Magic and MacaroonsHi! My name is Cookie Rios. I’m the youngest member of Katie Lightfoot’s spellbook club – which is what we call our coven. There are six of us, including Katie and her aunt Lucy, and I’m the youngest. Katie’s only about four years older than I am, though, and pushing the big three-oh hard. Ha!

When I was asked about a day in my life, I kind of laughed. Most of the time it’s not very exciting at all. Lately, however. . .

First off, I wake up next to my new husband, Oscar Sanchez. We met in Europe when I was working for the artist Brandon Syke’s manager. Okay, I was dating Brandon, too, but that didn’t last. My relationships never lasted more than three or four months, and neither do my jobs. I guess I got bored. But all that changed when I met Oscar. We fell head over heels for each other, and I came back to Savannah with a big, shiny ring on my finger. We bought a condo, and I’m redecorating it in my spare time.

Not that I have a lot of that. These days I’m working at Quartermaine Realty. They deal primarily in commercial properties. Oscar opened the door for the job, since he works for a lab that tests for environmental toxins, like black mold, in commercial establishments. I like the job – something new every day, new people to meet, and I’m not stuck inside all the time. Even better, I don’t have to get up at four o’clock in the morning like I had to when I worked at the Honeybee Bakery with Katie and her aunt and uncle. Ugh.

Of course, married life takes some getting used to, especially if you’re used to a string of short love affairs like I am. But Oscar and I were working out the kinks. In fact, I would have said that everything was going along very smoothly — until a woman stumbled into the Honeybee during one of our spellbook club meetings and collapsed. But first she muttered something about Savannah voodoo queens and a missing gris gris. Sure enough, Katie wanted me to get involved.

See, I’m from Haiti, and my father was a voodoo priest, or houngan. He died when I was a child, and another voodoo priest was to blame. The rest of my family moved to the United States when I was nine years old, and we stopped practicing voodoo altogether. Still, I have that in my background, and Katie knew it. She’s my sister witch, and even though I resisted, I had to help if I could. Luckily, I knew “gris gris” was a kind of talisman, and I still had a connection to the Savannah voodoo scene to help us get started.

In the process, I was able to revisit some of the practices and beliefs from my childhood, reconnect with my father in some ways, and teach Katie a thing or two about something she, like a lot of people, thought was only black magic. I tried to explain that, like any magic, voodoo can be dark or light. However, it’s also purple and green and red and a thousand other colors. The spellbook club members talk about magic as if it can only fall on some continuum between white and black, but magic is wider and deeper — and richer — than that.


You can read more about Cookie in Magic and Macaroons, the fifth book in the “Magical Bakery” mystery series, published by Obsidian. The first book in the series is Brownies and Broomsticks.

GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment by 12 a.m. eastern on July 24 for the chance to win a print copy of Magic and Macaroons. The giveaway is open to U.S. residents only. Winner will be notified within 48 hours after giveaway closes and you will have three days to respond after being contacted or another winner will be selected.

About the author
New York Times bestselling author Bailey Cates believes magic is all around us if we only look for it. She studied philosophy, English and history and has held a variety of positions ranging from driver’s license examiner to soap maker. She traveled the world as a program manager for Microsoft, but now sticks close to home where she writes, gardens, bakes, and plays the occasional round of golf. She writes the upcoming Enchanted Garden Mysteries as Bailey Cattrell, and the Home Crafting Mysteries as Cricket McRae. For more information about all her books, visit www.cricketmcrae.com.

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