CASE FILE #1:
Regina St. Lyon's powers have been waning. Maybe she did betray love, but what else could a duped girl do? At the time, banishing hotter-than-thou Brock Aegis to the Middle Realm seemed like a good idea. But now Brock is back....
CASE FILE #2:
Benedict DeWin is practically wizard royalty--and as magically gifted as a stale loaf of bread. But then he meets Bryony Flynn, another magical "failure"- whose only gift is to make certain things grow. Not that Benedict is complaining...
CASE FILE #3:
Born to a family of seers and shamans, Siobhan Silverhawk has accepted her magicless lifestyle. But when she meets recent widower J. B. Pendleton, Siobhan figures she has magic enough to make a love potion--which seems to have worked a little too well!
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September 10, 2007
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Excerpt from Witchy Business by Julie Elizabeth Leto
Filling her lungs with the smoldering night air, Regina St. Lyon closed her eyes tightly and chanted. After one verse, she tripped over the words. She cursed, struggling to remember the phrases in the right order, to speak the forbidden language of her Wiccan ancestors with the right inflections. She took another deep breath and nearly choked on the mixed scents of charred herbs, burnt grass, singed skin and blood. The blood of her beloved.
"Regina, don't do this," Brock demanded. He'd dropped to his knees, pain evident in each syllable he uttered. His face, once so devastatingly handsome, now was simply devastated.
Regina's palm still simmered from the magical burst of energy she'd used to defend herself. He'd betrayed her. And if she didn't recite the forbidden curse now to banish him to the middle realm, he'd destroy her entire race.
She squeezed her eyelids tighter, blocking out the sight of the man she'd once loved, holding back the rush of tears threatening to burst through. She hadn't asked to be chosen as Guardian of Witches, but the responsibilities had been bred into her from birth. She hadn't asked for her mother to die, forcing the Council to coronate Regina as Guardian when she was only sixteen. She certainly hadn't asked for Brock Aegis to sneak into her life ten years later, posing as a male witch seeking help from the Magecraft Treatment Center so he could seduce her and then to turn on her like the Hunter he was. She hadn't asked for this heartbreak, but now, as always, she had to stand strong.
She had to destroy him before he destroyed her. She chanted again and again until the intonations spilled off her lips like the rush of a swift river. She opened her eyes, calm as she surrounded herself with the power of her ancestors. Her mother. Her grandmother. Her great-grandmother and great-great aunt--all women of the St. Lyon line charged with the protection of the witching world, from the non-magical mundanes who followed the tenets of Wicca to the magical sacreds who, like her, possessed powers at odds with the laws of physics and nature.
As the magic stirred, Brock tried to stand. The ground around him shook. Cracked. Still, he straight locked his eyes on her, his mouth dropping open when he realized what she had done.
She'd opened the portal to the middle realm. "Regina," he said, his voice dropping in volume, but not in intensity. She didn't want to stare into his wide, black eyes, but she could not look away. Until he was gone, she'd forever be under his spell--trapped by the grand illusion of love and devotion that had nearly cost her life.
"You give me no choice, Brock. You hunted me. You caught me. But now your prey has broken free."
He opened his mouth to speak again, but the vibration of the ground around him cut him short. The crust of the Earth split in a spiderweb of cracks around him. The Hunter had become the quarry about to be swallowed by the source of all witching power.
Brock gave her a nod. Had he accepted his fate? Around him, rocks burst into the air and columns of red-hot steam spiraled into the sky.
Regina locked her knees, bracing herself for his descent, but her legs shook so violently, she had to grab on to the nearest tree. When a root shot out of the ground and, like a snake, slithered toward Brock, she swallowed a scream.
She wanted to stop this. She wanted to save him from a fate that rivaled death in cruelty. But despite the tears clouding her vision, Regina knew she'd acted as Guardian in the fullest sense--sacrificing her own heart in the process. The heart he'd tricked, lied to and broken.
The dirt-encrusted roots slid across the ground from four directions. With his eyes trained on her, Brock held out his arms to the monstrous vines. They twined around him, binding his wrists, ankles, midsection and neck.