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Authors: Janet Chapman

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Spellbound Falls [5] For the Love of Magic

BOOK: Spellbound Falls [5] For the Love of Magic
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“When combining magic, passion, and warmth, no one does it better than Chapman.”*

Praise for the novels of Janet Chapman

“Janet Chapman is a keeper.”

—Linda Howard,
New York Times
bestselling author

“Chapman continues to maintain a great blend of magic, romance, and realism in a small-town setting; tales in the style of Barbara Bretton’s popular books.”


Booklist

“Heartwarming . . . Readers will enjoy the enchanting town and characters.”


Publishers Weekly

“Chapman is unmatched and unforgettable.”

—*
RT Book Reviews

“A captivating, heartwarming paranormal romance that will capture your attention from the very beginning . . . The combination of wit, clever dialogue, charismatic characters, magic, and love makes this story absolutely enchanting.”


Romance Junkies

“One can’t beat a love story that combines magic and a man willing to move mountains for the woman he loves! Great elements of humor, magic, and romance.”


Night Owl Reviews

“A spectacular and brilliant novel for those who love the juxtaposition of the paranormal and the real world . . . A PERFECT 10 is a fitting rating for . . . a novel which is both tender and joyful, but also has beasts looking for peace and a new way of life after centuries of struggle.”


Romance Reviews Today

Jove titles by Janet Chapman

HIGHLANDER FOR THE HOLIDAYS

SPELLBOUND FALLS

CHARMED BY HIS LOVE

COURTING CAROLINA

THE HEART OF A HERO

FOR THE LOVE OF MAGIC

For the Love
of Magic

Janet Chapman

THE BERKLEY PUBLISHING GROUP

Published by the Penguin Group

Penguin Group (USA)

375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014, USA

USA | Canada | UK | Ireland | Australia | New Zealand | India | South Africa | China

Penguin Books Ltd., Registered Offices: 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England

For more information about the Penguin Group, visit penguin.com.

FOR THE LOVE OF MAGIC

A Jove Book / published by arrangement with the author

Copyright © 2013 by Janet Chapman.

Excerpt from
Spellbound Falls
copyright © 2012 by Janet Chapman.

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission. Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights. Purchase only authorized editions.

Jove Books are published by The Berkley Publishing Group.

JOVE
®
is a registered trademark of Penguin Group (USA).

The “J” design is a trademark of Penguin Group (USA).

For information, address: The Berkley Publishing Group,

a division of Penguin Group (USA).

375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014.

ISBN: 978-1-101-62448-7

PUBLISHING HISTORY

Jove mass-market edition / September 2013

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental. The publisher does not have any control over and does not assume any responsibility for author or third-party websites or their content.

Contents

Praise for the novels of Janet Chapman

Also by Janet Chapman

Copyright

 

Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

Chapter Nine

Chapter Ten

Chapter Eleven

Chapter Twelve

Chapter Thirteen

Chapter Fourteen

Chapter Fifteen

Chapter Sixteen

Chapter Seventeen

Chapter Eighteen

Chapter Nineteen

Chapter Twenty

Epilogue

 

LETTER FROM LAKEWATCH

 

Special Excerpt from
Spellbound Falls

Chapter One

Rana slid her gaze away from the uncertain brown eyes of the woman in the mirror and focused instead on the reflection of the cramped bedroom behind her as she wondered—not for the first time in recent weeks—if she would even be alive this time next year. Or worse, assuming she did survive the two distinctly separate battles she was facing, if she would still be married to the love of her life.

The first battle, of which
she
had fired the first salvo, was actually proceeding better than she’d anticipated. Though considerably more rustic than she was used to, the small house she’d moved into four days ago was so far proving to be a wise purchase. It sat on a generous lot directly on the shore of the Bottomless Sea, was within walking distance of Spellbound Falls’ town center, and the eccentricity of its previous owner spoke to her heart. It also was close enough to Nova Mare, her son and daughter-in-law’s five-star resort on the summit of Whisper Mountain, to allow her to continue seeing her grandchildren on a regular basis. In fact, Henry—who was ten going on a hundred and ten years old—could paddle over in his kayak, since her new home sat only a mile down the shoreline from Inglenook, a family-oriented resort that Maximilian and Olivia also owned.

Rana slid her gaze back to the woman in the mirror as she took a deep breath to square her shoulders and beamed herself an over-bright smile. For better or worse, she’d done the unthinkable and there was no turning back. But having been married to Titus for forty years—give or take several thousand—she not only had a pretty good idea of what to expect from him, she’d also learned a thing or two about fighting dirty.

Although in truth she wasn’t actually trying to win their little domestic war. Rather, she was using it to prepare for her second battle, which she desperately needed to survive if she wanted her big powerful husband to also be alive this time next year.

Sweet Athena, she loved the maddening man.

Dropping her gaze with a frown, Rana tugged on the underwires of her blue lace bra to settle her breasts deeper into the
C
cups, only to sigh when the now obviously size
D
s
continued spilling over the top. Somewhat mollified that some of the eight pounds she’d gained had settled in her bosom, she turned and looked over her shoulder at the mirror to discover the rest of her weight gain making itself at home on her backside.

“Well, it would appear I left just in time,” she murmured as she walked to the bed and picked up her slacks, “before
someone
said something he would certainly regret.”

Hearing a now-familiar diesel engine rattle to a stop at her garage that sat across the road from her driveway, Rana quickly pulled on her pants and fastened the snug waistband. She rushed to the window at the sound of two truck doors closing and peered through the lace curtain to see Gene Latimer and his son entering the large garage—the teenager’s shoulders hunched as he glanced toward the house before disappearing inside.

Rana grabbed her heavy chambray shirt off the bed as she rushed past, slipping it on and buttoning it up as she hurried down the stairs and through the great room to the kitchen. “Aw, Zack, I’ll have you smiling in no time,” she said as she wiggled her feet into her sneakers. “And your father, too, when he leaves here with another big fat check,” she added, stepping onto the porch and sprinting out her short driveway.

Not bothering to look for traffic as she crossed the narrow dirt road that dissected her property in half, Rana slowed long enough to put her serene smile in place before walking into the garage. “Good morning, Gene. Zack,” she said warmly.

A flash went off as both men turned to her, the elder Latimer lowering his hand in surprise and Zack sighing in relief. “Mrs. Oceanus,” Gene said, his close-cropped beard bristling with his grin. “I’m sorry if we disturbed you, but I wanted to take some pictures of the equipment so I can post it on Craigslist this morning. With any luck, I’ll have everything out of your way by next weekend.”

“Actually, I was watching for you.” She gestured at the machines coated in rust-colored soot. “I’ve decided to purchase the equipment.”

Gene went back to being surprised. “What in tarnation for?” He flushed slightly. “I’m sorry, Mrs. . . . Rana,” he quickly amended when she started to correct him. “But what do you want with a bunch of old metal-working machinery?”

“I’m going to use it. My father was a blacksmith, and I have many fond memories of helping out in his forge, so I thought to revisit my childhood by re-creating it here.”

“But this place isn’t set up for ironwork. It’s a welding shop. Pops worked mostly on logging trucks and skidders, cutting and welding their steel frames.”

Rana arched a brow. “But did you not tell me that he made all the door hinges and handles in the house, as well as that beautiful balcony rail and stairway?”

“Do you even know how to run a MIG welder?” Gene asked, pointing at a trunk-sized box with a long set of hoses snaking out of it. “Or a cutting torch?”

“Not yet. But Zack is confident he can have me welding like a professional by the end of the summer.”

“I’m sorry,” Gene said, shaking his head, “but the boy had no business offering to teach you to weld, because he’ll be too busy working full time once school lets out. Because,” he added with a scowl at Zack, “he needs to earn enough spending money to last him through his first two semesters of college.”

Rana looked down to hide her smile. “Then I guess it’s fortuitous that I’ve offered Zack full-time employment mowing my lawn and doing some painting and sprucing up around here.” She lifted her gaze and imbued her smile with as much serenity as she could muster, considering Gene was now scowling at
her
. “And that I also agreed to let him use the equipment on his off-hours to work on trucks like he did with his grandfather, as Zack assures me he can easily triple the four hundred dollars a week I’ll be paying him. That should be enough spending money to see him through his freshman year, shouldn’t it?”

The elder Latimer looked down at the camera in his hand, his brows pinched together in a frown, and Rana finally got Zack to smile by shooting him a wink.

“Please don’t take offense, Gene,” she said softly, “but your father’s creative genius defeats me. There are still cupboards I can’t open, and I’ve yet to gain entrance to the shed down at the beach. Without Zack’s help, there’s a very real chance I’ll spend all this spring and summer breaking into various parts of my new home instead of enjoying it. And I much prefer to be out on Bottomless in the beautiful daysailer you kindly let go with the house, rather than mowing lawns and painting trim.”

“Shawn Pike asked if I couldn’t straighten out the frame of a ’69 Roadrunner he’s rebuilding,” Zack interjected. “And Chester Beal still can’t find anyone to fix the mess he made of the logging chains he tried welding himself. Those two jobs alone should pay at least a thousand dollars.”

Gene gave his son a hard look, then slowly took in the cluttered shop before looking back at Rana. “No offense taken,” he said with a sheepish grin, “since I’m still trying to open the puzzle box Pops gave me last Christmas.” He folded his arms over his chest, his gaze turning direct. “I’d planned to ask six thousand for the equipment and another thousand for the stockpile of metal out back, but if you’re serious about getting into metalwork and hiring Zack, it’s all yours for an even five.”

Suspecting a good part of this morning’s check was going toward Zack’s college tuition, Rana didn’t even try to haggle him down. “Deal,” she said, extending her hand—but not shaking Gene’s when he took it. “Assuming the pickup is considered equipment.”

She once again caught the man by surprise. “You actually want that old rust-bucket?” He gently pumped her hand up and down. “Heck, I thought I was going to have to pay someone to haul it off for scrap.” He stopped pumping. “Hey, you don’t intend to drive it, do you?” He glanced out the bay-door windows at her empty driveway across the road. “Gosh, Mrs. Oceanus, I don’t even know if that truck will pass inspection.”

“Zack assures me that everything works and the frame is solid.”

Gene narrowed his eyes at his son. “Seems to me the boy’s been giving you a lot of assurances he didn’t discuss with me first.”

“Then let
me
assure you, Mr. Latimer,” Rana said, drawing his attention again, “that everything we’ve discussed this morning has been my idea. Knowing how much time he spent here with his grandfather, I approached Zack in town yesterday with an offer of employment. I also asked if he could teach me to use this equipment. Because, truthfully?” She gestured in the direction of Bottomless. “I want to learn from the artist who created that beautiful metal whale down on my beachfront.”

“That’ll be kind of hard,” Gene said quietly, “since he died two months ago.”

Rana glanced toward Zack to see him looking down at his feet as he scuffed a grease spot on the floor. “I’ll settle for the artist’s apprentice, then,” she said, heading for the door. “Let me go get you a check.”

Zack followed her outside. “How did you know?” he whispered as he fell into step beside her.

Rana stopped in the road. “Last time I checked, an
A
didn’t look anything like a
Z
.”

It was Zack’s turn to be surprised. “You actually found the signature?”

She started walking again. “Once you get to know me better, you’ll realize that I don’t give up very easily when I consider something is important.”

“Well, thanks for not ratting me out to Dad,” he said as he rushed to catch up again. “He’d have a cow if he knew I’m the one who made that whale.”

Rana turned to him when she reached the porch. “I believe you’ll also discover that I’m very good at keeping secrets, Zack, which makes me a very good confidant.” She opened the door and waved him in ahead of her, then touched his arm when he hesitated. “I know you said it wouldn’t be a problem, but are you certain working here won’t bother you? It can’t be easy to see me living in your grandfather’s house and using his tools.”

The boy threw back his shoulders on a deep breath. “Pops would be okay with it,” he said as he stepped inside, “since you claim all his weird metalwork is one of the reasons you bought the house. And I like the idea of continuing to look after the place for him. I mean you.” Two flags of red appeared on his cheeks. “I know you asked me to, but my mom would skin me alive if she ever caught me using your first name. So I thought about it last night and . . . um, would you mind if I call you
boss
?”

Rana walked into the kitchen and started rummaging through her purse on the counter. “That will be fine, Zack,” she said, pulling out her checkbook. “When I suggested you use my first name yesterday, it was because I couldn’t see us working together with you calling me Mrs. Oceanus every five minutes.” She pointed at the peninsula separating the kitchen from the great room. “So as your boss, my first assignment for you is to get me in that cupboard.”

“This cupboard?” Zack drawled, walking over and rattling the intricate steel clasp. He straightened with a grin. “Sorry, boss, but that’s one of only a few locks I’ve never been able to figure out. This is where Pops kept his booze, so he got even more diabolical with the design to keep me honest.” He chuckled, nudging the door with his knee. “The kicker is that every so often he couldn’t remember his own secret and would have to drive into town and buy another bottle.”

“I’m not going to be able to use that cupboard?” Rana clutched the checkbook to her chest as she glanced around the small kitchen. “But there are so few as it— Wait, what are the other clasps you can’t open?”

“The small shed down by the beach. Pops didn’t want me taking the kayak or daysailer out alone after the earthquake turned Bottomless into a sea with tides and whales and
sharks
four years ago, so he locked up the sails and paddles.” He frowned, then gestured behind her at the bathroom just off the kitchen. “And I just remembered that the back panel of the towel closet is really a door that leads to a small chamber under the stairs. I have no idea if there’s anything in there, because I haven’t seen inside it since we replaced the camp’s underpinning with steel beams several years ago.”

Still clutching the checkbook to her bosom, Rana frowned down at the cupboard’s intricate clasp, undecided if she was confounded or even more intrigued with her new home. Averill Latimer had apparently spent the last ten years of his life
creatively
remodeling the eighty-year-old camp into a cozy and definitely one-of-a-kind house, which she’d purchased last week when she had finally worked up the nerve to run away from home.

Not that she’d gone very far.

“If you want,” Zack said, nudging the cupboard again, “I can come by after church tomorrow and cut off the clasp and replace it with an ordinary handle.”

“Absolutely not,” Rana rushed out in response to the sadness in his voice. “Where’s the fun in that? And besides, I love a good challenge almost as much as I love keeping secrets. Don’t worry, I’ll—”

Footsteps sounded on the porch. “Zack, Chester Beal just drove in,” Gene said as he stepped through the open door and shot his son a grin. “And by the looks of that mess in his truck bed, those tire chains are a five-hundred-dollar job.” He sobered. “If he gives you any grief about trying to get a man’s wage out of him, you politely remind Beal that
he
came looking for
you
.” Gene went back to grinning. “And then you ask whose welds he wants holding those chains together when he’s dragging a six-ton load of trees through the woods: a certified welder’s or his bubblegum job.”

BOOK: Spellbound Falls [5] For the Love of Magic
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