“Not at all.”
“My mate’s mother gonna be affected by your magic since your covenstead is below her bedroom?”
“No. Not at all. She’s perfectly safe up there. That room has the proper safeguards.”
“Why are you disguising your scent?” I demand.
“I’ve done it at Erica’s request, in an effort to minimize the… hoopla around my being here. It has nothing to do with you or your mate. But, I do have to warn you, my gifts tell me something is amiss, so I feel compelled to give you this.” She hands me a business card. I glance at it before stuffing it into my jeans pocket.
She fiddles with the hem of her long sweater, seeming uncomfortable under my appraisal.
“Our coven worked closely with your pack when it was formed,” she says. “We were very intertwined for a long time. That diminished through the generations but was still in place until Graydon Blackwood divorced my cousin, but…”
“Graydon Blackwood was mated to Soleil and their connection was severed. When that happened, our coven backed away. At Graydon’s request.”
Graydon was sixth alpha in the previous council birth order. Everyone knows Greyson’s mother went away when he was an infant, but no one will talk about why. Graydon met Carrie at an age where Greyson was young enough that she’s the only mother he recognizes. “Mimi’s daughter?” I ask.
“Mimi’s twin’s daughter. Mimi’s twin died while giving birth to Soleil. I’m surprised with you being part of the Arcana Falls alpha council, that this isn’t something you’re up to speed on.”
“Greyson’s biological mother is a Young coven witch?”
“We’re aware Greyson Blackwood is part of your council. His mother was part of our coven, yes.”
“She deceased?” I ask.
Vivica’s mouth tightens. “I’m not at liberty to say, not unless it’s her son that’s asking.”
“So, if Greyson wants information about his biological mother, he can ask for it?”
She nods. “He’s family. We don’t know him, but he’s family.”
“So, you can’t tell Riley about his situation, but you can tell Grey about his?”
“And you’ve told me enough that you know I’ll tell Grey so clearly you want Grey to reach out.”
She says nothing.
“Why can’t you tell me more about Erica and Riley?”
She shakes her head. “It’s complex.”
“But he can’t find her.”
“He’s looking,” I warn.
“I know that, too,” she says.
Well, this is frustrating. I grind my molars.
“Dani said your coven won’t sever my connection with my mate even if she pays for that. That’s true?”
“But it could be done.”
“It could, with dark magic.”
“Was it dark magic that severed the connection with Graydon and Soleil?”
“No. Because they both agreed to the severing.”
“None of your sisters dabble, except Erica?”
“Who said Erica dabbles in dark magic?” she asks quietly.
“If Erica fucked with spells to cast herself as Riley’s mate then isn’t that black magic?” I volley.
“Did someone say that’s what she did?” She’s looking directly into my eyes as she says this. There’s something in her gaze that tells me to pay close attention, not that I wouldn’t otherwise.
I replay the conversation I had here with her sister and great aunt. Neither of them confirmed that. We were the ones that said it.
She flexes her eyebrows.
I wait for her to elaborate.
She doesn’t. She folds her arms and waits; she’s waiting for me to draw new conclusions from her body language.
Finally, I try, “Is Erica Young Riley Savage’s fated mate?”
She says nothing with her mouth, but this is a revelation because the answer is in her eyes.
“She is his?” I ask.
She moistens her lips and still.. says nothing.
“Was Soleil Graydon’s fated mate, too?”
“I can’t discuss that with you. I apologize if this is frustrating. I do have a feeling your council might need us, though I can’t pinpoint precisely why, so that’s why I’ve given you my card.”
“I have your sister Dani’s card. Any reason I need yours, too?”
“You can reach any of us through me or Danica, but I tend to answer calls quickly.”
“I can reach out to any of you except for Erica?”
She gives me a tight smile. “All situations will resolve themselves. It’s just a question of when.”
“I’m guessing it’s pointless to ask what that means?”
“Can’t tell me that,” I finish for her, “Right. What’s your gift? Or can you tell me that?” I’m wondering if knowing what this gift is might give me a clue as to why my pack might need these witches.
“We all have at least one gift. Mine is precognition. I’m not getting anything solid, but I know something is coming and you might need us.”
“How many of you are there?”
“Our coven is large. I have four sisters. We have cousins, second cousins.”
“And you’re saying Greyson Blackwood is a cousin, meaning he’s not only shifter, he’s also part warlock?”
Not a surprise. Greyson’s got unusual strengths. Unhoned, clearly, since he doesn’t practice witchcraft, but his powers of persuasion are something we’ve always marveled about.