Note: Novella-length. I read this as included in the Not Just Voodoo anthology.
Summary: Saige is descended from a long line of witches, but her magic hardly ever works properly. She itches to move out of her grandmother’s house since they have a very antagonistic relationship, especially after the death of her mother, but she doesn’t make enough money at the candle shop to strike out on her own. And then she finds her mother’s lap dog dead, ripped apart in the parking lot of the candle shop. The next morning she finds the candle shop ripped apart like a hurricane hit just the inside of the building and the two incidents have to be connected, magically.
Comments: Admittedly, I’m really not certain why this was in a Voodoo anthology since there really wasn’t any Voodoo in it (the description says it was in the Venom and Vampires collection too, but there weren’t any vampires in this either or anything venomous). I liked both Saige and Pluto. Granted, I’ve seen that witch and guardian idea done to death, but I liked their childhood/teenage rivalry, even if it was mostly just her perception of it because she resented that his family had money. Though it did beg the question of obviously Pluto knew what was going on, so why didn’t he address the situation years earlier? For the record, I really liked this story. I would love to see a continuing series built around these characters, fleshing out her type of witch. And I loved the relationship with her grandmother, and I loved her boss from hell and the minimum wage job. I loved the descriptions of Saige trying to describe the wounds on the what was left of the dog and what might have caused it and what whatever the monster would have to look like. And I loved the southern setting with her grandmother being such a southern belle who used her magic mostly just to look younger. And I loved the mystery with the beastie, and what it turned out to be. So, why did I give this only 4 stars? Parts of the book felt rather muddled and muddied, like the accident, and the final battle, and what the beastie looked like. Those are all key points that should be described clearly.