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Showing posts with label Preview. Show all posts

The Souls of Rain (Heavens Trilogy, # 1) by Diana Nixon - Chapter 1 Preview

Monday, November 25, 2013

This a copyright material. 
It's not for sale. 

Prologue

Three angels were standing in the middle of a round, crystal room. Their long, silver cloaks were swaying slowly in the wind; the rustle of their wings was the only sound breaking the intense silence. One of them, a woman with curly, strawberry-blond hair that went to her feet, raised her hand and a huge, white cloud formed in front of her.
“The girl deserves to know the truth,” she said to the others.
“This is insane,” a male angel replied, shaking his head. He ran one palm through his messy, sandy hair; his big, blue eyes seemed to be brighter than the sky itself. “What if something goes wrong?” He stared nervously at the picture appearing inside the cloud.
“We are losing control over her.”
“She’s right,” the other male angel said. “It’s not safe to keep her here.” His golden eyes shifted impatiently between his companions. “We need to send her back to the earth.”
“You will follow her,” the woman said, looking at the blue-eyed angel. He was the youngest of the three of them, and his age was the only thing that stopped him from breaking the order. He didn’t want to spy on anyone. He used to be one of the best guardian angels, until one day he made a mistake and was obliged to follow the orders of the top-ranked angels. It was the worst part of his punishment; he hated being told what to do.
“You didn’t have to say that,” he snapped, meeting the woman’s emotionless eyes. Sometimes it was really hard to believe that she was an angel, and not a demon wearing snow-white wings. “You know I would have never left her unprotected.”
“Right.” The other angel smirked.
“Albert,” the woman hissed, warningly. Her voice sounded calm, but the intonation said it all — she didn’t approve fights between her subordinates. “This meeting is over. I’ll see you two later.” And just like that she disappeared, making the air in the room crackle. Albert grimaced at the force of energy left after her disappearance. He wasn’t as strong as she was, and the powers she possessed always made him uneasy. He looked one last time at the blue-eyed angel and followed the woman.

Left alone, the angel stared at the picture of the girl he was supposed to spy on. The girl was a guardian angel. She was slim and beautiful; with long, black hair and big green eyes, shadowed by the curling lashes.
She was walking down the alley surrounded by the age-old oaks, watching her fosterling. She seemed to be relaxed, but in reality her every instinct was on alert. Her wings were outspread, and though no human could see her like that, the creatures of the heavens always knew when she was on duty.
 “I won’t let you down, Claire,” the angel swore in a whisper, making the cloud in front of him turn black. “Never again….”


Chapter 1

I was staring at the file in my hands. It was thick and heavy, and I didn’t have the slightest desire to read it.
“What’s this?” I asked Bert, my trainer.
“Your new assignment,” he said, walking down the hall that led to the training rooms.  
I raised my eyebrows in surprise. “My new assignment? Seriously?”
“Yes. Why?” He opened the door to one of the rooms and led me to the wall with crystal daggers.
“I was reassigned just a few days ago, remember? No angel changes humans so often!”
“It’s not your call, Claire. They give commands, you execute them. Period.” He gave me one of the daggers to replace the one I broke last night, trying to kill a demon following my fosterling. “Be careful with the weapons. You are the only guardian angel who breaks them so often.”
“I’m also the only guardian angel who destroys the biggest number of demons.”
“True.” Bert smiled briefly, and looked at the wound on my right wing. “Close your eyes, I will heal it.”
I sighed and obeyed, waiting for Bert’s powers to deal with the wound. It didn’t hurt much, but the feeling wasn’t pleasant either. Guardian angels couldn’t heal themselves. We always needed the help of other angels, whose powers were different from ours.
My thoughts switched back to my new assignment, and I sighed again. Bert was right, I couldn’t help matters. And neither could he. He was just a messenger in this case. I answered to him for my every step, but when it came to the orders of Santunary, he was as helpless as I was. 
No one could ignore the words of Ledons — top-ranked angels. They formed the Santunary: the highest and the cruelest governmental authority, and the most respectful body of the heavens (except for God, of course). There were no ‘ifs’ for Ledons. They accepted only ‘yes’ or ‘no’. The last word was better not to pronounce if you cared about your life.
Ledons were followed by Deerons, our trainers. They guarded the gates of the heavens. No one could come or go without their permission, even the souls.
Then there was us, the guardian angels, followed by our loyal servants, the Pastreens. I didn’t know what exactly their duties consisted of, but they were a real pain in our necks; always watching us and laughing at our mistakes. Though sometimes they were really helpful, especially when it came to doing my hair or cleaning my wings.
“So who’s my new baby?” I asked the trainer. We called humans our babies, because we felt like their nannies that were always there for them, no matter how bad or good they really were.
“Why don’t you open the file?” Bert winked at me. Oh, no…it was a sign of bad news.
Alan Rosenford,” I read the name, written on the file’s cover. “Who is he?”
“Just don’t tell me you’ve never heard about him! How long have you been working in New York…for two years? And you’ve never heard about Alan Rosenford?”
“I’m sorry to disappoint you, but I haven’t.”
“Well, this is probably for the best.” Bert smirked and vanished. Literally.
Angels always appeared out of nowhere and disappeared as abruptly. But I hated when Bert did that. He never answered my questions, and he always left without saying good-bye. Not that it was the only unpleasant thing about my life. Nothing about it was normal actually.
Sometimes it felt like my life was an endless cascade of ups and downs. I could fly and I could walk; I could save and I could destroy. Heaven was my home, and the days I spent there couldn’t be compared with anything else; they were special.
But there were also days that I had to spend walking down the roads of sinful earth. Everything about them was even and painfully predictable.
Unlike those humans I guard, I don’t need to count seconds; I have a whole eternity to live. I don’t need sleep or food, though cakes and ice-cream are my weaknesses and the best things about my perfect life.
I don’t have a family, and I never had one. I was created by the heavens. I don’t have friends, but I do have enemies. And all of them are demons — soulless, cruel creatures that make people do things they will have to spend forever in hell for.
My job is to protect humans from demons, making their lives better and happier. Funny enough, I’m the unhappiest creature in the world. It feels like my happiness is always near, and too far away at the same time.
There are things that I will probably never be able to understand. I don’t know what love means. It always felt like something mysterious and too unreal. But unlike humans, I can live perfectly well without it. As well as without boys, parties and other essential attributes of every girl’s life.
But there is one thing that I can’t live a single day without. My wings. They are my faith and an essential part of me. I can’t show them to humans, and every time I let them see me, they think I’m just a girl in my early twenties. Too bad no human girl knows how to cross the distance between two places in seconds.

I closed my eyes and imagined myself standing in the middle of my sky-blue living room. I liked the color. It reminded me of my true home and the sky that I liked gazing at so much.
I had a two-bedroom apartment not far away from Central Park. I didn’t have much time to spend there, but there were times, like today, when I wasn’t on duty. My last assignment, a five-year-old Annabel Walders left for a few days to visit her grandparents, but I couldn’t leave New York, so she was guarded by one of the local angels of Washington.
It was supposed to be a free weekend: no work, no demons; only freedom and me. Yeah, too good to be true….

I looked back at the files I was still holding in my hands. I never read people’s files. I liked making my own opinion about them. No matter how bad or perfect they were, the only thing I cared about were their souls. And even a criminal’s soul can be pure. Because when people kill or lie it means that demons win. It also means that angels lose. And we lose only if we don’t take our duties seriously. Usually it leads to becoming Pastreens. Or fallen. Both variants close the doors to the heavens and leave us wandering around the earth forever. And no matter how heavy the sin we commit is, we always want to be forgiven and returned to the heavens.
Speaking of sins….
“Nolan, what are you doing here?” I asked the fallen angel, standing behind me.
“Good to see you too, Claire.” He smiled, taking a seat on my couch. The guy didn’t need my permission to make himself at home.
Nolan was the only fallen who never wanted to be forgiven. At least that was what he was saying every time I asked him about his life. He liked living among humans. Though I never asked him about the rule he broke to be kicked out of the heavens.
“I heard about your new assignment,” he said, turning on the TV set.
“Why do you even care?” I crossed my arms, watching him curiously. I didn’t understand why Nolan liked spending time with me. My life was a picture of everything he couldn’t have.
“Because we are best friends. And friends always care about each other.”
I rolled my eyes. “We are far from being friends, Nolan. Let alone best friends. You are stalking me. This is how it calls.”
“Whatever you call it, the fact remains — I’m here, and I want to know how you feel about being Alan’s new babysitter.” He smiled again, and I desperately wanted to slap him in the face. God, forgive me.
“What is wrong with the guy that everyone is so worried about me guarding him?”
“Nothing’s wrong. He’s a good guy actually. He likes drinking, smoking, girls, and car racing.”
“Sounds like a typical description of a good guy.”
“Sarcasm doesn’t fit your pretty face, my angel. And Alan is a good guy. You will see.”
“Can’t wait,” I muttered, heading for the kitchen to get a piece of a strawberry pie I made earlier today.
“How can you think about food when your human is dying?” Nolan shouted after me.
I stopped and turned around, barely breathing. “What did you say?”
“Alan Rosenford was taken to the St. Mary’s hospital about an hour ago. He kissed a tree with a bumper of his new car.”
No more details were needed. I closed my eyes and sank into the red vortex of a bittersweet smoke that took me straight to the hospital ward.

The moment I opened my eyes the smell of drugs hit my nostrils. I hated hospitals. To me they always looked overcrowded. Hundreds of lost souls, whose physical bodies died and were not allowed to ascend to the heavens, were flying everywhere, making people shiver and shrink from the pure cold they consisted of. Humans didn’t see them, but I did.  And they did see me.
“He doesn’t look good,” Nolan said, coming closer to the bed where a guy in his mid twenties was sleeping. He was on a drip; about a dozen multicolored cables went from his body to the monitors on his left.
“I’m sure you wouldn’t look any better being him,” I said, examining the numerous bruises and scratches on the guy’s body. “How bad was the crash?”
“The boy will need a new car. But I don’t think he cares about a few more scars. It’s not his first accident.”
“You said he’s a car racer, right? How often does he get into accidents?”
“Every week or so.”
“Does he even care about his life?” I didn’t like people who risked their lives just to get an adrenaline rush. It meant their souls were hurt. And they didn’t want to do anything to heal them. Stupid humans…they didn’t know that losing a soul meant becoming demons.
“You didn’t read his file, did you?” Nolan chuckled at his own words. He knew I didn’t. “You should probably start reading files, Claire. It would save you plenty of time.”
“Thanks for the advice, Nolan. Maybe one day I will follow it.”
I took Alan’s hand in mine and tried to feel his soul. I was good at feeling souls. Not every angel could do that. It was one of my angelic powers that I had been trying to perfect every day, for the last seven centuries of my existence. And with every passing day I could tell more and more about the souls I was guarding.
“He is a good person,” I said, knowing that Nolan was still there with us. Every time I tried to feel someone’s soul, it felt like sinking into the depths of multicolored oceans, where every single word, action and thought had its own shade.
“I told you,” he said, and I smiled; my best friend liked being right.
I let go of Alan’s hand and breathed a sigh of relief. Guarding good people was always easier. Demons couldn’t get to their souls, and fighting them was as simple as anything.
I was good at fighting demons. They didn’t stand a chance with me. Especially when I was guarding children. They were like little angels to me, and I always felt sorry for the couples that couldn’t have them. It felt like the worst curse ever.
My new assignment wasn’t a child anymore, but something about him wasn’t right. His soul was too fragile and sensitive. Not a regular picture of a man’s soul. Maybe I should have read his file after all?…
“Hey…Claire, you okay?” Nolan asked.
“Yeah, I’m fine,” I replied absently, still watching the guy on the bed. “How old is he?”
“Will turn twenty-five next week.”
Even with the dark-purple bruises all over his face and a swollen lip Alan looked much younger than his real age. I couldn’t say the same about his soul. If I didn’t know it belonged to him, I would say it was a soul of an eighty-year-old man. Suddenly I wanted to know what happened to make him get old too soon.
“Read the file, Claire,” Nolan said, as if reading my mind. “I need to go now, but if you need anything, call me, okay?”
I nodded and the fallen angel disappeared. He was always saying the same thing, “Call me, if you need me.” And we both knew that he would never be able to help me if I actually needed help. We played for different teams.

Copyright @ 2013, Diana Nixon



Synopsis:

The secrets of the heavens had always been carefully guarded. Until one day when the angels realized that what they used to believe in was nothing but a cruel game between heaven and hell.
And Claire’s life is a part of that game too. She is a guardian angel.
She always thought that her existence was perfect. But perfection is a very relative term, and no one is protected from making mistakes.

Everything changes the moment Claire gets a new assignment. Guarding humans has never been easy, and this time won’t be an exception.

Alan Rosenford is a spoilt party-boy, whose life is a hurricane of risk and adrenaline rush. His soul is damaged, his heart is bleeding, and there are so many things he prefers to keep private….

The words they have never said before …
The sins they have never committed….

How much does forgiveness of the heavens cost?
Or maybe even the heavens make mistakes?....

About the author: 
Diana Nixon is a poet and the author of fantasy and contemporary romances. She was born in Minsk, Belarus, where she currently lives. In 2008 she graduated from Belorussian state University. She has a Master of Law degree and speaks several foreign languages, including English, Polish and Spanish.
Twitter: https://twitter.com/DianaNixon9

Hate at first Sight by Diana Nixon - Chapter 1 Preview

Monday, August 26, 2013
This a copyright material. 
It's not for sale. 

Chapter 1
Megan

Home, sweet home….
Yeah, this is going to be a long week, I thought to myself, opening the door to my parents’ house. I haven’t been there for five years, and if it wasn’t for my brother’s wedding, I doubt I would go there any time soon.
Last time I was in Axbridge, in South West of England, I was graduating from school, dreaming about my fairy-tale future, and I was crazy in love with one of my classmates. Well, thank God, my life today wasn’t that pathetic. I was a student at the London School of Economics, and I definitely wasn’t in love with anyone.
I didn’t have time for boyfriends, and I sure as hell wasn’t going to let any of those assholes that my friends usually dated ruin my life. I hated weddings and everything that reminded me of how easily falling in love could destroy everything that I ever dreamed of.
I knew most people didn’t share my point of view. Including my family, who was sure that being in my early twenties, I needed to think about a husband and kids.
That’s why I didn’t want to come to Owen’s wedding. I knew the members of my family would do their best to drive me up the wall, questioning me non-stop about my personal life, or to be exact — about the absence of such.  But I loved my brother too much to upset him on such an important day of his life.
So here I am, standing in the foyer, with a suitcase in each hand; our dog licking my chamois shoes.
Great … apparently no one in this house expected to see me so soon.
“Mom? Dad? Anybody home?” I put my suitcases aside and patted Ginger, our old Rottweiler. Who on earth came up with such a stupid name for her? I had no idea. The dog’s fur was black, and I was sure that the existence of a few light-brown spots on her body wasn’t enough to call her Ginger. Obviously, some members of my family had a sick sense of humor.
“Does anyone want to give me a hug?” I looked into the dining room and the kitchen, but no one was there.
“I would gladly hug you, Sweetheart,” the voice behind me said.
I turned around, frowning. “Oh, really? Well, too bad I don’t hug strangers.” I crossed my arms, giving the guy one of the most evil glances I was capable of.
He smirked at my expression, and leaned leisurely against the door frame. “You must be Megan? A famous, runaway sister.”
Well, yeah. And who the hell are you, smart-ass?
“I’m sorry; I didn’t hear your name,” I said aloud. I wasn’t usually that aggressive with strangers, but whoever I was talking to, was trying my patience.
“My mistake,” the guy said, outstretching his hand. “Aiden Murphy.”
“Nice to meet you,” I said, ignoring the hand. “So, Mr. Murphy, would you be so kind as to explain your presence here? I don’t think I’ve missed my parents adopting a child or anything of the sort.”
The corners of my companion’s lips twisted sarcastically. “I’m sure you would have never missed such a big thing,” he said, devils dancing in his eyes. The guy was obviously enjoying the moment. “And I’m really happy not to be related to you, Megan.”
I raised my eyebrows, rather surprised. How was I supposed to react to his rudeness?
“Being a brother of such a charming creature would be a waste of my time.” 
You have a lot of nerve, I thought, staring at him.
Aiden took a few steps closer, and stopped right in front of me. “And yes, these lips are too delicious for brother’s kisses,” he added in a murmur, his eyes flashed joyfully.
I was sure my cheeks turned red, and I desperately wanted to slap the jerk in the face, but I was too shocked to move. Finally I turned on my heels and stormed out of the room, not bothering to find out who the guy really was, and what he was doing in my house. The echo of his laughter followed me to what used to be my old room. I opened the door and slammed it shut behind me, hoping it was enough to show just how angry I was. The poor thing had no idea how furious I could be when someone pissed me off. Not that I turned into a serial killer of course, but I knew how to put people in their place.
He’d better stay out of my way.

And so my first day home began. I waited for about half an hour to go downstairs and then took my baggage. Thank God, Mr. Devil-may-care Charming was nowhere around. Did I just call him charming? Well, yes, I wasn’t blind after all. Aiden was tall and well-built, with a voice to die for, and a smile that promised a lot; he was dark-haired, and had the most incredible gray-blue eyes I had ever seen. He could be a perfect picture for a magazine’s cover, and I was sure he knew that too. Like most men of his sort.
I wasn’t a feminist, but I hated guys like Aiden: damn sexy, arrogant and too self-confident. They always got what they wanted, and the list of women visiting their beds was longer then Oxford street.

When I returned to my room, I unpacked my stuff, took a shower, and was just about to get dressed when the door flew open, and my mom’s warm arms locked around me.
“My, girl! I missed you so much!” she said excitedly, kissing every inch of my face.
“Yeah, I missed you too,” I said less enthusiastically, trying to escape from her grasp.
“How was your flight? I told your Dad to meet you at the airport, but he and Owen went to the church to talk to the priest about the wedding ceremony.”
“No worries. The taxi took me right to the front door,” I said, rubbing mom’s lipstick off my face. Unfortunately, I couldn’t do the same with her stomach-turning perfume that I was sure was all over me now. Uh, I needed another shower.
“Oh, Dear! I’m so glad you are here!” Mom said, hugging me again. “We will have so much fun!”
“No doubt,” I muttered.
“The entertainments will start on Wednesday, so you will have a few days for yourself. Go to the hairdresser, do your nails, walk along the beach and forget about Economics at least for a while. It’s the middle of May outside! Girls of your age spend their time dating and enjoying life!”
Oh, no! I groaned mentally. Not that again! “Mom, please don’t start. I’m not like most of the girls of my age, and you know it. I have other priorities.”
“Like what? Wasting your time on numbers and dusty books?”
“I want to become a financial expert! And I will be one. And until then, yes, numbers and dusty books will be my only dates.” 
“God, help me! My only daughter is going to leave me without grandchildren.”
For crying out loud! “Of course, not! I will have children. But not now. I’m twenty-two years old! I have a whole life to gift you with grandchildren, mother. Besides, I’m not your only child, and I’m sure that Owen and Mary are planning kids too.”
“Who knows how long I must wait for your brother to think about kids? Do you even know how much he works? I don’t know when he managed to make a proposal. He and Mary haven’t seen each other for months!”
“She lives God knows how far away from here! And you know her parents. They would have never let her live with Owen before the wedding. Her mother almost had a heart attack when she found out about me moving to London right after graduating from school. As if I were going to become a stripper, or worse.” I rolled my eyes.
“Well, I don’t want to judge anyone. All I’m saying is that I’m worried about you and your brother. I want to see you both happy!”
“I am happy, Mom. Happier than you think.”
“Does it mean that you are seeing someone?”
“Dating is not the only thing that makes girls happy.”
“At your age, Dear, it is what makes girls happy.”
“Okay, you win. I will consider the idea of finding a boyfriend. Are you happy now?”
“Very!” My mother smiled, clasping her hands. “There will be many nice boys at the wedding. You could….”
“Mom! I said I will consider the idea. I’m not going to throw myself at the very first guy I see!”
“Okay, Honey. We will not talk about it again. But don’t forget about my words. No matter how many times you say that you are happy without a man, no woman can be truly happy without one.”
                That was my mom for you. She always said that woman’s happiness was in man’s hands. Well, maybe she was right, I didn’t know. I never had a serious relationship. Actually I thought I didn’t need such an unnecessary addition to my everyday life. At least not right now.
               
When my mom finally left, I went over to the bed and sank back against the pillows, closing my eyes. There was a time when I could spend hours lying like that and dreaming about Jeff. He was one of the most gorgeous guys I had ever met. All the girls from our school were crazy about him, including me.
                But Jeff never looked in my direction. He flirted with my friends, laughed and asked them out. But I was out of his radar. And I couldn’t stop wondering why?
                On the day of our prom I finally decided to talk to him. When another slow song started, I gathered up my courage and asked him for a dance. And to my surprise, he agreed at once. I was too shocked to speak, so he spoke first.
                “I would have never imagined that you would ask me for a dance,” he said, smiling.
                “Why so? You think I’m not good enough to dance with you?”
                “Actually I thought I wasn’t good enough to dance with you?”
                “What?”
                “Well, yes. You never noticed me. You never stopped to talk, you always ran away when I came to say ‘hi’. I thought you hated me, although I didn’t know why.”
                “I hated you? No, I…” What was I supposed to say? That I had been crazy in love with him since the first grade? No, I wasn’t going to admit it. “I never hated you, I was too busy studying.” 
He was obviously wrong about me, but I didn’t try to change his opinion. Instead, I thanked him for the dance and left the ballroom, holding my head as high as I could.
                Later that night, I heard him talking to his friends, “People like Megan always get what they want. But in reality, they are nothing without their daddies and money.”
                It was like a splash of cold water that turned into tears running down my cheeks. I ran as fast as I could. And when I stopped, I was in my room, packing things and leaving home in a hurry.
                I had a cousin in London, who helped me settle down in the big city. My parents called me non-stop, asking me to come back home. But I never did … until today.
                I did my best to prove to everyone and myself that I wasn’t just a little girl who couldn’t take care of herself. I enrolled at college, found a job, and rented an apartment in the north-west of London. It wasn’t big, but I could pay for it and leave some earnings for myself.
I never took money from my parents or my brother, who always made sure that my debit card was full. I didn’t use it, but I promised him to keep it just in case anything unpredictable happened. I was proud of my independent life, and I wasn’t going to let anyone take it away from me, let alone break my heart, and leave me crying into my pillow. Maybe now I looked like a real snow queen, I didn’t care. My icy crown was the most comfortable thing I ever wore.




Synopsis
Every day of Megan’s life was carefully planned. Freedom and independence had been her best friends for years. Until one day she met Aiden, whose priorities were so much like hers….
What happens when attraction wins?
What happens when poles apart become equal?
What happens when the flames of passion burn everything in their way?
Is there still a chance to resist the power of magnetism?
The walls of inaccessibility will come crashing down. Everything she thought was unacceptable he will turn into pure pleasure….
Dive into the world of Hate at First Sight to see if hate can become something completely different….

Read a teaser

About the author: 

Diana Nixon is a poet and the author of fantasy and contemporary romances. She was born in Minsk, Belarus, where she currently lives. In 2008 she graduated from Belorussian state University. She has a Master of Law degree and speaks several foreign languages, including English, Polish and Spanish.

Diamond Sky by Diana Nixon - Chapter 1 Preview

Friday, July 05, 2013
This a copyright material. 
It's not for sale. 
Date of publication March 25th 2013.
 


Diamond Sky
by Diana Nixon
When the night absorbs the daylight
Covering the earth with a blanket of stars,
You hear the wind, singing in the silence
A song of a lost and lonely heart.
You close your eyes and you hear the whisper,
“Don’t leave me alone, please don’t go,”
And when you start crying with tears of crystals,
It says softly, “Don’t cry, my beautiful angel, my soul.”
You feel a palm on your shoulder and a smile appears on your lips,
But the touch is too cold to bear, and the air’s too hot to breath.
And you feel like something’s missing, and your heart is beating too fast,
But the wind keeps singing, taking away your worries, healing your burning scars.
And though you know you’re still dreaming, and nothing is perfect about your past,
You still want the familiar embrace to hold you, you still want the magical song to last.
Because you know that tomorrow is coming, bringing new pain and regrets,
And you will have to wake up and face it, meeting new challenges and paying the debts...
Chapter 1. Amulets
Eileen
“For God’s sake, Eileen! He’s my brother!” Amanda shouted, scaring the hell out of me.
I turned around abruptly. “What did I do?”
“You THINK!”
“Oh… oh! I’m sorry, Honey.” My cheeks turned pink. “I didn’t mean it. I keep forgetting about the bond.”
“Yeah, I can see that.” Amanda shot me another angry glance and got back to packing her suitcase.
She and I had been best friends for ages. We graduated from the same school and entered the same University. Not that we had much choice about the last one.
Being born gifted, we had to go to Dever — a closed university for people like us. Its students possess different supernatural powers from seeing the future, to healing people. There are also those whose specialty is magic. And I am one of them. But in addition to the magical powers inherited from my father, I can control all the natural elements. It’s a rare and a very dangerous combination that I have to live with every day.
Apart from being my best friend, Amanda is my boyfriend’s sister. And her unique talent is reading minds. Or to be exact, she can read only two minds — Evan’s and mine.
Evan Murray is our friend from Dever who sacrificed a lot to save us from all those troubles we got ourselves into because of our powers. Amanda, Evan and I were bound by the ties of friendship. So now we can feel each other’s worries and mood changes, and we hate it a lot.
The story with magical ties started with me and Christian being bound by the spell of eternal love, many years ago. Our parents tried to protect us from people whose main goal was to become almighty. And I was supposed to become the most powerful magician they would had ever met. I was their target. So Christian has become my personal Keeper, whose main duty is to protect me.
He and I fell in love at first sight, and now we couldn’t imagine our life without each other. All my thoughts were wrapped around him and the love we shared. And I couldn’t help myself, and kept recalling our moments together. That’s why Amanda was so angry at me — most of my memories about Christian were too intimate to share them with anyone, especially his own sister.
“You know how hard it is to block your thoughts,” Amanda said, coming up to me. 
“I know.” I nodded. She sat on the edge of my bed and I sat next to her, hugging her shoulders. “Does it ever get easier?”
“Yes, it does. Though sometimes when Evan and you are so close to me, it’s really hard to block them.”
“Do Evan’s thoughts bother you a lot?” We all knew that Evan was far from being shy or modest. He actually could be a real pain in everyone’s neck, but we still loved him.
Amanda giggled. “Sometimes I’m ashamed of reading his mind, because trust me, your thoughts about Christian would look like babies’ dreams compared to Evan’s love fantasies.” Amanda hesitated for a moment and then she added, “But sometimes they are so sad and painful, I want to hug him and take his sorrows away.”
I knew exactly what my friend was talking about. Evan had a dark side. Not that he was a bad guy or anything, no. He was one of the most amazing men I had ever met. But his past wasn’t happy at all. Despite the fact that he tried not to let it ruin his future, there were moments when the past won, and he had to face the consequences of what his life used to be.
Evan’s parents died six years ago. It happened on Christmas Eve. That’s why he hated it so much. But this time I made him spend Christmas with us in Norfield, where Amanda, Christian and I were born.
Today we were going back to Dever. That’s why Amanda and I woke up earlier to pack our things and spend some time with my grandma, whom I didn’t see very often because of my studies and her passion for travelling. 
A sweet chocolate smell wafted from downstairs and I recognized the smell of my favorite cookies that Stephanie Mitchell liked to make for breakfast.
“Mmm, I miss breakfasts at your grandma’s,” Amanda said, as if reading my mind. When we were kids it was our favorite time of the day. My friend always came to our house to enjoy cookies and strawberry jam that my grandmother was so good at making.
“Yeah, me too. Let’s see what she has come up with this time,” I said, heading for the door.
To our surprise, Stephanie wasn’t alone in the kitchen, but in the company of Christian and Evan.
“What are you doing here so early?” I asked the guys, who were staying at the house of Christian’s parents. Amanda’s boyfriend, Lucas Stanton left right after Christmas to visit his own parents, so she preferred to stay at my place, and have an all-girl party, staying away from Evan’s thoughts and his sharp comments.
“I couldn’t sleep,” Evan said, sipping his coffee.
“Yeah, and somehow he thought it was time for me to wake up too,” Christian added, suppressing a yawn.
I put my arms around his neck and placed a kiss on his cheek. “You will have plenty of time to sleep on the way to Dever.”
“I hope so. I didn’t get much sleep last night. Couldn’t stop thinking about the spell.” Christian’s embrace tightened and I leaned closer, melting in the waves of his aura. He was nervous and I could feel it. The mentioned spell used to be one of the protection measures the founding families of Dever invented to protect the surroundings. Many years passed and almost everyone forgot about the spell, lost somewhere in the walls of Dever. But there were those who still remembered. The Dragons brotherhood, the organization that Evan’s father used to head, the people who wanted my death. They knew about the other meaning of the spell — it could take away powers and they wanted to take away mine.
Suddenly I remembered something I didn’t have time to share with my friends. “Speaking of the spell, Darcy called me last night, and she’s back from London. She said she found some of her grandmother’s records mentioning the symbols we are looking for.”
Just a few weeks ago we found an old map, that according to our assumptions, showed where the spell was hidden. The only problem was that the map was written in a language we didn’t understand. It was a list of symbols only a part of which we managed to decipher.
“Looks like we are ready for a new adventure,” Evan said, winking at me. There were times when he and I had to go through a lot to save Christian from the magical dream he was taken to by one of our enemies. And now I knew that my friend will always be there for me no matter what crazy and dangerous things I was about to do.
Unlike Amanda, my bond with Evan was based on imaginary love that we abandoned to lessen the consequences of taking Christian back to reality. The illusion he was entrapped in was created by a very powerful magician, Eric Lanster, who also used to work for the Dragons brotherhood. 
Evan’s feelings for me didn’t involve anything romantic, but the bond we shared was very special, and we always knew when one of us was in danger. 
I smiled sadly. “Looks like this time we will be fighting to the last drop of our blood.” 
“Personally I’m not going to give a drop of my precious blood to anyone,” Evan said. “And I will never let any of you die. Period.” Sometimes he looked so much like his father — serious and damn scary. “But I can’t wait to kick some of the Dragons members’ asses,” he added, rubbing his hands gleefully. 
“Watch your language, young man,” my grandma warned, giving Evan a plate with pancakes and jam. “No ass-kicking before you eat!” We all laughed and got to our breakfast.
There were a few more things I needed to do before going back to Dever, so I finished my coffee and went upstairs, leaving everyone else in the kitchen.
Last night, when I was getting ready to go to bed I stopped at the picture painted on my bedroom door. It was a beautiful drawing of a golden horseshoe surrounded by red roses and lace. It was the size of my palm, but there was one thing I’d never noticed before. A small dark-brown symbol, drawn near one of the roses. It looked just like those we saw on the maps. But I didn’t know what it meant. That’s why I wanted to take a few pictures of the drawing to take with me to Dever. When I asked my grandmother about it, she said it was designed by my grandpa. He was the owner of a shipbuilding company, and created it especially for the ship he named after Stephanie, changing the letter ‘A’ to the golden horseshoe with roses. He said he wanted her to remember him forever, and he also put the drawing on their bedroom door. But later the room was given to me. And now I was wondering if my grandfather could somehow know about the world of supernatural I was predestined to live in….
When I entered the living room fifteen minutes later, I saw Evan, Amanda and Christian standing in front of the wall with multicolored plates. My grandma had brought them from different countries and places she visited.
“Planning to go on a world tour?” I asked them. But no one answered.
Amanda turned around slowly, and I saw a small plate she was holding in her hands.
“Where did you get this?” I asked, surprised. I’d never seen that plate before.
“Actually, we wanted to ask you the same question,” Evan said. Something about his voice said that my reply was very important.
“I… I don’t know. This is the first time I have seen this. Why?”
“It’s not just a plate, Eileen. It’s one of my grandfather’s art works. Apart from being a hereditary Wizardy, Cameron liked painting. But he never sold his works. He decorated plates, cups and other porcelain things, and gave them to his friends, and to people who needed protection. All of his works were charmed, like amulets. So the question remains… who brought this plate here?”

This a copyright material. 
It's not for sale. 
Date of publication March 25th 2013.

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