In the small town of Duvall, Texas, the only thing that causes more trouble than gossip is magic.
The family magic seems to have skipped over Tammy Jo Trask. All she gets in the way of the supernatural are a few untimely visits from the long-dead, smart-mouthed family ghost Edie. But when her locket—an heirloom that happens to hold Edie’s soul—is stolen in the midst of a town-wide crime spree, it’s time for Tammy to find her inner witch.
After a few bad experiences with her magic, Tammy turns to the only one who can help: the very rich and highly magical Bryn Lyons. He might have all the answers, but the locket isn’t the only thing passed down in Tammy’s family. She also inherited a warning…to stay away from anyone named Lyons…
About the Author
Kimberly Frost is currently at home in a small town known as Houston where she is taking dictation from her characters and working on the next book in the Southern Witch series.
Read an Excerpt
Jenna Reitgarten is awfully lucky that my witch genes are dormant, or I'd have hexed her with hiccups for the rest of her natural born life. She stared at me across the cake that had taken me thirty-six hours to make, a cake that was Disney on Icing, and shook her head.
"Well, it's a really pretty cake and all, Tammy Jo, but it's got too much blue and gray. It might be good for a little boy, but Lindsey just loves pink—"
"The castle stones are gray and blue, but the princess on the drawbridge is wearing pink. The flower border is all pink," I said, tucking a loose strand of hair behind my ear.
"Uh huh. I'll tell you what. I'll take this one for the playroom. I'll put the other cake, the one with the picture of Lindsey on it, in the dining room. And I can't pay two hundred and thirty dollars for the castle, since, after all, it'll be a spare."
"Why don't I just sell you the sheet cake?" I asked, glancing at the flat cake with the picture of her three-year-old decked out in her Halloween costume. Lindsey was dressed, rather unimaginatively, in a pink Sleeping Beauty dress.
"And what would you do with this one, honey?" Jenna asked, pointing at the multi-story castle, complete with lakefront and shrubbery.
"Maybe I'll just eat it."
She laughed. "Don't be silly. Now, you'll sell it to me for a hundred thirty dollars or I'll have to complain to Cookie that you didn't follow my instructions and then—"
"I followed your instructions," I said, fuming. "You said 'think fairy tale princess.' Well, here she is." I flicked the head of the sugar-sculpted princess, knocking her over on the blue bridge.
Jenna gasped. "I've had just about enough from you," she said, standing the princess back up. "You know we order once a week from this bakery for the Junior League meetings. Cookie will have your hide if you lose my business."
Cookie Olsen is my boss, and "Cookie" fits her like "Snuggles" fits a Doberman. As a general rule, I don't want Cookie mad at me, but I was in the middle of remembering all the reasons I don't like Jenna, which date back to high school, and I really couldn't concentrate on two annoying women at the same time.
"You can buy the sheet cake, but you can't have the castle cake."
She huffed impatiently. "A hundred seventy for the castle cake, and that is final, missy."
I'd never noticed before how small Jenna's eyes were. If she was a shape-shifter, she'd be some kind of were-rodent. Not that I'd seen any shape-shifters except in books, but I knew they were out there. Aunt Mel's favorite ex-husband had been eaten by one.
I come from a line of witches that's fifteen generations old. They've drawn power from the earth for over 300 years. Somehow I didn't think Jenna would be impressed to hear that though.
Jenna flipped open her cell phone and called Miss Cookie. She explained her version of the story and then handed the phone to me.
"Yes?" I asked.
"Sell her the cake, Tammy Jo."
"I'm not losing her business. Sell her the cake, or you're fired."
"Yes, ma'am," I said.
"Good girl," Cookie said.
I handed the phone back to a very smug Jenna Reitgarten.
"Bye-bye," she said to Miss Cookie and flipped the phone shut. She dug through her wallet while I put the castle cake into the box I'd created for its transport. I took out the sheet cake, which was already boxed, and set it on the counter.
"That'll be forty dollars," I said.
"Cookie said I could sell you the castle cake or get fired, and I'm going with option B. A cake this size will feed me for a month," I said. "Longer if I act like you and starve myself."
Jenna turned a shade of bright pink that her daughter Lindsey would have just loved. Then she tried to reason with me, she threatened me, and she waved her stick arms around a lot.
"Sheet cake, forty dollars," I said.
Her complexion was splotchy with fury as she thrust two twenty-dollar bills at me. "Lloyd won't hire you. Daddy uses him to cater meetings and lunches. And there are only two bakeries in this town. You'll have to move," she said.
"Well, I'll cross that drawbridge when I come to it," I said, but I knew she was right. Pride's more expensive than a designer purse, and I can't afford one of those either.
Jenna stalked out with her sheet cake as I calculated how long I could survive without a job. I'm not great at math, but I knew I wouldn't last long. Oh, to heck with it. Maybe I will just leave town. If Momma and Aunt Melanie came back and found me gone, it would be their fault. I hadn't even gotten a postcard from either of them in a couple months, and the cards that came were always so darn vague. They never said what they were doing or where they were. I really hoped they weren't in some other dimension since I might need to track them down for a loan in the very near future.
* * *
Like most ghosts, Edie arrives with the worst kind of timing. It's like getting a bad haircut on your wedding day, making you wonder what you did to deserve it.
There was a strange traffic jam on Main Street, and I was trying to get around Mrs. Schnitzer's Cadillac when Edie materialized out of mist in the seat next to me. It certainly wasn't my fault that it startled me. I rammed the curb and then Mrs. Schnitzer's rather substantial back bumper.
I held my head, wishing for an ice pack or a vacation in Acapulco. Then I got my wits together and moved my car into the drive of Floyd's gas station and out of traffic. I grimaced at the grinding sound I heard when I turned the wheel too far left. I hoped the problem wouldn't be expensive to fix given my new unemployed status. With my luck, it would be. Maybe I could just avoid left turns.
Mrs. Schnitzer didn't bother to get her Caddy out of people's way. She slid out from behind the wheel of her big car and sidled up to mine. She wore a lime green polyester skirt that showed off her own substantial back bumper, which, except for missing the dent, matched her car's perfectly.
She asked me a series of questions like, what was wrong with my eyes (plenty since I can see Edie, my great-great-grandmother's dead twin sister), was I on drugs (not unless you count dark cocoa), and what did I think Zach would say when he found out (which I decided not to think about.)
Edie was decidedly silent in the co-pilot's seat. She was dressed in a black, sequined flapper dress, which is a bit much for daytime, but I guess ghosts can get away with some eccentric fashions, being invisible to most people and all.
"Here Zach comes now," Mrs. Schnitzer said, beaming.
"Great," I mumbled and checked my rearview mirror. Sure enough, a broad chest of hard muscle covered by a tight, white t-shirt was approaching.
Mrs. Schnitzer said, "Tammy Jo ran right into the back of my car. And I've got to get home to get ready for the mayor's party. I don't have time for this nonsense today, Zach."
In other words, "Deputy Zach, straighten out your flaky ex-wife." I clenched my teeth, resenting the implication.
He played right along with her. "Y'all go on, Miss Lorraine. I'll deal with this."
She wiggled back to her car and drove her dented bumper off into the sunset. Zach tipped his Stetson back, showing off dark blonde curls and a face that inspires women to cat fights.
"Girl, you're lucky your lips are sweeter than those cakes you bake, or I'd have revoked your license a long time ago."
I'd had a fender-bender or two in the past. Mostly, they weren't my fault.
"Edie showed up—"
"Tammy Jo, don't start that. It still chaps my ass that I paid that quack Chulley sixteen-hundred bucks to get your head shrunk, and all I got for my trouble was a headache."
"I told you it wouldn't work."
"Then you shouldn't have gone and wasted my money. Now listen, I'm busy. You go on home and get ready for Georgia Sue's party, and I'll talk to you there."
"We're driving separate?" I asked. Zach and I have an on-again-off-again relationship, but we were supposed to be on-again at the moment, as evidenced by the fact that he'd slept over the night before last and I'd made him eggs and bacon for breakfast.
"Yeah, I'll be late," he said. "I was at T.J.'s when they called me to give them a hand with this. Longhorns were on the thirty-yard line. You believe I'm out here today?"
On game day? Frankly no. If there's no ESPN in heaven, Zach will probably pack up and move to hell. The fact that he forgets our anniversary and everybody's birthdays every year, but has the Longhorn and Cowboy football schedules memorized as soon as they come out is just one of the reasons our marriage didn't survive. Another small problem was the fact that I still believe in the ghost sitting silently in my passenger seat, and he felt a psychiatrist should have been able to shrink her out of my mind with a pill or stern talking to.
I looked around at the traffic jam as Zach examined my front end. "So what's going on here?" I asked. He didn't answer, which is kind of typical. "What's happened?" I repeated.
He looked at me. "What's happened is you crashed your car, which means I'll have to call in another favor to get it fixed. Unless you've got the money to pay for it this time?"
Now didn't seem the right moment to mention I'd gotten fired. "I'm going home," I announced.
"You think you can handle it?" he asked, his lips finally curving into that sexy smile that could melt concrete.
"Good. Gimme some sugar." He didn't wait before stealing a wet kiss and then sauntering off just as quick.
"Hi, Edie," I said, as I maneuvered back into traffic. "I really wish you wouldn't visit me in the car."
"He still has quite a good body."
"Are you together?"
"Kind of." Like oil and vinegar. Mix us up real good and we'll work together, but sooner or later, we always separate.
"So it's just sex," she said, voice cool as a snow cone.
I sighed. "You shouldn't talk like that."
"He is forever preoccupied and yet often overbearing, an odd and terrible combination in a man. It wouldn't matter so much if he could afford lovely make-up gifts, like diamonds."
"Can we not talk about this please? I've had a rough day."
"I heard you quit your job. Well done."
"I didn't quit. I can't afford to quit. I was fired."
"That's not what I heard."
"Well, what did you hear? And who from?" It unnerved me that there were ghosts that I couldn't see strolling around spying on me. Did they watch me in the shower? Did they watch when Zach parked his boots under my bed? I blushed. Edie noticed and laughed.
I stole a glance at her exquisite face. With porcelain skin and high cheekbones, she was prettier than a china doll. She wore her sleek black hair bobbed, either straight or waved, depending on her mood and her outfit. Her lips were painted a provocative cherry red today. Rumor had it that Edie had inspired men to diamonds...and suicide. It was generally accepted in my family that one of her jilted beaus had murdered her, but she never shared the details of the 1926 unsolved New York homicide of which she'd been the star.
"How are you?" I asked.
"I'm dead. How would you be?"
I opened my mouth and closed it again. I had no idea. Was it hard being a ghost? Was it boring? She was very secretive about her life, er, afterlife.
"What made you visit today?" I asked, still trying for polite small talk.
"I heard you showed some backbone. I decided to visit in the vain hope that you might be turning interesting."
I frowned. Edie could be as sweet as honey on toast or as nasty as a bee sting. "I'm so sorry," I said. "For a minute I forgot that this isn't my life. It's your entertainment."
Her peridot eyes sparkled, and she favored me with a breath-taking smile. "Maybe not vain after all. Did I ever tell you about the time I stole a Baccarat crystal vase from the editor-in-chief of Vanity Fair and gave it as a present to Dorothy Parker? I liked the irony. He fired her, you know."
"Who was the editor?"
"Exactly," she said with a smile. "Getting fired isn't such a bad thing. You just need a present to cheer you up. As luck would have it, one is on the way."
"One what?" I asked, peering at her out of the corner of my eye. She couldn't take a corporeal form. There was no way for her to pick something up from a shop or even to call into the Home Shopping Network, which was really a very good thing. From what I knew of Edie, she had very expensive tastes. There was no way in the world I would have been able to pay for any "presents" she sent me.
"What's this?" Edie asked as she moved through the passenger seat to the back.
"A cake," I said.
"It's a Scottish castle. Eilean Donan. Robert the Bruce still visits there. You're such a clever, clever girl. Only you have the bridge a bit wrong."
"I've never been to Scotland. It's just a castle I made up."
In the rearview mirror, I saw her tilt her head and smile. "Did you see it in a dream perhaps?"
"A daydream," I said hesitantly.
"It's about time, isn't it?"
"About time for what?"
"I'll see you later." She faded to mist and then to a pale green orb of light that passed out of the car and was gone.
I was happy that she'd liked my cake, but troubled by what she'd said. I was afraid she was thinking, as she had before, that I was finally "coming into my powers." She'd proclaimed as much on other occasions and had always been disappointed. No one in the history of the line had ever had their talents appear after the age of seventeen. Here I was twenty-three years old now; I knew I was never going to be a witch. In a lot of ways, it was a relief. Magic always tempted my mother. She'd mixed a potion to help her track down a lost love, and she hadn't made it home to Duvall in over a year. Finally her twin sister, Aunt Melanie, had gotten worried and had gone after her. Now who knew where they were? And what about Edie? She was said to have had remarkable powers, but they hadn't saved her life, had they? They may even have drawn something evil to her. Magic was dangerous, and I was glad I didn't have it. Really, I was.
What People are Saying About This
“An utter delight.” —Annette Blair, national bestselling author of Never Been Witched
“Bewitchingly fantastic!”—Dakota Cassidy, national bestselling author of Accidentally Dead and The Accidental Werewolf
“Witty, sexy, and wildly imaginative.”—Nancy Pickard, Agatha Award–winning author of The Virgin of Small Plains
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
In Duval, Texas Tammy Jo Trask assumes the magical DNA that every member of her family possesses somehow went recessive in her case as her witch genes are dormant. Her only magic is talking with Edie the family ghost who lives inside her heirloom locket.
When her locket is stolen, a desperate Tammy Jo is beside herself as she misses the mouth of the south who was always putting her down. She vows to find her family heirloom so that Edie is back in her life verbally ripping skin off her back. She must retrieve this fast or something dire will happen. Knowing she needs help, she persuades her former husband Deputy Sheriff Zach who spent money on a shrink for her as he does not believe in ghosts and master mage Bryn Lyons although her family warned her even as a child to stay away from the Lyons as their roar is dangerous. Nothing goes right as werewolves stalk Tammy Jo while vampires try to take over the town and the magic-less people are conjuring up the dead.
This amusing urban fantasy is fast-paced from the opening cake sale and fender bender and never stops for a breather until the somewhat low-keyed climax. The ghost gossip grapevine is fun to follow as it makes blogging look obsolete. However, this tale belongs to the title character, terrific Tammy Jo as the only dormant witch in her family and still in love with her ex (at least for the sex) even though he believes she is a fruitcake. Fans will enjoy this humorous lighthearted chick lit fantasy as Tammy Jo finds her groove fighting vampires and reanimated dead.
I really enjoyed reading the first two books. Easy to read snd the main character is refreshingly witty . I,ve recommended to friends and family and they all enjoyed the books
I thoroughly enjoyed this book! The characters are full bodied and rich, from Tammy Jo's off-kilter magic to ex-husband Zach's chivalry and macho charm to Bryn Lyon's sexy, devilish ways. Throw in a mischievous ghost, a gay hairdresser and a transvestite vampire and you have a cast of characters to whom you never want to say goodbye. This book is witty, sexy, sassy and just plain fun. Kimberly Frost is an author for your "keeper" shelf. I can hardly wait until September to see what Tammy Jo does next.
Set in a small Texas town on top of a power grid that makes magic come easily to every witch except for Tammy Jo Trask, Would-Be Witch is a great debut novel for Kimberly Frost. I loved her comic voice and the funny characters that populate this action-packed romp. Her alpha males are hot, creating a great triangle that makes me eager to read the sequel coming up this summer. I'm looking forward to it. I highly recommend this sassy witch with a Texas twang. Gerry Bartlett
Poor, poor Tammy Jo - it really does seem like the magic just skipped right over her very existence. But she is still able to live an almost normal life - although her ghostly relative ,Edie makes her appearance known around town when she's not staying in her locket, makes the story interesting.Not only does she not have the magic that she needs, then she becomes the victim of a crime and is robbed of Edie's locket. All the while trying to find the locket, she runs into some other supernatural creatures, who all seem like they are trying to wreck havoc on her life in one way or another and that's not including her jealous, over-protective ex-husband, Zach.Ms. Frost's writing is fresh and fun. An exciting funny read, right to the very end. Her characters are full of the wit that I believe most southerners have. I could practically hear the southern drawl of the words being spoken on the pages. The plot of the story was quite exciting and, never, as I read though the book, was I able to guess at who it was the stole the locket. The story kept twisting, and then I would think that I had it figured out, and then turn to the next page - and nope, wrong answer. But everything was nicely wrapped up in a little bow in the end, which was nice. Even a witch with the crazy magic should be able to find her happily ever after.I sure do hope that there is going to be more with the adventures of Tammy Jo!
This book is a hoot. Tammy Jo Trask our heroine is one heck of a character. She came from a family of witches but for some reason her powers never surfaced. She then decided to do the next best thing... Pastry Chef. She is known to be the best there is in her small town in Duvall, Texas. So even after her quit/ got fired, depending on how you look at it or who to ask, she's still confident that somebody will hire her. She is a good girl with a rebel heart. Got married when she was 19 and divorced by the time she is 23, with her childhood sweet heart, Police officer Zach. These two characters and their still on going "non-marriage" relationship has a really interesting scenario. You can see that the love and care for each other will always be there but due to conflict of emotions, interest and a supernatural reasons they are better separated.The whole thing started the night Tammy Jo and the rest of her neighborhood went to her best friend's Halloween party. Braving on wearing an unexpected scandalous dress chosen by her ghost Aunt - Edie, who lives in her family heirloom - a locket. But she managed to escape their scrutiny because earlier that day the Sheriff's house was robbed and at that moment it was the center of gossip and conversation. While chatting and somewhat avoiding uber hot, drop dead gorgeous, powerful and rich wizard Bryn Lyons, men in mask started collecting people's valuables which includes Tammy Jo's family locket. Expecting that this is one of Georgia Sue's famous party game nobody reacted until she announced that her surprise performer was a magician. All hell broke lose... Tammy Jo must retrieve the locket at the night of October 24th or Edie's soul will be lost forever.There are only two magical families in Duvall. The Trasks and the Lyons. There was a list, a list of family names that Tammy Jo and her family should not be associated to and one of them are the Lyons. Now, she does not exactly know why but it has something to do with dark magic and/or the end of their line. But Bryn doesn't look the part. Sure he might be dangerous but not to her. The ménage à trois between Zach, Tammy Jo and Bryn is something to watch. The two men are equally enthralled by her charms and had this passion of calling her theirs. But at this point she'd rather pick her cat or her wild cat, an ocelot named Mercutio.Join Tammy Jo and her hilarious set of friends in a wild goose chase of looking of her locket. Be there with her when she cast bad spells, run away from werewolves, be shocked and have a good amount of laugh when she met a cross-dressing flamboyantly gay vampire, swim with a merman, go to jail and be happy for her when all the other hassles are finally over. This book is really good and delightfully entertaining.
A humorous take on a day-in-the-life of a novice witch. Charlaine Harris, for one, has the ability to help you relate to a character who may not be the brightest crayon in the box. This book almost makes me feel stupid after reading it.
I read this book recently and enjoyed every minute of it. There were instances that I just wanted to shake Tammy (lol) but she is a very charismatic character. The angst of the love triangle she's in, I found myself rooting for both of them. I can't wait to read the next book and see what's Tammy's next adventure...
Fluff. I tried it since it said it was 'southern' (saying 'well butter my butt and call me a biscuit' does not make it southern, just (one of many) cliche(s)) and let's face it, I knew it would be fluff. Some fluff is entertaining. Some is not. This had moments of both. I liked her cat, Mercutio, better than any other character since he actually HAD character (entertaining fluff). We meet Tammy Jo (southern name ahem?), a VERY naive sort-of witch. She doesn't know what the red light district is and thinks that Gaelic is something her gay buddy (hairstylist of course) Johnny would do, but she is (of course) an unearthly beauty, has her own special charm that has 2 men panting after her, and a raw magical talent that is stronger than anyone. I finished it in 2 hrs and straight up, I wish the cat had a book - his moments were all I looked for/cared about. Mercutio, that extra half star is for you, pretty kitteh!
I enjoyed the concept of the story and mostly enjoyed the author's voice -- despite a heroine who seemed as dumb as toast through most of it, a frequent desire on my part to take a baseball bat to the heroine's lover/ex-husband, and sometimes awkward or hurried transitions. This probably would have been a 3 star book for me, except for the author's descriptions of the non-white, non-straight characters. (I think the author may have been trying for Charlaine Harris-style playing with stereotypes, except in small-town Texas instead of Louisiana, but either she lacks Harris' skill as a writer or knowledge of the groups she's talking about because it all seemed... well, clueless at best.
Tammi Jo Trask belongs to a family of witches but for some reason her magic never really kicked in. So she works as a baker in her small hometown, Duvall, Texas. But when the locket that is home to the family ghost, is stolen, Tammi Jo has to pull all her power together to try to locate it. Torn between her totally human ex-husband and the hunky magic guy in town, she tries her best to find the thief. Oh, and fight werewolves too.This is a really fun read. I would call it chicklit, but there just are not enough shoes. Tammi Jo is very entertaining and I am looking forward to her further adventures.
I got the sample and I loved it, so I had to get the whole book! It was exciting and fun! I’ll definitely be going to get the next book in the series!
Won't be buying any of the rest of the series.
I loved this book and have bought the subsequent three in the series, and the novella. Just a heads up for the copy editor: There is a subtle grammatical distinction in past tense of the verb "to shine." When the verb doesn't transfer action to an object (intransitive verb - remember 8th grade English?) use SHONE. Her hair shone. The sun shone. The moonlight shone on the dewy grass. BUT if the verb has an obect, use "shined." The boy shined his shoes. The man shined his car. The butler shined the silverware. Yes, I'm picking nits, but I used to be an English teacher, and I'm disturbed when language errors become part of published works. Think Tower of Babel.
A little slow going at times but otherwise a good ride!!
Very fun read
Couldn't put it down. Humorous and whacky.
Pretty fun!! Zack is awesome. I want her with Lyons but i love Zack. Book two here I come!!!!
If you love supernatural down to earth books this is the series to read!
Fun reading, love the series.
I've been dying to find another great series to read since the Sookie Stackhouse series ended. I think I've found it! This book was fun, exciting and sexy. I can't wait to read the next one and see what happens to Tammy Jo!