Charmed Souls (Black Souls Book 1) by Abbi Glines
They say blood is thicker than water, but I was never proud of mine. A female born into the Kamlock bloodline was destined to possess three things they couldn’t change—a crazy as hell mother, an unfair amount of beauty, and a Charmed soul that was as black as night.
All a Kamlock woman ever desired in life was to use her beauty to destroy wealthy men and take their riches. A century had passed since a generation of Kamlock sisters had been anything other than gold diggers.
All I ever wanted was to be free of them. I knew I couldn’t change my cursed birth, but I could change its legacy. I had a job, I had friends, and I was slowly gaining my independence.
Until Rathe Scott crashed into my life and tore it apart.
He made me feel what I had spent my entire life never wanting to feel. He brought out a darkness I’d not known was inside me. And just when I thought I was becoming everything I had sworn I would never become…
He was gone.
Excerpt Charmed Souls #1 by Abbi Glines
“Catalina, your guests have arrived. Please escort them to their seats and then return.” My mother’s words drew my attention back to the door as Heath, Margo, and Rathe walked up the steps toward the entrance.
“Who is he?” Leanne asked, her voice full of interest.
“Better question is why is he here?” I replied annoyed.
Leanne turned her head to look at me. “Do you know him?”
I could save him from my sister, or I could let her draw him in just to use him. “He isn’t wealthy,” I told her, although I wasn’t sure of that. He had paid Heath upfront for his rent. I studied my friends’ faces for an answer to Rathe’s being here. It wasn’t like Heath enjoyed being around him.
“I don’t have to keep him, but I’d like to play,” she drawled.
He shouldn’t have come, but he had, and now he was going to be sucked in by my sister. There wasn’t time to figure out a way to stop it when they walked in the door, and Leanne was stepping forward to completely ignore Heath and Margo to get to Rathe.
“Leanne,” my mother called her back instantly. Her voice said all she needed to say. She had been warned. Leanne, reluctantly, stepped back, but she kept her eyes locked on Rathe and the full magnitude of her appeal had been released. I could feel its power.
“You made it,” I said to both Heath and Margo, before barely glancing at Rathe. I didn’t want to see his reaction to Leanne’s siren call.
“It looks amazing, I mean this house is gorgeous all the time, but the flowers and lights are out of this world,” Margo gushed.
“Yes, my aunt is very talented when it comes to decorations,” I said, taking Margo’s hand and leading her away from the entrance. Heath and Rathe both followed, without a backward glance in my sister’s direction. Rathe seemed unaffected by Leanne. That was odd. Margo was busy gawking at everything.
“She must also be British,” Rathe said with a hint of amusement in his voice.
Pausing, I made eye contact with him this time. “Who?” I asked, already knowing what he meant but needing to make sure I didn’t misunderstand him.
“Your aunt,” he replied, holding my gaze.
“She lived in England for a time, but she’s definitely not British,” I explained, hoping he wasn’t going to add to that comment.
“I didn’t know one could find so many Hollyhocks in the southern part of the US.”
“And I didn’t know you were a Botanist,” I shot back, wishing he’d shut up and stop being smart. Did he need to be both attractive and a walking encyclopedia?
His chuckle gave me a shiver, and it wasn’t the bad kind. I wish he had a terrible personality flaw that I could find. Something awful that would make me hate him. He’d be safer that way.
Although, knowing he would soon fall under Leanne’s spell should make me hate him. It would make it easier to fight off my attraction to him but I wouldn’t hate him for it. He was human. It was to be expected.
“The flowers are beautiful. Your aunt did a great job,” Heath said, as if he needed to assure me. He was probably confused by our conversation. I smiled at his natural kindness. I often wondered if the spell I’d cast when we had been eleven to protect Heath from my sisters’ charm actually worked or if he was simply not drawn in by them because he knew how awful they had been to me over the years.
Duely passed us one aisle over as he walked back out to greet another guest. His eyes scanned my friends and Rathe then he winked. Rolling my eyes at him, I continued until we found the row of seats I was instructed my friends were to sit. It was closer to the back on the far left. Margo went in first then Heath and finally Rathe.
“I’ll meet y’all after this fiasco is over,” I said in a whisper, leaning forward and looking around Rathe at Margo then Heath. I didn’t glance at Rathe when I turned to leave, but I heard him. His whisper was so low if I didn’t have impeccable hearing I might have missed it.
“Seems a bit unfair to outshine the bride.” I paused.
Goosebumps covered my arms and I inhaled deeply while trying to decide if I should respond. He’d complimented me. It had been a very long time since a man complimented me or noticed me for longer than a few moments. I didn’t seek or welcome the attention, but I wouldn’t lie to myself: I enjoyed the way his words made me feel. I’d missed feeling noticed.
“You’ve not seen Geneva. I assure you I won’t outshine her,” I said, as quietly as I could, but I didn’t look him in the eyes. I bolted as elegantly as one could flee.
Read the 1st chapter here