"A couple puts their differences aside to save their son"
Reviewed by Monique Daoust
Posted November 9, 2017
Fantasy | Fantasy Urban
What should have been Daffy and G's thirteenth wedding
anniversary celebration ended in Daffy requesting a divorce.
Daphne "Daffy" Wallace Deschants learned only recently of
Gabriel's -- G -- numerous infidelities throughout their
marriage, and when she confronts him, he doesn't deny them
nor apologize, but merely says that things are not
necessarily what they look like. Daffy is livid, and when
they leave the posh restaurant they had booked for dinner,
three young men demand that Daffy give them her purse, and
just like that, G pulls out his fountain pen, his magic
wand, and gets rid of the thieves. The Deschants live in the
Willamette Valley in Oregon, once the home of faes. Daffy
knew that some residents like to think of themselves as
witches, but who would have thought that they were real and
that her husband was a wizard? Daffy is in for a surprise
because her two daughters and G's son are also magical.
A SPOONFUL OF MAGIC is definitely a Halloween story, and
I'm a bit puzzled as to why it was not released October 31.
Daffy owns half of Magical Brews, a café where knickknacks
are also sold, and she learns after a while that she is a
"kitchen witch". I am not going to say much about the plot
because the blurb just about says it all. Now, dear reader,
I must say that it would have taken much more -- way more --
than a spoonful of sugar to make G palatable to me. He is an
unrepentant lying, cheating, deceitful, manipulative, and
selfish man, and I despised him; it made for very stressful
and uncomfortable reading. Around halfway, there is some
justification for G's philandering ways, and I was hoping
that I would like him more, unfortunately, it was
short-lived. A SPOONFUL OF MAGIC is billed as an urban
fantasy, but still, I'm a bit puzzled.
I loved Jason, G's son by his first wife; he's a ballet
dancer, which was nice and rather unusual; the girls, Shara
and Belle were alright, and I adored Ted Tyler, who is a
very, very appealing character and a good, honest man. Daffy
is okay, in a 50s wife and mother sort of way; I think more
could have been done with her character so that she would
have had the starring role instead of playing second fiddle
to G, one of the most unlikeable heroes I have ever met.
Maybe it's because of my very low threshold of tolerance
for this type of "bad boy", whose handsomeness and sex
appeal Daffy finds hard to resist, but what do I know? G, at
least, is a somewhat decent father. A SPOONFUL OF MAGIC is
nicely written, very fast- paced, and flows well; there are
also some lovely passages about ballet and some rather
creative twists on magic.
A delightful new urban fantasy about a kitchen witch
her magical family
Daphne "Daffy" Rose Wallace Deschants has an ideal
suburban life—three wonderful and talented children; a
coffee shop and bakery, owned and run with her best
a nearly perfect husband, Gabriel, or "G" to his friends
family. Life could hardly be better.
But G's perfection hides dangerous secrets. When Daffy
uncovers evidence of his infidelity, her perfect life
to be in ruins. On their wedding anniversary, Daffy
to confront him, only to be stopped in her tracks when he
foils a mugging attempt using wizard-level magic.
Suddenly, Daphne is part of a world she never
imagined--where her husband is not a traveling
troubleshooter for a software company, but the sheriff of
the International Guild of Wizards, and her brilliant
children are also budding magicians. Even she herself is
just a great baker and barista—she's actually a kitchen
witch. And her discovery of her powers is only just
But even the midst of her chaotic new life, another
is brewing. G's ex-wife, a dangerous witch, has escaped
her magical prison. Revenge-bent and blind, she needs the
eyes of her son to restore her sight—the son Daffy has
raised as her own since he was a year old. Now Daphne must
find a way to harness her new powers and protect her
family—or risk losing everything she holds dear.
Excerpt“Happy Anniversary, Daffy. And thanks for the last
thirteen years, the most wonderful years of my life.” G
raised his champagne flute and waited for me to click mine
Oh, tell another whopper, you lying S.O.B.
Somehow, I cracked something resembling a smile.
“Gabriel Sebastian Deschants, what is my name?” I knew he
hated his full name. He’d been G for so long he probably
didn’t remember how he signed our marriage license
application. I’d never seen his birth certificate.
He grimaced, and I almost rejoiced in causing him a small
bit of pain. He deserved it.
Still, we’d been married for an unlucky thirteen years,
together nine months before that. That should count for
But it didn’t. Not to him anyway.
“Daffy, what is this about?” He set his flute down
carefully and speared me with his fabulous royal blue
eyes. He knew what he was doing. Used car salesmen melted
under that gaze. Bank loan managers lowered interest rates
by three points under the scrutiny of that gaze.
Not me. Not any longer anyway. I fell victim to him the
first day we met. After that, I’m not sure if any decision
I made was mine or his channeled through my mouth.
“You haven’t used my real name in so long, I just need to
know that you remembered.”
“Daphne Rose Wallace.” He ground out each word as if
dragging them from the back of his memory, a place he
didn’t go very often.
“Daphne Rose Wallace Deschants now.” I lifted my own gaze
to him. “Remember the Deschants part?”
“Of course, I remember. This is our wedding anniversary.
What’s got into you, Daffy?”
Our waiter came over with the bill for our very expensive
dinner enclosed in a discreet black folder. He must have
sensed the end of our sojourn. “Was the meal prepared
satisfactorily, Madame?” he asked hesitantly, staring at
the slices of rare prime rib still on my plate, along with
half the garlic mashed potatoes and roasted asparagus. And
the still full flute of champagne.
“The food was just right.” I smiled genuinely at the
“Daffy?” G slapped his credit card into the black folder
and handed it to the waiter.
“Eugene, Oregon may look like a thriving metropolis built
around a major university and agricultural crossroads, but
it is still very much a small town in attitude,” I said
almost reluctantly. As much as I had practiced my speech,
I still hesitated to say what I needed to say.
Maybe I should just keep quiet.
But I’d never be able to live with myself, live with him,
if I didn’t get it out there.
“Everyone knows everyone else and they gossip. A lot.”
Was that the beginning of a blanch on his face? I wanted
to make him squirm, and he’d given me the ammunition.
“Last week when you were supposed to be in Dubai on
business, Belle tripped over her own shadow and broke her
wrist. She got a black eye to go with the blue-and-green
cast. You didn’t answer your cell. You weren’t registered
in the hotel where you said you’d be. And the emergency
number of your employer is disconnected.”
He had the grace to look away.
“However, I received an email from one of your email
accounts with pictures attached.”
His blanch took on a green tinge.
I held up my phone with the most incriminating photo
showing. A naked G with an equally unclothed blonde
sprawled upon a mattress. The white sheets and pillowcases
looked like they were from an anonymous motel or a dorm
room. I couldn’t see enough of the woman’s face to tell if
she was jailbait young or old enough to know better. G
didn’t have his wedding ring on in the photo.
“Daffy, whatever you have heard . . .”
“What I see.” I grabbed the phone and flipped to the next
photo and the three after that. The time stamp on the
pictures, from a high-quality camera showed 02:07 am.
Dated three nights before.
The next morning I’d received a phone call from Flora
Chambers, a neighbor who had moved three blocks away to a
newer and better house, and fellow officer of the PTA,
wondering why G was in old downtown instead of Florida as
I’d told her at the last PTA meeting.
“Where? How?” G’s throat worked like his fine dinner was
about to come up. “You have to know that photos can be
altered. Not everything is at it seems. You know this
town. . . .”
“What about this one? It’s a close-up.
No distortions from window screens or sheer drapes or
glass or anything.
She’s draped all over you like a tick on a dog’s ear!”
He waved the phone away and tried to fix me with that
compelling gaze again.
Had he used it on more young women? I focused on the
bridge of his nose rather than let his eyes persuade me
away from my course of action.
“You didn’t deny it, G. You just tried to dismiss the
“Isn’t that the same thing?”
“No.” I pushed back my chair and stood. Suddenly, I was
more disappointed than angry. Deep inside, I’d truly hoped
he had a logical explanation for his actions. Something
weird and unbelievable. In this town, not much was too
weird and unbelievable to discount. I’d grasp anything he
offered at this point.
“This is not what it seems, Daffy.” He gulped. “Parlor
trick magic is . . . This town embraces the weird. Mundane
cameras can’t capture magical illusion.”
“Spin me another one. If you didn’t want to get caught,
why did you email me these pictures?”
“I didn’t. Someone had to have hacked my account.
“Your work account,
For half an instant, his eyes went wide with . . . fear?
What did he have to be afraid of?
“Look, Daffy, there is a dark and ugly world out there
that neither you nor the kids are prepared . . .” He
trailed off and looked away rather than finish his
explanation, which didn’t look very logical or believable
from where I stood.
The waiter hastened back with the processed credit slip. I
waited for G to sign it with his hand-turned wooden
fountain pen that always resided in his breast pocket. I
watched him add in the tip and sign with upright letters,
very unlike his usual florid flourish. I needed to make
sure he didn’t stiff the kid and force me to pay for the
lavish dinner out of my own savings. He’d done that once
before. I’d dismissed it then as his being totally
distracted about work. Not tonight. If he was distracted,
it was because I confronted him with the truth for a
I didn’t truly know where his money came from. If he was
hanging out in sleazy motels with bimbos rather than
traveling the world negotiating trade contracts and
software installations, then what did he do?
“Don’t do this now, Daffy. We’ve had thirteen wonderful
years together.” He took my elbow and escorted me out to
the parking lot. I shook him off. “I need you now more
“You need me to babysit your children. Thirteen years when
I’ve raised your son as my own. I adopted him on our
wedding day, so he’d never need to ask about the mother
who died giving birth to him. I’ve given you two wonderful
daughters, kept house, cooked, and picked up after you.”
“And I love you for that. I do truly love you despite the
temptations I face every day. I built you a wrought-iron-
and-glass greenhouse that fills a quarter of the backyard
where the stables used to be. That should prove something
of my devotion to you.”
“You love me for the services I give you. That I raised
your son for you while you traveled the world. Not because
you love me. But I do thank you for the greenhouse.”
I jerked away from him and headed from the parking lot
toward the sidewalk.
“Daffy, where are you going?”
“The car is this way.”
“It’s over a mile! And it’s dark. Anything could be hiding
in the bushes.”
“Anything like us?” Three young men— barely out of their
teens— appeared before me. The center boy, taller than the
others by half a head, had a wealth of straight black hair
but pale skin and eyes. Three days’ worth of beard dirtied
his face. He aimed a gun at my head.
His eyes didn’t quite focus and looked a bit glassy.
A hasty glance over my shoulder showed us just beyond
range of the parking lot lights and security cameras.
What better place to steal drug money than right outside
the most expensive restaurant in town! Well, maybe not the
most expensive, but right up there with the four-star
hotels and such.
I froze with fear.
“That’s wise, lady. Now give us your purse and no one gets
I fumbled for the tiny evening purse hanging from my
shoulder on a gold chain. It didn’t contain much: some
small change, house key, credit card, driver’s license.
House key! They’d know where I lived and could get in. My
kids were home alone. I couldn’t do it.
A breath of air stirred behind me.
G leaped forward, pulling his fancy fountain pen from his
breast pocket. As he moved, the pen telescoped out into a
long wand and shot red laser light at the muggers.
He took a classic fencer’s pose, right leg forward with
his no-longer-pen aimed straight forward, and his left arm
up, behind his head for balance.
He wiggled the wand. The red light did not sear a hole
into the skull of the boy with the gun. No. Nothing so
conventional. Nothing so normal.
The light spread into a complicated web that encased the
boy and his gun into a sparkling cage of immobility.
A flick of G’s wrist generated two more cages to keep the
other two muggers from fleeing.
I couldn’t move. Couldn’t think. Couldn’t understand.
Inside the cages, the three boys blinked in bewilderment;
they breathed shallowly. Nothing else moved. Not even an
involuntary quirk of the lips or flick of a trigger
“For the crime of frightening my lady, you will leave here
with no memory of what you did and no knowledge of what
that weapon is. You will feel compelled to complete one
thousand hours of public service . . . each. Any money you
might have used to buy drugs you will donate to charity,”
he intoned, as if reciting a ritual.
Ritual. That was the key.
He flicked the pen/wand three times, as if tapping each
boy on the head. The electrical cages dissolved. The
center boy looked at the gun in his hand in horror and
dropped it. It clattered noisily on the sidewalk. Then
they ran off, each in a different direction, as if they
did not know each other.
G pocketed the gun. It hardly distorted the lines of his
“Th . . . that’s not an ordinary pen.” He’d had it as long
as I’d known him. He had it tucked into his breast pocket
even when wearing G-casual, a polo shirt and khakis.
“Not exactly. No.” He stared at it a long moment.
Then it collapsed back into its normal shape. I didn’t see
what he did to make it happen.
“It’s not some fancy electronics gadget either.” My mind
began working again. A few oddities about my husband began
to make sense. Like bringing home tree-fresh peaches in
January because I had a craving. Or always having the
little bit of snow that fell shoveled off our long gravel
driveway before dawn, before he got out of bed, or when he
was “away” on business.
Or juggling fifteen breakable items as a party trick.
Especially if he left them hanging on their own for long
breathless moments. Come to think of it, he’d only
performed that trick once, at a party of his friends and
business associates. Never with my friends.
Oh, yes; he had magic. A lot of people in this town had
parlor trick magic.
This was something else entirely. And that pen was . . .
“No, it’s not ordinary.”
“What is it?” A wand if I had a guess.
“For your own safety, you don’t want to know.” He lifted
that fabulous blue gaze to my face and held me captive.
“Daphne Rose, you do not remember. . . .”
“The hell I don’t!” I broke free of his hypnosis— or
enthrallment— or whatever it was. I had to turn my face so
that I didn’t look directly at him, any part of him.
Especially the bulge that began stirring in his crotch.
He was turned on by this . . . whatever it was.
“You just used ritual magic to subdue three drug addicts
and force them to dedicate their lives to service rather
than finding their next fix. Did you cure them of their
“No, I can’t do that. I can only redirect their resources
and energy until their bodies become clear of the
addiction and their brains reset.”
“Nice of you. So where did the ritual magic come from?” My
anger was stirring again, as much as his lust.
“That’s a whole lot more than a parlor trick.”
“How do you know about ritual magic?”
“This is Eugene, Oregon, G! Home of the Fairy Festival,
the center of all things weird in the Willamette Valley.
You can’t walk two blocks downtown without running into
six shops selling some variety of mystical paraphernalia.
I’m half owner in a coffee shop that sells incense and
crystals and candles and books about magic on the side.” I
had to stop to draw breath.
“There’s something in the water around here that makes
this town a vortex of . . . of magic, great and small.
Magical ley lines converge here. There are rumors that
this was once the home of many fae races who have
interbred with humans.”
“So how does this explain the woman you took to a motel?”
He’d lied to me on so many levels I’d stopped counting.
But this magic thing . . . another lie. And it scared me.
It also spiked my curiosity. I needed to know more.
“Don’t be like that, Daffy. I’m trying to protect you. And
the children. You need protection now, more than ever.”
“Don’t change the subject, divert my attention, and then
seduce me into forgetting while you delete the pictures on
my phone. Let me tell you I downloaded those pictures to
my computer and uploaded them to . . . gee, I don’t know,
ten social media sites just waiting for my password to go
live. And don’t tell me you know my password. You know the
one I use for online banking.
You’ve guessed the one I use for my baking blog. You do
not know this one.”
I marched toward his car, the big, midnight blue town car
he bought to impress clients. Clients of what?
When he tried to follow me, I spun around and slapped him.
He reeled back three steps. Just far enough for me to get
into the car and lock the doors.
As I started the car, I rolled down the window two inches.
“You can walk home. I’ll leave a packed suitcase and your
car keys on the porch. And I’m changing the locks in the
morning.” Actually, I’d had the locksmith out this
So why was I crying all the way home?
Because now I had to tell the children.
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