Tales of a Witch - Ebook
Tales of a Witch - Ebook
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Instead, I find myself stuck in a ten-by-ten cell, hungry and with a serious need to pee every hour, with only the cold stone walls and the occasional cockroach as my companions. I’m trapped in the bowels of the Gray Council building. And I don’t know if I’ll ever get out.
So when Darius—a.k.a Gray Council silver-haired dumbass—pays me a visit and offers me the choice to either rot in my cell forever or take on a job for him, I take it like a shot.
In exchange for my freedom, I’m sent on a task to find a jewel, the Jewel of the Sun. Sounds simple enough. Right? Wrong.
Adding to my problems, someone is watching me from the shadows, causing all my warning flags to sail as though in a thunderstorm. I’m not getting any paranormal vibes. Not vampires, weres, fae, nothing. Not even witch. But I know this person is bad news.
As though that isn’t bad enough, if I don’t find the jewel in time, I could lose everything…
Tales of a Witch is perfect for fans of urban fantasy, mystery, slow-burn romance, and humor. Get ready for this heart-pounding and laugh-out-loud magical adventure!
Look Inside Chapter 1
Look Inside Chapter 1
I always wanted to see the inside of the Gray Council headquarters building in New York City. I just never imagined I’d be a prisoner when I did.
It happened so fast, I barely had time to react. Clive Vespertine, the investigator, and his goons handcuffed me in front of everyone in the lobby. One minute, I was about to have some incredible sex—probably the best sex of my life with Valen, in Basil’s office, no less—and the next, I was being hauled away, humiliated, and treated like a convict.
As soon as the cool metal hit the skin of my wrists, I knew something was different about these cuffs. A cool energy climbed over my wrists and seeped into my skin. And I felt light-headed for a moment, like I stood up too quickly.
My frustration spilled out again. Straining, I pulled against my restraints, the metal cutting into that delicate flesh around my wrists, but I was only a Starlight witch. I didn’t possess a giant’s strength. I couldn’t break through metal, but I might be able to melt it.
When I reached out to my starlight, I knew.
Similar to what Bellamy had injected me with, I couldn’t tap into my magic. Something was obstructing my starlight. The handcuffs. They were anti-magical handcuffs made to block a witch’s magic.
I looked over at Valen. His face was dark with anger, his eyes burning with cold fury. He kept clenching and unclenching his fists, like he wasn’t sure who to pound on first. I could tell he wanted to morph into his giant form and beat these creeps into a pulp. I would have welcomed that. But then, that would only make me look guiltier. Not to mention what it would do to his reputation and his career. He’d never work for the hotel again after that.
Our eyes met, and I gave him a silent shake of my head, hoping he’d get the message. He nodded. It was good enough.
I glared at Clive. “You’re making a mistake. I didn’t kill Adele.” My shoulders ached from being pulled back and twisted at an odd angle. I yanked at the restraints again, even though I knew it was hopeless. Call it an instinctive reaction. I loathed being trapped.
Clive took a drag of his cigarette. His eyes flicked around the lobby, like he was admiring the décor and didn’t really care that he was causing a scene or perhaps ruining my reputation for the rest of my life. “We’ll let the courts decide. But there’s a mountain of evidence against you. You have no case. You can kiss your freedom goodbye.”
Blood pounded in my ears. “What?”
Clive blew out a shoot of smoke. “And we have an eyewitness. Saw it all happen.”
My lips parted. “That doesn’t make any sense.” I didn’t remember seeing anyone leave the lab. But then again, I was busy fighting, or being tied up, or trying to save Valen’s life. It was possible a few of Adele’s cronies had left.
Reluctantly, I cast my gaze around, seeing that most of the guests had stopped playing at the gaming tables and were more interested in what was happening to me.
Basil cleared his throat. He was jumping and chasing Clive’s cigarette ashes with the ashtray in his hand. “I must agree with Leana. This is a mistake. A mistaken identity. She’s no murderer. She’s a Merlin. Tell them, Leana.”
I doubted that would help. “I’m a Merlin?”
Clive’s mouth twisted in a smile that was part amusement and part arrogant. “We know who she is. She can be a Merlin or a fairy queen. I don’t give a shit. You killed a member of the White witch court, and you’re going to have to pay for what you did.” He gave a flick of his head, and the witch who had handcuffed me yanked on my wrists and hauled me forward none too gently.
The next thing I knew, Valen was in front of the witch. He put a finger on the guy’s chest, looking like he wanted to rip it open with his bare hands if he dared to take another step forward. “You take your hands off her.”
The witch smiled, showing a slip of teeth. “Or what, big guy? You gonna make me?” He laughed. “Go ahead. I would love to take a giant down. I’ll add that to my bucket list.”
Valen glowered. “You’re no match for me.”
“Wanna see if that’s true?” Purple flames hovered above the witch’s palms. A sort of zealous glee glimmered in his dark eyes. He wanted to fight Valen.
The muscles on Valen’s neck and shoulders popped. “You’re not taking her.”
The witch sneered, loving what this was doing to Valen. “We are. And there’s nothing you can do to stop us.” He raised his hands, the purple flames curling around his wrists and spilling over his arm.
Valen moved closer until he was about an inch from the witch, towering over him easily. “I won’t let you.” The giant’s face was scary, with an uncontrollable fury rippling over him. It was practically a living thing. But I could see some desperation in his eyes, and fear. Fear for me. Fear for whatever they were going to do to me.
I dreaded it too. “Valen. Don’t. He’s not worth it. He’s just trying to get you angry enough so you’ll fight him and end up just like me. I can’t have that. I need your help.”
At that, the giant’s eyes fell over me, and I could see his expression soften. Agony crossed his face, and I tried to ignore what it was doing to my heart. He moved back, not a lot, just a step, but his body was still turned toward the witch with the purple magic, as though he were telling him one wrong move, and he’d crush his skull.
I would have been totally turned on if I wasn’t angry and scared. Of all the things that could have gone wrong tonight, I would have never imagined I’d be arrested for Adele’s murder. It almost seemed like a dream. Too horrible to be true. I felt like I was in denial, just like after my mother passed away. She looked so peaceful in the bed, like she was sleeping. She couldn’t be dead. She was still warm.
I blinked, my eyes burning. I would not cry. I would not give Clive and his pets the benefits of seeing me crumble like a sad female. I was strong. Stronger than they knew. I’d get through this. I was innocent of this crime, though part of me wished I had killed Adele myself. I wasn’t so naïve to think it would be easy. Just that I’d figure out a way. I always did.
“What is going on here? Why is Leana in handcuffs? Who are you?”
Elsa pushed past a few guests who had formed a circle around us. Her face was red with what I could only guess was the result of the amount of wine she’d been drinking. Catelyn came up behind her, like a child hiding behind her mother’s skirt. Her eyes were round with fear, and her mouth fell open when she saw the handcuffs on my wrists.
“Gray Council investigators. They’re arresting her for Adele’s murder.” Basil threw himself forward and caught some of Clive’s ashes again. Clive flicked the butt of his cigarette onto the floor, causing Basil to let out a whimper as he dashed forward like a soccer goalie and, miracle of miracles, caught the damn butt in the ashtray.
Elsa made a low sound in her throat. “She didn’t kill Adele, you fool. You have it all wrong.”
Clive reached inside his jacket and pulled out a small metal box before flipping it open and plucking out a cigarette. He put it to his lips. I saw a small puff of fire as the cigarette lit on its own. Not on its own but with magic. I might have been impressed if I didn’t already hate the guy.
Clive took a long drag of his cigarette and blew the smoke out from his nose. “If she didn’t kill her, who did?”
Elsa stiffened, and my eyes trailed to Catelyn, who looked like she was about to throw up any second. Yeah, Catelyn had killed Adele with a simple flick of her hand, breaking her neck and killing the witch instantly. And in the process, she saved my life. Adele wanted her to kill me. She’d ordered her to do it. But the giantess had turned on Adele instead. I didn’t blame her. I probably would have done the same.
Catelyn’s eyes teared up. She looked trapped, like a wild animal in a cage, gnawing at the metal bars.
My heart grew heavy at the sight of her. She thought we were going to tell them. Catelyn had been through enough. I didn’t think she could handle the Gray Council prison. She wouldn’t make it. And I wasn’t about to turn her in either.
Clive chuckled at our collective silence. “Lying won’t save you either.” His eyes met mine. “I don’t care that you’re a Starlight witch with a giant as your lover. Adele was my friend.” The way he said it, with that bit of emotion he let slip, I knew they’d been more than friends. Lovers.
Shit. He thought I’d killed his girlfriend, and now he would get his revenge. This was bad. Very bad.
Catelyn seemed to relax a little, but she hid behind Elsa, like the older woman was her shield.
Clive swept his gaze around the lobby. “Nice hotel.” He looked at me. “You like luxury, just like most women.” He smiled, looking mildly entertained. He blew out a row of smoke from each nostril. “Better take a good look. ’Cause where you’re going, the only luxury you’ll have is when they let you have a bathroom break once a day.” His lips quirked with what looked like a laugh.
The bastard thought this was funny?
“Take her. Let’s go.”
Without another word, Clive moved away and headed toward the front hotel doors.
I winced as Dumbass One (I needed to give them names) grabbed me from behind and pushed me forward.
The last thing I remembered was looking over my shoulder at my friends. Basil was on his knees, trying to pick up some ashes he’d missed from the floor. Red blotched Elsa’s face and neck, her blood pressure rising. And Valen… Valen’s eyes connected with mine. He looked torn as his face took on a world of pain that made my throat burn.
“Leana…” He couldn’t finish whatever he was going to say. His anguish knocked the breath out of me.
My eyes burned, and I could feel the tears forming as my vision blurred. I spun my head back around. My legs were heavier than usual as Dumbass One pushed hard against my back. But I’d cried enough in my life. Tears wouldn’t help me now. They would only make Clive feel like he’d won.
I heard a growl and turned in time to see Valen punch a massive hole in the hotel’s wall. He placed both hands on the wall and hung his head. That’s the last I saw of him as they dragged me away.
That was three days ago. And I was still here, sitting on the floor of my ten-by-ten cell with no windows to keep me company or tell me what time of day or night it was. Only the occasional cockroach visited me.
“You’re lucky Errol isn’t here,” I told it as it scampered through the small opening under the metal door.
I’ll admit, it hurt that my friends hadn’t come to see me. Not even once. Not even Valen. It’s possible the Gray Council forbade visitors. Maybe they were hoping to let me rot in here alone for a few days until I confessed my crimes.
Okay, I’ll confess to my crimes. There were many, just not the one they’d put me in here for.
As soon as they removed the cuffs and shoved me into my new, tiny home, I felt it—the waves of the magical barrier. Just like the handcuffs, the walls of this place kept me from doing any magic. It didn’t surprise me. All kinds of wizards, warlocks, and witches had likely come through these cells. If they could use their magic, they’d have no problem escaping.
Without the use of my magic, I was basically useless.
I’d been to the Gray Council’s archives once to gather all the information I could on giants, but this wasn’t the same place. The archive building was more of a library, with the smell of books and knowledge. This place smelled of fear, desperation, and the forgotten.
Being alone meant all I had was time to think about who would want me here in the first place. With Adele dead, the only name that came to mind was Darius.
I still needed to figure out who this Darius was. All I knew was that he sat on the Gray Council, and Adele had been taking orders from him. Possibly this guy had figured out I planned to put a stop to whatever crazy new-world project he and Adele had orchestrated, where only the paranormal would exist. It sounded fine until she said they’d kill all the humans to achieve this. He didn’t want me to stop his plans, so he’d devised an excuse to lock me up.
He’d also told Adele to keep me alive. That was interesting. But why? Why not just kill me? Why put me here? To make me suffer? It didn’t make sense.
I was as stubborn as hell and hadn’t cried once. I wouldn’t put it past them to have some magical, invisible cameras in my cell, which was why I kept flipping off every corner of the room and telling the walls to fuck off.
Clive was doing this on purpose. He wanted me to break, but I wouldn’t. It was going to take a lot more to break me. I wasn’t afraid of solitude either. I liked my alone time. Always had. Growing up without siblings, cousins, or even a father, you sort of figure out things on your own. You make your own fun. You adjust until it becomes your routine. Even married to Martin, I felt alone. So, being in a small cell was nothing.
I wouldn’t say I liked bathroom breaks once a day. At my age, my bladder wasn’t as strong as it used to be, and I needed to pee every couple of hours. Now I was seriously working hard on my kegel exercises so I wouldn’t leave little puddles on the floor. If they had left me a bucket, I would have used it. But I had nothing.
There was no bed, blankets, or chair to sit on—just these cold, hard stone floors and walls.
I hadn’t seen Clive either. The last time I’d seen his chain-smoking face was when he smiled at me and shut the metal door of the cell in my face. I thought I’d see the bastard again, but he never showed.
My ears pricked up at the sound of keys rattling. My bathroom break? It seemed a bit early, but then again, I had no idea what time it was. They took my phone and my bag. I had nothing.
But I welcomed my bathroom breaks. Not only could I empty my poor old bladder, but I also got the chance to look around and figure out the layout of whatever basement dungeon they’d stuck me in.
All I saw when my jailor—let’s call him Ben—took me for my daily bathroom trip were just rows of more cells identical to mine. The doors were all closed. But I could hear the constant moaning of lost souls. It made me wonder how long they’d been here and if they would ever get out.
I’d never even had a good look at the Gray Council’s first floor. They just hauled me downstairs to my waiting cell. The space had been too dark to really make out any other doorways or possible escape routes.
I pushed to my feet, my lower back and knees protesting from being in the same position for so long. The cold floor was not helping. A short walk to the bathroom would do me some good and get the blood flowing to my limbs.
The door finally swung open, giving me a good look at my jailor.
“You’re not Ben.”
Nope. I’d never seen this man before. Unlike Ben, who wore a heavy, brown robe that looked like it had belonged to some monk in the 1970s, with dirt on the hem and holes—you get the picture—this guy was more refined.
He was a tad shorter than Ben, and where Ben was rough around the edges with his looks, this man oozed sophistication and intellect. He held himself like a cross between a college professor and a politician. His expensive light-gray, three-piece suit fit him perfectly. No doubt it was tailored to him. The only odd thing about him was his long silver hair tied back in a low ponytail.
“You a Targaryen?” I laughed and regretted it as I felt a tiny release in my bladder. Whoops.
The silver-haired man stepped inside my cell, giving me a good view of his eyes. They were gray. Cold energies wafted through with the scent of sulfur. The Targaryen wannabe was a Dark witch.
He smiled, but I saw no warmth in it. “My name is Darius.”