Brittany’s life is a mess. Her grandpa died, her parents got back together, and her boyfriend broke up with her. Now her aunt is telling everyone that Brittany has the aura of a witch queen. Brittany doesn’t want to be a witch queen. Until Ravyn shows up. Ravyn was literally born and bred to be a Queen Potential. She’s better than Brittany at everything, and she makes sure Brittany knows that. Suddenly, Brittany wants to win. She wants to become the Potential and rip the smirk off Ravin’s face. When Ravyn tries to one-up Brittany by involving her in a mad-cap scheme, Brittany knows she should walk away. But if she does, Ravyn will never let her forget it. What’s a teenage witch to do?
Targeted Age Group:: Teen
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
I wanted to write a story that showed teen depression in action. Teens with depression don’t necessarily appear sad. Irritability, anger, and agitation are often more prominent. I wanted my teenage readers to see themselves within the pages and to know they are not alone. Yet, I didn’t want to preach, so I created a world filled with witches and vampires to make the story fun.
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
My main character is loosely based on my granddaughter, Nicole. I say loosely because Nicole was vegan and bulimic in her teenage years, and I couldn't quite pull that off in my writing. The mentor in my story is based on Nicole's mother who is Wiccan and my advisor about rituals and observances. She makes her own soaps and candles, and she knows about crystals.
By Roxanne Smolen
12/20/2008 Loxahatchee, Florida
“No! Please, no!” She panted, writhing. “Don’t do this!” Brittany Meyer woke abruptly. Her heart raced. Tears streamed down her temples and gathered in her hair. She’d been dreaming about him again, reliving the awful moment when she realized he was going to leave her. She wiped her face and glared at the sunbeams dancing across the ceiling. How could he abandon her in this world alone? How could he expect her to make sense of it all when he wasn’t with her? He said to go on with her life and forget about him. Fine. She would keep living, but she would never forget…
“Cody,” she whispered.
She sat up and hugged the warm comforter. Her room was as it always was—clashing shades of purple on her bed, crystal teardrops dangling in the windows. A poster of Captain Jack Sparrow spread over the opposite wall. How could everything look so normal when the whole world had changed?
“Brittany. Company,” Myra called up the stairs.
Brittany flung back the bedsheet. What idiot would come over so early on a Saturday morning? She pulled on a pair of jeans under her Ninja Turtle sleepshirt. Barefoot and yawning, she padded half-way down the stairs—then stopped. The intruders were her parents. They stood at the front door talking with Myra.
“Mom,” Brittany blurted, “what are you doing here?” She carefully avoided her father’s eyes. Maybe if she acted like he wasn’t there, he wouldn’t be.
Her mother smiled. “Good morning, sleepyhead. Merry Christmas. We’ve come to get the decorations out of the garage.”
“Oh, yeah.” She hadn’t forgotten the holidays. She was just actively trying to ignore them.
She continued downstairs and followed her parents and Myra into the kitchen. A window was open, and damp Florida air stirred the yellow curtains.
Aunt Lynette stood at the counter, filling the coffeemaker. “Morning. Can I make y’all a cup?”
“No, thank you, Lynette,” Mom said. “We’ve just come from breakfast.”
With barely a grunt of acknowledgment for his sister, Brittany’s father brushed past Aunt Lynette and opened the back door leading to the garage. Myra’s black cat, Isis, came in, dodging his feet. She leaped smoothly onto the kitchen counter. Isis was born with only three legs, but she never seemed to notice.
“Son of a—” Recovering from the near trip, Brittany’s father stepped into the garage.
Mom crossed the room and stood in the doorway. “Over there, Dean. No, not that one. Pay attention. They are clearly marked.”
He brought in a stack of boxes labeled Christmas Decorations and set them on the kitchen table. The musty smell of old cardboard overrode that of the brewing coffee.
“How many of these are there?” he groaned.
Her mother’s face pinked. “A few more.”
Brittany gave a rueful smile. There were more than a few boxes of decorations. Her mother was a craft nut, and she loved the holidays.
Her father went back into the garage, muttering something Brittany didn’t catch. She poured a cup of fresh coffee and offered it to her aunt, but she pursed her lips and gave a quick shake of her head. Brittany picked up the cup and sat at the table behind the growing stack of boxes. Her mother opened a box, sighed, and opened another.
Myra peered inside and pulled out a Santa Claus made out of pipe cleaners and cotton balls. “This is clever. Did you make it?”
Mom smiled. “Bartley made that in second grade.”
Brittany said, “Where is Butt Crack? Why didn’t he come with you?”
Mom cocked a brow at her. “Your brother spent the night with a friend.”
“I haven’t seen him in like forever.” Ever since you and dad got back together and took him away.
“I’ll tell y’all what,” Aunt Lynette said, her southern twang emerging with her pique. “Why don’t the three of you come for Sunday dinner next week? I’ll fix you something nice.”
“That sounds lovely,” Mom said. “I’ll check his schedule. He’s a busy boy, with classes and all.” She glanced obliquely at Brittany. “How are you doing in school?”
Brittany took a sip of coffee, scalded her tongue, and blurted, “I’m thinking of dropping out of high school. I’ll get my GED and start college with the new term in January.”
Her mother stiffened. She turned slowly toward Aunt Lynette and said through gritted teeth, “You promised to keep her in school if we let her live here with you.”
Just then, Brittany’s father set two more boxes on the table. “Now, now. I have a GED, and I turned out all right.”
Brittany blinked in surprise. She wasn’t used to her father taking her side.
Mom clenched her fists and lowered her voice into a growl. “You work road construction. I had hoped for more from my youngest daughter.”
Her father’s face darkened, and Brittany saw some of the old violence there waiting to explode.
Before he could respond, Aunt Lynette said, “But she will be in school, Dalia. She’ll be attending South University over here in Royal Palm Beach.”
With forced cheerfulness, Brittany’s father asked, “What subjects will you be taking, Brit?”
“Herbology. I’m going to be an apothecary. That’s like a pharmacist only for homeopathic medicine.”
Her mother sniffed. “If you’re interested in medicine, you should become a nurse like me. It’s hard work, but it pays well.”
Brittany set down her cup. She wasn’t interested in making money. And truth be told, she wasn’t that stoked about becoming an apothecary anymore either. The world had changed, and she didn’t much care what happened to her. But she also didn’t want to fight with her mother. So, she braved a smile and said, “That’s good advice. I’ll consider it.”
Her mother sniffed again and went back to rummaging through the boxes. “What does that boyfriend of yours think about you dropping out of school? What was his name again?”
Brittany grimaced with a spike of anger. “You know perfectly well that his name is Cody. And he doesn’t think anything about it. We broke up.”
“Oh.” Her eyes flicked to Brittany’s, and for a moment, they held genuine surprise and concern—then the moment was gone. “You’re too young to be so deeply involved anyway.”
Father carried in another box and set it with a dozen others on the floor. “I think that’s the last of them.” He stepped back and shook his head. “We can’t fit all this in the van much less in our apartment.”
“More’s the pity,” Mom said. “We’ll just take a few select items.” She and Myra pawed through the boxes, chuckling and oohing over select items.
Brittany got up and poured herself another cup. Aunt Lynette stood near the coffee pot, keeping as far from the action as possible. She eyed the decorations with obvious distaste. Brittany wondered if it was Christmas or the unexpected visit that had her so grumpy.
Mom chose a Christmas centerpiece, three boxes full of icicle lights, two armfuls of knick-knacks, and a box of ornaments for the tree.
Father waved an arm. “Is that it? Now, I just carry all these boxes back to the garage?”
“Can we put up some of this stuff?” Myra said then looked embarrassed at speaking out. “You have such nice things, it’s a shame not to enjoy them.”
Mom smiled. “Of course. Use whatever you like.”
So, her parents left the mess in the kitchen and loaded up the van. Brittany walked them out. She wanted to give them a message for Butt Crack but didn’t want to act as if she missed him too much.
Mom said, “You’re coming for Christmas on Thursday?”
“Should I expect Lynette and Myra?”
A smile quirked Brittany’s lip. You could have asked them yourself. “No, they plan to have a quiet day alone.”
Mom kissed her cheek then got into the van. Brittany waved as they drove away. With a sigh, she returned to the kitchen table and her cooling cup.
Myra was pulling whimsical elf figurines out of a box and setting them on the kitchen counter. “Look at this one,” she exclaimed to Lynette who gave her a sour look.
As Brittany sat, she said, “I didn’t realize Wiccans celebrated Christmas.”
Aunt Lynette muttered, “We don’t.”
At the same moment, Myra said, “I love Christmastime. The lights, the candles, the gingerbread scents.”
Brittany used to love Christmas, too. With a pang, she remembered that she had wanted a Christmas wedding. Not that year, of course. Next year when she was eighteen.
Aunt Lynette sat across from her at the table and said, “I’m planning a larger celebration for Winter Solstice tomorrow.”
“Larger than the three of us?” Brittany said.
Aunt Lynette nodded. “I got the idea around Samhain. The celebration seemed so solemn. When Myra and me was still living in Georgia, our coven always celebrated Samhain with the other local covens. We’d build a huge bonfire, and everyone would dance around it. Anyway, there are a couple of friends of mine from high school still living in the area. Theodora and Zoe. I’m surprised they’re still here. They each have covens based in West Palm Beach. So, I invited them over for the feast tomorrow.”
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