He leaned in close to whisper. “I know the local coven. I can get you in to see them. That’s why you’re here right? To find some sort of magic?”

I tried to stay calm as I looked around the lobby. Everyone else was happily enjoying breakfast. Not paying attention to our conversation or seeing the horror that must’ve been plain on my face.

There really was a spy. For a moment, my vision swam. Only Teresa’s friends and the Seven knew my reasons for coming here.

I looked back at Matt and then focused on the food again. “What do you know about it?”

“Only that you’re mad at Luciana and here to find something to break your oath. Just take an oath to me, and yours will be overridden.”

What a joke. “You think you’re stronger than her?” I wasn’t sure if he was arrogant or just stupid.

“Of course I am. I’m a man.”

Oh, that was rich. Typical arrogant douchebag talk. But I wasn’t here just because of the oath. I was here for Raphael. There was nothing Matt could offer me that would help me save my brother.

“Look. I save you from an oath you don’t want and you come to my coven and help me. I say it’s a fair deal.” When I didn’t answer him, he kept on with his yammering. “Whatever the wolves have been telling you, you’re misinformed. What do they know about magic? Nothing.”

The thing about Matt was that he had the uncanny ability to see a person’s biggest fear, and bring it to light. That was the very thing I’d been worried about, but Muraco had been so confident that I’d listened to him. But what did he really know about magic?

He’d had such a good story about witches and wolves living together… But even if he remembered a different way, he wasn’t a mage. He didn’t practice. Did he really know what he was saying?

I resisted the temptation to fall into Matt’s trap. I wouldn’t let him take my confidence. I couldn’t let him win. “As I said before, you shouldn’t have come. And no, I don’t need your help.” My voice was clear and steady.

“Well, I’ll be here when you change your mind.” He grabbed a cup of coffee and went to sit at a table.

Did that actually work?

I thought on what he’d said for a second. When I changed my mind. Not if I changed my mind. He had no idea what I was up to, but he already assumed I’d fail. I wanted to walk over and bash my tray on his pompous head. Instead, I carefully placed a pastry on my plate. Then I thought about the calories and put it back.

What I wouldn’t give for the metabolism of a Were…

I found hard-boiled eggs, some sort of potato pancake, and half a grapefruit. Good enough. I searched for a place to sit. The only open spot was across from Matt.

Why is this my life?

I circled the buffet as I searched the room again. Please. Someone get up. Finally, a couple left their spots. It was right next to Matt’s table, but I didn’t care.

I pushed their dirty dishes aside and sat down with my back to him.

“You’re being a child.”

Ignoring him. That had been my plan last night. I’d faltered just now, but I wouldn’t keep doing it.

I carefully de-shelled my eggs. Cut them up. Put salt and pepper on them. All the while ignoring Matt. Only it wasn’t helping. He wasn’t stopping. He just got louder.

“This is stupid. You’re being ridiculous. Whatever Luciana did, I’m sure it’s gotten blown way out of proportion.”

I took a sip of my orange juice and he somehow took that as a signal to get up and sit across from me.

“You’re acting like a child.” His tone was loud and harsh as if I hadn’t heard him the first time.

It was really rich coming from him. He was the one throwing a temper tantrum.

“Your behavior today has been incredibly rude. And I’m your fiancé. I think that should afford me a measure of respect.”

A measure of respect?

A measure of respect?!

What about respect for me? He was older than me by ten years, but sometimes he acted so immature. So selfish.

The more I thought about him and how I’d been cornered into agreeing to our engagement, the sicker I got. I was just a kid at the time, but he—he was an adult. At least, he was supposed to be.

“Say something,” he shouted, and a piece of spittle hit my face.


I picked up my napkin and wiped off my cheek. “You’re the one who’s yelling and causing a scene. When you calm down, maybe I’ll talk to you.” I was doing okay, but this whole situation was miserable. My hands shook with anger and frustration, but I was sticking to my plan. God had made me stubborn, if nothing else.