Everything was quiet for a second before spells started flying. The wolves tore into the brujos. Snarls and cries of pain bombarded me.

I crawled away from the demon’s arm and then stood up slowly, taking in the surroundings. As I turned, I came face to face with Matt.

How did he get away from that wolf?

He raised his fist and I jumped back. I moved my fingers quickly through the air. The spell ignited and Matt stumbled back a few steps.

A wave of pain came through the bond as a spell hit Lucas. He wasn’t paying attention to the brujo in front of him as he tried to get to me.

Be careful! I shouted at him through the bond. I can take care of myself.

Lucas fought two more brujos, still trying to get to me, but Matt was coming at me again.

Where’s the athame? I’d dropped it over to the right. I searched the ground, trying to spot the metal.

A spell rolled by overhead, lighting the night, and I saw it.

Matt’s fingers flicked, and a burst of flame flew at me. I threw myself to the ground. Just a few feet away.

Matt closed the distance between us. “The brujos have taught me a lot.”

If I did a spell now, he’d just counter it. I needed a weapon. He wouldn’t expect me to use anything other than magic to fight him.

I scooted back a few inches as he stepped toward me. “I don’t need their help to drain you. Not anymore,” he said.

If I had more time, I’d ask what was going on with his coven that was making him resort to this, but it didn’t matter. Not anymore. It needed to end. Now.

I scooted back a little more, reaching my hand back as I watched Matt’s mouth move. He wasn’t saying the words aloud, but he didn’t need to. He just had to believe that they’d work and back it with enough magic.

I kept scooting back until my fingers brushed something metal.


I had one shot at this. Any second he could end the spell, and I might not be fast enough to dodge it.

A wolf howled, and I felt Lucas’ anger. He’d spotted us. I could feel him through our bond but he wasn’t going to get here in time. The brujos had separated us, focusing on Lucas, for just this reason. They wanted my power. Like everyone else.

In one move I grasped the athame’s handle, sat up, and slashed its tip across Matt’s leg.

He kicked my ribs and I heard a crunch before the sickening wave of pain registered. I couldn’t breathe, but if I didn’t move, I’d be as good as dead.

I kicked his leg, and he fell on top of me. I tried to roll him off, but he weighed too much.

His eyes were red, like the other brujos were. Almost like he was in a trance, his lips kept moving. He was going to finish the spell.

I had the knife in my hand. All I had to do was stab him, and it would be over. I raised it up, and closed my eyes.

God, forgive me.

Before I moved the knife down, the weight on me was gone. Matt screamed.

I opened my eyes to see Lucas snarling at Matt. He had Matt pinned, claws out and digging into Matt’s chest.

I sat up, feeling the ache in my chest. If I wanted to say anything to Matt, now was the time. But there wasn’t anything to really say.

For a second, I almost asked Lucas not to kill him. To give him another chance. But Matt’s eyes flashed red again as his lips moved. In my heart, I knew he wouldn’t give up. Not ever. He’d follow me every day of my life, sinking deeper and deeper into evil. Putting my friends and family in danger. I’d let evil hold sway over me for too long already. “Do it.”

Death wasn’t a pretty thing.

I wanted to say that I stood there with Lucas, and I did, but I looked away. I hadn’t been in a fight until recently, and I hoped that after all of this was over—after Luciana was defeated or dead—I wouldn’t have another one ever again.

I took in the surrounding carnage. Three wolves were on the ground. I wasn’t sure if they were dead, but they weren’t moving. There were two brujos down, too. The rest had fled. The sounds of the fight grew further away as the wolves gave chase.

Then I heard it. A familiar noise that was so out of place it took a second for it to register.

Raphael’s ring tone.

I had reception? How did I have reception out here?

Stop questioning it and move, Claudia. If Adrian was calling, it wasn’t good.

I raced to where I’d dropped my things. The ringing stopped just as I reached the phone.


It started ringing again. I flipped the phone open. “Adrian.”

“Thank God. I’ve been calling you for hours. Haven’t been able to get through.”