The Professor Woos The Witch

Page 65

“The penalty for this sort of violation is usually a five-year suspension from magic.”

Hank nodded. “When do you need me?”

She glanced at Cole. “Could be as early as tonight.”

Hank scrawled something on a business card. “Text me. I’ll be there. And if Marigold needs to drop Saffie off at our house, I know Ivy would be happy to watch her until this matter is settled.”

Pandora smiled. “Thank you, I’ll tell her. I don’t suppose Charlie would mind Saffie’s company either.”

Hank smiled, shocking Cole. He hadn’t thought the man capable of it. “That boy’s got himself an awful crush.”

Pandora laughed. “I’m pretty sure it’s a two-way street.”

Then Hank looked at Cole, and his expression went back to sheriff-on-the-job. “You’re new in town, so—”

Cole nodded. “New to this whole world, actually.”

Pandora put her hand over his. “Cole only recently found out he’s not entirely human.”

Hank nodded. “That had to be a shock.”

“You can say that again.”

“Well,” Hank continued. “You need anything, you call me. We do our best to take good care of all our citizens, but our supernatural ones especially.”

“I appreciate that, but the only thing I’m going to need after this is over is a job.”

“What kind of work are you in?”

“College math professor. Algebra and Calculus, mostly.”

Hank nodded thoughtfully. “I’ll mention it to my wife. She works part time for Delaney Ellingham at the sweet shop, and Delaney’s married to Hugh Ellingham.”

“One of the town’s founders,” Pandora supplied.

The name rang a bell for Cole. “She made the desserts that Stanhill brought to dinner.”

“That’s her,” Pandora confirmed.

Hank leaned back. “The Ellinghams run this town. If there’s a job to be had, they’ll know about it. Anyway, I’ll send word you’re looking. Of course, I imagine Corette could do the same with Stanhill, seeing as how he’s Hugh’s rook.”

“Great idea, and one I should have thought of.” Pandora stood. “I’ll talk to my mother about it. Thank you for all your help. We should let you get back to work.”

Hank got to his feet as Cole did the same. He stuck his hand out. “You, your aunt and your sister, who Pandora introduced me to at lunch the other day, are the first werewolves I’ve met.”

Hank smiled again as he shook Cole’s hand, but this time it was more amused than overtly joyful. “I can guarantee that’s not true. We’re just the first ones you’re aware of.”

Back at Cole’s, Pandora headed straight for the attic to search Gertrude’s things for the key ingredient in their sting, the substitute feather. Cole declined to join her, begging off to get out of his dress clothes and into something suitable for hauling junk out to the dumpster so he could get back to work.

Pandora had a feeling it had more to do with Gertrude than his desire to get the house emptied.

She flipped on the attic light. “Gertrude? I need your help.”

A vision in lemon appeared before Pandora. “Hello, dearie!”

“Hi, Gertrude.”

The ghost clasped her hands in front of her. “Oh, I do love a visit. You know the stud muffin came to see me.”

“I heard. I sent him up here, so you’re welcome.”

She grinned. “He is a tasty cookie, isn’t he? Speaking of, have you had a bite yet?”

Pandora did her best stern face. “Gertrude, that’s my familiar you’re talking about.”

Gertrude put a hand to her mouth and floated back a bit. “Oh my, yes, sorry. No disrespect meant.”

“No harm done. And yes, he is a tasty cookie. Now, I need some help.”

“Anything, dear, anything. Just name it.”

“I’m looking for a very specific ingredient for a spell, and I thought you might have just the thing.”

Gertrude hovered up and down, the ghostly equivalent of yes, Pandora imagined. “I’m sure I do. What do you need?”

“A black feather.”

Gertrude’s smile fell off her face. “What’s wrong? The bonding didn’t work?”

“It’s not what you think. We’re not doing that until we know each other better and are more sure we’re compatible.”

Gertrude clucked her tongue. “If you haven’t tried bonding the old-fashioned way, then you don’t need the feather yet. Trust me, child, nature’s way is better, and that’s not something I often say when it comes to the craft. Just give it time.”

“No, it’s not for us.” Pandora sighed and gave Gertrude the quickie version of what was going on.

“Oh my, I see. Well, then. A feather.” She floated around the attic, inspecting her shelves and the storehouse of witchly goods contained there. She waved her hand, and a box drifted toward Pandora. “See if those will do.”

Pandora plucked the box out of the air and opened it. It was filled with black feathers. “These are perfect. I just need one.” She selected one and returned the box to the shelf it had come from. “Where did you get all of those?”

Gertrude’s smile held sadness. “They were Ulysses’.”

“Are you sure using the feather of another familiar won’t backfire? Especially one that’s related?”

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