AMERICAN WITCH: Friday Snippets (5)

Happy Friday!

Here’s today’s Friday Snippet of AMERICAN WITCH for you! This snippet begins Chapter Four. As always, this is draft material and things are subject to editing (and possibly deletion), so please don’t share.

Happy Reading

Thea

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AMERICAN WITCH

Chapter 4

Austin called out again sharply. She knew without looking that he was racing after her.

Bursting out of the nearest exit, she darted west and immediately ducked behind a six-foot-tall potted plant by the hotel entrance. A moment later, Austin raced past.

She slipped back into the hotel, ran to the elevators, and jabbed the Up button repeatedly. Her feint wouldn’t confuse Austin for long. As soon as he looked around and realized she wasn’t anywhere to be seen, he would head back inside.

It didn’t matter. All she wanted was to get to her suite and slam the door on the world.

The elevator doors opened. She darted in, punched the button for her floor, then held her finger on the Close button. As the elevator doors slowly closed, she saw Austin race into her line of sight. Their eyes met for an instant before the doors shut.

Damn it! Now he would be able to trace what floor she got off on.

Quickly she punched several other buttons. Then, with a shaking hand, she pinched the back of her neck.

Even if he managed to narrow down which floor she was on, there were a lot of suites and rooms on each level. He couldn’t know which room she was in. He could knock on every door, but if he did, she didn’t have to answer. And the suite had a strong security door. He wouldn’t get into her space unless she let him. And she wasn’t going to let him.

When she reached her floor, she jogged to her suite and let herself in. Then she threw the latch and double-checked to make sure the door was locked.

Triple-checked.

Unable to help herself, she went over the same motions again and again.Latch, door, lock. Latch, door, lock. Latch, door, lock.I have to stop this, she thought, watching her hands as though they belonged to a stranger.

Her phone rang.

The phone that she had turned off.

Feeling hot and numb at once, she reached into her purse and pulled out her cell phone. She remembered turning it off. She distinctly remembered it.

Josiah’s name appeared on the screen.

She hadn’t entered his contact information into her phone. It should have shown up as an unknown number.

Moving on unsteady legs, she walked into the kitchenette, opened the microwave, and threw the phone inside. After slamming the door shut, she walked into the bathroom, braced her hands on the sink. Then she looked in the mirror.

She couldn’t see herself clearly. Tears were streaming down her face, and the lightning flashes had appeared at the edge of her vision again. She didn’t trust herself, and she really didn’t want to hurt anybody.

Wiping her cheeks, she told the woman in the mirror, “You’re going to be all right. I don’t know how, but you are. It’s going to be okay.”

Because someone needed to say that to her even if she couldn’t feel it.

Somehow everything was going to be okay.

* * *

Josiah’s phone rang as he sped toward Molly’s hotel. Glancing at the dashboard of his Audi TT coupe, he saw the caller was Anson, so he punched the button to answer.

Anson’s voice came over the speaker system. “Do you feel that?”

“Of course I do,” he said grimly as he gunned around a street corner at a yellow light.

“Maria’s picking up on it all the way from Birmingham, which is over two hours away. Is that Molly Sullivan?”

“Yes. I want you, Richard, and Henry to leave Atlanta. Meet up with Maria in Birmingham.”

Anson swore. “Fine. For how long?”

“Let’s play it by ear. Steven’s still in New York, so he should be all right.”

“We can’t sit in limbo forever.”

“I know, but we also can’t afford to take unnecessary chances, and we’re not ready for a confrontation. Just leave for now and hold tight. I’ll get back to you soon with further instructions.” He punched the button that ended the call.

She was spewing chaotic Power again, and this time it wasn’t a brief spurt. Chernobyl was having another meltdown. And he didn’t have her cell number, so he cast a spell to make a phone call go through to her, but she didn’t pick up.

When he’d felt her Power surge, he had just finished putting in an appearance at his official apartment and was en route to the safe house. As luck would have it, he was only a mile away from the hotel. The chaotic Power lay in that direction.

He arrived a few minutes later. Whipping into a parking space on the street, he cast a cloaking spell over himself, put his phone on vibrate, and raced into the hotel.

Finding Molly’s floor ended up being easy. He made his best guess, and when he exited the elevator on the eleventh floor, he could tell he’d gone too far up, so he loped down the stairs until he stopped on the landing of the ninth floor.

This was definitely the floor. He pushed through the stairwell door.

There were dozens of rooms and suites on each floor, but her energy signature shone like a beacon in his mind’s eye. Unerringly, he turned right.

Down the hall, Austin Sullivan stood, talking to one of the hotel guests. Josiah felt an urge to violence as he came to a standstill. At the party, Molly and Sullivan had hurled nasty things to each other, but Molly’s words had come from a place of truth and deep hurt while Sullivan had deliberately chosen to be cruel.

He was a snake, and Josiah would have no problem crushing him under his heel. But violence wouldn’t solve Josiah’s bigger issue, so he checked the impulse and coldly watched the exchange between Sullivan and a middle-aged woman.

Sullivan said, “I’m sorry again for bothering you.”

“No problem.” The woman in the doorway smiled. “I hope you find your wife.”

“Thank you, so do I. This whole thing has been a misunderstanding.” The snake gave the woman a charming smile.

Sullivan’s presence had to be the cause of Molly’s meltdown. She must know he was here. Josiah tossed around ideas for how to get rid of the other man without revealing his presence. Perhaps a panic spell would work.

General panic spells were interesting in how they affected the unwary and unaware. They caused the victim’s mind to supply the reason for the panic by elevating their own phobias and fears.

Yes, that would do. After the woman had shut her door, Josiah tossed out the casting.

Sullivan had started walking to the next door, toward Josiah. When the spell hit, he slowed to a stop and glanced around. One corner of Josiah’s mouth tilted up in a hard smile as the other man frowned and the conscious charm in his handsome expression transformed into anxiety.

Maybe Sullivan was recalculating the risk of drawing attention to himself by knocking on doors. Maybe he would think about what trouble he might get in if a guest complained. Or maybe he had an irrational fear of carpet. Josiah didn’t fucking care as long as the spell drove him to leave the hotel as quickly as possible.

Sullivan paused, clearly struggling with himself. Then one of the hotel doors opened and a couple stepped out, giving him a curious glance as they walked past, and he broke. He pushed past them and headed for the elevators.

Leisurely, Josiah stepped out of his way and remained flattened against the wall until the couple had left. Then he thrust the other people out of his mind and headed toward Molly’s room.

He located her chaotic Power at the third door from the end of the hallway, opposite where Sullivan had talked with the woman. Logic said Sullivan wouldn’t have been heading back toward the bank of elevators if he hadn’t already gone down the other side of the hall first.

So he had to have already knocked on Molly’s door. Josiah imagined her looking out the peephole to find her ex-husband standing outside. No wonder she was stressed.

She hadn’t picked up when he had called, so he knew she wouldn’t welcome him standing at her door either. He placed a hand on the door’s smooth surface and scanned the interior. Her distress beat at his senses.

Okay. He didn’t dare cast a calming spell in her direction. As subtle as they could be, she had already picked up on the other subtle influence spells he had cast, and she wouldn’t welcome another one right now.

He only had one real option. Digging deep for his own Power, he cast a wider cloaking spell—one big enough to encompass Molly’s space on the other side of the door and also conceal him from other guests. Carefully, he built the spell around them so that none of his magic brushed against Molly’s.

As the giant bubble formed, he held his breath.

Nothing happened. She didn’t charge out spewing accusations. The hallway remained empty. Breathing a sigh of relief, he slid into a sitting position in front of her door. Then he pulled out his phone and sent a group text to Anson and the others.

How is that? Better?

Their replies came back in the affirmative.

Anson asked in the group conversation: Do you still want us to evacuate?

Yes, he replied. They had invested too much time and care in entering Atlanta under the radar of their dangerous prey, and he didn’t want to blow it by being careless now. I’ll keep watch here. If nothing happens over the next two days, it should be safe enough for you to return.

Roger that.

After the exchange, silence settled in. Molly believed she was alone, and her internal crisis continued. This could be a long damn night, but at least maintaining the cloaking spell would cost less strength than the initial casting. He relaxed against the door, forearms braced on upraised knees and phone clasped in one hand, but he didn’t receive any further texts.

As it turned out, her upheaval didn’t last all night. She didn’t have the training or experience to sustain a large output of energy. After another hour her chaotic Power began to subside. As soon as it had lowered to a level that he deemed safe enough, he released the cloaking spell and stood.

Molly, Molly, he thought. What a spectacular inconvenience you’ve turned out to be.

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Copyright: 2019 Teddy Harrison LLC

All rights reserved

WANT MORE AMERICAN WITCH NOW?

You can buy the full novel from my webstore now, before it’s available from the third-party vendors. If you can’t wait for the whole story, you can buy it today! Just click here to be taken to my webstore.

Or pre-order AMERICAN WITCH at any of these vendors.

Amazon  |  B&N |  Apple Books |  Kobo |  Google Play

2 Responses

  1. Cristina says:

    Amazing ! Love the story and can’t wait for more !Thank you!

  2. DDragons says:

    I want to know the dangerous prey they are tracking. Who will help Molly? The woman in the vision or Josiah and which is her enemy? I love a good mystery and this looks like one!

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