Sanctuary Coven Book 1
An innocent, young woman. A single-minded warlock. A web of seduction that ensnares them both.
Life is finally starting to work out for Heather Moore: a place all her own, a fulfilling career, and a wonderful new man in her life. Straight from the pages of a magazine, her French lover is the stuff of dreams. Strong and sexy, considerate and funny, it’s as though she’s been waiting for him all her short life.
But Lucas Carré is not what he seems. His immortal life as a warlock gives him every advantage, especially when it comes to his mission: to seduce the young witch in order to find her sister. But when he pulls his lover back to the coven she once escaped, dark secrets wait there—and danger.
What Readers Are Saying
Another Great Series Has Begun. New scenarios, new conflicts, new characters. As usual, she has me hooked within two chapters.
Holy Hotness, Batman! So I've come to expect deep characters and unexpected plot twists from these Coven series, but this one starts out really strong. The main characters drew me in right away.
When I started this book, I thought it would be boring. Was I ever wrong. Exciting, sexy, heart pounding. But, I so want to b—h slap Naomi and kick Dane in the b—s. Give me lucas all the time.
Wiccans of all sorts: warlocks, witches, moon witches, shifters… But also templars and so much more….. Enchanting and addictive, even me who likes but is not obsessed with paranormal, thoroughly enjoyed it!!!
The story itself is richly layered, full of complex characters, and with more than one hidden mystery. The prose is delightful, and the editing makes this grammarian's heart happy.
“Why did you take me out of class?” Becky Spencer demanded as she flopped down in the chair beside Heather Moore’s desk. “Am I in trouble or something?”
“Not at all.” To give them some privacy, Heather closed the door and the hall window blinds. “How have you been?”
The girl folded her arms and slouched down. “What do you care?”
Heather took a moment to gather her calm by standing in a patch of afternoon sunlight. One thing she loved about working at Rocky Mountain High School was the view from the big windows at the back of her office. Facing Denver’s west side, she could see beyond the colorful sprawl of the city to Lookout Mountain, and the towering peaks of the Rockies. Sometimes it made her feel homesick for the rugged, icy beauty of Aspen, where she had grown up, but mostly it comforted her. She couldn’t remember Alaska, where she had been born, but she suspected she would never feel at home away from miles of evergreens and snowcapped mountains.
“Becky, I called you in to talk about your plans for after graduation,” Heather said as she went back to her desk. She could smell a trace of something sour, and saw drying water stains on the front of the girl’s pullover sweater. “I understand they’ve changed quite a bit.”
“Oh, I get it. My mom finally freaked out and called you.” Before Heather could reply the teenager began twisting a strand of blonde hair around her finger. “Whatever. Next month I’m outta here. I’m eighteen, Ms. Moore. They can’t make me go to college. I’m moving out to L.A., and no one is going to stop me.”
The resentful look she added to her threats didn’t worry Heather as much as the girl’s appearance. The last time she’d seen Becky she’d been well-groomed with a nice manicure. Now her hair straggled around her pale face, and she’d bitten her ragged nails down to the quick.
“No one is trying to stop you, Becky,” Heather said. She sat back in her chair and kept her expression calm and open. “You have a four-point-five GPA and three full scholarship offers from colleges you applied to last fall. Your parents aren’t angry with you, either. They’re simply confused. So am I. Why the sudden change of heart? What’s in Los Angeles?”
The teenager hunched her shoulders. “You wouldn’t understand.”
At Becky’s age Heather couldn’t have imagined becoming the guidance counselor at Rocky Mountain. She’d been just as angry, but in her case it had come from too many years of being left out or pushed away. When she’d left home she’d simply wanted to escape from everyone and everything that had hurt her, and find some way to be happy. She’d wanted it so much she’d even stolen her older sister’s car. Ten years later she finally felt she had found some measure of happiness, but only after cutting off nearly every tie she had to the past.
“Can I go back to class now?” Becky demanded.
Now Heather could smell the sour odor on the girl’s breath.
“Were you sick right before you came in here?”
Becky’s eyes became guarded. “My stomach’s been upset, that’s all.”
Although she tried not to use her gift to do her job, this time Heather sensed Becky’s entire future might depend on it. She closed her eyes briefly, and when she opened them she looked at Becky through her second sight. Instead of seeing a sulky girl fiddling with her hair, a nimbus of light and color filled Heather’s eyes. Becky couldn’t see her own aura, but to Heather it was as plain as the girl’s baggy blue pullover.
The brilliant envelope of tangerine light shimmering around Becky came from her soul, which Heather knew to be open, generous, and charming. People like Becky almost always had happy and successful lives. But something else shimmered inside the teen’s aura, and when Heather picked out the tiny shimmer of silver she knew why Becky had been sick, and why she had made such a rash decision.
“Do you know anyone in L.A.?” Heather asked.
Becky nodded and ducked her head, and a ribbon of light brown confusion streaked through her aura.
Before the appointment Heather had checked Becky’s student file for any disciplinary notes. The girl had a near-sterling behavior record, with the sole exception being one detention right before Christmas break. Heather remembered how odd it had been. Becky had been caught skipping class with Brendon Scott, a popular boy who had been a year ahead of Becky. Until that slip Becky’s attendance at Rocky Mountain had been near perfect.
“You were dating Brendon Scott before he graduated,” Heather said casually. “Didn’t he move to L.A. to become an actor?”
“He is an actor.” The words were clipped and quick. “He’s already been in three commercials, and he goes to auditions every day. He could get his big break any time now. He told me when he came back for Christmas, and we…went out.”
Heather closed the folder and nodded. “I remember how handsome he is—and talented, too. So is he going to help you get into acting?”
Becky suddenly looked miserable. “No. I’ll do something else. Wait tables. I don’t care. I’ll make it work.”
“I’m sure you will,” Heather said quietly.
She reached out and gently removed the coil of hair twisted around the girl’s finger.
“But what will you and Brendon do after the baby is born?”
Becky stared at her with big, frightened eyes.
“I haven’t told anyone. Not even my best friend.”
“It was just a guess. Morning sickness can make you throw up,” Heather said, nodding at the water stains where the girl had tried to clean it off her pullover. She watched the silver sparkle over the girl’s middle, which told her the baby was healthy. “Becky, I understand why you’ve been keeping this secret, but in five months you won’t be able to hide it anymore. You and your baby need prenatal care, and after the birth you’ll have to provide for your child. You already know you can’t do this by yourself. But can Brendon really take care of both of you?”
The girl’s bottom lip trembled. “He loves me.”
Heather had to go carefully now. “How does he feel about the baby? Does he feel ready to be a father?”
“He said he’d…try.”
Becky burst into tears.
Heather held Becky’s trembling hand and poured her own violet aura around the girl, extending the powerful corona to calm and soothe the distressed teen. Slowly her sobs subsided.
“Your parents love you very much,” Heather said, still holding Becky’s hand. “They’re good people.” Becky nodded. “They want to help you make the best decisions.” Heather patted her hand lightly before letting it go. “But in the end, it’s your choice.”
Heather moved a box of tissues from the corner of her desk to the edge near Becky. As Becky took one, Heather went to the file cabinet behind her desk. She opened a drawer and withdrew a brochure she kept for moments like these. As she returned to Becky, the young woman seemed to have settled down. Heather handed her the brochure.
“This is some literature from a city program that I like to recommend. They specialize in helping pregnant teenagers.”
Still holding a tissue to her nose, Becky took it, and heaved a big sigh.
“It’s just all been so much,” she said, her voice a bit stronger.
“I know,” Heather said. “But you’ve got good people to help you. Don’t shut them out now. I know you’re smarter than that.” Heather’s voice took on a mock serious tone. “Don’t make me a liar.”
Becky smiled a little and sniffed. “Okay, Ms. Moore.”
As Becky stood and tenderly touched her stomach, Heather stepped to the door and opened it. But when Heather turned, she found herself wrapped up in a hug.
“Thank you,” Becky whispered.
Heather grinned into Becky’s hair and hugged her back.
“There’s nothing to thank me for.”
Becky nodded a little and released her. But as she walked through the door, glancing down at the brochure with a final sniff, Heather knew that wasn’t strictly true. Becky’s aura glowed with the soft pink of new hope.
Closing the door, Heather breathed in and out deeply to dispel her own dark feelings. Becky would never know how much she envied her in that moment: to be pregnant with a child of her own to love and nurture and raise, without ever having to fear for its future. Heather would never have children. She’d accepted that hard, cold reality since driving away from Aspen in that stolen car. It was the price of the life she had built for herself beyond the mountains, and all she had left behind there.
Heather finished writing her notes and added a reminder to her calendar to follow up later in the week. A glance at the clock made her groan, grab her bag, and shut off the lights before she locked up.
“Hey, Heather.” Dorothy Niel, the newest English teacher at Rocky Mountain, caught up with her on the way to the teacher’s parking lot. “Have you got any plans tonight? A bunch of us are meeting down at the Acorn Tavern for coffee and gossip.”
“I do, actually. Sorry.”
Although Heather didn’t socialize much with her colleagues, she had liked Dorothy from the moment she had glimpsed the young teacher’s warm, gentle, lavender aura.
Dorothy looked around before she murmured in a stage whisper, “Are you seeing that sexy French guy again?”
Heather chuckled. Those were exactly the words she’d have used. Her stomach fluttered a little at the thought.
“Yes, we’re having dinner at Bistro Montmartre.”
“Sexy and rich.” The young woman sighed. “Do you think he has an unattached, identical twin brother?”
“I don’t think so.” Heather took out her keys, but smiled sympathetically as she unlocked her compact car. “If he does, he probably lives in Paris.”
“You say that like it’s a bad thing,” Dorothy said, and laughed. “Okay, have a good weekend—and don’t do anything I wouldn’t do.” She waggled her eyebrows. “Which with him? Is basically nothing.”
As Heather drove from the school to her apartment, the commute had never seemed so slow. She mentally went through her closet and decided on how she would dress for her date. Usually she wore pastels, which worked better with her fair skin and blonde hair. But she had a feeling tonight would be special. There was a new dress she’d been saving just for the occasion—if occasion was the right word. She realized her fingers were gripping the steering wheel and tried to relax. If occasion wasn’t the right word, ordinary wasn’t either.
No one could call Lucas Carré an ordinary guy. An engineer from Paris, the Frenchman travelled all over the U.S. supervising construction projects for his firm. He’d only been working in Denver for a month when Heather had met him, but he already knew his way around the city. His emerald green aura reassured her too. It reflected how focused and hard-working he was. People with such strong green auras always enjoyed prosperity, but they also embraced generosity, making them trustworthy and admirable. It also helped that he was drop-dead gorgeous.
Finally at home, Heather took a quick shower, decided to wear her hair up, and did her make-up before taking out the dress. Silky, scarlet and almost sinfully snug, it was the sort of dress a woman wore for her lover, not a date.
“You’re pretty risky,” she told the dress.
But the dress didn’t say anything back. It didn’t have to.
Until now she and Lucas had kept things light and casual. They’d met at an outdoor market when they’d both reached for the same basket of peaches. Heather remembered taking in his hard-muscled body, his smoothly-tanned skin, and his too-long straight black hair. If anyone ever needed a perfect example of tall, dark and handsome masculinity, he was it. All his physical glory paled, however, when she’d looked into his eyes. Long, narrow and fringed with black lashes, they seemed full of shimmering secrets. She’d also never met anyone with such intense violet irises—the exact same shade as her aura.
“Sorry.” She drew her hand back from the fruit.
“Why?” he countered. “Were you planning to steal them?”
After making her laugh Lucas had surrendered the peaches to her, and then asked her to have coffee with him. She should have felt nervous talking to such a good-looking man, but his green aura was clear and sparkling. Something about the way he looked at her made her feel very much at ease with him too. His open, friendly admiration wrapped around her like a soft, warm caress. The way his French accent made everything he said in his deep voice sound like a sexy compliment didn’t hurt, either.
“I would like to see you again,” he’d said when they finished their coffee. “Will you be here stealing peaches next weekend?”
From there they’d progressed to lunch, walks in the park, two movies and a jazz festival. Despite the playboy reputation most Frenchman had, Lucas had been very respectful, only holding her hand until the second movie, after which he’d kissed her goodnight. He’d kissed her again while dancing with her at the concert, probably a dozen times, until Heather thought she might melt in his arms. He’d never pressed her for anything more, however.
“Would you like to come in?” she’d asked him that night when he’d walked her to her apartment door. “I can make some coffee for us.”
“If I go in there with you,” he said, very seriously, “I will not want coffee.” Just as Heather was about to agree, he kissed her brow. “Another night, cherie.”
Now, as she pulled on the scarlet dress and felt the sensuous fabric slither against her skin, Heather thought of Lucas’s hands. Strong yet elegant, he used them when he talked, moving them as if he heard music no one else could. She’d spent far too many nights imagining how his long brown fingers would look and feel, stroking her pale skin.
Fantasies weren’t enough anymore. She wanted to feel the real thing. She picked up her wrap from the bed and headed to the door, but stopped to survey herself in the full-length mirror.
“Okay, she said, trying to muster a smile. “So I’m definitely maybe having sex tonight.”