Twisted Fate

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Chapter 39


I’m burning holes through the warlock’s head as he leans forward and looks through the magnifying glass. It’s bad enough I had to watch him call upon some spirits for an hour to get this damn spell to work. Now he’s taking his sweet time to read the name being scribbled by no one at all. The quill magically moves across the paper, informing him of the sender of that mysterious message box.

My patience is dangling at the edge of the cliff, especially because of those trespassers who tried to ambush the town. Killing the coven from Vermont was a big mistake on my part. I should’ve known word would spread fast.

“Cassandra,” Nicolas finally declares. “The person we’re looking for is named Cassandra from the Jamerson coven.”

“Does that name mean anything to you, she-wolf?” Louisa asks, and I try not to let it show that it bothers me. “My mate has a name!” I want to scream at her so bad, but it wouldn’t do any good. Louisa is set in her ways. Nothing would ever change her. Besides, if she pushes Astrid’s buttons enough, I won’t need to step in. Astrid is a powerful woman, and I fear for the people who piss her off.

“No, I have no idea who that is,” Astrid says. I can tell by the tone of her voice that she feels defeated. And I suddenly have the urge to kiss her again. Maybe it would put her back in good spirits. But I know she wouldn’t appreciate the PDA. And my mind is switching to defense mode.

“What are we waiting for? Let’s track her down and kill the bitch so we can all get back to our normal lives.” The words flow out of me, but I don’t mean the latter. Going back to normal is the complete opposite of what I want because normal is back home without Astrid. Despite the shitty circumstances, I enjoy spending each day with my mate, even if it means protecting her from Cassandra Jamerson. Whoever the hell she is.

“Don’t worry about her,” Blair announced her entrance to the lab. “I’ll have my people work on that. Even better news, I found the rest of the pups. So, you’ll need to take the warriors and head out before this coven catches on like last time. And you cannot go,” Blair spoke sternly, pointing at Astrid.

“Agreed,” I say, holding Astrid’s gaze. She’s definitely not coming. It isn’t safe for her to step a foot out of Salem. But Astrid wasn’t going to give up without a fight. I could already see the deep frown on her face. Here it comes…

“And why the hell not?” Astrid argued, on cue. Her shoulders are tense, and she’s glaring at me like I’m the one trying to hunt her down. “Half of those pups belong to my pack. They’re my responsibility, and I won’t sit back and watch while my warriors fight my battles.” Her fits clench, hot smoke blowing out of her ears. But Blair isn’t having any of it.

“The second you step foot out of Salem, you’ll be outside the protective lines, and those witches will come after you,” Blair raises her voice, crossing her arms. “Without your help, Arlo and Kane have better chances of staying under the radar and bringing the pups home. No one gets hurt as long as you stay here.”

Blair leaves absolutely no room for discussion, and Astrid eventually complies. But she’s not happy about it. Not at all.

The morning flies by as we discuss a plan with the warriors. Astrid was present for the meeting, but she didn’t talk to anyone. Kane tried to engage her in the conversation, but she just nodded, standing in the doorway of the library. Not even Derek could get her talking. She’s still mad about staying behind, and I can’t blame her. I’d feel pretty crappy if I couldn’t help my people in a situation like this.

My demon-wolf continues pacing angrily inside me. Since the morning, Astrid has done everything to avoid me, and it frustrates him. I’ve tried talking to her, but she’s brushed me off with short answers. And she pulled away when I tried holding her hand. She won’t even look at me for five seconds. I know she’s mad about being left behind, but her safety overrules the way she feels right now.

Or is it because I kissed her? That thought makes me feel like shit and angers my demon-wolf even more.

When it’s time to head out, Kane pulls the truck in front of Blair’s house, waiting for me. I look back at Astrid sulking on the passenger side of Blair’s car. She stares pensively at me through the rear-view mirror but looks away when our eyes meet. Kane’s tapping his imaginary watch, but I can’t leave without talking to her. Blair rolls down the passenger side window as I walk up to the car.

“Hey,” I speak softly, placing my hands on the door.

“Hey,” Astrid mumbles back without looking at me. Her gaze is set forward as she absentmindedly runs her fingers through the ends of her wet hair. I can smell her shampoo, and fresh lavender body wash.

I casually lean down, resting my arms on the door to inhale more of her scent. But she doesn’t notice because she’s too busy ignoring me. Now more than ever, I just want to pull her out of the car and kiss her. I can’t stand the thought of her being upset.

Blair notices the awkward moment and smiles, “We’re going to go hang out with Ms. Hattie at the gift shop. She’s been dying to meet Astrid.” I keep my eyes on Astrid as Blair talks.

“That’s great.” My words don’t match my tone of voice. Astrid finally looks at me, but it’s only for a few seconds before she does her famous move, and now her hair is blocking her face. I can’t take it anymore.

“Can we talk for a second?” It isn’t really a question because I’m already opening her door. She looks up at me annoyed before she decides to get out of the car. I take a few paces back, and she follows me with her arms crossed. Careful not to get too close to me.

“What do you need, Arlo?” She mutters, looking down at her feet. I can’t carry on a conversation without looking into her gorgeous blue-green eyes, so I lift her chin with my fingers.

“I understand you’re upset, but this is for your own good. Your warriors are in good hands. I’ll make sure everyone gets back home safely, including the pups.” I caress her cheek and slowly tuck a strand of hair behind her ear. To my delight, she doesn’t pull away but gives in to my touch. “I’ve got this. You don’t need to worry about a thing.”

She rolls her eyes. Those beautiful heterochromia eyes throw attitude at me, and I don’t know whether to be offended or turned on. I feel a sudden tug in my jeans. Guess the latter wins me over. “It’s easier said than done. You’re not the one who has to sit back and play damsel in distress while your mate fights the battle for you.” She says tersely.

Your mate. Somehow that’s the only thing that reaches my ears. She’s claiming me aloud as her mate, without shame. I almost want to ask her to repeat it just to hear the beauty of those words rolling off her lips. Your mate. Mine.

“I’m not fighting for you. I’m fighting with you, remember?” I take an extended step until we’re standing inches apart. She swallows and stares at my chest. She wants to pull away, but the mate pull is too strong, compelling her body and forcing the two of us together like magnets. Instead, she closes her eyes, and when she opens them again, they meet mine. “We made a promise, remember? You and me. Together.” I remind her.

Her face softens, but it’s not enough to convince her fully. So, I wrap my arms around her waist, holding her tightly. At first, she hesitates, but soon I feel the warmth of her hands wrapping around my neck, pulling me closer.

I’m not sure how I managed in life before Astrid. As I hold her petite figure, I feel like I’m holding the entire world in my hands. My world. And at this moment, I’ve officially made up my mind. She’s everything to me.

“So do me a favor, and please stay here. I know you’re a strong woman and an even more powerful alpha, but I can’t lose you. And if you walk beyond Salem’s borderlines with me, then there’s a chance we might not get lucky like last time.”

She pulls back slightly and sighs. “Okay…together.”

I stare at her plump lips, and that’s all it takes for my self-control to crumble. I want her lips on mine, and I don’t care who’s watching. Before I can lean down to reach her, my brothers’ voice interrupts me. “Aww, how sweet. I hate to be the one to break up the moment, but I don’t want to see you both eye-fuck each other all day,” Carson hollers from the backseat of Blair’s car. I flash my canines at him, and he grins. I swear if Astrid weren’t in my arms, I’d walk right up to him and slap that fucking smirk off his face.

I settle for a quick kiss on the corner of her mouth and flip off Carson behind her back. He gasps, making a sweet face and holding his hand to his heart as If I blew him a kiss, which makes me want to slap him even more.

I watch Astrid walk back to the car, and I shut the door for her. As I pass the car, Carson is still smiling and making faces at me. I nod and smile back as if telling him, ”Don’t worry, I’ll get you later and then we’ll see who’s smiling.”


“Carson, if you don’t stop, I’ll take that pen and shove it so far up your-”

“Children!” Blair interjects, giving us a warning look. “We’ve been in the car for less than five minutes. Stop bickering for the sake of my hearing, or I’ll sit both of you in the corner when we get to Ms. Hattie’s. Understood?”

I point an accusing finger at the backseat, exasperated. “He won’t stop tickling my ear!”

Blair quickly glances at the backseat. “Carson, leave her alone!” She shook her head with frustration. “Sometimes I question if you’re really 18.”

“Wanna see my license?” He offers, shoving the fifth candy bar in his mouth since we’ve left the house. Instantaneously, we roll our eyes.

The rest of the car ride is quiet, so I space out on the scenery. Salem has a lot of history and scenic views to admire. I hope that everything blows over soon so I can have a chance to explore the town with Arlo. It would be nice to learn some things from him. And maybe learn more about him. For some reason, the latter feels unlikely though.

I’m watching a group of children play at the park when Carson tickles my ear with the tip of his pen once again. Now it’s war.

“Come here, you little shit!” I whip around half of my body and try to snatch the pen from his grip. He finds it hilarious and continues to tickle me on my sides while I try to fight him off. This time Blair huffs and says, “To hell with it.”

Ten minutes and a fight later, Blair is pulling in front of Ms. Hattie’s gift shop. Carson exits the car and runs for his life before I can smack him upside the head. I growl lowly as he disappears into the shop. “I want to kill him.”

“Yeah, I do too sometimes,” Blair admits, gesturing towards the building. “Come inside. I have a feeling you’re going to enjoy this place.” She says, smiling.

Blair is right. The moment we walk inside, I’m intrigued by all the ancient artifacts and sculptures of African culture. It feels as if I’ve been transported out of my time zone and zapped to the past. The shop is two-story’s high, and the second floor consists of bookshelves with spell books from the floor to the ceiling. I look up and see a woman organizing some large books on the very top shelf. But what catches my interest most is that she’s floating. Latter’s’? Useless here in Salem.

Aside from that, there’s a creepy vibe to the gift shop. Our surroundings are crawling with ghostly energy, and I don’t have to be an empath to know that.

I have to look back a couple of times to check if someone is watching me. Because it feels like someone is standing right behind me, breathing down my neck. Nicole’s presence goes unknown by me until she nudges me with her arm.

"Hey. What are you doing here?”

Nicole looks at me pointedly. “You’re not the only one who got left behind today.” Her disappointment is quickly replaced with a grin as she looks around. She hooks her arm with mine and leads the way. “Come on, let’s go explore. This place is so creepy, and I love it! You think we’ll be able to talk to some ghosts?” She asks enthusiastically. The glow in her light blue eyes worries me. Only Nicole would be this excited to talk to dead people.

“God, I hope not,” I mumble, carefully watching every corner we turn.

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