Her Secret Incantations by Heather Avalon
a contemporary novel of pagan magick
primary relationships M/F with F/F secondary relationship
novel length (approx 45,000 words)
Cover Art by Valerie Tibbs
Cambria has spent years hiding from her magical past. Now she must face her fears and unite with three magicians – Laura, a British stripper who had once been her lover, Xander, a darkly handsome druid, and Jordan, a reggae musician who plays an enchanted drum.
Together, this unlikely group must defeat a dangerous enemy, before that enemy destroys them.
Greater even than the magical power they share is their realization of its true source: the love that forges them into a family.
Xander stood by the passenger door, a glass of champagne in his hand. She had to admit, he looked every bit as good as she did. He wore a good dark suit with a casual grace that was classy, without being pretentious. He had tied his long hair back in a silver hairclip. For a moment, neither spoke, each taking in the vision of the other. Then, he approached her. He took her arm and handed her the champagne.
Inside the limo, Cam began to wonder if Xander’s champagne was as enchanted as her incense had been. She found herself feeling lighter and more carefree than she had in years. Conversation flowed along with the champagne. Almost against her will, Cambria realized she was beyond challenging Xander, and even beyond flirting with him. She was actually talking with him as a peer, maybe even as a friend.
The Tavern was just as she had remembered it. Only the staff had changed. For this Cambria was grateful. She didn’t want anyone to remember her and ask about Ray. Of course, the food, and the atmosphere, were exquisite, but Cambria barely noticed. As the evening wore on, Cambria was becoming more sure that the most delicious thing on the menu would be Xander himself. So captivated by this new Xander, she began to forget her reasons for hating him in the first place. When he said something witty, her laughter was spontaneous and genuine. When he took her hand and led her to the dance floor, she felt a spark of energy leap from his hand to hers. Gone were her schemes of captivating him and leaving him cold, it was she who was captivated.
Cambria hadn’t feel that kind of tug on her heart in years; this week she had felt it twice. She had felt it at Sloane’s with Laura, and now, tonight, with Xander. Cam couldn’t help thinking this wasn’t coincidence; perhaps Laura’s interruption of her quiet life would serve a destiny beyond the business of the Council. What that destiny might be was unclear. All Cam knew was that, for the first time in a long time, she felt truly alive.
In the limo on the way back to the festival site, they kissed sweetly for the first time. Cam felt a burning emptiness inside her, and for a moment wanted nothing more than for him to fully take her right there in the limousine. Instead, she pulled away from him and looked him directly in the eyes.
“Will you take me to your place tonight, Alexander?” She asked. His answer surprised her.
“No, Cam, I won’t.” he said softly, stroking her cheek with his thumb.
“I wanted tonight to be a beginning, not an end. I do want you, maybe more than I’ve ever wanted anyone before. But that’s why I want to wait. I think there could be something real here between us. I feel it. I know you feel it too.”
Cam looked down, afraid of the intensity of his words and of the fire in his eyes. Afraid, too, that she did feel it, and didn’t have a clue what that might mean.
Xander went on, his sonorous voice was almost hypnotizing. “Our agreement was dinner and nothing more. I want to honor that agreement. I want you to know how much I have enjoyed our time together, and how much I hope that you will consent to let me take you out again as soon as our council business will allow.”
At the mention of the Council, Cam stared hard at him, angry for a moment. Xander caught her expression and understood.
“No, Cam, I am not wooing you romantically in order to win your support for the Council. But the council business is as much of a reality as what we have between us. I would like to keep those two things separate.
Xander continued. “I want to take you out again, and again. I want us to get to know each other. Then, and only then, will I ask you to welcome me to your bed. If you consent, you will make me a happy man. If you don’t, you can rest assured that you will always have my friendship, and my respect.”
With that, he kissed her on the cheek as the limo pulled up to her camper.
Cam was too impressed to be very disappointed. Well played. She stood in the night air, hand on the camper door, reluctant to go inside and let the evening end. She watched the limo’s red tail lights light up the trees as it pulled away.