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The Phoenix Prophecy: Nova: Chapter 45


I need to get to a meeting. I’ve spent the last few hours down here in the dark, thinking about Nova. Nothing but her. She’s infected my thoughts. And now I know I’ve infected hers too, I have no idea how I’m going to manage to stay away from her.

I’ve got no concept of what time it is when Luther comes to unchain me. “We all good?” he asks as he crosses the room.

When he sees the broken chain, he stops and folds his arms.

“Rough night. I’m fine now.” I tug on the other chain.

He hesitates a moment, then strides over, takes the key from his pocket, and unlocks me. I rub my wrist and neck. If he suspects that something went down with Tanner and Nova, he doesn’t say so.

“Breakfast?” He asks. “Mack’s on his way down. He’s promised bacon and eggs.”

I shake my head and stand up. “I need to check if Merna locked up the bar. I’ll come back.” I flex my shoulders and try to loosen the stiffness that settled from being hunched over for so long. “We should decide what to do with our new information.”

Luther purses his lips. He can no longer deny that Nova is the Phoenix. Even Tanner’s tests seem irrelevant now; her parents were human, yet, at the age of five, she set fire to her house. She was so powerful she burned them alive, but she walked free. Twenty years later, she did the same thing to Johnny. She got on a bus that brought her here. Of all places. And now, she’s getting stronger every day.

“She’s the one, Luther.” I crack my neck as I stalk toward the door.

As we reach it, he says, “I know.”

The Cross is dark when I reach it. At least Merna remembered to turn off the lights. I head straight for the kitchen and make coffee. Strong and dark. I down a cup, then pour another and walk to the bar.

While Merna did turn off the lights, she did not clear the tables or stack the chairs. I put down my coffee, gather some glasses, and take them to the bar. There’s a piece of paper taped to the cash register. I pick it up.

Coal. I quit. Merna.

“Fuck,” I mutter, crunching it into a ball and tossing it to the floor. I’m about to pick up my coffee again when there’s a knock on the door. “Please, let this be Merna.”

I open it, ready to plead with her to stay on at least a few more days. But it’s not Merna, it’s Pete. And he looks like hell.


“Hey, buddy.” Pete swipes his fingers through his hair. “You got a minute?”

“Sure.” I usher him inside. “Pete? You been using?”

Pete shudders and shakes his head. “No. Not using. No. But I could use a meeting.”

I look at the clock. It’s at least ten hours until the next is due to start. “I’ll go with you. I need one too.”

“In the meantime.” Pete takes a stool at the bar and laces his fingers together in front of him. “Mind if I hang out here?”

I breathe out heavily. Pete’s no trouble, but I’m not in the mood for company.

Sensing my reluctance, he says hurriedly, “Just for a while. Not long. Just a while. Maybe a drink?”

“Is drinking a good idea?” I ask, folding my arms.

“Right now,” he says, “it’s either drink or…”

I raise my hand. “I get it. Whiskey?” I pour us each a glass, ditching my coffee. Strangely, the comedown isn’t as bad as I expected it to be. Perhaps the sexual release helped.

Pete lifts his glass. “Cheers.”

I lift mine too and down the contents in one. Pete drinks slowly. He’s watching me. Something feels off. I frown. My eyes are struggling to focus. I pinch the bridge of my nose, then stumble. “Pete?”

He’s standing up, moving slowly backward. When he reaches the door, he stops. “Sorry, buddy. I’m sorry.” Then he disappears.

I try to follow him. My legs have lost their strength. I stumble and fall into a table next to the bar. Old glasses go flying.

I look up. Someone’s in the doorway. A woman. “Nova?”

She steps forward. She has short, cropped hair and ice-white skin. “Kole.” High heels click against the concrete floor. I’m on my knees, trying to pull myself up using the edge of the table. She bends down and tucks a finger under my chin, then smooths my beard and gives it a tug.

“Kayla?” The woman I’ve had nightmares about for seven years is here in Phoenix Falls? A scream fills my chest, but I can’t release it. I can’t speak. Can’t move. My fingers twitch, but my magick is useless.

With her face inches from mine, Kayla whispers, “I need you to come with me.”

And then the room goes dark.


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