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    Book Excerpt – Switchcraft
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  • Published: Sep 25th, 2007


Mary Castillo

“Do you think we should stop drinking if we’re going to the Guru’s transcendental mediation tonight?” Nely asked, lolling her head over to Aggie.

“Absolutely not,” Aggie answered, reaching for her drink.

“Do you really think you can talk to the dead like it says you can?” Nely asked. “I don’t know what I’d say.”

Aggie hoped so, having thrown herself deeper into debt to spend the weekend up here. Maybe Mama would have some wisdom about how Aggie could get untangled from all the loose ends in her life, or at the very least what she should do about the email from Kevin waiting in her Sidekick’s in box.

They lounged in a private, poolside cabana attended to by an All-American cabana boy named Luke who had natural honey-colored highlights in his hair and a generous smile. They had been massaged by hot rocks, wrapped in unpronounceable herbs, exfoliated and moisturized until their skin shone like satin and their bones melted to warm jelly. This was better than pot.

Ventana del Cielo stood on top of the highest mountaintop skirted with avocado groves, just west of Julian. The original Moorish palace with sugar-white walls had been built by some eccentric steel baron in the 1920’s. A year ago it had been renovated into a New Age resort by Guru Sauro who wrote the New York Times bestseller, Seekers of the Dead. The resort was a Mecca for overworked A-types and movie stars on orders to detox, or else they couldn’t be insured for their next production.

Aggie thought that if there was a place where she could stop running around in circles and get some answers, this would be it. She had gone to sleep every night this past year, hoping it would be the night when Mama would visit her in her dreams. It seemed like everyone who lost a parent had at least one dream of them … everyone except her.

But then Kevin’s stupid email ruined everything.

“Earth to Aggie?” Nely called her back.


Nely stared at her for an impossibly slow moment while Aggie tried to force her uncooperative lips into a smile. Good God, why was she tying herself up into knots over Kevin? They hadn’t slept together, so no damage was done, and yet while she knew sleeping with him would’ve been a disaster, she regretted that they hadn’t.

And then Aggie remembered Nely had said something. “What did you ask me?” she asked.

“Nothing.” Nely flicked three pages of her magazine.

An exasperated sigh escaped and then Aggie explained, “I got a message from Kevin.”

Nely’s head popped up. “What did he say?”

“I don’t know. I didn’t open it.”

Nely opened her mouth and then shut it. “I can just imagine what he would have to say,” she groused. “Nothing you could believe anyway.”

Hearing the crisp disapproval in Nely’s voice, Aggie almost spoke up in his defense. He was her friend, after all and in a lot of ways, he was the male version of her: driven, honest and always needing the best and beautiful of everything, including lovers.

Mesmerized by the negative edge pool that seemed to float over the narrow valley, Aggie reminded herself that she had better untangle her feelings and remember who she was dealing with. But she couldn’t stop the riptide of memories that pulled her back to the day she met him.

“If there’s a God in heaven, he’s buying those for his girlfriend and not for himself,” Dana had said when Aggie walked back into her new boutique after her lunch with a rep from Nanette Lapore.

“Who are you talking about?”

Her then assistant manager licked her lips as she pointed across the store. “Him.”

Him, or rather, he made Aggie’s heart stop.

Six feet of broad shouldered, taut-tushed and barbarously sexy male stood over the table of lingerie, picking up a pair of Dita Glamour French Heel stockings. He peered through the package without any embarrassment.

Dana made a grab for Aggie’s arm. “I spotted him first, he’s mine.”

Aggie flicked her eyes down to Dana’s tummy. “Dude, go put your feet up or I’m calling your husband and your mother.”


Aggie barely registered Dana’s protest much less felt her feet touching the floor as she made her way to him.



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