Authors: J.L. Weil
A LUMINESCENCE NOVEL
Table of Contents
The day before my life changed, felt like any other day. No warning bells. No shift in the winds. No forewarning. That would have been too easy. And I was anything but simple.
I’m a witch. Not just any witch, a clàr silte, whatever that mean
s. I’m still unsure. What I do know is that it’s ancient and powerful magic—and of course deadly. I had almost killed the guy I loved above all else, the guy I would have died for.
I had almost killed the guy I was willing to die for.
The ocean breeze played with the ends of my auburn hair, lifting it off my face as I stared at the moon’s glow reflecting onto to the clear blue waters. What a magical night. It was chilly outside, but not enough to keep you locked indoors. Sweater weather, the kind of nights I loved. There was something absolutely peaceful about being at the beach during twilight, the moon washing over my skin, the sea salt air tickling my nose, and the cool sand between my toes.
Nothing called to me more than the shore. I felt some kind affinity with nature, more precisely with water. Maybe it went hand
in hand with the whole weathercasting. The gentle winds seemed to caress my cheek in caring, the moon wrapped around me like a cloak of warmth, and the soothing waves sung me a lullaby.
If only I felt
as calm and serene as the star-strewn night looked above me.
Lying on the sand, I stared at the sky.
The twinkling dots formed pictures for my distraction, which I desperately needed to take away the gnawing feeling in my stomach. Inside, I was a bundle of raw emotion, turning in chaotic loops.
Whenever I was troubled or feeling lost and alone, I retreated to the water’s edge. The sights, sounds, and smells all offered me
a comfort I could find nowhere else—the sloshing waters, the cries of birds on the hunt, and the undeniable scent of salt. Well, recently, Gavin’s arms had offered that same kind of security, but I couldn’t find it inside myself to run to him. Not when he was the root of my turmoil. Or more specifically, what I had done to him was.
A week might have come and gone since I had found out what kind of witch I was
—since I had committed that unthinkable act to Gavin. God, what a week it had been. My face hurt from pretending not to be torn into pieces inside, like I wasn’t scared of what I was or what was happening to me; the last thing I wanted was to alarm my aunt or my friends that something was wrong with me.
It was so much more difficult than it sounded.
They were like PI’s, picking up little clues or catching me staring into space with a sad frown. My appetite had vanished along with my sense of humor. So yeah, I was doing a pretty shitty job trying to keep my sorrows under wraps.
Oh, and I hadn’t practice
d any magic at all since that night.
Honestly, I didn’t know if I wanted to again. I felt tainted and ashamed. And the
messed up part was that I was mostly ashamed of the fact that there was this huge part of me that had liked it. The power I had felt was Utopian. The power I had gained was still with me. I could feel the small amount of magic I had stolen from Gavin swirling in me. His essence merged with mine in a way that was both exhilarating…and hot.
didn’t mean like warm; I meant sexy, in a hot, turned-on kind of way.
What was wrong with me?
Before, I’d always felt this unexplainable connection to Gavin, as if fate were pushing us together. Now, having his magic in my blood created a pull that was greater.
greater. When I wasn’t feeling down in the dumps, I was imagining doing all kinds of wicked and sinful with that boy and his mouth.
It was one extreme to the other. One minute I was on the verge of tears, and then the next
, I was gazing at his lips like they were the most edible things on the menu. Gavin and his damn lip ring. He could have a least made it easier for me to resist and not look so drool-worthy all the time. It was maddening how much hotness he oozed.
My fingers dug into the grainy sand. Just thinking about
him made me long to see him. And do a whole lot more than just look. I bit my lip, contemplating whether it would be wise to call him. Everything in my body screamed,
Yes. Yes. Yes.
But in my head, I thought that maybe it was something darker beckoning me to him, and for completely different reasons.
My cheeks flushed against a chilly breeze as it passed over my skin. He had a way of heating my blood with just a fluttering thought. My phone vibrated in my back pocket, pulling me back down to Earth. Speak of the devil. It was Gavin.
His name alone caused f
ireflies to flit in my belly, but as my finger hovered over the answer key, I bit my lip, contemplating. What was I going to say? Sorry? How many times could I apologize before I felt better? Before the shame stopped? I had broken a rule I had vowed never to cross: I hurt someone I loved.
Consciously or not, the result was the same.
My powers were controlling me, when I should be controlling them. That made me dangerous—to everyone.
My finger slid over, hitting
the ignore button, and I shoved the phone back into my pocket. Now I felt guilt—hordes of it--because I wanted nothing more than to talk to him, unload these mixed up feelings I was having.
Under normal circumstances, he would be the person I ran to,
until recently, that is. Before Gavin, I didn’t have problems—not like this—but when I did have a life crisis, there was Lukas.
wasn’t the only guy in my life I’d been avoiding.
Blowing off Lukas for a week hadn’t
entirely been an easy feat either. Time was catching up to me, and I knew that I was going to have to face him sooner or, more preferably, later. I’d been flirting with the idea of telling him what had happened. For the past week, I’d done everything possible to forget the nightmarish thing I’d done. Working myself into exhaustion. Even tried casting a variety of memory spells just short of permanent memory loss. I was probably lucky that there hadn’t been any permanent damage to my self-induced
or that I hadn’t accidently turned myself into a toad.
It hadn’t worked.
Deep down, I knew
that the only one person who might have been able to take away those feelings was the one I was running from.
It was like a double-edge sword.
God hates me
On one hand,
Gavin could offer me the solace I sought. On the other hand, he was part of what I didn’t want to face, couldn’t face.
So here I was alone
, trying to work through what I was.
A clàr silte.
Man that was a mouthful. Magic so strong, it was both feared and coveted. How did a girl like me, someone so ordinary and naïve deserve that kind of power? What was I possibly to do with such supremacy at my fingertips? Every time I dipped into those powers, I lost a piece of my soul and my aura darkened. The more of my aura I lost, the greater the risk I would give myself into the darkness.
If that weren’t enough to be scared shitless, then I was a fool.
And Aunt Clara didn’t raise no fool…
This whole thing felt unjust.
Anger pumped through me at the unfairness of it all. Lately, anger and self-pity had been my best friends. I didn’t want to hurt other witches. I wasn’t a thief. But what if I couldn’t stop it? I had seen the shock and fear in Gavin’s eyes that night, even if it had just been a flicker. The pain that had radiated on his face was seared in my memory. It infuriated me that he had suffered at my hands.
shot to my feet, open-armed with the waters turning in front of me, and I thought I should be struck with lightning. The sky opened up with a crack of angry light and ground-shaking thunder. The air and water around me were nurtured by my feelings and lashed out from them. It was just so.
my anger and pain splashed across the dark sky and over the almost-black waters. Tingles ran through my veins, and I threw my head back. It felt amazing to let my anger flow into the elements around me. They took away the emotions that spread through every muscle, every bone, and every pore in my body.
I sensed the connection from within me
, spreading out to the world around me. Wind. Water. Lightning—a different link for each piece of Mother Nature. I realized then that this energy I was extending to the elements could help heal the wounds breaking inside me.
Walking to the shoreline, I waded ankle
-deep into the freezing water. It burned through me, cutting off my magic. As I stared down at my reflection in the water, I saw that I didn’t look like the girl I’d imagined I would have been when I grew up. Large, blazing, purple eyes stared back at me and my lip trembled. On the brink of eighteen, I had wanted to be a strong, independent woman who knew what she wanted in life, not a frightened girl unsure of her future, unsure of herself. That was not who my mom would have raised me to be, and it wasn’t the girl my aunt had taught me to be.
I was acting like a whiny child.
I wanted to be someone my aunt and my parents could be proud of. So why wasn’t I? Why was I sitting here feeling dejected and sorry for myself?
In the end, my hiding from the world, from my friends, and from myself wasn’t going to accomplish anything. It wasn’t going to make my life all peachy and
rosy again. The only person who could change the path I was headed down was me.
This was who I was. Nothing I could do or say would change it. No amount of begging, pleading, or wishing otherwise would make me normal. Did I really want
if I couldn’t have Gavin?
I knew what I was going to do
, what I was born to do: wield magic.
I straightened my shoulders and lifted my chin.
Waving my hand out in front of me, I felt the stirrings of magic pulse to life in my blood. The roaring waves stilled, the howling winds quieted, and the sky was once again clear and filled with stars, just as I commanded them.
I could almost hear Morgana
laughing down at me.
That’s my girl. About damn time too
By the time I resurfaced as one of the living again, Christmas break was over and I was getting ready for Monday morning classes. Glancing through the sheer white curtain covering the window, I was glad to see the sun shining, a reflection of the hopefulness I felt inside.
Of course the sun was shining; I wasn’t stuck with my head under the covers, bawling like a blubbering woe-is-me sap—hence, no rain. Kicking the covers to the end of the bed, I jumped up. The cold wooden floors chilled my toes as I ran to the adjoining bathroom with Lunar on my heels, meowing. If I didn’t pick him up and show him some kind of attention each morning, he wouldn’t stop the persistent crying. It only got longer and louder if I ignored him.
, you pest,” I murmured, nuzzling his soft downy head under my chin. He started purring rapidly. “You’re going to make me late for school.” Two minutes later his blue eyes got that wild look in them and he was zipping through my room at mach ten, bouncing off of anything his paws could touch. Why couldn’t I wake up with that much energy? It took at least two cups of coffee before I could even function like a human.
I took the longest shower possible, steaming up the entire bathroom. I think it had even started to pour out from under the door. But I needed it
just like I needed a little pampering to make myself feel alive and encouraged. It was the little things that made a difference. Like…my favorite foods; strawberry flavored lip-gloss; crisp, cool sheets on a winter’s night, and most of all, Gavin’s kisses.
Oh yeah. I could really use one of those.
I missed them immensely. I was having withdrawals from no longer kissing Gavin’s lips.
To my di
smay, there hadn’t been any heavy make out sessions, none of the backseat groping, or whisperings of sweet nothings that I had envisioned during winter break. I only had myself to blame for this loss.
. I was going to have to put my fears aside and take that bold step I’d been afraid to take because if there was one thing I was certain about, it was that I didn’t want to push away the one guy who mattered most. He had made it clear to me that his feelings hadn’t changed, that he wasn’t afraid of me. But he should have been because I was very much afraid; nonetheless, I wasn’t going to live the rest of my life in a constant state of fear.
I wanted to live.
And that included kissing my very luscious boyfriend.
Sitting in front of my vanity, I spent more time
working on my looks in that one sitting than I previously had throughout my whole life. I smeared on a sheer coat of strawberry lip-gloss and smacked my lips before applying layer after layer of mascara until my eyelashes were goopy and starting to stick together. Great. Well I never claimed to be a fashionista.
I zipped up my boots and headed downstairs for
a breakfast of champions. Rummaging through the cabinet, I found what I was looking for. Strawberry Pop Tarts. Thank God. My good mood might have gone sour if there hadn’t been any frosted Pop Tarts. I ate them like crack. Pouring a cup of coffee from the pot my aunt had left on the warmer for me, I broke off a corner of the Pop Tart and dunked it into the black surgery brew. Someone was going to be running on a sugar high. This was just the way I liked my mornings—until I crashed before lunch.
After a quick scratch behind Lunar’s ears, I snatched my
keys off the counter. No sooner had I put a foot outside than my blood started humming. I didn’t have to look up to know who was there, yet it was a temptation I couldn’t resist. He was leaning against the hood of his car, a sight I would gladly wake up at 6:30 am every day of the week for. Talk about jump-starting my engine; I was afraid I might overheat and need to be hosed down. My cheeks turned pink and my steps faltered.
Gavin met me halfway on the driveway with a greeting that would
leave any girl lightheaded. He pressed his lips to mine in a sweet and soft kiss. Just like that, all my worries, my fears, all the crap that was dogging my mind, simply faded to nothing. He had that effect on me.
Under thick, sooty lashes he stared down at me
. “Hmm. It should be mandatory for us to start our mornings like this every day.”
I grinned. “Deal.”
He had an impish glee in his sapphire eyes. “I’m going to hold you to that.”
I hope so.” Either he did a bang-up job covering his feelings or he really wasn’t scared or upset with me. It was almost too good to be true. How did I deserve such a boyfriend?
He arched a brow.
“Well, someone ate their Wheaties this morning. ‘Bout damn time too. I thought I was going to have to drag your butt down the stairs. It’s so nice to be wrong.”
I rolled my eyes. “Let’s go
, Romeo. I’ve got classes to attend.” I started to wiggle out of his embrace to no avail. Looking up, I returned his raised brow with one of my own.
“I have a better idea. Since you are feeling so…feisty, how about we skip classes and do something more…
I was getting a clear picture from what kind of
he was implying. The darkening of his blue eyes and his voice going all kinds of silky were dead giveaways. “Oh yeah. Like what?” I asked, teasingly.
Was I actually flirting?
Holy crap. Maybe I should have gone to the beach earlier and had some kind of life-changing revelation. It was like suddenly everything was clear after living for years in a foggy haze. Plus, I had sass. I was digging it.
s of his mouth tilted upward and his hands slipped into the back pockets of my jeans. “I am sure we could think of a few ways to pass the time.” And just to play unfair, he brushed his lips over my chin.
“You suck,” I pouted, seriously considering his offer. How could I not when I was staring into eyes the color of starlight? Sighing, I replied, “I can’t. It’s the first day back.”
n’t deterred. “Precisely why it’s the perfect day. We never do anything important on the first day after holiday break.”
“Important to whom?
” I countered.
He rocked back on his heels with a slight frown.
“We’re going to school, aren’t we?”
A corner of my
mouth curled. “Yep,” I replied.
He looped his fingers with mine, leading us to his muscle car.
Its black paint gleamed under the sunlight. Slipping behind the steering wheel, he rubbed the pad of his thumb over his bottom lip. “How do your lips always taste like strawberries?” he asked.
“It’s called lip gloss, genius.”
He grinned. “You should buy it in bulk.”
Would everything he said make my heart do cartwheels?
January in Holly Ridge was mild, at least when I wasn’t messing up the weather forecast. No one put any stock into their predications any more, which was entirely my fault. Occasionally I felt remorse, but today was not one of those days.
It was impossible to feel
guilty when the sun was beating down on my face. Pine trees in a multitude of greens lined the road, littering the shoulder with needles. The ride to school was short—too short because I wanted more time alone with Gavin.
Leaning my head back on the seat, I studied his silhouette.
Dark messy hair. High cheekbones. Deep blue eyes. Full lips with a silver hoop in the center. There was nothing but yummy goodness carved into his face.
Zipping into the school parking lot, he
parked the car and then, with one last roar, the engine quieted. He dangled his keys on a finger, turning to face me. “We need to talk after school. I found out some stuff.”
He sure knew how to drop a bomb.
“Stuff? What kind of
?” I was both interested and panicky.
Twirling the hoop at his lip, he said,
“We don’t have time for me to divulge all the details. We have classes remember? You insisted.”
I scowled. “Funny.”
Damn him for reminding me of what we could be doing right about now. I gazed at his lips, and then I damned myself for being such a stick in the mud.
His eyes flickered. “I
f you have plans with—”
“I don’t,” I quickly cut in.
“Still avoiding him?”
Lukas was still a touchy subject.
The muscle in his jaw locked up.
“Well, you won’t hear me complaining. He’s trouble.”
I socked him on the arm. It felt like connecting with steel. “Whatever.”
But I knew that he was serious. The two guys in my life couldn’t stand each other.
It was kind of a big deal.
Getting out of the car, we walked through the front doors hand in hand, and it was like I lived a double life. There was Brianna, the average student, and then there was Brianna, the secret witch assassin. Rounding the corner to my locker, I was bombarded by a ball of energy that could rival the energizer bunny.
A piece of her hair got caught in my mouth as she hugged me. “Miss me?” she asked, grinning.
Wow. Someone had more coffee than I did this morning.
Gavin shook his head behind her, wisps of hair partially obscuring his eyes. I don’t know how he did it, but he had gotten out of the way before the Tasmanian Devil attacked.
See you later
, he mouthed and disappeared in the crowd.
I felt a tinge of disappoint
ment at his departure. “If I miss you any more, people will think I am dating you and not Gavin,” I grumbled.
She looped her arm through mine
, ignoring my other-than-pleased attitude. “Where is that piece of hot ass? I swore you came in together.”
“We did. You scared him off.”
snorted. “Hardly. I doubt anything scares Gavin.” Today, her light brown hair today was woven into a knot at the nape of her neck. She had on at least three-inch heels, which made me feel shorter than usual. Despite her girly clothing choices, I had missed her.
it isn’t my two favorite biotches,” Austin said, coming up between us and swinging his arms over our shoulders. He encompassed us in a sad excuse for a group hug. “What scandalous affairs did my two besties get mixed up in over break? You know you can tell me. Actually, I demand you tell me.”
laughed. I couldn’t help myself. If there were any kind of scandals in Holly Ridge, I would bet my pink panties that Austin was at the heart of it. Just when I felt like I was drowning in magic with my arms flailing in the waters and my oxygen cut off, Tori and Austin would always pull me back to the surface, reminding me that I wasn’t just a clueless witch struggling in a world I barely understood.
I slipped out of our threesome and started down the hall.
“Sorry to disappoint. I studied.”
Magic that was.
I snuck a glance over my shoulder, catching Austin making an L with his hand and holding it to his forehead. Jeesh. What a pair they were. Austin in his skinny jeans, styled hair, and wired frames and Tori in her plaid school skirt and laughing chocolate eyes. We were misfits, but I wouldn’t change them for the world.
Austin’s grin faded.
“Are you telling me that Tori’s maid was getting more tail than the three of us? We are so pathetic.”
“So B, have you heard from Lukas?” Tori asked
, trying to sound nonchalant and failing, the glint of hopefulness in her gaze giving her up.
at the mention of his name. “Not really. Not since your party.” I could have kicked myself for not being a little more delicate.
Her expression fell before she could mask it behind a forced smile of I-don’t-care. She was bummed that the d-bag hadn’
t called her, which made me mad at Lukas all over again. He never should have flirted with her and given her false hope if he had no intention of following through.
What a tease.
And now that she brought up Lukas, I knew that I needed to talk to him—even if I wasn’t quite ready. He was undeniably part of what I was going through. Morgana had pretty much told me that in her last cryptic message.
Two boys. One destined to be your true love, bound by more than just magic and love. The other… well, he isn’t so lucky. He will destroy all the good you possess, squash your pureness, which is also your strength. He will poison you with darkness—blacken your soul, make you turn from all you love. The choice is yours Great-Granddaughter. Choose wisely, for it can’t be undone.
Gram’s was a freaking
a poet. And now her words loomed in my head, day in and day out.
of all people knew more about my… I couldn’t bring myself to call it a gift. Not after what I had done to Gavin, but it was a piece of me I still had to come to terms with, control, and maybe even embrace.
And that scared the
ever-loving crap out of me, which in a roundabout way brought me back to what Gavin wanted to talk about after school. The unknown had me chewing away at my lip all day.