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Authors: Keeley Smith

Tags: #fantasy, #magic, #witches, #pendle hill

Change

BOOK: Change
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Change

 

Keeley
Smith

Books by Keeley
Smith

 

Pendle Hill
trilogy

Returned

Before (Novella
1.5)

Change

 

Soul Keeper
trilogy

First
Soul

 

Published in
2013

Copyright ©
Keeley Smith

Smashwords
Edition

 

The author has
asserted their moral right under the

Copyright,
Designs and Patents Act, 1988, to be identified as the author of
this work.

All Rights
reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, copied,
stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any
means, without the prior written consent of the copyright holder,
nor be otherwise circulated in any form of binding or cover other
than that in which it is published and without a similar condition
being imposed on the subsequent purchaser.

 

A CIP catalogue
record for this title is available from the British
Library.

This book is
dedicated to the girls who, whenever I publish a book, squeal,
shout, cry and laugh as they devour every single page of my
books.

 

Thank
you

Demi Summers,
Leah Wilkinson

and

Siobhan
Thomas

Preface

 

 

Jack’s stomach
curled with disgust at the sight of Varick’s ghostly grin and
curtain of straight, death black hair that fell to his shoulders.
Jack stood up, pulling at his element, feeling it expand and
contract.

When he felt
his element reach the peak of its power, he gritted his teeth and
released the overwhelming force of power towards Varick. Jack
watched with satisfaction as the powerful magic hit its mark.
Varick gasped, the air rushing from his lungs. Shock painted his
face ghostly white face as he flew back into the
darkness.

Jack scrambled
to his feet with exertion, his pain evident as he waited for Varick
to reappear. The darkness around him seemed to cling to his
body.
Where the hell am I?


Ayden!
Eli!”

No one
responded. The lack of a response sent the hairs on his arms
standing to attention. His body shuddered when he heard
footsteps.

He looked
around, studying his surroundings. There weren’t any walls, from
what he could see. He peered down at the floor, and he was
surprised to find that he was standing on some form of a
cloud.
How could you hear footsteps on
something that was supposed to be soft?
He
shook his head. Something was coming towards him. He didn’t have
time to think of such silly things at the moment.

He clenched
his fists, readying himself for a fight. His body was suddenly
slammed flat to the floor. His chest was pushed against the
apparently fluffy clouds, ones that weren’t fluffy. He wheezed in a
very difficult breath and lifted his head to see Evander float
towards him from within the shadows.

1

 

FIGHT TO THE
DEATH

 

 

The beat of
Jack’s heart drummed loudly in his ears. The rush of blood pumped
faster and faster in his head. It didn’t drown out the screams of
anguish around him. He wished it did.

Crushing
tendrils of fear corkscrewed around his chest, encasing his panting
heart. The world slowed, forcing him to see every excruciating
second of it. He couldn’t move, couldn’t think. He could only watch
as Cora lay defenceless on the ground, a mere six feet in front of
him.

Is she dead?
Did he miss something striking her?

Rain bucketed
down on them, expressing their moods perfectly. The ground was
sodden, the water making his clothes cling to his skin, sending an
icy coldness deep into his body. His dark brown hair lay flat to
his head. His chocolate brown eyes, hardened, looking at the man
responsible for the deaths of Laura and Clio. They were no longer
with them, would no longer laugh or smile or walk into the shop to
talk, because of that man.

He couldn’t
come to terms with it. Clio had died to help them, to save them,
she’d selflessly given up her life so Jack and Cora could live.
He’d witnessed the best mother a person could wish to have,
murdered brutally in front of his eyes. And for what? What had the
Corenthio Coven gained? It only served to feed their anger, making
them more determined to kill the Coven that enforced the law but
broke the rules themselves.

Evander
advanced, prowling towards Cora’s crumpled body, his face distorted
with a menacing sneer. His steel grey eyes sparkled with joy, his
white hair made longer by the rain that soaked through it and slide
down his face.


Jack, you
have to move, you have to do something!”

Tabitha’s cry
jolted him, her leaf green eyes pleading with him, making him see
what was about to happen; but they were still fastened to the
trunks of the trees. He felt like unbreakable iron was wrapped
around his body, slowly crushing him? But he would not lose Cora.
Evander would not take her away from him. He had to push himself
from the tree.

Before his
mind registered any sort of movement, he was part flying, part
charging towards Evander. A battle cry escaped his mouth as he flew
towards the man who threatened to take away the one person who made
his existence in this cruel world worth living.

Evander
shrieked at him, his already pale face appeared snow white, his
lips pulled into a smile that was more feral than human. Jack
didn’t care, wasn’t bothered if this man killed him. All that
mattered was Cora. She had to live.

He bounced off
the floor, gaining a momentum like he was leaping off a trampoline,
pushing himself higher. He hunched his body, ready for a powerful
hit. His head and shoulder slammed into Evander's body, sending
them both crashing backwards. At the moment of contact, he saw the
deadly cobalt light flash in front of his eyes. It hit his body
with a power he’d never felt. The spasms made him bite his tongue
as searing pain coursed through every inch of bone, muscle and
flesh.

He heard Ayden
roar in frustration behind him, Jack’s anguish didn’t come close to
what Ayden must be feeling. Ayden was trying to escape the bonds
that held him. Jack wanted to scream in pain, but held it back. It
would do no good to show weakness in front of the Corenthio Coven.
He rolled over and stood up, gritting his teeth he caught sight of
the blur of several versions of Ayden smashing like a volatile bull
into Evander. A fork of lightning travelled towards him. Jack
ducked as the bolt barely missed his head and nearly hit one of the
Aydens.

Whilst Evander
was occupied, Jack scurried over to Cora and brushed her russet
hair from her face. Her brow was pulled together; her lips
stretched thinly revealing her pain.
At
least she is alive
, his mind chanted over
and over again. She was still breathing. That eased the ache in his
heart. Only a little. Gently picking her up, he hobbled away from
the fight, keeping her close to his chest.

He lifted them
both, taking her away from the danger on the ground. His body
screamed out in pain, the edges of his vision turning black. He
fought for control as he levitated towards home. The cottage would
be safe; the Corenthio members had no reason to go there. If he had
anything to do with it, there would be no more Corenthio members to
worry about. He could see a weak line forming in their group, and
he was going to smash it to pieces.

Placing her
down on the sofa, he gently kissed her forehead, breathing in her
strawberry scent. “I won't be long, beautiful.”

Taking a deep,
painful breath, he walked to the front door. It took every ounce of
strength he had to walk through the door and leave her there, alone
in her grief and pain.

As he neared
the training area, he could hear shouts and curses. He looked down,
hoping that he wouldn’t see another member of their coven hurt or
worse. He caught sight of Ayden engaged in hand to hand combat with
Evander. Obviously, Evander was simply teasing Ayden. If Evander
wanted to crush him, he could. Even Ayden could do nothing to stop
that, but he would fight until the death. Ayden continued to attack
him, every punch gaining more gusto than the previous one. Evander
would hope that Ayden would weaken, making the kill easier. He
didn’t know Ayden. He wouldn’t stop. Ever.

Tabitha and
Clay were fighting off advances from Akina. Jack watched snakes
slither menacingly on the floor, lashing out at his friends. Eli
was missing. This fact made his heart rate kick a little harder.
Eli wouldn’t be hurt. Jack refused to think about it. Eli could
handle himself.

Jack dropped
down behind Evander and pushed the disgusting lowlife as hard as he
could. He couldn't even muster up a smile when Evander hit the
nearest tree with a loud thud. He would usually experience large
amounts of satisfaction from that act, but in this instance, he
felt numb. He picked Evander up from his position on the floor,
almost like a feather in the wind, and then he threw him up in the
air sending him higher before letting him free fall to the hard
floor. He looked at Evander who lay still on the ground and stepped
forward.


No, Jack,
he's mine,” Ayden declared.

Jack held up
his hands in surrender; he wasn't arguing with that. He gave Ayden
a curt nod and watched as he turned back to his prey. Jack left
Ayden and swiftly moved to aid Tabitha and Clay.

As he neared
them, he could feel the heat burn his skin from Tabitha’s amazing
power. Akina's deathly wisps were trying to seek them out, hissing
angrily as the heat cut into them. Akina screamed with rage, her
orange hair moving so erratically it looked as if it was on fire.
She stepped closer to them, only to be pushed back by a large tidal
wave of freezing cold water. The snakes turned to ice, cracked and
grew in height.

Electric blue
veins struck the ground, halting him before he could help his
friends. He turned and came face to face with Varick who held his
hands in the air. Lightning travelled between the two of them. Jack
threw him a Jack Special, all cocky and self assure. He knew Varick
would hate it. Varick grunted, his face distorting angrily. Varick
was his.

A powerful
current shot out of Varick’s body before Jack could move to avoid
being hit. It struck his left leg. He’d expected excruciating pain,
the feel of electricity pulsing through his body, rattling bones.
He didn’t feel a thing. The rancid smell of burnt flesh rose up to
his nose, nearly making him gag, but the pain didn’t come. This was
his time. He wouldn’t succumb to the pain. Fate was obviously
giving him a head start. Finally. He had to do something before the
pain took away his ability to think.

He growled,
pulling at his element, looked into Varick’s death black eyes and
then threw Varick backwards, making sure to smash him hard into the
ground. Varick laughed from his position in the mud. It was a
guttural, horrid laugh that turned Jack’s stomach. That was the
laugh of a man who’d moved past sanity. Jack saw it in his eyes, he
didn’t fear death. He was evil.

Without
waiting for another backlash of lightning, Jack lifted him again,
this time he was a good twenty feet in the air before he let him
drop to the floor. Varick barked out more laughter which irritated
Jack. Varick’s face still held that annoying smile that Jack really
wanted to wipe off. Jack growled with frustration.
What will it take to break this man?

Blue bolts
buzzed with the unmistakable sound of a current growing in
strength. He stood his ground, knowing he couldn’t outrun them.
Several strands lashed out at him, but they didn’t kill. They
didn’t strike him. He could see that Varick was playing with him.
He bit the inside of his lip, holding back the torrent of angry
words that would get him nowhere. If he wanted to do something, he
would do it properly.

He closed his
eyes, focusing on the task. They’d lost two people tonight. The
whole coven was suffering from a world of hurt and grief. He needed
to end it. Keeping his eyes closed and knowing he was in danger for
doing it, he grinned as he heard the satisfying crack. He opened
his eyes to see a large tree trunk floating effortlessly towards
him. Varick couldn’t see it, which helped. Lifting his hands, he
jumped around on the spot. Varick’s eyes narrowed as he studied
Jack’s every move. Varick could keep trying to figure out his
motive, but he would never guess the right one.

BOOK: Change
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