“I hear our girl’s night has been cut short.” Holly stated as she stepped past the threshold and into the
house Asher had built for me. As she spoke, her eyes scanned the foyer, her head pivoting back and
forth to soak up every detail.
I hummed my confirmation, motioning for her to follow as we passed through the dimly lit kitchen and
into the living room. “Sorry about that, things sort of popped up at the last minute.”
“Oh, no worries. I had a feeling something would come up. Truthfully, I’m just happy to be out of the
house.” She smiled softly, striking a chord deep within my chest as I noticed the similarities between
us. Releasing a sound of interest, she spoke. “Oh, so many windows! This might sound hard to believe,
but I absolutely love natural light. I can’t stand being cooped up.”
“That’s not hard to believe at all.” I murmured, thinking back to the meek and obedient girl I’d met,
trapped within the walls of the warehouse our father called his home. “Does sunlight hurt you? I never
asked how it affected you, being half vampire and all..”
Holly shrugged, following me out the backdoor. “It’s not painful or anything, but I do sunburn very
easily. After awhile I start to feel a bit tingly, but I’ve never tested it longer than an hour or two.”
“Well, if you ever want to try again just let me know.” I assured her, succumbing to the slight flutter in
my chest when she gave me an enthusiastic nod.
I padded across the patio and hefted the small box of supplies into my arms, kicking open the door and
descended the stone staircase into the field that served as our back yard. It was here, beneath the
blossoming light of the moon, that we would attempt the protection spell
“I’ll make sure I call you.” Her voice was laced with anticipation, flecked with dollops of hope that made
me wonder if a happy ending weren’t an impossibility. She bounced on the b***s of her feet, flipping her
ebony braid over her shoulder. “I’ll admit, I’m a bit nervous… and excited. We’re both powerful, I can
feel it. There’s no way this won’t succeed.”
“You think so?” I asked, my eyes on the task of setting things up for the spell. More than once I
scanned the page, ensuring I followed each and every direction down to the smallest of details. “I heard
you were doing incredible at calling on your magic…” I trailed off. “I haven’t been doing as well, but I’m
trying. It just seems to be a bit more spontaneous is all.”
“Pay attention to what it feels like when you use magic, it’ll make it easier to call on it again. I can feel
your power, Lola. We’re sisters, but your magic isn’t quite like mine. It’s…it’s different.” She hummed,
closing her eyes, and furrowing her brows together as though she were concentrating. When they
popped open, the same shade of blue as my own, they flashed with hidden knowledge. “It’s older and
much more volatile than mine, but there are some similarities too. Our magic is rooted in darkness, but
that doesn’t make it evil. No matter what you do, or how it manifests itself, remember that. Don’t fear it,
I took every shred of her advice, accepting reassurance from the little sister I’d always wanted but
never knew I had. This was what I’d been wanting those months after my father’s d***h, a relationship
where we could talk to one another, where we could recount the experiences and events that led us to
where we were today.
“Are you ready?” I asked, stepping into the ring of black pillared candles I created, cradling a few of the
rough crystals in my hands.
Holly met my eyes, her mischievous grin matching my own. “Let’s do this.”
As she said the words, the wicks of each candle went up in flame, bursting to life in one spontaneous
We faced one another within the circle, a chunk of the dark colored crystal in each of our hands. Black
Tourmaline was what the book called it, a stone meant to protect both the witches casting the spell and
the subject in question.
Within each pillared candle a piece of Asher’s hair was b****d, the smoke thick as it curled into the air
and vanished within seconds.
I had taken the day memorizing the spell, committing the words to memory. Holly was able to recall
them on command, which I found incredibly impressive since my memory was lackluster at best. Every
facet of the spell was important, and even the smallest of slip ups could alter the outcome.
The two of us raised the stones above our heads, tilting our chins towards the new moon that hung in
I let out a slow breath, relaxing my shoulders as the words flowed from my thoughts to my lips. “I call
on the Goddess of the Moon, mistress of the night and all who walk her path. Come to thee, hear your
daughter’s cries, hear our pleas cast into the sky!”
As hard as I tried to ignore it, the amulet Rowena had given me began to warm around my neck.
Though the feeling wasn’t unpleasant, it was distracting. Holly’s voice snared my attention, both calm
and confident despite the weight of the spell we were casting.
“I call on the Goddess of the Moon, huntress and protector, so merciful and bright. Come to thee, hear
your daughter’s cries, shine your light on these willing eyes!” Holly shouted, her voice reaching it’s
crescendo before merging with my own.
Together we spread our arms, embracing the night in all of its beauty-basking in the breeze which
quickened in its pace, though none of the candles seemed to register its presence.
Our voices became one haunting melody as we shouted into the open air, the stars and moon our only
“An Alpha of blood and iron is whom we wish to protect. Shine your light on him, shield him from the
evil that brings him closer to d***h. With your might and your love, conceal Alpha Asher and power in
The wind that had whipped up turned cold, slashing through our circle so sharply that every single went
out, plunging us both into darkness. Only the stars and moon, which I swore shone brighter, provided
“So, you think the spell worked?” Holly asked several minutes later, once the silence between us
surpassed contemplative and turned awkward.
We’d gathered the half-melted candles, cradling the crystals to our chests as we placed them in various
areas of the house, all places Asher frequented the most.
The two of us were now perched in front of the television, some nameless romantic comedy Mason had
forced me to watch playing on the screen. He might’ve lost his mate in a horrific way, but that hadn’t
k****d the hopeless romantic that hid beneath his baby face.
“I felt…something.” I replied, trailing off as I remembered the cold spike of energy that passed through
me. From hundreds of feet away, I could feel the shadows that hid within the forest line react to the
release of energy.
Even after returning inside, I could feel them lingering. They seemed calmer since last night, and if I
weren’t so tired from the spell, I would’ve thought they felt almost happier since they’d been fed.
Holly didn’t seem to register that I’d spoken, and instead her attention was on the couple that filled the
TV screen. Locked in a passionate k**s as some sappy song played in the background, the main
characters of the movie were oblivious to chaos around them, so lost in one another that the
pedestrians on foot and bike had no choice but to alter their paths to narrowly avoid a collision.
The look on her face, brightening her eyes and making them appear almost watery, was one of
curiosity and longing.
I felt guilty breaking the trance the movie had put her in, but there was a question I needed to ask, one
that had been plaguing my mind since I woke up this morning.
“Holly?” I whispered, nudging her with my elbow until she blinked rapidly and turned her bleary eyes in
my direction. “Did you see anything about tonight-about Tristan and I’s mission?”
She pursed her lips together, “…no.”
“You’re not a very good liar.” I laughed dryly, trying to ignore the way my stomach rolled.
“No, I’m really not.” She nodded understandingly, patting my leg in a gesture that was meant to be
comforting. “Look, some things are better left a… surprise.”
A surprise. That certainly wasn’t comforting. I wracked my brain for another question, something that
would provide just a shred of useful information, anything to ease my guilt and trepidation.
“Is there any advice you can give me, anything at all?”
Holly went silent for a few seconds, and I held my breath waiting for her words–words I hoped would
change what could easily be a disastrous night for Tristan and I.
“A good leader knows when to ask for help.”