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Extract From The Witch Club by Felicity Green

I am pleased to have been invited to take part in the tour for the new book, The Witch Club, by Felicity Green run by Jessica Thompson of Bittersweet Tours.



The Blurb


A young woman is found dead at the Thistle Inn B&B, the tarot card Death in front of her on the kitchen table. Eccentric old B&B owner Mrs. MacDonald has disappeared without a trace. The deceased stranger resembles a young Mrs. MacDonald in her photographs. But everyone in the village of Tarbet in the Scottish Highlands claims that Mrs. MacDonald never had children or other close relatives.


It's inspector Kenna Maxwell's first day on the job and she is thrown in at the deep end. The inhabitants of Tarbet, especially the mysterious women's club Mrs. MacDonald chairs, are less than forthcoming with answers that would help Kenna's investigation.


Kenna's only lead is the story her grandfather, a former police officer, tells her about a series of ritual murders in Tarbet in the 1930s. Mrs. MacDonald was a suspect, as well as her fellow Travellers, members of Washfield Circus. In the end, a young woman was arrested, suspected of witchcraft, and sentenced to death.


But when Kenna looks into this, it seems as if the entire story never happened. Had her grandfather made it up? How could he have known about a detail that connects the events of past and present: the tarot card death was found with each victim …


Who is the deceased young woman? Where is Mrs MacDonald? And how are past and present connected?



The Extract


THE WITCH CLUB

 

She was about to turn on the faucet when the doorbell rang. Dessie looked at the clock above the door. Her brows drew together.

The water taxi from the hostel, she thought, and an icy shiver ran down her spine. When guests arrived this late, it was usually West Highland Way hikers who couldn’t get a room at the Rowardennan Youth Hostel across the loch. A queasy feeling took hold of Dessie as she walked to the front door.

When she opened it, she saw four young people with large backpacks. Dessie turned on the outside light. Two women and two men in their early twenties, soaked from the rain, stared back at her.

“How can I help?” Dessie asked.

“Your sign doesn’t say No Vacancies,” one of the young women whined. Her red curls were stuck to her face, black mascara had left marks on her cheeks, and her lipstick was smudged. Dessie couldn’t muster much sympathy for her. Just another example of hikers who had underestimated the strenuousness of the famous long-distance trail from Milngavie near Glasgow to Fort William in the Highlands. This young woman, who was probably lugging a large make-up kit in her backpack, would most definitely not make it to Fort William. At least not on foot. Dessie suspected the girl and her friends would catch the West Highland Railway tomorrow and cut the nine-day hike short.

“Please tell us you still have rooms available.” The young woman looked at her with big blue doll’s eyes.

“I only have one queen room left,” Dessie said, shrugging her shoulders apologetically. She was about to close the door when Red slid a foot in. She was halfway through the entrance before Dessie could do anything about it.

“We’ll take it,” she yelled, grabbing the young man standing next to her by the wrist and pulling him into the house.

“One room with a queen-size bed,” Dessie repeated, taken somewhat off guard. “So not enough room for four people, I’m afraid.”

“You’re our last resort,” said the woman, brushing the wet hair out of her face. “We’ve been everywhere, but there are no vacancies in this whole effing place.”

“But Val,” said the young man, still attached to the redhead. “What about Nicole and Nate? We can’t just—”

“Well, first come, first served,” Val cut him off. “Do we all have to suffer and stand in the rain just because there’s only one room left?” She let go of the young man and shrugged off her backpack. “I swear, this damn thing gets heavier by the minute!”

“I’m sorry,” the very average-looking man said in the direction of the other young woman.

The petite brunette with big sad eyes still standing outside the door pulled up the hood of her raincoat. “It’s okay, Sam.” She sounded resigned. Then she turned to her companion, who stood a little further back. He just looked down at his shoes and mumbled unintelligibly.

“Do you have any advice where they could go?” Sam turned to Dessie.

The hairs on the back of her neck stood up, and she could hardly breathe. Without blinking, she stared at the young man for what felt like an eternity.

He looked uncertain. “Excuse me, but do you know if there are any vacancies in the area?” Sam repeated his question, probably assuming she had not understood him.

Dessie swallowed hard, took a deep breath, and cleared her throat. She had to pull herself together. Don’t be daft, she scolded herself.

She forced herself to say the words, even though it was hard to get them out. “I’m sure Mrs. MacDonald has a room available. Two streets up the hill on the left. It’s called the Thistle Inn, but it’s actually...” Dessie trailed off.

“Why don’t you try that,” Sam said to the others. “Or maybe we should all go there...?”

He looked at Val. She shook her head. “We’re staying here,” she decided.

“Inn is a little misleading,” Dessie continued. “It’s just two guest rooms in Mrs. MacDonald’s house. You’d share the bathroom with her. It’s kind of a traditional B&B, if you know what I mean. Maybe you young people wouldn’t like to stay in such an, uh, old-fashioned place,” she added hopefully.

But it didn’t help. After all, this was a last refuge for the unlikely hikers. A roof over their heads was better than standing in the rain, even if it was the worst B&B in Tarbet. Well, it wasn’t exactly bad, but... Dessie shook her head as if she could shake off her gloomy thoughts.

The young woman with the big eyes looked back at the other man, whose face Dessie could not make out in the dark and the rain. “So…shall we?”

Nate shrugged indecisively and mumbled something that sounded like, “I don’t care.”

“Well then.” Nicole sighed and waved goodbye to the other two. “See you tomorrow.”

“Room number five,” Dessie said tonelessly to Val and Sam. The two continued into the house, but Dessie stayed at the door for a moment watching the sad figures, one tall, one short, disappear into the dark night.

She knew it was completely irrational, but she couldn’t shake the horrible feeling that she had sent Nate and Nicole to their doom.



The Author


Felicity Green is the best-selling fantasy and paranormal mystery author of over 30 books, in English and German.


A German native, Felicity spent over a decade in England, studying English literature and drama and pursuing her dream of becoming an actress. She toured the British Isles with theatre groups and fell in love with all those magical places in England, Scotland, and Ireland that continue to inspire her novels. Once Felicity started writing her own plays, she knew she had found her calling. She holds an MA in Creative Writing from University of Sussex.


When Felicity isn’t writing or reading, she likes traveling, yoga, hiking, and trying out new recipes. Felicity lives at the German-Swiss border with her husband, her daughters, and an idiosyncratic Main Coon cat.





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