Home > Witch Please (Fix-It Witches #1)

Witch Please (Fix-It Witches #1)
Author: Ann Aguirre


Chapter 1

   If Danica Waterhouse ever decided to write a how-to guide for other witches, the first rule would be: Do not cast when you’re hungover.

   It would be right up there with harm none for important tenets. Unfortunately, she was known for having great ideas but not so fantastic about following her own good advice. Which was why she was unlocking the door to the Fix-It Witches shop at 8:57 a.m. when it opened at nine, though a thousand angry goblins were kicking her brain stem.

   Despite the gargantuan headache, the shop’s logo always made her smile—two witches on broomsticks, both wearing tool belts. Her cousin Clementine had said the design was too risky, considering their nature, but Danica enjoyed the irony. Plus, people in the Midwest were too pragmatic to take such things seriously. The first Waterhouse witches had fled the Old World due to the persecution of poor Agnes, and then with that dustup in Salem, they had quietly slid a bit farther west to settle in and keep a low profile. At this juncture, the chance of discovery was minimal.

   Clementine usually took the early shift, but she was out of town, and they had a backlog of work orders. Danica had promised herself she wouldn’t drink too much at the bachelorette party last night, but she had been trying altogether too hard to prove she didn’t care about the wedding.

   With a groan, she got the door open and stumbled in, flicking lights on as she went. Not magically, although the light switches might’ve responded. The alarm system did, disarming with a flick of her fingers.

   Danica had a knack with all machines, and sometimes it extended to various modern conveniences. Not reliably, however, and it was best not to get in the habit of leaning on small magics. Otherwise, she might slip up when she was surrounded by mundanes. And while she didn’t think they would dunk her in a pond or tie her to a pyre before the council could intervene, it was still best to be cautious.

   Before she tackled the gadgets waiting for her attention, she got a bottle of water and two strong painkillers. This hangover might scramble her ability to magically repair malfunctioning machines, and it wouldn’t do to give someone back a toaster oven that now served as a shortwave radio. That would raise entirely too many questions, and it wouldn’t help the business either. She could imagine the reviews online already.

   When some of the goblin noise subsided in her head and she could see without a corona of light, Danica flipped the sign on the front door to open and settled in back at the workbench. In films, they always showed witches working around cauldrons, dressed fully in black, sacrificing small animals and whatnot, whereas she was wearing a pair of ripped jeans, ratty sneakers, and a fleece sweatshirt with cat ears on the hood. Not because cats were her familiars; she just thought they were cute.

   Sadly, she also had a terrible allergy to them. Which didn’t stop cats from sticking to her everywhere she went. Danica had no idea if that was witch-related or if cats were just assholes with a tendency to gravitate toward those who would rather pass. But the minute she set foot on the street, if there was a cat within five blocks, it would present itself, rub all over her legs, and follow her home sometimes too. It was bad enough with strays, but it got awkward when she had to call people to inform them that their beloved pets were on her porch and wouldn’t leave.

   She took another sip of water, and it stayed down. Good—she figured she was only slightly hungover, so it should be fine to get to work, as she was only breaking the no casting while impaired rule a little bit. So many inventions designed to make life easier, so many gizmos that needed fixing—Danica couldn’t throw fireballs or heal the sick, but she could fix a television pretty damn quick. Tech magic had run in the Waterhouse family for generations, but she and Clementine were the only ones with real power these days.

   Gram had poured her magic into a precious gift—a spellbook that would help her when she needed it most—to Danica when Gram retired, and her mother… Danica sighed. Minerva was married to a mundane, and she had squandered her magic, let it trickle away as she led a trivial life in Normal, Illinois, of all places. Sometimes Danica thought the name of the town where she’d grown up was a little on the nose.

   Before Danica could get to work, the phone rang, and she grabbed the extension in the work room. “Fix-It Witches, this is Danica. How can I help you?”

   “Just calling to make sure you made it to work on time. Raquel posted some pictures of the party, and I saw enough to wonder if you’d even hear the alarm.” Clementine’s cheerful voice came across with a hint of reverb, indicating she was on Bluetooth and probably driving.

   “You don’t need to worry. I’m on it! I’ll get half of these done before lunch.”

   “Big promises. Are you feeling okay?”

   “Not great, but I’ll recover.” She wondered what pics Raquel had posted. How embarrassed should I be?

   Normally, Danica didn’t drink much, and it hadn’t been the spirit of Bacchus that had motivated her to get crazy either. Nor was it a pure desire to celebrate Raquel’s happiness. Fact was, Raquel was marrying Danica’s ex, and Danica wasn’t 100 percent cool with it. But she’d experienced an extremely prideful need to prove that she was totally, completely fine with Raquel’s nuptial plans—not at all upset over the fact that Danica had dated Darryl Kenwood for two years and the entire time he’d talked about how neither of them needed to make things official to be happy.

   To exacerbate matters, four months after Darryl hooked up with Raquel, he proposed to her. And Raquel was as mundane as they came. No need to be official, my ass, Darryl. Hard not to take that personally. If Danica was an evil sort of witch, she would’ve hexed his cell phone to spam all his contacts with a link to the last porn video he watched. You still could, a little voice whispered.

   Since Clem knew the whole backstory and had even broken up with her boyfriend in solidarity, it was no wonder she was worried. A thread of concern persisted in Clem’s voice. “Why in the world did you go to Raquel’s bachelorette party anyway? You’ve barely spoken since college.”

   “I was proving a point.”

   “The fact that you’re pointlessly nice? Or that you’re over him?”

   “Maybe both? Look, she didn’t steal him from me. I broke up with him, remember? I was tired of his crap, and I couldn’t put up with it anymore, not even for Gram.”


   “Don’t worry about me,” she cut in. “I’m at work. The business is fine, and you can poke at my emotions when you get back.”

   “If you’re sure. Darryl is a loser. I know why you were with him, but we’re better off sticking to the pact. Don’t let Gram pressure you into dating some random gene packet again, okay?”

   She clenched her teeth, too grumpy for lectures at this hour. “I hear you.”

   “And don’t get worked up,” Clem added, like she needed that caution.

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