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Authors: Cara Lynn Shultz

Spellcaster

BOOK: Spellcaster
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Finding your eternal soul
mate—easy. Stopping a true-love-hungry evil—not so much…

After breaking a centuries-old
romantic curse, Emma Connor is (almost) glad to get back to normal problems.
Although...it’s not easy dealing with the jealous cliques and gossip that
rule her exclusive Upper East Side prep, even for a seventeen-year-old
newbie witch. Having the most-wanted boy in school as her eternal soul mate
sure helps ease the pain—especially since wealthy, rocker-hot Brendan
Salinger is very good at staying irresistibly close....

But something dark and hungry is
using Emma’s and Brendan’s deepest fears to reveal damaging secrets and
destroy their trust in each other. And Emma’s crash course in überspells may
not be enough to keep them safe...or to stop an inhuman force bent on making
their unsuspected power its own.

"Whatever danger there is, it’s bigger than
the two of you."

“It’s got more hate than you
two have love.” Angelique looked at me with sad eyes. “Brendan would do
anything for you. He
has
done anything for you. More of his energy should be
reflected in the crystals. Something this dark, it has to have some kind of
magical force behind it.”

“So what do I do now?” I felt
the panic rising in my chest.

Angelique took a deep
breath.

“I have absolutely no
idea.”

* * *

PRAISE FOR CARA LYNN SHULTZ’S DEBUT NOVEL,
SPELLBOUND

“My kind of enchanted read.
Perfection: a spunky Buffy-licious witch,
a good dose of mayhem, AND
BRENDAN!”
—Nancy Holder,
New York Times
bestselling author


Spellbound
is one outstanding novel
[that] might be
one of the best YA releases of 2011. It’s witchy,
wickedly and
wonderfully told, through amazing details and a
captivating plot.”

Confessions of a
Readaholic
blog

“I’ll say it again, this book
blew me away. I loved it! A long-lost love,
two soul mates and one very
hot guy is right up my street.”

Book
Passion for Life
blog


Spellbound
was, in one word,
perfect.”

Read Me Bookmark Me Love Me
blog

“What a captivating
debut!”

A Book and a Latte
blog

“This romance novel with hints of
magic has elements I thought were illegal in Young Adult fiction:
creativity, wit, and likeable characters.”

SparkNotes.com

“Listen up all you paranormal
romance fans—CG is obsessed with the new book
Spellbound
by up and coming author
Cara Lynn Shultz.”

CosmoGirl.com

Also by Cara Lynn Shultz
from Harlequin
TEEN

Spellbound

CARA LYNN SHULTZ

To Mom. Thank you for all your support,
strength and love through the years.

Prologue

You probably don’t remember me, but I remember
you. And you and I have a common enemy. How do you feel about getting a
little revenge on Brendan Salinger and Emma Connor? You’re just the person
to help me hit them where it hurts…

It had been only two
months since I sent that email, and now, with our plan about to go into
action, I couldn’t believe I’d almost abandoned my idea and deleted the
message. I didn’t think anyone even remotely connected to Vincent Academy
would want to associate with me. But I took a shot, and I did hit
Send.

And now everything I could ever
want was at my fingertips.

I hung back, following Brendan
and Emma as they walked to the Eighty-sixth Street 6 train stop, passing an
ice cream cone back and forth between them. Sharing an ice cream, really?
What was next, holding hands and skipping through a field of daisies?
Sliding down a rainbow? These two were idiots. I guess that’s what true love
will do to you—turn you into a fool.

Revenge was the bait I used to
lure in my partner-in-crime, who relished the idea of terrorizing Emma. And
watching her, blissfully happy, I could understand the hatred. Why is she so
damn special? Here she is, basking in the throes of true love, not a care in
the world. When Brendan looked down at her with this nauseatingly happy
smile, I had an overwhelming desire to snap her neck.

I really didn’t believe that old
stupid legend was legit until I saw these two idiots in action—this was
really true love. And this was going to be so…satisfying…to destroy. Oh, you
have no idea, you weak little girl. You have no idea how I’m going to
torment you, bit by bit. I hope you’re enjoying your time with your precious
boyfriend, Emma. Because you’re going to run from New York. You’re going to
be terrified. You’re going to be screaming—and Brendan won’t be around to
save you.

Because tomorrow everything
changes.

And then, I’ll be
unstoppable.

Chapter
1

“They’re not looking at
you. Those girls haven’t noticed you, Emma. You’re stealthy like a ninja.
They’re not looking at you.” I repeated the mantra in my head as I pretended
to study the beverage selection in the glass case before me, but a quick
glance to the left told me I was lying to myself.

There, three girls in
private-school uniforms similar to my own black, navy and green plaid one,
were alternately staring at me and whispering to each other. I grabbed some
iced tea out of the case and hurried to the cashier before they could say
anything.

“It’s fine, Emma. They’re not
going to say anything,” I silently promised myself, nervously tapping the
sole of my Mary Janes against a rack of candy as I waited in line.
You really need to stop lying to yourself, Emma.
They’re so going to say something to you.

“Hey, are you, um… I’m not sure
how to ask this,” the tallest girl, with black hair extensions that seemed
as long as her legs, asked as she scrutinized my face. I wished I were
wearing sunglasses. And a hat. And a ski mask.

I sighed, having been through
this before. Yes, I’m Emma Connor. I’m the one whose boyfriend, Brendan,
risked his life to save me in an epic battle with psychopathic classmate
Anthony in Central Park after the winter dance. But what you don’t know is I
used some of my secret magical powers to save us and you’re totally making
me late for my spell classes with my friend Angelique. She’s a witch like
me. That about cover it?

Okay, maybe I’d leave that last
part out. Even I couldn’t believe it, and I’d lived it. And I really didn’t
want to rehash the details of that night with some snooping
schoolgirls.

“What she means is,” interrupted
the shortest girl, who shot Extensions Queen a nasty look as she toyed with
the glittering platinum-and-diamond pendant around her throat, “are you that
Emily person? The one from Vincent Academy that was in that big fight a
while back?”

I opened my mouth to correct
them—a few papers had gotten my name wrong—but then a brilliant idea came to
me. Lie. Of course. Why don’t I just lie?

“You know, I get that a lot.” I
laughed casually, darting a quick glance out of the street-facing windows.
Brendan was out of sight, talking to a basketball teammate on his phone
around the corner. Liam had called him with some kind of crisis, forcing
Brendan to wait outside while I grabbed a drink—ice cream made me thirsty.
“I think it’s just that we both have long dark hair.”

“But you know her, right?”
Shorty pressed. “I mean, you go to the same school.”

I was about to lie again, but
then I remembered that Brendan had lent me his basketball team sweatshirt,
since it was chilly out—and it bore the blue-and-gray Vincent Academy
insignia.

“I’ve seen her in the halls and
stuff.” I shrugged, feigning indifference. “I don’t
know her-
know her.” And
then a flash of inspiration came to me.

“But I’ve heard she’s cool,” I
said. I briefly considered constructing some elaborate story about “Emily”
saving orphans and nuns and kittens and maybe even a baby panda bear from a
burning building. Instead I went with, “She’s supposed to be really
nice.”

“She’d have to be.”
Shorty—clearly the ringleader of this little trio—sniffed in a knowing tone
before leaning in to me conspiratorially. “That’s how I knew you weren’t
her. I saw the pic the
Post
ran. You’re, like, way prettier than that Emily
person. Not like that’s saying a whole lot.”

I grimaced internally as Shorty
threw her head back and laughed at her own joke, her dirty blond curls
bouncing with every cackle. A few papers had run our photos along with the
story—the pics from our school IDs. The horrible, slack-jawed photo made me
look like a zombie who just staggered out of a George Romero movie. Brendan,
of course, looked like he casually sauntered out of some carefully cast
reality show about high school rock stars. And I looked like I wanted to eat
his brains. Fantastic.

“She’s so much cuter in person,”
I muttered.

“She’d have to be!” Shorty
snickered and leaned closer again with a confidential whisper, as if we were
best friends, all of a sudden. “I mean, that guy Brendan is hot as hell. He
hooked up with my friend at a party last summer. That Emily girl was nothing
special.”

The trio laughed as I bit back a
snort.
Nothing special? How many newbie witches
have you met in bodegas, Shorty?

“Yeah, I guess.” I excused
myself as gracefully as I could, the girls’ gushing about Brendan’s finer
qualities mercifully silenced as the sticker-covered door to the bodega
slammed shut behind me.

I took a swig of my iced tea,
checking my reflection in the store window—
I
know
someone
who thinks you’re special
—before
rounding the corner to meet him, more irritated at the reminder of Brendan’s
past conquests than anything.

My little storm cloud of anger
dissipated as soon as I saw him leaning against the rough brick building
behind him. He had just gotten a haircut, but I only knew this because he’d
told me. His thick black locks were as unruly as ever, hanging into his
piercing green eyes.

“There’s my girl,” he said, the
corner of his mouth pulling up into a sly, sexy smirk. Even though there was
a slight chill in the March air, thanks to a forecasted rainstorm, Brendan
kept his black wool jacket hanging open, the school uniform’s white
button-down shirt concealing all the goodies that were underneath. I flicked
his black tie away impatiently and rested my hands on the line of white
buttons, trying not to think about how much more I liked this shirt when it
was crumpled up in the corner of his bedroom two weeks ago. I couldn’t help
it: Brendan was abs-olutely pec-tacular, horrible puns intended and very
accurate.

“Everything okay with Liam?” I
asked, and Brendan nodded, an amused smile breaking out across his
face.

“So you know how he got into a
fight during last night’s game?” I nodded as Brendan chuckled at the memory
of how he and another player, Frank, had to hold Liam back from a mouthy
player from Xavier High School. “Well, it was just some overheated shoving
match, but little ol’ Liam’s freaking out. He thinks Coach Dunn’s going to
kick him off the team or suspend him or something.”

“Do you really think he could
get kicked off for that?” Liam was one of the few sophomores on the team,
but he was still pretty impressive on the court.

“Nah, he’ll be fine.” Brendan
shook his head dismissively. “Maybe he’ll get benched for a game, that’s it.
He’s just worried ’cause he’s pretty new to the team. I mean, I got into a
full-blown fistfight this year and I’m still on the team.”

Brendan paused, then added
smugly, “That was before you moved here. I knocked the guy out with one
punch, you know.”

I smiled indulgently. “Yes, I
heard all about it, Braggy McBraggerson.”

“Hey, that guy tripped me and
then took a swing at me! I was merely acting in my own defense.” Brendan
pretended to be offended, holding his palms out innocently. “Liam will be
fine—besides, it wasn’t his fault. So after I told him to stop acting like a
whiny little girl, I told him what to say to Coach Dunn, and to go right
ahead and use me as an example. After all, Dunn only suspended me. It’ll
work out—if not, I’ll go to Dunn myself and threaten to quit or
something.”

“You would do that for him?” My
jaw dropped. Brendan was definitely one of the best players on the team—and
he absolutely adored playing. It was one of the only things he liked about
our school. As wealthy as his own family was, Brendan disregarded most
students at Vince A, considering them all to be arrogant social-climbing
snobs. And for the most part they were.

“It won’t come to that, but why
not? He’s a good kid.” He shrugged nonchalantly.

I couldn’t help it, a big goofy
smile spread across my face at the kind way he’d taken the sophomore under
his wing. “Aw, look at you,” I murmured, tugging on his black tie. “You’re
so cute.”

“Ugh, come on, Em. Don’t call me
cute!” Brendan wrinkled his nose up, saying the word as if it pained him to
pronounce it. “You say it the same way you talk about baby otters and those
kitten videos you like. Guys don’t like to be called cute.”

I rolled my eyes. “Okay, you’re
so awesome and can bench-press a bus and do a billion push-ups,” I drawled.
“You’re not cute or sweet at all. Better?”

“So much better.” He chuckled,
and I continued teasing him.

“You’re the original badass. You
can roundhouse kick a quarter and get five nickels.” I held my fists up in
the pose I’d learned from my kickboxing class, which I’d started taking
after I healed from the winter dance, and pretended to kick
Brendan.

“Oh, check it out, the
mini-ninja has jokes,” he teased, blocking my weak, halfhearted kick with
his forearm. “Are you done making fun of me yet?”

“No, but I’ll be nice and let
you continue your story where you’re not at all cute or sweet about Liam.
The horror!” I stood back upright, grinning as Brendan gently tugged on the
cowlick in my bangs.

“You’re too much,” he said,
shaking his head at me and smiling. “And so what if I’m friends with Liam?
He’s a good kid.” Brendan tilted his head, giving me one of his signature
flirty smiles. “You know, you really should stop making fun of me, because
it’s all your fault, anyway.”

“What’s my fault?”

“Me, actually liking people at
Vince A.”

“What a tragedy,” I
deadpanned.

“Oh, it is,” Brendan insisted,
his eyes open in mock horror. “I’m losing my cred. Next I’ll be voted prom
king.” He shuddered at the thought and I laughed at the mental image. If
that crown was placed on his unruly dark head, the heavens would open up and
he’d get trampled by the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.

“Hey, don’t blame me for making
you want to be nice to people.” I laughed, poking him in the chest. He
grinned, grabbing my hand to kiss my fingertip, before dropping his hands to
my waist, and drawing me close.

“I want to be nice because I’m
happy,” Brendan whispered in my ear, his breath sending trembles across my
skin. “And it is all your fault, because you’re the reason I’m happy.” He
touched his lips underneath my ear, and I forgot that I was supposed to be
avoiding the annoying girls in the bodega. I forgot that I had somewhere to
be. I’d forget my eyeballs if they weren’t stuck in my head.

Maybe it’s because Brendan was
smart, sweet, supportive and—let’s face it—smack-yourself-in-the-face hot.
Or maybe it was because he could win a gold medal in making out. But most
likely, it was because he’s my soul mate. My honest, true soul
mate—reincarnated over a thousand years, only to be reunited and ripped
apart, generation after generation, thanks to a curse set in motion by a
brokenhearted ancient lord. When his beloved wife, Gloriana, was murdered,
Lord Archer thought he was securing their reunion in another life. He made a
deal with a witch: his and Gloriana’s souls would reunite in another
lifetime—one where Archer would be reborn into a rich, handsome and strong
descendant.

But Archer’s goals shouldn’t
have been so selfish, so focused on his own glory, as the witch cruelly
reminded him when she granted his proud wishes. When you make a deal with
evil, there’s always fine print. The witch doomed our souls with a
never-ending curse: after we reunited, Archer would relive the loss of his
soul mate as she suffered an untimely, tragic—and brutal—death. Over and
over again, lifetime over lifetime, condemning me from the moment I met
Brendan. But after Anthony attacked me at the winter formal, Brendan risked
his life to save mine—the key to unlocking the curse started by his selfish
past life.

The fight also confirmed that I
had some seriously untapped witch powers—Gloriana had practiced witchcraft,
and that magic stuck with her soul, magnifying as the years passed. My late
twin brother, Ethan, was able to warn me of the danger, through dreams and
some seriously scary signs, of the impending doom. But when I was somehow
able to summon his spirit to help me pull Brendan from an almost-certain
death, as he clutched on to the rocks high above Central Park’s Turtle Pond
after knocking me out of Anthony’s path, we realized I had some major
magical talent flowing through my veins. Before I moved to New York, I had
no idea that I was what Angelique called a “born witch.”

In the four months since we
broke the curse, Brendan and I have been blissfully happy—and the only
things threatening us from being with each other were my pitiful Latin
grades (yes, we had to study Latin at Vincent Academy, a language deader
than caveman grunts) and his socialite mom, Laura. She was proving to be
almost as big a barrier to our happily ever after as the curse. Laura wasn’t
too thrilled that her son risked his life to save mine. I had a sneaking
suspicion that she wouldn’t have minded Brendan saving blue blood from being
spilled—but I was a transplant to New York’s posh Upper East Side, living
with my aunt Christine after my alcoholic stepfather, Henry, made life in
Keansburg, New Jersey, hazardous to my health. Still, Laura’s disapproval
didn’t deter Brendan from bringing me around his family. Like last week,
when I joined them for Chinese food. Although when the Salingers get Chinese
food, they don’t order in from the local Happy Joy Kitchen—they go to Mr.
Chow, where they know the owner. Where the bill is three figures. Where a
Grammy winner might be at the next table.

BOOK: Spellcaster
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