The Warlock Brothers of Havenbridge: Book One
Mason Blackmoor just can’t compete with his brothers, much less his father. They represent the epitome of black magic, strong, dark, and wicked, and though Mason tries to live up to his respected lineage, most of the spells he casts go awry. To make matters worse, his active power has yet to kick in. While his brothers wield lightning and harness the cold, Mason sits on the sidelines, waiting for the moment when he can finally enter the magical game.
When a dead body is discovered on the football field of his high school, Mason meets Drake Carpenter, the new kid in town. Drake’s confident demeanor and quick wit rub Mason the wrong way. Drake is far too self-assured for someone without an ounce of magical blood in his body, and Mason aims to teach him a lesson—like turn him into a roach. And if he’s lucky, maybe this time Mason won’t be the one turned into an insect.
Not surprisingly, the dislike is mutual, and Drake does nothing to dispel Mason’s suspicion that the sexy boy with a southern drawl is somehow connected to the murder.
If only Mason didn’t find himself inexplicably spell bound whenever they are together, they might actually find out what danger hides in the shadows.
AS USUAL, the cafeteria at Havenbridge High roared with conversation. My classmates busily gossiped with one another about the morning’s events while stuffing themselves with what passed for food at our school. Not much could tear them away from their processed lunch and the nasty rumors they enjoyed gorging on.
At least until I entered the room.
From the moment I strolled through the double doors from the main hall, an eerie silence filled the room.
It happened every damn day, and it always made me grin.
Most of them were afraid of me. It wasn’t like I was some jock who could bench-press twice his weight and had more muscle than common sense. I didn’t have scary tattoos or weird piercings, and I didn’t walk around in a trench coat that might be concealing a shotgun.
I was just your typical eighteen-year-old high school senior of average height and lean build.
Still, I terrified them. Their gazes rarely met mine, and whenever I passed, their voices dropped to whispers. Just the way I liked it.
They should be scared of me. I had more untapped potential in my pinky finger than they did in their entire bodies, and they could sense it. They just didn’t know what it was they felt whenever they were around me. It had been that way ever since I was a kid.
If I told them why I had always made them so uneasy, they wouldn’t believe me. My kind had been forced from this world and shoved into the obscurity of myth and legend. It had been necessary for survival.
And it pissed me off.
I was a warlock and damn proud of it. If I could have, I’d have shouted it from the tops of these tables, but that was forbidden. We had to live alongside those who had once hunted us and pretend to be like them. If we didn’t, we’d face extinction once again.
“Mason!” someone shouted from the back of the cafeteria. “I got your lunch, man.”
It was Brandon Priestly, one of the juvenile delinquents I called my friends. He snuck out of fourth period every day to buy my lunch. Since it was Friday, I’d sink my teeth into a wicked juicy hamburger from Barrelman’s. They had the best eats in town.
I strolled over to where Brandon sat in the back with Simon Busby and Eddie Harmon, who made up the rest of my crew. These were the guys who dared to hang with me. Since they usually spent their days causing shit and teasing losers, they believed they were like me.
But I was nothing like them.
I didn’t waste my time with petty crap like bullying someone who obviously couldn’t defend himself. That was beneath me. Where was the challenge in that?
“Hey, Mason,” Laura McBride said as I passed her table. She sat with the other girls who’d gone bad. She flipped her long dark hair away from the cleavage she proudly displayed, and she slipped her bright red fingernail into her mouth. She’d been trying to get me to nail her for two years now. “Can I see you this weekend?”
“Can’t. Busy,” I mumbled as I walked by, and I wasn’t even lying this time. This was going to be a crazy, magical weekend, and my family had a lot to do. And even if we weren’t all gathering for an important ritual, Laura and her slutty friends weren’t for me.
My type tended to have lean muscles, a firm bubble butt, and a nice cock. Now someone like that would have my complete and undivided attention.
When I reached the table where my friends sat, Brandon took the burger out of the bag and moved my drink over to my usual spot. His chubby face twisted in apology; what had he gotten wrong with my lunch today? He was the largest of all my friends, but his mass wasn’t due to being overweight and out of shape. Brandon was one of those guys who were just big, and he used his size to terrorize most everyone else. For me, though, he turned into a lapdog. “They were out of root beer,” Brandon said as I sat down. “I got you Sprite instead.”
Fuck. What was I going to do without my root beer fix? “That’s the second time this month.”
He gave me a small smile. “I spoke to the manager and told him he needed to get his shit together. He said they’d make sure to have some next week.”
I took a sip of the Sprite and grimaced. It just didn’t hit the spot. My lunch was ruined.
“But I did get you extra cheese and bacon on the burger,” Brandon said.
Okay, so maybe it wasn’t totally ruined after all. I patted him on the back. It was my way of saying “good job.” The huge smile that broke across his face practically blinded me.
“We’re gonna head over to Boston this weekend,” Eddie said. His brother went to Boston College and had tons of access to alcohol. We’d occasionally use the connection to get our drink on. “You’re coming, right?”
I shook my head. “Got plans.”
“What?” Brandon asked. If he were any more disappointed, he’d be tearing up right now. “You’ve got to come.”
“Yeah,” Simon chimed in. He was more attractive than plump Brandon or acne-scarred Eddie, who enjoyed getting into fights. Simon had a good complexion and a nice set of full lips, but the boy had absolutely zero ass. It was so square and flat, he might as well be SpongeBob. “We’re gonna stay the whole weekend. Get drunk, smoke some weed, and bang some sorority chicks.”
I had to stifle a laugh. No college girl in her right mind would offer up her T or A to any of these guys. “You boys have fun. I’ve got plans,” I repeated.
My body tensed. Brandon knew better than that. I asked questions. I didn’t answer them.
“Mind if I join ya?”
No one ever asked to sit with us at lunch. I was just about to tell the newcomer to fuck off when the sight of his big cornflower blue eyes stole the words from my lips. I’d never seen this dude before in my life, and I would certainly remember him if I had.
He was the hottest guy I’d ever seen.
A white V-neck T-shirt under a black vest covered his lean, muscular chest, and the arms that held his tray were smooth, creamy, and nicely defined. He obviously spent time in the gym. His shaggy blond hair blocked his vision, and he shook his head to the left to clear his view. When he could see again, he arched a big bushy eyebrow at us and said, “Uh, are y’all deaf or somethin’? ’Cause if this is the short-bus table, it don’t bother me none.”
What the hell did he just say?
“Are you calling us retards?” Brandon asked. I winced. I hated that word, but Brandon didn’t notice. He stood and growled.
“Not really,” he replied through clenched teeth. He clearly didn’t like the word Brandon used any more than I did. “I’m just sayin’ if y’all happen to be special needs, then that’s no skin off my teeth.”
Where the fuck was this guy from? His Southern accent meant he hadn’t been born in Massachusetts, and he definitely wasn’t from Havenbridge. Otherwise, he wouldn’t be talking to us like this. No matter how hot he was, the kid needed to learn his place. My older brothers disrespected me enough; I wasn’t going to let some country bumpkin insult me and get away with it.
I nodded at Eddie.
“This is our table, newbie,” Eddie said. “Why don’t you take your hillbilly ass somewhere else?”
“That’s not very hospitable,” he said as he slid onto the bench next to me. His body heat filled the space between us, and my cock sprang to life. What the fuck? How could this guy piss the shit out of me and turn me on at the same time? Thankfully, Brandon reacted the way he always did. His face turned redder than a clown’s nose. He was about five seconds away from grabbing this guy by the throat and throwing him against the wall.
That didn’t seem to bother the hot hick, though. He unfolded his napkin and placed it on his lap. This guy had balls. I had to give him that much.
“Maybe you’re the retard.” I snapped my attention to Simon as he leaned across the table. I was going to have a talk with these boys about their language. If someone said that word one more time, I was going to lose it. “’Cause I don’t think you’re hearing what we’re saying.”
“Oh, I hear you,” he said, picking up his plastic spork. “I’m just choosin’ to ignore you.”
I’d had about enough of his attitude. I turned in my seat and glared at him. He didn’t acknowledge my presence. He stared straight ahead as if he wasn’t seconds away from a beat down. Or being turned into a fly that I would take great pleasure in swatting. “Is there a reason you’ve come over here to start trouble with us?” He seemed intent on picking some kind of fight, and he was prodding the wrong boy at this school.
He took a bite of his spaghetti casserole, grimaced, and spat it out into his napkin. He had balls and better taste in food than most people around here. “Not at all,” he replied with a smile that was genuine and not forced. What was his deal? He offended us but then had the ’nads to pretend he’d done nothing wrong. “I was just being friendly, is all. It’s your friends here who think intimidatin’ me will make me run off with my tail ’tween my legs. I don’t do that for no one.”
“And we don’t let ‘no one’ just sit at our table.”
“Well, I guess I’m someone, then, ain’t I? Because here I am, sittin’ at your precious table.”
If we weren’t in the middle of the cafeteria, he’d be dead underneath a fly swatter. He was talking to me as if he had magical blood to back him up, but he was nothing more than an ignorant human.
“Well, well, if it isn’t the bottom of the barrel.”
As if lunch couldn’t get any worse. The shrill, annoying voice told me Miranda Proctor had decided to grace us with her presence. Unlike most everyone else at school, she had no fear of me, and it wasn’t just because she was a witch.
She knew my secret.
I glanced over my shoulder and sneered. Miranda stood behind me wearing a white button-down blouse and khaki-colored jeans. What was it with witches and white? Did the color have to be a part of every single fucking outfit? I sure as hell didn’t wear black every damn day. “What did you say? I don’t speak hag.”
Eddie and Simon snickered while Brandon guffawed. The cafeteria, which had slowly resumed its natural hum after I took my seat, once again quieted down. They knew from experience that whenever Miranda and I crossed paths, fireworks weren’t too far behind.
Her cotton-candy-colored lips twisted into a mocking sneer. “And not too good at Latin either, from what I hear.”
I gripped the table until my knuckles turned white. No matter what I said or did, she always reminded me of what I tried to hide the most.
“Who fucking cares about Latin?” Brandon spat. “No one needs to know that shit.”
She pressed her lips together to keep from laughing in my face. “Right,” she said with a wink. “No one.” She turned to the shaggy-headed fucker who still sat next to me. “You seem like a nice boy. Why are you sitting with these losers?”
“Well, thank you, ma’am. That’s very kind of you to say,” he said with a tip of an imaginary cowboy hat. “I was just hopin’ to make some new friends, is all.”
She surveyed our table and frowned. “Next time try my table. The only thing you’ll get here is fleas.”
I had to put a stop to this. Miranda was the only person at Havenbridge High who openly challenged me. I couldn’t very well have her and this new buck, who was obviously looking to carve out a name for himself, become pals. “What the fuck do you want?” I asked Miranda.
“I have a message from Elliot.”
“Speaking of retards,” Brandon said with a sniff.
I pounded my fist on the table. “Don’t any of you use that fucking word again!” That immediately shut them up. The boys glanced at one another before bowing their necks in submission while Miranda and the hick smiled in appreciation of my reply.
I might be a warlock, but that didn’t mean I was an insensitive fuckwad, especially to someone like Elliot Stonewall. Most kids at our school teased him mercilessly because he was mute, but that didn’t mean he couldn’t communicate. Elliot was a wizard who used telepathy to speak when he needed to be heard. Usually the only people he did that with were his family, which consisted of his twin sister Edith, their younger siblings Kate and Keaton, who were also twins, and his parents.
Although our species weren’t supposed to mingle, I’d always liked Elliot, and no one was going to call him a retard.
“What does he say?” I finally asked Miranda.
She’d bent down to whisper in my ear when someone suddenly burst into the cafeteria, screaming, “There’s a dead body on the football field!”
We all exchanged glances. A curious grin cut a sideways path across my friends’ expressions. Miranda mumbled under her breath, no doubt saying a blessing for the departed soul.
The new kid, though, stared out the window that faced the football field and then turned to me, his eyes wider than his O-shaped mouth. The news had rattled him. Where was that cocky motherfucker now?
PRETTY MUCH the entire school had poured out onto the football field by the time the boys and I made our way there. Our new “friend” thankfully got lost in the shuffle of anxious bodies exiting the cafeteria. Although the news of a corpse on our campus intrigued me, I had a rep to maintain. Getting excited about anything wasn’t cool.
“Who do you think it is?” Brandon asked. He wet his lips and grinned. “Maybe it’s Principal Skinner. I’d certainly lose no sleep over him. The fucking asswipe.”
Simon and Eddie echoed his sentiment. My friends hated our principal, mostly because they spent more time in his office than they did in class. I didn’t hate him at all. Principal Skinner had always been decent to me, especially since most teachers went out of their way not to help me. Just like the students they taught, the faculty feared me. Principal Skinner had seen how the adults reacted to me, and he’d always done his best to reach out to me because unlike Brandon, Simon, and Eddie, I didn’t terrorize the school.
I hung out with the bad boys, but I didn’t make a nuisance of myself. What was the point of that? Besides, most kids were scared of me already, and I’d never picked one fight, bullied someone, or gotten snarky with a teacher.
I didn’t need to be an ass to be a badass, but it didn’t mean that I could be pushed around. It had happened once, and both he and I lived to regret it. Since then, everyone had made sure I had plenty of room whenever I passed.
“That’s a fucked-up thing to say,” I told Brandon. “Death shouldn’t be wished on anyone.”
Brandon immediately apologized, and the boys grew quiet. As they all knew, death and I were well acquainted.
We reached the circle of kids who had gathered around the body. The crowd was at least ten people deep all around, and it prevented me from seeing who was lying in the middle of the field. I was about to work my way through the throng when Brandon ordered, “Move!”
The crowd immediately parted to let us pass. Brandon might be an insensitive dumbass, but knowing him had its advantages. Most kids did what he told them to do.
Before long, I stood within the circle where the body was clearly visible. It was a woman, probably in her midforties. Mud caked her long blonde hair and was smeared across her graying skin. She had obviously been in a struggle. Her clothes were ripped, and deep purple bruises spotted her forearms.
“Holy shit!” Eddie said at my side. “Look at her neck.”
How could I not? It had been torn open on the left side. Flesh and muscle had been ripped right off her body.
“Shouldn’t there be more blood?” Simon asked.
Yes, there should be. With such a deep wound, the area around her should be soaked in it, but there was no detectable red tinge to the grass or mud.
“Do you recognize her?”
I turned to find Miranda standing to my left. Brandon hissed behind me, but we both ignored him. She and I had business to conduct. I shook my head. “How about you?”
“I’ve never seen her before.” Her dark brown hair fell in front of her downcast eyes. Death wasn’t easy on anyone, but it affected witches the most. Their white magic made them far more susceptible to the loss of a life’s energy. It hurt them deeply.
“That’s good, then. It means we aren’t needed,” I said to her in a whisper.
She nodded, but the news didn’t cheer her up.
I didn’t know her either, a voice suddenly said in my head. It spoke so loudly, I grabbed my head in pain. What the fuck?
Sorry about that, it said. It sounded sincere, but every word it spoke was like a knife twisting in my brain.
“Mase, you okay?” Brandon asked. He gripped my arm as I tried to keep myself from stumbling and passing out. Miranda regarded me with stitched brows before turning her attention to the crowd.
Even though I wasn’t, I told Brandon I was. Who the fuck is this?
Turn to your left.
My head hurt so much, my vision became blurry; all I saw was a cop car and an ambulance pulling into the school’s parking lot.
Your other left, the voice said after a long sigh.
I found Elliot standing with his sister, Edith. They both had hair as black as their father’s and skin as fair as their mother’s. They were almost a perfect physical combination of their interracial parents.
Will you and Miranda get over here already?
I nudged Miranda and gestured to where Elliot and Edith stood. She nodded in understanding.
“I’ll be back,” I said to my friends.
“What? Why?” Brandon asked.
I locked gazes with him until he looked away. Simon and Eddie patted Brandon’s back, turned him around, and proceeded to talk about the body. Brandon and Eddie laughed while an amused smirk danced across Simon’s features. He’d no doubt said something crass about the dead woman. My friends were going to have to learn a lesson or two about respecting the dead and those different from us, and I might have to be the one who taught them.
AFTER MIRANDA and I crossed the field to Elliot and Edith, the four of us broke away from the crowd that had begun to be dispersed by the police and school administration.
“You two didn’t know her either?” Edith asked. Unlike Miranda, who was still clearly upset, Edith and Elliot seemed unfazed. That was typical of wizards and their gray magic. As a species, they were more detached than witches and warlocks. Logic and intellect ruled their lives, and they saw the world through the veil of neutrality that defined their usually dull order.
“Nope,” I replied. Miranda only shook her head. “She’s not one of us, so there’s not much we can do. It’s up to human law enforcement to figure out.” If she had been a warlock, witch, or wizard, then as members of the protector covens, it would have been our job to investigate what happened. The councils of our respective orders didn’t handle magical laws broken here as they did in other cities.
Havenbridge was special. The source of all magic, which my kind called the Gate, was here, and it was our job to keep it safe. And if one of our kind turned up dead in our town, that usually meant the Gate was in trouble.
I noticed Brandon, Eddie, and Simon staring at me. They were no doubt wondering why I was talking to these three, and since we weren’t needed, there was no sense in continuing this conversation. “Well, I’m gonna go now.”
No, Elliot said in my head again. Something’s not right here. Didn’t Miranda give you my message?
I winced and rubbed my temples. “Will you stop that already, Elliot? That telepathy of yours is worse than a migraine.”
“You get used to it,” Edith said.
“Not really my idea of a good time,” I said. “And no, Miranda didn’t give me your message.”
Miranda stood in silence, staring over at the body.
“My brother said he heard someone’s angry thoughts this morning,” Edith said.
I glanced at Elliot and shrugged. So what?
They were thinking about you.
“Does that surprise you?” I asked as I turned to face Elliot. He gripped my shoulders with trembling fingers that pleaded with me to take this seriously, but why? Most of the kids didn’t like me, and as long as they kept their thoughts to themselves, who fucking cared? “You’re getting yourself worked up over nothing.”
“A woman is dead,” Miranda said in a gruff whisper. “I wouldn’t call that nothing.”
I sighed. Why did she turn everything I said into an excuse for an argument? “That’s not what I meant. This has nothing to do with us, and you know the rules. If none of our kind are involved, we stay out of human affairs.”
Edith flinched and held her breath. Her brother was obviously speaking in her mind now. “Elliot seems to think that someone is trying to cover up their magic.”
That didn’t make any sense. We could sense other magical beings. That was how we knew who was a part of the “family” and who was just your run-of-the-mill human. “Is that even possible?”
Elliot shrugged and glanced between Miranda and Edith.
“I don’t know,” Edith said.
“They’d have to be extremely powerful.” Miranda’s voice was distant, as if she hadn’t come all the way back from whatever emotional time-out she’d taken. “Even more so than our parents.”
Elliot couldn’t nod his head fast enough.
“I don’t sense anything at all.”
Miranda snorted. “Yes, well, your magic isn’t exactly reliable, now is it?”
The white witch bitch was back. “Fuck you, Miranda.”
She ignored me and began mumbling in Latin. It was the language we used to cast our spells. When she had stopped speaking, the air grew heavy as the energies Miranda had summoned swelled. An unseen wave flooded everything. It rippled outward in invisible, magical currents that rolled through the grass, crashed around the unsuspecting humans, and surged toward all life around us before it suddenly dispersed.
When her spell was complete, she gasped and stared at Elliot. “You might be right.”
He sighed in relief, and a triumphant smile drew across his lips.
“Why? What did you sense?” I asked.
“Absolutely nothing,” she replied.
I stared blankly at her and then at Edith and Elliot, who traded concerned glances. “And that’s not good?”
They gaped at me as if I’d just spelled cat with a K.
“What do you think, doofus? I’m standing on a football field with a warlock, two wizards, a dead body, and a whole bunch of our classmates, and my spell sensed nothing.” Miranda crossed her arms and stared at me.
That didn’t make sense. She should have detected the fading echoes of death or, at the very least, our magical energies. “But that’s not possible.”
She pretended to ring an imaginary bell. “And we have a winner.”
I flipped her off with a big smile. “So what does that mean? Is she one of us or not?”
“I can’t say,” Miranda answered as she glanced over her shoulder at the dead woman. “But magic is most definitely involved.”
If that was true, then so were we.
I love it when a character grabs me at the first of a book and I just continue to get more attached to them as the book goes on! This happened with Mason, he is so well written and developed, you can't help but gravitate toward him!
Most of Mason's fellow students at his high school are wary of him, and they don't even really know why, but Mason does, and he hates that he can't brag about his secret, but alas a Warlock can not share his secret with 'mere mortals' ;)!
Mason may be feared at school, but at home, well that is a different story, he is tired of being the low man on the totem poll, less in the eyes of his father and brothers because of a few mistakes. This isn't the only thing that sets him apart, Mason has questions about magic, and how his father's telling of black magic doesn't quite sit well with him.
A body is discovered at his high school, and Mason will have to work with the others to find out who invaded the town and brought death and destruction with it! As if that isn't enough, add in the addition of Drake to the school, a real looker with a sexy southern drawl who Mason is both suspicious of and drawn to at the same time.
This book is wonderful and will keep you on your toes from cover to cover, I love a book that does that! You will be enamored with this book and this family, and want to know even more (thank goodness this is book 1 in a series huh? :P). I can't wait for you guys to read this. The first meeting between Mason and Drake is great, even though it is less than friendly, you can just feel the attraction between the two. Will they act on it, or will the problems of the town keep these two apart?
So many questions, but as you know friends, I don't do spoilers, so you will have to wait and see :), thanks Jacob, for such a well developed book 1, I can't wait for book two already!
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