"I need to wake up. I suppose you won't hit me?" Angie arched an eyebrow at him as she suggested it. Previously, she had been able to sense that Rachel was in trouble during a dream. After trying—and failing—to wake up to help her sister, she had asked Ethan to hit her. Unable to bring himself to do it, he kissed her instead.
Ethan flushed at the reminder. "It worked," he offered weakly.
Angie was forced to agree. "The cursed painting, trace ail." She closed her eyes and repeated it several times. With a deep breath, she opened them, hoping. But Ethan was still standing there. He shook his head slightly. "Damn."
The kiss had worked the first time, not that Angie was eager to repeat it. She hadn't kissed anyone since starting med school. Actually, her last kiss had been well before then, if she was honest with herself. Ethan certainly wasn't someone she wanted to kiss at all, much less a second time. Well, he was kind of cute... no, no, she scolded herself for even thinking it. He was cursed. Then again, he'd stay cursed if she couldn't figure out how to help him.
She held out her hands in defeat. "Go for it."
He looked confused. "For what?"
Angie grunted in annoyance. "Kiss me. Wake me up."
"Are you... certain?"
"No," she muttered, but beckoned him closer.
Hesitantly, Ethan joined her next to the bed and paused, just inches from her. "If you are sure..."
"Just do it."
He leaned forward. Their noses were practically touching. Angie stiffened. He was so close. And so real. It was hard to believe this was a dream and that he was practically a figment of her imagination. She could feel the heat of his body. He smelled good, she realized. Angie felt her heart pounding as he hesitated, just an inch away. His lips parted.
"The cursed painting," he whispered before she could tell him he better keep his mouth shut when he kissed her. The breath from his words was like a caress on the skin of her cheek and Angie nearly forgot her protest. "Trace ail."
Angie swallowed hard. "The cursed painting," she murmured. Her eyes closed; the intense eyes boring into her’s were the last things she saw. "Trace ail."
Softly, his lips covered hers. It wasn't a shock this time and Angie found herself gently pressing her lips against his. The cursed painting, trace ail. Nothing was happening. Angie kissed him a bit harder as she repeated the mantra in her head. She felt one of his hands grip her shoulder. His fingers tightened, just a little, almost like an invitation to move closer to him.
The cursed painting, trace ail. Angie was practically shouting the words in her head. The kiss was obviously not working. She sighed and prepared to pull away. In spite of her initial resistance, the kiss was nice. Too nice. Angie had a feeling that if she allowed it to continue, one of them would take it a step further. And she honestly wasn't sure it wouldn't be her.
Eyes still closed, she pulled away from his lips. "The cursed painting, trace ail," she whispered one more time.
"What?" Ethan asked.
"The cursed painting. Trace ail." Angie opened her eyes as she spoke. It was pitch black.
"So you said," Ethan said. But his voice was different.
"Yeah. Were you expecting Ethan?" Jo's laugh came from right next to her.
"Uh... yes," Angie admitted.
Sisters Rachel, Angie, and Jo may have survived their first encounter with a curse, but hundreds more are lurking within their aunt’s antique shop. There’s just one problem: Peter, the apprentice, has no idea how to start teaching two untrained rune-casters and keep them safe at the same time.
It isn’t fair to Jo that she has no magic, but her sisters both do. She feels useless and left out. Worse yet, she knows that she’s a liability. She would leave… but, something in the shop is calling to her, reaching out … and she won’t leave until she finds it.
Every night, Angie’s dreams are haunted by a man who claims he was cursed, and she’s the only one who can save him. When she starts to get sick, Peter and her sisters are sure the cause is her mysterious dreams. How can they convince her that the person she’s determined to help could be the one killing her?
Rachel never expected to get a magic power and a boyfriend when she inherited the antique shop. Better yet, she’s actually good at curse-breaking. It seems as though she’s found exactly what she was meant to do. But, when a curse strikes two people she cares about, Rachel is faced with the harsh truth that she might only be able to save one.