One of the wolves circling the quad below noticed me leaning out the window and headed my way. I was breaking the rules. The campus was on total lockdown, with patrols going night and day as the wolves waited for the next attack from Luciana, but I couldn’t help myself. I would’ve liked to go out and sit in the quad in the moonlight—maybe even do a cleansing ritual—but the wolves wouldn’t let me outside. Not at night. I’d found out the hard way that leaning out an open window was enough to upset them, but I’d suffocate if I didn’t get one clear breath.
The wolf stopped at the bottom of my window and looked up at me, tongue lolling out the side of his mouth. A bright yellow aura of power surrounded him, marking him as a werewolf. All wolves glowed yellow to me. Some so pale the color was almost white. Others so deep and dark it was nearly brown. If I was right, this was one of Teresa’s friends. Christopher? I couldn’t tell one wolf from another, but his aura… the coloring seemed right. He howled up at me, and I waved.
As if on cue, Christopher yipped at me. I started drawing a protection knot in the air in front of the window. I moved my finger through the air, drawing a complicated pattern as I willed the magic to work.
Thick as glass and strong as steel. Nothing shall pass through this seal.
The words didn’t really matter, but I needed them to focus my will. I wasn’t sure why I liked to rhyme with my incantations—I wasn’t a fantastic rhymer—but it made the words feel important, which made them stronger.
I stopped the knot in the same place I’d started it. That was the one thing that I couldn’t mess up. The ends had to align or it wouldn’t work. The knot glowed brightly in the air for a second before dimming.
There. It was done. “All safe now. No need to worry about me,” I said.
Christopher tilted his wolf-y head to the side and yipped again before starting away.
At least he trusted me enough to let me use my magic. I rested my arms on the windowsill. I had a lot to accomplish in the coming weeks—at least I hoped I had weeks… I couldn’t predict how fast Luciana would work against us.
The pressure would get to me if I let it. Instead, I tried to breathe through the stress. Being away from Luciana was a good thing. The first step to getting everything put right.
Thank God Teresa had shown up when she did. She’d been a little later than I would’ve liked, but that was better than not coming at all—which had been a real possibility after she got bitten and turned from our future coven leader to a full-time werewolf.
To be honest, I was a little jealous. She’d gotten to live a normal life until a few months ago, while I’d been struggling with the Wicked Witch. I didn’t begrudge her that…much. I wanted what she had. A life. Real friends—not coven members who were trying to suck me dry. A boyfriend who would do anything for me instead of Mathieu le Douche.
My shoulders were so tense that I could barely roll them back. So much for breathing through the stress.
The one thing I couldn’t forget—that I couldn’t let myself forget—was what I’d done to get here. Taking that stupid oath in the first place so that Mom could leave the coven. Doing Luciana’s bidding until my soul was blackened. Then, manipulating my cousin so that she’d be forced to stay at the compound. She’d been stripped of her powers—tortured—because of me. And getting David killed…
I owed both of them. And no matter what—by the time this all ended—I would repay the debt. So help me God, I would settle it or die trying.
As much as I’d hated being confined to the coven compound, I’d always felt at home there. It was my home. Everything I knew was there. Everyone I knew. And they all knew me. I’d never been an outsider before. I was from one of the oldest coven families and I had a secure place there.
At St. Ailbe’s, I definitely felt like an outsider.
No one would talk to any of us brujos except Teresa’s friends. The rest of them gave us a wide berth. We were unknowns. I understood that. But still, there were eight of us and loads of them. Which meant that we ended up going everywhere in a group. Raphael was half-convinced that if we separated, the wolves would attack. I didn’t think that was likely, but if I were being honest, we’d betrayed our own coven. The wolves knew that, and if it came down to a fight… They might not make the distinction between good witches and bad witches.
I’ve already lost one friend. I can’t lose anyone else.
I swallowed down my grief. I’d cried all day after Daniel died, but now I had to keep going. His death had stopped Luciana’s attack. For all her evilness, she still loved her son. As much as someone like Luciana could… But the quiet after the battle wasn’t going to last. The nightmares alone proved she wasn’t sitting still. She was going to come after us, and now she wasn’t just drunk on power, she was angry too. Her ally had killed her son, but there wasn’t a doubt in my mind that she believed the wolves and those of us who’d left her were at fault.