Hi, dear reader!
And you can read it FOR FREE!
Just click this link or tap the cover below to access your copy, and you can dive straight into the magical, mysterious world of witches today.
You can also scroll down to read chapter one of the story!
This stunning cover was created by Dennisa of White Book Designs - isn't it stunning?
And now you get to meet Nora, eek! I'm so excited for you - she's one of my favorite characters ever. <3
Boston is beautiful in April. After the miserable, wet winter, the city comes alive, people spilling out into parks and cafés, emerging from hibernation. I slow my steps as I approach our old brownstone and stop to smell the cherry tree blossoms in our neighbor’s yard. In two months, Mrs. Collins will be chasing blackbirds off her precious cherries with a broom, yelling loudly enough for all the street to hear, but right now, bees buzz gently from bloom to bloom, creating a hum that resonates somewhere inside me.
How I’ve missed it.
I returned from college this morning for my Spring Break, but I was immediately dragged to a coven meeting by my parents, then off to a family dinner at our favorite Pakistani restaurant. After, I stopped to chat with Mrs. Quinn, Levi’s mom, while my parents and twin siblings went home.
You’d think that being home would mean having some time to rest, but nope, not in our family. Not in our coven. When your mom is the leader of the coven, there’s always something going on, and right now, I’m just done with people. My plan is to sneak up to my room and read the book my roommate recommended to me.
Heat rushes to my face at the thought of the romance I downloaded to my e-reader. I started reading it on the plane but had to stop because… Well, because I’d become so, um, engrossed in it that I’d been in danger of self-combusting right there in the cramped Economy Class aisle, sitting next to a middle-aged couple from Idaho.
I take another deep breath of cherry-blossom-scented air and force myself to calm down. If my mom catches me all flushed and excited, she’ll make me sit in the kitchen and drink one of her famous teas while she interrogates me about boys, just like she did when I was in high school.
She’d always managed to pry the truth out of me, and while I’d hated her for it sometimes as a teenager, I can now appreciate the bond she created between us.
But I don’t have anything boy-related to report…yet. I have almost managed to get over my lifelong crush on Levi Quinn, and I have almost managed to get a date with the hottest guy on campus. So, no real progress for now.
The thought of Raphaël Aubert, the dark-haired god among students in our Art History Department, has me flushing again. Godsdamnit, Nora. If I continue like this, Mom will never let me pass unnoticed. It doesn’t even matter that we video chat every week as a family—her condition for allowing me to study on the West Coast—she would sniff out all my secrets like the intuitive witch that she is.
Fanning my face with my palm, I unlock the front door of our house, which sits right next door to our shop.
“Why can’t you ever respect my privacy?” Lily, my younger sister, screams at the top of her voice.
“It’s not my fault you leave your stupid diary out on the bed.”
Elliot, her twin, who seems to have grown several inches since Christmas, is glaring down at her, his arms crossed over his chest.
“It’s a Book of Shadows, and it’s supposed to be personal, you moron!”
“Language!” calls my dad from the living room.
Lily swells in indignation, her pretty face scrunched up and pink. “You care more about me swearing than you do about him invading my privacy!”
She storms into her room and slams the door behind her, but not before I catch a glimmer of tears in her eyes.
I lift my eyebrow at Elliot.
He scowls at me. “What?”
“You couldn’t leave it alone?” I ask.
He rolls his eyes at me. “You sound like Mom. She shouldn’t leave her stuff out if she doesn’t want me to see it.”
I shrug off my vegan leather backpack and toe off my black boots. “What were you doing in her room, anyway?”
“She took my calculator. I went to get it back, then saw her— Oh, hey, Mom.” Elliot ducks his head and kisses our mother on the cheek.
She kisses him back, shorter than him by half a head now, then comes to greet me, too. She wraps me in a lavender-scented hug and rests her head on my shoulder.
“Nora, baby,” she sighs. “I’m so glad you’re home.”
Elliot uses the opportunity to sneak away before she can decide he needs to be punished for his misstep, but I don’t even rat him out. My mom gives the best hugs, and I’ve missed her, too.
“Are you up for some tea?” she asks as she draws back and fixes me with a level look. Her brown eyes are so like mine, but her hair’s darker and curly, like Lily’s. She’s beautiful, and the faint lines surrounding her eyes and mouth only serve to emphasize her almost regal air. She’s an insanely powerful witch, and it shows in an intangible aura around her. “I could read you your leaves,” she offers.
I’m almost tempted to take her up on it. Her tea leaf readings are legendary, and I do want advice on whether Raphaël is a good guy. He seems almost dangerous sometimes, all mysterious and brooding, so maybe she could help me figure out what to do if he does ask me out. But I’m also a senior in college. Maybe it’s time I start making my own decisions and stop relying on Mom’s power.
“Rain check?” I say, wincing slightly. “I’m just really tired. The travel…”
She pats my hand. “I understand. Rest up, and I’ll see you tomorrow.”
I walk slowly, even though I want to race up the stairs to my tiny old bedroom. In the doorway, I stop, a strange sense of disconnect slamming over me. This room hasn’t changed since I left for college, and high school Nora was definitely a different person than I am. The room is done in muted earth colors with mauve accents, and my closet is still full of gauzy summer dresses with floral prints.
Now I mostly wear black. I’ve transitioned from trying to imitate my mom’s effortless boho-chic vibes and graduated to a full-blown badass witch style.
Not that I’ve had a chance to prove I’m a badass, but…I could be. I’m sure of it.
I shut the door behind me and lock it, then concentrate for a second. My magic leaps up at me, and I mutter a small—tiny—repelling spell that I attach to the door knob. It won’t do much if anyone is really determined to get to me, and it won’t last more than a couple of hours, but it might confuse my family enough to make them turn away if they’re just wandering by.
I mean, I know I’m not technically supposed to use suggestion magic on my own parents and siblings, but sometimes a girl needs her privacy.
My backpack hits the floor with a thunk, and a moment later, I’m stretched out on my bed, my e-reader in hand. Now, where did I leave off…
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