Book 5 of Tales of a Midlife Witch is now available!

Aran is back in Book 5 and she’s taking some time off. Or at least, that was the plan. Instead, she’s trying to send Ezra home, on a break from Rasmus, and stuck with hosting Mulan’s parents like she promised.

Initial reviews are good and someone said this could read like a standalone. Mostly, it’s funny and insightful and Aran gets a chance to focus on herself.

Did I mention she has a new teacher? You don’t want to miss this one

Excerpt from Chapter 2

Ben shook his head, stared at the frozen Ezra statue, and cursed with the f-word under his breath.

I stood to the side watching and grinning as he repeated the same reaction over and over. Nothing dampened my hurt, but Ben’s powerful reactions to Ezra being frozen lightened my mood enough to see the humor.

“Aren’t you afraid the fairy might use that energy sword in his hand to escape his situation? It looks primed for use. You can see it rippling with power. Looking at it makes me want to shoot him. I don’t think I could sleep with him in my house.”

Chuckling, I shook my head. “Despite being a professed pagan, I trust the angel who did this to him. Tony said Ezra wouldn’t thaw until he was beyond the veil again. I have many reasons to believe him.”

Ben grunted in response. “And what would those be?”

“He saved my life and he’s training my daughter to use her magick. Plus, he saved Fiona when she needed saving. The angel has so much power, Ben, that I thought he was a guardian when we met. He glued my feet to the floor with a simple thought. I have a spell to do the same, but he never chanted a word. We were not an equal match.”

“And he did that without provocation?”

When one of Ben’s eyebrows rose, I shrugged. “Ya also could say the angel and I had a bit of a disagreement about killing Hisser outright. He refused to allow me to do it. I couldn’t defy him.”

Ben snorted in disgust. “If he’s an angel, Tony can’t be his real name. Angels have fancy Abrahamic names like Uriel, Gabriel, and Raphael. They’re mentioned in the holy books of many religions. Even guardians have fancy names. Tony is Italian. I know the Pope lives in Rome but angels come from all over. I’m not a complete plebeian.”

“Do ya honestly think Rasmus is a fancy name? I never thought of it as fancy. My guardian grandfather’s name is Orlin. I suppose that’s rather unique, but I guess I never thought about it.”

I laughed at the look on Ben’s face. His disbelief was a very different reaction from Henry’s “don’t-be-stupid-about-angels” remarks. I thought of my discussions with Tony about his wickedness and smiled at the memory.

Ben grunted. “I’m just saying the Shadow Breakers could research what people wrote about him if we knew his real name—his real angel name.”

And I figured this was why being an enigma served Tony so well. People talked about his odd name more than what he did. Ben hadn’t even mentioned the massive level of power it would have taken to freeze Ezra and all of his secret energy. The fairy had drawn a sword out of the ether. Ezra’s level of acquired power was far more important than some angel’s name.

“Conn asked his friend Murray to help us send Ezra home.”

Ben nodded. “I remember him. He’s the other fairy—the one who joined in our fight with the monsters your ex-husband helped the military create.”

I nodded back. “Yes. He was the one who protected Fiona. Murray can travel back and forth across the veil. He said he’d be in touch once the details are worked out.”

“Will Ezra’s people punish Ezra for what he’s done?”

I wished I could say yes to that question, but I couldn’t lie to my boss. Ben might as well learn now that some paranormals never got what they deserved.

“It’s doubtful Ezra will get anything except a smack on the hand for trying too hard. Despite his failed plans to steal the Dagda stone from me, he’s still bringing them a lot of power. After he froze Ezra, Tony transferred some energy back into Dylan’s artifact and gave the far darrig the gift of speaking to it as well.”

“It’s a miracle you survived what happened, isn’t it?” Ben asked.

I laughed at his question. “Aren’t miracles what humans expect from angels?”

Ben’s sigh was loud, but he finally turned away from my statue of Ezra. “Are you planning to keep him here until you arrange his return?”

I blew out a breath. “Yes, I think that’s best for now. Henry and his crew are keeping a watchful eye on him for me.”

“I can see you have this under control.” Ben grunted as he looked around the foyer. “Don’t take this the wrong way, but I never saw you as the giant mansion type. I saw you as more of a small cottage woman.”

I pointed beyond the foyer. “My personal space consists of two normal-size rooms down that hallway. The rest of this place is Henry and Gale’s to manage. We have a business arrangement that meets both our needs. This place is a real estate investment.”

Ben frowned as he stared at me. “I remember you admiring my backyard. After all you’ve suffered, you deserve a true home. But it does look great in here.”

Laughing again, I grinned at him. “Ya don’t have to kiss up to me just because I almost died. I know this room looks like the lobby of a hotel. We’re currently using it like one.”

His chuckle rolled over me. “Are you miserable in this place?”

“No. I’m happy enough. Conn and Mulan get to cohabit in their own little house. My daughter has a home on the property as well. The two rooms of my quarters suit me fine. Henry and Gale feed me daily. What more could I want, Ben? If anything, I’m getting spoiled by all these people taking care of me.”

A grinning Ben shook his head. “Well, don’t worry. Playing lady of the manor doesn’t show badly on you.”

I sighed softly to play along. “I thank ya greatly for saying that. I was starting to get a little worried.”

Ben looked around. “So… where’s your shadow today?”

“Conn and Mulan are off shopping for office furniture. We’re turning the third cottage on the grounds into a meeting place to discuss work. I want to keep it out of my house if I can.”

Ben glanced back at frozen Ezra. “That’s going to be quite the challenge if you keep bringing work home with you and turning it into art.”

My smirk and headshake made him laugh. “Ya were gone, Ben. Was I supposed to dump him off at yer office with no one to watch over him? Ya had to cut yer leave short as it was.”

Ben shook his head and shrugged. “I was fine coming back early. But I was talking about Rasmus, not Conn. Did you ever hear anything from the guardian?”

I frowned and pointed at the stairs. “Yes. He and Zara are upstairs in their rooms. They’re siblings now. Ya’ll need to play along with that. Rasmus did a good job of making her look like him.”

Ben’s eyes widened as he turned to glance in the direction I pointed. “I think it was wise of you to take a hiatus from work until your life settles down.”

I nodded and grinned. “Yes, plus, Mulan’s parents are coming late next week. I can’t be getting all bloody while they’re here. My hope is I get Ezra out of the foyer before they arrive.”

“What are you going to do if you don’t?”

I laughed and shrugged. “I guess I’ll get Henry to cover him with a sheet like they do in museums.”

Ben’s chuckles echoed around the giant space. And he kept them up as I walked him out to his car. I waited until he got in and rolled the window down.

“Can I ask ya something personal, Ben?”

“Of course.”

I stood close to his window. “Were ya on vacation or were ya working when ya left? Ezra was vague about it. Ya have no reason to report yer business to me, but I was worried because ya never said anything about leaving. After Ezra showed his real colors to me, I was concerned that he might have prompted yer departure.”

Ben’s mouth twisted as he looked out the front window. “Ezra was present when I had an emergency come up. He recommended a solution that I thought had some merit so I left to investigate it for a couple of days. That turned into a week the deeper I got into it. One day soon I’ll tell you about it. We might need to break out your emergency booze to get through the story. Coffee won’t cut it.”

I nodded and chose not to tease him. “Are ya okay now?”

“I’m as okay as I can be. I’m sorry I worried you, Aran. Ezra said he would explain my absence and I let him.”

“Instead, he deflected attention away from ya being gone. Ya might consider that the same thing.”

Ben’s smile was relaxed. “I normally would. I’m still not used to being so deeply involved with my co-workers. Meeting you has changed a lot for me and I’m still processing it.”

“Ya’re fine, Ben. I’m the only one obsessing and ya don’t have to give me details. I just needed to hear that Ezra did nothing to ya while carrying out his nefarious plans.”

“No, the fairy didn’t cause me any fresh problems. Go enjoy your time off. I’ll talk to you in a month.”

I waved as he drove away. As much as I would have liked to satisfy my curiosity, I also dreaded how complicated it would make working for Ben if I knew his secrets. Learning Ezra’s had made me question all the memories I had of my Shadow Breakers work in Ireland. How much of what we did together did he orchestrate?

Given the magnitude of Ezra’s betrayal, it was hard not to wonder about such things. I’d broken up with him personally but we had remained excellent business partners—or so I believed. Nothing in our working relationship could have caused his determination to kill me and carve the stone from my chest. He must have considered me expendable all along.

Everything I learned about Rasmus only made things harder with him as well. And all the new things I learned about Jack made me hate him even more than I already did. Like Ezra, Jack had plotted against me since the day we met.

The only exception I could think of was that everything I learned about Conn truly made me love and respect him more. The same was true of Mulan.

But I could definitely see there was a good reason people said ignorance was bliss because it truly was.