Sparkle Witch

By: Helen Harper

Chapter One

‘Have you seen my scarf?’ I asked, managing to distract myself by gazing lasciviously at Winter’s rock-hard body. ‘It’s cold out.’

‘No. And stop changing the subject.’

‘It’s a very snuggly scarf. And I look really cute when I wear it.’

‘You look really cute whatever you wear. But you’re still changing the subject.’ His voice grew more insistent, with a touch of an imperious I’m-the-Ipsissimus-and-I-know-what’s-best-for-you tone sneaking through. ‘I think it would be a good idea for you to get involved.’

In return I put on what I was sure was my best if-only-I-had-the-time expression and sighed deeply. ‘I’d love to but I’ve got Grenville sniping constantly at me for not moving faster and releasing more spirits. And some of those ghosts have been trapped here for decades. Centuries even. I’m concerned for their well-being.’

Grenville hovered behind Winter and frowned at me. ‘Ridiculous girl! Did you not hear me say we were ahead of schedule and that you should take a break for the holiday season?’

‘Where is Grenville?’ Winter enquired. ‘I can talk to him. I might not be able to hear him but he’ll be able to hear me. He has to understand that relations with the living are as important as relations with the dead. I know he has different priorities but it’s not as if the ghosts are going anywhere.’

That was exactly what I kept saying. Instead, however, I reached up and wrapped my arms round Winter’s neck, pressing myself close to him and inhaling the deep scent of his skin. ‘I know what kind of relations I’d like,’ I purred.

For a moment he relaxed against me, one hand moving tantalizingly down my spine while his other brushed away an errant lock of frizzy hair from my cheek. He let out a small growl and bent his lips to my ear. ‘Nice try, Ivy. But if you were that busy right now you wouldn’t have spent all morning opening both our advent calendars and eating all the chocolate.’

Darn it. I thought I’d done a good job of closing each little door to make it look like the calendars were untouched. I pretended not to hear him and let my fingers trail down his chest until they were close enough to slip inside his waistband. I was rewarded with a groan.

‘For goodness’ sake!’ Grenville yelled. ‘How many times a day do you have to be intimate with this man? You’re like a pair of rutting rabbits.’

I murmured a response without thinking, the squirming delight in the pit of my stomach momentarily quashing my common sense. ‘Sex is excellent exercise.’

Winter immediately pulled back. ‘He’s here.’

I scratched my neck and made a show of looking around. ‘Who?’

He rolled his eyes in exasperation. ‘You know who. I’ve said before that we are not here to provide voyeuristic entertainment for a bunch of ghosts.’ Folding his arms across his broad chest, he gave me the look. The one that suggested he was fully aware of exactly what I was up to. Then, unable to help himself, he quirked an amused eyebrow. ‘It’s just as well. I have lots of work to do and I told Maidmont you’d meet him to discuss the arrangements.’

I pouted. ‘You just want me to dress up in a silly costume.’

Winter’s eyes gleamed and I knew he was thinking of the sexy witch ensemble I’d put on especially for him at Halloween. ‘I like seeing you in silly costumes.’

‘It can’t be any sillier than what you usually wear,’ Grenville huffed.

I glared at the ghost. ‘I am not the best person for this job. Not for miles. Besides, I’ve not seen Brutus for days. I was going to search for him and make sure he’s alright.’

‘The cat will be fine. Go talk to Maidmont and,’ Winter paused and allowed himself a slow, lazy smile, ‘we can finish this later.’

‘But Grenville…’

Winter cleared his throat and addressed the air. ‘Grenville, as the current Ipsissimus of the Hallowed Order for Magical Enlightenment, I am seconding Ivy for another job. She will return to her normal duties later.’

Both he and Grenville smirked at me. They weren’t genetically related in any way but sometimes I could swear they shared the exact same DNA. I threw up my hands and gave in. I wasn’t going to win. Besides, how hard could helping out at Santa’s grotto be? Piece. Of. Christmas. Cake.

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