The Belgrave Daughter Book 1 of The Belgrave Legacy
ZH PRESS New York, New York
The Belgrave Daughter: Book 1 of “The Belgrave Legacy” Trilogy. Copyright ©2013 Zara Hoffman. The Belgrave Daughter/Zara Hoffman. — 1st ed. ISBN: 978-0-9896294-0-9 LCCN: 2013911626 All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other noncommercial uses permitted by copyright law. This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are a product of the author’s imagination. Locales and public names are sometimes used for atmospheric purposes. Any resemblance to actual people, living or dead, or to businesses, companies, events, institutions, or locales is completely coincidental. Title Font, “Black Chancery” ©1991 Earl Allen and Doug Miles Cover Art ©2013 Juan Solorzano Book Layout ©2013 BookDesignTemplates.com
To Grammy, who is my guardian angel. To Mom, who showed me the magic in life.
The world is full of magic things, Patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper. 窶標B Yeats
1 16 Candles
Fawn noticed that no men were at the table. What Thanksgiving dinner didn’t include the whole family? Looking around, she realized she only recognized her mom and grandmother, but also felt like she’d seen the woman on her right before. She squinted. Evelyn? It was the venerated matriarch of the Belgrave family. This had to be something from her imagination. It was impossible to eat a meal with dead relatives. Then, she remembered the special silver album. It was tradition for each family witch to have a picture taken when her powers first emerged.
ZARA HOFFMAN She was about to ask why they were assembled when something caught her eye. Her ginger ale began to ripple as if the table was shaking, but everything else remained completely still. When a man’s face materialized in the crystal, her eyes widened in horror. His eyes were black as coal, and they shined with sinister intent. She backhanded the glass across the room, smashing it. No one moved. Were they oblivious to what had just happened? She froze when she saw the same face staring back at her from the mirror hanging on the wall. “You can’t get rid of me that easily, Fawn.” She thought she saw flames flicker in his eyes, but then he vanished. Backing away, she forgot to step around her chair. It fell backwards and clattered to the floor. Scanning the room, she saw that the door to the kitchen wasn’t there. She watched as the dining room was slowly stripped away, like peeling wallpaper that transformed into large gray wisps of smoke. The space began to rumble, and the landscape blew away even faster. Fawn woke up to someone shaking her. She saw her twin brother looming over her, his forehead crinkled with worry. Alec’s hair was sticking up at odd angles. He must’ve just gotten up himself. “What just happened?” His fingers remained curled around her shoulders. •!2!•!
THE BELGRAVE DAUGHTER Fawn could feel the pressure on her head, slowly stamping out her senses. It was like someone had taken a baseball bat to her skull. Black spots peppered her vision. She waited for them to disappear. “Don’t yell, Alec. I have a migraine,” she groaned. She glanced at the clock and saw it was past midnight. They were officially sixteen, but she didn’t feel like celebrating in the middle of the night. Through the window, lightning flashed. It illuminated everything in its path for a brief second before shadows once again engulfed the space. Fawn winced. The exposure burned her eyes, and even the distant rumble of thunder was too loud for her tender head. She shivered again, realizing her blanket had fallen to the floor while she slept. Her brother followed her gaze. He grabbed the comforter, laid it over her, and resumed his examination. She was cradling her head in her hands, and each time thunder clapped, she flinched. Her dream had clearly taken a toll on her. He knew Fawn’s headaches were hell, but he’d never experienced a migraine. Their twin connection only allowed access to each other’s emotions, not any physical conditions—which he was supremely thankful for. He especially started appreciating that fact when she started getting her period. He probably would’ve lost it if he had to experience her monthly symptoms. •!3!•!
ZARA HOFFMAN Alec stood by her pillow, a crease forming between his eyebrows as he studied her. “Are you going to tell me what happened?” he asked again. “What are you talking about?” Fawn clenched her jaw as another bout of pain seared through her. He motioned for her to scoot over before sitting next to her. The mattress sank noticeably under the new weight. They sat shoulder to shoulder. Alec gently gave her hand a reassuring squeeze. “You were staring at a mirror and looked positively freaked out.” Fawn’s forehead crinkled in confusion. “I was watching you, but apparently you couldn’t see me.” “I was at a family dinner. A guy showed up in my drink, then in the mirror. It was…creepy.” Fawn didn’t know if her dream was an omen. She had a history of psychic visions. Was this another one or just a terrifying figment of her imagination? She glanced quickly at Alec. “And you said you actually saw my dream? How is that even possible?” “I was just dreaming about practice, when a oneway glass wall appeared. But just as quickly, I was back in my room. I think someone didn’t want me to see. I ran in here as quickly as possible.” “Have you seen my dreams before?” Fawn asked. “No. I was pushed into the dream, and then someone took me out. But it didn’t feel like the same person.” He paused. “I think we should tell Mom.” •!4!•!
THE BELGRAVE DAUGHTER As if on cue, the door creaked open, revealing the silhouette of their mother, Stella. Sleep clouded the warm, blue eyes that normally sparkled with excitement. Despite the early hour, she wore her hair in a bun and sported her silver jewelry— a moon necklace, star earrings, and a triple-moon bracelet. They reflected the light from the window. “Mom?” Alec stepped back in surprise. “I was just about to get you. Fawn had a bizarre dream.” “I know.” Her tone was both warm and regal. “I heard you rush in here, and some of what you were saying. May I come in or are you two still sorting through private twin matters?” She’d been eavesdropping? Alec looked scandalized. “Forgive me if I invaded your privacy, but I was worried.” Alec looked to his sister. Fawn nodded. She could feel the calm that naturally accompanied their mother’s presence, and she welcomed the sensation. Stella sat at the foot of the bed. “What questions do you have for me?” Her voice had risen from a whisper to a normal speaking voice, but Fawn could finally feel the pain beginning to subside, so the volume didn’t bother her. “I saw her dream,” Alec answered, his voice growing louder in response to the urgency he felt. “That’s never happened before. What’s going on?” •!5!•!
ZARA HOFFMAN Their mother looked outside. Despite the storm, the full moon was clearly visible in the night sky. It glowed with an ethereal beauty that only amplified the mystical atmosphere. “On Halloween, the veil between the mystical and normal worlds is blurred to the point where there is almost no distinction. Witches are responsible for keeping the balance during this window of time until the barrier is restored once again. Tonight’s strange events may have been because of your birthdays. You’re getting your powers.” Fawn’s jaw involuntarily dropped a few inches. She quickly closed it and mulled over her mother’s words. Sure, she had grown up with their family’s magical history, but at the same time, she never believed it would happen to her. Alec leaned back until his head touched the wall behind the bed. “Didn’t you say that only girls inherit the magic? Why am I being affected? Only Fawn should be going through this. Not me…” Fawn stuck her tongue out at him for blaming the magic mayhem on her. Stella took both her children’s hands in her own. The last time all three of them had held hands was when they were at Grammy’s deathbed. That was not something Fawn wanted to think about now. She focused on what her mother was saying. •!6!•!
THE BELGRAVE DAUGHTER “Fawn is a very powerful witch because she’s the seventh generation of our family, and some of her magic has rubbed off on you, Alec. That is why your twin connection is unusual. You know each other’s emotions.” Stella paused. “As to why you were privy to Fawn’s dream, the only explanation I can think of is divine intervention.” She turned her attention to her daughter. “Are you still frightened, honey?” “I had a weird dream and woke up with a migraine. I’m not as scared as before now that you’re both here, but I’ve been better. Also, how come I was having logical thoughts during the dream?” “You’re experiencing pain because you woke up while your magical powers were in the middle of transforming your DNA.” Stella saw Fawn’s eyes go wide with alarm. “It’s not as bad as it sounds. It’s undetectable by science, too. Witches usually stay asleep while receiving their abilities and don’t wake during the process. Your body is pulsing with new power. It’s like growing pains.” “I thought I got over that when I first had my period,” Fawn grumbled. Beside her, Alec gagged. She elbowed him in the ribs, and he stopped. Stella continued. “As to your second question, magic allows us witches to maintain complete control over our faculties even while in the dream realm.” She thought for a moment before continuing. “I have an •!7!•!
ZARA HOFFMAN idea that might help. Alec, please get sixteen candles. Fawn, you’re going to do your first spell in order to fully own your magic. I’ll guide you through it.” Alec didn’t move. “Why do I have to get them? Why can’t she do it?” “Would you send her out alone to roam the house after such a terrifying dream?” He opened his mouth to speak, thought better of it, and closed it again. He understood his mom’s protectiveness because he felt the same way. Those seven minutes apart at birth made him older, and therefore responsible for her. He left to retrieve the candles. When he returned, Stella then instructed them to arrange the candles in a circle on the floor and to sit in a triangle in the middle. The twins did as they were told and Fawn immediately missed the warmth of her bed. The air conditioner had turned her room into an icebox, and she quickly turned it off. “Hold hands.” They followed their mom’s orders. “This is called channeling,” Stella explained. She seemed a little distant, her voice taking on a mystical quality. The moonlight illuminated her face. “It’s when witches tap into the energy around them. Do you know why I moved to New York after college?” They shook their heads, wondering where their mother was going with this random tangent.
THE BELGRAVE DAUGHTER “I wanted to be near ley lines so my psychic powers would be strengthened.” Stella’s next words breathed more mystery into the room as she continued. “Ley lines are mystical energy trails that intersect throughout the world. Cleopatra’s Needle marks a powerful convergence site.” Fawn nodded, understanding. She had read theories of why the major cities of the world all seemed to possess a special vitality. She never believed studies that claimed the basis was mystical energy, but when her mom said it, she trusted her. “I channel nature because to do so with a person drains them slightly of their life force—” She caught Alec exchanging panicked looks with Fawn and quickly added, “It’s only temporary, but I prefer not to mess with other people’s energy. However, human contact is the most powerful type of channeling.” She paused. “Fawn, you’re going to light these candles through visualization, so focus. This act will bind your magic to you, and then maybe the pain will go away.” “Will the candles melt on my carpet?” It seemed silly at the moment, but Fawn didn’t want the purple plum carpet ruined. Stella raised an amused eyebrow at her daughter. “No, darling. I’ve spelled the candles so they don’t melt—just in case of an emergency.”
ZARA HOFFMAN Fawn closed her eyes, and imagined finding a beacon of light. A flame appeared and engulfed her, searing through her veins. It raced up her limbs toward her heart like bullets flying toward a target. She grit her teeth as the tendrils began to settle in her chest. The burning subsided to a relaxed simmer, and she felt the tingling warmth spread across her skin. She could feel her headache beginning to slip away as if the light was chasing away the shadows from her mind. Her hands heated up and her skin started burning again. It was no longer comfortable. She felt like her heart was on fire. In an attempt to cool down, she imagined the current emanating from her palms going into her brother and mother. Maybe if the three of them shared the burden it wouldn’t hurt as much. She remembered her charge and imagined her inner fire lighting the candlewicks in a single whoosh. She felt a breeze on her skin and sighed as it gradually faded to a soothing sensation… “Fawn!” her mom shouted in alarm. The light disappeared and her headache was back, all traces of the wonderful feeling gone. Her eyes snapped open. She was sitting in a ring of fire, and she could see there was a blaze expanding in the sky. She’d done all that within moments? It was so effortless that she hadn’t noticed her magic’s effect. •!10!•!
THE BELGRAVE DAUGHTER Fawn glanced at the pink light pouring in through the window. “Why’s the sun rising?” She started to breathe harder. Guess it zapped more of her energy than she had thought or maybe it was just her anxiety taking over. “You magnified everything.” The awe and pride in Stella’s tone was apparent, but she quickly became practical and instructed her daughter again. “Visualize the light disappearing.” Fawn quickly did as she was told. “Damn, that was cool,” Alec mumbled, slightly jealous of his sister. He could practically see the power radiating off of her. She was glowing with it. Stella leaned forward. “Fawn, did you visualize a lit candle?” She sounded like a teacher sorting out a scuffle on the playground. Not directly saying the child was wrong, but her tone unmistakably noting a mistake had been made. The new witch hesitated and then shook her head. “You have to be very specific in what you visualize. You’re more powerful than I thought. I’m sorry. I threw you into this too quickly without fully preparing you.” Stella paused, breathing heavily as if exhausted. Fawn was surprised. She thought that she’d done all the work. Had she also been channeling her mom and Alec without realizing it?
ZARA HOFFMAN “Here’s a birthday present I think will help.” From out of nowhere, Stella produced a large, leather book. On the cover, a sun and a moon were embossed against a background of stars. “It’s a Grimoire,” she explained. “Every witch in our family, including Evelyn, has chronicled her magical experiences in it. Think of it as a witch’s diary, if you will.” As old as the original Belgrave witch? Fawn was suddenly anxious about touching the book. What if it fell apart? What would she do? But despite her worry, Fawn ran her hands over the hard cover. It had a silver filigree pattern that refracted the moonlight in the most magical way. It was a beautiful gift. Alec watched his sister and felt a smile tug at his mouth. The simplest things always amazed her, but even he had to admit that the Grimoire was a piece of fine craftsmanship. Stella was silently observing them. Her heart swelled with love and pride for her children. Alec would protect and comfort Fawn, while she would teach and prepare her for what was to come. Stella rose to leave. “I’m going to go to bed now. Feel free to look through it, but don’t try any more magic without me. Good night and happy birthday.” She kissed each of them, then exited the room. Fawn heard the door to her mom’s bedroom close. A voice whispered in her mind: Fawn. Her forehead •!12!•!
THE BELGRAVE DAUGHTER wrinkled in confusion. She turned around slowly. No one was there. She hadn’t even noticed that Alec had left, too. She was now hearing voices in her head. Had she gone insane? No you’re not, Fawn. My how you’ve grown. What do you mean? Fawn was still searching for the voice, when suddenly a young Evelyn appeared before her. She wore a floor-length gown that looked like it was sewn from the night sky itself. Evelyn smiled. “I’ve been watching you grow into a very beautiful and confident young lady. You have the gift. It runs in our family, but you’re special. Be careful. They will come for you.” Her voice was soft and comforting, but the warning was not lost on Fawn. “Who? And how am I talking to you?” Fawn stood up and walked towards her ancestor. She stopped about a foot away. “As witches, our family can talk to the dead. It’s one of many other talents.” The hem of Evelyn’s gown fluttered around her ankles in an invisible breeze. Fawn was staring at her. She seemed solid, but she didn’t want to test the theory. What if her touch made the woman disappear? Or even more embarrassing, went right through her? “But I’ve never heard the dead before.” Sure, she sometimes had psychic dreams and she shared a freaky twin connect with Alec, but she’d never spoken to a ghost before. •!13!•!
ZARA HOFFMAN “You didn’t have the power, but now that you have your gifts, be careful with them; they’re a big responsibility. You’re the most powerful witch in the world—a world you’re destined to save.” Fawn shook her head. “I just got my magic. I can’t save the world. There has to be some mistake.” Her ancestor shook her head. “You are destined to be the savior. But until the time comes, you must be careful with your magic.” Her image began to waver, like a hologram starting to fade. Fawn scrambled to get her thoughts in line to ask the next question. “Evelyn—” but she was nowhere to be seen. Even as a new witch, Fawn could tell the connection had been broken.
g Fawn woke to the sound of her bedroom door bursting open. Alec quickly appeared on the threshold and launched himself onto the bed, crushing her under his weight. “Happy birthday, baby sis!” Fawn pulled the pillow out from underneath her head and whacked him with it. “Stop calling me that!” she huffed. “For God’s sake, we’re twins, Alec!” He ignored her. “Hey! Seven minutes is a lot. Besides, we’re sixteen now, so I’m going to have to protect you from all the guys who will be lining up to take you on a date.”
THE BELGRAVE DAUGHTER Fawn shoved his shoulder. “Whatever.” “There are my darling children!” Stella exclaimed as she came waltzing through the doorway. She began to sing gently. “Happy birthday, happy birthday just for you…” She trailed off and Alec and Fawn joined in. “Happy birthday and may all your dreams come true. When you blow out the candles, one light stays aglow: it’s the sunshine of your smile where ‘ere you go.” The song ended and they grinned at each other before entering into a group hug. Stella let go and pulled out two small wrapped boxes, one purple and the other blue. The twins knew which was which. Fawn stared at the objects in her mom’s hands. “I thought I already got my gifts. You know, magic and a spell book that could fall apart the moment I open it.” “Well, yes. But I’m also giving you both charms—” Alec interrupted, “I’m a guy. I don’t wear jewelry.” “No one has to see it. Now listen. This is important. These charms are spelled to tap into the natural twin bond you two have and will allow you to know if either one of you are ever in danger.” She pushed the purple box toward Fawn and the blue toward Alec. They simultaneously ripped off the wrapping paper and Alec almost dropped his in the process. Turning to her own gift, she opened the box to reveal an oval opal pendant on a silver chain.
ZARA HOFFMAN Alec got one too, but it was smaller, therefore easier to hide underneath a t-shirt. “Always wear this and make sure it is touching your skin. That means no pockets, sorry Alec.” “These are so beautiful!” Fawn exclaimed. “Thanks so much, Mommy!” “Wear them in good health.” “You sound like you’re either at a wedding or a baby shower,” Alec quipped. “We’re nowhere near that stage, Mom. Just stick to our birthdays for now.” “I can’t help it. Fawn, why don’t you get dressed so you can take your picture for the album, okay?” She hugged them both again before leaving. After helping each other fasten on the necklaces, her brother left too. Fawn groaned inwardly. The picture was bound to happen. She should just do it and be done. Still in her pajamas, she went to her closet and pulled out her trusty lace-up boots, her favorite top with open shoulders and a painted dragon on the front and back. Pulling a hair band off her bedpost, she quickly put her hair into a messy bun. Glancing at her phone, she could see all the notifications of birthday messages. She’d get to them later. “What’s taking so long, Fawn? Get out here.” “I’m here. I had to get dressed.” When she rounded the corner, Fawn saw that her mom had gone all out. The family’s purple armchair was in the center of the •!16!•!
THE BELGRAVE DAUGHTER floor, and a white tarp hung from the ceiling, creating a backdrop worthy of a professional photo shoot. Her mom was perched on a stool behind the tripod, peering through the camera. “I am just getting a simple picture taken, right?” Stella turned and took in her daughter’s outfit. “Go change.” “What are you talking about? This is fine.” “Go put on the purple dress you wore to the wedding last year.” Stella paused for a moment. “I think I’ll come with you and do your hair and makeup. This might take some time.” Twenty minutes later, Fawn was in front of the camera as her mother dictated different poses and camera angles. When she was finally free, she sighed in relief as Stella printed the final picture they’d chosen. Fawn approached the coffee table with the silver album. As she got closer, she heard a crowd of whispers. Again? she wondered. Hesitantly, she opened the cover and suddenly it was as if a hundred people were shouting at her. Warn her— some said. We’ll get in trouble— others interrupted. We need to protect her. The first side argued. Fawn cleared her throat, staring at the pictures. What do you need to tell me? she asked.
ZARA HOFFMAN All the voices stopped and a pregnant pause ensued. Fawn shook her head. She was losing it. She was probably just imagining things. The voices returned with ear-splitting volume. Be careful! He’s coming. I—I don’t understand. Who is coming after me? But they were already gone. Fawn quickly inserted her photo and hurried back to her room. Once safely inside, she locked the door. He? It was more specific than what Evelyn had told her, but not by much. It was too frustrating. Her ancestors were set on warning her about someone pursuing her, but how they thought their vague warnings were actually helpful was anyone’s guess. If the dead couldn’t give her a straight answer, and her mother hadn’t seen anything, she was sure no living person could tell her either.
2 The Devil’s Bargain
A powerful sorceress with blood laced in gold sevenfold shall determine the fate of the world. The ancient man’s white head was bent very low as his eyes scanned the scroll again. He’d read this prophecy so many times over the years, but it wasn’t until now that it was finally relevant. Fawn’s destiny had been appointed at her birth, but the girl’s mother had never spoken to her about it. By casting a veil over her, he had done his best to conceal her identity, but with her sixteenth birthday today, he wouldn’t be able to hide her existence from the Supernaturals for much longer.
ZARA HOFFMAN There was a crash outside, disrupting the calm silence. Metal clattered to the white marble floor. He’s early, he mused. After sending the parchment back to its hiding place, he signaled for the guards to exit. They hastily bowed and left. Dusting off his white suit, he stood, using his ivory cane for support as he walked up the marble stairs to his golden throne. The doors slammed open and a draft strong enough to pick any normal person off the ground howled through the hall. The man from Fawn’s dream strode in with his head held high. Insolence surrounded him like an ornate cloak. He had black hair, eyes to match, and wore an immaculate leather ensemble. His very presence consumed light like a walking black hole. His boots loudly pounded the marble floor as he made his way toward the throne. It was the only sound in the hall, and it was loud enough to wake the dead. The elder nodded in salutation. “Hello, Lucifer.” “Hello, God—or should I say ‘Father’?” the fallen angel spat, his lips pursing like he had tasted something rancid. “I’m hurt you destroyed my quarters, but I like the other renovations you’ve made since I left—” “You were thrown out,” God said, like an elementary teacher correcting a minor mistake instead of a complete falsehood. There was no use in getting upset. His son would always downplay the truth. •!20!•!
THE BELGRAVE DAUGHTER Lucifer shrugged, “Same difference.” God rose and came to a halt mere inches away from the visitor, his cane forgotten at his throne. He stood tall, not in a menacing way, but his posture commanded respect. Even Lucifer had enough sense to retreat a few steps. The walls seemed to waver as his deep voice rumbled through the hall. “I know why you’re here, and the answer is no.” Lucifer placed his hand over his heart, “How you judge me, Father. I’m not going to demand anything. I’m not the spoiled youth I used to be. I’ve changed.” God laughed. His son still thought he could be deceived? Lucifer had been causing trouble on Earth since Adam and Eve. Centuries later, he was still meddling in others’ affairs, and his success only escalated as people became more greedy and self-centered. “You’re just as impertinent now as you were back then. Just because I haven’t stopped you at every turn doesn’t mean that I’m oblivious to all your shady schemes. Do not forget, Lucifer, everything you do is still part of a bigger plan.” God finished. His son straightened his spine. Resolve and rebellion raged within him. “Then you must already know that I want to make a deal.” “Of course you do. If I cannot count on you to be striking sordid deals, what can I put my faith in?” asked God. His delinquent son was always preying on •!21!•!
ZARA HOFFMAN desperate souls. “Why else would you be here? Certainly not to ask how your old father is doing.” “We have the power to choose any appearance we wish, and health is never an issue for either of us. I don’t see the point in exchanging trite pleasantries, and pretending there’s anything to worry about.” God was about to protest, but Lucifer cut him off again. “You’re familiar with The Septemgeminus Prophecy, correct?” Lucifer didn’t wait for his father’s confirmation. “Fawn Belgrave is the one, is she not?” Unfortunately, the intensity of Fawn’s energy had begun to shred the protective veil the month before. God had hoped no one would notice, but Lucifer had already been searching for her—and now that she had been revealed, he could set his wicked plan in motion. She was a new witch and would need guidance. Lucifer would just help nudge her in the wrong direction. “I hope she’s careful.” He turned his black orbs on his father. God could see the corrupt amusement lurking in his son’s gaze. “All that power can be very tempting. You remember the last time a seventh generation witch got drunk on power, don’t you?” God stiffly nodded. Morgan le Fay had destroyed Camelot. Immediately after, God had rendered sixth generation witches infertile, but he knew that the Chosen One would override that. To his chagrin, there were things even he couldn’t control. “Do not trifle •!22!•!
THE BELGRAVE DAUGHTER with me, Lucifer. Or do I need to remind you the reason you were cast out in the first place?” Lucifer’s anger boiled beneath his calm veneer, but he kept his voice strong and strictly business. “Let’s make a bet. If Fawn abuses her power or sins as she learns magic, she becomes mine to exploit.” God frowned. He, himself, had declared it a sin to make deals with his son, and here he was tempted to do just that. There was now the potential for Fawn to be led astray, and he knew his son would stop at nothing to harness her power for evil. He would yield to this bargain if it meant protecting the world. Lucifer was growing impatient, his coal eyes igniting into smoldering red embers, finally settling into a fiery red. “I do believe we’re talking about the fate of the world here. Do we have a deal?” “If she remains pure, she will stay in my heavenly domain and you can never meddle in her affairs.” “Agreed. You should know there are some rules. I can send any temptations to persuade her and—so can you,” Lucifer begrudgingly added. “We can speak to our own pawn but under no circumstances are we allowed access to the other’s champion.” Lucifer didn’t want his father to give Caleb a moral pep talk. After two hundred years, the boy had yet to fail him on a mission, but a sudden change of heart would hinder all efforts to win Fawn over. •!23!•!
ZARA HOFFMAN “If you are considering using the boy,” God interrupted, as if reading Lucifer’s thoughts, “I will add that if he becomes pure, in any way, he will be freed from all previous contractual obligations.” It had saddened him to see Caleb’s desperation get the better of him, but God understood his noble motivation. The boy had merely wanted to save his family. But now, if God could also save Caleb in this bargain, stripping Lucifer of his right-hand man, not only would he have redeemed one soul, but also saved countless others from his son’s manipulations. “I will give you as much time as you need to think this over. Know what you are getting into, my son.” Lucifer stiffened at the term of endearment. It had been so long since he’d been called that, but it was too late for his father to soften him up with memories. His gaze wandered aimlessly as he considered the demands. At any moment he could lose everything—and he already knew what that felt like. But if he won this deal, his gain would be ten times worth the risk. His plan to capture Heaven was dependent on this victory. He needed to succeed, and he’d pull every dirty trick in the book if he had to. If he didn’t, he knew the demons or fallen angels would literally raise Hell. He internally scoffed. His fellow Hellions acted as if he had forgotten what it felt like to be cast out of Heaven, but he hadn’t. He would never forget. They •!24!•!
THE BELGRAVE DAUGHTER were just scared that God would crack down harder on them if the mission failed, and demanded that he ensure success. How dare they doubt his abilities? Lucifer could feel his anger boiling in his solar plexus. He inhaled deeply. I will win this. He looked his father straight in the eye: “Deal.” They shook hands. Thunder and lightning raged outside and the Earth was plunged into darkness for twenty-four hours.
g Caleb had just returned from a three-month trip to England. He had been tasked with breaking the engagement of a nobleman’s daughter. Like always, he’d succeeded, and in record time, but he was still exhausted. While the acting wasn’t difficult, he found her demeaning rants about the servants grating. Her elitist behavior had almost made him snap on multiple occasions. Appeasing a brat wasn’t his favorite thing to do, but it was over. A knock sounded. “He’d like to see you,” the guard tonelessly announced through the ebony door. “You’ve got another mission. I hear it’s in New York City this time.” “I just got back from one. Tell him I’m too tired.” Caleb called without moving from his bed.
ZARA HOFFMAN “You know I can’t do that. Besides, do not act like you didn’t enjoy yourself at least a little bit.” An image of the girl sprawled beneath him came to mind. Caleb swallowed his disgust and quickly shoved the memory away. He ignored Ivan’s vulgar suggestion and pressed forward, “Can’t or won’t?” “I would like to keep my position as Lucifer’s Captain of the Guard. Does that answer your question?” Caleb magically waved the door open to reveal Ivan standing with his arms crossed. He saw the infernal crimson light pouring into the stone courtyard. “You’re a horrible person. You know that, right?” “They didn’t call me Ivan the Terrible for nothing. There was truth in that reputation.” Caleb straightened his black t-shirt and his dark wash jeans before walking to the throne room. He snorted, as if he didn’t already know the way by heart. On their way, another guard joined them. “How’d the mission go?” “Well, as always.” “How was she?” Caleb looked over his shoulder at the newcomer. “I’ll share once you tell me what you were thinking with those six wives of yours. Getting in between those Boleyn sisters? Now that’s just sadistic.” Henry shrugged. “It’s no worse than what you’re doing now.” •!26!•!
THE BELGRAVE DAUGHTER “Actually, it is, because I’m just following orders, not indulging in depraved behavior.” “Shut up,” Ivan snapped. “We’re here.” Lucifer sat on a black iron throne that was surrounded by flames and broken skeletons. Caleb folded his black wings and stood as frozen as the rest of the room. One would think Hell was a fire pit—and it was in some places, especially when Lucifer got angry—but for the most part it was just extreme conditions, boiling or freezing with nothing in between. Caleb wrinkled his nose at the sulfuric stench that wafted towards him. Lucifer needed to clean the place up—or at least move the corpses into a vault where no one could smell the rotting flesh. The drastic fluctuations in temperature did nothing to help the matter. It only sped up the decaying process. Lucifer stared down at him. “I need you to do something for me.” “What now?” Caleb whined. He was sick of running around doing the devil’s dirty work. He had never wanted this when he’d made the deal. “Do not take that tone with me.” Lucifer inhaled, composing himself, and spoke more calmly. “I need you to befriend a girl on Earth. A witch, actually.” To do what? And how far would he have to go with the girl this time?
ZARA HOFFMAN When he’d first started, hearing that his job was to seduce girls sounded like the best thing in the world, but after the first hundred or so, it got tedious. Sure, he used to take delight in wooing them, or making them jealously fight over him, but now it was only a matter of business. It was boring. He could only imagine his mother shaking her head at him. She had taught him that intimacy was the most sacred earthly experience, and now it was just a commodity to him. As the years went by, girls became braver and outspoken, which was attractive until some became selfentitled princesses. And though he’d never dealt with a witch before, if she was like any of the other girls with whom he’d worked, he would be subjected to constant tantrums which was not something he enjoyed. Caleb tried to keep his voice unemotional, but his reluctance was clearly present when he asked, “Why?” “Because I made a deal with my old man and you’re going to help me win.” Caleb knew he had to do whatever Lucifer wanted because of their damned contract, but deliberately putting his head on the chopping block wasn’t part of the deal. “There’s no way I’m putting myself in that crossfire. It’s suicide,” Caleb insisted, dragging out the last word through clenched teeth.
THE BELGRAVE DAUGHTER That’s what Lucifer liked about Caleb. There was a fire in him: strong, defiant, and stubborn—qualities that Lucifer prided himself on. Every so often, he’d give the boy a break. Being the best in his field, Caleb deserved more, but Lucifer could never afford to give him too much time off—especially now, with the seduction of Fawn Belgrave demanding professional and urgent attention. “But you won’t be. It’s all part of the deal,” Lucifer announced cheerfully as if that solved everything. Caleb still kept his eyes on the floor, sulking. The contract never mentioned that he’d be risking his neck by getting in between the two most powerful figures in the universe. Caleb’s cold silence made Lucifer more impatient. “Look at me!” The fire pits blazed as the flames climbed toward the ceiling, turning blue in the process. He was furious. But so was Caleb. He raised his head, his violet eyes ablaze. “I want no part in it.” The fires shrank as a new idea occurred to Lucifer. “Even for your freedom?” He wouldn’t tell Caleb that he could also free himself by choosing the Light. No, he’d keep the boy ignorant, making him think that his only hope was to agree to Lucifer’s terms. For a second, Caleb hesitated, before shaking his head, “I have nothing to go back to. My family died
ZARA HOFFMAN two hundred years ago—right after I made my deal with you.” His eyes narrowed. “Don’t look at me like that, I followed through on my promise: your mother’s immortality in exchange for your eternal servitude—” “You turned her into a statue!” “Immortality! No one can escape death—except for angels, that is.” “Then why didn’t you turn her into an angel?” “Because I couldn’t!” Lucifer slammed his fists into the arms of his throne with enough force to create an earthquake. “Don’t you get that? I can only create dark angels and demons thanks to my Father—and only then if they personally agree to a contract.” He exhaled. “Now, about your assignment…” Caleb breathed heavily, weighing his choices: do what the devil wanted in exchange for his freedom or... what? Nothing could get worse than it already was. “What exactly would you have me do?” A triumphant smile spread across Lucifer’s hardened features. He had Caleb on board; now all he had to do was wait for the boy to deliver the little witch to his doorstep and he’d be one step closer to amassing the power he needed to take back his birthright. “Use your imagination, I don’t care. I just need her to become corrupt, or better yet, agree to serve me. I’ll
THE BELGRAVE DAUGHTER leave it up to your imagination, but a broken heart can drive one over the edge.” Caleb nodded and began walking away, but Lucifer continued. “You have time before you meet her. Your assignment won’t begin until she’s in college because she is under constant supervision with a vigilant mother and an overprotective twin brother.” “No father?” Caleb interrupted. “Died before she was born. Now let me finish. Despite the waiting period, I need you to start planning now. This mission can’t fail, and when the time comes, Fawn will be your only project. You can go now. I’ll send her binder to you later.” Caleb nodded and took his leave. He was particularly anxious to get started, knowing this assignment could change his life. I could use her file now, Caleb thought impatiently. The fact that he and Lucifer were currently located at opposite ends of the palace didn’t matter; he knew his message was received. Quit complaining, Lucifer snapped in reply, I’ve been busy. A silver binder appeared on the desk. Flipping through the contents Caleb saw the words family, caring, dedicated, empathetic, and some surprising adjectives that didn’t fit with the Mother Theresa description: sarcastic, stubborn, and opinionated. He wrote, “saint” in big letters at the top of the page and highlighted her biggest weakness: romance. •!31!•!
ZARA HOFFMAN Wooing her would be the best course of action. He just had to meet her and personally assess what type of approach he’d take. There were only two categories of guys: sweet and cocky. He’d played both many times, but Caleb wouldn’t know which one would work until he met Fawn and gauged her reaction. It would be best to start out as a jerk, and if she didn’t like that persona, he could become the “misunderstood bad boy with a soft side” cliché that literature had been propagating for centuries. None of his assignments ever thought about the possibility of being ruined by a dark angel, but that was their mistake. He pulled the picture of his family out from under his pillow and propped it up on his desk. We’ll be reunited again if it’s the last thing I do, he promised. In his office, Lucifer was in deep thought. His forehead creased in concentration, his fingers rubbing his sore temples as he stared coldly at the crackling bones in the fireplace. If everything went according to plan, by the time Fawn joined his ranks, he’d have an army powerful enough to seize The Kingdom of Heaven. This means war, Father.
3 Angel Eyes
Light flashed across the inside of Fawn’s eyelids, tinting them red. She opened her eyes expecting to see sunlight flooding her room but instead, she was surrounded by a black void. With no escape route apparent, she knew she was lost. She attempted to walk away. When she bumped into something, Fawn stumbled backwards, confusion creasing her forehead. An invisible wall? Pressing her hands to it, she tested its strength. Solid. She ran her fingers over it, searching for a catch or hidden panel. Nothing. Fawn groaned. I’m trapped with no means of escape. This can’t get any worse.
ZARA HOFFMAN But unpredictable events are the most interesting, a voice said in the back of her mind. She whirled around and saw a guy around her age standing behind her. She tried to back away, wary of him and unsure of his intentions, but he latched onto her wrist and pulled her closer. Fawn stared up at him, eyes wide with both fear and curiosity. With a smirk, the stranger raised an eyebrow. His lips didn’t move, but his voice was clear in her head. Where do you think you’re going? I just got here. Took me a while to see through this damn box, too. He wasn’t responsible for trapping her? Was someone else messing with her dream? She twisted away from him and addressed the otherwise empty space. Please don’t hurt me, she pleaded. Again, his voice appeared in her head. If I was going to hurt you, don’t you think I would’ve already? He had a point. That didn’t mean it still wasn’t possible. “You could just be toying with me for amusement or for some other purpose and you simply haven’t lost interest in me yet. Once I’m no longer useful, then you might kill me.” His lips curved upwards in a lopsided smile. Fawn heard him chuckling in her mind. She could feel goosebumps forming on her arms. His laugh made her nervous. It seemed lighthearted and yet she feared there were very dark intentions hiding beneath the surface. •!34!•!
THE BELGRAVE DAUGHTER “Please don’t hurt me,” she begged again. You have nothing to be afraid of, he assured her. Fawn faced him. “And why should I trust you? I don’t know you.” He kissed her forehead. But you will soon. Fawn jerked out of his grasp and rubbed the spot where his lips had been, scowling at him. He flashed her a gleaming smile and she blinked. What type of person went around kissing people’s foreheads? A psycho serial killer, that’s who. He laughed and she shot him a look. I think you’ve been watching too much crime TV, babe. “Don’t call me that.” He bowed low and pretended to tip an imaginary top hat. Yes, ma’am. Without warning, the space started trembling. The darkness rippled, resembling heat waves on a hot summer day. Fawn frantically looked around, trying to locate the cause of the disturbance, but she couldn’t find it. The stranger was doing a better job of composing himself, but he was staring upward with a frown on his face. Did he know what was happening? Suddenly she was floating in the air, rapidly ascending into the black unknown. Naturally, she tried to fight it. Fawn imagined herself rooted to the ground, but it didn’t help. The pull was getting impossible to resist and without thinking, she grabbed his •!35!•!
ZARA HOFFMAN hand. He looked up at her, just as surprised as she was. She stared at him, hoping to see his face, but it was mostly hidden in shadow. At the last moment, she saw a distinctive feature. His eyes shone a piercing violet as he smiled at her. The void began to rumble even faster. She woke up to a blaring noise. Beep. Beep. Beep. It sounded like someone was blowing a horn in her ear. Fawn slammed her hand on top of the alarm clock. Slowly, she sat up and pulled her knees to her chest. She hadn’t had a weird dream since she got her magical powers four years ago, on her sixteenth birthday. Hell, she hadn’t talked about magic since that day. She’d heard whispers warning her about someone coming after her, but nothing had come out of it. And now, on her twentieth birthday, not only was she required to attend all of her college classes, but she also had a future meeting with some cocky jackass who got his kicks at her expense. Her thoughts were cut off when the door opened and Ivy, her best friend since freshman year of high school and now college roommate, launched herself onto the bed. “Ow!” Fawn yelped as the bed jostled, causing her to hit her head on the wall behind them. “Sorry.” “You should be.” •!36!•!
THE BELGRAVE DAUGHTER Ivy rolled her eyes. “I just wanted to wish my best friend happy birthday! Is that so bad?” “Thanks for that.” Fawn threw aside the sheets and walked over to the dresser. She went past Ivy and pulled out a homemade graphic t-shirt with a phoenix crawling up the side. She’d painted it for her high school junior year project as part of a collection of other t-shirts featuring fantasy creatures. Next came a pair of dark-wash jeans and black ankle boots. “How long have you been awake?” “Long enough to hear that someone new is enrolling today. Someone hot. So hurry up!” Fawn rolled her eyes. Her friend was always crushing on guys, and they returned the favor. Ivy was never without a date. “And I should care about this because?” “He’s confirmed eye candy, supposedly single. You could benefit from this.” “If this is another one of your matchmaker plans, drop it now. I’d rather any other type of birthday gift from you, but not that.” “Just humor me, will you?” “Fine.”
g Caleb could hear the gossiping girls from a mile away as he relaxed in the backseat of the black SUV heading towards the university.
ZARA HOFFMAN Looking out the window, he could see students milling around in front of the large brick buildings. He inhaled and exhaled slowly, a ritual he always performed while getting into character. His alias was the son of a wealthy businessman. Little did they know that his father died back in the nineteenth century, and that he was the honorary Prince of Hell, second only to Lucifer himself. Closing his eyes, Caleb focused all his energy towards his ears and began sifting through the mindless chatter for one special girl. He couldn’t hear her voice, but her friend Ivy was talking to her in their dorm, attempting to convince Fawn that his arrival was a special event. It seemed she was failing because Fawn’s thoughts were still ambivalent. He chuckled. Even past assignments with strong self-control quickly melted before him, and the young Miss Belgrave wouldn’t be any different. The car halted and the chauffeur opened the panel that separated them. “We’re here, sir.” Caleb nodded before opening the door and stepping into the sunny courtyard.
g Fawn shifted uncomfortably from foot to foot. Ivy had none too gently dragged her into the main quad, plowed a path through the crowd, and situated them
THE BELGRAVE DAUGHTER in the front row to observe the new student as if he were royalty. She crossed her arms over her chest. It seemed like hours before the mystery guy walked through the door. Two large, black rolling suitcases were stationed on either side of him. His eyes locked onto Fawn and she felt herself stand up straighter, her arms falling to her sides. She squinted, the light from outside making it hard to see his features clearly. It seemed like he was going to approach her, but suddenly he ripped his gaze away. The new guy grabbed his bags and walked forward toward the office. As he winked at her and she blushed immediately. This is going to be fun, Caleb thought.
g “I’ve seen him before,” Fawn told her friend once they were back in the dorm. Ivy put down her magazine and leaned forward. “That’s impossible. He’s new. I would remember seeing someone like that.” “I think I saw him in a dream.” “Another psychic one?” “It was this morning. And right before it ended, he promised I’d meet him. I didn’t think he meant today.” “Are you sure it’s him?” Fawn nodded. “His eyes are the same.” “Angel eyes,” Ivy sighed.
ZARA HOFFMAN Fawn nodded absent-mindedly, wondering what it meant that the mystery guy from her dream was now a fellow student. She didn’t have a good feeling about him. Ivy, on the other hand, took it as a sign that her friend had a crush on him and was already beginning to calculate more matchmaking schemes. Fawn got off her bed and walked toward the table to collect her bag. “We have European Literature soon, let’s go.” Ivy followed. “After, do you want to grab something to eat?” If they were lucky, he’d be having lunch in the cafeteria around the same time. Once they were seated in their favorite spot, Fawn began to relax, but when the door opened and the new student emerged, her neck muscles tightened again. He was walking up the rows toward them. He pointed to the seat on Fawn’s other side. “May I sit there, or is it taken?” “It’s open,” Ivy replied before Fawn could get a word in. “Actually, why don’t I move in and you can sit here? My name is Ivy, by the way.” After he settled into the aisle seat, he turned to the two girls. “Thank you. My name is Caleb. It’s nice to meet you.” Fawn faced front without saying a word, willing herself not to let Caleb’s presence bother her. She was failing miserably. •!40!•!
THE BELGRAVE DAUGHTER Ivy piped up. “Sorry about my friend here. Fawn is a little shy when meeting new people. Especially guys.” Caleb raised his eyebrows in mock surprise. Fawn swiftly hit Ivy underneath the desks. “Ouch! Don’t blame me, it’s true,” she whispered. “That doesn’t mean you tell everyone that,” Fawn hissed in reply. Caleb had to suppress the chuckle threatening to spill from his lips. Little did the girls know that he could hear every word of their private conversation thanks to his amplified angel hearing. “I hope I’m not that intimidating.” Fawn turned her head slightly toward him and Caleb could see the light blush on her cheeks. “You’re not, it’s just…” “Yes?” “Never mind,” she mumbled. She refocused on the teacher who was currently giving an overview of the term paper. By the time the class let out, Fawn was ready to jump out of her own skin. She hadn’t been ignorant of the fact that Caleb had been paying more attention to her than to the professor. Fortunately for her, her resolve was stronger than her instinct to tell him to stp staring. Instead, she silently suffered the discomfort and acted as if he wasn’t there.
ZARA HOFFMAN Ivy ran to catch up to Fawn, who was walking swiftly away from the English building—and away from Caleb. “Well, that was a bore. Why did I allow you to talk me into taking that class?” “Because you wanted to be able to talk about these literary classics for dates with the more…intelligent guys in the school.” Ivy tilted her head. “Yeah, I guess you’re right.” “Wait!” Ivy stopped in her tracks and yanked Fawn’s arm back. Fawn grit her teeth in annoyance as they waited for Caleb to catch up to them. “What are you guys doing now?” Ivy answered. “We were going to grab something to eat. Do you want to come?” “Are you okay with me tagging along, Fawn?” “Yeah…it’s fine,” Fawn said before taking off again. It wasn’t long before she felt his presence next to her. “Do I make you uncomfortable?” She readjusted her messenger bag strap over her shoulder and replied, “What gave you that idea?” “You seem to ignore and avoid me whenever I’m near you. Have I done something to offend you?” “No, I’ve just had a lot on my mind. Today’s my birthday, and so far it’s just been stressful.” She stared at him for a moment before continuing. “This will sound weird, but… have I met you before?” •!42!•!
THE BELGRAVE DAUGHTER “Not in person.” “What does that mean?” Caleb lowered his lips to her ear, and whispered, “What do you think, Fawn?”
If you liked The Belgrave Daughter, would you please leave a review? And stay tuned for the next book in THE BELGRAVE LEGACY
TEARS of an ANGEL Coming 2014
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS Thanks to my friends and family for tolerating my crazy antics during the drafting and revision stages. And thanks to Juan Solorzano for the amazing cover.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR Zara Hoffman is a teen author. She spends most of her time doing homework and writing new stories. When she isnâ€™t wrapped up in projects, Zara can be found relaxing with friends and family, listening to music, reading and writing, or playing with her dog, Riley. Connect with Zara online: www.zarahoffman.com firstname.lastname@example.org
Published on Oct 16, 2013
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