– “Of course you aren’t, and even if you did catch on fire that’s what Cordelia is here for.” I
waited for Cordelia to laugh or smile, to show some sign that Rowena was joking, but all she did was
nod. “Plus your friend has a fire extinguisher.”
Breyona held up the fire extinguisher and grinned, which did absolutely nothing to ease my worries.
“What’s going to happen to her?” Asher’s voice held an edge that silenced the room. He looked at me
as he spoke, softening his tone so it didn’t sound like he was ready to start murdering people.
The smooth lines of Rowena’s face sharpened, and she gestured to grandma. “First I’ll be needing her
blood. It’s the final ingredient in the potion Lola and are to drink. From there I’ll unravel the bind by hand.”
“I thought Cordelia was removing the binding spell?” I asked, shuddering as I repressed a rush of fear
that whispered something had gone wrong.
“Don’t worry so much, Lola. Everything will turn out fine, and the bind will be removed.” Her smile was
reassuring, as was the confidence in her eyes but it couldn’t wipe away all my worries. ” Natural magic is
one of the seven I mentioned. It’s what I’m primarily skilled in. Healing, coaxing emotions, or even
unraveling a binding spell is well within my skill set. Besides with the restraints Cordelia is spelling, she
won’t have the energy to unbind your magic.”
“These are just a precaution. There’s no telling what will happen when we unlock magic that’s been
bound for over ten years, but there’s also a very good chance nothing will happen. They won’t hurt, but
you’ll be pinned to the floor until we’re sure you’ve got everything under control.” Cordelia added and
turned towards Rowena. “Are we ready?”
I winced when the curved athame sliced into grandma’s hand. Scarlet beads emerged from the slice,
gathering in her palm as the wound already began to heal. She tilted her hand and let the thick fluid
trickle into the goblet Rowena held.
“Does this have anything to do with blood magic?” I asked Rowena, tearing my eyes away from the
blood that filled the room with a mouth-watering scent.
She shook her head and sloshed the contents of the goblet around until the blood was mixed into the
dark colored liquid. “This is very different from blood magic. Your grandma’s blood is being used as an
ingredient in a spell, but with blood magic, the blood is the power. There would be no other items used.”
I wasn’t sure I’d ever get used to drinking blood in front of other people. It was even worse considering it
was the blood of my grandma. When I brought the goblet to my lips, there was no warmth that rushed
through me. I couldn’t taste a hint of her blood, but what I did taste was oddly familiar.
“Is this wine?” I asked curiously.
Rowena smiled and took a drink herself. “Sure is. It’s my favorite potion base. Most of the time it just
tastes like spiced wine.”
“Wait until you get my age, you’ll get drunk off of one measly potion.” Cordelia shook her head
shamefully, making the younger witch laugh.
I felt nothing as the wine trickled down my throat and continued to feel nothing until Cordelia wrapped
one of those black threads around my wrist.
Laying sprawled out on the carpet was awkward enough, but the moment the damp piece of thread hit
my skin, my arm fell limp to the floor. It was the same for my legs, which were glued flat to the floor. I
could only lift my knees an inch or so, but the movement made my muscles ache.
“These…are impossibly strong.” I grunted, absolutely hating the feeling of helplessness. Even with
Maya’s strength enhanced from our vampire side, there was no budging with these restraints.
“Quit thrashing and relax, Lola. We’re about to begin.” Rowena smiled encouragingly, then took a deep
breath and squared her shoulders.
‘Are they really that strong?’ Asher’s voice was warm and smooth like whiskey and helped pull me from
the edge of a full-scale nervous breakdown. I smirked at the hidden meaning in his voice. ‘…maybe the
witches aren’t bad after all.’
I laughed out loud which made Breyona snicker from where she leaned against the wall, right beside the
patio doors. Her eyes were bloodshot from crying earlier today, but the fact that she refused to blink or
look away didn’t do her any favors either. Through the glass doors I could see the backyard that opened
into the forest and spotted the writhing shapes lurking within. Always watching, always so d**n curious.
‘I doubt Cordelia’s going to let you borrow these for what you have in mind.’ I teased, wishing I could hold
onto this light-hearted mood that I knew would vanish the moment his voice left my thoughts.
Asher pushed one of the armchairs out for grandma to sit in, who watched the whole ordeal with her
eyebrows smushed together.
Rowena knelt on the floor beside me, her hands clasped together as they began to take on that dull
emerald glow. It turned the tips of her manicure green and made the light in her eyes dance.
“The more I stop the harder it’s going to be to remove this thing, so no interruptions.” Rowena warned
the room and promptly turned her attention to the exposed sigil on my chest.
I kept my eyes on Asher, who held my gaze and fed me his courage and love even though we couldn’t
speak through the bond during the spell. The grip of the restraints no longer felt so crushing, and the feel
of Rowena’s nails against my chest weren’t as sharp.
She placed one hand over the circular sigil, but nothing happened as her glowing fingertips pressed into
my skin. It wasn’t until she began pulling her hand away that my entire body locked up, and something
dark and wild thrashed from within.
“There you are…” She murmured, her eyes narrowing into mossy slits.
Dull pain radiated through my muscles as my back arched, following the path her hand made as she
lifted it away from my chest. There was something trapped in there, thrashing against my ribcage as it
was forced to the surface.
“…fighting me…should’ve been removed years ago…” I thought I heard her say, but the blood rushed to
my ears as she pulled roughly, forcing my body to follow.
Asher’s deep baritone rumbled in my ears. I couldn’t piece together what he was saying, but I could feel
the charge his anger unleashed into the room. Rowena snapped something back at him, and the sound
of his voice halted. The shrill ring of a cell phone filled the air, followed by what I thought was an apology
The thing in my chest was buried deep, hidden in the dark–powerful and reluctant to let go, but slowly I
could feel it rise.
“We’re getting close, just hold on.” Rowena’s voice was becoming clearer, “…the sigil’s beginning to
A second shrill chime split the air, only this one was coming from my cellphone. I had given it to Asher to
hold onto, which is who I assumed declined the call.
The phone rang a second time, and a force even deeper than the spell that thrashed beneath my skin
told me something was very, very wrong.
Rowena snapped. “Alpha-“
“Answer it.” I ordered him, forcing the words through my clenched teeth. Even turning my head as far as
possible, I could only see the muscular outline of his arm. “…Asher, do it.”
It felt like my spine was going to snap–like my chest was going to continue rising until the restraints cut
into my skin and bone began to break.
The roaring in my ears dropped to a d**d silence as the call connected and Tristan’s voice came from the
“F*****g h**l, Lola. Learn to answer your phone!” He shouted, and I thought Asher would hang up right
then and there but what Tristain said next sent the floor crumbling from beneath both of us. “Your sister
just had another nightmare-this one’s bad, it’s about the murders and who’s next…I’m grabbing Giovanni
now and were–“
“Who’s next?!” Asher’s snarl made Cordelia and Rowena collectively gasp.
Tristan’s response was instant, “…Breyona-Breyona’s next.”
I thrashed against the restraints the moment her name registered in my head, calling a tidal wave of
disbelief so strong that I thought I might be sick. Bile rose in my throat, and I swallowed back the acidic
fluid because I was not giving up-my best friend was not going to d*e.
“She had a call from Giovanni and stepped out …s**t, she’s not out here.” He snarled and scanned the
forest nearly twenty feet away.
“Asher-” I pleaded, and the look he gave me was one I’d never forget.
He looked more beast than man, his eyes molten gold and filled with fierce rage as he sprinted out the
back door. I could hear the thud of his feet and the tearing of fabric as he exploded into his midnight-
“…get this f*****g thing off of me now!” I screamed, ignoring grandma’s voice as she tried to reassure
me. The only thing soothing was the b**n in my throat as I snarled and shouted.
“This is going to-“
I was close to blacking out, hovering on the cusp of unconsciousness as my spine stretched past it’s limit
and my limbs howled for release.
Blacking out would’ve been easier and less painful. Instead I felt every aching moment, up until the
pressure in my chest shattered and something climbed its way to the surface.
Its strength was subtle and unlike anything I had ever felt before–nothing like the physical power I felt
from both my werewolf and vampire side.
This was like shadow hidden beneath the skin, filling blood and cells until every part of me was infused
with its silky power. My thoughts were charged with something that felt so similar to electricity, but I knew
I didn’t care about the magic unfurling inside of me, or the three women who stared with wide eyes and
expressionless faces. All I cared about was Breyona-who had nothing to defend herself, not even the
speed of her wolf.
“Get these off of me!” I shrieked and thrashed when the two witches remained rooted in place, shaking
their heads at grandma who stood to help me.
My breath was coming so fast I could count the flecks of darkness that floated in my vision. Asher
wouldn’t be enough. She was in danger, and I needed to help. The cold liquid that seeped from the
restraints around my wrists and ankles filled me with rage.
I want these things off.
The thought crackled in my head like a bolt of lightning. Four simultaneous snaps filled the air and the
immoveable force that kept me pinned to the carpet was gone.
I scrambled to my feet the moment I felt the weightlessness of my own limbs. Rowena lunged with her
arms extended, ready to grab me before I made a wild dash out the back door.
“No, don’t touch her!” Cordelia gasped at the last second.
I wasn’t paying attention as I darted out the back door and missed the panic-stricken look on Cordelia’s
face when she grabbed Rowena.
The shadows were always nearby, always eager to make a deal. If Breyona’s scream hadn’t pierced the
air, I might’ve noticed the way they no longer crept closer but fled in the opposite direction, as far away
from me as they could get.