Brianna’s Bewitching

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Brianna’s Bewitching is the prequel/first book in the Witches and Warlocks of Los Angeles series.

A radical feminist and a traditional cop meet during a women’s rights rally in downtown Los Angeles in 1977.

Brianna is a feminist finishing up her final university courses. She’s a little bit wild, but isn’t that what being young and free is all about? It’s a new age for women and she intends to reap the benefits that new status provides her. She’s focused on developing a rewarding career and finding an adventurous lover. She’s also a witch-in-training. Her inherited powers are growing faster than her skill though. She’s not sure if one of her reality shifting spells is the reason she’s become the love interest of one LAPD officer.

Jack Ross never does anything without a well-thought out plan. On track to make detective within the year, he’s lined up a perfect woman to be his wife and raise their children. She’s thoughtful, gracious, and lovely to look at, and best of all, she’s not one of those radical bra burning feminists. She desires a traditional life as a wife and mother. If he doesn’t exactly love her yet, he’s sure that he will once they marry. He’s never been in love and it seems to him that it’s as easy to love one attractive woman as another. Then one unruly, mouthy blonde lands in his arms, disrupting all his carefully-laid plans.

Read the first two sections below:

Brianna’s Bewitching

Summer 1977

Brianna awoke, rising out of her night dreams like a swan lifting out of the lake directly into flight. Hazy but beautiful images clung to the edges of her conscious mind like scented oils cling to skin—the reassuring rhythm of the waves crashing against a sandy beach, opaque blue skies glinting above, the squealing laughter of young children at play, the earthy pungency of salt water permeating the air—all aspects of Earthly bliss. Then a dark man in mirrored sunglasses appeared. He strode towards her with a purposefulness she felt disconcerted by. She wished she could see his eyes. The world felt changed, slightly shifted, slightly…brighter. Had she stirred to a new consciousness during the night? She’d attended a small New Moon ritual the evening before with her friends during which they’d collectively cast a powerful—as powerful as a young coven of witches is capable of—spell to shift their individual realities into a general path towards finding their true loves.

She had been so careful not to visualize any specific man. This or something better was her life mantra. Yes, she had briefly thought of Steve at the start of the ritual, but had quickly blanked thoughts of him away, imagining an eraser scrubbing him out of her vision. She had no desire to control the direction of that relationship with magick. That way lay disaster, as she’d witnessed first-hand with her parents. Mixing magick with love was tantamount to risking everything one held dear to the roll the dice in the grand gaming table of life. A witch might be able to nudge her life path in one direction, but she had no control over the way that shift changed any connected events. Better to leave the details to the Goddess, who knew best.

Her friendship with Steve was slowly moving toward the intimacy that she craved anyway. There was no reason to gamble on it. He’d walked her to her car and kissed her last week after the local NOW meeting. And they were meeting for drinking and dancing tonight after the women’s rights rally in downtown LA. She admired his political convictions tremendously. A staunch advocate of a woman’s right to choose, Steve worked tirelessly for equality between the sexes. It didn’t hurt that he was handsome too, with those puppy dog brown eyes and golden blond hair. He was everything she’d ever desired in a man. At that thought, the image from her dream flashed into her mind again. The dark man. Who was he? Why did he dominate her thoughts, overriding images of Steve? She sighed, snuggling under the covers to drift back to sleep, content to trust the universe to bring her happiness.

The phone rang an hour later. She looked at the alarm clock. 6:10 a.m. Who would call her so early in the morning? She stretched across the bed to answer her Felix the Cat phone on her nightstand. Her roommate Molly thought her penchant for black cat décor was tediously clichéd for a witch. Brianna liked it. She was trying to be ironic. After all, one should never take life too seriously. She had a Felix the Cat clock in the kitchen, and several figurines scattered throughout the apartment. She was developing a collection.

“Bri?” Carrie’s breathless voice immediately roused her concern. Her friend and fellow witch Carrie was the calmest person she’d ever met. An unmoving boulder in the wild rapids river of life, in fact.

“What’s wrong?”

“You’ll never believe what happened! Steve Billing died late last night in a car accident on the 5 freeway.”

***

Downtown Los Angeles, March for Women’s Rights, Later That Day.

Jack surveyed the crowd, half-hoping that the mostly women and small number of men gathered for the women’s rights march remained peaceful, half-hoping for a bit of excitement. Raised to never be aggressive towards a woman, Officer Ross didn’t want to have to get physical with any of the protestors. Unfortunately, he understood from the briefing that some of the attendees were extreme radicals and might be looking for a fight. So far, things were calm.

Ultimately bored, he silently cursed his fate. This assignment was a waste of his time—he should be out chasing criminals, making the city safe, not standing around watching uppity women with too much time on their hands clog up downtown Los Angeles. He knew the thought was uncharitable, but it was also honest. He’d never make detective with assignments like this monopolizing his beat time.

He’d probably drawn the short straw on this one because his captain had made the assignments. He was pretty sure it was payback for Jack having won the big poker game last weekend, heisting a respectable $500 off the man. Jack grinned. Maybe the assignment wasn’t too bad considering the more drastic measures Cramer could have implemented in retaliation.

Towering at six foot three, he had little trouble seeing over heads and keeping a close eye on which participants were behaving themselves, and which ones were getting out of control.

“Maybe we’ll get lucky and this demonstration will include some bra burning,” his new partner Colmane remarked in a loud voice, coming up alongside Jack. Several women standing nearby overheard and frowned in their direction. Jack gritted his teeth, barely restraining the urge to roll his eyes. The kid was young and new to the force, and driving Jack to the tethered ends of his patience.

Jack retrieved his mirrored sunglasses out of his pocket and positioned them over his eyes. He liked the way they hid his eyes, hid his emotions, reflecting the world back on itself, away from him. He would suffer Colmane as long as he could, then cave and ask Cramer to find another veteran cop to mentor the rookie. In the meantime, he’d best instruct the kid on watching what he said.

And frankly, as far as he was concerned, there was nothing lucky about a bunch of women stripping in public and burning their underwear. Indecent? Yes. Lucky? No.  He liked his women reserved, agreeable. Women were the softer sex. They should stay home where they were safe, to nest, to cook, clean, raise a few babies, satisfy and soothe their husband’s needs.

Just like Melanie would be doing for him. Prim, respectable, considerate. Good-looking too with her dark Jacqueline Kennedy bob and smooth skin. Pretty big brown eyes. She would make a good wife and, with her training and work as a pre-school teacher, a great mother to his future children. Though they’d only been dating six months, he could see that she perfectly suited his needs. In six months, he was turning thirty. The age to settle down. He’d set his goals when he was twenty and he was right on track with most of his individual targets. His career was established and he was climbing the ranks. He expected to be promoted this year to detective. All his years of hard work were culminating with perfect symmetry. He’d already booked a fancy restaurant and bought the ring. He planned to propose to Melanie Saturday night. They’d be married by his birthday.

He scanned over the crowd of diverse women, many young, naïve, idealistic. Many, rowdy and belligerent. He was no fool. He recognized his luck in finding a traditional woman to love. Quiet, self-composed and gracious, Melanie would never attend a rally for women’s rights. He never had to worry that she’d flash her boobs at strangers. She understood that a woman was the fairer and gentler sex, better suited to housekeeping and child-rearing. She cultivated her role as a woman whose purpose was to make a man’s harsh existence softer. She would create a place for Jack to retreat to from the ugly world, a place where he could heal his soul. She would never embarrass or shame him. She loved him.

A nagging feeling of guilt intruded on his sense of satisfaction with his situation. Melanie had told him she loved him more than three weeks ago. He had been unable to tell her the same. He wasn’t truly worried. Eventually, he would return her love, to love her as she deserved. He just knew that she really wanted to hear him say the words now. He should tell her Saturday when he proposed. But some part of him resisted. Some deep, stubborn part that demanded he only speak the words when they were true. He cared for Melanie. He was fond of her. He admired her. He respected her. Surely these all added up to love eventually. Hell, he’d never told a woman that he loved her. It just wasn’t in his nature. He was a guy and being a guy meant keeping his feelings to himself. Once they were safely married, he would feel the love. Then he’d be able to say it.

Jack’s father had taught him that men were the tougher sex, better equipped to go out into the world and deal with its filth. What was a guy supposed to live for, if not to protect and provide for his woman? Sure, it was an unpopular opinion to hold these days with radicals like Gloria Steinem—and women like those currently crowding the square—claiming that the separation of roles led to inequality. Hell, sometimes life just wasn’t fair. And why does different have to be unequal, anyway? Different was good in Jack’s mind. Yin and yang. Light and dark. Hard and soft. One balanced the other. Women made a man’s fight to keep the world safe worth the effort.

“Hot damn!” Colmane whistled gleefully. “Would you look at the blonde!”

Jack swung his gaze from the south end of the square to follow Colmane’s pointed finger indicating a cluster of woman ten feet away.

“Fuck,” Jack cursed. A radical.

Up on a set of stacked boxes—very precariously stacked, in his opinion—a young woman was rabble-rousing with her shirt off. She was waving it around like a flag. She appeared to be inciting the other women to also remove their shirts. It didn’t take much imagination to know what would be coming off next. That tiny scrap of black lace barely holding up one succulent set of generously endowed breasts. She was a red flag to his bull.

Jack reached the base of the makeshift stand just as the woman was about to undo the hooks at the back of her bra. Then all hell broke loose.

Purchase the full work at AMAZON to see how these two completely different individuals end up in bed together.

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