Magic and Mayhem: If the Wand Fits (Kindle Worlds Novella) (Once Upon a Time in Assjacket Book 1), page 1
Text copyright ©2017 by the Author.
This work was made possible by a special license through the Kindle Worlds publishing program and has not necessarily been reviewed by Robyn Peterman. All characters, scenes, events, plots and related elements appearing in the original Magic and Mayhem remain the exclusive copyrighted and/or trademarked property of Robyn Peterman, or their affiliates or licensors.
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Dedications and Acknowledgements
Thanks to Renee George for the beautiful cover. To Robyn Peterman for letting me pose my dolls in her sandbox and to Virginia Nelson for late nights and even sharing a brain.
Once upon a time in Assjacket, there lived a witch named Poppy Frogcruncher. And listen, before you say anything about her last name, the girl is me, okay?
I’m Poppy Frogcruncher and I can’t help who my ancestors were. See, I come from a line of princesses who weren’t ever very keen on being saved. My great, great, three-hundreth time removed grandmother didn’t fancy kissing that frog prince.
If we’re being honest, he was kind of a dick. She said no and he hopped on her face anyway, so she ate him.
Hence, now and forevermore, we are Frogcrunchers. Unless we can find princes to marry. Like that’s my only goal in life-- to find a man. I don’t know why curses can’t be more like, “Unless you zipline from Machu Picchu by your thirtieth birthday…” No. It’s always true love, marriage, princes…blah blah blah.
I don’t have time for it.
It’s much easier to threaten to hex someone if they say anything about my last name. Of course, it is just a threat. I’m a witch—wait, I know. Witch princess, not really a thing. But it is. Or it will be. I don’t get my powers until I get married, you see.
Another curse on my family line.
We Frogcrunchers have always been a bit too radical for the times we lived in. I’m convinced the first of our line was a time traveler who decided to smash the patriarchy from the back end, but failed miserably.
Everything about my story is screwy. I mean, my fairy godmother? Dude, she’s not even a she. I got a fairy godfather. How is he supposed to help me princess in a time and place where those kind of things aren’t really valued? Like, no one in Assjacket gives a crap if I’m a princess. A witch, well… maybe. Worse, he’s the black sheep of his family. He’s not even really a fairy godfather. He was a spoiled brat prince under a curse too and he’s doing time granting wishes and crap to make up for it.
It gives me a headache just thinking about it.
At least I have Zelda. She’s why I moved to Assjacket. She’s sort of my hero. She got into a little bit of trouble, sure, but she got herself out. I’m hoping to do the same.
Not get into any more trouble, but to maybe build a life for myself here. Without Finvarra Connaught, Fairy Godfather from Hell.
I cringed, even thinking his name. He might hear me and put in an appearance. I hadn’t even unpacked the luggage I did want, let alone the actual baggage. And trust me, Princely Dickly was definitely baggage.
Much like my curse, but I didn’t have to unpack that. It just followed me wherever I went.
My phone rang. I knew without even looking that it was Zelda. She probably knew I was thinking about her.
“Do you like the house?”
I took another glance around my tiny house. Literally, it was a tiny house. But living in a place with magic, things were always more than what they seemed.
“I love it. I especially love the automatic shrink spell on the closet so it actually holds all of my boots.”
“Isn’t that the best? What about the sugar plum option? It looked like a candy cottage when you pulled up, right?” I could hear the warning in her tone. If the contractors had done anything but what Zelda demanded, there would be hell to pay.
It warmed my heart.
“Yes, it was perfect. It made me feel like a bit of a wicked witch.”
“Which I know you love.” Zelda laughed. “Speaking of, any progress on You Know What?”
“No. I can’t even deal with him.”
“You’d get your powers if you did, and he’d go away. Isn’t that worth it?”
“I just don’t understand what I’m actually getting out of this. I mean, what did I ever do to anyone except to be born a Frogcruncher? I have to find a man. I have to get married. I got saddled with an ass of a fairy godfather… I’m supposed to be his punishment? What is that about? He’s been mine.”
Zelda laughed. “I don’t think you’re supposed to be his punishment. You’re supposed to be his redemption.”
“Gross. Why is on me to help him fix his fuckery? He was the one who was a spoiled brat. Another case of the world expecting an exceptional female to fix everything for a below average white male with nothing to offer.”
“Excuse me, I resent that remark,” a voice drawled from behind me.
I didn’t want to turn around. I didn’t want to see his stupid chiseled face. His dumb glowing head… I mean, what does a guy need with a nimbus? With the wings, it’s not like I’d forget he was a fairy. Prince of the Sidhe…
Also, it was hard to take him seriously when he was wearing a diaper. I guessed it was supposed to be some kind of homage to Cupid, but seriously, fuck that guy. He’d done nothing but make my life hard, too. As far as I was concerned, Cupid was my enemy and that little loincloth was a diaper.
“He’s there, isn’t he?” Zelda groaned. “I’m sorry.”
“He was bound to put in an appearance sooner or later.”
“You know, if you just let him do his job, then you could both be free,” she suggested. I knew she was right, but I didn’t want her to be. And I didn’t want to surrender to this stupid patriarchal curse either. “And you might find your happily ever after.”
“You know we Frogcrunchers don’t get the HEA. We get princes we can tolerate so we can have our magic.”
He sniffed. “Gee, with an attitude like that, I wonder why.”
“No one was talking to you, sparkle pants. Can’t you see I’m on the phone?” I sighed and then spoke to Zelda. “Are all fairies so rude?”
“I think so.”
“Rude? Listen, Toadmuncher, everyone should be so lucky to have a fairy godanything. You get the Prince of the Sidhe, and all you can do is complain? Most people would thankful to have me.”
“So go bother them. I’m on the freaking phone.”
“You know, the polite thing to do is hang up when you have a guest,” he prompted.
Incredulity made my eyes bulge out of my face. No, I couldn’t see my own face, but I could feel it. Like fat water balloons bugging out of my head just waiting for his next trespass to pop.
“Polite?” I hissed and let the hand holding my phone drop to my side. “You weren’t invited. You are not a guest. You’re an interloper. An invader.”
I still hadn’t turned around.
Zelda’s voice was suddenly in my ear, even though my phone was by my side. “Listen girl, you call me back after you handle your invader.” She snickered.
“It kind of is. You’ll see.”
“Nothing. Talk to you later.”
I took a deep breath and turned around. Yep. Wearing a diaper. Why did he have to have such muscular thighs? And his skin was all golden and…
“What do you want? Couldn’t you at leas
“Bothering you? Lady, I gave you a ton of space, thinking you could do this on your own, but you obviously need my help. You just screwed us both moving to Asshacker, Virginia.”
“Assjacket. West. Virginia.”
“Whatever. We’re in Hillbilly Hell and I know there’s no chance you’re going to meet someone here. You’re going to hole up in this little cottage and write magical treatises on why men suck until you’re as old and gray on the outside as you are on the inside.”
“I am not…” I growled. “Listen. I’ve got more important things to do than hunt for a man.”
“Not really. No. You don’t.” He shook his head. “The sooner you find a man, the sooner you and I can part ways. And don’t you want to unlock your magic powers? You’re a witch. They’re yours by birthright. Let’s just find you a nice warlo…mmm… maybe a Shifter. Yeah, a nice Shifter. There’s tons of those around here. I’m sure we can find one that’s not terrible. A marriage of convenience…”
“What if my happily ever after is spinsterhood?” I put my hands on my hips. Even as I said it, I knew I was lying. It wasn’t that I wanted to be alone forever, I didn’t. But I didn’t like being forced into something. If it would happen, it would happen in its own time. When it came to fate, curses, and even happily ever after, there was no chasing it. No catching it. It happened when the stars aligned, or whatever.
No, spinsterhood wasn’t my happily ever after, but neither was marrying the first swinging wand that I didn’t despise just to break the curse.
“Obviously, it’s not. If it was, I’d be long gone.”
“Magic is not infallible.”
“No, but this curse is until the conditions have been met. And they haven’t been met. This is not your happily ever after.” A bowl of cherries appeared in front of him and he plucked one and inspected it before popping it in his mouth.
“Neither is marrying some guy just to break the curse.”
“Complicated baggage, aren’t you?”
I narrowed my eyes. Had he somehow been listening in on my thoughts? Because I’d just referred to him as baggage in my own head. “I suppose I am.” My eyes narrowed further as a sly thought hatched like a rotten egg. I knew exactly what would get him to leave me alone. For a few days, at least. Maybe even a whole week.
“If I just need to marry someone to get married, a prince is best.” I waited for that to sink in.
“Where am I going to find you in a prince in Pumpernickajacket, Wyoming?”
“West Virginia, genius.” I stared at him pointedly.
“What? No…” he said slowly, as his eyes widened in horror.
“Why not? It’s actually the solution to both of our problems. You’re a prince in need of a curse breaking. I’m in need of a prince and a curse breaking. Marriage of convenience, just like you suggested. Then we can both go our separate ways.”
“But we’d be married,” he gasped like a maiden aunt. “To each other.”
“Yes, we would. You don’t seem to want to leave me alone.” I couldn’t contain my grin as glee washed over me.
Uttering those terrible words was already worth it just for the look on his face. The horror. The incredulity. But mostly, the horror as he contemplated forever with me.
Score one for Poppy!
Until I saw the set to his jaw. The way his lips thinned into a hard line. The squaring of his already nice shoulders.
(They weren’t that nice. I don’t know where that thought came from. Blasphemy for the sake of it, I suppose. I mean, I was already trotting down a primrose path to hell. My brain was just cooperating.)
He pinned me with his eyes. I mean this literally. I couldn’t move. I was rooted to the spot. “If that’s what it’s going to take, Poppy, I’ll do it. We’ve been together a hundred years and I don’t even get paid overtime.”
I shivered. It had absolutely nothing to do with the arousal I felt with him staring at me like that. Using his power on me. None at all. It was dread and horror. All dread and horror, I reassured myself.
“You do know for it to be binding, we’d have to actually…” he looked me up and down “…consummate the union.”
I coughed. “Well, duh. I’d have to with anyone, right? One and done.” Goddess, why did my voice sound like a squeaking mouse? It wasn’t like I wanted to bang my fairy godfather.
Except maybe I did.
Nope, that thought was going to be scooped out of my skull with a melon baller and along with all the rotten gray matter it had infected.
I’d been left to my own devices for too long.
Literally. You can only have so much battery assisted sex before any swinging wand walking through the door seemed like a good idea. It didn’t hurt that Finvarra was looked like a romance novel cover model. I mean… those shoulders, am I right?
Okay, it was biology. It was like those fish that when there was an absence of enough females, some of the males would have a spontaneous sex change. There was an absence of available males in my life and my body had just decided Princely Dickly would do.
I exhaled heavily.
“It’s a deal,” he said, eyes raking over me again like he was considering the prospect and wasn’t happy about it, even though he seemed to like what he saw.
Maybe he was in the same shape I was. Although, I’d assumed when he wasn’t with me, he was out dipping his magic wherever he could. He seemed like the type.
I couldn’t think when he was looking at me like that. “Listen, stop eye-fucking me. You’ve still got a way out. Find me someone who likes curvy witches.”
He arched a brow. “You’re the one who suggested it. I’m just running scenarios, like a good fairy godfather.”
“I don’t think fairy godparents are supposed to be tapping their wards. Isn’t that like fairycest or something?”
He grinned. “No, I’m pretty sure that there is a precedent. You know Sleeping Beauty?”
“She didn’t have three fairy godmothers. They were godfathers.”
“I don’t think I want to know where this is going.”
“Oh, but you asked.” He grinned and popped another cherry in his mouth. “See, her Prince Charming didn’t knock her up while she was sleeping. Her fairy godfathers wouldn’t have allowed it. She was already pregnant when he happened upon her.”
I wrinkled my nose. “So it’s even rape-ier. The godfathers who were supposed to protect her knocked her up while she was sleeping. Niiiice.”
“You’re being purposefully obtuse. They awoke her from the curse, but the magic only worked inside the castle. So she stayed young and beautiful until someone could come along and fully break the curse.”
“You’re telling me that Sleeping Beauty was having orgies in her tower?”
“Basically. That’s why she was pregnant with twins. Fairy seed is very strong.”
“Fairy seed?” I didn’t think my nose could wrinkle any tighter, but it did and I gagged a little. “Why are you so gross?”
“Gross? I’m telling you a state secret. I’m trying to bond with you. Sharing. You know, trusting?” He shook his head. “This is why we’re going to be stuck with each other. You don’t understand intimacy.” Finvarra sighed as if I was the heaviest burden to bear.
And maybe I was, but he was no picnic himself.
He ate another cherry.
“You know, if you were serious about this bonding thing, you wouldn’t be eating a bowl full of cherries without offering me one. I mean, you talk about all these rules of etiquette and decorum that you don’t follow yourself.”
A wicked light shone in his eyes and I realized that maybe asking the Prince of the Sidhe for his cherry might not have been the best course of action.
He held it out to me by the stem and I reached for it, my hand moving so slowly, it was like I was moving through water.
His brows creased together. “What are ye doi
“Stop that,” I hissed quietly. I had a thing for accents.
His wicked grin told me that I’d just showed him a weapon in his arsenal that he wasn’t aware he possessed. “Why, lassie?”
“I’m not a dog.” My retort had no heat. I was ashamed of how my sparring skills diminished in the face of his stupid accent.
He bumped the cherry against my lips and against my better judgement, I opened my mouth and took the fruit from him.
It burst on my tongue in a jubilee of sweet juice and tart undertones. It was the best cherry I’d ever had.
I tried not to think about his fingers brushing against my lips. He was just evil. There was no two ways about it.
But I couldn’t go out like that. I couldn’t let him outdo me.
So I licked my lips. My tongue might’ve just happened to flick against his fingertip because two could play that game.
“Mmm,” I said. “It’s so good. Might I have another?”
He arched a golden brow. “I think you’ve had quite enough for right now. After all, I have to work to do if I’m going to find you a Shifter in Fuckjacket.”
“Assjacket,” I corrected with a heavy sigh. “Assjacket.”
“Can you imagine telling this story to your grandmonsters? Once upon a time. In Assjacket…”
With Princely Dickly, I added silently as he disappeared.
That was one way to get rid of a fairy godfather.
The next day, I had a bad decision hangover.
My brain wouldn’t stop replaying my interaction with Finvarra. What the hell had I been thinking? That was pure, unadulterated, insanity.
I called Zelda.
“I almost did a bad, bad thing.”
“Well, since Prince Dazzle Diaper just left my place after coming a-begging for single Shifters I thought might be a good fit for you, I’m going to assume that you two had a moment. I don’t think he’s ever been this motivated.”
I was slightly offended. I knew I shouldn’t be, I mean, I didn’t relish the prospect of forever after with him either, but he could at least act like… act like what? I was being stupid.