Book Two of The Magic Withheld series
Struck with enough malevolent Spirit to turn him into a raving beast of a man, Bert Reese fights to remain human. Alone, he walks a slender path between sanity and madness. Then, an unlikely source enters his life to help—one of the now-hated mages.
But Ashleigh is different and calms his butchered senses. Her fierce nature is the only rock that stands between him and the crevasse that is beast. In all ways, she walks beside him toward a new beginning. But at the end of their journey lies the one who used Spirit against him. Questions arise; did Tiarra, head of the Imperium, lose her magic, die, or simply give way to the new order? Or, like a spider, does she wait for a mage to blunder into her web?
Forced on him without a care for his humanity, Bert is the mage who should not exist, born with a different kind of magic.
And the gates of Hell are no match for the magic he wields.
Bert whirled her around, gripped in the circle of his arms. Ash squealed and laughed as her feet left the ground.
Still the lightning crashed, deafening and brilliant.
“So you’re a mage now. Full blown and no walls,” he said after setting her on her feet. He stepped back and released her to look her up and down as if assessing her. “I don’t see a difference. Just the same Ash as before.” He wrapped his arms around her tight and kissed her mightily.
Strange how close she seemed to him. Even when she broke from his grasp, it was as if he was still touching her.
Skertttt…boom. Boom. BOOM.
Three quick strikes hit the earth only missing the house.
Ash flinched. She held up one hand to the sky. “Ack. Okay, stop now. Stop. GAH.”
Another bolt arrowed into a maple tree. Sparks bloomed like a flower from the trunk.
“Stop,” Ash yelled. “Why can’t I control it?”
Fear shot through Bert. Why couldn’t she stop it? Wasn’t it hers to control?
He took a step. Then another and another until he stood in the grassy lawn in the open. He held up his shaking hands, limbs that quivered as if in palsy.
“Stop,” he murmured.
Deathly quiet reigned over the back yard of the McIntyres’ house. Ash licked her dry lips. After the second try, she finally spoke, her voice cracked and low in wonder.
“You’re a wizard.”
Bert stared at her like a man who had lost all hope.
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