While visiting Madame Zena's Mystical Shoppe, Macy Green discovers a dusty old bottle she never imagines could actually be magical. The handsome genie who appears offers her three wishes, but Macy soon discovers it will only take one--one very special wish--to fulfill her heart's true desire.
~ * ~
The dusty little store appeared crowded with merchandise, if not shoppers. Macy Green looked over the eclectic collection of oddities in Madame Zena's Mystical Shoppe, amazed at the various loads of crap the old woman tried to pass off as antiques. She eyed the dozens of brass items, all badly in need of polish, and a collection of old oriental rugs.
"Suppose these carpets fly?" She fingered one and looked up at her friend Tina, browsing on the other side of the counter.
"Yeah, you bet." Tina chuckled absently, digging through a small jewelry box. She held up a pair of dangly turquoise earrings. "Hey, Mace, look here. Do these look like real silver?"
"Let me see." Macy took the earrings and studied them closely. "Nah, I don't think so. But they're pretty, and you look good in turquoise. You should get them."
Tina took the earrings back and held them up to her ears, looking at herself in an old mirror on the wall. "I do like them. They make me look like Cher, circa 1970." She flipped her long black hair over one shoulder and raised her eyebrows. "Whadaya think? Gypsy, tramp, or thief?"
Macy laughed at the old song and nodded. "Definitely gypsy. I like the look a lot."
"Okay, I'll get them. But you have to buy something, too."
"Uh, gee, Teen, I don't know." Macy looked skeptically over the rest of the items on the counter. She glanced at the old woman sitting up front and said quietly, "I don't really see anything that's my style."
"Keep looking." Tina wandered through the small store and stopped when she got to the back, where a half-drawn curtain attempted to close off the storage room. "Oh Macy, look!" She marched into the back room and grabbed a blue bottle off a table.
Macy followed her to the back room and whispered harshly, "What are you doing?"
"This is so cool!" Tina held up the bottle. "Very retro!"
"Totally," Macy agreed, secretly admiring the bottle. It was cornflower blue with silver accents, and reminded her of a genie bottle from the days of Aladdin.
"It looks like Jeannie's bottle from the TV show!" Tina waved it at her. "I loved that show. I have to get this."
"Ezz not for sale." The woman from the front counter appeared in the doorway to the storage area. "You not allowed back here. Out! Out!"
"I'm sorry." Tina turned on the charm, and Macy smiled. Her friend was a public relations agent for a very big company in Chicago. If anyone could talk the old woman out of the bottle, Tina Brewster was the woman for the job. "I spotted this beautiful bottle here on the counter and it just called to me. You have such lovely things in your shop. I'm having trouble deciding what to buy!"
"Ezz not for sale," she repeated and reached for the bottle.
Tina smiled and held it just out of reach. "Madame Zena…you are Madame Zena, aren't you?" The woman nodded and Tina continued, "I have a real love for things from this era. I'm sure we can agree on a price that will make both of us quite happy."
Madame Zena looked in Tina's eyes and then seemed to study the bottle in her hands. After a moment, she looked back up at Tina and shook her head. "Ezz not for sale." She reached for the bottle, but Tina jerked it backwards.
"Tina," Macy said, embarrassed. Persistence was one thing, but sometimes too much could be foolish. "She doesn't want to sell the bottle. Let's get the earrings and go."
Tina smiled through gritted teeth and said, "But I want it."
Macy gritted her teeth and smiled right back. "You're acting like a spoiled brat. Put the stupid bottle down and let's go!"
She reached for the bottle, and it practically jumped into her hands.
"What the hell--?" Macy held on firmly with both hands until the bottle stopped shaking. "That was bizarre."
"What?" Tina asked, irritated. She obviously hadn't noticed the shaking that Macy felt.
Perhaps it was all in her mind. Macy gave the bottle a little shake, and it shook back at her. She glanced up at Tina, who seemed oblivious to anything unusual.
"Ah ha." Madame Zena smiled widely, exposing several missing teeth and a chaw of chewing tobacco. She nodded and winked at Macy. "For you, twenty dollars."
"For her, twenty dollars?" Tina screeched. "You'll sell it to her and not me?"
The old woman closed her eyes and shrugged.
Tina looked at Macy and smiled, nodding her head quickly. "Buy it!"
Macy looked at the bottle thoughtfully, wondering exactly what was inside it.
Tina nudged her. "Come on!"
"Okay." Macy pulled a twenty from her purse. She handed it to the old woman who took it and grabbed Macy's hand.
"For you, right? No one but you."
"Yeah, sure." Macy nodded nervously.
Madame Zena squeezed her hand until it hurt. "Promise me, no one but you."
Macy and the old woman exchanged glances, and the bottle twitched again. "Sure, of course, I promise," Macy finally said, and Zena released her hand.
Tina marched smugly to the front and paid for her earrings. Madame Zena wrapped both of their purchases and maintained eye contact with Macy until she and Tina left the store. They headed down the sidewalk and Macy felt glad to be out in bright daylight again.
"One weird chick!" Tina tossed her hair over her shoulder again. "Let me have the bottle." She reached for Macy's package.
"Um, I don't think so, Teen. I want to hold on to it for a bit."
"What?" Tina stopped walking and stared at her. "Are you letting that batty old broad freak you out? She had it in for me, for some reason. Doesn't like brunettes or whatever. But I want that bottle."
Macy chuckled and tugged at her blonde ponytail absently. "I know you do, but I bought it, and I want to hang on to it for a while. If I decide it doesn't fit in at my place, you'll be the first to know."
Tina pouted for a moment until a good-looking guy in silver BMW cruised past them slowly. She made eye contact with him and licked her lips, laughing when he swerved to miss a parked car.
© Jamie Hill
Author: Jamie Hill
Genre: (see below)
The first glimpse of a person, someone so breathtaking it's almost stunning. That heart-stopping moment when gazes lock across a crowded room. Finding the courage to speak over the noisy thrumming of a heartbeat. Feelings so intense, they tend to make one's actions a bit impulsive. Four stories of spicy, sweet, sassy romance. Three Wishes, All That Jazz, Playing With Destiny and High Maintenance.
Three Wishes: While visiting Madame Zena’s Mystical Shoppe, Macy Green discovers a dusty old bottle she never imagines could actually be magical. (paranormal romance)
All That Jazz: Devon Knight has a secret. He's been watching his neighbor, beautiful Gia Malone, through their apartment windows, every day while he practices his trumpet. (sweet romance)
Playing With Destiny: When beautiful witch Calista Canyon discovers the man of her dreams living right next door, she tries everything she can think of, short of magic, to get him to notice her. (paranormal romance)
High Maintenance: Deidre North is enjoying a family ski vacation after Christmas, when an accident sidelines her from the slopes with a cast on her leg. (sweet romance)