Take a Hint, Dani Brown Page 1

Author: Talia Hibbert

Series: The Brown Sisters #2

Genres: Romance


The moon was high and full, the night was ripe for witchy business, and Danika Brown had honey on her tit. The left one, specifically.

“For fuck’s sake,” she muttered, and swiped it off.

“Daydreaming at worship, now? Tut, tut.” Dani’s best friend, Sorcha, sat across the tiny table that served as their altar, all bright, brown eyes, thick, dark hair, and crooked smile.

“I wasn’t daydreaming,” Dani said, though she absolutely had been. “My chest just sticks its nose into everything.”

“Here we bloody go.” Sorcha rolled her eyes and imitated Dani’s crisp accent with unnerving accuracy. “Oh, pity me and my incredible rack, even though I selfishly refuse to share any of it—”

“I don’t think we can share breast tissue, Sorch.”

Sorcha glared. “Well, if we could, would you give me some?”

“No. As you say, my rack is incredible. Now shut up and focus.”

“Selfish, fiendish woman. Vain, daffodil-brained . . .” Sorcha could always be relied upon when it came to creative insults. Her gleeful mutterings faded into the background as Dani set aside her pot of honey, placing the dish she’d filled near the center of the table. Behind that dish, standing back-to-back with Sorcha’s Black Madonna, was a small golden statue of the goddess Oshun.

Like any self-respecting deity of love, beauty, and abundance, Oshun was covered in jewelry and not much else—unless one counted the bees and the enormous hair. Dani had little hair, zero bees, and no established habit of public nudity; nor did she devote any attention to romantic love, empirical evidence having proven it was a drain of energy that would distract from her professional goals. But the fact that Dani and the orisha didn’t see eye to eye on that particular topic wasn’t hugely important. The golden statue was an heirloom passed on from Dani’s dear, departed Nana—the same woman who’d once told her, “There’s power in knowledge passed between generations, whether it’s by those books of yours or by an elder’s mouth.”

Danika agreed. Plus, following in her Nana’s witchy footsteps was fun and came quite naturally. Must be something about the elaborate nighttime rituals and the history of dogged womanist defiance.

“Come on, then,” Sorcha nudged, apparently done listing Dani’s character flaws. And so, at a table shared by two different idols, in a room where candlelight and the full moon’s glow twined lazily together, Danika took her friend’s hands and closed the circle.

“You first,” Sorcha whispered.

“Oh, darling, are you certain?”

“Don’t start. I know you’re gagging to invoke something or other.”

Well, yes. In the month since Dani’s last situationship had ended, her vagina had developed cobwebs (the vagina was, unfortunately, prone to dramatics), and this invocation would hopefully end that awful state of affairs.

She took a breath and began. “Hello, Oshun. Hope the twins are well. This month, I have an intention I think you’ll support: I require another fuck buddy.”

Sorcha’s eyes popped open. “Hang on. Is this a good idea?”

“Shut up,” Dani said sternly. “I’m busy.”

Sorcha, being Sorcha, plowed on regardless. “I thought you were still upset about Jo?”

Dani produced a withering glare. “I was never upset about Jo. Getting upset is the sort of pointless, time-consuming emotion I work very hard to avoid.”

“Really.” The word dripped skepticism like the candles around them dripped wax. “Because I could’ve sworn that when she dumped you—”

“She didn’t dump me. We weren’t together, a fact that she wanted to change, while I did not.”

“When she dumped you,” Sorcha continued, because Sorcha was a twat, “you bought a box of cake mix and added an egg and ate the whole thing raw in a big old mixing bowl—”

“I have a sweet tooth,” Dani said coldly, which was absolutely true.

Sorcha sighed. “You do realize it’s not good for a witch to be so out of touch with her own feelings, don’t you?”

“Rubbish. I am entirely in touch with my feelings, thank you very much.”

“Except for the times when you don’t know how to handle someone you slept with falling in love with you, so you go on a Betty Crocker binge.”

“That wasn’t about Josephine,” Dani repeated. “I must’ve been pre-menstrual or something.” Because Danika Brown didn’t mope—or at least, she didn’t mope over interpersonal relationships. Hadn’t since the day she’d walked in on her first love merrily boinking someone else, and never would. Jo wanted romance, and Dani couldn’t think of anything less suited to her skill set, so they’d ended their friendship with benefits and gone their separate ways, and everything was fine.

Except for the fact that they didn’t talk anymore.

Except for that.

“Stop trying to throw me off,” Dani said firmly—because, clearly, the only way to end this god-awful conversation was to be firm. “I know what I’m doing and I know what I want. I am a grown woman of reasonable intellect, on track for tenure within the next fifteen years, with a deep desire for frequent oral sex and absolutely nothing else. So shut up and let me ask for it.”

“Oh, whatever,” Sorcha tutted. “Fine, then. Ask.” And a miracle occurred: she rolled her eyes, heaved a disapproving sigh, but ultimately shut her mouth.

Well. One must always take swift advantage of divine happenings.

Dani closed her eyes and began again. “Oshun, I need a regular source of orgasms.” She thought of Jo and added, “Someone who won’t expect more from me than I can give. Preferably a sensible sort with a nice arse who’s focused on their own goals. I haven’t had much luck, myself, so if you know anyone who meets the criteria . . . just . . . point me in their direction. Give me a hint.” When Dani finished, a warm and rare peace washed over her like the waters of a sun-touched river, as if the goddess had heard and promised to do her best. She let a tentative smile curve her lips and basked in the glowing silence.

A silence that was promptly ruined by Sorcha. “Christ, you’re such a Sagittarius.”

“Murder. I am going to commit a murder.” Dani opened her eyes and rose up on her knees, studying the table calmly. Should she smack her best friend over the head with a religious icon—potentially disrespectful—or a hefty wax candle? The candle was aflame, so it’d have to be the statue. Only, when she reached for it, something fell out of her dress’s many hidden pockets to land smack-bang on the altar.

In fact, it landed at Oshun’s feet, balancing perfectly on top of the honey dish.

Dani supposed that was some sort of sign. Likely one that said, Please don’t kill Sorcha, you will eventually regret it and I doubt you’d enjoy prison.

Sorcha squinted in the candlelight, clearly unconcerned by her near brush with death. “Hang on, is that a cereal bar? I’m ravenous.”

“It’s a protein bar,” Dani corrected, picking it up and handing it over.

“Since when do you eat protein bars?” Crumbs flew as Sorcha broke off pieces with her fingers like the mannerless heathen she was.

“I don’t. Someone gave it to me. God, Sorch, you’re making an awful mess and we haven’t even finished our invocations. Didn’t you want to do something for that creative writing competition you entered?”

“Doubt it’d help.” Sorcha snickered. “We are shitty witches.”

Dani sniffed. “Speak for yourself. I am focused on the present and attuned to the magic of my reality.”

“Since when?”

“Since I made a request and now I’m waiting for a sign!”

Sorcha tossed the protein bar’s empty wrapper onto the table. “Knowing us, you’ll probably bloody miss it.”


Five Months Later

The student union’s coffee shop was like a bad pop song: painfully repetitive and unnaturally upbeat. Milk was steamed, names were chirped, and baristas beamed as if there were any call for such abominably perky behavior. (There most assuredly wasn’t.) Dani was late for work, and the churn of coffee beans acted as background music to her fantasies about murdering everyone around her.

Come to think of it, she’d been considering murder quite a lot, lately. Perhaps she should see someone about that, or perhaps it was simply a natural consequence of living on planet Earth.

“Christ,” Sorcha muttered, stirring half a kilo of sugar into her latte. “Are people always this loud?”

“It’s March. The end of the semester is in sight. They’re”—Dani let her gaze drift over the far-too-perky students filling the shop—“hopeful.”


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