Everyone started talking all at once. But Tia Rosa had left me a clue. “You said barring extreme circumstances.” I spoke loudly until the others quieted down. “What might those be?”

Tia Rosa coughed, and the wheeze made my lungs ache. “The wolves are right,” she said when she had her breath back. “Becoming a wolf would break it, but it is dangerous. There are some other supernaturals that might help, but only at a great cost. Most likely a cost higher than any of you would be willing to pay. Otherwise, you must bind to a stronger witch to override the oath, but I know of no such one as long as Luciana holds your power.”

I shook my head. “And Teresa doesn’t count?”

“No. She hasn’t fully come into her powers yet, and by the time she does, it might be too late.”

Yeah. That would’ve been too easy. “Then I don’t know anyone either.” On her own, Luciana was hardly the most powerful coven leader, but with the forces she’d been drawing to her, and all the energy she’d drained from me these past years…

The truth was exactly as I’d feared. My own power was locking all of us in.

“What if you broke your oath?” Raphael said. “If you could get free, the rest of us could bind to you to break ours.”

I laughed with frustration. “Sure. Fine. Great. But we’re facing the same problem either way. I can’t break my oath.” I’d hoped to at least free the others, but we all knew that Luciana had bound me the tightest. It would be that much harder for me to break from her.

“What of Peru?” Donovan asked.

“You mean Muraco’s quest?” He had to be joking. “There’s nothing solid there.” I’d rather do my grasping for straws here, surrounded by my few allies, than alone in a foreign country, where there was no guarantee I’d find anything to make the trip worthwhile.

“Bear with me for a second.”

I took a breath and let it out slowly. “Okay.”

“Muraco says he knows of mages who can fight the kind of magic Luciana is wielding. If you find those mages, and if they have that kind of magic, then it stands to reason that they might also be stronger than she is. Then, you could break your bond and return not only with the magic we need to fight Luciana, but also with the ability to save your coven members from their oaths.”

I shook my head. “I don’t want to disrespect you or any member of the Seven, but I heard a lot of if’s in there.”

“I understand that,” Donovan said. He was getting emotional, and his Irish was showing a little more, making his t’s sound harder than normal. “But there’s not much choice, lass. Turning you into a wolf isn’t an option, so you’re going to have to find one of your own that will break it.”

I blew out a breath. “There’s one more option.”

“What’s that?”

The others knew Cosette was fey, but they had no idea how pure her blood was. They’d assumed she was lesser because she was here with us, but a lesser fey wouldn’t have an aura like hers. Not that I was an expert either, but I could tell she was special. “There might be a fey we can ask.” At the very least, she might give us more information if we asked directly.

Raphael grabbed my arm. “No. If she could break it, she would’ve offered already.”

“It might not be that simple.” I shrugged, not wanting to give away any more of her secrets than I already had. “There’s no harm in asking and if she can’t help, then I’ll think about Peru.” As brave as I liked to think I was, I wasn’t deluded enough to believe I could go through with getting bitten. I didn’t have a mate to anchor me, and after being bound to a fiancé I didn’t want, I wasn’t about to tie myself to some wolf on a whim.

No. If Cosette couldn’t help, then I’d sit down with Muraco and try to get some specifics out of him.

As the rest of them finished their tea and visited with Rosa, I said a prayer. Please, for once, let me find the answers I need.

Chapter Four

The afternoon hadn’t turned out the way I wanted, but that didn’t mean something couldn’t change. We stopped for food on the way back, and the sun was setting by the time we pulled through St. Ailbe’s gates.

I’d been quiet all through the drive. The trip into Austin hadn’t been a total waste of time. I knew more now than I’d known before. And knowing was half the battle.

The next step was getting Cosette to either help or point us to the fey who could. But something told me Raphael was right—if she could’ve done more, she would’ve done it already. She’d witnessed enough of Luciana’s type of witchcraft to claim that the fey would be on our side when the next battle came. Days had passed and she hadn’t said a word about any of her people headed this way, so I could only assume that there were other forces at work.