Authors: Caryn Moya Block
A Witch Guardian Romance
Published by Caryn M. Block
Copyright © 2014 Caryn M. Block
Cover Design by Cora Graphics
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be
reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without written permission from the author, except for the inclusion of brief quotations in a review.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
A Witch Guardian Romance
Garrett Amhurst, a member of the Witch Guardian Police Force, investigates a claim of blood magic at the Blue Dolphin. He is surprised to find his “Destined One” is the owner. She isn’t guilty of participating in the illegal rituals. But her sister is and it’s Garrett’s job to bring her to justice.
Gabriella Ross, Water Witch, knows her sister is hooked on the magic high of blood magic. But she can’t turn her in to the Guardians. They would strip her sister of her magic. Gabriella would do anything to save her little sister, including stepping in front of a bullet.
To the “magic” in all of us. Believe and be thankful.
Thank you to my Beta Readers, you know who you are.
I hope you know how much I appreciate you. Thanks go to Fran Cecere for your time and patience, and of course to Bette Hileman for your editing expertise.
– Amhurst House:
– Luften House:
– Ainsworth House:
– Brandreth House:
– Siberian Volkov:
Anatoly “Tolya” Mikhailov
Earth - Amhurst:
Garrett “Rodric” Amhurst, Jr. – Speaker (Father of Garrett)
Adam Terren (Older brother of Josiah and Damek)
Collin Brandreth –
Head of Fire House.
Curtis Brant – Librarian of Magic Items and Artifacts.
Air - Luften:
Finley Luften –
– (Elise’s mother) Head of Air House Healing Center.
Sevan Ainsworth –
(Calder and Kendra’s mother) Head of Water House. Sister of Venetia
Kuval Trevain – B
rother of Arethusa, Garrett’s deceased mother.
- Aiden Kindle, Fire Witch
Inn Keeper: Venetia Ainsworth, sister to Sevan. Best friend to Gabriella’s mother.
Angeline Penwick: Air Witch, Mate to Tolya, Office Manager for Guardians
Arethusa Trevain Amhurst (Garrett’s deceased mother)
Newport, South Wales
The door of the Blue Dolphin opened, and Garrett Amhurst, Guardian and Earth Master, walked in. Gabriella Ross’s breath hitched, and her heart fluttered. The noise of the evening crowd dimmed in her ears. There he stood, her Destined One, and tonight he would kill her. Or, at least, that's what her visions had shown her.
What the visions didn't do is give justice to the fine bones of his face or the color of his amethyst eyes. His red hair fell at a rakish angle
, and her fingers itched to push it back off his forehead. She drank him in, his black jeans and white shirt over broad shoulders. He was meant for her. She blinked, and suddenly the noise of people celebrating the end of the week burst upon her. She handed one of the regulars his pint.
She glanced back at Garrett, watching him make his way through the dimly lit room and up to the bar.
Their magic would merge when their bond was celebrated with ritual, and their magic-house tattoos would suddenly take on color, as their lives would take on color, with the gift of their perfect mates.
It was supposed to be a
joyous occasion. But her visions never lied, though a future event could be altered with enough warning.
Gabriella had racked her brain, looking for an alternative
, but the visions never changed. Brenna, her sister, performed blood magic, and Garrett intended to stop her. Gabriella would do anything to save her sister, even step in front of a bullet.
"What can I
get you?" Gabriella wiped down the wooden counter and wondered if Garrett had any knowledge of who she was and what they could mean to each other. No matter what happened tonight, she couldn't stop the pounding of her heart at seeing her Destined One.
"I'll have a pint,
" Garrett replied.
had been skating on thin ice, walking a fine line between the light and the dark. Though she hadn’t participated in the black-magic circles held in her basement, she knew they were going on. So far, a few rats and a cat had been sacrificed. Blood magic was dangerous and often escalated—a fact that had brought the Guardians and Garrett to her door. She couldn’t be sorry to see him, not when their time together was going to be so short.
Garrett sat down on the barstool in front of the barkeep. She was a water witch, her wrist marked with the mermaid tattoo of the Ainsworth house.
his senses open. As Guardian captain, the complaint that blood magic was being performed at this address had come to his attention this afternoon. So far, he didn’t feel the heaviness and dread in the Blue Dolphin one usually found at a blood-magic site.
He turned back to the barkeep, aware that she had been watching him the whole time he made his inspection. There was something about her.
Her looks reminded him of a fairy tale ... skin as white as snow, lips as red as blood, hair as black as ebony. Was someone casting a spell on him? The woman wore a simple pair of jeans and T-shirt, but she was anything but simple.
His magic senses were tingling
, and his mind whirled. He peered around the room, reassured by the rest of the Guardian members, the witches’ police force, backing him up. The place was full of people of all ages. Some were witches, but most were humans. All the surfaces shined as if newly polished, though they were aged and worn.
barkeep wiped the wooden bar in front of him. Garrett didn’t smell the sickly sweet scent of blood magic on the woman, and her aura wasn’t muddy, though there were dark spots hinting at great sorrow or guilt. She smelled like flowers and sunshine, and he couldn’t stop himself from breathing deeply.
Witches that got hooked on blood magic needed it like a drug. It was an addiction that slowly drove them mad. The barkeep didn’t show signs of indulging in the forbidden practice.
So what was going on here, and why the complaint? Did she make the anonymous call? Was she in danger? A blood cult wouldn’t think twice about sacrificing a witness to its depravity.
“Are you the owner of the establishment?” Garrett asked the woman as she finished preparing a tray of drinks.
“I am now. The owner left it to me when he died.”
body stiffened. He didn’t want to think of this woman with another man. “And your name would be?” he asked.
“Why do you ask? Are you a cop?”
“I think you know who I am. Do we need to make this official? I can haul you before the council for questioning.” Not that he wanted to do that. Something about her made him think of silken sheets and her black hair spread out on his pillow.
“Don’t get your knickers in a twist, Guardian,” the woman said
as she handed the tray to a waitress and ushered her from behind the bar. He smiled at the barkeep’s smart reply. At least, she wasn’t afraid of him.
es, I am a Guardian.” He held up his wrist to show the magic Guardian tattoo of a sword, which covered his Earth-House symbol, a prancing unicorn. “Garrett Amhurst. Please call me Garrett.” Why did he say that?
This is a case, and she is a suspect.
“Gabriella Ross at your service,” she said with a slight bow. “Now
, if you’ll excuse me, I need to go in the back and fix a few orders.”
“Miss Ross,” Garrett said with a sigh
. She wasn’t going to make this easy for him.
“You can call me Gabby,” she said
, starting to turn away.
doesn’t suit you.” The woman stopped in her tracks and turned. “Gabriella or even Ella would suit you better. Now, Ella, I need to ask you a few questions.”
“You can wait until things slow down, or you can come bac
k into the kitchen. Your choice.” Gabriella shrugged and turned toward the swinging doors leading to the back.
wait a while, but we will talk.” Garrett gritted his teeth. What was it about Gabriella Ross that made him want to grab her and shake her and then kiss her until she melted in his arms?
What was it about Garrett Amhurst that made Gabriella want to scratch his eyes out and kiss him until he couldn’t breathe? She didn’t have time for this. Paying patrons wanted their meals. She couldn’t deal with a Guardian in the middle of a rush, especially not the Guardian she recognized as her Destined One.
She blinked back unwanted tears.
Damn her precognitive abilities, letting her see the red-haired hunk in her dreams and feel what it would be like to want him. Now that she had seen him in person, she wanted him even more.
Picking up a knife
, she started chopping potatoes to fry before dropping them into the oil. Why did he have to come tonight? If he had come last night, things might have gone differently. She could have seduced him into her bed. They would have had one moment of heaven to share. But tonight Brenna and the blood-magic coven she ran with would be arriving to do another ritual in the basement.
turned and pulled baskets over for the chips. She could give Brenna up to the Guardians. Let them deal with her craziness and the weirdoes she hung out with. Gabby shuddered. This was her little sister. She couldn’t stop her from making the mistake of trying blood magic or taking drugs her boyfriend provided. But she could protect her from being picked up and prosecuted by the Witches Council.
, she needed to get a message to Brenna, whom she hoped wasn’t too drugged to listen. Between human drugs and blood-magic highs, her sister was a mess. But she was a family member, the only one Gabriella had left.
vision of tonight and the shooting in which Garrett killed her had showed it happening in the basement. If she warned her sister, was she changing the future? Did it matter? Making up her mind, she divided the chips into baskets and rang the bell for the waitress. When the waitress walked up to the service window, Gabriella leaned out.
“After you deliver these, I need you to run an errand for me.”
“All right, Gabby. Are you sure?” the waitress said. “We’re getting slammed out here. You’ll have to do everything while I’m gone.”
“Just get these
baskets to their tables. I’ll come out and take over after I give you what you need.”
“Okay, I’m going.”
Gabriella went into her office and grabbed a piece of paper. Writing a quick note, she wrapped it around a gold ring that had belonged to her mother. She had told her sister that if there was trouble, she would include the ring in a message. When the waitress came into the kitchen, Gabriella handed the paper-wrapped ring to her.
“Take the message
to Brenna at this address. Then, hurry back.”
l right, Gabby. I’ll be back as soon as I can.”
“Thanks, Beth. You’re the best
. Now hurry.”
Beth opened the back door and walked out into the dark alley between the two buildings.
Garrett still leaned
against the bar. He smiled at Gabriella when she walked out from the back and reached over to refill his beer.
“You were right about being busy tonight,” he said
before tipping the mug back for a drink.
“It’s Friday night. Everyone comes in for a quick one
before starting their weekends.” Gabriella got refills for several other customers.
“What are your plans for the weekend?” Garrett asked.
He could think of a few things he’d like to do with her.
re you asking me out?” Gabriella said, seeming surprised.
“I am if you are available and not in jail
for helping a coven perform blood magic.”
“I don’t do blood magic, nor do I help anyone else do it. You should be able to tell that from
my aura. You’re an Earth Master.” Gabriella slid a beer down the bar. “Let me go wait on some tables.”
urry back. I don’t want to miss you,” Garrett said. Why was he flirting with this woman, and why did he want her so badly? There was something about the way she looked at him, as if she wanted him. He felt it too, the magnetic pull when she walked into the room.
Tolya, a new G
uardian who was also a lycan, texted to say he would follow the waitress, and Garrett hoped that all she did was buy condiments. But he feared that Gabriella Ross not only knew someone in the blood-magic coven but had tried to warn him or her away. That would be very inconvenient, considering the only place Garrett wanted to take her was to his bed. Putting her in a detention cell would offer them only a small cot that was not nearly large enough for the things he fantasized about.
At least her aura was cl
ear, which meant she had told the truth about not being involved. She would be jailed, questioned, and fined, but not prosecuted. She wasn’t the first witch who tried to protect someone doing blood magic.
Witches convicted of blood magic had their powers revoked in a
ritual that often left them little more than a vegetable. Blood magic was too dangerous. Besides its moral implications, it risked exposing the witches’ abilities to the human population.
After serving a tray of drinks to the other Guardians in the back,
Gabriella walked behind the bar. She rubbed her temple.
“Where did your help go?” Garrett asked.
“Beth had to run an errand. She should be right back.” Gabriella picked up a towel and wiped up a spot of moisture on the bar.
“Does she often run errands when you
’re so busy?” Did Ella send her to warn the coven away? The reports said the ceremonies took place in the basement of this building.
“I don’t want to talk about Beth. I want to talk about you. Do you have any siblings?”
“Three half-sisters, all younger,” Garrett answered. Why was she asking?
“Do you love them enough to protect them if you could?” Gabriella asked
, not looking at him directly.
“Yes, I try to protect them. Is your little sister in this black
Is that what she’s trying to tell me?
“Brenna is the only family I have left. I didn’t protect her. Now I can’t reach her
. She’s off with her friends. She won’t listen.”
“Gabriella, is your sister doing blood magic?” What would he do if one of his sisters got in wit
h a bad crowd? Blood magic slowly destroys the person performing the ritual.
“I promised our mother I’d look out for her. But I failed her. I knew I would
. I have visions. I saw you in a vision.”
Gabriella’s pain radiated
from her soul. He reached across the bar to take her hand, needing to console her. “What were we doing in your vision, Ella?” he asked, feeling a tingle run up his arm and into his heart from the contact of their hands.
She looked at him, tears in her eyes. “Loving each other,” she whispered.