Read Spellbound: A magical sequel to Bewitched Online
Authors: Daisy Prescott
Tags: #witches, #magical realism, #paranormal romance, #New Adult
It doesn’t come.
Madison laces her fingers with mine. I lift our joined hands and kiss the back of hers.
Our eyes meet and I know.
More than that, I feel more than I ever have before. My mind focuses on details I’ve never noticed before. The crisp edge of the night air chills my exposed skin. I hear an owl’s wings flap deep in the woods. Sap sweetens the smoke from the fire. Madison’s skin feels like cashmere against my hand. Her vanilla scent layers with caramel and rose.
I’m myself again.
“It worked.” I blink a few times, adjusting to not having contacts.
“I knew it would,” Madison whispers, squeezing my fingers.
“Like an addict needing to hit rock bottom, part of dissolving the curse involved you figuring out how to fight it on your own,” Mom explains as she steps in front of me for a hug. “You needed to fully own your power as a Wildes and believe in your destiny with Madison.”
“Claiming your birthright is what broke the curse,” Madison adds.
“Not the dill water?” I grin at my mother.
“I’m standing by it, but I think it only loosened the ends of the spell so we could unravel it.” Mom beams at me.
“Do you know who is responsible?” Tate asks.
“My father.” With the clarity of my senses comes certainty of the origin of the curse. “Not him directly, but he’s behind this. I think my father hired someone to curse me. He called and asked if I was seeing anyone right after Halloween. He always told me to be boring. Ever since I was in high school, he’s repeated those two words often. I took it as advice, but I realize now it was a threat. Hide myself or else. I’m not sure how he knew about Madison, maybe he has spies on campus, but somehow Halloween activated something that lay dormant for years. I’m certain he’s behind this somehow.”
Mom nods. “For a dark and bitter soul, nothing is more threatening than love, especially new love.”
“It has to be him. The jealousy, the misdirected anger, the possessiveness? Sound familiar, Mom?”
She makes a strangled sound in her throat. “How did I miss the signs? You were taking on all his worst qualities.”
I change the subject. “And Hamilton?”
“A side effect. When you focused on the heart and ribbon, you left a trace of your own magic on it. Then when he challenged you over Madison, it set something else in motion. Brief physical contact between the two of you was all it took to trigger a shadow curse.”
“Wait, shadow curse?” I stare down at Madison. “I’ve never heard of such a thing.”
“Because you wouldn’t be your true self, you took on the personality of who you perceived as your biggest rival.”
I snort. “Hamilton. Of all people.”
Madison’s snort is even louder than mine. “The worst possible option.”
“So by taunting me, Hamilton became a weapon of my father’s curse?” Wrapping my arm around her shoulder, I pull her close to me.
Her voice is quiet. “It appears Hamilton’s only a catalyst. For the curse to destroy your happiness, you needed to feel strongly about someone. Your father probably assumed you would remain single because fear and shame would keep you from openly being your true self.”
This information fills in the gaps in my own research. “My entire life, I believed I was protecting myself, but I was living out his twisted curse. As long as I kept to the shadows and hid my true identity, he won.”
Mom smiles proudly. “Your girl discovered the shadow curses while she was researching your ancestors on your father’s side. She has a real gift for making connections.”
Madison ducks her head. “I’m sure you would have figured it out before me if you had the time, Sarah.”
Mom gives her a stern look, but her words reveal her pride. “Don’t undercut your role in all of this. You saw the correlation between the descendants of those who accused and prosecuted the victims of the witch hysteria. Many of those families saw their family lines dwindle to nothing because of broken engagements and marriages, childless unions, and early death. You discovered the pattern of unhappiness that came from meddling with the powers of witches.”
I’m not surprised Madison discovered this additional angle. She’s brilliant.
“So who did my father hire for the initial curse?”
“No one in the coven knows who gave him the curse.” Pressing her lips together, my mother frowns and shakes her head. “For someone who swears against magic, your father let his bitterness and anger draw him to the darkest form.”
Madison curls herself into my side. “But why would someone who hates magic engage in curses?”
“If he felt he had no other option to protect Andrew from me, he probably thought he had no choice. How else do you combat magical powers?” Mom asks.
“The dill juice helped, so he must have involved a witch.” Madison wraps her arms more tightly around my waist.
“The dill only loosened the ends of the spell so we could confirm the curse. If ancient magic is at work, it’s very strong.”
An idea forms in my head. “Or the curse extends beyond me? Could it be something in the Bradford line I’ve inherited?”
With a shiver, I drape my arm over Madison shoulder, bringing her even closer. Her warmth dispels the cold dread at how far my father is willing to go to keep me from being like my mother.
“Anything is possible.” Mom presses her lips together and lets her gaze drift to the sky.
Mom and I meet stares. Dark magic will leave a trace on those affected and those who use it. While we’ve broken the spell’s power over my behavior, I won’t walk away unscathed. Invisible tatters of the curse will remain. I only hope I stopped it before lasting damage occurred. I’ll never forgive myself if somehow this harms Madison.
“We should celebrate.” A lightness returning to Mom’s voice. She almost sounds smug, though her brow furrows in worry.
“Why?” I ask.
“Because it didn’t work. You won.”
I kiss Madison softly on the lips. “We won.”
A soft knock sounds on my door. I’m half expecting to see Tate barge through it for his daily check-in with me.
The knocking continues, increasing in volume.
Maybe it’s Hamilton. While I’ve reverted to my normal self, Luke appears to have become less of a flaming toadstool—Madison’s expression—than before. We’ll never be friends, but I’ve stopped thinking of him as my enemy. No longer a threat, he’s just a guy on campus.
Life would be perfect if only I could avoid my father. I have seven unheard voicemails from him on my phone. The longer I put off returning his calls, the more annoyed he’ll be.
Let him stew. Unless he has spies in the coven or on campus, he doesn’t know his fancy curse has been stifled. I need to figure out how to confront him or avoid him permanently. Something I’ll have to deal with after finals and the holidays.
“Come in,” I yell.
Madison pokes her head through the slim opening. “I’m early.”
Happy it’s her and not Tate, I stand and stalk toward her. “Eager?”
“I reorganized the flyers in the lobby for five minutes before I allowed myself to knock on your door.”
I grin down at her. “You did? That’s the best idea you came up with for wasting time?”
Color blooms on her cheeks. I’m hoping she’s remembering the few happy moments we had together before her disaster of a birthday. “We don’t have to leave for another fifteen minutes.”
She wets her lower lip with her tongue. “A lot can happen in fifteen minutes.”
I don’t need to look into her eyes to know we’re both thinking about reversing the curse.
But because I am, I also catch her quick glance at my bed.
“I’m going to need a lot more than fifteen minutes to do everything I’ve been dreaming about with you.”
“Oh.” The word sounds more like an inhale than conscious thought.
“Plus, we have a birthday do over to recreate.”
“Maybe I’ve changed my mind on what I want for my birthday.”
“Oh no you don’t. I’ve made plans.”
She narrows her eyes at me.
“You’ll like these plans.”
“I’m not sure I’m ever going to like surprises again.” Her shoulders tighten as she crosses her arms.
I bite the corner of my mouth. “Sweetheart, nothing about me is normal. Life will always be filled with the unexpected. You sure you want to sign on for that?”
“I may not be a witch.” She presses her finger against my lips when I open them to protest. “Yet. Or ever.”
I hold onto one finger and gently nip the tip. “But?”
Her eyes widen and she doesn’t breathe for a beat or two.
“Sorry. You were distracting me.”
“I can stop.” I gently suck on her finger. “I’ll go sit on my desk and give you enough space to form coherent thoughts.” Releasing her hand, I take a step away.
“Maybe you should go back to the glasses. You’re too pretty.”
“I thought you liked my weird pale eyes.” I pick up an old pair of glasses sitting on my desk and put them on. “Better?”
She groans and buries her head in her arms. “Worse.”
“Maybe you should speak to the wall. Not look at me at all.”
For some reason, this sounds like good advice to her and she faces my Dr. Who poster.
“When you were a toad-boy, I knew something was wrong. In my bones, I could feel some sort of energy around you that wasn’t you. You were Andrew, but not you. That’s why I never gave up.” She rests her hands on the wall and presses her head against them. “I never gave up on us. Maybe that makes me a fool.”
I can’t stand not being able to see her eyes. Leaning against the wall next to her, I brush my knuckles along her arm. “Madison?”
She exhales and twists to face me, slowly blinking open her eyes.
I lose myself in their deep color for a few seconds while I gather my thoughts. “The curse was never about you. If anything, you saved me. Magic or witch or not, you’re extraordinary.”
“I’m not,” she protests.
“Don’t argue with a witch.”
“What are you going to do? Hex me? Make me drink warm pickle-flavored tea? Bring it on.” She smirks at me. “Been there, done that.”
Instead of arguing with her about her powers, I kiss her.
She’ll figure out who she is someday. There are powers waiting for her to discover, if she wants them.
It’s up to her.
Dark magic exists, but as long as there is love, we can fight it.
As long as she wants me, she’ll have me.
* * *
Thank you for reading this continuation of the Bewitched story. Yes, I do plan to write more with Madison, Andrew, Tate, Sam, Philips, Sarah, and the rest of the cast of characters. When? Ah, that’s the trick. I can’t say right now, but if you love these stories, be sure you’re subscribed to my newsletter and be the first to hear.
About Daisy Prescott
Daisy Prescott is the USA Today bestselling author of the Modern Love Stories series, which features thirty-somethings and forty-somethings falling in love and the all male POV Wingmen series. Occasionally she writes about witches in Salem.
Born and raised in San Diego, Daisy currently lives in a real life Stars Hollow in the Boston suburbs with her husband, their dog Mulder, and an indeterminate number of imaginary house goats. When not writing, she can be found in the garden or kitchen, or on social media usually talking about hot, bearded men.
Her work has been translated into multiple languages, including Portuguese and Turkish.
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Also by Daisy Prescott
Modern Love Stories:
We Were Here
(prequel to Geoducks)
Happily Ever Now (coming Winter 2017)
A sports Rom-Com standalone
Confessions of a Reformed Tom Cat
(a boxed set of Ready to Fall & Confessions of a Reformed Tom Cat)
(coming Fall 2016)
(Maggie and Gil)
Take the Cake and Run
(John and Diane)
Take for Granted
(Jo and Ben)
Take it Easy
(Tom and Hailey plus John and Diane)
Give and Take
(a crossover between Modern Love Stories and Wingmen)
A magical Halloween novelette set in Salem, Massachusetts
A magical novella set in Salem, Massachusetts which continues the Bewitched story
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