Juniper Santiago - Book 2 of The Santiago Series

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Summary

Staring back at him was supposed to be his reflection, but it only looked like him – it wasn’t him. What do you do when the love of your life gets taken away from you after declaring that they belonged to someone else? What do you do when you realize that karma is getting back at you for forgetting the most important person to you, by making them forget about you too? How far would you go to get them back? Mateo is slowly losing his mind after watching Juniper leave with the man she now referred to as her mate. He can’t help but feel like its karma working on him, but at the same time, during his amnesia, he fell for his wife once more- he didn’t go and claim another mate entirely. Nothing makes sense to everyone, and it’s not helping that Roman and Juniper have disappeared. In the quest to get her back, more secrets are revealed, and everyone begins to realize that the unbelievable and amazing mating between Mateo and Juniper was only the beginning of a much, much bigger story.

Genre:
Fantasy / Romance
Author:
Katlego Moncho
Status:
Complete
Chapters:
3
Rating:
4.5 18 reviews
Age Rating:
13+

Chapter One - She Who is Odessa

In the beginning of their era, one thousand years ago, three of them were created. They were triplets – two girls, and a boy. The girls were named Odessa and Odezzia, with their brother named Oden.

Before them, eight others had been created – four boys and four girls. The boys were brothers and siblings to the triplets, while the girls were sisters created with the purpose of being mates to the brothers. The pairings were made different creatures, but they were equals with equal power.

As they grew up, the triplets were loved by their siblings and the mates – but one of the younger siblings didn’t like how she was being treated, and the fact that her older siblings had more power than she, Odezzia and Oden.

Odessa wanted more power.

And she wasn’t exactly granted it.

*SIX HUNDRED AND FIFTY YEARS AGO*

“Come on Dess! It will be fun!” Odezzia pleaded with her sister.

“I don’t want to come and watch you people make fools of yourselves. You can very well do that on your own!” Odessa snapped.

Oden frowned at his sister. “What’s gotten into you today?”

She sighed. “Doesn’t it bother you?”

“What exactly?” her siblings asked.

“The fact that they’re stronger than us!” Odessa exclaimed.

“Dess, are you really still on that?” Odezzia asked, rolling her eyes. She had no problem with the amount of power that they had.

“It’s not fair! We should all have equal power!” Odessa snapped.

“We, or you?” Oden asked.

Odessa shrugged. “Preferably the latter.”

Oden and Odezzia were already aware of their sister’s ugly personality. She was selfish, vain and power hungry, but they still loved her. She and Odezzia weren’t nearly as beautiful as their older sisters and older brothers’ mates, but they weren’t ugly either. Odessa hated that her sisters and her brothers’ mates looked better though.

She hated everything about them.

“Dess, why must you be so power hungry? Let it go,” Oden pleaded.

“Nay, I cannot do that Oden. There must be justice!” Odessa declared.

Odezzia scoffed. “You being more powerful is hardly any justice.”

“You either stand with me or you stand against me sister,” Odessa warned.

Odezzia raised an eyebrow. “Is that a threat sister?”

“Ay, but it is,” Odessa nodded.

“We will stand with you sister, even if we think you’re being hard headed,” Oden told her.

“I knew you would see reason brother,” Odessa smiled at her brother.

“If whatever you have planned goes wrong, you’re on your own,” Odezzia warned her.

“Does that mean you are with me?” Odessa asked.

“Ay, it would seem so! Don’t make me regret it,” Odezzia warned.

“I will not!” Odessa said happily.

“Alright! We shall go to the temple tonight then,” Odezzia suggested.

“Fantastic!” Odessa agreed.

The three siblings spent the rest of the day together, planning how they would approach the temple, and what they would ask. They didn’t want to mess it up in any way, so they avoided using words that would make them sound disrespectful.

When the moonlight adorned the night sky, they made their way towards the temple. They could hear their older siblings laughing in the distance. They went into the temple, and they’d already agreed that Odessa would do the talking.

“Are you ready?” Oden asked her.

She nodded. “I am.”

“Alright then! We’re ready when you are,” Odezzia said.

The siblings held hands before they started the spell to call upon their creator. For thirty minutes, they chanted, until the ground finally shook lightly and the temple started glowing. The air around them changed, and they could feel the powerful aura in the temple.

“My children,” the voice said to them. It fascinated them because the voice was neither male nor female.

It just was.

“Oh Great Creator, we come to you with saddened hearts,” Odessa spoke.

“What is it that burdens your hearts so?” the voice asked.

“We love our siblings and their mates, but we find it unfair that they possess more power and beauty than we do,” Odessa explained.

“All three of you?” the voice asked. They knew better than to lie to their Creator.

“I more than my siblings,” Odessa corrected.

“And what is it that you seek from me child?” the voice asked.

“Only that you make us equals,” Odessa pleaded.

There was silence for the longest time and the siblings were confused by it. They were even more confused when the temple stopped glowing. That meant that the Creator was no longer with them. Frustrated and most definitely livid, Odessa stormed out of the temple.

“Dess,” her siblings called after her.

“How naive I was to think that the Creator would care!” she spat.

“Come on Dess, don’t be like that. For all you know, your wishes may be granted by the morrow,” Oden pointed out.

“I would hope so!” Odessa huffed before their older siblings came into view.

“Little ones,” Saelone, the bloodsucker and mate to Khalel, beamed.

“Hi Sae,” Oden and Odezzia greeted.

“What are you guys doing out here?” Zeumatero asked. His mate, Stalaenys looked fascinated by the tree beside him.

“We’d gone to pay our respects,” Odezzia easily lied.

“Well, aren’t you hungry? We’ve prepared some food if you’d like some,” Marionessa, the witch and mate to Tagoromaen offered.

“We would love some,” Oden smiled. They followed the siblings back to their set up on the beach shore, with even a reluctant Odessa following behind.

“Are Isisily and Draexylon still at sea?” Odezzia asked after the aquatic mates.

“We’re here,” came the response as the pair stepped out from behind the trees, thankfully clothed.

“It must be a special night for we are all gathered here,” Tagoromaen chuckled.

“It is indeed a special night, though the brooding look on Dess’ face would come across as though she were being held captive by us,” Stalaenys teased. Odessa sent a glare her way.

Draexylon threw his arm over his younger sister’s shoulder. “What be the problem now Odessa?”

“It’s nothing,” Odessa mumbled.

Isisily nudged her. “Come on Dess! Talk to us.”

“You are the last people I want to talk to!” Odessa spat before getting up and walking away.

“Is this perhaps about the equal powers thing?” Marionessa asked.

“You know about that?” Oden and Odezzia asked in shock.

Tagoromaen nodded. “The Creator mentioned it to us.”

“She really wants to be powerful,” Odezzia pointed out.

“We know, but is she aware that great power carries with it a great responsibility?” Zeumatero asked.

Oden frowned. “You make it look easy.”

“We’re also centuries older than you. We’ve had years to practice and get used to our powers. Of course by now it looks easy, but it wasn’t always this easy,” Khalel explained.

“She still thinks that we should all be equals,” Oden commented.

“And what do you think?” Saelone asked.

Odezzia shrugged. “We’re fine with the way things are.”

“Then you are most deserving,” the eight said.

Before Oden and Odezzia could ask what was going on, they watched their older brothers and their mates come together before they started glowing. They mumbled something at the same time before Oden and Odezzia felt something rush through them.

In the woods, Odessa clutched her heart, as she too felt something go through her. What the triplets weren’t aware of, was that they were each receiving something different – something that catered to each of them.

They also didn’t know that Odessa was suddenly the weakest of them three.

The eight stopped mumbling and smiled at Oden and Odezzia, who were still confused by what had just occurred. From the looks on the faces of the eight, they knew that it would be futile to ask any questions, so they didn’t bother.

By sunrise, Odessa was missing. The siblings had no idea where she had gone, and they feared the worst. What they didn’t know was that she couldn’t have been happier to have left. She had finally gotten what she wanted. She could feel the new power coursing through her, so she figured that being with her family wasn’t where she was meant to truly be.

She didn’t need them anymore.

She teleported herself all around the world, enjoying everything that the rest of the world offered. She was admired by all who crossed paths with her, and it wasn’t long before she figured out why – she was more beautiful than she could’ve ever imagined she could be. She didn’t know that with all her power and beauty, came greater prices for her to pay.

Greater prices that would change her already ugly heart.

It was ten years later when she came across the love of her life, but she didn’t know that things would never work out for her.

She was at a farmer’s market, looking for some spices. She was living in a cottage in the woods as she’d decided to slow down her excessive living. She already knew that she could live for a very long time, so time was definitely on her side.

She was about to reach for a packet of coriander, when a hand reached out for it at the same time. She followed the hand and when she looked up, her eyes met dazzling emerald orbs. The man looking back at her had dark brown hair and a mesmerizing smile, and for the first time in her life, she was taken.

“Good day,” he smiled.

She internally swooned.

She blushed. “Good day to you too.”

He had never seen any woman so beautiful before. It wasn’t so much her external beauty, but the passion he could see in her eyes. He could instantly tell that she was misunderstood. There was just something about her that stood out to him.

“Merlin Beinvenido,” he introduced.

“Odessa Valentino,” she smiled.

They were both shocked by each other’s true identities.

“The most powerful witch,” he commented.

“The most powerful wizard and sorcerer – who would’ve thought?” she laughed.

“I’ve heard many things,” he countered.

She smirked. “Surely you don’t believe everything you hear. Rumours are an ugly thing.”

“Luckily for you, I do not. I’m a man who believes in what he sees over what others say,” he chuckled.

She raised an eyebrow, amused. “Oh? I’m lucky am I?”

She didn’t expect to be pulled flush against him.

“Why yes milady, you are,” he whispered in her ear, causing her to gasp at the sensation that travelled through her.

“Even your body responds to me,” he continued. She couldn’t even deny it.

“Why Mr Beinvenido, it would seem that you’re getting ahead of yourself,” she snapped, detaching herself from him. He only chuckled as she smoothed her dress out.

“Whatever tickles you fancy milady,” he winked.

“You’re awfully crass!” she scowled.

“Crass? I wouldn’t associate that word with a fine gentleman as myself,” he charmed.

“Fine? Gentleman? Is it a fashion to go around holding women inappropriately? Is that what they call being gentlemanly now?” she asked incredulously.

“You over think things, don’t you?” he asked amusedly.

“I do not!” she denied.

“Oh but you do!” he taunted. She was fleetingly taken by the light that shone in his eyes.

He probably had women swooning at his feet.

“I do not have to stand here and take this!” she snapped. As she was turning to leave, he held her hand, thus stopping her.

“Prove it to me then,” he said as he pulled her against him. For the second time, she flushed.

“What would you have me do?” she whispered.

“Come and have dinner with me,” he bargained.

“And if I refuse?” she challenged.

He grinned. “Then you would’ve proven me right.”

“Just because I wish to not dine with a narcissistic man, does not mean I over think things!” she defended.

“But that is where you are mistaken. I am not narcissistic. Here I am, trying to share a piece of myself with a woman who is fighting me for whatever reason,” he argued.

“Why me? A handsome man like you could have any other woman in this country,” she pointed out.

“You think I’m handsome?” he smiled genuinely.

She rolled her eyes. “Of course that is what you heard.”

“I could probably have any woman I want, but apparently the woman I want would rather see me with some other woman,” he informed her. She froze in his hold.

“You do not mean that,” she whispered.

“Why is it so hard for you to believe?” he questioned, confused. She instead broke free from his grasp.

“Goodbye Merlin,” she whispered before teleporting herself back to her cottage.

Without her spices.

“Damned Naturalist witches!” Merlin mumbled to himself.

For the following thirty years, Merlin followed the love of his life everywhere that she went. Odessa couldn’t believe that she could not shake the man. He was proving to be just as powerful as she is, hence his ability to keep up with her. He had an uncanny talent of creating new spells that made sure he always knew where she was, and what she was doing.

“You just don’t give up!” she shouted, knowing very well that he had followed her to the stream.

“I have basically been there with you for the past thirty years. I haven’t been with any other woman. I don’t know how else to prove to you that you are the only woman I want,” he retorted.

For the first time in thirty years, she truly realized that he was in love with her, and her alone. She couldn’t help herself as she launched herself at him, her lips on his. She gave in to the desire she had pent up since she’d met him.

They were married within five years, and they lived happily together for twenty five years. They were blessed with a son whom they both loved. They named him Balthazar, after Merlin’s father. They lived as a happy family for years.

“Mom?” Balthazar called as he walked into the house.

At age twenty five, he was the handsome spitting image of his parents. He had his mother’s blonde hair, and his father’s green eyes. It was no secret that he was a hit with the ladies, but he was just as picky as his mother had been before she met his father.

“In the kitchen,” Odessa called back.

“There’s someone looking for you at the mainland,” Balthazar informed her.

She looked to her son lovingly. He had been travelling to the mainland to help the people there. The humans thought the world of him as they were unaware that he didn’t really possess the strength they thought he did, but rather magic.

“Who?” she asked.

“I don’t know. She didn’t say,” Balthazar replied.

She?

“Alright! Let me head on,” she sighed, wiping her hands on her apron.

She took it off and kissed her son’s cheek before searching for her husband. She found him practising some new spells outside and she went up to him. She kissed him before bidding him farewell.

She reached the mainland, not sure who was looking for her, but she knew that whoever was looking for her, would find her.

The last person she expected was her brother’s mate.

She frowned. “Isisily?”

“Hello Odessa,” she greeted.

“What are you doing here?” Odessa questioned, eyes narrowed. She hadn’t seen any of her family members or their mates in over seventy years.

“I heard you were around these parts and figured I could come and visit,” Isisily said nonchalantly.

“You’re a long way from the sea,” Odessa pointed out.

“I know that much,” Isisily said plainly.

“So what’s the real reason you are here?” Odessa interrogated.

“Are you happy Dess?” Isisily asked, noting the ring on the woman’s finger.

“I am. What’s it to you?” Odessa asked.

“Well, since you left and never said a thing to anyone, you didn’t get the chance to be told about your curse,” Isisily informed.

“What are you talking about Isisily? You’re speaking in riddles!” Odessa snapped.

Isisily rolled her eyes. “You always did have a short temper.”

“You don’t want to test me right now. I’m stronger than I was when you last saw me,” Odessa bragged.

“Oh, I know, but you’re still not as strong as I am,” Isisily informed.

“What? Of course I am! I felt the change!” Odessa attacked.

“Yes, you felt a change – a change that happened to you, Oden and Odezzia, except it was a different change for all of you, and you got the short end of the deal,” Isisily explained.

Odessa grew impatient. “Would you get to the point of all this gibberish?”

“Odessa, you are cursed to never find love or be happy,” Isisily got to the point as instructed.

“You’re speaking bullocks! I am happily married and I have a wonderful son with my husband!” Odessa said confidently.

“And you’re sure that they won’t be taken from you?” Isisily asked. Before Odessa could respond, a woman came running to the mainland.

“Lady Beinvenido, your home is on fire. Your husband and son are trapped inside,” the woman told Odessa. The woman was a supernatural, and knew that if Merlin and Balthazar had a way out, they would take it.

Someone had magically trapped them inside.

“Please let them go!” Odessa pleaded to Isisily.

“You think this is my doing? I was merely sent to warn you. You have made a lot of enemies from your unkind ways Odessa. This is merely fate catching up to you,” Isisily said regretfully.

“I beg of you Isisily! If there is anything you can do, please help me,” Odessa tried one more time.

“I’m sorry Dess,” the woman said before disappearing.

With nowhere left to turn, she teleported herself back to her burning house. She could see her husband and son inside, but the fire wasn’t coming close to them. They also looked like they were breathing fine, which confused her.

“They won’t die, but you have to make a choice right now,” a voice said behind her.

An all too familiar voice.

“It’s been over seventy years. Why did you decide to bother me now?” she asked, not turning to face her guest.

“As Isisily mentioned, you have done some terrible things in your life, and now they are catching up to you,” another voice joined the first.

“It still doesn’t explain why now,” Odessa pointed out.

“Wasn’t it clear from Isisily’s words? You’re cursed sister. You can never be happy,” Oden told her.

“SAYS WHO?” Odessa shouted, finally turning to face her siblings.

“The Creator! At first it was a punishment for your vanity and selfishness, but the Creator had thought to give you a chance with your new power. Instead, you only got worse, and you became a careless murderer. Your husband and son know not of who you truly are, and that on its own is deceitful. You don’t deserve any good in your life Odessa,” Odezzia spat.

Odessa scoffed. “I knew you were always jealous of me!”

“Even when faced with reality, you choose to make it about you. To think we were sent here to try and reason with you. I guess we will just have to carry on with the plan,” Oden sighed.

Odessa scowled. “What plan?”

“To take away your powers of course,” Odezzia smirked.

Odessa watched in horror as her brother and sister joined hands before saying a spell in a language she knew all too well. It was the very language that they had created together – the Naturalist language. Something dark brewed in her when she realized what was happening, and she reacted without thinking.

Odezzia watched in shock, with blood splattered all over her, as her brother held onto his chest, his eyes wide. There was a gaping hole through his mid-section, and the bloodied icicle that had gone through him was visible on the ground on the other side of him.

Odezzia turned in horror to her sister. “What, what have you done?”

“I didn’t mean to! You were taking away my powers!” Odessa panicked.

“So you saw fit to kill our brother?” Odezzia asked, rage slowly filling her veins. Fire was starting to sprout from her.

“How would you feel if someone took away your powers?” Odessa asked her.

“YOU JUST KILLED OUR BROTHER, YOU HEARTLESS WENCH!” Odezzia shouted, shooting a fireball from her hand. Odessa deflected it easily.

From inside the house, both Balthazar and Merlin had seen and heard everything. They were horrified to learn about the woman they thought they knew. Merlin felt the most deceived. He felt as though he had wasted his time pursuing a woman he clearly didn’t know. Balthazar couldn’t believe that his loving mother was capable of something as vile as murder.

They watched as the sisters fought, and they couldn’t believe that Odessa wasn’t surrendering. Odezzia flung her in the direction of their dead brother, and when Odessa touched his body, the strangest thing happened to her.

She absorbed his powers.

She was startled at the discovery, and her sister was too heartbroken to keep fighting her.

“Do you not feel for anyone but yourself Odessa? Do you not realize that you cause more harm everywhere that you go than good?” Odezzia asked, tears streaming down her face.

“Do you not realize that I am great Odezzia? You always failed to see that about me!” Odessa shot back.

“You killed our brother! All you care about is your power!” Odezzia exclaimed angrily.

“What do you expect from me? Do you expect me to be as mediocre as you are? Because I refuse to bring myself to your standards!” Odessa snapped.

“You are truly demented, and I hope that you are cursed with never-ending unhappiness!” Odezzia spat before teleporting away, taking their fallen brother’s body with her.

The fire had stopped, and Odessa was unaware that her son and husband had seen all, until she turned to find them looking at her with three distinct emotions – disappointment, horror and sadness.

“It isn’t what it looked like,” she whispered.

“You lied to me,” Merlin whispered right back.

“My love, she antagonized me,” she pleaded.

“And what about your brother mom? The very brother you killed without so much so as a second blink?” her son roared at her.

“Watch your tone! I am still your mother!” she warned.

“No! You’re a monster!” Balthazar shouted back at her. She struck him with a fireball.

“ODESSA!” Merlin shouted in rage.

“I didn’t mean to!” she sobbed. The power in her was taking control, and she was hungry for more.

“Oh, but you did! It’s clear to me now. I have heard rumours about you, even during our time together. People have said that you’re a monster who is hungry for power. I didn’t believe them because I was blinded by my undying love for you. The saddest part is that despite the monster before me, a big part of me still loves you and believes that you’re a good person who was just misled. Something changed you Dessa, and as much as you don’t want to talk about it, it will haunt you for the rest of your life. You will never be truly happy,” Merlin said sadly. It was hard for him to watch the woman he loves in her truest form.

“What are you saying?” she questioned lowly.

“We’re leaving you Dessa,” Merlin replied regretfully. She fell onto her knees.

“NO! You can’t leave me! Please!” she pleaded, sparkling, red tears trailing down her face. Merlin had only ever seen her cry once.

“I hate you!” her son told her.

She felt her heart break even further as she watched her husband approach their son. When she realized that they were leaving her, pure rage filled her.

“I WILL NOT ALLOW THIS!” she screamed, freezing everything within a hundred mile radius of her.

But she was too late, for they were already gone.

For the next century, she lived alone in a cave somewhere in Scandinavia. She was going insane with the hunger for power. She would go into the villages and feed off of the powers of basic witches, but it was never enough. She needed more.

It may have taken her five centuries, but she finally came up with the perfect plan.

She would take all the powers of her own kind.

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