking. We’re only stopping for dinner.”
Frieda snorted. “Damn, I hope you get more than that.”
“That’s rude,” I told her, ignoring Ant Eaters low chuckle. Although, frankly, I’d been hoping the same thing.
A year ago, on this very night, I’d married the mostly sweet and always sexy Dimitri Kallinikos. We’d said our ‘I do’s’ at a gorgeous estate on the coast. Of course, the Earl of Hell crashed the wedding, but you know, these things happen.
This year, we found ourselves toning it down a little.
Okay, a lot.
As in right now, we were standing a field off Route 9. We hadn’t seen anyone for miles.
It was me, my sexy-as-sin husband and about thirty biker witches, who were busy tossing back beers, making campfires, and setting up dart boards against some pine trees by the creek.
I turned to Dimitri. “You want to help me with this one?”
But he’d retreated several steps and spoke urgently on his phone, tracking my present no doubt.
We were headed out of New Orleans after defeating a necromancer who’d had a hard time letting the dead stay that way. We’d earned a break. And when we saw a neat looking old restaurant, we stopped. Never mind that it didn’t open for another hour. Or that chains blocked the driveway. No doubt they did that to keep out trespassers. It was no problem to park the biker witches in the woods next door.
The restaurant looked like it had been some kind of plantation house before. I loved the white columns out front, the long winding drive, the brick and iron entrance gates, dripping with lush green vines.
It was perfect for what I had in mind: a date night with my husband. Alone.
Frieda followed my gaze, which had pretty much moved to Dimitri’s ass. “You think he got you some sexy lingerie?” she asked.
Little did she know I was already wearing a hot red number I’d picked up in Baton Rouge.
Ant Eater barked out a laugh. “He’s got to do something to make up for the dinner.” She nudged me. “A hoity-toity place like that is going to serve boring steak and chicken. They won’t even have squirrel. Do you know how easy it is to hunt squirrel around here? Your grandma’s already caught a half a dozen.”
Lovely. We could always count on Grandma to lead the charge.
Then again, the biker witches had agreed to give us a night to ourselves for our anniversary. They could eat raccoon livers for all I cared.
“Just don’t get too comfortable,” I told them, heading off to join Dimitri. Left to their own devices, there was no telling what the witches would do. “No enchanted animals, no beer can sculptures, and try not to hang your undies in view of the restaurant.”
“What part of camping out don’t you get?” Ant Eater hollered after me.
Dimitri ended his call and shoved the phone into his pocket. He kissed me on the head. “No worries. We’re going to have an amazing night. And,” he wrapped an arm around me, “I just arranged for your gift to be delivered after dinner.” I loved how he always tried to make things special, even out here.
“I don’t know what I did to deserve you,” I said.
I nestled against his warm chest.
Behind us, a group of biker witches let out whoops and atta-girl cheers.
I leaned my forehead against my man. “Someone must be tapping the pony keg.”
Dimitri brushed a kiss over the top of my head. “I think they’re cat-calling us.”
We weren’t even doing anything yet. I felt my lips quirk as I looked up at his handsome face. “You had your chance to run.” I was stuck with the biker witches. He signed up for this when he married me.
“Didn’t notice.” The side of his mouth cocked in a half-grin. “As soon as I saw you, I had to have you.”
I leaned up and touched my lips against his. It was supposed to be a thank-you, maybe even a little bit of a tease. But then his mouth slid over mine, and I forgot all about that. I pressed against his solid chest as he deepened the kiss. Mine. His hands slipped down my back, cupped my butt as I ground closer to him.
Oh yes, I couldn’t wait to be alone with this man.
“Time out,” my Grandma called, jogging over to us.
Right. I pulled away. Although Dimitri still managed to keep a hand on my ass. Is that true love or what?
Grandma had tied back her long gray hair into braids and was grinning like a mad woman. “Before you disappear,” she said, slightly out of breath, “we’ve got some anniversary presents to give you.” She held out a hand as a smart aleck witch named Creely caught up to her. The heavily tattooed witch barked out a laugh as she gave Grandma a recycled jelly jar filled with pinkish-blue goo. Grandma waggled it at us like a tease. “This is to ramp up the passion. Get all wild and crazy. Right?”
“Like we were before you interrupted us,” Dimitri said.
“At least we caught you early,” Creely said, tossing a red Kool-Aid dyed lock of hair out of her eyes as she reached into her bag again.
Grandma shoved the Passion Spell into my hands as Creely handed her a second jar. This one was filled greenish-brownish sludge and reminded me of a swamp I’d go out of my way to avoid. Grandma held it up proudly. “Break this jar if you want to hold off the passion. Like if you just ordered one of them pricey ten dollar hamburgers from that restaurant over there and you want to get your money’s worth.” She handed it to me.
I tested the lid, making sure it was sealed tight.
“Guard that,” Creely said, “he’s going to try and hide it.”
Grandma let out a guffaw.
“Speaking of that restaurant,” Dimitri said, eyeing the mansion, “I just saw them open the driveway gate. We should think about heading over.”
“Wait,” Grandma held up a finger. “One more treat for you tonight.” She drew a small baby food jar from the leather pouch at her belt. It twinkled with a thousand tiny sparks, like trapped stars. “I just perfected this,” she said holding it up and admiring her work. “It’s a new and enhanced sneak spell.” She winked. “In case you want to get off somewhere. Alone.”
Ah, like we were about to do before she interrupted us. “This is great,” I said, looping all three spells into the demon slayer utility belt at my waist. “Thanks.”
“We appreciate you thinking of us.” Dimitri gave Grandma a Greek double kiss on the cheeks, which must have surprised her because she started blushing.
He looked at the spells on my belt and his smile wavered. He had to be thinking about my limited success with spells in general. Still, these were simple. And they were good for us. I was sure it would all work out.
“Go have fun,” Grandma said, ushering us out of camp. “Pretend we’re not even here.”
They’d be hard to miss. A cemetery stood between the house and us but that’s not much when you’re talking about biker witches. Not to mention the huge bonfire they’d started putting together.
You know what? It wasn’t our problem.
Dimitri offered me his arm. “Want to go?”
I brushed a kiss along his jaw. “I do.”