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Title: Endless Magic
Complete series reading order:
When Stella awakens, the last thing she remembers is being kidnapped by The Brotherhood. Robbed of her magic and memories, she struggles to discover what happened to her and why. She’s not even sure how she escaped until her terrifying memories begin to return.
Stella soon learns she wasn’t The Brotherhood’s only target; and by escaping, she was forced to leave others behind, others who desperately need her help.
Turning to the prophecies she discovered, Stella knows it’s a race against time to find the mythical superwitch who could save them all, according to legend. Yet the divinations are impossibly cryptic. The only clue that might help in her search are the talismans that were distributed among the supernatural factions years ago. Navigating the supernatural world is no easy feat, but Stella has no other choice but to fight for her survival in this explosive finale.
Editor: Teri @ Editing Fairy
The name came through a thick fog, black and syrupy, barely audible. I reached for it with my mind, but it fluttered away, leaving me suspended in the dark.
"Stella?" Stronger this time, and more urgent. Again, I reached for it, knowing somehow it was my name being called. Someone was calling me. A male voice, sure, but I couldn't comprehend who it might be and why I couldn't see him. "Stella? Can you hear me? I think she's waking. Stella?" he asked again, his voice growing stronger now. Something touched my wrist, something warm. A hand. The fingers tightened, but it was reassuring, not frightening. I wanted to reach for him, but I couldn't make my limbs work.
My eyelids were stuck together by the syrupy fog, although I managed to blink. My lids resisted until a little chink of light appeared, the tiniest tunnel in this miasma. Focusing on that tiny sliver of light, I struggled to expand it, my eyes opening slowly until I was nearly blinded by the sudden rush of consciousness. Instead of the dark, I found myself enveloped in bright whiteness. No, not all whiteness. A white ceiling. White walls. A cool, white sheet. Then a face appeared above mine.
"You're awake," he said, smiling. There was something familiar about him, something so familiar that my being seemed to reach for him, as if it could call him and draw him to me. Only my arms stayed by my sides, like lumpy weights, against soft fabric. Sobs bubbled up and tears dribbled from my eyes. "Hey, don't cry," he said. "You're safe. You're safe now, I promise. You called me and I found you."
"Evan?" The hoarse whisper came from my throat.
"Yes, it's me."
"Y-y-you found me," I stuttered. Reaching through my body, I sought signs of injury, but felt only a lingering heat. Aside from grazes stinging my skin, there were none. Nothing severe anyway. No internal bleeding, no broken limbs. My knees were bruised, and my knuckles stung. My fingers, the extremities of my physical being, brushed together and I felt the cool metal of Evan's ring, the one he gave me a long time ago during a happier time. I twisted it slightly, feeling the broken shard of the jewel. I must have activated it, I remembered in a brief flash, and he found me. "What happened to me?" I asked, struggling to say the words despite the thickness of my tongue and dry mouth.
Evan stroked the strands of hair away from my cheek. "You don't remember?"
"I..." I stopped, mentally struggling to find an answer. My thoughts were tangled in brief flashes. A scream. Running. Something scraping my skin. The ring. Breaking the jewel and waiting. All were tiny flashes. "Have I been in an accident?" I croaked. "I remember running."
A cup was put to my lips, and a hand held behind my head raised it just enough that I could sip it. I tried clearing my throat, which felt raw.
"No, you were kidnapped."
I frowned, wincing at the pull of skin over my eyebrow. Stitches were holding my skin together. What happened to me? "How?"
"We don't know."
"Étoile is here." Evan stepped to one side. Étoile sat in the corner, her body still and poised. Her face bore no emotion. I knew that face. It didn't matter that it was devoid of expression; I'd seen it enough times to know Étoile was worried. Then she was gone, blocked by Evan when he sat on the bed next to me.
"By Auberon Morgan, arch enemy number one."
"I have a list." My laugh was a hoarse splutter. "I escaped." It wasn't a question. I didn't know how it happened except that I was safe. I had to be, seeing Evan and Étoile were in the room with me. My forehead tightened as I forced my mind to work. Auberon came to my door and I opened it for him, never expecting someone so evil to literally knock at my door.
"You did," Evan confirmed.
"And I activated the ring." Again, not a question. A statement. I touched the broken jewel again, knowing I was right.
Struggling onto my elbows, my body's functions returned to me after the initial paralysis. I felt like I awakened from a very long sleep. Panic filled me as I realised exactly what Auberon standing on my porch meant. "You have to find Auberon and stop him! He slipped through the defences placed around my house! He's dangerous."
"You have to find him now! If he could kidnap me, what else might he do? He can't have gone far! Wilding's only a small town. I have to get out of the hospital. We can still pick up his trail."
Evan frowned at me, his eyes troubled. "Where do you think we are, Stella?"
His question puzzled me, but all the same, I looked around. The white ceiling, the white walls, the elegant furniture. This wasn't the local hospital; it was far too nice for that. It definitely wasn't my rambling, old house in Wilding either, which left one other possibility. I spent some time in treatment rooms like this before and it was anything but a conventional facility. We were in The Amethyst, the establishment where the Witch Council conducted their business, and hundreds of miles from my last memory, which was standing in the doorway of my home.
"Why did you bring me here? We need to go to my house. We might be able to trace Auberon from there," I said, my voice fueled with urgency as I tried to sit up while simultaneously pushing back the sheet. Someone apparently dressed me in soft jersey pyjamas, but my feet were bare. I peered at the floor for shoes and tried not to land on my head as the movement pushed me off balance.
Evan caught me, but didn't lower me onto the pillows. Instead, he glanced over his shoulder to Étoile although neither said anything.
"What? What is it?" I asked as he held me. Fatigue washed over me. I wanted to rest my head on his shoulder and absorb his heat, not just to chase away the shivers, but also to feel his reassuring arms around me. Yet I couldn't. We were just becoming friends again. How could I ask for something so familiar, and so much more than friendship? I knew he felt it the moment I stiffened, suddenly uncertain, but he didn't let go. The hand on my back didn't move, nor did the one at the nape of my neck, but the feeling between us shifted. "Evan?"
Evan looked down at me with troubled eyes. "What's the last thing you remember?" he asked.
"I..." I started, then stopped, frowning again. The memory of activating the ring was vague and incomplete, barely more than a flash. I must have been reeling from whatever magic Auberon hit me with. No, not Auberon. Georgia Thomas was there! She was laughing. "I remember Auberon on the porch and Georgia behind him. I was on the phone with you! Then... nothing. I don't know. I think they knocked me out somehow."
Again, Evan turned to Étoile and nothing audible passed between them. Finally, Evan turned back to me. "That's your last memory?" he said. "You're certain?"
I nodded. The shivering stopped, and the warmth infusing me felt all too familiar. Yet his words commanded my thoughts. I was missing something. "Yes. What's wrong? I know there's something wrong. Were you looking for me? How long did it take you? Hours? A day?"
Evan sucked in a breath. "Two months. Stella, you've been missing a good two months."
ENDLESS MAGIC - OUT NOW!