Treachery Ignites an Otherworldly Battle Between Good and Evil Centuries have passed since the Coven of the Triad Witches, once charged with protecting the Scrolls of the Four Winds, was betrayed and their memories cast into darkness. They have reincarnated together in many lifetimes, but this time, one of their own intends to wield the power of the Scrolls herself. Sisters in magic with ties more binding than blood, they must face a dangerous journey to rekindle ancient powers and fulfill their true destiny. Readers Rave about Coven "Love, gratitude, friendship, discernment, sincerity, and bonds of physical dimension on the callings of our eternal Soul. You will find it all in Coven."--Victoria Evangelina Belyavskaya "The whole time reading it I was enjoying the story and failed to see that by the time I was through I was actually learning valuable lessons." --Kelly Withers Learn more at www.ForestWitch.com From Modern History Press www.ModernHistoryPress.com FIC009510 FICTION : Fantasy - Dark/Horror FIC027040 Fiction : Gothic FIC044000 Fiction : Contemporary Women
|Publisher:||Loving Healing Press|
|Product dimensions:||6.14(w) x 9.21(h) x 0.35(d)|
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New Hope, Pennsylvania, present day
The waxing moon was halfway to full. Victoria Perry had chosen New Hope for its quaint feel, artistic bent, and large pagan community. She was also drawn to this historic town in Pennsylvania because she sensed the presence of Iman, Mina, and Uzma, her ancient sisters. Together with Victoria, they were the Triad Witches, united in a common purpose. Their energetic imprint was unmistakable.
The vacant storefront on Main Street was central to sidewalk traffic; increasing the likelihood that they would find their way into her antique shop. While she would have preferred a building with a more Victorian feel, the colonial was spacious and perfect for her purposes. It had an adequate area to display antiques, a separate room in the back for meetings, and a basement for storage. An apartment upstairs allowed her to live above and work below. As above so below, she thought.
Her realtor, George Washburn, had been too friendly in his manner. He did not notice when Victoria bristled as he threw out one personal question after another. She did not like to reveal information about herself and resented his barrage of questions about where she came from, her last business, her age — of all things, the standard don't-ask-that-of-a-woman question. She was vague in her responses, as she answered — Italy, unique clothing, and "Now, Mr. Washburn, a lady doesn't reveal her age!" If she had told him the truth, he would not have believed her.
She could have told him her age in this lifetime, but it was best to act coy. She was only 35 this time around, and had spent most of those years coming back into her power and locating the others. As for her business in Benevento, in her last lifetime, she catered to the Strega, the local covens of Italian Witches, selling ritual supplies and clothing. Witches had occupied Benevento for several thousand years. A massive walnut tree was the gathering place of witches who worshipped the goddess Diana. When the Duke of Benevento converted to Christianity in 662 A.D., he had their sacred tree cut down. Her customers remained steadfast in their beliefs despite their oppressive history and regularly practiced their craft, necessitating the replenishing of candles, herbs, and incense. Victoria looked back upon that time as one of profit and camaraderie. The witches of Benevento had treated her as one of their own. She had not felt a sense of belonging since being a part of the Triad Witches.
Victoria thanked the realtor, and the stars, as he handed her the keys at the settlement table. His insincere sales approach grated on her nerves. It was strenuous to hold her tongue and her power at bay as he rambled on and on. The transaction had ended on its own before she chose to put an end to it herself. She was glad to be rid of him and looked forward to setting up shop.
The boxes arrived that afternoon on time, as did the installer from the sign company. Over the centuries, Victoria had found that the moon in Sagittarius was a good time for completing chores. She directed the movers in placing her personal items upstairs and her wares downstairs. A daunting task was before her to get settled in her personal space, while creating an environment to ensnare her targets. Their energetic attachment to historic objects Victoria had saved from the distant past would lure them. There was much to do, and it was time to begin recruiting her team.
With the movers gone, Victoria stood in the center of what would be her meeting room, closed her eyes, and lifted her arms just below shoulder height, elbows bent with her palms up. Her feet were planted firmly on the floor, shoulder width apart. Qadir had taught her this stance to open communication with the spirits. Thoughts of him flashed through her mind. She looked around the room to ensure he had not joined her unexpectedly. Qadir had a way of lurking in the shadows, watching her without her knowledge. Sudden thoughts of him warned her of his presence. Satisfied that she was alone, she began her ritual. With a raised voice, she thanked the spirits for their assistance in acquiring the building and requested help in finding the appropriate members of her new group. A phantom breeze brushed through Victoria's long black hair and she smiled, knowing she had been heard.
Communicating with the spirits always made her hungry, so she set out to explore the local cuisine. New Hope had abundant culinary options, everything from casual fare to elegant dining. Victoria followed her intuition as she walked down Main Street. People strolled along the sidewalks. The unusual was commonplace in this town, so those she passed did not react to her appearance — statuesque with long, flowing black hair, large, dark eyes, and high cheekbones, her body layered in black fabric that was form-fitting underneath and sheer and flowing on top. The tourists were dressed mostly in denim jeans and casual tops, but were accustomed to shop owners dressing in noteworthy outfits. Victoria fit right in.
Her internal radar called her to make a right onto Mechanic Street. A restaurant called Esca caught her eye and drew her to its door. She sensed that more than a good meal awaited her in this charming establishment. White clothed tables sat amidst the golden glow of the walls, punctuated with tiny light fixtures and dark wood chairs.
The hostess seated Victoria at a small table against the North wall and handed her a menu. I always land in my direction of power, she mused. Victoria's strong alignment with the North amplified her influence. The magical correspondences of this compass direction bestowed additional force to her already impressive powers. She recalled her ancient lessons taught by Qadir. He had emphasized midnight as her time of greatest power and that she was aligned with the element of Earth. She learned the deep esoteric meanings of these correspondences over time with Qadir's help.
Victoria watched the waiter approach her table. He was handsome and well-built, with dark hair and striking blue eyes. The tight black T-shirt fit snugly around his muscular arms and emphasized his slim waist. The strong jaw line and five o'clock shadow gave him casual good looks. His broad smile showed off his straight white teeth framed with generous lips. Victoria found herself slightly aroused as she noticed he was checking her out as well.
"My name is Ethan, and I'll be attending to your every need this evening." He paused and smiled, emphasizing the double entendre. "May I start you off with a beverage?" His eyes went from her cleavage to the ring finger of her left hand. He always made sure his conquests were single. No wedding band gave him the signal to plow ahead.
Victoria watched Ethan as he spoke. She opened herself to his auric field, taking in his energy to receive a vast store of knowledge about his nature. She was flooded with images of Ethan charming solitary female diners for large tips or a sexual rendezvous. His self-absorbed, over-confident nature was the perfect combination. Victoria found it easy to manipulate this type of male. Playing to his inflated ego would allow her to mold him any way she chose.
She smiled fetchingly at him. "A glass of Cabernet, please."
Ethan returned her look with his standard come-hither gaze, forged with the experience of dozens of similar encounters. He knew this woman wanted him. The view of her cleavage was a deciding factor in giving her the opportunity to indulge in his sexual prowess. "Coming right up," he teased.
Ethan returned with her drink, making an exaggerated bow as he placed the glass of Cabernet in front of her. She held his gaze as he straightened.
"What can I get for such a beautiful lady?" he inquired, taking a pen from behind his ear and opening his order pad.
So full of himself, Victoria thought. "Whatever you recommend, Ethan," she said, watching his ego expand before her eyes.
He liked the way she willingly gave herself over to him, even as she ordered. "I'll be back with a surprise just for you."
You're the one who will be surprised, Victoria smiled at her plan. Ethan thought the smile was meant for him. Grasping the wine glass, Victoria read the energetic imprint left by Ethan. She saw her ample breasts from Ethan's perspective and sensed his anticipation of an exceptionally rewarding evening with her. Through the vibrations on the glass, she saw his hand on her breast and her full lips drawn to his. She admitted to herself that the scene was stimulating; he was very good at tantalizing his sexual partners. The superficiality of his intentions did not surprise her. Victoria took a deep breath to clear the image from her mind. With that out of the way, she was able to see deeper into his nature. She saw his need to be accepted; his use of charisma to obtain sexual satisfaction, and his ultimate rejection of the women who hoped that wild sex would develop into a committed relationship. Ethan's relationships were bereft of intimacy. He feared revealing his superficiality and lack of understanding. He was drawn to affairs where he could derive a benefit, then release the person before having to reciprocate.
Her visions were disrupted by Ethan's return. He proudly placed the plate in front of her. "Insalata Caprese: slices of Italian plum tomatoes topped with fresh mozzarella cheese and basil, dressed with virgin olive oil for the lady. Please enjoy this while waiting for your entrée. Is there anything else I can do for you?" Ethan was portraying the formal waiter/gigolo role. The use of another double entendre was not lost on Victoria.
She played along, "Nothing that would be appropriate in this setting." She took a sip of wine; then slowly ran her tongue across her upper lip, keeping eye contact until his eyes drifted to her cleavage again.
Ethan got it, and pictured himself getting it, maybe as soon as tonight. He gave an acknowledging smile and gave a short bow before waiting on the next table. Victoria rolled her eyes. Men are all the same, she thought.
Ethan returned with her entrée. "Polpette di Granchio," he said with rehearsed pronunciation. "Sautéed crab cakes drizzled with an orange basil aioli. It's my personal favorite. If its succulence pleases you, maybe you'll consider having a drink with me when my shift ends this evening."
"If I agree to a drink, will you introduce me to other things that might please me?"
"I am at your service, ready to satisfy your needs," he wholeheartedly promised. Ethan always delivered sexual satisfaction to his partners, at least as far as he knew.
Finished with her meal, she motioned to Ethan with a slow curl of her forefinger. He immediately responded. "Dinner was exceptional, Ethan." She told him he had made wonderful choices for her meal. "How about meeting me at my place when you get off work? Bring a bottle of wine with you to help me christen my new place. It's on Main Street, second floor of 'Victoria's Antiques'. That's my store, and I live above it. The entrance is on the side. Everything is still in boxes. Maybe you can help me unpack."
"It will be my pleasure, Victoria," he took her hand and kissed it gently on the back, letting his lips linger to give her a preview of the evening's activities.
How cliché, Victoria judged amidst the startling realization that his lips on her skin made her tingle. Maybe the wine had gotten the best of her. Only do what is necessary to accomplish the goal, she chided herself.
Ethan pranced up the walkway, bottle of Cabernet in hand. He had grabbed a bottle from the restaurant. It was the same type as Victoria was drinking at dinner. She had seemed to like it, so he figured he would stick with a sure thing. He pictured Victoria waiting for him at the door, wearing a revealing frock that would set the tone for the rest of the evening. His energy was high, even though the hour was late, 11 pm; his job had acclimated him to a late-night schedule. Ethan's knock beckoned Victoria, who answered the door wearing the same outfit she had had on at the restaurant. He found her intriguing, and the tight black top and slacks accentuated every curve and shrouded her in mystery.
He stepped through the doorway, displaying the wine bottle, label-side up, cradled over his left forearm. He picked up this action at the restaurant when showing patrons special bottles of wine to emphasize the quality, and it quickly became habit. Having walked over in the dark, his eyes were already adjusted to the dim light inside her apartment. Candlelight flickered around the room, creating shadows and soft illumination that added to Victoria's intensity. Darkness was her preference. She could manipulate the energies much better in the absence of light. Her pupils were dilated, taking advantage of her cat-like ability to see in the dark. For Victoria, it was as good as daylight in the diffuse lighting. Over the centuries, she performed the bulk of her work at midnight, and so functioned comfortably in poorly lit environments.
The boxes were arranged along the walls and silhouetted by small flames. Furniture was in place: a couch, coffee table, end tables, and chair-and-a-half with thick cushions and an ottoman. Ethan knew it looked like a good spot to make love. Victoria invited him to have a seat. He chose the sofa, figuring he could coax her onto the big chair later. Ethan could not take his eyes off of her as she gracefully crossed the room and bent over to retrieve the wine glasses out of a box marked "fragile" and the corkscrew from a box with "kitchen" written on the side. The back of her was as tantalizing as the front. He anticipated an incredible experience with her. She poured them each a healthy serving of the red nectar.
"I'm looking forward to seeing the place when you're done with it," Ethan subtly invited himself back. That's odd, he thought, I don't usually anticipate a return visit with a one-night stand. He mentally reviewed his last few conquests. They had achieved much higher ratings before he met Victoria. It was like comparing chicken fingers to filet mignon, and he much preferred eating the latter. She had an air of sophistication that was slightly intimidating, but he overcame his feeling of inadequacy by reminding himself how impressed she would be when he finally had the chance to pleasure her.
"I believe this will be more than a one-night stand for you, Ethan," Victoria casually stated.
"What? I, well, uh, what do you mean?" Ethan felt the scene of sexual perfection slip from his mind, replaced with wonderment at how she knew what he was thinking. His face warmed and flushed at getting caught in his planning. For the first time in years, he was uncertain how to approach this incredibly unusual woman. It was too late to play innocent.
"Just what I said. Tonight will be the beginning of a new life for you, if you choose to go down the path with me."
"Hey, wait a minute. Don't think I'm going to marry you any time soon!" Ethan put the glass down and started to get up from the couch.
"Relax," she commanded, as she put her hand on his shoulder, releasing a calming energy into him. He immediately sat down. "Don't flatter yourself. Marriage to you or anyone else is the last thing I'm interested in."
"Then what do you want?"
"I want to teach you things you never dreamed of learning."
"I can't imagine you can show me anything I haven't already tried in the way of sex, but I'm willing to let you have at it," Ethan said, his confidence returning.
"So single-minded and shallow. Maybe I chose the wrong person. I thought you were ready," Victoria shook her head in mock disappointment.
"Wait, chose me for what? Ready for what?"
"I'm afraid it has nothing to do with sex, so you're probably not going to be interested," she taunted him.
"The depth of my interest will depend on how it compares to sex. You have me all worked up, and it's hard to switch gears. No pun intended"
"I can take care of that," she said, touching her middle and forefingers to the center of his forehead. He took a deep breath as she soothed his sexual appetite. It was only temporary, but this was important and she needed to have his full attention. Victoria could see he was now putting his hormones away and opening to a broader range of possibilities.
"In the restaurant, I was looking for a man with a strong sense of self who could act as my second-in-command. I'm recruiting for a highly specialized group of people to develop their natural gifts. You are the first to be contacted."
"I'm listening." Ethan was ready to cooperate.
Excerpted from "Coven"
Copyright © 2012 Diane Wing.
Excerpted by permission of Loving Healing Press, Inc..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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