Title: Root Brew Float
Author: Sydney Winward
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Josephine Brevil has lived hundreds of years haunted by the horrors she experienced during the Salem Witch Trials. She takes great care to hide her powers, though serving a Root Brew Float laced with a magic potion now and again never hurt anybody. The Order sends her to Massachusetts to deal with a paranormal threat, and she meets the young and handsome widower, Clarence Watts. However, being with him comes with a choice. How can she choose between the man she loves and the magic she holds dear?
When he reached Chester’s, his mouth fell open at the crowd. He’d never seen the ice cream parlor as packed as it was now. The tables inside were full, customers overflowing to the tables outside and even sitting on the ground. But it wasn’t the crowd that shocked him most. It was their jovial attitudes. Each face beamed with happiness like a rosebud blossoming under the rays of warm summer sunshine. Laughter filled the air, and many of them were starry-eyed as if under a spell.
Jo had to be here.
He scanned the crowd for a familiar head of brown hair. Not finding it, he maneuvered his way inside. Far too many people looked his way, and one of them, an older woman named Betty, called out to him.
“Clarence! I haven’t seen you in ages.”
His mouth twitched in greeting, but right at that moment, Jo’s head shot up from behind the counter, and a wide smile spread across her face when she made eye contact with him. He sighed and leaned on his cane, the exhaustion of coming this far on foot crashing down on him. He had never been more relieved in his life to see someone.
The crowd parted for him in an array of stares and whispers as he limped his way toward the front. Chester took her place behind the ice cream bins and Jo met him off to the side, a counter separating the two of them.
“I thought you left town,” he said, biting his lip with uncertainty. “You didn’t come by yesterday.”
She smiled amusedly and adjusted her hair, pulled back into a ponytail beneath a black Chester’s hat. “Was I supposed to?”
“Well…yes. We still had work to do, didn’t we?” He was confused. Didn’t she say she would come by again?
Lowering her voice, she said, “Have you considered that I’m still waiting on the two-hundred shillings?” Her eyes danced mischievously, letting him know she was joking.
He tightened his grip on his cane and glanced around the parlor to find people watching the exchange while eating their ice cream, though they weren’t close enough to overhear the conversation.
“I thought I might have scared you away,” he admitted sheepishly while rubbing the back of his neck with his palm.
“So you came all this way to find me?” She blinked several times as if fighting off building emotions. “But you haven’t left your house in years. Or so I’ve heard.”
“And I’m starting to wish I hadn’t.” People continued to glance at him, some he’d known all his life. Jo was likely the only reason they weren’t bombarding him with questions. He wanted to leave before any of them worked up the courage to approach.
As if sensing his growing anxiety, she smiled and waved him toward the ice cream bins as the line died down, him on one side of the glass and her on the other. She pointed to the bin labeled Huckleberry Love Potion and lowered her voice as if to keep Chester from hearing.
“This is one of my own creations. I added a little bit of something special.”
She nodded her head to a couple in the corner, gazing deeply into each other’s eyes while feeding one another from their own spoons. They seemed entranced, as if nothing else in the world existed besides the other person.
“You didn’t…” he muttered.
“Don’t give me that judging look,” she laughed. “It wears off after a few hours. Besides, they needed a little nudge together. You should have seen the way he looked at her. I couldn’t help but to interfere.”
Several people laughed on the opposite side of the room, and he looked closely this time to search for anything odd about them. Their eyes shone brightly, and they seemed strangely happy. He turned back to the ice cream selection and scanned each label until he found one named Scoop of Sunshine.
“I suppose that one is yours too.”
“Astute observation, Clarence.”
“Well, no wonder you had a huge line. You’re practically feeding these people happiness on a spoon.”
She pointed to a chocolate ice cream flavor with a caramel swirl mixed in. Summer nights. “This one is my favorite. Why don’t you try it and learn why?”
He shook his head. “I don’t eat ice cream, remember? Besides, I don’t want to turn into a toad or something equally horrific.”
Jo smiled evilly and leaned forward on the counter, only inches away from him. He swallowed hard, his gaze involuntarily darting to her lips. The desire to kiss her rose within him once more, the collar around his neck becoming suffocatingly hot.
“Oh, I don’t need a potion to do that. I think I like the idea of turning you into a toad.”
“Don’t you dare.”
What’s your favorite way to combat stress?
I’m someone who will stress about something until the problem is fixed. It’s so unhealthy! As my husband always says, stressing about something is not going to help or solve the problem. Something that helps me combat these unhealthy behaviors is to spend a little time outdoors. Whether going on a walk, working in the garden, or something else outside, it really helps relieve my stress!
Why is your featured book a stress busting read?
Root Brew Float is a short and fun read with a sassy, witchy heroine. It takes place near a lake, with warm memories of summer sunshine. Besides, it involves ice cream. A lot of it. Who doesn’t like ice cream during a stressful time?
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Runs May 1 – June 3.
Drawing will be held on June 4.
Sydney Winward was born with an artistic brain and a love of discovery for new talents. From drawing to sewing to music, she has loved to explore every opportunity that comes her way. At a young age, Sydney discovered her love of writing, and she hasn’t been able to stop writing since. Her active imagination and artistic mind take her away to different worlds and time periods, making every new story a fantastic adventure. When she is not writing (or fawning over animals in the neighborhood) she spends time with her husband and children at home in Utah.
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