Bound By Magic

Chelsea Jamison would love to be a normal girl and go to university like everyone else her age but she can’t. Her controlling parents keep her at home under their watchful eyes waiting for the moment that her powers awaken.
Leo West came to Eastbridge with only one thing on his mind. Revenge. Revenge on the people that murdered his parents.
One touch and their lives are changed forever.
Will Chelsea be able to control her powers? Can they learn to love a stranger? Or will dark secrets tear them apart?

Cover by Zillah Designs.

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2. Chapter One: Chelsea

THE PLANT POT refused to move no matter how long and hard I stared at it. Panting, I wiped the sheen of sweat from my forehead.

 “You’re not trying hard enough, Chelsea.” Dad scowled, becoming increasingly annoyed.

If I tried any harder my eyes would pop out of my head but I didn’t say a word. To anger my dad was not only a stupid idea, but a bad one too.

Dad glanced at his watch. “Go and get ready. We’re leaving in ten minutes.”

Struggling to my feet, I hurried upstairs not wanting to be told off for being too slow. My mum had laid a dress out on my bed, just like she did every time we went to a Gathering. I hated that she still decided what I wore. I was eighteen years old for goodness sake.

I had just zipped up the back of the plain navy dress when there was a knock on the door.

“Chelsea, are you ready?” Mum asked, opening the door. She was clothed in a floor-length black dress and had a string of pearls around her neck. I never understood why we had to go to so much effort for the Gatherings. They happened nearly once a week so it wasn’t as if it was a special occasion.

I slipped my ballet shoes on, saying, “I’m ready.”

Her eyes widening in horror, Mum shook her head. “No. You can’t go looking like that.” Sighing, she came over to me and pushed me in front of the mirror. “Just look at your hair!”

Mum grabbed my brush and dragged it through my hair with so much force that I had to bite my lip to prevent any cries of pain surfacing. Her fingers moved deftly as she braided my long, thick red hair. Mum’s own hair was a watered down red with stripes of grey.

“That’s better. Now where’s that necklace I gave you?” Without asking my permission, she started riffling through my drawers. I stayed where I was, silently hoping that Mum wouldn’t find it. “Ah, here we are.”

Lifting the amethyst and blue calcite necklace from where I’d hidden it in the folds of a pair of ratty pyjamas, she stepped over and fastened it around my neck. The stones were cool on my skin.

“Why didn’t you wear it earlier when you were practicing with your father?”

I mumbled an excuse. The stones were supposed to improve my concentration by clearing my mind and helping me reach a higher state of consciousness. Well something like that; I hadn’t really been paying attention when Mum had given the blue and purple necklace to me.

“Come on, your father’s waiting.”

I reluctantly followed her downstairs and into the living room where Dad was stood, tapping his foot impatiently. He was dressed in a smart, pale blue shirt and black trousers and would have been handsome if not for the permanent frown that creased his forehead. Without a word, Mum took my hand and then Dad’s before teleporting us to the Gathering.

 

 

We were among the last to arrive at the small hall that hosted every Gathering. It was at the edge of the town near the forest, and so was secluded, serving the witches and warlocks of Eastbridge well as a meeting place away from the non-gifted humans.

“Deborah, you’re here.” Mrs Greene smiled. She was the wife of a rich businessman and undoubtedly the nosiest woman I’d ever met. Her blonde hair was as perfect as always and she was in an expensive looking suit. Her blue eyes fell on me and her smile changed to a smirk. “Still no power, Chelsea?”

I flinched and glared at her hatefully.

Mum’s tone was cold. “Not yet, but I’m sure it will arrive any day now.”

Sniffing, Mrs Greene replied, “Marissa is off at university, you know. She’s formed her own coven of witches and warlocks. They all adore her.”

“How nice. Please excuse us.” Mum was practically vibrating with fury as she pulled me into the other room. I was a cause of constant embarrassment and Mum didn’t like to be reminded of my lack of magic.

Marissa, Mrs’s Greene’s daughter, was my age and had received her power when she had been thirteen. She had been the youngest witch ever. Marissa was as charming as her mother and was very good at getting whatever she wanted. I was jealous of her, not just because she had her power, but also because she had gotten away from Eastbridge, something I hadn’t been allowed to do. My parents wanted me where they could see me which meant no university.

“Where’s your father got to?” Mum asked, scanning the room. Her arm wrapped around me, preventing me from trying to escape. “Ah, there he is.” Digging her nails into my waist, Mum led me across the room where she had spotted her husband. I desperately wanted to bolt through the door and run home but Mum wasn’t going to let that happen.

Dad was standing on the other side of the room talking to Graham Roberts, a guy I had gone to school with. I held back a groan. They were doing it again. My parents were hoping that if I found the man that I had the Ánuims, the Link, with that my power would awaken. I had lost count of all the guys I’d been introduced to.

“Chelsea, you know Graham from school don’t you?” Dad asked brightly.

I mumbled a hello. Graham smiled at me but it didn’t reach his brown eyes. Like Marissa he was at university.

“Hi Chelsea, how are you?” He held out a hand and I saw the worry he was trying to conceal flash momentarily across his features.

Graham didn’t want to get stuck with me for the rest of his life. I hadn’t exactly been popular at school, mainly because of my puppy fat and freckles. Well I didn’t want him to be my soul mate either; he was a bully and a good friend of Marissa’s.

When I didn’t take Graham’s hand, Dad elbowed me in the ribs. With a sigh I reluctantly shook his hand. Nothing happened. Graham exhaled in relief and hurriedly pulled his hand away, as if worried that the longer he touched me the more chance there was of the Ánuims forming.

Mum and Dad exchanged a look. Both of them were disappointed.

“Can I go now?” I asked.

Dad sent me a cold glare but Mum nodded.

“Go straight home,” she ordered not even glancing at me. It was as if she couldn’t stand the sight of me.

I fled from the hall and headed down the small path, my braid swinging behind me. The amethyst and blue calcite necklace bounced off my collar bone and I hitched my dress up so that I could take longer strides. I didn’t go home. Instead I went to the waterfront. In Eastbridge there was a big navy blue coloured lake. I liked to sit by the edge and read. It was a lot more peaceful than being at home even when there were locals and tourists milling around.

It was late morning so there were already some people in boats out on the lake. I slowed to a walk, my eyes on the still water where white clouds were reflected on the surface. Bumping into someone, I wheeled around, my hands flying out for support. Fingers gripped my sleeve to stop me from falling and I managed to straighten myself.

“I’m so sorry,” I said, blushing bright red. “I wasn’t looking where I was going.”

I bent down to pick up the map that I’d caused the man drop and held it out to him.

“I really am very sorry.”

The guy looked a few years older than me and was tall with sandy brown hair and green eyes.

“That’s okay.” He smiled charmingly, releasing his hold on my sleeve. “No harm done.”

Reaching out to take the map from me, his fingers brushed mine. Pain shot up my arm and my skin burned as if on fire. My eyes widened in horror as a mass of black swirls and runes coursed from my fingers to the middle of my forearm.

“No, no, no, no, no,” I whispered, tears filling my eyes.

This couldn’t be happening.

The Ánuims shone brightly for a moment and I stood gaping at it in shock. I lifted my eyes to meet those of the man before me, my soul mate. He was as surprised as I was. Before he could open his mouth to speak I sprinted away, doing what I should have previously done and returned home.

 

 

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