The $4.95 Solution by Aislinn James

“… Clearly mark the floor with a white chord and take 3 black candles and place them equidistant apart …”

Sitting cross-legged in the center of the living room of the two bedroom apartment she shared with her sister, Chloe reached into the large plastic Wal-Mart bag and pulled out a twenty foot length of white satin cord and three black candles. Well technically they were black cherry candles, but they had a great smell and were on sale. She set the candles at three points on the triangle she’d drawn on the gleaming hardwood floor and referred back to her printout smiling broadly at the thought of her own cleverness. Really, who’d have thought you could get a spell to summon a succubus off the internet? The author was a bit vague about some of the details, so they probably didn’t matter much.

She laid out the rope, took a bit of chalk and opposite the three candles drew three protective sigils on the gleaming hardwood of the floor. Senns had better appreciate this.

Six months she’d suffered. Six months of listening to her younger, less adventurous sibling blather on about how perfect Peter was. How wasn’t it amazing that he managed to own his own gallery at thirty-four and Philadelphia Magazine had listed him as one of the fifty most eligible bachelors in the city, on and on. She couldn’t deny Peter was a hottie. With artic blue eyes and chiseled Nordic features, he was gorgeous enough to be a model. No, she could perfectly understand how Sienna had fallen for her dashing boss, but had he ever treated her as anything other than a valued employee? Still, Senns was determined to make Peter hers. And she, Chloe, was determined to help, if Senns getting her man meant she would finally shut up.

Chloe unfolded long legs that were beginning to cramp. “Alrighty, next we, ‘create a circle made from protective herbs mixed together …” She wasn’t exactly sure what the writer meant, but they were out of tarragon anyway, so it had been a quick tour down the spice aisle and now Chloe grinned as she drew her choices out of the bag. Garlic. Number one protective herb. Anything that could keep an annoying date from slobbering all over you, had to be considered protective. Next, Rosemary, in honor of their grandmother Mary Rose; standing over six feet Mary Rose McAfee had been one hell of a bouncer. Last but not least, thyme. Because it was time Senns got off her ass and got herself a man. It wasn’t like she was a hag; despite her best efforts to hide that fantastic bone structure, dove gray eyes and delicate frame that were their birthright.

Chloe tapped a manicured nail against her cheek. Now what to blend the herbs in? Of course. One of her sister’s ubiquitous sculptures would be the perfect container. She searched for the one Sienna claimed was a three-dimensional representation of the universal womb. Womb, protective. It was all coming together so easily. She found the bowl, er, sculpture, underneath the kitchen sink and replaced the old dishrags with the herbs.

She wrinkled her nose, slightly regretting the pungent nature of her herb of first choice. Once crushed and mixed, she sprinkled them about in a circle. Sitting in the center made her feel like an over garlicky salad.

Following the directions, Chloe leaned back, trying and failing to keep her hair out of the fragrant circle. Frowning, she wondered if she’d ever get the smell out of her hair and clothes. No problem, she would just add that to the total Senns now owed her. Four dollars and ninety five cents for the spell. Twenty one fifty nine for the supplies. Three hundred twenty for a spa treatment at Richel’s. Chloe sighed happily already feeling Miguel’s capable fingers massaging warmed oil into her skin with long, slow, powerful strokes.

Focus Chloe! This was for Sienna.

“… Now visualize the circle around you, protecting you …” Chloe tried to visualize, but Miguel kept getting in the way. She visualized herself in the protective circle of Miguel’s arms. That was close enough. Chloe blew her stylish red bangs out of her eyes with a heartfelt sigh. Magic was hard work and a little bit boring truth be told. Chloe added a pedicure to Senns’s bill.

“… Now that you’ve lit the candles and visualized your circle …” Lit candles?? Crap! She hadn’t lit the candles yet. Standing quickly, she hopped out of the protective circle. An unexpectedly cool breeze ruffled the sleeves of her silk blouse causing goose bumps up and down her arms. She retrieved her lighter and lit the candles, warming her now chilled hands over their heat.

The breeze grew stronger and she swayed a bit as the swirling smells of beeswax, garlic and black cherry made her a little nauseous. The candles, casting their warm glow on the hardwood floors blurred, came back in to focus and blurred again. She’d better finish this up quickly before threw up.

Candles lit. Check. Sitting in the circle. Check. All that was left was to imagine Sienna’s future tutor in the ways of man-getting. Honestly, Chloe thought with not a little exasperation, if a female demon of seduction couldn’t teach her spinster sister how to land her man, well then Senns might want to seriously consider becoming a nun. The downside to being a nun was the vow of chastity. Upside, black was slimming.

Now last but not least, “Visualize the succubus …. feel her come into the circle …”

Chloe closed her eyes. What would a succubus look like? Flaming red hair … voluptuous figure … soft lips …

“… feel her power ….” Yes, power, long powerful legs, firm powerful slightly furred chest, soft brown bedroom eyes and an enormous … Ah, Miguel … Chloe sighed softly, too focused on the Latin vision of masculinity dancing behind her closed lids to hear the apartment door open and close until it was too late …

“Chlorine Palmer! What in the name of … of … What are you doing?!”


%d bloggers like this: