Title: Twisted Magic (Raven's Cove #1)
Author: Clare C Riley
Published: October 14, 2015
I wrapped the blanket tighter around my shoulders. My body was still shivering from the rain and my coven’s abrupt entrance back into my life. At least I knew where I stood with them now—there was no guessing involved. Mother was in control now, and she was not happy to have me back. I hadn’t thought she would be, or that I would be accepted by my coven, and yet the facts still stung.
I gritted my teeth to stop them from chattering and knelt down on the floor before reaching over to throw another log into the fire. A scratching sound behind me had my nerves prickling with worry. I turned swiftly, magic automatically teasing at my fingertips, but only came face to face with Whisky—Grandmother’s gray and white cat.
She jumped onto the back of the sofa and made her way slowly toward me. She was a miserable and untrusting animal, but who could blame her after all she had seen over the years.
However, she loved to be petted, and I reached out and scooped her up off the sofa and pulled her onto my lap on the floor. She clawed at me and meowed loudly until I began to stroke over her head and ears. I smoothed down her soft fur and her fighting immediately ceased and her cries turned to purrs. It had probably been weeks since anyone had shown her any affection. My own mother certainly wouldn’t have made any effort to come in and check on her.
Whisky rubbed her face against me, purring loudly as I petted her, showering her with my affection—affection that we both probably needed. I had loved this wretched old cat when I was growing up, despite her zero tolerance toward children. Seeing her again, petting her, was the best homecoming I could have had given the circumstances, and I smiled down into her face. But instead of another purr, she hissed and wriggled out of my arms before jumping from my lap and back on to the sofa.
I turned to grab her again, but instead my gaze fell to a man.
I gasped loudly and Whisky scratched my hand, forcing me to pull it back. She then strutted off toward the kitchen with a flick of her long tail.
The man leaned against another dresser that stood along the back wall and was filled with yet more of Grandmother’s teacups and pottery. His arms were crossed over his chest, and his short blond hair was hanging a little too long around his ears. He was looking me, his face blank of emotions.
I watched him and he watched me, our gazes grazing over one another until they met somewhere in the middle and collided. He stood up straight, his nostrils flaring while his eyes flashed with a deep intensity. His stare was penetrating, seeing right through to my very core, yet his expression remained unreadable.
“Who are you?” I whispered out, fear clutching at my throat.
Mother, was all I could think. Mother had sent him for me. I tried to contain the slight tremble in my hands, and I gritted my teeth in defiance. I didn’t know how he had gotten in—I thought I had protected myself and the house against her. Regardless, there he was.
His jaw hung slack and his handsome face looked to be drowning with relief. His knees buckled and seemed to give way beneath him, and he stumbled forward a step until he was almost clutching the back of the sofa to keep himself upright. And the entire time, his eyes never left mine. I swallowed, my nerve endings trembling with tension.
I stood up, my hands curling into small fists. “I said, who are you? And what are you doing here?” I kept my voice steady, showing more calm than I truly felt.
Finally, he took a step toward me. “She can see me,” he mumbled, more to himself than me. His voice was soft yet hard and I frowned, not sure what to say to that. Because yes, I could see him, but I didn’t understand why he seemed surprised by it.
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