Blood magic, p.1

Blood Magic, page 1

 part  #2 of  Mirror Lake Witches Series


Blood Magic

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Blood Magic

  Blood Magic

  Mirror Lake Witches

  Jennifer Snyder


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  Chapter 1

  Chapter 2

  Chapter 3

  Chapter 4

  Chapter 5

  Chapter 6

  Chapter 7

  Chapter 8

  Chapter 9

  Chapter 10

  Chapter 11

  Chapter 12

  Chapter 13

  Thank You

  About the Author



  Copyright © 2019 by Jennifer Snyder

  © 2019 Cover Art by Cora Graphics


  All rights reserved.

  No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form, or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise) without the prior written permission of the above author of this book.

  Author Note:

  This is a work of fiction. The characters and events in this book are fictitious. Any similarity to real persons, living or dead, is coincidental and not intended by the author. The author acknowledges the trademarked status and trademark owners of various products referenced in this work of fiction, which have been used without permission. The publication/use of these trademarks is not authorized, associated with, or sponsored by the trademark owners.

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  Chapter 1

  Adrenaline rushed through my veins as I made my way to the unlit candles on Benji’s bedroom floor. The chill in the air let me know something wasn’t right the instant my eyes opened. Now, that same coldness urged me to get those candles lit again.

  No, no, no!

  My heart hammered as I stared at the blackened wicks. They were all I could focus on. I dropped to my hands and knees, careful not to shift the salt making up the pentagram, and grabbed the book on gray magic, pulling it closer. Thank goodness it was still opened to the right page. At least there was that.

  “You should have woken me up,” I snapped at Benji.

  My teeth bit into my bottom lip as I skimmed the instructions for the cloaking spell once more. Every step intensified my panicked state.

  “I figured you needed the sleep,” he said. The calmness in his tone made me glare at him from the corner of my eye. Didn’t he understand the candles going out meant Bram might find us? That he might find Hazel? “I thought the spell was permanent, or that it would at least last longer than the candles.”

  Benji scratched his head, and I drew my attention back to the book. Nothing written in the spell said it didn’t last longer than the candles, but I could feel it. The cloak had gone down when the candles snuffed out. I knew it had. The room felt cold—icy cold. Like someone had left a window open, letting in the winter wind.

  I adjusted my glasses as I read. My teeth continued to chew my bottom lip as a heavy sensation grew in the pit of my stomach.

  Would I need fresh ingredients, or could I reuse the old ones? Why had the candles blown out in the first place? Shouldn’t they have lasted until there was nothing left of them? Maybe that wasn’t how this gray magic spell worked. Maybe the entire spell was on a timer.

  I knew of other spells that only lasted for a certain amount of time; this spell probably wasn’t any different. It would have been nice if that had been specified somewhere. Why didn’t this book have more precise directions or footnotes at the bottom of each spell explaining things further?

  My skin tingled as I grew more worked up by the second. I seriously needed the cliff notes version of gray magic.

  “I’m sorry,” Benji insisted as he knelt beside me. His words were sincere, but they didn’t tame my frustration with him. “I didn’t think. I should have but I didn’t. You looked so peaceful I didn’t want to wake you. A little wiggly, but peaceful nonetheless,” he said, trying hard to make a joke that would lighten the mood.

  It didn’t.

  My gaze locked with his warm brown eyes. The sight of his guilt reflected there melted my anger toward him. I exhaled a slow breath, knowing it wasn’t fair to flip out on him because I didn’t know the magic I was using well enough to figure out the time limits of its spells.

  “It’s okay. I should have said something before passing out,” I said. The guilt swirling through his eyes didn’t dissipate like I’d hoped. I forced my face to soften. “How long have the candles been out?”

  Please say not long. Please say not long.

  He scratched his neck, and I knew instinctively I wasn’t going to like what he was about to say. “An hour at most.”

  My breath hitched. Crap! An hour was too long. It was more than enough time for Bram to find us—to find Hazel. Chills slipped along my spine. My stomach twisted with so much dread I felt as though I was on the verge of either passing out or puking.

  There was a real possibility Bram was on his way to us right now.

  “Nothin’ happened though. Everyone is fine. Hazel included,” Benji insisted. “I’ve been awake the whole time. We all have except for you and Hazel. Vampires don’t sleep, remember?” He smirked.

  I couldn’t return his smile. The unease and panic twisting in my gut wouldn’t allow it. Instead, I grabbed one of the candles nearest me so tightly my knuckles turned white. All I could do in this moment was get the cloak back up. That, and force myself to believe Bram hadn’t been able to pinpoint our exact location yet.

  I glanced at the book again, reading over the incantation in my mind once more before speaking the words out loud.

  “Though he may search, he will not find what it is that must now hide, with these flames and this salt, all seeking comes to a halt.” My voice shook as I said the words, but I kept my focus on sending up a powerful cloak.

  I lit the candles with the intention of cloaking both Hazel and the Montevallo mansion front and center in my mind. My lungs froze as I waited for a sign to signify the cloak was in place again.

  Please let this work. Please let this work.

  As before, the flames of the candles flickered and then grew brighter. The chill I’d felt upon waking fled the room, and I was sure the cloak was in place again.

  Thank goodness.

  I leaned back, sitting on my heels, and felt the muscles of my body relax while I gave gratitude it had worked without the need for new ingredients or needing to redo the entire spell from scratch.

  The warm sensation that came with using gray magic uncoiled inside me and spread outward, working its way through my body. I closed my eyes and focused on it, enjoying the feel as it traveled through me. I was slowly becoming used to it. My hand pressed against the area where it congregated—the center of my chest. It built beneath my skin there, sending flickers of warmth to brush against the palm of my hand.

  “Are you okay?” Benji asked.

  His question snapped me to the present. I opened my eyes and glanced at him. “Yeah. I’m fine. Just focusing on what I’m feeling.”

  “What do you mean?”

  I contemplated how to answer him while keeping my hand pressed against the magic beneath my skin. “It’s like a warm sensation buzzing through me.”

  “From what? The spell?”

  “The magic.”

  He arched a brow, already going into high alert for my well-being. “Did you feel it last time?”

  I nodded. “It’s stronger this time, though.”

p; “Is that a good thing?” There was concern in his voice. This conversation had him uneasy.

  “Honestly, I don’t know.” I dropped my hand to my side and shrugged. “Maybe it means the magic is getting used to me?”

  Was it weird to think of gray magic as an entity? Maybe. But, somehow it fit.

  “Could be,” Benji said. His brows pinched together. Something shifted in his expression and it had me believing he wasn’t as uneasy as I’d thought—but instead seemed to be struggling to understand.

  Him and me both. I still wasn’t one hundred percent sure how gray magic worked.

  I ran my fingers through my curls. From the way they snagged multiple times before I reached their ends, it was clear I looked like a hot mess. I must have tossed and turned hardcore while I’d slept, which was odd. Generally, I was a sound sleeper.

  Clips of a nightmare slithered to the surface of my mind. One that starred Bram. In the nightmare, he’d transformed into a flock of crows who tried to eat me in order to get to Hazel.

  From the corner of my eye, I noticed something fly past Benji’s bedroom window. My heart kick-started inside my chest.

  Was it a bird? What if what I dreamed hadn’t been a dream at all? What if it had been a vision showing Bram had found us when the cloak went down and now he was here for Hazel?

  I stepped to the window. I needed to see—to make sure—there was nothing out there.

  “What’s wrong?” Benji asked. He followed me to the window. “You look all sorts of freaked out and your heart is beatin’ like a damn jackhammer.”

  I wrapped my arms around my midsection when I reached the window. My gaze drifted to the ground below, searching. Nothing. There was nothing there. Not even a single bird in sight. At least none I could find.

  Still, I didn’t feel any better. Knowing the cloak had gone down during the night would have me on edge for a while.

  “Sorry. I just remembered I had a crazy dream about Bram and thought I saw something out the window,” I said.

  Benji moved closer. He wrapped his arms around me and pulled me against his solid chest. Though his touch was cold, it was still nice to be held.

  “Everythin’ is fine. The cloak is back up. Bram isn’t here. The cloak wasn’t even down for long, and there’s a good chance he might not have been searchin’ when it fell. He might have already given up by then. Don’t worry so much.” His lips pressed against my neck, lingering on my skin for longer than they should given how erratic my heart was beating and what the sound of it must be doing to him. When his tongue darted out to skim across my heated skin and his kisses trailed to my earlobe, I closed my eyes and melted against his solid chest. Tingles slipped through my core from the feel of his lips on me. “Relax. Even if he did locate us, we’ll handle it together.”

  I exhaled a slow breath. While I knew this was true, it still didn’t ease the worry festering inside me.

  “Telling me not to worry is pointless because it’s easier said than done,” I insisted as my fingertips brushed against the coarse hairs of his forearms. “I’ll only feel better once I know Bram hasn’t found Hazel. Speaking of, is she awake yet?”

  I wondered how she’d faired spending the night in a house full of vampires. Hopefully she’d gotten some sleep.

  “Yeah.” His lips left my neck, but his arms remained around me. “She woke a few hours ago. She was in the kitchen with Ivette last I checked.”

  I pursed my lips together to keep from scolding him again for not waking me earlier.

  “How does she seem to be handling things?” I asked, trying to focus on her situation and well-being instead of my failure.

  “Seems okay to me. I’m sure she has questions and probably feels antsy to figure out what our next step is like the rest of us, but as for spendin’ the night in a house filled with vampires and processin’ all she’s learned recently, she seems to be doin’ well.”

  “Okay. That’s good,” I said even though part of me wondered if she was handling things so well because she was in a state of shock. It seemed logical. I imagined anyone who learned an evil guy wanted to murder them for their family magic they didn’t know they had would be. “I should check on her. Let her know that I’m awake. After, we should probably think about our next move.”

  Benji released his grip on me and I started toward his bedroom door. He grabbed my wrist, forcing me to a standstill before I’d taken three steps away from him.

  “Hey, let’s not jump straight to business, okay? You should eat first.” His lips quirked into a half-grin as he tipped his head to the side, his eyes never wavering from mine. “Do you even remember when you ate last?”

  I attempted to think back to my last meal, but it didn’t come to mind. I’d been running on adrenaline; food hadn’t been a thought.

  “I’ll eat while I think about our next move,” I said.

  My cell chimed from somewhere in the room, signaling I had a new text.

  “Oh, I forgot to mention your cell’s been blowin’ up all afternoon too.” His face scrunched up as though he were afraid of what I’d say next. “It’s just your little cousin, though. Nothin’ serious.”

  I didn’t care that he’d looked at my phone. What I cared about was he had said all afternoon. He couldn’t be serious. Could he?

  “What time is it?” I asked.

  “A little after five.”

  My mouth dropped open. “Are you serious? I slept an entire day?”

  No wonder the cloak had fallen.

  “Well… yeah.” He ran a hand through his hair and flashed me a sheepish grin.

  My cell chimed again.

  “Where’s my phone?”

  “On my desk.”

  I crossed the room to retrieve it, stepping carefully around the salt-drawn pentagram not wanting to shift the tiny grains. When I grabbed my cell, I found I had four text messages from Rose.

  A new guest is coming. You were supposed to freshen up the room, but Mom asked me to do it for you. You’re welcome. Now you owe me ten bucks more.

  An hour and a half later, she’d sent another.

  The toilet in Mr. Senova’s room clogged again. It was disgusting. I’m charging you like twenty bucks for that one.

  I rolled my eyes before reading the next text.

  Where are you? I’m SICK of doing your chores on top of mine.

  My lips quirked into a grin. I glanced at the next text.

  Hello? I did your chores last night, this morning, and this afternoon. I’m NOT doing anymore. Better get home soon.

  I tapped out a quick reply.

  Sorry. Will be home soon. — Ridley

  “Everythin’ okay still?” Benji asked.

  “Yeah. Just Rose letting me know she’s not doing my chores anymore. I’ll have to head home soon and check in.” I shoved my cell into my back pocket. “Let’s get downstairs so I can check in with Hazel and see if we can figure out our next step.”

  My stomach growled as I bent to grab my bag off the floor.

  “And eat,” Benji insisted. “I mean it. That’s what you need to do. I don’t care if you multitask and come up with a plan at the same time, but you need to eat somethin’ before you leave.”

  I unzipped the pocket on the front of my bag and grabbed a hair tie. As I twisted my unruly curls into a messy bun, I flashed him a smile. “I will. Food is a must.”

  Also, something with caffeine. Even though I’d slept the day away, I felt drained.

  Was it possible to get too much sleep?

  I followed Benji into the hall. My mind filled with an endless string of thoughts as I walked, bouncing from Hazel to Bram to the amulet.

  The amulet. That was our next move. We needed to find it. It was the only way to make sure Hazel was safe from Bram. Once he was trapped inside it again life could return to normal.

  However, before searching for the amulet it would probably be smart to secure a more powerful—and longer lasting—cloaking spell in place first. Then, we’d have tim
e to search for the amulet without worry of Bram finding us. Assuming he hadn’t already.

  The problem was: There was only one cloaking spell in the book of gray magic, and sadly it hadn’t seemed powerful enough to give me what I needed. Or maybe, the issue was that I wasn’t powerful enough in calling cloaking magic from the other side through the use of gray magic to make it stick long enough.

  Either way, I needed something more powerful. Something that would last longer than a few hours. And, the only way I knew to get my hands on a cloaking spell of that nature was to ask Aunt Rowena. She would know one that would work and would most likely be happy to hear I was using true magic—as she’d called it—instead of gray magic.

  “You’re too quiet,” Benji said, pulling me from my thoughts.

  I glanced at him as I made my way down the last few steps to the first floor. “Just thinking.”


  “Everything.” I didn’t elaborate.

  He reached for my hand and interlaced his fingers through mine. “We’ll get it all figured out. Everythin’ will be fine.”

  I smiled at him. While I didn’t have as much confidence in myself or our ability to figure things out as he seemed to, it was motivating to know that he did.

  The closer to the kitchen we came, the more chatter I could hear. Also, the stronger the scent of something delicious became in the air.

  What was that?

  “Do you think Ivette finally cooked somethin’ good for once?” Benji asked. A shit-eating grin spread across his face. “She was tryin’ when I was down here earlier.”

  I slapped his arm playfully. “Shut it. She cooks good things. They’re just not for everyone.”

  Benji rolled his eyes as Hazel’s voice filtered to my ears. I couldn’t make out what she’d said, but she sounded happy. Maybe she was doing okay after all.

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