Friday, November 2, 2018

*Book Blitz* Hex Marks The Spot by Ani Gonzalez

Hex Marks The Spot banner

This is my stop during the book blitz for Hex Marks The Spot by Ani Gonzalez. This book blitz is
organized by Lola's Blog Tours. The book blitz runs from 29 October till 4 November. See the
tour schedule here.

Hex Marks The SpotHex Marks The Spot (Drop Dead Witchy #1)
By Ani Gonzalez
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Age category: New Adult, Adult
Release Date: 21 October 2018

Going to Hell is easy. Going back home is a different story.

They say you can never go back. I wish that was the case.

Returning home is complicated when you’re a necromancer and your hometown is the Most
Haunted  in America. It doesn’t help that your pet hellhound chihuahua thinks the place is a
dump, and it gets worse when your high school crush is still there and still dead sexy. Literally,
as he’s now a ghost.

Oh, and did I mention that I have to save the world? I tell you, going to Hell is easy.

Hex Marks the Spot Short Excerpt
But I was staring at a house that looked anything but sweet.
It was a dilapidated Victorian structure with a Second Empire
mansard roof, peeling pink paint, and broken stained glass
windows. The house had several missing shingles and a lopsided
front porch. It was missing a few windows too.  It also had
a large square turret, which caused it to resemble the house
in Charmed, minus the charm.
My heart sank. Nothing, not even the newly sprung daffodils
bobbing in the chilly March breeze, could make this house
look good.
If the Halliwell sisters' house had suffered a regretful
encounter with Godzilla, it would look like this.  Fortunately,
my house didn't have a gate to Hell in the basement. It did,
however, have a scary-looking gargoyle statue glaring at me
from the second-floor ledge.
"The period detail is amazing, isn't it?" a syrupy voice
chirped beside me.
I turned to look at my depressingly cheerful real estate
agent, Elizabeth Hunt, and she blinded me with her trademark
movie-star smile.
I stifled a groan. Before moving back to Banshee Creek to
help out in her family's real estate business, Elizabeth
worked in the horror film industry. She went from fighting
murderous critters on the big screen, to moving her hometown's
extensive collection of haunted houses.
That's what happened when you moved to the Most Haunted Town
in America.  My hometown used to be a run-down Virginia town
with a lot of ghost stories. Now, it had rebranded itself
into the country's number one paranormal destination, beating
even Salem, Massachusetts.  Suck it, Salem.
Though the prospect of living in a spooky version of
Disneyland did not amuse me, Elizabeth was almost
preternaturally optimistic about our hometown's transformation.
I would have been willing to bet real money that she'd
planted those daffodils herself.
"Yes," I said, "the gargoyle is particularly impressive."
Elizabeth gave a nervous giggle. "That's a recent addition.
They took it upon themselves to add it. You know how people
are around here."
Yep, I did. You learn a few tricks when you grow up in this
town, like how to protect yourself against the monster next
A monster, which, from what I'd gathered so far, was no slouch.
"Oh, what am I doing here?" I muttered, sounding whiny even
to myself.
"I know," Elizabeth exclaimed, clapping her hands for emphasis.
"What are we waiting for? Let's go look at the inside."
Uh, my complaint was more along the lines of "I hunt ghosts,
not inter-dimensional quasi-deities." Why couldn't my
ancestral home have an ordinary paranormal pest, like a
poltergeist or a Lady in White?
But my real estate agent did not register my dismay. She
hurried toward the house in a cloud of blonde hair and
expensive perfume, with the unforced cheer of someone who
had just unloaded a hard-to-sell property on an
unsuspecting mark.
Or not so unsuspecting, in my case. I should be able to
handle whatever inhabited Delacourt Manor. After all, my
mundane job was to go around haunted places and make funny
videos about them, but that was just reconnaissance for my
magical job, which was to bash whatever inhabited those
spaces, or at least render them harmless.
So this should be a breeze, no?
"Don't look so glum, Claire." The voice came from the
general direction of my right ankle. "Just ignore the epic
remodeling bill and focus on saving the world."
I glanced down. Pookie, an ornery black Chihuahua with beady
amber eyes and a sparkly purple collar, was looking up at me.
Despite the conspicuously adorable adornment, his eerie eyes
hinted at his otherworldly origins.
Great. Even my stupid hellhound thought I was dragging my
feet. I wiped my sweaty palms on my dark-wash jeans and
took a deep breath. Pookie was right.
C'mon. Claire. You’re a lean, mean, badass witch. A freaking
necromancer., for crying out loud. You just defeated a
spectral disco-dancing prom queen. You can't be scared of
whatever is inside this dinky little house.
A cloud passed, casting ominous shadows over the building's crumbling facade.
Or maybe I could be.
Like Pookie had said, this was no mere haunting. Joy.
Hello, Delacourt Manor. We meet again.
The thought made me giggle, although it was thoroughly
inaccurate. I, Claire Delacourt, had never lived in
Delacourt Manor.
Until now. Now I was buying it and whatever was inside.
Which could be seriously bad news because the house had a
long, consistent history of being dangerous to my family.
It had been that way since the eighteen hundreds, which is
why I was raised in a nondescript condo building near Main
Street. No moldings, no period details, and no nasty, dark
creatures trying to kill you. Decent trade, as far as I was
"Hey, chillax," Pookie muttered. "No reason to get dramatic
just because most of your ancestors died here a hundred years
ago or so. Quit being a diva."
I rubbed my arm, suddenly noticing the goosebumps. "I'm just
cold. I should have brought my jacket."
"I love it," Pookie said mercilessly. "Big, bad necromancer
scared of a little house."
"I'm not—"
Elizabeth turned around with an uncertain smile. "I'm sorry,
did you say something?"
"Just talking to myself," I explained.
Para-typicals couldn't hear Pookie speak, thankfully, but
the Banshee Creek residents were not exactly psy-null. The
town was located on top of one of the continent's most
powerful ley lines, and this feature attracted all manner
of supernatural entities and general weirdness. The effect
was so strong that even the para-typicals had found a reason
for it; they called the ley line a "geomagnetic fault."
Thanks to its influence, the townsfolk were a bit more
sensitive than the regular Joe.
I had to keep that in mind if I was going to live and work
here. Keeping info away from the normals was going to be
hard. I added that to the list of "seventy-thousand things
I hate about my hometown."
Elizabeth gave me a kind glance. "You're wondering why the
house never sold? Don't worry, we are a full disclosure
agency. A very tragic event occurred in the house."
See? That's what I meant. How had she known that?
With no Delacourt heir to claim it, the house eventually
reverted to the Commonwealth of Virginia for nonpayment of
real estate taxes, and the government had owned it for
decades. Every so often, they'd put the house up for sale,
but there were never any takers.
Until now. Until me. You had to be crazy to live there, and
I fit the bill. The thought gave rise to a bitter laugh.
"But, hey," Elizabeth added with only the smallest pause.
"That's not unusual in this town."
"Famous last words," Pookie interjected.
Elizabeth frowned and looked around, as if searching for
the source of the sound. She finally aimed a narrow-eyed
glance at the dog. "Did you cough, sweetie?"
She bent and patted Pookie on the head, then stood up in a
swift, lady-like motion. Elizabeth, unlike me, was the type
of girlie-girl who did everything gracefully. "He's such a
cutie. I can tell why he has his own fan club."
"He's adorable, all right," I responded, not mentioning that
Pookie, or Poocong as he was known in his native Fourth Circle
of Hell, is also deadly, sarcastic, and cheats at poker.
"He'll love it here," Elizabeth replied, as we entered the
house. "Lots of ghosts to chase, which will give tons of
wonderful footage for your show."
Pookie trotted inside muttering, "I don't chase the ghosties.
I obliterate them," under his breath.
Elizabeth waved her hand around. "Let's start the tour. This
is the foyer, very spacious, as you can see."
I noticed she didn't mention the cracked sidelights or the
deep gouges on the mahogany door. Smart.
I stood on the threshold, a mental list of all the things
that could have made those scratches running through my head.
I followed that list with an analysis of the kind of summoning
that would break the glass.
The answers were not comforting.
But at least those were things I knew I could deal with.
The way the floor dipped under my boots was a different story.
Did the foundation need to be replaced? That sounded expensive.
I followed Elizabeth into the living room, senses at full
alert. It was a surprisingly bright and open space, with
mint-green wallpaper and old shutters. I could imagine a
small, tufted sofa in front of the windows, flanked by
dainty winged chairs, maybe even a fringed lamp to complete
the decor.
The image was sweet and peaceful and completely at odds
with what I knew about the house. Weird.
"Everything needs updating, of course," Elizabeth said.
"But the house is livable."
"Unless you actually want to live,” Pookie muttered, glancing
back at the foyer.
I wasn't sure if he was referring to the claw marks or the
shaky floors, and I didn't ask. Ignorance was bliss in this
instance, at least for now.
"Come look at the dining room," Elizabeth continued, doing
some ignoring of her own. "It has wonderful windows and they
even left the dining room table."
It did have amazing windows. The octagonal room was perfectly
suited for formal rituals and enchantments. As it should be,
as it was built exactly for that purpose. I wasn't a big fan
of the candle-and-chanting traditions; I was more of an
improv enchanter. I could, however, appreciate the
traditional details.  Five antique candleholders still
hung on the walls, and faint traces of the original
pentagram design remained on the wood floor. The wood had
been sanded and restained, but the shape was still there.
The pattern seemed to grow more vivid as I stared at it.
Lines of power crisscrossed the old wood table.
"Looks like you triggered something," Pookie noted, stating
the obvious. "Fun."
I frowned, staring at the lines. This was not magic I
"Isn't the table gorgeous?" Elizabeth asked, trailing her
fingers over the wood top. "It's hard to find an eight-sided
table, so it comes with the house."
"Yes, it's lovely," I lied.
We were both lying. The table was a large wood octagon
with eccentric carvings and little charm or style, but
Elizabeth was right. It would be hard to find a piece of
furniture to fit this room. It had likely been built for
the house.
Which said a lot about my lineage's supreme lack of taste.
That table was one of the ugliest pieces of furniture ever
devised, and it came with the house. "Wait until you see
the kitchen," Elizabeth said, as she crossed the room, not
noticing anything unusual. "It's quite spacious, which was
rare for the time."
"Of course," I replied, trying not to smile. Victorian
houses usually had tiny kitchens that were strictly for
staff. That room, however, was large and bright, with
expansive counters and lots of room to work.
"Cooking must have been so much fun here," Elizabeth said,
running her hand over the polished wood countertops.
That comment made me chuckle. Cooking wasn't the only
activity that took place in this room, as evidenced by the
runes carved on the counters.
Runes that seemed to be glowing.
I traced a y-shaped rune of protection and reached out,
searching with what Pookie mockingly described as my magical
sonar. Hey, I wasn’t a demon with built-in sensors. It
worked and that was the important thing.
But it wasn’t working right now. I felt nothing.
If, as Pookie said, I'd triggered something, it wasn't
immediately obvious.
"There's even an herb garden right here." Elizabeth opened
the Dutch door to the side yard and stepped outside.
Pookie followed her, eager to explore his new domain. He'd
probably pee the whole place, just to mark it as his own.
Yay, demon dog pee—just what the house needed.
Even though I already knew what the garden looked like, I
followed, eager to get out of the house. Something felt
off. I couldn't quite put my finger on what it was, but
the wrongness permeated the whole house.
The sky had grown cloudy, and the overgrown garden was
chilly and dark now. I ambled to the moon dial, where
Pookie was already busy marking his territory. A sudden
gust of wind made my silver hair fly up, gray strands
blowing wildly, and I instantly regretted not pulling it
into a ponytail.
"Dark clouds," I whispered to Pookie. "Creepy feeling.
Pentagram appearing on the floor. Does any of this ring
a bell?"
"I'll take Things Best Tackled on an Empty Bladder for
five hundred, Alex," the dog growled in reply.
His words were lighthearted, but his ears came to attention
and his eyes acquired a startling amber glow, a reminder
of his true origins.
I could feel the power rising, the electricity crackling
in the air, and I steeled myself. This was going to be a
Elizabeth's phone beeped, startling us all.
Well, maybe not all. Pookie's glowing eyes were focused on
the device. He did not look away.
"Excuse me." Elizabeth checked her messages quickly, as a
cold breeze wafted up to us.
I looked around for weapons. Scraggly mint plants,
rosemary bushes, a cracked moon dial, and a mossy garden
gnome were all I could find.
"I'm sorry," Elizabeth said. "I have a family emergency."
Her lips thinned. "I apologize profusely. We can come back
so I can show you the bedrooms..."
Well, wasn't this convenient? Elizabeth found an urgent
reason to leave just as the magic started swirling around
us. Like I said, Banshee Creek folk were very attuned to
these things.
Not that I was complaining. I was definitely not averse to
getting the innocent bystander out of the combat zone ASAP.
"No worries,” I told her, putting a little magical oomph
behind my words. "I'll drop by your office to sign the
paperwork tomorrow."
Her face brightened. "Then you are buying it. That's
fantastic. I wasn't sure..."
"That I would purchase a house with a deadly history,
faulty plumbing, and a family of bats living in the attic?"
I laughed despite the ominously darkening sky.
Elizabeth smiled as she pushed her flying hair off her
face. The wind was picking up.
"Creepy can be nice sometimes." She shoved her phone into
her purse and shook my hand. "See you tomorrow."
Then she ran off as if the armies of Hell were pursuing her.
Which was probably not far from the truth.
A nearby shutter banged against the house and a bolt of
lightning crossed the sky. I watched Elizabeth hurry out
and wondered what the heck type of defense could I conjure
with a bunch of wilting mint leaves and an old garden gnome.
Elizabeth was right; creepy could be nice sometimes.
But this wasn't one of those times.

"Well, the civilian is out of the way," Pookie said, eyes
still glowing. "Let's see what kind of homecoming present
this house has for us."

You can find Hex Marks The Spot on Goodreads

You can buy Hex Marks The Spot here on Amazon

Ani GonzalezAbout the Author:
I'm a USA Today bestselling author of paranormal romantic comedy and cozy mystery (whew,
that's a mouthful!) set in Banshee Creek, Virginia, The Most Haunted Town in the USA. My books
feature feisty, irrepressible heroines dealing with a host of paranormal critters (ghosts, cryptids,
pagan gods...the sky's the limit) and mysteries. They find love and laughter (and sometimes
corpses) along the way, and readers get to follow them every step of the way.

I love quirky towns with spooky stories, and, thanks to my books, I get to "live" in one year-around.
In real life I live in a Virginia suburb (which is sadly lacking in ghosts) with my husband, three
children, two cats, and one adorable dog.

You can find and contact Ani Gonzalez here:
- Facebook  
- Amazon  
- Bookbub  

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