No lightning bolt streaked from the sky the day my life as I knew it began to end. There was no warning at all. Nothing. There I was, sitting at my desk, minding my own business, doing my job. My official job title is “legal assistant.” The more exotic sounding title is paralegal. In the old days when folks called jobs what they actually were, the title was “legal secretary.” Me? I answer to any of the above. Or just to Ariel. That's my name. Ariel Anson. And that’s all I was doing, I swear. Minding my own business in the course of my humdrum day. Doing my job at the century-old, prestigious central Georgia law firm of Baker, Lawson, Abercrombie & Hunter, where the partners walked around in blissful ignorance of the fact the firm is referred to in legal circles as BLAH. All us legal assistants think that's a hoot.
(Excerpt, The Witch)
Yeah, that’s me. Ariel Anson. Ariel Anson Garrett nowadays. See, sometimes the practice of law requires special expertise of the “field” variety, expertise few of the attorneys or staff members have. Like tracking down folks who don’t much care to be found, serving suits and notices and subpoenas on folks who don’t much care to be served, things like that. When that happens, we call in the services of the guys—or gals—who do have that expertise. Usually they’re known as “private investigators” and good ones have a multitude of skills. On that day when no lightning bolt streaked from the sky, I found myself in need of a good one. And I was in need of a good one down in the southern part of the state in a geographical area outside our usual area of practice, so I didn’t know a name off the top of my head to call. Like any good little legal secretary, I knew how to find one, though. I placed a few calls to some firms in the area we’d worked with for recommendations.
And if I’d known then what I know now—namely that War-N-Wit, Inc. stood for “Warlock and Witch”, that Chad Garrett, sole owner, proprietor and employee of War-N-Wit, Inc. was the “War” of that outfit on the hunt for his “Wit”, the soul-mate he’d reincarnated with many times over the centuries, and that he’d immediately peg me as said “Wit” when I uttered my first syllable to him over the phone—well, if I’d known all that then, I’d have still done the same damn thing. I’m not even going to lie about it.
Now don’t get me wrong. I didn’t fall off the turnip truck yesterday. I didn’t just throw up my hands and say “Okay! I’m.” But in the end, there’s just no denying the truth. Not when you realize down deep in your soul that something is the truth. Thus it was that I traded in my secretarial chair in the hallowed halls of BLAH for on the job training as the “Wit” of War-n-Wit, Inc. Yeah, I married the man. On a motorcycle in the Tunnel of Love Drive-Thru at the Little White Wedding Chapel in Vegas, if you must know. Now I’m learning all about skip-tracing, process serving, investigating, and bounty-hunting. Among other things.
What other things? Well, as you might imagine, with a name like War-n-Wit, Inc., we’re magnets for clients who need investigative services of a more—well, magical—nature than the general population. Like Oliver Hedgepath of Resurrection. The Resurrection Society, based in Savannah, Georgia, to be precise. Hedgepath was a prissy little twerp of a man. Chad and I disliked him just from talking with him on the phone. And since we’re both what you call telepaths—meaning we don’t read minds, per se, we read people, who they are underneath the masks we all wear for the world—well, that alone made Chad decline his case. He was persistent, though, actually showed up on our doorstep. And meeting him set off alarm bells so loud Chad called in outside sources for consultation.
That’s the first time I met Gabriel Smith, affectionately known as “G”. G’s the head hauncho for an organization Chad referred to simply as “The Guardians”. They keep an eye on the magic world. Magic’s very powerful, you see. And a misuse of magic is a misuse of power. Anyone who abuses magic risks losing it, any witch or warlock can tell you that. G thought old Ollie Hedgepath bore watching. So off we went to Savannah, to check out the Resurrection Society. That was a blast from the past, for certain sure. Once we figured out whose past it was a blast from, of course. And that’s when I first began to wonder about that black cat. The one I named Micah. The one who seemed to show up no matter where we were. Oh, I know, I know. There’re lots of black cats in the world. Chad kept telling me the same thing. But not like Micah.
We took a break after that case. Well, it was supposed to be a break, anyway. A trip to Daytona Bike Week. Did I mention Chad was an avid biker? Chad’s an avid biker. Did I mention that magic aside, Chad is very, very good at what he does, the private investigation thing? Well, there’s a reason for that. He’s spent his entire adult life in some aspect of law enforcement. Ex-Miami-Dade PD, ex-Florida Bureau of Investigation. And a few other “ex-es” not mentioned on his resume. Including the five years he spent undercover with an outlaw biker gang. So naturally, a call came in from that “ex” right before we left. Since we were going to be down there anyway, could Chad possibly check around concerning a current undercover operative who’d gone missing in action? Good thing we broughtwith us. Because if Chad’s best friend Spike and my little sister Stacy hadn’t been with us, things could have turned out pretty darn badly. I don’t think Micah and I could have managed that one without them. Oh, yeah. Micah was there, too. We didn’t bring him with us. Like always, he was just—there!
Something really great happened on that trip, though. Well, beside all of us surviving it, I mean. Spike and Stacy fell head-over-heels in love. So very shortly thereafter, Chad and I were winging it back to Vegas, Spike’s home base, for their wedding. To be held in the Tunnel of Love Drive-Thru at the Little White Wedding Chapel. It’s sort of a family tradition by now. And when I say family, I mean family. My Mom and Dad were there, too. Mom missed my wedding and okay, that was my fault. She didn’t intend to miss Stacy’s, too. Which was out of this world. In more ways than one. Because that’s when I discovered the Guardian’s Council was actually “The Galatic Guardians Council”. Very convoluted organization. Gabriel Smith heads the MeanStreet, LLC, Division. Michael Smith heads the FlyingLow, LLC Division. Raphael Smith heads the SassyWings, LLC Division. C’mon, with names like that I don’t need to draw you a roadmap, do I? And Micah? I wasn’t kidding when I told you there was something strange about that cat. Or when I told you my sister’s wedding was out of this world.
So what’s next? I’ve got no idea. I don’t go looking for trouble.
Because it always finds us. Always.
* * * *
Gail Roughton's spent almost forty years in a law office as a legal secretary/paralegal. During those years, she's raised three children and quite a few attorneys. She kept herself sane by writing books, tossing each completed novel in her closet. She's been cleaning out the closet for the last few years, as well as producing new works never stored there. A multi-genre writer, her books span the spectrum from humor to paranormal to romance to horror. Sometimes even in the same book. None of that's planned, it's just what happens when the characters start talking. Even she doesn't know what to expect next!
Check out her Author’s Page at
http://amzn.com/e/B007JVZCKQ, message her at www.facebook.com/GailRoughton, or visit her at http://gailroughton.blogspot.com. You can also come sit at the table in her country kitchen for some downhome stories at http://flowersonthefence.blogspot.com.
And Coming Soon:
Sisters of Prophecy – Ursula (co-authored with Jude Pittman)
Black Turkey Walk (A Country Justice Novel)