T. Thorn Coyle worked in many strange and diverse occupations before settling in to write books. Author of the Seashell Cove Paranormal Cozy Mystery series, the Pride Street Paranormal Cozy Mysteries, The Steel Clan Saga, The Witches of Portland, and The Panther Chronicles, Thorn's multiple non-fiction books include Sigil Magic for Writers, Artists & Other Creatives, Kissing the Limitless, Make Magic of Your Life, and Evolutionary Witchcraft. Thorn's work also appears in many anthologies, magazines, and collections.

An interloper to the Pacific Northwest U.S., Thorn drinks a lot of tea, pays proper tribute to the neighborhood cats, and talks to crows, squirrels, and trees.

Haunted Witch by T. Thorn Coyle

My name is Sarah Braxton, and I'm a witch.

My cat Rhiannon and I run Seashell Cove's only bookshop, though it's a toss-up which of us is actually boss, with a ghost called Biff jockeying for position, too.

Think that's strange? Trust me, we're not the strangest things in Seashell Cove. Haunted inns? Cranky gnomes? Centaurs that dance around in the forest just outside town? Yeah. Our little town has it all…

But there's been an all-too-recent death at the Historic Kelpie Inn, the ghosts are in an uproar, and those centaurs? They know something but aren't telling.

What's a witch to do? Guess I'll gather up my trusty, D&D playing boyfriend, my inscrutable cat, and the rest of my ragtag bunch of friends.

We must get to the bottom of this death… before it's the death of us all.


T. Thorn Coyle's Sea Shell Cove books create a world all their own, filled with magic and books and stormy ocean waves. It's not fair to call these books cozies, because there's too much magic, but they feel like cozies with the proper amount of magic, at least to me. And of course, as mentioned in the introduction, the all-important bookstore cat. – Kristine Kathryn Rusch



  • "A real treat to read."

    – Five Stars
  • "Centaurs and Pixies and Ghosts - oh my! The Bookshop Witch is Back!"

    – Five Stars



It was a beautiful spring day in Seashell Cove, which meant light rain with intermittent sun, and a temperature of sixty-five degrees Fahrenheit. My spirits were up, and breakfast with my boyfriend, Stefon, had only improved things.

The bookstore was fairly busy, even for a Sunday afternoon. About six people browsed the stacks or were tucked into reading chairs scattered here and there beneath windows or in lamplit corners.

The Widening Gyre is the reason I returned to Seashell Cove after going to college up in Portland. It's the family shop, and with both of my parents gone now, the tiny palace of books is all mine. Well, mine and Rhiannon's, the black cat currently blinking green eyes at me from the long wood countertop.

Well…mine, Rhiannon's, and Biff the ghost's. Biff has been here longer than any of us, and owned the shop when he was alive. He died when I was a little kid, and the photos he took of Seashell Cove from the 1960s through the 1990s still hung on the walls in between the wooden bookshelves he'd made by hand back in the day.

The bookshelves had been gleaming in the sun for the past half hour. The golden sheen also graced the current indie author bestsellers display on the bookshelves closest to the door, lighting up the bright covers.

Hopefully it would help sell a few.

My name is Sarah Endora Braxton—name a deliberate misspelling of the Stevie Nicks song—and the less we say about my middle name, the better. The only person who uses it is my honorary uncle, Cyrus, and then only when he's feeling particularly exasperated. Luckily, strange and magical Seashell Cove had been quiet since the winter excitement and I'd been determined to settle into my witch studies, so Uncle Cyrus was currently pretty happy with me.

All in all, life was good. Add in a little sunshine and a cup of tea? I was one happy Sarah.

On spring days like this one, I could barely contain a hum of contentment. Smiling, I reached for my fourth mug of tea for the day as Rhiannon cocked her head and sneezed.

Onto my hand.

Into my mug.

Oh well, the tea needed refreshing, anyway.

"Thanks a lot, Rhiannon," I said, reaching for a tissue from the box beneath the counter to wipe my fingers.

She just licked her whiskers and ignored me, turning her whole body to face the front of the shop, as if trying to decide if a spot of window sun was in her immediate future. I couldn't blame her.

May in our quirky little town on the Oregon coast is a sweet time. With the intermittent sun and light rain blessing the earth, the gnomes and other fae spirits in charge of gardens were all lively and happy. The chaneques—Mexican fae beings—were working hard in the garden of the Vargas's tamale shop next door. I could hear the digging of their little shovels and their small boots stomping about.

It was also a good time for all the shops on Main Street, because folks were out and about again. Not only were the locals happy with the weather, which increased foot traffic, but the early tourists had begun to arrive.

After the events of January, I needed a sweet time. I had finally recovered from the murder of the dryad and was past the phase of testing and ordeals at the hands of whatever super-secret witchy-warlock counsel Uncle Cyrus was part of. Turns out, every witch or warlock went through that around age twenty-eight.

My testing turned out to be less than ordinary in that they sent someone with a vendetta against my parents who really, really wanted to kill me for some reason.

But, you know, water under the bridge. Right?

Oh, added to that was taking up the mantle of Justice left by my parents, which was not a job I'd ever wanted. I had watched it take its toll on my dad, and plus, it turned out that work had been partially to blame for my mother's death. Cyrus couldn't prove it, but it seemed pretty clear.

But…the powers that be had decided I had avoided my destiny long enough.

Some people, it turns out, can dodge their destinies for quite some time. Not witches. Once you reached a certain age—in my case, the tolling bell of my first Saturn Return at, you guessed it, age twenty-eight—time was simply up. Around that time, a person had to face down their destiny and decide who was in charge. Otherwise, things tended to not go very well.

Believe me, I decided pretty quickly that me being in charge of my own destiny was a much better deal than the other way around.

So here I was, proprietor of The Widening Gyre, New and Used Books and Fancies. I was also a hereditary witch, and what passed for a magical detective around these parts.

At least I had help with that. My uncle Cyrus had semi-permanently moved back to the area. Well, Portland, which was closer to Seashell Cove than Paris. And I was settling into my routine, trying to make the bookstore a success, and spending more time with Stefon than I used to. I finally realized how much I'd grown to count on him for support. Not only was he tall, dark, and handsome, he was also quite literally my knight in shining armor. He'd stood at my side during the magical battle to take down the sorcerer responsible for the death of the dryad and my mother, despite not having any magic himself.

It didn't take long after that to give in to what had been building between us.

And by give in, I mean tell that handsome knight that I loved him. Let's just say that Valentine's Day was extra-special. Like, dancing-unicorn-and-glittery-twenty-sided-dice special.

But as I said, on the magic front, things had been blessedly quiet. That gave me a chance to practice my witchy skills in a more leisurely fashion. And to focus on the bookstore, which, despite the day's customers, still needed some help.

"But we're doing a little bit better, aren't we, Rhiannon?"

The shop cat didn't deign to reply. With bright green eyes and a mind of her own, Rhiannon could run the place if she wasn't so lazy. She yawned at me from her perch on the desktop where I was packaging up shipments to head out with the parcel service. Speaking of which, I really need to finish it up. The driver would be arriving soon.

I heard a gasp, and a whispered "Stop it! Be serious!" from the back of the store. Tracy and Tabitha were doing their usual Sunday afternoon browse in the paranormal/occult section. They were two teenagers I met on their winter break from school, and once they found out that not only was I a witch, but that the bookstore had its own ghost, they'd been haunting the stacks every week.

So far, all Biff had done was throw a couple of books on the floor when the teens were around, but that seemed to be enough for them. It didn't take much to keep spooky teenagers happy, and I knew that firsthand.

I had been one myself.

If I'd stayed in Portland, I might've even maintained more of my Goth sensibilities, but in a sleepy town like Seashell Cove? Where you need to wear fleece and sensible boots for the bulk of the year? Pretty much everyone just succumbed to what I called "Basic Pacific Northwest," which was a uniform of jeans, sweaters, and heavy rain jackets in shades that ranged from forest green to navy to burgundy for the more daring. Oh, and either rain or rugged hiking boots for the practical, though the hiking boots are special-ordered in black if you're a person like myself.

I weighed and stamped the final package, and stacked up the orders in neat piles at the end of the counter, ready and waiting for the parcel pick-up truck.

The shop door slammed opened, sending the bells clanging. Rhiannon hissed, tail swishing at the disturbance.

In burst the newest resident of Seashell Cove, tan trench coat fluttering around his too-big jeans and battered sneakers. Chip Lancaster, camera phone aloft, had a very determined look on his face.

It was a look I'd unfortunately grown used to. I did not like it one bit.

"Sarah Braxton! The citizens of Seashell Cove demand answers!"