Mine to Spell (Mine #2)

By: Janeal Falor

Book Two of the Mine Series

Chapter One

Seventeen today. It should be a birthday like no seventeen-year-old Chardonian girl ever had before. Waverly made a cake I actually get to eat, and father isn’t here to beat and hex his wrath on anyone. The dining room is crowded with my sisters, mother, and Waverly. The only warlock present is Zade, who’s nothing like father. But the spell which just zipped in the window, and floats in bold over the table for all to see ruined the perfect day.

Stephen’s daughter, take control of your property or we will do so for you.

Property meaning me. The words are glowing, bright and yellow with flecks of crimson, hovering above that perfect birthday cake. Waverly says that in Envado they have candles on cakes. Why they would do such a thing, I’m uncertain, but after this fiery display, it’s not something worth even attempting. It’s too much like the threat of a hex, burning hot, and ready to slam into me.

Zade zaps the spell with a flash of blue, but not quickly enough. Even the youngest girls know something is wrong. They hover together with their eyes wide. Even though they are only courting and not officially engaged still, Zade puts an arm around Serena as if it will protect her. A twist of longing aches in my chest for someone to care for me that much.

Though Serena may be feeling differently. Her chin is tilted up the way she does when she’s determined. She’s probably thinking on how to deal with this newest threat, but I’m doubtful it will solve the true problem. Me.

This birthday means I’m eligible to be sold to a warlock husband. Most girls don’t get tested for magic on their birthday, but they at least have plans to even if it’s a couple of years in the future. But the only plans here were cake and kindness. Obviously that didn’t work out so well. Living in a society where only warlocks control everything and only they do magic was bound to ruin my day no matter how much I wanted it to be different.

“The property is protected,” Zade says. “Nothing more than harmless threats can get in.”

Probably true, but the way it cracked the joy from us only moments ago—it’s not exactly harmless.

“Can we please return to enjoying the festivities?” Serena folds her arms like she’s trying to keep herself together.

I’d do the same if I thought it’d help. Instead, I thread my fingers through my necklaces, keeping a neutral expression tightly in place.

“Certainly.” Zade motions to Waverly. “Would you like to cut a slice for everyone?”

“I’d be happy to.” She bounces over to the cake.

“Zade and I will be in the study,” Serena says. “Please carry on and enjoy yourselves.”

The girls giggle happily now that the spelled words are gone and cake is coming, easily covering Zade and Serena’s exit. I wish I could so easily forget, but instead, I go on pretending as usual. Despite being adept at it, I rather despise it.

“What an exciting day.” The words are all too cheery spilling from my lips. “The only other time I’ve ever seen so many treats in one place was the tournament last year.”

“Did they make a cake as pretty as Waverly’s?” Sally asks.

I don’t even recall if they had cake. “No one could make a cake as pretty as Waverly’s.”

“Only because I cheat.” Waverly acts as if nothing has happened. She slides the first piece on a plate and passes it over to me. “Happy birthday!”

Her voice is a little too perky, but I chime back just as happily, “Thank you!”

Her smile becomes softer at the corners, less forced. At least my pretending appears to be good. Even if I’m faking my happiness, it’s still satisfying to boost another’s mood. The girls receive their treat, starting with the youngest.

Next, she serves mother, who’s gained quite the sweet tooth with this pregnancy. The last thing father left us before the Grand Chancellor took him in to custody was another sister to be born sometime in the next several months. Mother seems to be taking this pregnancy like all the rest, but I can't help but wonder what will the baby's life be like never having his cruel influence in it?

My bracelets jangle as I force myself away from such thoughts to eat some of the white cake with pink frosting. Any other day, the rich sweetness would be fantastic, just not now. Instead, it sticks to my mouth like a giant gob of honey, and my throat wants to clamp shut, refusing admittance to its passage. That’s just perfect.

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