Sixteen year old Channie Kerns leads an idyllic life of seclusion and magic deep in the Ozark Mountains ... until her family is forced to flee for their lives.
They leave everything and everyone behind to start over in Louisville, Colorado. Magic is forbidden while they are in hiding, but Channie can't resist the temptation to enchant a group of local boys. When her overbearing parents catch her flirting with these "sex-crazed, non-magical delinquents," they slap a chastity spell on her to protect her virtue.
The spell is triggered by lust, so just navigating the halls at her new school is an ordeal. She can't even touch a boy she's attracted to without blasting him with a jolt of magical energy that feels like a taser.
When Channie falls in love with Josh Abrim, a BMX racer with dangerous secrets of his own, she rebels against her parents and turns to dark and forbidden magic to break the chastity spell ... with disastrous results.
Channie had assumed that her new power-name would repel boys, or make them repulsive to her. Instead, Chastity’s magic was attracted to their lustful energy and grew stronger as it fed off their carnal desires. Momma and Daddy must have messed up the spell when they changed her name.
She said, “Hey guys,” then coughed and fanned the air, frowning at Cigarette Boy. He tossed the nasty thing onto the ground and snuffed it out with the toe of his canvas shoe.
The skinny, non-smoking boy smiled at her and said, “I haven’t seen you around here before. Are you new?”
Channie licked her dry lips and nodded. What was wrong with her? She wasn’t shy. Or was she? She didn’t know who she was without Enchantment’s magic.
Cigarette Boy leaned towards her and ran his gaze up and down her body. The level of lust in the air doubled and flowed into Chastity’s power-well. He smirked at her and said, “What’s the matter, can’t you talk?”
Channie started to take a step back, but didn’t want him to think she was easily intimidated. She was fairly certain she could tap into Chastity’s power to defend herself if he proved dangerous, but she didn’t want to test that theory without a little more practice. So, she projected a level of confidence she did not feel and said, “I can talk just fine. When I have something to say.”
Cigarette Boy elbowed his friend in the ribs. “Dude, did you hear that accent?” He hugged his chest, copying Channie’s posture and pitched his voice up high to mock her. “Aw kin tawk juz fiiiine whin ah have sumthin’ to say.”
“Jeeze, Eric.” The skinny boy shoved Eric’s shoulder. “You’re such an ass.” He looked at Channie and smiled. “I apologize for this idiot. He has no social skills whatsoever. That’s why we only let him out at night.”
“It’s okay. I can handle it. But thanks.” Channie pulled a small amount of Chastity’s power to the surface and tried to send the obnoxious Eric away using persuasive magic instead of an actual spell. He didn’t want to go.
Channie narrowed her eyes and pushed a little more magic at him. Instead of flowing out of her power-well in a gentle stream the way Enchantment’s energy would have, it shot out of her with a sudden burst of power.
Folks rarely noticed when Channie used persuasive magic on them, and even when they did, they didn’t usually care.
Enchantment’s energy was positive and soothing. Chastity’s was not. Eric yelped and hopped off the metal table. He looked at his friend and said, “Did you feel that?”
“Something shocked me. There must be a short in the wiring.”
“What wiring? The table’s not wired.”
“Well, something sure as hell zapped me.”
Channie bit her lip to keep from grinning. This was fun. She zapped him again.
Eric twitched and swore. “Come on! You had to feel it that time.”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about. What the hell have you been smoking?”
Eric suggested his friend do some inappropriate things to himself then trotted down the path towards the parking lot. Channie waited for him to drive away then took a small step towards the skinny boy on the picnic table. He watched her but didn’t say a word. She read his energy field again and was surprised to find anxiety had replaced his lust.
She could try to encourage him by flirting, but that could take all night. Come-hither spells were illegal, but this boy was an Empty and didn’t know that. Besides, who was he going to tell?
Channie held her breath and used a small amount of Chastity’s power to cast what she hoped was a weak spell.
The boy hopped off the picnic table and closed the distance between them in two strides. He was tall — much taller than she’d thought. He was also stronger than he looked. He grabbed Channie with one hand, digging his fingers into her side then slid his other hand to the middle of her back. He pulled her close and crushed his mouth against hers — taking her completely by surprise.
Her first instinct was to curse him and run away, but that would defeat the purpose of the experiment. She wanted to know what Chastity would do on its own.
Her second instinct, the one she obeyed, was to kiss him back. He tasted like spearmint and honey. Magic pulsed out of her without warning.
The boy jerked his head up and shoved her away from his body. He pushed his hair off his forehead with both hands and gaped at her. “What the hell?”
Tears pricked the back of Channie’s eyelids. This was not how she’d imagined her first kiss. She knew it was selfish to focus on her own disappointment when the poor boy was so obviously confused and frightened — but how could she reassure him with Chastity’s magic buzzing like a swarm of hornets? It wouldn't help matters if she cursed him again. Channie blinked in an effort to hide her tears, but they leaked out of the corner of her eyes and slid down her cheeks.
The boy opened his mouth as if to speak, but then slammed it shut and shook his head. He held his elbows close to his body, lifted his hands, palms up and shrugged his shoulders as he backed away from her. He leaned over, grabbed a bicycle off the ground then raced away, disappearing into the shadows before Channie could apologize.
Charlotte Abel was born and raised in Oklahoma where she met her soulmate, Pete. She chased him to Boulder, Colorado and finally convinced him they were meant to be together forever. They've raised three kids, two ferrets, three dogs and countless hamsters -- and are still happily married.
She's in love with "real" life and paranormal romance. When she's not reading or writing, Charlotte enjoys hiking, bicycling and primitive archery (although she's never shot at anything other than a target!)