I woke the next morning with a thumping headache between my eyes. I pulled on my trackpants before I slipped on my running shoes and ran down the stairs and into the kitchen. Mom and Dad were both already up and reading the papers over a cup of tea. I grunted as I ran past them with Hugo at my heels.
Rain threatened overhead, the dark clouds rumbling ominously. I headed out of the yard, down the lane. The air was still cool because summer hadn’t yet made its appearance, and it helped clear the cobweb feeling from my head. Yesterday had been too much to take in all at once. Brie had accepted it eagerly, but that didn’t surprise me at all. What threw me was Sully’s interest. I mean, he was usually the one who scoffed at Brie whenever she wanted to give him a tarot or angel card reading. He seemed so against magic until Jasper showed his hand. And the way he had looked at Jasper, it was with hero worship if I was not mistaken. Traitor.
With the sound of my feet pounding over the bridge, I turned for home, the headache now reduced to a dull ache that I could ignore. The rain started to drizzle lightly, and my hair was wet. Drops of moisture were trickling down my face by the time I got back home. I shook my head, running up the stairs, and headed for a warming shower before breakfast.
Nera dressed for the ceremony
I ran upstairs and looked at the dress that was hanging on the mirror. It was white and frothy, like nothing I would ever wear. I shrugged my shoulders and quickly showered. Taking clean underwear from my drawer, I put them on. Then I slipped the dress over my head.
I stood in front of the mirror and what looked back at me was a tall, slender girl. The dress clung to her lithe figure, and I knew it was me. But wow, it must be the dress because I never look this good. I used my fingers to tidy my hair, and I slipped out the door. I ran down the stairs in my bare feet, feeling the floating layers of the dress around my legs.
They all turned to stare when I walked into the library. Jasper, Dad, and Mari smiled. Bones stood with a stunned look on his face, and Roman ran to greet me.
“Nera, you look like a beautiful goddess.” He smiled, and I picked him up. I hugged him tight. This little pest was so much more than I bargained for in a brother. I would keep my promise to him. Nothing would hurt him while I was on guard.
“You look a little anxious. You have no reason to be,” Mari said, walking toward me.
"It’s not like I do this every day, so I don’t know what to expect. Look at your son. He seems more nervous than me,” I said.
"Brian just wants everything to go right. This is his first initiation ceremony, and I have asked that he be the one to do the protection rite,” Mari informed me.
"Well, I hope this rite doesn’t include a knife. He seems a bit shaky,” I said. The petulant look Bones shot in my direction was ignored.
Mari laughed at the look on her son’s face.
"Now, let us get to more serious business. Nera, stand over here, if you will,” Mari instructed.
I passed Roman over to my father and moved to where Mari indicated. I moved over to the diamond shaped window, the sun streamed in and threw a rainbow of colors over my skin. The family gathered around to watch my coming of age in magic. Mari positioned herself in front of me, Bones at her right side. I closed my eyes and stood motionless, listening to the words that Mari chanted, letting them course through my blood and setting fire to my mind.
Darkness night and shining moon,
Hearken to the witches’ rune.
East, then south, west, then north,
Here come I to call thee forth,
Earth and water, air and fire,
Work ye unto my desire.
Wand and Pentacle and Sword,
Hearken ye unto my word.
Cords and Censer, Scourge and Knife,
Power of the witches’ blade,
Come ye as the charm is made.
Queen of Heaven, Queen of Hell,
Lend your aid unto the spell,
Horned Hunter of the Night,
Work my will by magic rite.
By all the power of land and sea,
As I will, so mote it be.
By all the might of moon and sun,
Chant the spell and be it done.
The wind outside roared its approval, and the clouds thundered against each other,. The power was raised for me. I stood bathed in a bright white glow, my skin hummed with renewed energy. I felt invincible, cherished, and vulnerable all at once. I could hear the following words deep in my mind as I glowed in the warmth that surrounded me.
Blessed be thy feet that have brought thee in these ways
Blessed be thy knees that shall kneel at the sacred alter
Blessed be thy womb without which we would not be
Blessed be thy breasts formed in strength
Blessed be thy lips that shall utter the Sacred Names
Bones’s lips gently touched mine, and I opened my eyes. I could not have stopped him if I wanted to when he started at my feet with the blessings. The gentle touch of his breath as he blessed my body left me rattled and strangely warm.
About the Novel
Series: Curse of Kin #1
Released: November 29th 2012
Publisher: Lycaon/Breathless Press
Nera is a normal teenage girl living in Ireland-or so she thought. Her world is forever changed when she discovers that she is descended from a long line of witches. To her horror she finds she is the one that is supposed to stop the curse that has taken the life of every girl before her. As if that isn't enough, she must learn to use magic and her trainer is a man named Bones. He is the son of Mari, Queen of the Witches, and a god. It is Bones that has been entrusted to teach her the skills she needs to stay alive, which wouldn't be so bad if he didn't have an uncanny knack for pushing her buttons. Can Nera learn what she needs while staying immune to the charms of the man that gets under her skin at every opportunity?