Indigo Blackwood is a popular cheerleader with a football-star boyfriend and cool friends. On the surface, her life looks perfect. But when a guy dies violently right before her eyes and an ancient family Bible is stolen, Indie’s world spirals into darkness. Turns out Indie isn’t just a normal teenager: she has a destiny. And it involves much more than pom-poms and parties.
If she doesn’t get that book back, every witch in existence will die. And that’s seriously bad news for Indie, because according to Bishop, the hot warlock who has an uncanny knowledge of everything that matters, she’s a witch too.
Indie is about to uncover the many shadowy truths about her life—and a supernatural future unlike any she ever imagined on top of the cheer pyramid.
Praise for HEXED:
"A perfect mix of action, romance, and humor - HEXED kept me riveted until the very last page!"—Amy Tintera, New York Times bestselling author of the RUINED trilogy
“Seriously fun, deliciously enjoyable.”—The Huffington Post
"Fast-paced, with sizzling tension!"—Victoria Scott, author of Fire & Flood
"Wicked fun!"—Amy Plum, author of the DIE FOR ME series
"A fast-paced plot with plenty of shocking twists and turns."School Library Journal
Related collections and offers
|Publisher:||Random House Children's Books|
|Series:||Michelle Krys' Hex Series , #1|
|Product dimensions:||5.40(w) x 8.10(h) x 1.00(d)|
|Lexile:||800L (what's this?)|
|Age Range:||12 - 17 Years|
About the Author
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Read an Excerpt
Exactly twelve minutes into cheerleading practice, and I already wish I were dead.
Sweat collects along my hairline. Blood fills my head, and a hammering pulse pounds in my neck. I can’t be the first to fall, but my arms quiver under the weight of my body until, finally, they buckle and I collapse onto the cold blue mat of the school’s gymnasium.
“What the hell was that, Indie? My grandma could do a better handstand.” Bianca Cavanaugh, Fairfield High’s resident slave-driver cheer captain (and my best friend), marches up to me with her hands on her hips.
Julia tosses her peroxide-blond head back and laughs. So of course the rest of the squad erupts into giggles. Even Thea, the little Chinese girl Bianca treats like crap because she can barely speak English and only keeps on the team because she weighs ten pounds and makes a great flier. Bunch of traitors.
Gritting my teeth, I push myself up onto my elbows. Most people would assume that the coach not being able to make it to practice would mean we’d get to slack off for an hour and a half. Nope. When Coach Jenkins is absent (read: every second practice, due to her various commitments to French manicures and online dating), Bianca uses her power to practice medieval torture methods on the squad. Which, okay, I’ll admit it, didn’t bother me too much until she turned on me toocoincidentally around the same time I started dating Devon.
“Well?” Bianca says. “What do you have to say for yourself?” She shifts her weight to her other foot.
I almost spit out my standard apology. Almost. “I guess I just fail to see the point of a two-minute handstand, unless your plan is to bore the opposition to death.” Titters from the squad bolster my confidence. “And if Granny is so much better than me, why not ask her to join the squad?”
Bianca takes one step closer and stares down her ski-slope nose at me, eyes narrowed to slits. A casual observer might call it a death stare, but after nine years of friendship I know better; it’s an “embarrass me in front of the squad again and you’ll come to regret the day you were born” stare. Big difference. Still, I decide to back off.
“Sorry,” I say. “I’ll try not to suck so much next time.”
Bianca cocks her head.
I sigh. “And your grandma’s actually aging really well. I bet she’d look hot in spankies.”
Bianca rolls her eyes, then twirls on her heels to face the rest of the squad. “The point of a two-minute handstand isn’t to bore the opposition to death or even to flash them our awesome asses. It’s to improve our balance and stability.” She claps her hands so hard a few girls startle. “Now get on your feet, losers. Three minutes this time.” And with a pointed look at me she adds, “That includes you, Blackwood.”
Exactly fourteen minutes into practice and I decide I’d rather Bianca were dead. I get through the rest of practice by imagining thirty-two ways I’d like to kill her.
When the clock strikes five and the basketball team charges into the gym to boot us out, the break in tension is practically palpable. The squad stops just short of celebrating, in light of the fact that Bianca hates complainers, and limps off toward the locker room for scalding-hot showers. It's only September. It's going to be a long year.
“Hey, bitches, I need help taking these mats back,” Bianca says. By “help” she means do it for her.
Pretending not to hear her, I hightail it to the locker room, strip out of my practice T-shirt and shorts, and escape into the first shower stall available.
I turn the tap to the hottest temperature possible and let the burning spray massage the tense muscles in my neck, watching the water circle the drain. I’m in love with this shower. I’d like to make out with this shower. If I could move into this shower, with its gloriously strong water pressure and hell-hot spray, I would. But Mom will kill me if I’m late for work again.
I turn off the tap and reach for the towel hanging on the hook on the other side of the curtain.
Bianca whips the curtain open. “ ’Bout time.”
“Mind?” I scramble to cover myself with the towel.
“Relax. No one cares what your tits look like. Right, girls?”
“Right,” twenty girls confirm in unison. Crazy how it can appear as if they’re going about their own businesstoweling off, getting dressed, fighting for a spot in front of the mirror to apply their makeup and blow-dry their hairbut really be watching every move Bianca makes.
Bianca perches on the bench outside my stall and starts passing a brush through her thick blond hair. “So listen, sorry if I was a little hard on you today.”
I snort. “A little?”
“Okay, so a lot.” She leans toward me and lowers her voice. “But I kind of have to make an example out of you, you know? I can’t have the other girls thinking I’m going easy on you or they’ll never respect me when Jenkins is away. I thought you’d understand.”
I don’t care if it sort of makes sense and we’d probably suck a lot of ass if it weren’t for Bianca going extra hard on us in place of our absentee coachI consider her paddle brush as Way #33 to kill her.
“So,” she continues, “did you hear everyone’s going to In-N-Out Burger?”
“Yeah, I heard something about that.” I tighten the towel around my chest and move past her, wet feet slapping against the gritty tiles. I can guess where this is going.
She follows me. “Devon’s coming too.”
Ding, ding, ding!
Bianca leans against the locker next to mine and pretends to check her hair for split ends while I pretend to be really interested in the contents of my bag, because I just don’t know what to do when she gets like this. I thought she’d be over Devon by now. We’ve been best friends since the first grade, and he’s just some guy. Some sickeningly hot, captain-of-the-football-team guy.
But if I’m being honest, there was friction between us before Devon ever came along. Things got a little weird around the time Bianca became morbidly obsessed with popularity and dragged me along on her mission to become high school royalty.
Supposedly it’s normal; Mom says friends can drift apart as they get older, as their interests change and their personalities develop.
This is bullshit, of course. Bianca’s the person who pushed Stacey Miller in the first grade after she told me my hair was ugly, and then offered me half of her banana sandwich. She was there for me when Grandma died when I was eight and I thought the world was ending. She’s the girl who dressed up in fur hats and muffs with me when we were eleven and traipsed around the mall pretending to be my Russian sister. Who gave me the giant collage of pictures of us for my fifteenth birthday last year, a collage that was (and still is) so awesome it had me both spitting Coke out of my nose and tearing up. We’ll always be best friends. This is just a little rough patch. And since she shuts down any attempt to talk about it and won’t admit there’s even a problem, I’m left with Door #3, which is to ride it out until she gets whatever this is out of her system.
Still. Doesn’t mean I have to like it.
“What about Sebastian?” I ask. “He going too?” Sebastian is a friend of Bianca’s older brother who she’s had a mambo crush on since forever. He’s got an acne problem (as far as I can tell from the pictures), but he’s older and plays lacrosse, so I guess that makes him awesome. He’s her date for homecoming.
She dismisses my comment with a wave. “Like he wants to hang out with a bunch of high schoolers.”
Someone should tell Bianca she’s in high school.
“Anyway, it’s too bad you’re working,” she says.
“Yeah, too bad.” I yank my denim miniskirt and white tank on over my damp body, then put on my new suede fringe boots.
“You should just pull a no-show,” Bianca says.
“And get fired?”
“So what?” she retorts.
“Well, I kind of like not being poor.” I tear a brush through my dark blond hair even though I’d rather just get out of herebrushing isn’t optional when you have as much wild curly hair as I dothen lean into the little locker mirror to apply mascara.
“I know . . . I bet it’s because you secretly love working at that voodoo shop.” She circles me, pretending to stir a cauldron.
For someone who claims that every single thing we do needs to be carefully calculated, that one misstep could thrust us back into loserdom, she sure likes to remind people about my quirky mom.
She affects a high-pitched, nasal voice “Eye of newt and toe of frog, tail of rat and hair of dog! Oh, and a pinch of Bianca’s toenail clippings for good measure!” She throws her head back and cackles.
The locker room roars with laughter.
“God, your mom’s crazy,” Bianca says.
Oh no, she didn’t just utter the C word. So what if I woke up at three a.m. to find Mom digging up the backyard by headlamp while chanting locating spells because her witchcraft bible was missing? That was one time! Six years ago! And lots of people practice witchcrafthello, it’s called Wicca. And so what if she thinks aliens exist? Eccentricity is practically a requirement to live in L.A.
But as much as I’m dying to do it, gouging Bianca’s eyes out with my Maybelline Great Lash mascara brush probably won’t improve the situation, so I laugh too.
“Well, have fun, loser.” Bianca pokes me in the shoulder. “Call me later, okay?”
“Course.” I send her a smile and sling my messenger bag over my shoulder, sliding on my favorite pair of oversized white shades.
But I let my smile fade as soon as my back is to the locker room, the heavy weight of disloyalty pressing on my shoulders. I tell myself that I’ll make it up to Mom somehow. Maybe I’ll stay late at the shop tonight. Maybe I’ll make dinner. Hell, I’ll even recite one of her spells with her, like she’s always begging me to.
I exit through the gym’s fire door (which the squad uses as a shortcut to the parking lot) and run into a brick wall of sticky, humid air carrying subtle notes of gardenia, jasmine, and weed, along with the not-so-subtle notes of pounding bass drums and honking horns from the start-stop traffic clogging the street. A pool of sweat forms instantly above my collarbone and my clothes start clinging to my body despite the ocean breeze carried from miles away. Which is to say, it’s an average L.A. day.
I cut a path across the fresh-mown lawn of the football field toward the congested parking lot. It’s not hard to spot my ancient Sunfire among all the shiny new cars. Driving Mom’s castoff is only slightly less embarrassing than taking the bus would be.
I glance over my shoulder and groan as I spot Paige lumbering across the field toward me, dwarfed under the violin case strapped across her back.
A more irritating and persistent neighbor I have yet to meet. Paige and I were friends for, like, three seconds way back in the day before Bianca came along, due to the whole same-age, lives-ten-steps-away thing. Our moms thought it was adorable when Paige would chase me around trying to get me to play with her, never realizing that maybe it was a sign. Now, at the age of sixteen, Paige is still chasing me around trying to get me to be friends with her. And it’s still not cute.
I keep walking. Even if I had time for a chat, I wouldn’t stop.
“Ind, wait up!”
I practically break into a jog.
Paige snatches my arm. “There you are.” She gasps for air. “Didn’t you hear me calling you?”
“No,” I lie. “But I can’t talk. I’m late for work.” I pass an appraising eye from her mousy-brown bangs, which fall over thick-rimmed, leopard-print glasses, to her oversized band T-shirt, pin-striped shorts, and unlaced Doc Martens, and decide she must actually be trying to look bad. There is no other explanation. It’s no wonder Bianca says I can’t afford to hang out with her.
She doesn’t take the hint and skips along beside me, hiking the violin case over her skinny shoulder.
“So listen, I know reading’s not cool and blah blah blah, but I just read the most fantastic book. Seriously, the best book ever. You have to borrow it. It’s by this totally weirdo hippie guy but he’s a genius, a genius, Ind. I totally thought of you when I read it.”
The Sunfire has never looked so appealing. I rummage in my bag and produce my keys. “Great. It’s just that I have to get to the shop right now. Otherwise I’d love to hear all about it.” I open the driver’s-side door.
“Actually, I was wondering if I could get a ride. My mom has a work meeting, and my new violin teacher is right by your mom’s shop.” She smiles sheepishly.
I sigh. Knowing Paige, she isn’t going to give up easily. It’d probably be much less painful to just drive the girl and get it over with than to argue about it for twenty minutes in the parking lot. I look around to confirm no one’s watching before saying, “Okay, get in.”
She takes an inordinate amount of time shoving her violin case into the backseat, before finally sinking into the passenger seat. I peel out of the parking lot into the insane afternoon traffic. Paige blathers on about this bookwhich admittedly seems pretty cool, the bits and pieces I catch of itwhile my mind slips back to the scene in the locker room, to the way Devon’s name slid over Bianca’s tongue. It makes me sick, so of course I start imagining possible scenarios taking place at the restaurant right now: Bianca playfully hitting Devon’s arm after he tells a joke, Bianca leaning across the table so Devon can get a good look at her cleavage, Bianca and Dev making out in a booth.
My stomach coils into a knot, and I have to remind myself that Devon would never cheat on me. He loves me. Even if he is an incurable flirt. Still, sometimes I wonder how much easier life would be if I just let Bianca have him.