Authors: Dana Marie Bell
The last Beckett brother is going down.
, Book 4
If he had a choice, Daniel Beckett would wait to cast the Beckett family mating spell until his life is more settled. But his brothers, worried he’s losing himself to his wolf, aren’t giving it to him.
Daniel doesn’t need a spell to know Kerry Andrews is his mate. With the last of the Godwin warlocks still on the loose, Daniel crosses his fingers that the willful, stubborn, beautiful woman will allow him to protect her.
Kerry is tempted to make Daniel wait, like he’s made
wait for so long. But the decision is taken out of her hands when things start going horribly wrong. A sleeper hex is activated, putting her life in danger—and the only safe place to run is Daniel’s waiting arms.
Once there, Kerry finds a whole new world to explore with her magical mate. But Arthur Godwin is plotting to rip away their newfound happiness. Women who look like Kerry are turning up dead…and it’s only a matter of time before the killer’s weapon hits its intended prey.
Warning: This title contains explicit sex, graphic language, a growly wizard and the woman who loves him.
Dana Marie Bell
To Mom, who regularly sits with me and compares aches, pains and new meds. When did we get broken? And how is it Dad’s fault?
To Dad, who will probably get blamed for our boo-boos and won’t even notice. After all, Mom changed the couch and you didn’t realize it until three months later. After sitting in it. For
To Dusty, who would more than likely notice if I changed the couch, since he picked it out.
And to all of the fans who followed the Beckett brothers from
Shadow of the Wolf
And they lived happily ever after.
Daniel lay on his back, bouncing a ball off the wall of his apartment. To say he was bored would be an understatement. He’d finished his work for the day, said goodnight to his family, and now, alone in his three-bedroom home overlooking New York City, he was slowly going out of his mind.
He probably could have called one of his brothers up for cards or something, but Gareth was busy with Genevieve. Daniel didn’t want to take any time away from them. They were so newly mated they had hearts and flowers around them wherever they went.
Then there was Zach. He still had a lot of ass-kissing to do to make things right between himself and his baby brother, and interrupting Zach’s night with his mate, Jo, was not the way to do it.
That left Chris, but last he saw his brother he was still trying to figure out if he was moving to New York or not. He was with their parents and his mate, Lana, hashing that out.
If only his mate where there, things would be perfect.
Daniel bounced the ball against the wall a few more times as he considered going out for the evening. His wolf hadn’t been on a run since they got to New York, not a good, long one like he used to do back home. And walking on a leash did
count. The least Gen could have done was gotten rid of the damn dog tag Zach picked. Who named their dog Wiggles? It was even worse than the one Zach had picked for Gareth. He’d rather have been Pookie than Wiggles.
When his cell phone rang he answered, grateful for any distraction he could get. “’Lo?”
“Hello to you too, handsome.”
The ball bounced off the wall and hit Daniel squarely in the crotch. “Oof.” He rolled over, cupping his groin and trying to breathe through the pain.
“Daniel? You there?”
“Yup,” He gritted through his teeth.
“Still as pleasant as always.”
That sexy voice was shooting right through him. If his balls weren’t smashed he might have gotten hard. “What do you want?”
Kerry Andrews, the bane of his existence—and his future mate—sighed. “I’m bored.”
“Call Lana.” He’d willingly throw Chris under the bus for this one. He couldn’t handle dealing with Kerry, not now. Possibly not ever.
“She didn’t answer. Neither did Gen or Jo.”
“So I’m an afterthought?” Damn it, he hadn’t meant to say that, but her first thought should have been of him.
Nope. Not even a little bit. Daniel didn’t sleep without dreaming of her. The urge to cast the mate spell was strong, but bringing Kerry back to New York might very well end in her death. The Godwin brothers seemed to have a thing for Daniel’s mate, and until Arthur Godwin was dead it wasn’t safe for Kerry to be anywhere near Daniel. “Maybe.” He rolled back over now that his balls had decided they weren’t broken. “Why don’t you go paint your nails or shove needles in some unsuspecting people?”
“Nah. I already did that today.” She yawned. “Just got off an eighteen hour shift, actually.”
Daniel sat right up. “Why aren’t you in bed?” She should be resting, not talking to him or anyone else. Wasn’t she taking care of herself? Annabelle Evans, Lana’s grandmother, had promised him that she’d keep an eye on Kerry, but if Kerry wasn’t taking proper care of herself then Daniel was going to have to make some phone calls.
“Kerry. Why don’t you go to bed?” The picture of her sliding between her sheets, her blonde hair all around her face, made him want to howl.
“All alone? In the dark?”
She was driving him insane. “I’m hanging up now.”
Something in her tone, the desperation, made him pause. “What?”
She blew out a quick breath. “When are you casting the mate spell?”
“When my ass quacks like a duck.”
“Ooh, sounds serious. Maybe I should take a look at that.”
“Why?” he whined, unable to believe she’d said that.
“Just curious.” The innocent tone didn’t fool him one bit. “By the way, when you do cast it, you know who will come, don’t you?”
He’d known for some time that Kerry was his, but he’d done his level best to push her away until he knew without a doubt it was safe to call her home. So he did his best to sound bored when he replied, “Christina Hendricks?”
“Who?” He could practically hear her shake her head. “No, asshole. Me. I’ll be there, not some big-breasted bimbo from—”
“Hey, now, no dissing Yo-Saff-Bridge. She was married every single time.” If being snarly didn’t get her to back off, maybe being a big nerd would.
“Oh please. None of them were legal except the first one, the trashy bigamist. Captain Mal deserved better.”
He was so surprised he nearly dropped the phone. “You’re a Browncoat?”
“Let’s put it this way. I cried when Morena Baccarin cut off all her hair. And when Walsh died—”
“I am a leaf in the wind,” Daniel said quietly, lowering his head in respect for his favorite character.
There was a moment of silence on the other end of the line.
“Now go to bed.” Daniel hung up the phone, his hand clenching on it when it began to ring a few seconds later. He flopped back onto the floor, his head hitting the hardwood with a hollow sound. Sort of like his life at the moment. They had no clue where Arthur was, Kerry was in Philadelphia, he was in New York, and their mating might never come to pass.
Daniel picked up the ball again and contemplated throwing it up in the air until it landed on his head. Maybe then he could forget all about warlocks, demons, sexy nurses and a simple spell that might end up killing everyone he held dear.
There was going to be a wild animal mauling in downtown Manhattan.
Daniel walked faster, hurrying away from one of the few people he gave a damn about in this entire building—hell, the fucking world—before he bit his brother’s face off.
“Danny-boy.” Gareth whistled at him like he was calling a puppy. “Here, boy. Come on.” He heard Gareth slapping his knee. If he didn’t knock it off, Daniel would slap something else.
Daniel resisted the urge to shoot his brother the finger. The last thing he wanted was for Gareth to know he was intentionally ignoring him. He rarely got away with fooling his brother, and he doubted this time was an exception.
Daniel ducked around a corner and tucked his earbuds in. Some heavy bass music was in his future, not whatever Gareth had in mind.
“Gotcha.” A strong arm went around his neck, and only the scent of pack kept Daniel from scratching and biting to be free.
“Yes, King Butt Munch?” He shrugged his brother off, turning to stare at his older sibling. “You bellowed?”
Gareth grabbed him by the collar and began hauling him back toward the elevator. “Time to do the ritual.”
Fuck that shit. “I have to—”
“Do the ritual. Yes, I know.” Gareth punched the elevator button.
The elevator opened to reveal Zach, the strongest of all the living Becketts. His blue eyes darted between Gareth and Daniel before a smile quirked his lips. “Is he ready to gnaw his own paw off?”
Gareth sighed and shoved Daniel into the elevator. “Pretty much.”
“I hate you all.” Daniel leaned against the back of the elevator wall and crossed his arms over his chest. This was not going to end well. Anything involving him and Kerry was bound to fail spectacularly. There was far too much bullshit going on in his life for Kerry to be anything but endangered if he did the Beckett mate spell. She’d already been taken twice, hurt by the warlocks in the Godwin family. Add in the wizard Godwins who were making his brother Gareth’s life hell, and the last thing Daniel wanted was his mate caught in the middle of it all.
Even worse, she was his
mate. A mundane. Absolutely vulnerable to anything and everything someone magical could throw at her.
He’d rather go feral than bring her home to that fucking mess. She’d be dead, insane or a toad inside a week.
“How can you hate this face?” Zach batted his baby blues and pouted. “Jo says I’m adorable.”
Daniel cocked his head. “You look like you’re about to fart.”
Gareth belted out a laugh as the elevator doors swished open once more. “C’mon, kids. Time to play.” Before Daniel could do anything more than grunt his disapproval Gareth had him in a headlock and was marching him toward his penthouse apartment. “That means you too, asshole.”
Gareth opened the front door to his stunning apartment, and once again Daniel found himself envious of his brother’s luck. It was good to be the king.
The first thing he’d noticed had been the view of Central Park and the city through the floor-to-ceiling windows. They gave an uninterrupted view of just about everything. The windows enveloped the wizard king’s apartment, giving the residents a stunning view of the city. There was even some outdoor space, a wraparound balcony Daniel loved to stare out over the city from.
The second thing Daniel had noticed was the sheer size of the apartment. The open concept living room, dining room and kitchen were on a grand scale, the ceilings at least ten feet high. There was an open staircase to the left of the front door that led to an upper level, where there were three en-suite bedrooms, the king’s bedroom and the king’s private workroom. Add in the restaurants that delivered, the coffee shop Gen had fallen in love with and the nightlife, Gareth had it all.
And he’d chosen to share it with Daniel, naming him chancellor. Daniel’s apartment wasn’t nearly this spacious, but it had its own deck, three en suite bedrooms and a stunning view of Central Park that he never got tired of. The thought of his children running around his new home, his brother and sister-in-law only one floor above him, made him shiver with delight.
But having that family could cost his mate far more than he was willing to make her pay, so he’d pushed and pushed until she’d left. Once out of his sight his wolf had mourned just as much as Daniel did, but they both understood the necessity of keeping Kerry as far away from the danger of the Godwins as possible. Once the last Godwin was dealt with, only then would they cast the mate spell and bring Kerry to her rightful place at his side.
It was hell being away from her, but if she was unharmed, it would be worth the pain.
Gareth tugged and pushed until Daniel stood inside the workroom Gareth used to cast spells. Daniel’s workroom wasn’t nearly as grandiose as Gareth’s. He’d been far too busy dealing with Gareth’s court and trying to track down the last Godwin warlock, Arthur, to think about his own spell casting. So while everything in his workroom was neatly organized, the personal touches he loved just as much as Gareth did were missing. Another thing he planned on rectifying once Arthur Godwin was dead or bound from magical use for the rest of the life of the universe.
“Hey. Almost ready.” Chris was busy putting the final touches to Gareth’s workroom. Glancing around, Daniel could tell exactly what spell Chris expected to be performed.
He turned on his heel, only to be snagged again by Gareth. “Damn it.”
“Get your ass in that room.” Purple lights danced along Gareth’s skin. A purple crown of light appeared around his head. Gareth was using his power as king to force Daniel to obey.
“Grrr.” Daniel strode into the room and looked at the layout Chris had ready for him. His fingers twitched when he saw the emerald ring, the same ring his family had used for generations, lying on the altar cloth. He picked it up, already aware he had no choice now.
Once the spell was cast, there was no going back. All of Daniel’s work would be undone, but right now the greater threat was to Gareth. If Gareth tried to force Daniel one more time, Daniel’s mate spell could be seriously compromised, and Gareth would take the karmic backlash rather than Daniel.
Running away was no longer an option. For one thing, Gareth had pretty much ordered him, as his king, to do the spell. And this was the second time. The first had been when Gen had been healing from a broken leg, and Chris and Lana were planning on leaving New York to return to their home in Pennsylvania. Everyone seemed to think that Daniel was going feral, committing suicide by werewolf. They all knew if he didn’t do the spell the wolf would go mad, eventually tearing Daniel apart from the inside out.
The problem was they were wrong, but they had no idea how wrong they were. Only Gen, Gareth’s mate, had grasped the true reason for his reluctance, but even she had pushed him to cast the spell, unwilling to lose her brother-in-law. Daniel had resisted, but now it looked like he was going to have to cast the spell.
If Gareth, for the third time, ordered Daniel to cast the spell, Daniel’s body would move on its own, forced by the magic to cast the spell. Gareth would more than likely pay a terrible price for Daniel’s stubborn fear. The karmic backlash of forcing an unwilling person could be anything from losing Gen, to death, to nothing at all if the karma police decided Gareth was right to force the issue. No one knew how karma worked, or whether or not the so-called karma police even existed, but Daniel didn’t want to find out.
It was a price Daniel would avoid at all costs. Losing Gareth was just as bad as losing Kerry in his eyes. It was something he could never live with.
Now he had two stubborn people to protect. Casting the mate spell to bring Kerry to him was the lesser of two evils, at least at the moment. “Move this to here.” Daniel placed the ring on the offering plate, one that should have had a pentacle on it. Instead it had the symbol of Hecate, the three-armed spiral the mark of an Own. “Why is this plate here?”
Chris coughed and turned away.
Zach, his cheeks turning red, looked up at the ceiling. “Well, see, the plate with the pentacle broke. There was this wild fight with a pigeon and an unplanned discus toss…”
Daniel held up his hand. The weird shit Zach had to deal with still amazed him. “I do
want to know.” He blew out a breath, scared out of his wits. This could end in tragedy, and not only for Kerry and Daniel.
The incense was burning, its cinnamon scent filling the air. The small fire in the cauldron burned merrily, ready for the slip of paper he’d be throwing into it before he recited the spell. Colored candles were lit and placed just so. Flower stems, a rose for love and an iris for wisdom, were braided through the Beckett emerald ring, waiting for him to begin the chant. Every item held a piece of the spell, the same spell every Beckett male had cast for centuries.
The urge to run was so great he almost shifted.
“Chill, bro.” Zach put his arm around Daniel’s shoulder as Chris grabbed a pen and paper off of the altar. “It’s not that bad, being mated to your dream girl.”
Daniel rolled his eyes. “Fuck this, and fuck all of you.” He’d just have to make sure to take his brothers up on their vows to protect Kerry with everything they had. He’d lock her up and throw away the key until Arthur was dead. There was no other solution he could think of that would appease his brothers, his wolf, and keep Kerry safe. “You have no idea what you’re about to do.”
“Then tell us!” Gareth’s expression was so full of frustration Daniel almost caved. “I know there’s some other reason than Kerry being in danger.”
Daniel closed his eyes. He’d never told anyone other than their father his deepest secret. Telling now, when they wanted him to cast the mate spell…
It wouldn’t change anything. They’d think his wolf’s closeness was due to his putting off the mate spell. He’d have to perform it
tell his brothers everything.
No. He’d deal, as he always had, on his own. “It’s nothing. Let’s just get his over with.”
Gareth snarled, but backed off when Zach held up his hand.
“Be careful.” Zach, usually so happy-go-lucky, was dead serious. “Just remember, if you cast this spell with a specific person in mind, you’re in danger of turning it into a love spell.”
It was the same warning Zach had given Gareth, and no doubt Chris had given Zach before he cast it. Casting a love spell on a specific person was just inviting the karma police to come and make sure your life was a living hell. One simple mistake and the resulting spell could drive the lover into an insane stalker, turn the wizard into someone unable to love at all, or cause the would-be lover to both love and hate the wizard until one of them wound up dead.
But that wasn’t what Daniel was worried about. None of them understood what he was going through. They all thought they got it. Got him.
They didn’t have a fucking clue why he’d denied the Beckett mate spell for so long, but the truth was going to come out sooner rather than later, and when it did, he had no idea how they’d look at him. The secret he’d been hiding for so many years would collapse in on itself, and he’d be exposed not only to Kerry, but to his brothers as well.
Would they feel the same way, knowing Daniel’s wolf had always been this close to the surface? He’d always been more easily annoyed than the others, more wolf-like in his appetites, but they’d never seen the worst of it. Only Daniel’s father knew the full truth, and only his word kept Daniel’s brothers in the dark.
Daniel already knew Kerry was his mate. He didn’t need a spell to tell him, or to want to draw her closer. Nothing he did or said could change that fact. Daniel wouldn’t go feral because he didn’t cast the spell. Daniel might go feral if he
Deliberately putting Kerry in danger, pulling her closer to him, would make a demand of him he wasn’t sure he could handle. His wolf was in complete agreement with him, demanding they keep her away, safe until the threat was eliminated.
The fact that his brothers were pushing the ritual onto him for his own good? Priceless.
“Want to tell me what’s really got you going, or should I order you for the third time to do the damn spell?” Gareth, never one to let something go, was giving him the big-brother, get-your-ass-in-gear glare that Daniel hated.
He took a deep breath, calming himself and his wolf. It was inevitable. There was no use fighting anymore. As much as he wanted to keep her in Philadelphia, safe and secure, it wasn’t going to happen. He might as well cast the damn spell and get it over with. “Fuckhead.”
“That’s King Fuckhead.” Gareth pointed to the table. “Do it.”
Daniel snatched the pad and pen from Chris, scribbled two words on it, and folded it up. “On your heads be it.”
Before they could respond, he tossed the paper into the fire and began the chant that would either begin his life or end it.
“I call on forces higher than I,
To awaken the dreams that I hold inside.
Venus, grant me the love I lack;
With this spell my mate attract.
This candle for her,
This candle for me.
When they touch,
United we’ll be.
Kindle the love,
Kindle the flame,
When we meet, she’ll know my name.
By the power of earth and fire,
Bring unto me my heart’s desire.
By the power of air and sea,
As I will so mote it be.”
As he chanted, two candles, both red, one carved with the symbol for female, the other marked with the symbol for male and bearing a lock of his hair, shifted slightly toward one another.
His brothers stared at him, probably noting how unhappy Daniel was.
“Daniel?” Zach’s gaze was no longer filled with amusement. Instead the eyes of one of Hecate’s Own stared at him, seemingly seeing everything Daniel wanted to hide the most.
“It’s fine, Zach.” Daniel stared at the candles, ignoring his brothers and their building concern. “For now, anyway.”
But when the candles touched, Kerry would be here. Then furry hell would be sure to break loose on all of them. May the Goddess help them all.