Did You miss part one of Chapter One?
From A Witch Called Wanda
Chapter One Continued
Maeve stiffened, something about the name set off an alarm. She
hadn’t been in town that long, so to recognize the name at all made
her feel as if she must have met the woman, and yet she couldn’t
Is the woman high profile enough to snatch this space out from under me?
“That name actually sounds familiar. I know I’ve only been here
for a few weeks … Do I know her?”
“She’s the mayor’s secretary. You’ve probably heard her name
around town,” Gracie said. “It’s a small town, so everybody is a gossip.
I’m sure it’s a big change from LA.”
Maeve laughed. “Trust me, everyone gossips in LA too.”
“I can’t believe you left Los Angeles for a place like Wisteria Pines.
From what you’ve said, your songwriting career was going pretty
It was true. Maeve had written a couple of songs that had hit the
charts. They’d paid enough to put away a little nest egg for herself, but
along with success came demand, and when she hadn’t been able to
produce the next hit fast enough, people got nasty.
And then there was Frank …
Gracie must have noticed something telling on her face, because
she offered kindly, “Just needed a change of pace?”
Maeve glanced over her shoulder to make sure that Penny wasn’t
eavesdropping. The girl was drawing stick figures with her fingers in
the dust on the windows. “Between you and me, there was a bit more
to it than just wanting to get out of the big city. I was engaged, and he
… One night we were together, and then … he left me.”
Gracie covered Maeve’s hand with her own. “Oh, honey. I’m so
sorry. Sometimes men … ”
Maeve sighed. “You know it’s all probably for the better. He could
be very mean. That night, he was drunk … and we fought. I had to
wrestle his keys from him and call him an Uber. But I didn’t think it
would be the last time I saw him.”
Gracie frowned, fine lines appearing on her otherwise smooth
forehead. “You called him an Uber and never saw him again? He
didn’t come back for his car?”
Maeve shrugged and nodded.
“How can that be? What, did he run off with the Uber driver?”
Maeve laughed cynically. “Seems like that, right? I churn that
option over in my head every night. It doesn’t help that I caught a
glimpse of her that night too. She was a gorgeous redhead. Anyway, I
don’t know what happened to him, but he stopped returning my calls
and stopped paying his half of our rent for our music studio.” She
shrugged. “He dipped out.”
The familiar longing settled on her chest, and tears burned the
back of Maeve’s eyes. She cleared her throat. “Anyway, I can’t really
talk about it much more. It still stings, you know?”
Gracie patted Maeve’s hand. “Well, don’t you worry, Ms. Holly‐
wood, I’m sure you’ll fit in fine. We’ve got a cluster of characters
around here. I’m sure you’ll meet Miss Nadine sometime; she’s a total
sweetheart, but knowing her, she’s going to give you a hard time
about trying to take this building out from under her. Ooh, you know
what? Since you’re recently single, I’ll have to introduce you to Joseph
Mont. Mmm …”
Maeve laughed nervously. “Oh. No!”
“Oh, yes! He’s a local cop. Trust me, you won’t mind if he stops you
for speeding just so you can gawk at him for a few minutes. Eleanor,
she owns the beauty shop down the street from here, once sped down
the road on purpose so he’d pull her over, and they could talk. He
caught onto what she was doing. She started a trend, though. The
sheriff took him off that road because three other women did the
same thing—no joke!”
“Nobody’s that cute.”
“He is!” Penny piped in as she circled her finger through the dust
on the window, creating a fairy looking caricature.
“I’m going to tell your mother you said that!” Gracie teased.
Penny turned around long enough to stick her tongue out at her
aunt and then returned to her masterpiece.
Gracie leaned in toward Maeve and whispered, “He really is,
Maeve laughed. “Well, there’s no shortage of good-looking men in
LA, believe me. But I’m just not interested, at the moment.”
Gracie wiggled her eyebrows at Maeve. “You say that now, but
when you see him—”
Maeve gave her a friendly kick under the table. “I’m good. So, do I
write you up an offer? Or how does this work? I can pay the first
year’s rent in cash.”
Gracie straightened in her chair. “Really? That’s one in your
Maeve nodded solemnly. If there was anything she’d learned in
Hollywood, it was how to make a deal.
“I’ll be sure to mention that to my sister. But I can’t promise
anything. She and Nadine go way back, and I’m not sure what they’ve
already agreed to.”
A wave of apprehension hit Maeve square in the chest. She was
about to be small towned. In LA, money bought most things. The only
thing that trumped cash was relationships. She had no doubt that, in
Wisteria Pines, it would be the same. The town would rally around a
local, rather than an outsider. She was going to have to fight for her
Oh, well, I’m not a novice at perseverance, Maeve thought.
“When can I meet your sister?” Maeve asked.
Gracie thought for a moment. “Tomorrow is the Lunch on the
Lawn.“ She swiveled in her chair, and asked Penny. “You and your
mom are going, right?” When Penny nodded happily, Gracie turned
back to Maeve and asked, “You want to go together?”
“Lunch on the Lawn?” Maeve asked, “What’s that?”
“It’s a lot of fun. It’s at Wisteria Park, it’s a grassy knoll with picnic
tables all set up. The local restaurants sell food, and the city hires a
band to play. Food and dancing in the sun, basically. If the weather is
clear, we might even get fireworks. It’s Wisteria Pine’s social extrava‐
ganza that officially kicks off summer. It’ll be a good place for you to
meet some of the locals.”
“That sounds like fun,” Maeve beamed. “I’d love to go. You can
introduce me to everyone.”
“I’ll introduce you to Officer Joseph Mont, in particular,” Gracie
said with an over-exaggerated wink.
“Would you please stop?” Maeve said, but she couldn’t help
chuckle at Gracie’s goofy grin.
Suddenly, Penny squealed and came running over to the table.
“Ms. O’Dare, you didn’t tell us you had a dog!”
Maeve raised a brow.
It was a completely out-of-the-blue statement.
“Um … I don’t own a dog, Penny.”
Penny laughed as though she thought Maeve was joking with her.
“Um, yes you do. It’s in your car.”
Maeve and Gracie exchanged glances.
“I don’t own a dog,” Maeve assured them, pulling herself out of the
rickety chair and crossing to the window where Penny had been
doing her drawings. “Oh my goodness, there really is a dog in my car!”
They raced out of the building and toward Maeve’s Volkswagen. A
large, brown shaggy dog was seated in the passenger’s seat of her car,
“I’m confused,” Maeve said, as she stared at the filthy looking
canine. “I locked my car.” She looked around the empty parking lot,
expecting to see a giggly teenager poke his or her head around a
corner somewhere to admire the unusual prank, but she saw no one.
“Are you sure you locked it, Maeve?” Gracie asked.
“I think so …” Maeve second guessed herself. She opened up the
passenger’s side door. “All right, come on out. Shoo.” The dog tilted its
head slightly and perked up at her, but it didn’t move. “Go on, get!”
Maeve said, but the dog’s ears merely twitched.
Gracie and Penny burst out laughing. “What a funny little fella,”
Gracie said. “Where did it come from?”
“I have no idea. Do either of you recognize it?” Maeve asked.
“Never seen it before,” Gracie said with a shrug. “Must have
wandered into town. Someone’s probably missing it.”
“Can we keep him?” Penny squealed.
“Your mother would kill me if I let you bring home a dog,” Gracie
“Actually, Penny, he is a she. It’s a girl,” Maeve said, attempting to
drag the dog out of the car, but it leaned back away from her and then
hopped into the driver’s seat to escape.
“Can I name her?” Penny asked.
“Okay, pooch, you’ve got to go,” Maeve said, crawling into her car
to pull the dog out. The dog pressed itself against her driver’s side
window, and Maeve sighed as she retreated from the car. “Sure,
Penny,” Maeve said, making her way around to the driver’s side.
“I like Wanda,” Penny said. “Can we call her Wanda?”
“Wanda it is then,” Maeve said. “All right, Wanda, you’ve got to go.
You’re shedding all over my car.” She flung open the driver’s side
door, only to have the dog instantly hop over to the passenger’s seat
again. “You’ve got to be kidding me. Gracie, help me out, would you?”
“What are you going to do with it once you get it out? It’s obvi‐
ously lost,” Gracie argued.
Maeve let out a loud sigh. “I don’t know. She’s got to belong to
“It’s too fat to be a stray,” Gracie suggested. “Someone’s been
“Is there a pound I can take her to?” Maeve asked.
Gracie shook her head. “Nearest animal shelter is about an hour’s
Maeve sighed. “Well … it’s too late for that today. Maybe I’ll keep
The dog barked happily and shook its tail.
Maeve pointed a warning finger at the dog. “Don’t get too excited,
pup. I’ll call the pound in the morning.”
The dog’s tail sagged and she let out a mournful yelp that tugged at
“Looks like Wanda wants to stay with you,” Gracie teased. “I bet
she’d be a cutie if she had a bath and got trimmed.”
Maeve held up her hand. “I’m not in the market for a pet right
now. I don’t even know if my landlord will allow it.”
“Whatever you say,” Gracie said, “But I think you like her!” She
ushered Penny over to her pickup truck and they both waved as they
Maeve slipped into her car, shooing the dog into the passenger’s
seat. As she started the engine, she turned to look at the dog. The dog
wagged her tail and looked so content to be with Maeve, that for the
first time in a long time, Maeve felt inexplicably happy.
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐”I couldn’t stop reading!”
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐”Fast-paced and fun. I love these mysteires!”
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐”Diana Orgain is my new favorite author!”
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