Authors: Nikki Jefford
Book Three in the Spellbound Trilogy
A Novel by Nikki Jefford
Copyright © 2013 by Nikki Jefford
All rights reserved
Cover Design: Najla Qamber
Copy Editors: Christine LePorte and Marcie Turner
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters,
places and incidents are products of the author’s imagination, or
the author has used them fictitiously.
This eBook is licensed for your personal
enjoyment only. It may not be resold or given away to other people.
If you would like to share this book with another person, please
purchase an additional copy for each person you share it with.
Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.
To the wonderful readers and writers I’ve met along
the way. You put a smile on my face and a spring in my step. This
one’s for you!
Table of Contents
Fourteen years ago
It is a truth universally known that a magician who
performs solo, no matter how magnificent, is no match for a man
assisted by a woman possessed of beauty and an adventurous
Fortunately for Adrian Hedrick Montez, his
big sister Liliana had a flair for theatrics. Five minutes before
show time she snapped into the blue dress she’d worn to her first
Homecoming dance, with its shimmery tulle skirt and sequin top.
Adrian wore a black blazer, white gloves, and
a top hat. The hat had taken weeks of practice to balance on his
head and now nothing short of a physical push could dislodge it.
True, the kids at Duke’s Elementary were always knocking if off his
head and laughing—Dad said that’s what he got for wearing such a
ridiculous thing to school—but Adrian had patience. Those kids
couldn’t help being normal, whereas he, Montez the Magician, had
access to powers beyond their wildest dreams. What a pity to be
Tonight was a special performance. Their aunt
and uncle were in town . . . along with Cousin Sergei. Mom herded
their guests into the living room. A white sheet hanging from two
ceiling hooks hid Adrian and his props from his awaiting audience.
Beneath the small foldout table with its draping cloth, Adrian kept
his prized treasure chest of tricks.
The click of Nan’s knitting needles alerted
Adrian that at least one of his family members had taken a
“Not another magic show,” Cousin Sergei said
with a groan. “Please tell me there’s at least
The voices of Adrian’s aunt and uncle were
drowned out by his mother yelling, “Dimitry!”
“What?” Adrian’s father called back.
“The show is about to begin.”
Adrian’s lip curled back like the skin on a
baked apple until he noticed Lili fighting back laughter. He looked
at the sheet as though he might see through it to Mom with her eyes
flashing anger and impatience. Their mother was an American witch
through and through unlike the demure and obedient Aunt Fotina. Mom
had a voice, and she liked to use it. She was also the kindest
woman Adrian knew aside from Lili.
Stomping footsteps announced their father.
“Okay, we’re ready,” Mom said.
Lili looked over and flashed Adrian a big
grin before stepping in front of the sheet. “Ladies and gentlemen,
boys and girls . . .”
“What girls?” Cousin Sergei asked.
Lili ignored him. “What you are about to see
will shock and bedazzle you. Wonders beyond your greatest
imagination. Prepare yourselves for the most amazing show on earth.
Without further ado, I present to you the world’s greatest
The sheet fluttered to the floor. Lili stood
to the side, arms outstretched toward Adrian. He looked into the
audience, a grin emerging on his face. Mom began clapping followed
by Aunt Fotina, Uncle Oleg, and Father—after a look from Mom. Nan
kept knitting, but that was just Nan. And Cousin Sergei was too
jealous to do anything other than fold his arms across his
“Good evening,” Adrian said in his
performer’s voice. “I see we have a full house.” His grin widened
following Mother’s musical laughter. “For my first trick I will
need a deck of cards.”
Lili swept an arm gracefully over the table
and snatched Adrian’s card deck.
“Now, I’m going to ask my assistant, the
lovely Liliana, to shuffle the deck.” Adrian paced as he spoke.
This was part of the act. He found that a performer who moved
around was more apt to engage his audience. “Have you shuffled the
“I have,” she said firmly.
“Then bring them to me.”
Once the cards were in Adrian’s hands he
fanned them out, suits facing the floor. “And now I’ll ask a member
of the audience to choose a card.”
Mom lifted her hand. Adrian walked up to her
and held the cards out. “Pick any card in the deck. Have you found
the one you want?”
“Yes,” Mom said, pulling out a card.
“I’m going to ask you to show your card to
the audience. Have you shown them? Good. Have you got it memorized?
Now put your card back inside the deck.” Adrian began shuffling the
deck once Mom slipped her chosen card back inside. He thumbed small
stacks together and shuffled them. Adrian plucked a card and held
it up. “Is this your card?”
Mom leaned forward. Adrian held the Queen of
Hearts. Her face lit up. “It is!”
Dad glanced at his wristwatch. “We need to
But he had just started.
Adrian hurried to his trunk and dug out a
key. He held it up. “You can’t go without a key.”
“Adrian . . .”
“Come on, Dad,” Lili said. “One more
“Which of you fine folks will be driving this
afternoon?” Adrian asked.
Dad and Uncle Oleg raised their hands
simultaneously. Dad leaned forward and twisted in his seat to
address his brother in Russian.
Uncle Oleg shrugged.
Adrian stepped up to his father. “I take it
that you, sir, are the key master.”
“Then I shall give you this.” Adrian placed
the metal key in his father’s palm. “Now close your hand.” For all
his grumbling, Adrian’s dad did what he was told. “Lili, my magic
Lili stepped beside Adrian, her skirt
shimmering as she did, and handed him his wand. Adrian waved it
around Dad’s hand. “Abracadabra.”
Cousin Sergei rolled his eyes.
“Now open your hand.”
Resting on Dad’s palm was the key, now bent
down the middle. Mom began clapping. Dad stared at Adrian a moment
then smiled faintly. “I like this one,” he said in his thick
Russian accent. He handed the bent key to Adrian and stood up. “Now
we really must go.”
“I want to go with you,” Adrian said.
“Can’t, you’re too young,” Cousin Sergei
“I wish I didn’t have to go,” Lili said.
“Coven retreats are such a drag.”
Nan shook her head. “You always
“Me?” Lili cried. “You’re the queen of
“When you my age, you can complain all you
Lili rolled her eyes then kissed Adrian
quickly on the head. “See you in a week, little brother.”
“Don’t forget to be ready at eight thirty
tomorrow morning,” Mom said. “Danielle will drive you and Nana to
Adrian’s lip curled. “I don’t know why I have
to go. No one’s going to be there.”
“Emily will,” Lili said with a nudge and
Adrian busied himself packing his props
inside his trunk as the rest of the family got to their feet.
“Sergei, you have your bag?”
Lili snapped out of her blue dress into a
pair of jeans and T-shirt.
“I bet I get highest score in our age group
this year,” Sergei said.
“In your dreams,” Lili replied. “Nobody
performs spells faster than me.”
Adrian clasped the latches on his trunk then
stood at the window watching Dad and Uncle Oleg load the bags into
the van. The voices faded from the living room. A hand touched him
gently on the shoulder. Adrian steadied his trembling lip and
turned around. His mother smiled kindly. “I’ll be glad when you’re
twelve and can come with us to the annual coven retreat.” She bent
down. “Not that I want you to grow up too quickly.” She brushed his
hair back where it always stuck up and swiped her finger across
Adrian’s chin, which, like magic, always got a smile out of
Mom hugged Adrian against her. “I’ll miss my
boy.” She pressed her lips to his ear and whispered, “Make sure Nan
doesn’t get into mischief while we’re away.”
Adrian nodded solemnly.
Mom gave him one last squeeze before
standing. “That’s my boy; my talented magician.”
* * *
Adrian had to wake Nan up the next morning. She took
her sweet time shuffling around her room in her nightgown and
slippers. Mom’s friend was picking them up in an hour.
“Don’t you think it’s time to get dressed?”
Nan sat at her vanity, arranging little glass
jars filled with potions. It was a wonder she didn’t mix them
up—none of the bottles were labeled. “I no go to Gathering.”
“Come on, Nan, we have to.”
“Why we have to?” she demanded.
Adrian blinked several times. “I don’t know.
We just do.”
“You go to Gathering. I stay.”
“Come on, Nan, you know my mom won’t be happy
if you don’t go.”
Nan ignored this.
She threw her arms up. “All right, I go. You
just as demanding as your mother and sister. My Dimitry never speak
like this to me.”
Adrian sighed and went downstairs to wait for
Adrian daydreamed through the lecture. They
never said anything interesting. At least his peer leader, Kim, was
cool. She took them outside on the roof on sunny afternoons like
Adrian walked up the stairwell several feet
behind Emily. She had long hair like Rapunzel and always wore a
pretty dress to Gathering. This one had a yellow bow tied at the
back. One side of the bow was smaller than the other. Adrian
flushed at the thought of straightening out the ribbons.