A snarl tore through my chest and if it weren't for Asher’s hand on my lower back, his warmth pouring
into my icy skin, I would've dug my fingers into her eye sockets.
Instead of having the wits to be afraid, Rowena laughed.
“No, you’re right. She’s too close to all of this. It would be much too obvious. Mm, perhaps it’s someone
in the background, someone you never would’ve noticed lurking about. What about that half- breed
sister of yours, Holly? She and I did spend quite a lot of time together.” She teased, flashing blood-
stained teeth when Tristan let out a snarl of his own.
There wasn't a chance in hell I'd actually believe her, not with how enthusiastically she’s pointing
fingers. She could cry witch all she wanted, but I trusted the people closest to me, my half-sister
Rowena began to laugh harder, and the sound of it gradually shifted from confident and poised, to a
cackle that bordered on unhinged.
“Oh, there’s so many possibilities, but let’s not limit the suspects to only women. My sister in crime is
powerful enough to take on the form of either gender, though not for too long.”
Asher’s hand tensed along my back, as did the rest of his body. It was my turn to reign him in, even
though the sickly song in my veins told me to do the opposite.
He towered over her and snarled, “Her name. Tell us her fucking name.”
Rowena yawned, making a show of opening her mouth and fluttering her eyes like we were the ones
“No, I don’t think I will.” She mused. ”
Ask me something else. You're oozing testosterone and it’s making me sleepy.”
“Why Sean? Why him of all people?”
At first, I didn’t recognize the voice that spoke. I didn’t feel the words as they left my lips, but that was
most likely because they were encased in layers of ice- dropping the temperature of the room by a few
Breyona shuddered, her warm breath coming out as a puff of white smoke.
Rowena’s grin fell as she lifted a single sculpted eyebrow at me. Goosebumps prickled along her bare
arms, filling me with the smallest hint of pleasure.
“You don't think Carson and that other boy were our first choices, do you? Please, who even are they?
Where is the poetry in that? No, darling. If it wasn’t for your mate's commendable willpower, your friend
over there,” Her eyes flickered over to Breyona.
“...and the other one, would be dead.”
At that, my stomach dropped. The siren song was louder now, so tempting that I inched closer to
Asher, all but curling into him to keep the urge to kill her at bay.
“Mason and I were your first choices?” Breyona asked, her voice pitched low.
Rowena’s cell seemed to darken, the shadows along the walls climbing higher. For once, it wasn't me
controlling them, but Breyona. The shadow creeping behind her took on the shape of a wolf.
“Well, of course. You must admit, there's a beautiful symmetry to it. Lola’s closest friends, followed by
her brother, sacrificed in the name of ultimate power.” Rowena sighed heavily, like a teenage girl
speaking about the boy she loved. Quickly, her expression soured, and blood-crusted lips twisted into a
sneer. Her eyes, which now looked like sewage rather than fragmented emeralds, latched onto my
face. “You had to go and ruin that by turning Breyona here into some shadow monster. Freya wasn’t
happy about that, not one bit. She's nothing if not inventive, though. Now she’s quite keen on the idea
of having a guard dog that's a mixture of werewolf and shadow.”
“I'll never follow that bitch.” Breyona snarled, eyes flashing dangerously.
Rowena huffed out a laugh, “You won't have a choice in the matter. Besides, I think you'll be quite
flattered to be one of the last werewolves in existence. I know I would if I were in your shoes.”
A Satisfied smile twitched onto her face when Breyona began to shake, her entire form rippling as pure
shadow seemed to seep from her pores. If one of us didn't act soon, Breyona would surely shift and kill
Rowena for us.
“Go take a breather.” I turned to Breyona, urging her with my eyes to listen.
Rowena hummed, “That's right. Go on, now.”
Breyona’s deep, smoky snarl was overshadowed by the cell door swinging open and Giovanni stepping
inside. She reacted to his touch immediately, her eyes fading back to their normal color and losing the
shadowy tinge they were taking on. Once Breyona was out of the room and the cell door shut, I turned
to hear Asher ask the next question.
“Where are the other witches hiding out at? You have to have a base somewhere.” 1
Rowena graced us with a smirk. The smug light in her eyes was enough proof to tell us she knew
exactly where the witches were hiding.
“Did you know there’s a subcategory of magic known as Illusion magic? It’s typically present in sigil,
natural, and sometimes protection magics. Freya has a few witches with this affinity, though there's one
in particular that’s very skilled. She can make you see anything, believe you’re somewhere a thousand
miles away when really, you're standing in your own back yard.” A slow, sinister smile creeped across
her face. “Look all you want, Alpha Asher, but you'll never find them.”
A pulse of earth-shattering rage vibrated down the bond, warning me that Asher was seconds away
from imploding and beginning the torture. It wasn’t that I wanted to keep him from hurting
Rowena, because I most certainly didn’t, but I knew that if we started peeling off her flesh, what
information she was giving us would surely come to an end.
There were still more questions flooding my mind, and I needed to see if she’d answer them first before
beginning the real fun.
“The amulet you gave me, I want you to tell me about it.” I urged, squeezing
Asher’s hand to warn him off of tearing into her quite yet.
“You were coming into your magic quickly thanks to Breyona’s wonderful, but very much dead,
parents.” Rowena smirked, staring at the window that led into the observation room as though she
knew Breyona was right there, pressed against the glass and hanging onto her every word. “I had to do
something to slow you down.”
“Last question, witch.” Asher growled, glowering down at her. “Fail to answer and I'll happily let Lola
tear into you. I’m not sure what she was doing back there, but I'd love to see the end result.”
Rowena’s face paled, eyes flashing with genuine fear. My heart skipped a beat, the darkness in my
veins bubbling excitedly, it’s sickening song picking up pace, whispering promises of power and
murder, of blood and sweet, sweet vengeance.
“The spell your blood-witch is doing to enslave Lola. How do we break it?” Asher inquired in a voice of
There was no way she’d actually tell us. I was more than sure I’d have to pry the truth from her brain
after I cracked her skull like an egg, but when her smile turned reptilian, I realized how wrong I'd been.
“You want to know how to break it?” She giggled like a schoolgirl with a secret. Her voice took on a
taunting, sing-song quality that made my nails elongate into claws. “There’s two ways but...you’re not
going to like them.”
Asher lurched forward, his jaw rigid and teeth bared. “How? Tell us, witch.”
Rowena continued to giggle, unfazed by the waves of pure murder radiating off of my mate. Her eyes
flickered down to my hands, to the veins of inky darkness crawling beneath my skin.
“First option is Lola here can give herself over to dark magic, and I mean fully give herself over. There
wouldn’t be a force on this earth that had enough power to control her then. Or...there is one other
option. A spell that requires that much sacrifice to create can only be broken by sacrifice of equal or
“We'd have to kill three of each species.”
Asher’s gruff voice wasn’t what made the hairs along the back of my neck lift. It was the careful
consideration in his eyes, like he was actually entertaining the idea of killing three werewolves,
vampires, and witches.
“Mhm, that’s right.” Rowena hummed. She then leaned in, a wicked grin scoring her face, wrinkling the
decaying flesh surrounding her eye. “...but it’s not your only option. There’s another sacrifice that can
be made, one that surpasses killing three of each supernatural species.
There’s a thin sheen of sweat clinging to my skin, thickening with each second that passes. A knot
builds in my stomach, and for a moment, I feel sick. Something isn’t right about this. Rowena is giddy,
almost eager as she gives Asher the answers we've all been searching for.
Shadows thicken along the walls, gathering in the corners as they writhed and whispered. Tiny voices
overlapped one another by the hundreds. All of them were saying the same word, chanting it like a
warning, but my mind was too much of a mess to pick the voices apart.
“What is it?” Asher asks, seemingly unaware that he’s leaning in, something dangerously close to hope
burning in his eyes.
“If someone who loved Lola, loved her purely with every piece of their being, were to give their life for
hers, the spell would be broken. It has to be pure love, though. No conditions or stipulations of any
kind. It can be a friend...a family member...or even...”
I sucked in a sharp breath, my hold on Asher’s hand turning to stone as I jerked my arm and tore him
away from her.
“No.” The word slid past my lips as a snarl. “You're lying.”
I could hear the shadows chanting now, their razor-blade voices cutting into my ear drums, forcing a
scream to curl in my throat.
‘Mate...’ ‘... mate’ ‘Mate...’ They whispered frantically.
“That's right, Lola.” Rowena’s smirk turned triumphant. “...a mate.”
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