The Ritual by Adelaide Walsh is Book One of her Coven Unleashed series. It certainly sounds like a novel about witches is an interlude to my usual reading interest of horror without straying far from the genre. A short read of only 97 pages, I purchased the book because of the interesting cover. I found the story not at all what I expected. I should have paid attention to the designation “FF.” OK, too late now. Let’s see what this kind of category offers in the way of storytelling. Just a generalization, old white guys don’t read stories designated “FF.” I quit reading the blurb at the “Dark Fantasy” part. The next words, “FF Romance” did not register. Fast clicking is not rewarded.
Stella is the new girl in the office and Camille is fascinated. Stella is cute, reticent, and shy but all in a positive way. Camille wants to be her friend, buy her lunch, go out, and maybe more. Occasionally known as Britney, Camille and Stella try out Karaoke and a bit of accompanying alcohol. Camille/Britney decides she should use a spell to protect the innocent Stella. Camille continues her flirtation with flowers and candy but things don’t seem to be moving fast enough. Maybe she should try out a love potion. Camille was aware of the emotional dishonesty the drug would evoke, but she felt the relationship with Stella needed fast-tracking. Anything was better than the vague uncertainty Camille felt as she wondered whether Stella loved her.
Stella had doubts about Camille. Although she also had strong feelings, once she observed Camille levitating during a ceremony in her home, Stella felt the relationship could not continue as normal. Camille confessed to being a witch but did not admit to the use of a potion to encourage Stella’s feelings. What would happen if Stella discovered drugs had been used to affect her love? Could Stella become a witch? How would the relationship between Camille and Stella change? What fun stuff could they do as witches? Were they to be good witches or bad witches?
Although there is a story of a sexual relationship in this tale, it is a component of several subplots. The author uses no language that is obscene, vulgar or otherwise NSFW. It passes the “Grandmother test.” (Would I be embarrassed if my grandmother were to read it.) The story turned out to be more about witches and witchcraft. I was pleasantly surprised. I gave this short story four Amazon stars.