Title: Grandma Must Die
Author: M.L. Bonatch
Genre: Paranormal Cozy Mystery
Expose her magic blood by curing the spell—or stop the infection from spreading by killing the source…the grandmother.
In a world where magic is hunted and feared, the worst job a reckless witch like Carman could have would be in a small-town library that stores banned magical items. When a friend goes missing, and another is infected with a deadly spell, Carman is desperate to save them.
Escorting Dylan, a Magic Bounty Hunter, to inspect the mysterious artifacts provides an opportunity to locate a cure. Instead, she discovers one of the items kept hidden belonged to her family—and recognizes Carman as its’ rightful owner—with Dylan bearing witness. Carman can barely control her newfound powerful magic. Still, if she doesn’t stop the infection from spreading, the host must die…the grandmother. Teaming up with Dylan may be a terrible idea, but so is spelling a household product into a mode of transportation. Carman is known for impractical shoes and impulsiveness, not sensible choices.
Can she save the grandmother and find her friend without jeopardizing everything her mother has sacrificed to protect her secret?
The words she’d dreaded her entire life froze Carman in her tracks. Grunting as her grocery bags whacked her legs. The approaching heavy footfalls pounding the sidewalk accelerated her heart rate. She resisted the urge to run. She’d never make it far in heels. “Crap.”
Mentally she reviewed anything she might’ve done at the library yesterday to raise the suspicion of the MBH.
“I didn’t do anything.” Unless antagonizing an officer is considered a crime. Her words went unheeded, as the MBH officer sprinted past pursuing a wannabe spellcaster. The woman tossed small packets exploding in ineffective puffs of air at his feet. As he tackled the woman to the ground, Carman sighed in relief.
The blond officer squinted her way. Not Dylan. Carman averted her gaze and hurried to Ellie’s porch, dropping the bags and stomping her feet to warm them as the doorbell echoed through the house.
Her gloves muffled her knock. “Ellie?”
Ellie’s car sat in the driveway buried under mounds of snow. She must be home. She’d never leave Louise alone, although, since the spell infected Ellie, Carman wasn’t certain what to expect.
When the MBH officer departed with his suspect, she audibly exhaled. Two MBH officers in two days were enough to make any witch nervous. She sought the one stone in the landscaping not submerged in snow. After retrieving the spare key from the bottom of the fake rock, she unlocked the front door and lifted the groceries.
As the door swung inward, she gagged on the overwhelming stench, and pressed her hand over her mouth until she could tolerate the odor. She’d never smelled magic this potent. Who did this and why? She’d initially feared Abigail accidentally released a spell on Louise before her mysterious disappearance. But Abigail couldn’t execute a spell this powerful without knowledge of the craft.
The curtains were drawn, and the lights were off in the dark living room. The glare from the television reflected on Ellie’s face as she stared, transfixed on the screen. Her mouth gaped and drool dripped from the corner of her lip, forming a wet spot on the front of her shirt.
“Ellie?” When she didn’t respond, Carman dropped the bags and circled the couch to see what Ellie found so interesting. Though the TV was muted, Carman didn’t need the sound to identify the show. Her grandmother and eleven other witches addressed a large audience. They smiled, reassuring the attendants, claiming the hostile mortals and magic blood could continue living in harmony. If things had gone the way her grandmother hoped, and a few rebellious witches and shady mortals hadn’t ruined it, everything would’ve turned out differently. Carman held out hope it still could.
Ellie pointed at the television. “Witches. Evil. Witches.” Each word came out more forcefully than the last.
Carman turned off the television and stalked to the light, allowing the familiar anger to well, tempering her rising distress after being reminded of her grandmother’s death. She couldn’t let magic and ignorance kill Ellie and Louise as well. She spun to face her friend.
“Why are you watching that stupid, old show?”
Ellie shielded her eyes at the intrusion of light then slowly blinked, confusion evident in her expression. “Carman? What are you doing here?”
“I told you I’d stop on my way to work. Don’t you remember?” Carman’s anger dissolved. Ellie’s wrinkled clothes were the same ones she’d worn yesterday. “Have you been sitting here since I left?”
“No.” Ellie sounded uncertain as she scanned the room. “I don’t think so. What time is it? How long ago did you leave?”
“Yesterday.” Carman peered down the hall. The shadowy outlines of clutter transformed the closed bedroom door into something ominous. “When did you last check on Louise?”
Ellie furrowed her brow. “Grandma?” Her eyes cleared and her vacant expression morphed into one of concern, appearing more like the Ellie Carman recognized. “I don’t know.” She stood, grabbing the arm of the couch as she swayed, brushing away Carman’s offer of assistance. “I’m okay, a little dizzy.”
“Sit down. I’ll check on her.” The silence of the house filled her with dread. Realizing how accustomed she’d become to Louise’s yelling. Before the spell’s infection, Louise utilized a sharp tongue with soft eloquence. Memories of afternoons with Abigail and Ellie sipping Louise’s special tea, the one she insisted provided the beauty of youth, faded faster than Louise’s mind.
Carman cheeks warmed with the heat of the flush. She’d arrogantly considered their friendship—a mortal, a half blood, and a magic blood—a sign of the world becoming more accepting, confirming everyone wasn’t so different. Their easy camaraderie proved the mixed bloodlines could live harmoniously together as they had in the past.
Before the symptoms progressed this far, a better witch would’ve detected the changes in Louise and prevented the infection from spreading to Ellie. She’d thought the initial symptoms were the consequence of Louise’s aging mortal body. Over the years, she’d observed how sick mortals became angry at their inability to fight an unseen force. Some rallied against magic in the same manner. The way she feared someone may have retaliated against Abigail.
She paused, resting her head against the bedroom door and steeling herself for what she might find. Please don’t let me be too late.
Buy Links (including Goodreads and BookBub):
What makes your featured book a must-read?
GRANDMA MUST DIE demonstrates the risks a friend would take to solve a mystery and save those that they love.
Enter to win a $25 Amazon gift card:
Open Internationally. You must have a valid Amazon US or Amazon Canada account to win.
Runs October 5 – October 14, 2021.
Winner will be drawn on October 15, 2021.
Just a small-town girl, Maureen Bonatch leads a double life. She lives in a magical world as a novelist, and as a nurse leader in reality. Maureen’s first novella was a paranormal romance published when blogs were a new-fangled thing. She’s since changed her focus to writing paranormal cozy mysteries as M.L. Bonatch and urban fantasy as Maureen Bonatch. While she’s not busy writing or doing nurse-things, she’s a mom to her twin daughters, bicycling in the beautiful woods of PA with her hubby, doing the bidding of a feisty Shih Tzu, and dancing as much as possible. She believes music can be paired with every mood, laughter is contagious, and that caffeine and wine are essential for survival.
Social Media Links: