Ann Macela--Author
The Oldest Kind of Magic by Ann Macela
Cover illustration Copyright 2011 by Winterheart Design

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The Oldest Kind of Magic


2006 Third Place, Best First Book Category
The Beacon Contest, First Coast Romance Writers

2006 First Place, Paranormal Category
Aspen Gold, Heart of Gold Denver Romance Writers

2006 Second Place, Paranormal Category
More Than Magic Contest, Romance Writers Ink

2006  Second Place, Mainstream/Single Title Category
Texas Gold Contest, East Texas RWA

2006 Honorable Mention, Paranormal Category
Write Touch Readers' Award, Wisconsin Romance Writers of America

2006 Finalist, Paranormal Category
Published Laurie Contest, Smoky Mountain Romance Writers

2006 Finalist, Cover Art
Anne Bonney, Ancient City Romance Writers


About the Book  | Read the Reviews  |  Read an Excerpt

About the Book

What if you could cast a spell to help you do your everyday job? But . . . you weren’t able to cast a spell on any person or any thing except yourself?


An ancient legend, the soul-mate imperative, is reputed to bring magic practitioners together and grant them new powers.


But Daria Morgan, management consultant and practitioner, doesn’t want or need either a man or enhanced talents, not at the cost of losing control over her own life and not even in the hope of repairing her supposed “flawed” spell-casting abilities.


John “Bent” Benthausen is a corporate trouble-shooter who needs her help at work; he also wants her in his bed, but only temporarily. In the past, he’s learned some harsh lessons about commitment and knows it’s not for him.


The imperative, however, has persuasive techniques of its own and gets aid from an unlikely source: the crooks in Bent’s company who are after both of them. Then it’s time for Daria and Bent to experience the Oldest Kind of Magic . . .

Read the Reviews

"THE OLDEST KIND OF MAGIC, Ms. Macela’s debut novel, was an absolute delight to read.  From the moment the reader starts this gem it is almost impossible to set it aside.  It is so welcoming and so well written that when the reader comes up for air it is almost a shock to the system.  Everything in THE OLDEST KIND OF MAGIC; the plot, the characters, the pacing and the descriptions of the surroundings are so well done and fit together so seamlessly that this reviewer felt as though she had stepped into the story.  Kudos to Ms. Macela for gracing us with such a gem of a tale! "


Love Romances And More




“With appealing characters and a bit of suspense, The Oldest Kind Of Magic is a captivating novel.”                            

Jennifer Bishop

Romance Reviews Today




“The attraction and the action lead you on an adventure and make it hard to put this one down. You will find yourself looking forward to more from this remarkable family of practitioners.”

Lori Sears

The Romance Readers Connection




"Ann Macela writes a charming romantic fantasy that will remind the audience of Bell, Book, and Candle. . . . Once fans close the book and blow out the reading candle, they will anxiously await the soulmate of Daria's sister to ring her bell."

Harriet Klausner

The Best Reviews




"Ms. Macela's writing was consistently flowing - it bewitched this reader into turning the pages. Between the spell casting, laughing until the tears roll down your face, and the plausible adventures, you will be drawn into the story until the very end! Bravo, Ms. Macela, you have a hit on your hands!...

...This is a phenomenal paranormal story that you must read! This comes with the highest recommendation from the reviewer. It is a perfect five hearts - the story screams more sequels and this reviewer can not wait to get her hands on those! !"  Click here for the full review."


The Romance Studio




"...Ann Macela has crafted an enjoyable, magical romance with an uniquely fresh premise and interesting characters."

Affaire de Coeur




"Macela has broadened magic and romance horizons with this different tale of love.  Corporate espionage and wonderful secondary characters make this book an enjoyable read."

Faith V. Smith

Romantic Times

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

      “If you have a soulmate, you won’t be a virgin anymore.”

      “Mother!”  Daria Morgan felt her face flush.  Her virgin state was none of her mother’s business.  “What does that have to do with anything?”

      Had she missed something in their conversation?  Over cups of dark oolong tea in the kitchen at the family herb farm and plant nursery in central Texas, she and her mother had been talking about Daria’s recent consulting jobs and how tired she was from all the spells she’d been casting.  Then her mother had brought up Daria’s “casting difficulty” and made that outrageous statement.  With a gnawing  feeling of vague trepidation, she stared at her mother across the table.

      “Daria, dear, you know I love all my children equally, but I’ve always held a special place in my heart for you,” Antonia said.  “When your father and I first thought you couldn’t cast a single spell, we were so worried.  When we discovered you couldn’t even spell a family member for healing or defense, something every other practitioner can do, we almost panicked.  We were so happy and relieved when we learned you were able to cast spells on yourself.”

      “I know, Mother.  I was too, but I still don’t get the connection.”  Daria took a sip of tea.  Usually her mother came right to the point.  What was the deal today?  And what was with her altogether too-satisfied smile?

      “When you find your soulmate, your ‘first mating’ will probably enhance your magic talents.  When we mated, your father and I both became able to reach higher levels.  You may be able to cast the most basic spells like lux and flamma.  You might even gain the ability to enchant people or things.  Think how wonderful that would be.”  With a look on her face like she had just imparted a secret of the universe, Antonia picked up the rose-covered teapot and poured more tea into Daria’s favorite mug, the one with pink-flowered ginger plants on it.

      Daria’s thoughts whirled just as her spoon did while she stirred honey into the brew.  She didn’t comprehend this “first mating” business, so she addressed the subject she understood. “Mother, I don’t have a problem,” she protested.  “Why do I need to cast a ball of light or to ignite a candle with a spell?  There’s nothing wrong with a flashlight if I need to see in the dark? 

      “Besides, once I discovered other people perceived me according to the enchantment I put on myself, I certainly found a way to make my talents work to my advantage.  I’ll admit, a little more power would be helpful for my casting stamina, but what do you mean about this ‘soulmate’ and what does my virginity have to do with it?”

      With a distinct expression of resignation, Antonia took a sip of tea and gazed at Daria.  “I should have known you wouldn’t remember about soulmates.  Your sister didn’t either when I talked with her last week.  After all, we told all three of you about them years ago, when you became teenagers, and none of you listened to us, you least of all.  You were always concentrated on your studies and didn’t pay any attention to boys.  I know some of that was typical virgin witch behavior, but you never did any of the normal teenage daydreaming about boys or your wedding or the man you would marry.”

      Daria frowned and searched her memories.  What had her mother said when she delivered the talk about being a practitioner woman to her and Glori?  Her brain contained only hazy impressions.  “I remember the term, but I thought the idea was just a lot of hocus-pocus legend or a happily-ever-after fairy tale.  I still do.  What brought this up now?”

      “Mother Higgins came by last week and mentioned she had had some dreams lately about you and Gloriana and Clay.  She thinks all of you will find your soulmates soon, you especially,” Antonia answered with a pleased look on her face. 

      Daria closed her eyes, trying to think.  All three of them?  Her brother and sister too?  Mother Higgins had been busy.  Daria had always liked the venerable witch, even if some thought she was bossy and hard to take.  Daria opened her eyes to gaze directly at her mother.  “What could she be talking about?  And what is a hundred-and-two-year-old woman like her doing meddling in my business?  For that matter, what are you doing?”

      “Now, Daria.  She’s only ninety-eight, and going strong.  She’s not meddling, she just wants y’all to be prepared.  And so do I.  I know this is embarrassing to you and I wouldn’t ordinarily interfere, but it needs to be said.  You know your father and I just want you to be happy, don’t you?”

      Daria nodded and sighed.  “I know, Mother.  I guess you’d better explain again.  I don’t remember anything about gaining powers, just something along the lines of ‘someday my prince will come,’ and I shouldn’t get ‘mixed up’ with any boy or man until then.  I thought it was the usual ‘stay away from the opposite sex’ talk that all parents gave teenagers.”

      “We weren’t worried about you and Gloriana and boys.  The soulmate imperative determines our destiny and our spouses.”

      “Wait a minute, Mother.  ‘Imperative?’  I know you didn’t use the word ‘imperative.’  I’d have remembered that.”

      “I think I said ‘phenomenon.’  It’s the usual term.  Some experts thought if you said ‘imperative’ to a young woman, she would automatically disbelieve you, or go right out and do the opposite.  And for a female practitioner to ignore the imperative would be a disaster.”

      Daria waved aside the idea of catastrophe as she concentrated on the business about destiny.  “Okay, so it’s an imperative.  This whatever-you-call-it gives us soulmates.”

      “Nobody knows exactly how it does that, but we do find each other.  Look at your father and me.  Look at your aunts and uncles.  I did expect you to find your mate before now, however.  You’re thirty, you know.”

      “What does that have to do with anything?  I’m getting confused.  Let’s go back to your original statement about ability enhancement.  Why does it take a soulmate?  If the key to gaining ability is losing my virginity, suppose I just take a man to bed and have done with it?”

      “It doesn’t work like that,” her mother answered matter-of-factly.  “The imperative won’t let you even look at another man, much less get close to him.  That’s why you’ve never had a steady boyfriend.  That’s why you’re still a virgin. 

      “Your first mating will be and must be with your soulmate.  That’s the imperative part of the phenomenon.  The fact that the mating enhances powers and might, in your specific case, solve your casting problems is simply a marvelous side effect.”  She smiled as though she was bestowing a wonderful gift.

      “My soulmate.”  Daria struggled to speak the words in a flat tone while she really felt like spitting them out like a nasty-tasting medicine.  She glanced around the cheerful kitchen, noting the budding hanging plants, baskets of fragrant dried herbs, maple-topped counters, and white, glass-doored cabinets.  The apple pie baking in the oven added its own tantalizing smells to the atmosphere.  Everything seemed normal, but she felt like her mother’s comments had transported her to an alternate universe.  Well, she wasn’t going to tolerate this nonsense.  She didn’t have the time or the inclination.

      “Look, Mother,” she said.  “This is the twenty-first century.  I’m a grown woman.  Don’t I get any say in this?  I’m happy with my life just the way it is.”

      She scowled at the notion.  “Imperative?  Talk about a loaded word!  It reeks of coercion.  Well, I don’t give into threats or intimidation.  I haven’t in my consulting work and I won’t in this.  I refuse to hand over control of my life to some ancient whatever.  The whole thing sounds so . . . so . . . primitive, so medieval.  Or like an arranged marriage.  Or out of an old legend.  Or a really bad movie.  Where is the element of free will?  Are we both trapped?  Do I have any say at all in this decision of a mate?”

      Her mother shook her head.  “I should have known you’d resist the idea.  You’ve always been so thoroughly modern, so totally independent.  But you’re worrying over nothing.  You’ll see.”  Antonia patted her hand again and gave her a big smile.  “And think how much fun it will be to have children.”

      “Great,” Daria muttered.  She hadn’t even met the man and she was already having kids.  She studied her mother carefully.  She must be undergoing some sort of menopausal fit, Daria decided.  An urge to have grandchildren had suddenly turned her into a lunatic.

      “So, let me see if I have this straight.”  She raised her hand to count off the points on her fingers.  “I’m to find this mysterious ‘soulmate,’ jump into bed with him to lose my virginity in the hopes of enhancing my power to cast spells, marry—before or after the virginity thing—and live happily ever after, having oodles of children, with this perfect stranger who is somewhere in the world right now, blissfully ignorant of all these plans but who will materialize at any moment, at least according to Mother Higgins?”  She ran out of air by the end of the sentence and had to inhale deeply as she waited for her mother’s reply.

       “Just be on the lookout,” Antonia said with a definite complacent tone. 

      Daria shook her head and, put her elbows on the table, ran her hands through her hair, and then massaged her temples.  She could feel a doozy of a headache coming on.  “Mother, I can’t handle this right now.  All I feel is trapped in an extremely weird situation.  How am I supposed to rest with all this soulmate stuff storming around in my brain?  It’ll be a wonder if I get any sleep at all.”

      “You’ll do fine, dear,” Antonia answered.  “Let me put a couple of extra spices and herbs in your hot chocolate before bedtime.  I’ll have a little peaceful sleep spell ready too.”

      “Yes, Mother.” What else could she say?


      Bent, you need that woman, John Benthausen thought silently to himself as he focused on the financials laid out on the mahogany conference table in his Galleria-area office in Houston on Thursday afternoon.  He stacked several pages together and frowned across the table at the head of his Finance Department.  “Theo, expenses are still not coming down as they should.  Joe Glennell sent me down here eight weeks ago with the strict instruction to contain costs, and we should have seen more improvement by now.”

      “I had all my managers scouring the books, Bent,” Theo Wall assured him.  The Finance vice president was a fiftyish, thin, average-sized, balding man with heavy black-rimmed glasses resting on his angular nose.  Bent thought he looked like the quintessential bean counter.  Theo pushed the glasses up and fiddled with his pencil.  “None of them can find any other expenses to cut.  Revenues will pick up, but it will take a while.  What do you want to do in the meantime, sell some of the former president’s paintings for some quick cash?”

      “Yeah, the man certainly didn’t care about overhead, did he?”  Bent glanced around his overly plush office.  The southwestern landscapes on the wall weren’t bad art; they had simply cost too much, especially for a company oozing red ink from its ledgers.  “But no sale.  Any money we’d realize would be just a drop in the bucket.  And you’re right about the difficulty of cutting more.  We’ve already reformed our manufacturing procedures and streamlined or reorganized our departments.  The new projects to reduce inventory and overhaul the product line are well underway.”

      “Perhaps we should further reduce the workforce,” Wall suggested.

      “No, we’re done with that.  I think we cleaned out the deadwood enough for now.”  Or he hoped they had.  Layoffs and firings were always hard on morale, even when you were cutting out the employees clearly incompetent or not needed.  Bent rose to gaze out the large windows and contemplated his situation while he rocked back and forth on his heels with his hands in his pockets.  The conclusion he had come to minutes before seemed even more relevant now.  “I believe we do have some other kind of people problem.  It’s the only explanation left.”

      Wall looked confused and opened his mouth to say something, but Bent cut him off.  He knew he wasn’t going to find any answers with Theo.  The man was adequate in the Finance vice president position, but he hadn’t shown much vision—not so far, anyhow.  “I’ve looked at all the numbers I want to for today.  It’s almost six o’clock.  I’ll see you tomorrow at the staff meeting.”

      “I’ll ask my managers for ideas again.  Maybe one of them will have a brainstorm.”  Theo gathered his papers and left.

      Bent remained at the window, staring out at the illuminated downtown skyline.  Damn, he had certainly taken over a rat’s nest when Joe Glennell sent him down to Texas to assume control of the Glennell Companies’ latest possession.  Of all the businesses he had turned around for Joe, this one looked like it would be the hardest.  Nobody, including the heads of Distribution, Manufacturing and now Finance, had been able to explain why expenses remained so high.  That he himself could not discover the problems was infuriating.

      All right.  Apply logic, he ordered himself.  What could he conclude from the evidence?  All the reports said the proper procedures were in place.  What was left?  His employees.  They must not be doing their jobs properly or efficiently.  He therefore had a personnel problem.  But which individuals and why were they not working to capacity?  What was the best way to answer the question of staff productivity?  He’d initiate a study of how the employees worked and how management operated. 

      Who was best for the job?  Certainly nobody in the company could be objective.  He needed outside help.  This consultant Harry Scrowcroft had recommended.  Harry had pushed hiring her, even set up a meeting with one of her clients, Stanley Kramer, CEO of BallCorp. 

      Bent remembered exactly what the stout, gray-haired executive had told him over lunch at a downtown restaurant.  “Bent, I gotta tell you, Daria Morgan works magic.  I don’t know how she does it, she just talks to people, then she takes apart your staff and analyzes their abilities and interactions right down to their toenails.  Said one of my managers was as good as ‘poisoning’ his people.  I replaced him and productivity went up five percent in that area in a week.  And another five the week after that.”

      Kramer had squinted and looked around as if to make sure nobody was listening to them.  Then he had leaned closer to Bent and whispered, “She was the one who tipped off Mort Rydecker about the embezzlers in his finance department.  Don’t mention it when you talk to her, though.  She’s downplaying the whole situation.  Said she doesn’t want people to think she’s always looking for crooks or they won’t talk to her in the first place.  I’m not suggesting you have that kind of trouble, but you can bet she’ll get to the source of your problems.”

      Now Bent just had to get the woman on the phone.  His executive assistant had been trying for three days to reach the consultant, but Ms. Morgan had not returned the messages.

      Bent rubbed his hands over his face, then stretched.  He should call it a day, head back to the hotel, make use of the health club, have a drink.  He needed to start looking for an apartment or condo; if the last eight weeks were any indication, making the old Triangle firm into a Glennell Company would not be quick.  Besides, he was tired of living in a hotel.

      He needed a place where he could kick back, relax, put his feet up, not have to worry about total strangers, even if they were only from Housekeeping, wandering through his place, his home.  Home.  He hadn’t thought of having one of those for years.  Home was wherever he was, wherever the next company needed his expertise.

      Turning back to the view, he contemplated the city where he found himself now.  When he left it, Chicago had been in the dead of winter.  Houston was green, just bursting with spring, and it was only March.  Flowers were blooming, especially those . . . what were they?  Oh, yeah, azaleas.  Spring, he mused, when a young man’s fancy . . .  

      Turned to what?  Love?  He laughed out loud at the thought.

      Man, where had that idea come from?  He didn’t even believe in such a sappy sentiment.  Not anymore.  Life had taught him he wasn’t a commitment kind of guy, and he’d learned that lesson well.  Twice, as a matter of fact.

      His body must be telling him it could use some female companionship.

      A vague feeling of unease, or maybe just restlessness, or more probably horniness, washed over him.  He shook it off impatiently.  His body would just have to wait.  He didn’t have time for that right now.  Finding a girlfriend should be the last thing on his mind.

      Bent started to gather his papers together when his eye fell on his assistant’s note about this Morgan woman’s failure to call.  He reached for his phone with an urgent sense of anticipation.  Maybe he’d have better luck than Janet.  What kind of consultant didn’t return a call to a prospective client?

      Rubbing an itching spot at the end of his breastbone, he punched in the numbers with the hand holding the phone.


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Copyright 2011, F. Meiners
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Cover illustration Copyright 2011 by Winterheart Design
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