Tail of a Feather
The Spellwood Witches, #3
A mysterious portal. Eight crows with a message. A missing police chief.
Sarah Spellwood feels she maybe too late to save her beau, the handsome police chief Eli Strongheart, from disappearing from Witchland forever. But with the wisdom of eight crows, she and her collie sidekick, Addie, focus on their mysterious task ahead. Yet time is running out and the tension rises when they discover there is more to the mysterious portal than they expected.
As the clues fly, Sarah is shocked to learn that Madras Spellwood is trying to get back into Witchland to take over its beauty and magic. But Sarah and Addie are vowed defenders of the forest, and they will not let Madras succeed, or Eli get away.
Can Sarah save Eli and beat Madras at the same time?
Tail of a Feather is book three in the magical Spellwood Witches cozy mystery series. If you like paranormal puzzles, charming canine companions, and a bit of flirty romance, then you will love Melanie Snow’s crafty quest.
Buy Tail of a Feather and take flight into the magical world of Witchland today!
Winter Solstice Almond Butter and Gluten Free Cookies for Dogs
A Winter Solstice celebration is not complete without some magical and delicious treats for your canine familiar. This recipe is Addie’s favorite and Sarah in The Spellwood Witches series often bakes extra. This way during the solstice festivities, all the canine pals in her and Addie’s life have some treats as well.
When your feed your dog treats it is important to choose healthy and real ingredients. If you can get organic and fresh. I don’t recommend additives like artificial colors. If you would like these cookies to be festive, you can add some lightly browned rolled oats which adds a pleasant touch. Or using cookie cutters you can cut them into stars and bones, etc.
These cookies are fun to make. With prep and cooking, it will take about one hour and forty minutes. This recipe yields about two dozen cookies.
Ready to conjure up some Winter Solstice Almond Butter and Gluten Free Cookies for Your Canine familiar?
Here are the ingredients to get started.
2 ½ cups organic almond flour
2 large eggs
2 TBS of egg white
½ cup organic canned pumpkin
2 TBS unsalted almond butter
(crunchy or smooth)
½ tsp salt
½ tsp ground cinnamon
@¾ cup of uncooked oatmeal (for decoration)
Preheat oven to 350 degree F (175 degrees C)
In a large bowl whisk together the flour, eggs, pumpkin, peanut butter, salt, and cinnamon (minus the oatmeal and egg white). You want to make the dough workable, but it should be on the dry side and stiff. If it is too dry, you can slowly add water. Then roll the dough until it is ½ inch thick. Use cookie cutters to express the magic of the Winter Solstice, such as pine cones, stars, and bones.
Bake in your preheated oven until hard, which is about forty minutes.
If you want to add a healthy decoration to your cookies try this. About five to eight minutes before they done, open the oven and brush the cookies with egg whites. Then lightly sprinkle with uncooked oats and cinnamon. Watch them closely so they don’t burn.
There you have it. As you celebrate the Winter Solstice with your doggo familiars make sure you have some of these delicious Winter Solstice Almond Butter and Gluten Free Cookies for Dogs straight from the magical recipe book of The Spellwood Witches.
Sarah snuggled into her jacket and relished the slight sting of the cold on the tip of her nose. Autumn was washing Witchland in rich oranges, browns, and yellows, and little frost crystals coated the ground in the morning. The scent of pumpkin pie and pumpkin spice espresso treats wafted continuously out of Javacadabra, where Susie and Karen worked tirelessly to delight the taste buds of the town with the help of their familiar, a talking white cat named Zeva.
Holding her tea latte between her palms to warm them, Sarah kept pace with Eli as they began the trek up the Mount Katribus trail. Sarah’s canine familiar, Addie,
padded along at her side. “I wonder why I love autumn so much.” Sarah sighed contentedly.
“Because you’re a witch,” Eli teased, his gorgeous blue eyes twinkling as he smiled at her.
He wrapped his arm around her shoulders, and she snuggled in close. Addie looked up at them, love in her soft brown eyes. “I must say your warmth for each other is keeping me warm,” Addie joked.
Though Eli couldn’t hear her, he was starting to get to know the loyal collie mix well, and he asked her, “Where is your boyfriend, Kelvin, huh, girl?”
Addie barked happily when she heard the name Kelvin.
“He’s in the woods, hunting rabbits,” she answered, which Sarah repeated to Eli so he could hear.
“Girls always love the bad boys. Or, in your case, the bad wolves,” Eli said.
“So Jenna did the rounds this morning? There’s no sign of Madras?” Sarah asked as the trail they were walking on began to incline up the mountainside. Eli Strongheart was the police chief of Witchland, and Jenna Mora was his deputy.
“Not a sign,” Eli replied. “Tonight is my turn . . . I imagine these woods make you a bit nervous now, don’t they?”
Sarah shrugged. “Not at all, actually. I love the woods so much that I won’t let my wicked great-great-great-whatever-aunt ruin them for me. Besides, I feel so much more confident knowing that I defeated her. That she’s banished for good.”
Eli smiled. “We always try our best to keep these woods safe. Even the greatest demon witch of all time can’t defeat our team.”
“So . . . I was thinking. I invited my parents to my house for a little dinner in two days. Would you like to join us?” Sarah went on. She had felt slightly apprehensive about inviting Eli, since they were a new couple. The last thing she wanted to do was scare him off. But she knew in her heart that Eli was in it for the long haul, and that made it easier to come out and say things, even things that made her nervous.
“Of course,” Eli said, looking slightly taken aback. “Any weird quirks I should prepare for?”
“Um, definitely don’t talk politics with my dad.”
Sarah laughed. “It could get pretty heated. Also, let’s keep the magic talk to a minimum.”
“I thought you told them that you’re practicing witchcraft?” Eli said.
“I did. But it’s a touchy subject. You know that my father tried so hard to put distance between himself and the Spellwood legacy.” Sarah shrugged. “They’re accepting, but I just don’t want to make them super uncomfortable.”
“I think you should just be yourself,” Eli said gently. But then he added, “Although, I probably wouldn’t talk about witchcraft to my mom, either. She’s probably a far worse denier than your parents.”
“Well, my parents don’t deny it. They just don’t practice it. The last time was at my aunt Beth’s when we visited her, right before she passed away and I started seventh grade.” Sarah suddenly stopped in the middle of the trail. Addie, who was wandering slightly ahead, turned back and looked at her expectantly. “Let’s go visit Aunt Beth’s. I haven’t been able to bring myself to go since I moved here,” said Sarah.
“Your aunt Beth’s house? Well, sure,” Eli said, again taken aback. He laughed as they changed course and began to walk toward the small goat farm Beth Spellwood ran. “I love how spontaneous you are.”
“I haven’t seen her farm in so long, and I really miss that place. That was where I first discovered I had powers, and I was very close with my aunt.” As Sarah attempted to remember her way through the maze of trails to the farm she had not visited since she was twelve, she regaled Eli with tales of Aunt Beth, including Aunt Beth’s talking pet goat.
“So that was the original Addie,” Eli commented.
“Hey! No one is like me,” Addie protested.
“That is true. You are one unique dog,” Sarah assured Addie, who blinked at her happily.
They finally broke through the tree line and came upon a fence, which was sagging with the weight of the ivy growing on it. It enclosed a generous pasture with a goat shed in the center of it. Now, in place of the milk goats Aunt Beth had raised, there were two cows chewing cud listlessly. Beyond that, stood the modest farmhouse where Aunt Beth had lived, and where she and Sarah’s father had grown up. Smoke curled from the chimney.
“So many memories.” Sarah exhaled, feeling both joy and sorrow at the sight of her long-gone childhood. “I hope the family living here is happy.”
“Too bad we can’t go inside,” Eli commented.
“I suppose we could always knock and ask.” Sarah shrugged. She glanced at Eli, and when he agreed, she led him around the fence to the front door of the house. “Ah, I forgot about this knocker,” she said, tracing the bronze gargoyle knocker with her fingertip after knocking. “I always thought it was so cool, but now I realize how out of place it was against this modest little house.”
A woman carrying a baby on her hip opened the door. The minute she saw Sarah, her face softened in recognition. “You must be the little girl in all of those photos we found in the attic,” she cried. “Beth Spellwood’s niece?”
“Yes,” Sarah said happily. “You found pictures?”
“Well, yes, we did, and we have them. We tried to send them to family, but we couldn’t find an address. Come on in!” The woman stepped aside and ushered Sarah and Eli into the house. “Oh, hello,” she greeted Addie, also welcoming her inside.
“Puppy!” several kids cried as they flocked around the dog. Addie rolled on the floor and showed her belly happily as the kids scratched it.
“My kids love dogs, as you can see.” The woman laughed. “I’m Meg, by the way.” She set the baby down and shook Eli’s and Sarah’s hands as they introduced themselves. Then she excused herself to retrieve the pictures. “You can take a look around, if you want,” she called over her shoulder.
Sarah stepped into the kitchen. “The cauldron is gone.” She sighed, noticing the open fireplace with its hanging cauldron was now replaced with an oven. The fridge was also new and covered in kids’ art, with none of the strange recipes and spells that AuntmBeth kept on it.
Eli placed a comforting hand on her elbow. “You can’t expect it to be the same.”
“I know. It’s just so different.” Sarah sighed, breathing in the smell of the macaroni bubbling on the stove for lunch. “Well, actually, it seems like a happy home, and I’m just glad these people love it.”
Meg reappeared with the photos. “Here you go!”
Sarah smiled as she sifted through them. “That was my goat!” she cried, showing Eli the photo of the black-and-white goat hanging his head over her shoulder.
“You were cute,” Eli said. “So many freckles.” Teasingly, he touched her cheek, pretending to count the freckles she still had.
“She sure was,” Meg said, nodding her head in agreement. Then she added in an undertone, “Do you want to go upstairs? I have to ask you about some things about this house . . .”
Sarah and Eli followed Meg up the narrow staircase to a landing. Meg paused in front of a door. “Um, I hate to mention this, but . . . I know the reputation of Lativia Spellwood.”
Sarah smiled and nodded. “That is my ancestor, and the founder of Witchland.” Then she narrowed her eyes knowingly. “Let me guess, weird things happen around this house?”
“Yes, well, Neil and I don’t—well, we didn’t believe in that stuff. Not at all. But after moving here . . .” Meg bit her lip, looking nervously from Sarah to Eli.
“We don’t think you’re crazy, don’t worry,” Sarah assured her. “Weird things happen in Witchland, and especially in this house. It did house three generations of witches.” She and Eli exchanged knowing glances and then laughed, sharing memories of the many magical misadventures they had been on together in their efforts to protect Witchland from both Madras and greedy developers.
“Oh, good. I wasn’t sure where you stood with all of that.” Meg laughed nervously and gathered her hair into a ponytail. “Well, you see, we took the master bedroom here and . . .” She opened the door and pointed within.
Sarah stepped into her aunt’s old bedroom. As if she were a child again, she could remember the four-post bed that took up most of the space, and the rolltop desk where Aunt Beth sat to pay her bills and write letters. Though the décor was different, the atmosphere of the room still felt like Aunt Beth: calm, sweet, earthy, loving. Tears welled up in Sarah’s eyes.
“We keep cutting them back.” Meg led them to the window, where several flowers emerged from the wooden frame, vibrant and colorful. They were growing without soil and without water. “We’re not really sure how they keep growing.”
Sarah touched one of the blue flowers gently. “My aunt Beth loved her flowers, her garden, her goats. She was part of nature—so it seemed.” She turned to Meg. “These are enchanted flowers that she grew because she thought they were pretty. The only way to remove them would be to break the enchantment.”
“Oh.” Meg looked worried. “I have no idea how to do that.”
“I can bring some friends of mine by who can do that. If you don’t mind, can I have them?” Sarah imagined planting them in her own room and always having a piece of Aunt Beth near her.
“Of course! I would hate to kill them, but it’s just, well . . .” Meg shrugged haplessly. “Not our choice of décor. I hope that doesn’t offend you.”
“I get it.” Sarah nodded. “It is your home now.”
“Um, there’s one other thing.” Meg led them into the bathroom next and pointed to the blue tiles over the clawfoot bathtub, where Sarah had spent many afternoons pretending she was a mermaid in a frothy ocean of soap bubbles, with an army of rubber duckies to do her bidding.
Sarah smiled softly as she ran her fingers along the porcelain of the tub, entranced by her memories. Eli watched her, vicariously enjoying her reminiscing through the expressions on her face.
Meg turned on the shower. Gradually, words began to form across the tiles as the steam started to bloom from the water. Sarah squinted and realized that it was a spell for making the room smell like roses. Just as soon as she read the spell in her mind, the bathroom flooded with the flowery scent. “Aunt Beth’s scent,” Sarah murmured. “I always just thought it was a perfume.”
“It’s strong, like Margaret and Hua’s greenhouse,” Addie complained, backing away toward the door.
“Any way you can break this enchantment? We love this scent, but . . .” Meg again looked hapless.
Sarah acquiesced and said a quick spell to erase the enchantment.
Spell be gone,
You have grown wan.
You have done well,
But it’s no time to
Instantly, the words began to unfurl and stretch until they made a popping sound like bubbles and ran down the walls in streams of black ink. Then the ink grew clear and disappeared. The rose scent began to gently fade. If only I could capture that scent in a bottle, Sarah thought. I have to enchant my bathroom to do that so that I can always smell Aunt Beth’s rose scent.
“I’m so sorry, and thank you so much,” Meg said
profusely as she showed them out. She handed Sarah the pictures in a bundle.
“Thank you for letting us inside and these pictures. I’ll definitely treasure them. I’ll come back with my friends, Margaret and Hua, later. They will transplant the flowers for you and remove the enchantment,” Sarah promised.
As she, Eli, and Addie walked back into town, Sarah sighed. “It’s so hard to let go of the past and watch things change. I sure miss my aunt Beth.”
“Can you visit her, you know, in that ghostly clearing?” Eli inquired. He was referring to the place where ghosts communed with Lativia Spellwood’s ghost on the top of Mount Katribus.
“She moved on to the other side,” Sarah said sadly. Then she interlaced her fingers with Eli’s and cuddled against his muscular shoulder. “I miss her, but I know she’s in a good place. And I’m very happy with how my life is now. I can only embrace the present.”
Eli kissed the top of her head, and Sarah felt happy. “I think Aunt Beth would have adored you,” she told Eli.
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