The Witch and the Dreamwalker
by Victoria Rogers
GENRE: Spicy Paranormal Romance
It’s 1982, and corporate witch Vivian McKinley is determined to climb the ladder of a growing paranormal security firm. With the help of Xavier Prince, President and CEO of Prince Charms, Vivian uncovers a plot to take over the business. The pair navigate office politics and machinations to prove a psychic vampire’s treachery.
“Here, you look like you need one of these.” Jenny thrust a shot glass into Vivian’s hand.
Vivian shook her head, “No. Thank you. This is work.” She passed the glass back to Jenny.
Jenny made a face. “Vivian, dear, this is a party. Work ended the moment you stepped foot into this ballroom.”
“Not true. This is work. Everyone here is networking. Besides, I was just talking business with Xavier.”
Jenny’s brows shot upward. “First name basis, are we? Not Mr. Prince? At any rate,” she said, not giving Vivian the chance to answer the question, “look around. People are here to attend a party. The bar is already on its fourth bottle of whiskey.”
Vivian ignored her. “I’ve been promoted, Jenny. I’m now head of R and D!”
“What? Congratulations! That’s so exciting! Wait! That means you’re my boss? Holy shit, Vivian! I’ve never had a woman boss before. You get it, Viv. Make these men quake in their shoes. You’ve got to do a tequila shot with me, then.”
“Tequila? You want me to be sick? No, thank you. I’m fine. I should talk to John. Have you seen him?”
“Oh, yeah. He’s at the bar talking to Drew from sales.”
“Thank you,” Vivian replied.
“I will get you to do a shot before the night is out.”
“No. You won’t,” Vivian called over her shoulder.
* * *
John was exactly where Jenny said he was — at the bar enjoying a glass of cognac with Drew from sales.
“Vivian!” John bellowed, waving her over. “Saw you talking to Mr. Prince. Has he taken my advice?”
Vivian grinned. “If your advice was to have me take up the mantle, then yes. Yes! By the gods, John. I don’t know what to say. I haven’t had time to process this yet.”
John beamed and took her hand and patted it lightly. “I’m proud of you, Vivian. You’re going to go far. You’d be wasted in that shop, peddling basic charms.”
“I wouldn’t call my grandmother’s charms basic. She taught me all I know. She’d have a few choice words to say to you if she heard that!”
“I stand corrected.” He chuckled, belly bouncing with each percussive breath. “Drew, have you met Vivian? She’s now the head of R and D.”
The salesman laughed at first, but when John didn’t laugh in response he quickly sobered. “What? Where are you going, John? Is Simeon finally retiring?”
John shook his head. “No. I’m retiring, Drew. It’s time I spent more time with the grandkids.”
“Oh, come on. You’ve got a few years yet.”
“No, no. It’s time to go home. I can’t compete with these kids anymore. Vivian’s ward is one hell of a piece of work. I would never have been able to dream that up.”
“The psychic vamp ward? The one I’ve got people lining up to order? That was you?” he asked while looking at her, mouth agape.
John snorted. “Of course, it was her, she gave the presentation, didn’t she?”
“I thought… I thought she gave the presentation to…”
Vivian arched a brow. “To what, exactly?”
“You know, to, to sell –”
“She’s goading you, Drew. And I’d stop with that thought right now. Vivian here knows her stuff, and she’s going to put Prince Charms on the global map.”
Vivian could hear the clack of Drew’s teeth as he snapped his mouth shut.
“I think a drink is in order, don’t you?” John turned toward the bartender. “Three bourbon, neat.”
“Oh, I don’t think that’s –”
“Nonsense. This is a party, and if you’re going to hang with the old boys you have to play by their rules. Here, have a cigar.”
Vivian stared at the offered stogie.
“Might as well join us in smoking them. You’re going to be stuck in smoky rooms and end up smoking them anyway. It’s better firsthand.”
Vivian wasn’t sure she followed John’s logic on that one, but she reached out for the cigar anyway.
“That’s my girl. Now, here, you cut them like this.” He snipped the end of the cigar with a gold-plated cutter he pulled from his pocket. “And let me get that for you,” he said, flicking open his matching lighter.
She didn’t cough. She knew enough from her father that you didn’t actually inhale a cigar, unlike a cigarette.
John grinned as she exhaled like a professional. “Now.” He clapped his hands and rubbed them together. “Time for bourbon.” He passed both her and Drew a glass and then held his aloft. “To Vivian, who’s going to shake the paranormal world so hard it won’t know what happened.”
Vivian expected everyone to sip their drink, but no, down their gullets the amber liquid went. She tried not to gag at the flavor. A whiskey lover she was not.
“It’ll grow on you,” John said with a thump on her back as if reading her mind. “Bartender! Another round.”
Oh, my word. A book set in the early 80s that has all the feels. Plus, a paranormal romance that didn’t have the usual suspects in it, either. Look, I like were and vamps, but this book had a witch and a dreamwalker. Made for some interesting reading toward the end. But I’ll expand on that later. This year I’m attempting to expand my reading habits. I’ve always read the same thing every time. I’m still reading my tried-and-true genres and tropes, but only for pleasure now. You should see what’s in my Kindle Unlimited library. Seriously. So why the change in the blog? Easy. I got too comfortable, hence this little gem of a book.
So the 80s are dear to me since that is my generation. I was 18 in 1985 and the world was my oyster. I remember all the things that Ms. Rogers talked about. Sexism in the workplace, the clothes, OMG the Corvette! Not to mention Duran Duran. Lord, save me from the memories. But what really endeared me to the story was that Vivian is a strong woman and knows her worth in the world and workplace. She didn’t back down to the men that so wanted her out of their hair. The villain in the story is a true douche. Like really a huge egotistical man that I’m sure wanted women to be pregnant and barefoot in the kitchen. Unfortunately, that was also part of the 80s, but Vivian rose above it and her yummy boss, Xavier saw her worth and smarts. He appreciated not only her as a woman but as a smart co-worker.
Xavier is a dominant character. Even with the Vette. *sigh* That car was every girl’s dream in the 80s. I was unfamiliar with a dreamwalker in the paranormal world, and I liked him. The dream sequence at the end of the book is hawt, emotional, and consensual. Yes, this book is spicy, but everything is consensual between Vivian and Xavier. Keep in mind that this is a novella, so Ms. Rogers is packing a lot into it and she does it well. The only thing, I would have liked to see more of the workplace after the fact. But that’s just me. These two had chemistry in spades but again, they respected each other in and out of the workplace.
The scenes at the club, the workplace, just everywhere reminded me of another era and put me in the mood. And honestly, I totally forgot that this is a paranormal story. Paranormals and regular people work together and it’s no big deal. Like it’s supposed to be in our world. Ms. Rogers just wrote a dandy of a book and I can’t wait to see what else she has in store for the McKinley women.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Victoria Rogers is an award-winning podcaster, game designer, and storyteller known for their immersive worlds and strong female characters.
Witches, warlocks, gods, and ghosts fill their dreams and stories. Consent and healthy communication are two major aspects of their work–after all, you can’t get what you want unless you ask for it.
We can find Victoria in the garden and in the kitchen making fruit wines, brewing beers, and infusing spirits. When not feeding friends, they attend tabletop gaming conventions and sit on storytelling and world-building panels, teach about online marketing and produce live events.
GIVEAWAY INFORMATION and RAFFLECOPTER CODE:
Victoria Rogers will award a $15 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.