Authors: Deanna Chase
Witches of Bourbon Street
Jade Calhoun was never fond of her empath abilities. Now she’s discovered she has another gift she’d rather not unwrap—magic. But when her mentor, Bea, becomes gravely ill and insists Jade’s the only one who can help, she’s forced to embrace her witchy side.
It’s too bad she spent a decade shunning the magical community and never learned to harness her powers. Because time’s run out. A trapped spirit has revealed a clue to Jade’s long-lost mother. The resident angel has gone rogue and disappeared with Jade’s boyfriend, Kane. And if that wasn’t enough, her ex appears to be possessed.
To save any of them, Jade will need to find a way to control her inner white witch—without succumbing to black magic. Otherwise, she’ll lose everything…including her soul.
Witches of Bourbon Street
A Jade Calhoun Novel
Bayou Moon Publishing
Copyright © 2012 by Deanna Chase
First Edition 2012
10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 2012901712
ISBN: 978-0-9837978-2-1 Trade Paperback
ISBN: 978-0-9837978-3-8 ePub Version
Cover and Interior Design: The Printed Page, Phoenix, AZ
Cover image: © Detelina Petkova — Fotolia.com
Cover image manipulation: Kyle Crichton
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in, or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form, or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise) without the prior written permission of both the copyright owner and the publisher of this book.
This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locals, business establishments, or persons, living or dead, are entirely coincidental.
Smashwords Edition, License Notes
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A huge thank you to Lisa Liddy, Jennifer Spiller, Angie Ramey, Susan Sheehan, and Rhonda Helms. Your help and tireless work on this project means the world to me. Thank you to my family. Your love and support has never gone unnoticed. And to Greg, my heart is with you always.
I sat cross-legged in Bea’s cheery, yellow living room, trying not to scowl. White witch, my ass. After two hours of trying to manipulate my so-called power, I was ready to tell Bea and her nephew, Ian, exactly what they could do with their magic lessons.
Only, I couldn’t.
While battling with an evil spirit three months ago, Bea’s energy had been compromised, and she’d never recovered. For some ungodly reason she was convinced I was a witch and the answer for a cure.
I took in the dark circles rimming her eyes and her pale, waxy skin. The vibrant southern lady I’d come to admire had been replaced by a tired shell of an elderly woman destined for a retirement village.
All my irritation vanished. I had to do something. Anything.
Determined to get it right this time, I held one hand out to Bea and the other to Ian. Sweat trickled the length of my nose. It clung to the tip before landing silently on the patchwork area rug. For the hundredth time that day, I opened my senses, trying to harness Ian’s energy and hold it in my awareness long enough to transfer it to Bea. Ian’s anxious anticipation pressed against my skin, making me flinch.
“Focus, Jade,” Bea said. “Remember what I said about compartmentalizing.”
Stop focusing on what Ian is feeling, and focus on his essence.
When I’d given her a blank look, she’d gone on to explain:
The essence of an individual is made up of both their soul and spirit. Spirit is basically life energy, while the soul is what gives a person the ability to feel compassion, love, and all the things that make one human.
Okay. Essence. I could do that. I’d done it before, only I’d thought of it as emotional energy. Somewhere in the corner of my mind, I closed the door on my empath ability. The three of us sat there holding sweaty hands as I tried to mentally connect with Ian. As usual, nothing happened. All right. Time for a new tactic. Instead of trying to get into his head, I concentrated on his heart. Slowly, the threads of Ian’s inner light started to tickle my senses. I imagined a siphon attached to a glass beaker and focused on capturing the essence Bea needed to be strong again. A swirly mist started to fill my beaker.
Success! After weeks of instruction, I’d finally grasped the technique Bea insisted I had the skill to master. Elation caused me to redouble my efforts.
With a full container of mist, I turned my attention to Bea, intent on sending her nephew’s strong energy into her being. Instantly, my imaginary beaker exploded. Ian’s hard-won healing essence evaporated into nothing.
“Damn it,” I growled.
“Negativity won’t help anything, dear.” Bea slumped back against her sunflower print loveseat.
I yelled in my head and looked at Ian helplessly.
He wiped his face with a cloth handkerchief and stood. “I’m getting some more tea. Anyone else?”
“Please.” I pulled my shirt away from my body and leaned toward the oscillating fan to my left.
Ian studied his aunt. “Bea? Tea or water?”
“No, thank you. I’m fine.” She rose gracefully to her feet then settled into the loveseat under a ray of sunshine. She tilted her face, warming it in the light. With each passing day, her ability to stay warm diminished, and despite the stifling heat, she wore black slacks and a long-sleeved shirt, topped with a cardigan sweater.
Just looking at her raised my internal temperature ten degrees. I stood. “I’ll be outside. I need a break.”
“I’ll meet you out there,” Ian said from the kitchen.
With effort, I managed to not slam the French door behind me as I escaped to the screened-in patio. The overhead fans rotated full force, showering me with a steady stream of much-needed air. I sat directly beneath one and stared out onto the perfectly manicured lawn, edged with a vibrant bed of hibiscus plants. What else would one expect from a carriage home in the Garden District of New Orleans?
While it was still beautiful, I missed the variety of colorful annuals that had long since given up in the summer heat. I’d offered to help Bea with the fall garden, but she’d waved me off, saying I had better things to do with my time.
Like figure out how to energy meld. After banishing Roy—an evil spirit who used to haunt the club in my building—Bea had never fully recovered, leaving her cold and weak. When her doctor didn’t find anything wrong, he’d prescribed a vitamin regimen. It wasn’t helping, though Bea had said all along she knew it wouldn’t. Her essence had been zapped, and there were only two ways to restore it: time or the help of another witch. But not just any witch. Apparently it took a white witch. Something both Bea and Lailah—her shop assistant—insisted I was. I didn’t agree. I’m an empath, someone who can read others’ emotions, not a witch. Or at least not a powerful one, judging by my lack of ability to transfer Ian’s energy to Bea.
The door squeaked and Ian’s frustration reached me before he did. “It’s not working.” He handed me a tall glass of sweet tea and sat down opposite me, stretching out his long, gangly legs.
“I told you not to get your hopes up.” I took a long sip and didn’t make eye contact.
“If you had a better attitude, it would help.”
My head snapped up. I opened my mouth, ready to let him know exactly what I thought of his opinion, but closed it. The fatigue etched around his pale blue eyes gave him a hollowed-out, almost ghostly appearance. If he hadn’t been so worried about his aunt, it would have been funny, considering his obsession with ghost hunting.
I breathed deeply, trying to release some of my bottled-up frustration. “I’m trying.”
“Shit. Sorry. I didn’t mean it the way it sounded. I only meant positive energy flows more freely and all that crap.” He brushed back his sweat-dampened, sandy blond hair.
I laughed. “All that crap?”
He shrugged, giving me the first real smile I’d seen on him in days. I searched for a resemblance of the man I’d met three months earlier, after a ghost scare in my apartment. That day he’d been all smiles, easygoing, and dressed in all black, looking very much like a pro skateboarder. Today he wore khaki shorts and a pinstriped, button-down, short-sleeved cotton shirt. Only the Converse shoes remained from his previous persona.
“What’s with the makeover? I thought T-shirts and jeans were all you owned,” I teased.
He glanced down at his shirt, looking pained. “I’m a little behind on laundry. Plus, with the heat in there, this is a little cooler.”
Sobering, I leaned in. “She’s getting worse, isn’t she?” It seemed each time I saw her, Bea got a little paler and a little thinner. If I couldn’t master the energy meld soon and transfer some healthy energy to her…I didn’t want to finish the thought.
Ian nodded. “I’ve been noticing her decline for the last few weeks. But I don’t understand it. Enough time has gone by that she should be getting better.”