As Wendy Carmichael spent an evening discovering a new, wilder side of herself, other pieces were moving into place. Viveanne planned some parts of what was coming. She had intended to make this small town her permanent home, and that meant adjusting things to suit her tastes. Some of what would follow, though, was just happy accident.
Aspen Oakenheart had spent the day weeding one of her many gardens. Her home, an old plantation house a few miles outside the town limits, was always a riot of color. Whether it was covering the grounds in summer or confined to greenhouses in the winter, she was known locally as having the greenest thumb for dozens of miles.
Those who knew her best weren’t surprised. Aspen had a tie to plants that few in the world could match. Time and patience had taught Asped to speak the language of growing things. That skill meant she could instill health and strength in her charges that fertilizer and potting soil simply couldn’t compete with. Her shop, The Twisted Vine, was known as the best retailer of anything green and growing within driving distance.
As she stood from trestle table that held her selection of begonias, Aspen stiffened. Something new shivered through the air. While Aspen’s personal magic was most deeply tied to the earth, the wind and the rain could share their secrets as well. The breeze tonight whispered of changes to come. Aspen couldn’t be sure, but they felt like positive ones. As she walked back towards her large house, she smiled, wondering what the future might bring.
Walt Redrock jerked upright in bed. His was clenched around the pistol he kept on his bedside table. The reaction was hardly unusual for him. He’d lived in Southport for three years now. He’d put in for a transfer after the incident in Montana. Normally, dreams of those two awful weeks were what jerked him awake in the middle of the night. Not tonight, though.
Tonight, a woman had invaded his dreams. Or possibly several women. It was difficult to tell. He remembered a ravishing beauty, with skin like caramel and hair like obsidian, kissing him hungrily. Then, her form had shifted, becoming pale as cream and blonde as she rode him. Finally, a woman with kinky raven hair and skin like dark chocolate had sucked him until he’d burst in her mouth.
He was still achingly hard from the dream. And, in the back of his mind, a laughing feminine voice seemed to be whispering.
Ishtar. Aphrodite. Venus. Or Di, if you prefer, lover. We’ll be together soon
Walt threw an arm over his huge black mutt Boomer and drifted back to sleep. But the throaty female chuckle resounded in his mind for a long time before he found sleep again.
Two blocks away from Walt’s home, the Kendrick women tossed and turned. Their dreams were full of blooming plants and sticky sweet syrup. The images were alluring and intoxicating, impossible to ignore.
Jamie, the mother, lay restless. Her ex husband had left her barely a year into the marriage. When Jamie had gotten pregnant, he had revealed that he wanted nothing to do with children. Talk of a quiet abortion had turned into loud arguments, which had lead to an estrangement they never recovered from.
Now, Jamie’s fingers strayed between her legs. The thick fluid she found there was surprising. While she was no stranger to arousal, she was never quite this wet. Her fingers hesitated, then bore down, driving her libdio higher.
Julie, the daughter, tossed and turned. She was a quiet girl, introspective and introverted. She preferred the company of books and her sketch pad to that of people. Her body, which had blossomed in the last year, was normally a source of intense discomfort. She hated the attention her new curves brought. She preferred to be ignored, invisible.
Now, Julie’s fingers slipped under her nightgown. A soft gasp, filled with wonder, escaped her. When she touched the tender, throbbing flesh between her legs, she felt as if she was burning up from the inside. Her breasts, completely ignored outside of her periodic visits to her gynocologist, seemed to pulse in time with that delicious throbbing. Julie hesitated, then gave in to the needs coursing through her body.
On the roof of a museum in Rome, Elizaveta ‘Liz’ Miller jerked to a stop as she worked to disarm the security system protecting her latest target. One of the world’s foremost cat burglars, Liz called two of the most magically powerful families in the world kin. The Millers of Southport were among the most gifted kinetomancers alive. While the majority of the family used those talents in a lucrative contracting business, Liz chose burglary as her profession.
The other side of the family, the Turgenevs, were powerful witches originally from Russia. As the eldest daughter of her generation, Liz stood as the family Maiden. Which came with several inconvenient side effects. One of which was a gift for prophecy.
Liz felt her eyes roll back as the vision slammed into her. Southport, only changed. Calmer, more welcoming, more open. Magic practiced publicly, without fear. Sex in public, with the participants of all races and sexes, together without shame or fear. And, distantly, almost impossible to glimpse, fire and pain and blood.
As the vision receded, Liz shivered. She considered her options, and then packed her tools. This score had been for herself, rather than a client. As little as she liked the idea, she knew she needed to head home. Babulya Yulia would need to hear about this, and a phone call wouldn’t be good enough.
Angela Barton, Angie to her friends, Ang to her numerous lovers, jerked as a particularly powerful orgasm hit her. Sure, Ben was a great lover, one of her favorites, but she never came that hard just from getting fucked. It was a nice surprise.
Less nice was what she saw when she looked down. Were her boobs bigger? She blinked a few times, distracted by the pleasant friction of Ben’s continued thrusting. Nah, they weren’t bigger. Just the jiggling from all that wonderful fucking. She closed her eyes and started grinding again, letting the idea that her boobs had grown fade. Sure, Ben had mentioned she’d look hot with bigger boobs, but thinking it wouldn’t make it so.
In Chicago, Tahirah Bitar stared at the book she’d been trying to read. She’d been trying to three hours and hadn’t gotten through the first chapter. The nagging sensation just would not go away. It felt like a need to go out and do something, to rid herself of boredom.
But it was more than that. It was like a little voice was whispering to her. Calling to her. She squeezed her eyes shut, growling in frustration. Southeast... the voice seemed to whisper. She chalked it up to the book she was reading, The Waste Lands. In The Dark Tower series, southeast was important. That had to be where the feeling came from. Had to be.
Tahirah went back to trying to read. At the edge of her mind, she started planning a vacation. She hadn’t taken one in years. That little town in North Carolina had been nice. The one where her friend Elia had had her wedding. What was it called? Right, Southport...
And in the Carmichael house, Wendy wasn’t the only one struggling with strong, new feelings. Her sister, Candy, sat at her desk, working through math problems. Her focus was scattered, though. She felt frustratingly sluggish. Her mind refused to zero in on the work she usually found so exhilarating.
With a sigh, the high school senior stood. She moved to her attached bathroom, filling a small cup with water. Rather than drinking it, Candy carried it back to her desk. There, in a beautiful little pot, sat a flowering specimen of liriope. Not many people would keep the species of grass in a pot. It was normally used as ground cover at the edge of flower beds. Candy liked the purple flowers, though.
As she filled the pot, she flicked on the little sun lamp that sat next to the pot. She liked to be able to give her liriope plenty of sun on days when it was cloudy. As the light hit her skin, Candy felt the oddest rush of energy. She blinked in confusion, staring at the lamp.
Sure, she tended to keep her bedroom dim, especially when she was working. But light had never left her feeling so energetic before. She tried flicking the switch on and off a few times. Each burst of light was accompanied by a similar rush of energy. Shrugging at the strangeness of the reaction, Candy angled the lamp so that the light fell more fully on her workspace. Then she continued working on her calculus homework.