The Witch Brothers Saga Book 1
by Adam J. Ridley
Genre: LGBTQ M/M Romantic Urban Fantasy
Cursed to never find love, Crea is shocked when he finds the perfect man. Choosing to fight the curse could cost him everything, including his life.
After his father cursed him, Crea has faced decades of dead end relationships. Just as he’s almost given up hope he finds a handsome stranger broken on the side of a desolate road. Once he drops the stranger off at the hospital, he figures all is done. Nothing could be further from the truth. The stranger becomes so much more as he pursues Crea, threatening the curse. Crea learns quickly falling in love is easy, but surviving a nasty cantation that’s determined to destroy you, isn’t as much.
Eli isn’t what you’d call a social person. His love for isolation in his beloved forest fully defines him. After breaking his leg in a mishap, Eli’s life is turned upside down as his life is filled with things he didn’t even dream of having before.
Unfortunately, those dreams turn to nightmares as he and Crea, the man he’s become bonded to, battle a curse that should’ve never been cast.
Crea and Eli’s bonding must be strong enough to overcome the curse, or they could both be lost, forever.
I should’ve known he was going to react like he did. Hell, if I thought someone was trying to hurt Jennie, I’d react the very same way and I’d only known her for a few weeks, but his rejection had hit me in the heart like an arrow.
I also knew the upset and anger I was feeling toward him was more than just me. I’d seen it in my dreams, been warned by them that I was going to be tested by this, and despite that, I wasn’t able to resist the anger and frustration at how he’d reacted.
I expected it to be done with after leaving his home. Jennie was upset too, but I thought it was more to do with her being embarrassed and maybe feeling a little guilty about how things worked out. We’d driven the six hours back to the workshop mostly in silence.
That night, Lee and Indigo demanded we go to their home for dinner, and Indigo basically confirmed that my reaction was more than just being upset. “Aren’t you concerned you’re being manipulated?” she asked.
“Yeah, I’m concerned, but I also don’t seem to have the ability not to feel what I’m feeling.”
She nodded and said, “It’ll work out, but you are going to have to work through your emotions.”
I shook my head. “No, it’s over. I’ve delivered the piece, and now I’m free.”
She actually laughed at me. “You know it won’t be that easy. You were warned if you finished that piece, you’d be challenged. He’ll be coming. You and I both know it. I wouldn’t be surprised if he doesn’t show up tomorrow.”
Something about that statement sent a rush of anger flowing through my entire being. I could almost see the darkness settling over me. Indigo looked concerned, but didn’t try to touch me. I wrestled back the emotion, and when I had it under control again, she said, “This is the curse you are fighting. These emotions aren’t yours.” She picked up a leather pouch, and it looked like she was going to hand it to me, then thought better of it.
Her eyes took on the light that told me she was prophesying. “You must fight this yourself. You are the tool to overcome this hatred. He is strong, but he’s been hurt time and again. You must be strong for him, lend your strength to him. That’s what’s needed to overcome.”
She sighed, the light leaving her eyes along with her strength. “Damn,” she said. “That really gets more exhausting as I grow older. Go, prepare yourself for his arrival. We’ll keep Jennie here for now,” she said. “You must work through this anger, so you don’t attack him when he arrives.”
I knew she was right. The anger was real, even if it wasn’t mine. It seemed to possess me. I went back to my workshop, and used my hand planer to work out my frustrations on some rather gnarly pieces of wood for another project.
I could tell Jennie was concerned, and my desire to protect her kept me from letting the anger go. I was glad she wasn’t with me in the workshop, that she hadn’t come back with me when I left Indigo and Lee’s place.
After a few hours’ work, I cleaned up my mess, put the tools away and went home. Of course, the anger that continued to course through me kept me awake, sitting in the chair, and staring at the fire until I remembered the raven’s feather. I pulled it out, laid it on the floor in front of my little fireplace, and said, “Well, if you can help, this would be the time to do so.”
The feather lifted from the ground as if a wind was blowing it, then when it was at eye level, it seemed to explode in green light.
I was standing in a forest I didn’t recognize. There was a waterfall, and I was in a cave behind it. The forest smells were all around, and with the exception of the water, all other sounds were muted.
I saw him lying naked on a blanket in the corner of the great cave. I went to him, the anger still coursing through me, but that anger was banked up against my lust. I was torn between aggression and wanting to press my own naked body against his. My lust won out, and when I knelt beside him, he pulled me into an embrace.
As our bodies entwined, the anger began to lose its hold on me as it was replaced with need.
I awoke hard and swollen. Where the anger had once been, now I only felt desire—hot, inconsolable desire.
I looked at where the feather had been. I’m not sure how that helped, but at least I can do something about the situation at hand. When I got into bed, I let my hand take over, relieving myself again and again. Still, the feeling of need and want quickly returned. I knew before this was over, I’d need to have him under me. It would be the only remedy for this kind of craving.
The next morning, I didn’t go to the workshop. Instead, I walked through the forests adjoining Lee’s and my properties. Ours backed up to state forest land, but both Lee and I had agreed not to harvest our trees, so it was clear where our land ended, and the state’s began.
I stayed among the older trees, letting them help me navigate the anger and frustration. Forests always touched my soul and grounded me. Even with their help, I was still struggling between the desire to hit and destroy things, and the lust I’d experienced the night before.
By late afternoon, I was beginning to lose the fight, and anger was beginning to find purchase inside me again. I walked back to the workshop, intending to work off the frustrations again with the hand planer and gnarled wood when I saw a car coming up my driveway. I knew it was Crea the moment he pulled up, although I couldn’t see him. It was like whatever possessed me was telling me he was here.
I walked toward the car, red anger blazing my trail, and saw Jennie step up and speak to him. She was angry too, but seeing her and experiencing my feelings for her caused the anger to lose some ground. I hesitated until I saw her stomp off, and found myself standing in front of him.
That which possessed me wanted me to attack, prompted me to damage him. Remembering the feather, the vision of lust and sexuality between us, I allowed those feelings to take over instead. I tried to warn him to leave, willed him to do so while I warred with the emotions that I neither understood nor controlled, but he wasn’t afraid, didn’t cower down.
His bravery gave me pause and magnified my natural attraction for him.
When he resisted me, the anger wanted to explode. I channeled it into a kiss, rough and edgy, hoping he’d feel the anger, hoping he’d see I was trying to control it. I pulled away from him then and intended to leave.
Instead, he twisted me around and kissed me back. His kiss was different, pliant, giving. He expressed himself in that kiss in the only way my brain could comprehend at that point.
When he pulled back, I yearned for him. The anger still there, banked in the back of my mind. I was unable to compete with the kind, sweet and gentle kiss he’d returned for my angry and aggressive one.
He had undone me with his reaction. It was like cold water on a flame. I was still unsteady, so I issued the only warning I could. “You should leave now before it’s too late.”
As I walked away, I knew he wouldn’t go. I didn’t want him to. I had the vision of the sculpture in his hands, and felt the anger give way again. I’d found the antidote–compassion. My own feelings of gratitude and compassion were stronger than the imposed emotions of this cursed anger.
Jennie looked up at me when I walked into the workshop, but neither of us spoke. I went to where I’d left the boards attached to the clamps and began to plane them. This time, it wasn’t with anger, but with the feelings I’d had the night he came to meet me before I went into surgery. I let the emotions I’d felt so strongly take precedence over any other feelings within me as Jennie and I worked in silence.
I worked late into the night, and when I finally got home, I crashed on my bed. When I woke at dawn the next day, the anger was almost gone—almost. I showered and got dressed. I was about to leave for Lee and Indigo’s house when I froze, sexual need coursing through me. Like a predator who knew his prey was never going to escape, I sensed I was about to have my prize. I just needed to take it, and it was mine.
Adam J. Ridley is the pen name used by Blake Allwood for his urban fantasy and fantasy novels. I travel full time with my husband and two dogs in a forty-foot motor home, constantly looking for inspiration in the towns we find ourselves in.
I’ve loved fantasy all my life, and after several years of writing romance, finally took the time to try my hand at a romantic urban fantasy.
The Witch Brothers Saga is my debut series. Next year, I’ll release a Selkie series and possible my first science fiction, superhero novel as well.
Thanks for joining me on this journey and I look forward to reading your reviews on the Witch Brothers Saga.