Skip to product information
1 of 1

Sue Hollowell Books

Hardbacks and Hexes (PREORDER EBOOK)

Hardbacks and Hexes (PREORDER EBOOK)

Regular price $5.99 USD
Regular price Sale price $5.99 USD
Sale Sold out

PREORDER - EBOOK. Hardbacks and Hexes is book #1 in the Magical Bookstore series.

Arabella hides an extraordinary secret: she is a witch, known only to the spirit of her late grandmother. Living a simple life as a café worker and vegetable seller, she avoids using her powers, despite her grandmother's encouragement. But her quiet existence is shattered when a stranger publicly accuses her of witchcraft. The next day, this accuser is found dead, and Arabella becomes the prime suspect.

With suspicion growing and her grandmother urging her to embrace her magical heritage, Arabella must navigate a labyrinth of past connections and hidden truths. Her only lead? A business card from the victim, revealing ties to a coven that includes Arabella's estranged best friend, Danica. As she delves deeper, Arabella uncovers a tragic tale of love and betrayal.

In a race against time to clear her name, Arabella confronts the true cost of her secret. Hardbacks and Hexes is a spellbinding paranormal cozy mystery, where the lines between the mundane and magical blur, and a witch must confront her past to protect her future.



  1. You pay upon purchase (now, not on release date).
  2. The book is automatically delivered to you by an email from BookFunnel on release date. (The email might arrive in your Spam folder. If you have Gmail, it might be in your Promotions folder.)
  3. If you already have a BookFunnel library, the book will automatically be there on releas day.

Happy Sleuthing!



The mist from the cool spring morning of the Pacific Northwest coastal town of Port Havenwood had me excited as I set up my booth at the local farmer’s market. These types of mornings brought so much vitality to selling the fresh herbs, spices, and vegetables from my garden. There was no way for people not to harbor the cheerfulness of such a beautiful day. I loved all the fantastic local vendors supplying such an eclectic assortment of goodies.

“I swear, your mint has more kick than my morning coffee.”

“Well, I do whisper it motivational quotes every morning. Who knew mint was so receptive to pep talks?” I giggled. “I’ll put some aside for you.”

Mrs. Scott was a regular. I was grateful for my customers who continued to return to my fledgling business. It gave me hope for my future to do this full time.

She held up a hand as she turned to make her way to the other booths.

Taking a long sip of my coffee, I made some final touches on my display. I was eager to sell and for people to try my yummy products. My garden was my happy place. I dreamed one day of having an entire greenhouse and a small parcel of land where everything I grew sustained my livelihood.

Reorganizing the spices, I carefully packaged them in small mason jars with handcrafted labels. I envisioned selling out of everything today and people signing onto my waiting list to get my next batch of everything. I inhaled the fresh basil, imagining the tasty dishes my customers would make with it.

Smiling, I snickered at my wild imagination. It was all a dream, but it had me showing up and following through on everything I could to make it happen.

I was thankful for my café job because it helped me pay my bills. But the consistent interactions with the customers were just about too much for me. If I spent my days with my hands in the soil and harvesting all my goods while I hired people to deal with the customer service aspect, I’d be thrilled. It was different dealing with the public when you were passionate about what you were selling.

Coffee wasn’t my passion. I loved to drink it but not talk about it all day. Whereas the gardens, growing seasons, hybrid testing, and soil levels were something I’d talk about all day and have been prone to do.

“Your display is stunning, my girl. I can smell your strawberries all the way over here. And you have my mouth watering. I can tell you’ve put a lot of pride in your garden.”

Lifting my head, I gazed at the older gentleman who had finished setting up his booth, and I couldn’t help but blush at his compliment.

“Thank you,” I said.

I glanced over at his booth and admired the wood carvings. He had an all-nature display of creatures only living in the Pacific Northwest, and they were stunning. He had fish, eagles, deer, and even a few bears.

“Your carvings are beautiful. You must spend a lot of time on them and have been doing it for years,” I said.

“Yes, yes, yes. I needed to have a new hobby, and what’s manlier than wood carving?” He boasted with a giant laugh that made me smile along with him. “My name is Delmer.” He reached out his hand, and I shook it.


“Well, Arabella, I’m privileged to be set up next to you for the rest of the farmer’s market season.” He lifted his carafe. “Let’s toast to a profitable season.”

I lifted my coffee and cheered along with him.


A little French Bulldog with the most adorable blue tie and matching hat jumped onto a seat and glanced over at me as he appeared annoyed at being left out.

“Well, my apologies, Marcel. I didn’t mean to exclude you. This is Arabella. Arabella, this is Marcel. He belonged to my sister Jeannie.”

Belonged, as in past tense, I frowned.

“Hello, Marcel. It’s very nice to meet you.” I lifted my gaze to Delmer. “I’m sorry for your loss.”

Rolling his tongue around his mouth, he nodded and smiled with a touch of sorrow. “Thank you. When she passed, I took over Marcel, trying to find somebody to adopt him. I didn’t have the heart to put him in a shelter.”

“No, of course not. I love his little outfit,” I said.

The older man rolled his eyes and huffed at Marcel. “He has an entire closet full as Jeannie always had him decked out, and he seems to like it.” Delmer rubbed at the back of his neck. “I’m, uh, a little embarrassed about it, but he picks everything out himself, and I help put them on him.”

Trying extremely hard to hold back another giggle, I glanced at Marcel, and my heart warmed to him. His tongue hung out. He smiled widely, as if waiting for his picture to be taken. Too cute for words, I couldn’t help but desire to scoop him up and cuddle him close.

Marcel started babbling away with soft barks. I was certain he was telling me a story. That little guy had me completely charmed.

“Say, you seem like a real special young lady,” Delmer said.

I chuffed at his assessment, young lady.

“You two seem to be hitting it off well,” Delmer said. “He doesn’t act like this for anybody else except for my late sister. Would you consider adopting him?”

Startled at his suggestion, I instantly shook my head several times. “No, no, no. Thank you, but I’m not ready for the responsibilities of a dog. I want to be more settled before I take something like that on.”

“Fair enough.” Delmer’s broad smile masked a secretive twinkle in his eyes, suggesting he had hidden motives. “Now, Arabella, tell me about your garden.”

Awe, now he had gone and done it. I wasn’t somebody who talked much. But ask me about my garden, and I wouldn’t shut up. I lay into the details of what I grew and why I picked what I picked.

“I have a smaller garden at the moment, but I plan on slowly building my inventory as I perfect each item. I don’t want to be overwhelmed and fail in growing several things improperly, causing them all to die off. That’d break my heart. I also like to focus on what naturally thrives in the Pacific Northwest. Until I have the super large greenhouse to experiment with hybrids and other things I’d love to have, such as avocados. Can you imagine having avocados on a tree in my backyard? Heaven is what that’d be.”

Delmer watched me closely, and I blushed again.

“Sorry, I went off, didn’t I?” I said.

He patted the top of my hand. “No, you didn’t. You came to life is what you did. I’m happy for you. To have found such a passion at a young age. Hold on to it. It’ll get you through the toughest of days.”

It felt good to be given a chance to talk about my garden this way. Most people didn’t want to hear about it. Though, I didn’t have many people to talk to because I didn’t speak to many people to begin with. It was a catch twenty-two.

“You remind me so much of my granddaughter, and she’s smart, passionate, and lovely. Just like you,” Delmer said.

My cheeks tinged once again. It was nice to be complimented so much by this older man. I wasn’t used to it.

The booths around the area were coming to life. I checked my watch and realized the market was about to open shortly, and excitement flooded me.

A strumming guitar awakened at the end of the aisle, and a young man worked on tuning his instrument. A few weeks ago, he began playing here, keeping a jar out for tips. It was nice because he was a lovely player and didn’t go crazy with the music. He created a soft background ambiance that helped keep people in a merry mood. They spent the morning with loved ones, gathering local items to sustain them for the week. They were eager to repeat the experience the next week. I closed my eyes, soaking in the ambiance.

Glancing back at Delmer, he sat in his chair with his legs crossed, and his gaze honed in on me with a cocked head and a mischievous smile tickling his lips.

“You remind me so much of my sister as well. She was special too,” he said.

I let out a hefty laugh, shaking my head with humor. “Do I remind you of everybody?”

He joined in and laughed. “No, just the special people.”

I turned around and noticed a few items falling from the table. I picked up the rosemary packets and worked over my table one last time before people ventured over and started buying me out.

Laws of attraction are a thing.

Glancing at Marcel from my booth, I caught his intense focus following my every move. I couldn’t help but wonder what it might be like to adopt him. Shaking my head, I attempted to rid my brain of the thought. Nope. No way.

Every time I gazed over at him, he moved to stand a little taller, making his smile wider. I was a little unsure, but I thought he winked at me once. The thought nagged at me: could he actually possess magical powers? Delmer claimed his sister was unique, sparking my curiosity. Naturally, a special person like her would have an extraordinary dog.

Tension rose into my shoulder, and a dry scratch came over my throat as I panicked at the idea of having a magical pet. I’d been denying myself, my magical side, for too long to pick it up now. And with a dog that may demand that side of me to flourish and sustain him in a life of magical luxury? It would be too much.

Shaking my head, I got myself out of those thoughts and forced a calm smile to grace my lips.

The musician stopped strumming and testing. Actual songs played as small crowds started making their way through the market aisles. Couples, friends, and families were stopping at booths to begin their shopping sprees. A giddiness had me standing and ready to make some sales.

It didn’t take long before Delmer’s and my booths both had a line of waiting customers. The strawberries must’ve been smelling extra delicious if Delmer’s remarks were to be believed because they sold out so fast. I made a mental note to increase my harvest.

The next customer and his adult sped up to my table and asked, “Do these plants do magic?” the youngster asked.

I glanced quickly around to see if his inquiry had prompted any mysterious looks. It seemed innocent enough. I bent with my hand to the side of my mouth and quietly said, “Only the good kind, like making your veggies taste better. But between you and me, I think they have dreams of being in a fairy tale.”

The woman behind him placed a hand on his shoulder, and chuckled, “Is that so? Well, we’ll take two bunches of your most magical parsley then!”

I packaged up the herbs, wishing her luck. That might just have to be my new marketing strategy.

Basil, oregano, mint, rosemary, and sage were also selling like hotcakes. It looked like people had some cooking up their sleeves, perfect with the weather.
Before long, the morning flashed by, and soon the market would close. I never had time to sit down with all the foot traffic coming to my booth. Pleased with my sales, I wanted to leave here with nothing to pack up and take home. I might get my wish.

The line moved fast as people were purchasing what remained. I collected emails to add to my newsletter, so they knew what I was growing and what I’d have at each farmer’s market. I’d even gotten a couple of orders placed for people who didn’t want to wait until the next one.

A tall woman with a little too thin of a frame and auburn hair stepped forward. I’d noticed her for the past twenty minutes, but she kept letting people get ahead of her in line. She finally stepped forward when there was nobody else around.

In a soft voice, the woman stated, “I know who you are.”
A chill raced along my spine, and I couldn’t help the instant squeeze within my gut as the woman’s brown eyes stared me down.

“It’s been long enough,” she continued.

Staring at the woman, I was lost at what she was trying to tell me. “I’m sorry, but are you interested in any herbs or vegetables?” I asked.

The woman’s eyes widened, and her lips pursed as she looked like she had sucked on a lemon.

Her presence alone unsettled me.

She stared with a crazed look in her eyes. I waited patiently, albeit slightly distressed, as the woman looked me over carefully. Then, without warning, she spat, “I know what you are.”

View full details