Skip to product information
1 of 1

Emma L Adams

In Witch the New: A Blair Wilkes Mystery Book 12 (Paperback)

In Witch the New: A Blair Wilkes Mystery Book 12 (Paperback)

Regular price $9.99 USD
Regular price Sale price $9.99 USD
Sale Sold out
Book 12 of 15: A Blair Wilkes Mystery

It's time for Blairs magical and non-magical lives to collide.

Blair is understandably nervous about her foster parents finally meeting her biological father, but even her worst imaginings didn't include someone dropping dead right next to them. It also doesn't seem coincidental when she runs into a pair of odd ghost hunters attempting to sneak past the magical boundaries around the town of Fairy Falls.

The ghost hunters - including a Reaper named Maura - are in search of a mysterious spirit rumoured to haunt the lake. Their search leads them to encounter a teenage girl whose disappearance was never solved, and with the town's notoriously grumpy gargoyle police chief being as unhelpful as ever, Blair offers to help them dig up the truth.

But some things are buried for a reason, and as they dig deeper, they begin to unearth something more sinister than a single disappearance. Can Blair help solve the mystery and lay a dangerous spirit to rest?

FAQ: How will my print book be delivered?

Print books are deliverered through a service called Book Vault and are shipped directly to you.

Print time is usually 72 working hours. After books are printed, they are shipped. Please check to make sure the address you provide is accurate and complete before you make your purchase.

Read a sample

In a beat of shimmering wings, I flew past the barrier keeping the town of Fairy Falls hidden from human sight. As my dad and I emerged from the magical world into the normal one, we came to an immediate halt when I held out a hand and hissed, “Normals, up ahead.”

The pair of hikers I’d spotted was too far away to see us appear out of thin air, thankfully, but we’d have to forego our wings for a bit. In unison, we snapped our fingers and conjured up glamours to hide our wings and pointed ears. The bright sheen of fairy magic that surrounded us at all times wasn’t visible to most people anyway, but I was more at ease in glamour than my dad was, having worn one unknowingly for most of my life.

Dad gave me a questioning look. “How do I look?”

“Positively ordinary.” My dad’s silky-smooth and raven-black hair fell to his shoulders, but it no longer glowed like an advertisement for a particularly potent magical shampoo. The shirt and tie he’d chosen to wear only enhanced the impression of ordinariness. “Mr and Mrs Wilkes will think you’re an important businessman who lives in a suit and tie.”

Putting together a meeting between my utterly ordinary foster parents and my biological father—whom I’d only met face to face recently—was harder than one would think. While I’d successfully blended in as a regular human for the first twenty-five years of my life, the glamour my father had put on me had been for another purpose too. Namely, to prevent me from becoming a target for both of my magical parents’ many enemies. I scanned the two hikers walking through the field, but they were dressed like tourists, not paranormal hunters. Good.

“That’s the plan,” my dad responded. “As long as they don’t ask me any questions about my actual job, I might just get away with the ruse.”

“Tell them you work for a top-secret department of the local government and are sworn to secrecy.” The latter part was technically true, since telling non-magical folk about the paranormal world was against the rules. Yet another reason why setting up this meeting had been a challenge.

When I’d first entered the magical world myself, I’d been unaware that I’d obliviously broken the law just by wandering past the boundary to Fairy Falls. Since I’d turned out to have magic of my own, I’d been allowed to stay, but that wouldn’t have been true of the couple who’d raised me while my biological dad had been locked up for a lifelong sentence in a high-security magical prison. As far as I was concerned, that was a fairly significant excuse for him not being there to welcome me to the magical world in person. But now that he was free, he was determined to make up for lost time, starting with introducing himself to the ordinary humans who’d raised me.

We passed the two hikers and made our way to the outskirts of the ordinary town of Sloan. Cars rumbled past, and mundane chatter filled the air as non-magical folk went about their daily existences, oblivious to the other realms and beings that lived alongside them.

“We fit right in here, see?” I gestured at the grey pavements and terraced houses. “Nobody is going to look twice at us.”

That wasn’t strictly true. For my whole life, I’d felt out of step with the rest of the world. Mr and Mrs Wilkes had done their best with me after plucking me out of the foster home and loving me as their daughter, but I seemed to stumble from one catastrophe to the next until I’d wound up in Fairy Falls and finally found myself sliding into place like a missing jigsaw piece, completing the puzzle that was my life. Since I’d always appreciate what my foster parents had done for me, I found myself longing to bridge the gap between my two lives.

Even if it meant twisting the truth a little to avoid breaking the laws. It wasn’t only the legalities of the paranormal world that concerned me but the dangers too. Recently, my foster parents had had a terrifying experience involving the goblin market and its resident fairies, which had been traumatising for everyone involved. Their memories of those events had been erased, but my own memory was crystal clear, and I would do everything in my power to prevent a repeat performance.

My dad and I made our way to the shopping centre—where my foster parents had met my boyfriend, Nathan, a few months ago—and waited outside. Everything seemed grey compared to the brightness of Fairy Falls, even the part that wasn’t covered in fairy glamour, but it was also a hundred percent free of magical dangers. I hope. I found my gaze lingering on any bright colours or sparkles and was glad we hadn’t decided to meet near the jewellery shop.

“I can tell you’re nervous,” said Dad. “Relax, Blair. We’ll be fine. Your cover story is great, and they won’t be expecting any trouble.”

“Last time, my cat showed up,” I recalled. “Though I asked Sky if he wanted to come with us before I left the house, and he just went back to sleep, so I’m guessing that won’t happen this time. Still, that’s the least of what might go wrong.”

My cat showing up in weird places wasn’t an obvious sign that he might be anything other than an ordinary feline, so I wouldn’t have to invent a cover story in that particular instance. As a fairy cat, Sky had adopted me as much as I’d adopted him. Kind of like my foster parents, in a way. I kept an eye out for them among the chattering crowd of weekend shoppers as a few raindrops began to fall on our heads.

“Better get inside,” Dad suggested.

“All right.”

We both ducked into the shopping centre before we got drenched in one of England’s many rainstorms. Unfortunately, a lot of other people had the same idea, and the surge of movement in our direction set my nerves spiking.

“We should get a table before they’re all gone.”

I entered the café near the shopping centre’s entrance, my dad on my heels, and nobody looked at us twice as we picked a table near the window, where Mr and Mrs Wilkes would easily be able to spot us. After all, we looked like an ordinary father and adult daughter out together. A pang hit my chest as I wished my mother could have been here for this moment, but she’d died before I’d ever had the chance to meet her in the flesh. Nevertheless, we’d been lucky to talk when her ghost had briefly appeared on Samhain, and that would have to be enough.

Dad smiled at me, a hint of sadness in his gaze, and I wondered if the same thought had crossed his mind. “We’re in a good spot to people-watch.”

“Trust me, you’re going to be disappointed with the level of ordinariness compared to Fairy Falls.”

I probably shouldn’t speak too soon, given that my last visit to this coffee shop had been interrupted by the ravings of a normal under the influence of goblin brew who’d been able to see my wings. Not to mention my cat deciding he needed to introduce himself as well. Hardly as outrageous as vampires, werewolves, shifters, fairies, and everything else that comprised the magical world, but my penchant for attracting disaster remained firmly intact.

“Sometimes ordinary is what we need,” Dad said.

On the other side of the rain-specked window, I spotted a man dressed in a muddy brown coat elbowing his way through the crowd, glancing wildly around him as if he was being attacked by invisible pixies. Which he wasn’t, because I would have been able to see them. Our gazes locked for a brief moment through the window, and his eyes bulged, but the crowd swallowed him up a moment later. Weird. While he’d been behaving as if he could see something that the crowd around him seemed oblivious to, that didn’t necessarily mean magical involvement—you saw all sorts of weirdos hanging around shopping centres.

I turned back to Dad, but he didn’t seem to have noticed the stranger. “Did you see…?”

“Are your foster parents out there?” He peered through the glass, but I shook my head.

“No, there was this guy… never mind.” Despite my words, tension settled across my shoulders that I couldn’t quite shake. “Erm. How much did I tell you about my foster parents again?”

“You told me they were recently waterskiing in Australia to celebrate their retirement.”

So I had. “I guess that gives a vivid enough picture.”

A waterskiing retired couple formed quite the mental image, but I didn’t know if their sudden liking for extreme sports would get past the aura of otherness that hovered almost imperceptibly over my father despite the glamour covering him from head to toe. The same aura doubtless covered me as well, but I’d lived with them for long enough that they might have been attuned to it.

Dad gave me a reassuring smile. “You were happy with your foster parents, and that’s all that matters.”

“You aren’t wrong.” Being in foster care could easily have been a much worse experience for a misfit like me. I cast a look around the café and saw a group of bedraggled shoppers eyeing our table hopefully, probably thinking we were about to leave. “Ah… we should probably order our drinks.”

I’d forgotten that in a normal coffee shop, you had to go to the counter to order a drink rather than picking up a menu, tapping your order with your fingertip, and receiving your drinks without even needing to leave the table. Just one of the perks of the magical world I’d grown used to.

The moment I rose to my feet, an older couple walked into the cafe. Grey-haired and beaming, Mr and Mrs Wilkes descended on our table and draped me in hugs that unintentionally showered our table in rainwater.

“Blair!” Mrs Wilkes exclaimed. “It’s so good to see you.”

“Glad you got out of the rain,” added Mr Wilkes. “Horrible, isn’t it?”

“Yeah.” I looked between them and Dad, who’d half risen to his feet. “Mum, Dad, this is… Dad.”

“Call me Braden.” He held out a hand to shake Mr Wilkes’s hand then his wife’s.

“You look so young!” Mum exclaimed.

Should have seen that one coming. Mum and Dad didn’t see the glamour hiding his wings, but they did see that my dad’s features did not resemble those of someone old enough to have a daughter in her midtwenties. He looked the same age as I did, in fact. Awkward.

“Genetics,” I blurted. “I take after him, I think. Lucky me.”

I wasn’t kidding. While I wasn’t immortal like a true fairy, I’d age slower than the average person and would always look younger than my actual age. I didn’t like to think too hard about that, since I’d barely passed the point of being asked for an ID whenever I bought alcohol as it was, but I supposed it was better than being permanently stuck at the same age the way vampires were.

Time to change the subject. “We were about to order our drinks. Want me to get yours?”

“Oh—no, thank you, Blair,” said Mrs Wilkes, pulling up a chair to join us. “We’ll wait our turn.”

Once we were all settled with our mugs of coffee or hot chocolate, my foster parents began questioning my dad on how we’d reconnected as adults. I’d seen it coming, so Dad and I had prepared our cover story thoroughly.

“How did Blair come to find you?” Mr Wilkes asked him.

“I once lived in this area,” Dad replied. “When I was married to Blair’s mother. Unfortunately, she died when Blair was only a year old. At the time, I was working a very demanding and dangerous job that made it impossible for me to take care of a child at the same time. I’m glad she was able to find a home with you, but if I have one regret, it’s that I didn’t stay in touch.”

“Oh, I’m so sorry about your wife,” Mrs Wilkes said. “That must have been so hard for you.”

Dad gave a tight nod. “Yes… I miss her a lot. And I’m glad that Blair was able to track me down when she moved here.”

We’d concocted a fake reunion story that left out the part about him being locked in jail when I’d first learned of his existence. Without the context—the least of which was that he’d been locked up for a crime he’d never committed—it’d only add unnecessary complications to an already elaborate cover story. Especially when it came to explaining how he’d earned his freedom. In the process of securing his release, my allies and I had had to outwit Inquisitor Hare—aka Rowe Clearwater, a fairy who’d masqueraded as the human head of the paranormal hunters—and I’d narrowly avoided jail myself. Since the Inquisitor hadn’t been seen since I’d thwarted him, there was no sense in opening old wounds and potentially setting up my foster parents for trouble, so we stuck to the cover story.

From the questions they fired at him, they thought my dad had a top-secret job as a superspy or something, which was kind of hilarious, given that he sometimes struggled to turn on light switches and other modern necessities. After all, he’d gone from living in the realm of the fairies to being on the run before his stint in jail, so he hadn’t exactly had much time to learn his way around the technology of the human world.

Then again, given that my foster parents often needed my help with their smartphones, I figured they could use that particular struggle as a bonding exercise. In any case, we got through the questioning part of the visit without accidentally straying close to mentioning the magical world, and Dad was adept at playing along. When the rain had cleared and we’d finished our coffees, I suggested we have a look around the shops.

We hadn’t taken two steps before a commotion arose from outside the shopping centre. I turned to the window and saw that a crowd had gathered around someone lying on the ground outside. With a quiver of unease, I recognised the prone stranger as the man I’d seen pushing through the crowd in a state of panic earlier. Right now, though, he wasn’t moving at all.

“What’s wrong with him?” Mrs Wilkes craned her neck to see through the window, but everyone else had had the same idea.

Amid the noise of the gathering crowd, I made out a few words.

“He just collapsed…”

“Not breathing…”

“I think he’s dead.”

The last whisper chilled my blood, and the sound of sirens caught my attention. While the people from inside pressed their faces to the window, my instinct drove me towards the door. Dad caught my eye and nodded.

“I think we should go,” I told my foster parents. “Before it gets too crowded out there.”

“Oh, what an awful thing,” Mrs Wilkes commented. “I hope they can help him.”

“Poor fellow,” added Mr Wilkes.

We got to our feet and made our way to the exit. When we emerged near the crowd outside, I heard one loud voice saying, “They say he just dropped dead, but there’s nothing medically wrong with him.”

Weird. He didn’t look that old, and he’d seemed perfectly fine not long beforehand, despite his notable urgency in the way he’d moved through the crowd. The notion that the man’s death might have had a magical cause crossed my mind, but I’d have to wait until my dad and I were alone together to ask if he’d picked up on anything that I hadn’t.

“You might want to leave now if you want to beat the traffic,” I told my foster parents. “It’s been great seeing you, though.”

Mr Wilkes wrapped me in a hug. “We’ll see you soon, all right, Blair?”

“Of course.” I hugged Mrs Wilkes, and then Dad and I stood side by side for a moment to watch their departure.

Meanwhile, the crowd in front of the shopping centre gradually dispersed as the unfortunate man was lifted into the ambulance.

“Do you think his death had a magical cause?” I asked in a low voice.

“Might have,” Dad murmured back. “But it’s unlikely. I didn’t see anything odd.”

“Nor me.” Of the two of us, I was the one who had the ability to tell what type of paranormal someone was by looking at them, but when he’d been in the middle of the crowd, I hadn’t been paying full attention. It was too late now, since my ability didn’t work on the dead, only the living.

“So much for nothing going wrong,” I whispered. “They’ll think I’m a bad-luck magnet… which isn’t really news to them, but still.”

“I think the meeting otherwise went well,” he said. “I’m proud of you.”

“You’re the one who gave the best performance.” I gave him a faint smile, some of my apprehension easing. “Let’s go back to Fairy Falls.”

I did my best to put the strange man’s death to the back of my mind as we left the town centre behind, though I had to wonder if I should pick a different meeting place next time. It might not make a difference, considering my uncanny ability to attract trouble had only intensified since my induction into the magical world. My foster parents were already acquainted with my penchant for ending up mired in chaos, but there was a limit.

Sometimes I wished I could let them in on the truth, but it wasn’t worth the risk, and besides, the magical world was a major culture shock to the uninitiated. I’d barely managed to cope with the adjustment, despite being half witch, half fairy, and all weird.

Once we’d left Sloan behind, Dad and I snapped our fingers to remove our glamour as we began the flight across the countryside towards Fairy Falls, our wings more than making up for the lack of public transport in the area. The magical community where I’d lived for almost a year now was impossible to find on a map, and while the grass wasn’t exactly greener on the other side, it did look more inviting to my eyes. Soon, rolling hills and wild forests surrounded us, and the glittering lake that marked the town’s eastern edge drew closer with every beat of our wings.

As we reached the foot of the hill nearest to the town, I spotted three figures approaching the boundary of Fairy Falls. One was a woman who looked around my age with windswept dark-brown hair and pale skin. The second person was a teenager with a pair of bright-red goggles perched on her head. Odd, but not as much as their third companion—a ghost. Older than the girl but still likely in his teens, he drifted up and down the hillside and whistled what sounded like “The Imperial March” from the Star Wars movies. I tilted my head, trying to figure out if the other two were aware of their ghostly ally or not. Dad, of course, could see only the two humans, and he gave me a questioning look, asking how to proceed.

I snapped my fingers to hide my fairy wings before approaching their group. “Excuse me?”

All three strangers turned towards me, the ghost included. I’d already figured that they must be paranormals, because if they weren’t, the town’s magic would have turned them around and sent them back to the ordinary world. A closer look confirmed the teenager was a witch, but the other two were less clear. Especially the woman. Her gaze travelled over me as though performing a similar assessment.

“Hey there. Are you from this town?” the woman asked.

“Yes, I am,” I said. “If you’re not, what are you doing here?”

My tone sounded more accusing than I’d intended, but what kind of paranormal was she? The young girl was a witch, clearly enough, but while I detected a similar vibe from the woman, there was something else there too. Whatever it was, it gave my paranormal-sensing power pause. She’s not a fairy, is she?

She lifted her head to meet my gaze. “We’re here to stay in Fairy Falls for a few days, and we have a reservation. I’m Maura.”

“A reservation?” I echoed. “Sorry. That should be fine then. I’m Blair.”

“And I’m Carey,” the girl with the goggles on her head said brightly. “Sorry, we just walked in here. There’s not really a footpath, and the wards are strong.”

“There should be someone on security duty. I’ll check.”

Nathan was head of the town’s security team, in name at least, but the actual rota was Steve’s responsibility, and I was willing to bet that the grumpy gargoyle had dragged Nathan’s team off to fill out some pointless paperwork instead of actually doing their jobs. Since this side of town was the one part that didn’t border on the territories of the werewolves and didn’t have a lake in the way, the strangers’ unnoticed arrival wasn’t as suspicious as I’d initially thought.

“All right,” said Maura. “We’ll be staying at the… what’s the name again, Carey?”

“Lakeside Inn,” the girl answered promptly.

“Is there a reason you chose to come here on holiday?” I glanced at my dad, who seemed as puzzled as me. Fairy Falls wasn’t on the usual tourist maps and didn’t produce much interest even for most paranormals unless there was a particular event happening.

“We’re here to look for ghosts,” Carey told me. “I found an interesting news story about a ghost who haunts this lake, and since I run a ghost blog, I wanted to see if we can uncover anything.”

“Ghosts?” If not for her sincere tone, I’d have wondered if she was having me on. Ghosts didn’t show up that often, and I certainly hadn’t heard of one being well-known enough to have reached an audience outside of the immediate community.

“Yep,” Carey said. “I brought my camera and everything.”

Hmm. She was more of an expert than I was, and the fact that she and Maura had brought a ghost of their own as a companion was proof enough that they knew what they were talking about. While about a third of witches and wizards could see ghosts, I hadn’t known spirits ever travelled around with living people. Or that they accompanied them on ghost-hunting holidays, come to that.

“All right,” I said. “The Lakeside Inn…”

“I don’t know where it is,” the girl piped up. “Can you show us?”

“I imagine it’s by the lake,” Maura said dryly. “Unless they decided to be contrary and stick it on a hill instead. Not everywhere is like Hawkwood Hollow, though.”

“Is that where you came from?” I began to walk towards the lake, and so did my dad. He’d hidden his wings, but I had to wonder if the three of them had ever seen a fairy before. The average magical community didn’t have many, and most of ours had moved here recently thanks to our efforts to put the town back on the map as a safe haven for fairies.

“Yep,” Maura answered. “Whoever built our town decided to number the houses at complete random, so if you’ve got that sorted, it’s an improvement.”

“They’ve got the creepy signage right,” said the ghostly teenager, indicating the crooked sign saying “Fairy Falls.”

“So they have.” Maura gave the sign an approving nod. “Did someone tilt that thing on purpose?”

“I haven’t the faintest idea.” I’d thought the sign had horror-movie vibes the first time I’d seen it, but that was before I’d known ghosts and other magical monsters were a genuine possibility.

Carey lowered her goggles over her eyes and fiddled with a dial on the side. “I’ve got to get a picture of that.”

A clicking noise sounded. Was her camera somehow hidden inside those goggles?

“Ah—how many blog readers do you have, exactly?” I asked her.

Carey pushed up her goggles again. “I don’t remember. A dozen, maybe? One of them’s my mum.”

Ah. I decided not to mention my relief, since I wasn’t certain the other residents were prepared for an influx of tourists yet. Granted, the town was picturesque when it wasn’t drenched in rain, with the glittering lake forming a backdrop. Maybe we did need to boost our tourism profile.

A reflection on the water signalled the approach of someone else walking down the path alongside the lake. There he is. Tall and broad-shouldered, dark-haired and handsome, Nathan was the first person I’d met in Fairy Falls and also the man who I usually saw when I woke up in the morning. A grin tugged at my mouth. I should have known he’d come to check up on the security situation despite Steve’s best efforts.

“I’ll see you later,” I said to my dad. “And you,” I added to the newcomers, who were still snapping pictures of the lake.

Hurrying up the path, I came to a halt in front of Nathan. Instead of his usual smile, he greeted me with an expression that he might wear if I’d tripped over the dead body of that poor guy at the cafe.

“Hey, Nathan… is something wrong?”

“That woman you were talking to,” he said. “Did you know she was a Reaper?”

A what?

What in the world was a Reaper?

View full details