Coven, Sweet Coven

Cheryl Dragon

Powerful witch and psychic, Natalie Fogel never doubts her visions. After a year away from her small town home and the two men she loves, she returns to share her ominous warning. Something deadly dangerous is coming for Halloween...
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Powerful witch and psychic, Natalie Fogel never doubts her visions. After a year away from her small town home and the two men she loves, she returns to share her ominous warning. Something deadly dangerous is coming for Halloween. Happy to see her friends and coven members again, she returns to living with the two lovers. She left to grow her skills but also to avoid some of the negative judgment about a group relationship. Zach and Logan are supportive and sexy but they aren't meant to be a couple and they need their lady to balance the relationship. Their love is strong but the triad is especially unpopular with Natalie's big brother.

For Natalie, there's no place like home…but she'll have to stand up for what's right to stay there happily.

Excerpt
Driving down I-65 in her old sedan with peace signs and a witch’s broom sticker on the back, Natalie Fogel had too much time to think. She didn’t consider herself impulsive, but her behavior seemed to prove otherwise.

About a year ago, she’d left her small hometown of Green Leaf in southern Indiana to test her skills as a psychic medium with mentors in Chicago. She’d made the leap after several months of contemplation and gaining the support of her boyfriends.

Her brother thought she was crazy for being involved in a ménage relationship. It also raised some eyebrows around town.

Her stomach knotted as she neared Indianapolis. Not long now. The foreboding she experienced through her recent dark visions grew with every mile. An ominous, intensely negative event overshadowed her concentration. Worse yet, it was linked to Green Leaf.

This morning, flashes of Halloween appeared in the menacing visions that blurred when she tried to focus on details. As much as her powers had grown over the past year, she couldn’t force visions. The future revealed itself to her often, but things could change.

Green Leaf was a nice place where bad things didn’t often happen. Although death and farming accidents sometimes occurred, her childhood had been idyllic. The town of five hundred was one of those places where everyone knew everyone, and even the Wiccans were loved. Having nature-loving witches around wasn’t a bad thing in a Midwest farm town.

As she rounded the southern outskirts of the city, her eyes teared up and her sight blurred. Pain pulsed behind her eyes. She pulled over to the right shoulder, then parked her car. Visions didn’t normally hit her out of the blue when she was driving.

A dark fog enveloped Green Leaf—the strength of the pain and nausea of the vision nearly overwhelmed her. Finally her mind cleared. Returning home was the right thing to do.

Taking a few deep breaths, she altered her focus to rid herself of the achy tension in her neck and shoulders. Visualizing her men always made her feel better. Logan Andrews and Zach Crenshaw were great men—hot and smart in their own ways. The trio had fallen together in high school and found love.

Logan was a bit taller than Zach, with lean muscle, dark brown hair and brown eyes. He was the strong, silent type who could be relied on to back up those he loved. Zach was a farm boy with a sexy tan and muscles earned from working the land. He had light brown hair, gorgeous green eyes, and deep dimples whenever he smiled. She could easily picture them naked and kissing in bed—waiting for her.

It’d been too long since she’d seen them. When she left for Chicago, the men remained a couple in the house she’d shared with them. Going home would feel good. She missed everyone.

Her brother, Chris, was probably the only person in town who wouldn’t be thrilled. Natalie could live with all the other small-town issues, but her brother’s disapproval was hard.

She took a drink of water and glanced at the traffic. As it eased up, she pulled back onto the road and headed for home.

* * * *

About an hour later, Nat drove down Main Street in Green Leaf. People waved and smiled as if she’d only been gone a weekend. The sidewalks, shop windows, and lampposts were decorated for Halloween. Pumpkins and black cats cavorted with ghosts and bushels of hay. The Wiccan-owned buildings displayed traditional brooms to sweep away evil as Samhain approached.

It felt like the same old Green Leaf. Whatever plagued her visions wasn’t here yet, or the process hadn’t begun. She’d seen a haze of smoke. Stupid teenagers could do anything, especially at Halloween. She had to keep her eyes and ears open and trust her gut.

Her parents’ old farm was now where Chris lived with his family. Nat had inherited Grammy’s big Victorian.

She didn’t stop in town; there’d be too many questions. Instead, Nat drove on to her house. Zach would be winterizing his fields. Logan would be running the insurance business his dad left him before retiring to Florida.

A few hours alone in her room would be good. As she pulled up the driveway, a sense of peace filled her. That old two-story white house was home. Here, in the great room downstairs, she’d learned her first spell, held coven meetings, and provided readings. So much of her life happened on this ground. She hoped the soothing familiarity would clear her visions.

* * * *

“Did you hear?” Stacey, Logan’s secretary, asked as she came in from lunch.

“Hear what?” Logan asked. Nothing was secret for long. An accident? A house fire? He’d be called in; he wrote the insurance policies for everyone in town.

“Natalie is back. She drove through town and headed straight for her place. She didn’t call you?” Stacey frowned.

“No, she didn’t,” he replied. He checked his phone to see if he’d missed any messages.

Logan hated the small-town gossip Stacey seemed to thrive on. Her husband was the school principal, and between the two, Logan heard everything. Natalie leaving had been a huge story. Her returning without warning would make it around town in record time.

“Maybe it’s for the Wiccan Halloween celebration? She never misses that,” Stacey wondered aloud.

“Maybe.” Logan and Zach had had to live with the questions and curious looks after Nat left. Part of Logan resented her for that, but with her mother and grandmother dead, Nat needed more guidance and a greater challenge than Green Leaf could provide. It wasn’t her fault; they’d discussed her leaving. He and Zach both agreed it was for the best.

The only thing that bugged Logan was she hadn’t invited them to Chicago with her. Not that Zach would leave his farm, but she could’ve asked.

“Need anything else?” Stacey asked.

“No, just another quiet day.” Logan stared at his phone. Why hadn’t Nat called or at least texted?

“Maybe you should take the afternoon off. I’ll call if anything comes up,” she said.

“Thanks.” Logan texted Zach about Nat’s return, then headed out.

Less than five minutes later, he parked his new car next to Nat’s old one. She truly centered her life around needs, not wants. He admired that about her.

He quietly walked in the back door. He wandered through the house, then found her in the library.

She sat crossed-legged in old jeans and a gauzy top dyed various shades of green. Her dark curly hair pooled on her shoulders. Leather sandals had been kicked to one side—her bare toes wiggled. Silver rings and bracelets adorned her hands. She was the same old Nat. Curvy and sexy but serious about her gifts.

As if she’d heard his thoughts, her big blue eyes popped open. “Don’t you knock anymore?”

“I live here too. Rumor is you’re back. Just wanted to see for myself, since you didn’t give us a heads-up.” Logan walked into the room. “Didn’t mean to disturb you.”

“You’re not.” She rubbed her eyes, then stood. “I didn’t plan the trip. It’s something weird. I was drawn here, but I can’t tell what’s wrong. Nothing strange is going on?”

“Not that I know of. You saw something?” Logan hated when her forehead scrunched the way it did now, like she was in pain or struggling with something. “I thought you came to see us.”

A smile brightened her face. “I missed you and Zach so much. I was sure you’d hate me being away this long.”

He hugged her tight. The smell of sage and peppermint took him back to the good old days when they didn’t care what people thought. The rebellious college years… Though they never actually went off to college. She pressed against him. His body responded, but he held himself back from taking her right there. Without Zach, the group was incomplete. They’d never been intimate without the third until she’d left. The two men stuck together and made it work, but it wasn’t the same.

She gave him a sound kiss on the lips, then eased back. “How are things with you?”

“Same as ever. Insurance. You?” He didn’t want to let on about the issues he and Zach had been having. Zach would sometimes stay with his sisters at their family farm.

“I learned a lot. And Randy is a great tour guide. He tried to help me with this block but said I had to come home. If something happens here, at least I’ll be around,” she said.

“What do you see?” Logan asked. So she hadn’t returned because she missed him. That stung.

She shook her head. “It’s too unfocused to read. Something dark around Halloween. My powers are stronger now, but I still feel like that twenty-two-year-old who didn’t see her parents’ car wreck.”

“Accidents aren’t your fault—past or present. Plus, from what Aunt Lorraine says, seeing your own family in danger is hard as hell in a vision. Your brain doesn’t want to accept it and garbles the message so you can stand it. Don’t dredge up your past pain and make it harder. You’re stronger now, so just do your best. The coven misses you.” Logan’s aunt was a bigwig in the Green Leaf Wiccan circle.

“I miss them too. I just didn’t want to make life harder for us. Do you know how many wives asked me why I’d want to cook, clean, and wash up after two men? Sometimes it feels like Mayberry. Randy even left because he couldn’t tolerate the lack of a real gay scene.” She sat on the old tapestry sofa, then leaned her head back to gaze at the ceiling.

“A gay scene in Green Leaf.” Logan shook his head. “I like Randy, but with his style and pace, he belongs in the city. You belong here.”

She shot him a glare. “I liked Chicago. I was challenged and exposed to so much that I’d never get here.”

“You needed to stretch your wings, I get it. I do. But Zach won’t leave here. I don’t think I’d last long in a big city either. We both love you, and that won’t change. You have to decide where you want to live.” Logan wasn’t going to put up with a back-and-forth. They were all adults who had to make their own choices.

An edge of defensiveness tinged her voice. “I came back to stop something dangerous from hurting the town I love. I love you guys too, but a triad just might be more than Green Leaf can handle.” She sighed.

“Too much for the town to handle, or you?” he asked. He crossed his arms over his chest.

She frowned. “I loved being with you two. It’s the talk and the jokes. The questions.”

“We dealt with the town after you left. We handled it before. You know it won’t magically vanish. What’ll be different now?” Logan didn’t want to run her off, but she had to know about the mess she left them in.

“More worldly experience, maybe. I’m sorry, but I had to get out. My brother was making me crazy. Without my parents around to defuse his judgmental comments, his nagging got worse. Along with the need to learn more about my powers, I also needed a break from all the pressure to conform. Going to Chicago let me grow. I don’t know why I’m back exactly, but I know you’ll help me figure it out.” She offered the crooked smile she knew damn well he couldn’t resist.

His heart melted when she patted the cushion. He sat next to her. “Of course I will. But don’t think you’re getting out of here as easily this time.”

“I need to figure out where I truly belong. Trust the universe and the Goddess. But until whatever this is stops haunting my dreams, I’m not sure I’ll have any focus to sort it out.” She leaned her head on his shoulder. Her freshly washed hair smelled of citrus. He inhaled deeply, hardly able to believe she was back.

“We’ll help you there.” He hugged her, ignoring the desire to rip her clothes off and take away the painful things plaguing her. As soon as Zach was home, they’d make her forget about the bad stuff and help her remember all the good they’d had together.

Copyright © Cheryl Dragon

Reviews

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Steamy Review by Sheri
Quality
Full of mystery and suspense and with a great paranormal twist. I loved the menage and I stayed on my seat trying to figure out what was going to happen if it the menage would be permanent. (Posted on 5/6/2014)

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