Way of the Witch - Ebook
Way of the Witch - Ebook
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Okay, so these were not the words I was expecting, coming from my angel father Matiel’s mouth. But here they were.
The Assassins’ Guild of Angels wants me dead. Fantastic.
I mean, what’s a witch gotta do to catch a break these days? I can’t even go for a leisurely stroll without someone trying to off me.
Worse, I have no idea why they’re hunting me. But you know what they say: When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. And I’ve got a whole lot of lemons to work with.
I may not be an angel like my father, but I’ve got a few tricks up my sleeve too. Especially when it comes to saving my own skin.
Do I run and hide from these angel assassins? Nope. I’m going to face them head-on and fight.
Non-stop action and laugh out loud funny. Way of the Witch is perfect for fans of urban fantasy, mystery, slow-burn romance, and humor. Start the adventure today and escape into this world of magic, romance, and mystery!
Look Inside Chapter 1
Look Inside Chapter 1
They don’t want Shay. They want you.
Okay, so these were not the words I was expecting, coming from my angel father Matiel’s mouth. It took my brain a few seconds to jump-start back to reality.
Once I reoriented myself to the present moment, I couldn’t help but feel like a character in a cheesy action movie. I mean, what kind of line was that? It sounded like something straight out of a nineties’ Schwarzenegger flick.
I stood in my apartment on the thirteenth floor of the Twilight Hotel, which I now used mostly as my office and to hang out with the gang. I was supposed to be doing that now, celebrating my little sister Shay’s recovery from the Mark of Death curse that the evil sorceress Auria had bestowed upon her, instead of ogling the angel who stood in front of me.
My hold on Shay relaxed, but I was still holding on to her. I wasn’t sure if that was for her or more for me. Shay’s head tilted up, and I felt my little sister’s eyes on me.
I never looked away from my father. “Me?” I repeated like an idiot. And then, of course, followed by the usual, “Are you sure?”
Matiel exhaled heavily like he’d been holding his breath this whole time. “I’m afraid so. Yes. They want you. Not Shay.”
Movement caught my eye, and I turned to see Valen walking to the door of the apartment. At first, I thought he was leaving to give us some privacy, but then the giant shut the door and walked back, cutting off the loud, happy conversations from the hallway. Now they were but incoherent muffles.
Valen’s focus was on my father as he positioned himself back against the wall just off the kitchen, leaning with his arms over his ample chest. His expression was carefully blank. No way to tell what he was thinking.
My gaze darted back to my father. “I’m guessing from that guarded expression that they don’t want to give me a halo?”
A muscle flicked along my father’s jaw. “No.”
“My own set of wings?”
Ah. “They want me dead. Am I right? Because I’m part angel? But then, that would make Shay a target as well.” I gripped her shoulders, feeling her tense. She’d been through enough. The kid needed a break. She deserved a break and to be a kid for a while.
“You being my child is partly the reason, but not in the way I initially assumed,” said Matiel after a moment, his features tight. “The legion isn’t attempting to obliterate human-angel hybrids, like Shay or any other child of both species. They don’t seem to be interested in them.”
I screwed up my face. “Just how many other half-breeds are there?”
“More than you know.”
“Not all yours, I hope.” The idea that Shay wasn’t my only half-sibling was daunting.
Matiel shook his head. “You and Shay are my only children.” His eyes lowered to my little sister. “I had hidden her from the legion because of what she is and what she can do with her celestial magic, the sun’s power. But as I learned, she is of no interest to them.” His eyes met mine again. “They seek you. Just you.”
“To kill.” Again, he didn’t answer, but he didn’t need to. “Why me? I can’t even do magic in daylight,” I said, frustrated. It wasn’t entirely true. I could still conjure up a mean teardrop of starlight. But you get it. Still, this had to be a mistake. Yes, I was a Starlight witch, which was rare, but my magical abilities weren’t up to par with a powerful White or Dark witch.
My father shook his head, looking frustrated. “I’m not sure. It could be something we haven’t seen yet. Something you have, something inside you that hasn’t manifested yet.”
I snorted. “I’m a forty-one-year-old witch. I’ve come into my powers a while back. Years ago. Apart from my starlight, there’s nothing else. I can’t do anything else. Nothing’s changed. I haven’t discovered anything new about my powers.” As soon as the words escaped my lips, I knew that wasn’t entirely true. I had been able to fly using my starlights as jet packs. But it wasn’t really that different, just the same magic used in an altered way. It wasn’t new magic by any means.
“I can’t do White or Dark magic,” I continued. “Trust me, I’ve tried.” The memory of my failed attempts as a twelve-year-old to conjure elemental magic with the local witch kids came back in a flash. They’d all laughed when I couldn’t call forth the most basic of flames like them. “I’m as dry as a human in that department. So, why are they after me?”
Matiel was silent for a moment. His expression was cautious as he said, “I don’t know. Whatever it is, they consider it a threat.”
My brows reached my hairline. “This doesn’t make sense.” A faint feeling of apprehension slid under my skin at how he’d said it. Letting go of Shay, I propped my hands on my hips, rummaging through my mind to come up with a logical explanation as to why the Legion of Angels would be after me. According to my father, it had nothing to do with me being his daughter—well, not entirely. It was something else. But what? The fact that they weren’t after Shay did make me feel better, but it also added to my confusion. She was a hell of a lot more powerful than me. But they weren’t after her. They wanted little ol’ me. This was nuts.
Shay shifted next to me, and I could see the longing on her face. She was eager to be with her father, yet she seemed uncertain that it was an option, like I was keeping her from him. Okay, so maybe I was. But since she wasn’t at risk of suffering the angels’ wrath, I didn’t see why I should keep her away from him.
“Go see your dad,” I said softly and gave her a nudge forward.
With a burst of energy, Shay ran across the room toward her father, throwing her arms around him in an embrace.
“Hey, peanut,” Matiel said as he planted a kiss on the crown of his daughter’s head.
The sight of Shay hugging her father—our father—was a nice distraction to the real reason he was here. I didn’t know if his visit would be the last in a long time, and I didn’t want to bring it up. I didn’t want to disappoint Shay. Let her have her moment with him because who knew when he’d return.
I looked over at Valen. He was watching me, and a play of emotions crossed his face. I knew that look. He was anxious, afraid for me. Having a Legion of Angels after you wasn’t like combatting a wicked vampiress or a mad sorceress. This group wasn’t something I’d ever faced before. They were otherworldly beings with otherworldly fighting skills and weapons. Unknown territory for me. Could I even defeat them? Or even just one? Could I even match them in combat? If they came at me during the day, I was a goner.
My father couldn’t have given me worse news.
Valen’s body shifted and took on a defensive stance, his expression full of menace. His face was set in an intimidating snarl as if he was ready to fight anything that might threaten me. I knew he would. He’d protect me with his life. That was just the kind of man, giant, he was. But what could a giant do against a Legion of Angels?
“I need to sit down.” I walked over to the empty armchair and let myself fall. Something was different in my apartment. And that’s when my eyes fell on the green-gray carpet. It was still ugly, but it was new. The black scorch marks left by my failed attempt to call my angel father were gone. Not that it mattered now. Guess Basil would bill me for that soon.
Valen pushed off the wall and came to stand next to me. He reached over, and I felt the warmth of his hand on my shoulder. The brief touch sent a message that I wasn’t in this alone. He was with me on this, no matter what.
Matiel moved over to the couch and sat, and Shay jumped to the spot next to him. I wanted to laugh at just how cute and happy she was, but I couldn’t find it in me. My body was tight with tension like a rubber band stretched too far.
“You know,” I began, looking between my father and Shay on the couch facing me. “I don’t know if I could have been hit with worse news. I mean, what could be worse than a Legion of Angels wanting me dead. Right?”
At that, my father stared at his hands, and the expression drained from his face. One moment, there had been blissful happiness shared with my sister, but the next, it had simply vanished, leaving his features cold as wild panic crossed his eyes.
I leaned forward in my chair. “I don’t like that look on your face. What are you not saying?”
“It’s not the Legion of Angels that’s after you. Well, not exactly,” he said, still staring at his hands. I felt Valen’s weight shifting next to me as Matiel looked up and met my gaze. “It’s the Assassins’ Guild of Angels.”
I had a brain-fart moment. And then. “Excuse me? There’s an Assassins’ Guild of Angels?” I imagined a group of black-clothed men climbing up walls with long, gleaming swords like ninjas from hell.
Matiel folded his hands on his lap, and I noticed Shay had lost her smile, staring at me with wide eyes. “Yes,” answered my angel father.
“And why is there an Assassins’ Guild of Angels? I mean, I thought angels were supposed to protect and heal and do all that angel stuff.”
“There’s a lot you don’t know about us,” said Matiel.
When I met Matiel’s eyes, he stared at me momentarily, frustration and sadness sharing space on his features. “They are killers. They exist to eliminate threats to the balance of power in heaven and on earth. If someone or something poses a significant danger, the guild will send their best assassins to take care of it.” Matiel’s voice was low and serious, and I felt a shiver down my spine.
My mind was reeling. I had never heard of anything like this. Assassins were supposed to be human, not angelic beings. Okay, not entirely true. I’d heard of paranormal bounty hunters, which were kind of like assassins for hire. Mercenaries. But the idea that angels out there were hired as killers was insane.
Yet, there was Matiel, telling me they did exist.
Valen put a hand on my shoulder again, and I leaned into him, feeling for a moment like I was back in the safety of his arms. The Assassins’ Guild of Angels sounded like something out of a horror movie, not something that actually existed in the world. But as I looked into Matiel’s eyes, I could see the truth.
“They are highly skilled in combat and assassination,” the angel continued. “They are ruthless. Amoral. And care nothing for mortals. They wouldn’t even think twice about taking your life.”
“I can imagine,” I breathed. I could imagine a lot.
“You don’t want to face them. Trust me.”
“Well, it’s not like I have a choice. Do I?” I gave my father a hard stare, and he looked away. It was his fault I was in this mess, in a way. He had disobeyed the legion’s laws and had sex with my mother, but that was a whole other story.
I frowned, trying to wrap my head around the concept. “So, the legion’s released their dogs because they think I’m a threat to them? How? I’m just a mortal witch. Nothing more.”
Matiel sighed heavily, his expression pained. “I understand this is a lot to take in.”
“The fact that they are after you means you have become a threat to the balance of power. Something about you has them… concerned.”
“What?” I raised my hands. “What can I possible have that can threaten them?” I asked, feeling a sense of disbelief. I was just a witch with angel blood. Why would the Assassins’ Guild of Angels even bother with me?
Matiel shook his head. “I don’t know.”
“What do you know?” Yeah, my voice was high with emotions, but I was tired from the ordeal with Freida, and this was just not the relaxed environment I had hoped for.
My father’s brows rose, the only indication that he was irritated by my tone. I didn’t care.
“They believe you are a threat to them,” he answered finally. “That is all I know. Your existence is a violation of the laws of the angelic realm, just as Shay’s is. But that’s not the reason. It’s something else. Something only you possess.”
“I feel so lucky.” A mix of fear and anger bubbled up inside me.
“And I know,” continued Matiel, “that the Assassins’ Guild has been given orders to eliminate you.”
I felt my blood run cold as Matiel’s words sank in. “Wonderful.”
“I’m sorry,” he said softly.
“When?” demanded Valen, speaking for the first time. “How many?”
My father’s gaze flicked to the giant. “I’m not sure.”
Irritation flared. “Guess.”
“Ten,” answered the angel. “Ten of their best assassins.”
You’d think ten wasn’t such a big deal. Given that it’d be nighttime, I could defeat ten witches or other paranormals, but we were talking about angels. Trained assassin angels, no less. Immortal celestial beings of immeasurable power. The odds were not in my favor.
“When will the assassins come looking for Leana?” asked Valen. The slight scruff around his face created a provocative silhouette, giving him an alluringly mysterious and sexy-as-hell look.
Matiel looked at me and said, “Anytime. They’ve already been given leave.”
My father looked around the room nervously as if he was afraid of something lurking around us. He shook his head, and muttered under his breath. “After all these centuries… I should have known they would try something like this.”
I let my head fall into my hands. “Guess I can’t take a few days off.” Nope. Not when I had angel assassins looking for me.
“Do they know where she is?” Valen’s voice was hard, and I looked up.
Matiel shook his head. “Not yet. They tried to get that from me while I was… indisposed… but I managed to keep that secret.”
He looked at me. If he was expecting a thank-you, he was going to be seriously disappointed.
“It won’t take them long to find you, though,” continued my angel father. “I suggest you look for another accommodation. And you should keep moving. A different safe house every day.”
“No,” I replied firmly. “Tired of running. We’ve done enough running. If they want to find me, they can find me right here. I’m guessing I can’t expect any help or protection from you?”
I stared at my angel father, not understanding what crossed his face. He was still a stranger to me. Unlike Shay, I hadn’t known of his existence until about a month ago. She’d had years to get to know her dad.
My father’s expression shifted as he observed me. I didn’t know him well, but I could see his disappointment in my answer. He wanted me to live. That part was obvious. But I wouldn’t run. And he knew he couldn’t make me. No one could.
“Take this.” He reached inside his jacket and handed me what looked like a silver ring.
I frowned as I took it. The metal felt cool in my palm, and I could see a twist of intricate markings that looked like sigils etched into the sides. “Is this ring supposed to protect me? How? Will it give off a blinding glare? Amaze angels to death?”
“It will grow warm at the presence of them.”
Just when I was about to tell him that he was an angel, and the ring was still cool, I felt a prick of magic, and then the silver ring glowed and grew warm against my skin.
“It will warn you when an angel is near.” My father sighed. “It is the only thing I can do.”
I pursed my lips. “Not a hell of a lot. Unless this ring can make an angel-shield or something, it might give me a heads up, but I’ll have to fight them on my own.”
“If I try to intervene, if I try to stop them, they will execute me,” said my father.
Shay’s intake of breath was loud in the sudden silence, her eyes wide with fear. Her mouth was forming words, but she didn’t speak them. She was stuck between seeking her father’s protection and knowing that if he stepped in, he would likely perish.
I wouldn’t do that to an eleven-year-old kid. “It’s fine. I wouldn’t ask you to do that.”
Matiel nodded, relieved, but his eyes were sad. “The Assassins’ Guild of Angels is not something to be taken lightly. They are ruthless and efficient. They will stop at nothing until their target is eliminated.”
My mind was reeling with the information, trying to make sense of everything.
Matiel gave a small nod, his expression pained. “I’m sorry, Leana. I wish I could do more to help you.”
Valen let out a soft growl as he spoke. “I won’t let them hurt her,” he said firmly with vehement eyes.
I was touched by Valen’s devotion and willingness to protect me, yet I didn’t wish to be the cause of anyone else getting in harm’s way.
Shay spoke up, her voice quiet but determined. “I can help too. I have my magic.”
I stood up, shaking my head. “You need to focus on school. That’s it. I’ll leave you now so you can spend some time with each other. I’m sure you have lots to talk about.”
Shay screwed up her face. “Where are you going?”
“For a walk. I need to clear my head.” I wanted to ask Matiel when we’d be seeing him again, soon or not, but I had a feeling just making his appearance now had cost him. I didn’t want to bring it up in front of Shay.
“I’ll walk you out,” said the giant beside me.
I turned around, not bothering to say goodbye or thank my angel father. I was too pissed off, upset, anxious, and too many other emotions for me to even think about parting politely.
I was barely aware of leaving the apartment and walking through the group of festive paranormals on the thirteenth floor as I made my way to the elevators.
My mind just wasn’t in the mood for a celebration. The Assassins’ Guild of Angels was after me, and I had no idea why.
Welcome to my life.