Home > The Soul's Mark: FOUND (The Soul's Mark #1)(10)

The Soul's Mark: FOUND (The Soul's Mark #1)(10)
Author: Ashley Stoyanoff

“We really didn’t think you would just wander off by yourself the first morning you got here,” Luke answered, his calm and thoughtful expression back on his face. “And we didn’t want to scare you.”

Officer McLean must have been satisfied because he finished his breakfast in two bites, pushed back his chair and stood up. “I’d better be going,” he said, sauntering towards the door. “You take care of yourself, Amelia and try to be careful. I would hate for something to happen to you.” He nodded to the rest and then left.

Amelia quickly finished her breakfast. Now that she had calmed down, she realized how much she needed a shower. She put her fork and knife on her plate, gulped down the last bit of coffee, and stood up. “Hey guys, I’m really sorry I scared everyone.”

“No worries, honey,” Angelle said. “Now go get ready. We have a fun shopping day ahead of us.”

Luke and Eric chuckled in unison and rolled their eyes. And Amelia couldn’t help but smile, because, well, she realized with a start, as she looked at her new friends, that she was falling in love with them. All of them. It was suddenly clear to her that they were a family, not just friends, but also a real family—and she was part of it.


Kandi slinked around the house, sticking to the shadows. She didn’t dare peek in the window, but she needed to get closer. The energy was enthralling and she just needed to feel it again. What was she? Kandi wondered, feeling the pulse, like a heartbeat of power, coming from the house. She didn’t know what it was, but the energy that radiated from Amelia was incredible, better than any blood she had ever smelled, and she knew she needed more.

She crouched behind one of the massive willows outside the kitchen, closed her eyes and let the energy surround her. She could hear their whispers and she knew she should be listening, but it was almost as if she was high. Whatever Amelia was throwing out, it was like a mind-boggling drug.

She was sure that He was going to be mad. She should never have let Amelia see her. It could ruin everything, but that smell, the energy… Kandi licked her lips, imagining what Amelia’s blood would taste like. Focus, she scolded herself and after a few shakes to clear her hazy mind, Kandi opened up her ears, stretching her senses.

“Did you guys feel that?” Eric’s deep voice drifted to her ears. “It’s awesome.” His two roommates nodded their heads in unison, unable to verbalize the apprehension they were feeling.

“Do either of you know what happened the last time Mitch found her?” Angelle’s musical voice sang and Kandi cringed. After all these years, Angelle’s voice was still grating.

“All he said was that he was too late to save her,” Luke answered. Kandi would never forget that booming baritone; just the sound of it sent a chill racing down her spine.

“I’m really worried about Mitchell,” Angelle said. “He’s a mess. The connection is screwing with him. Whatever is happening with them, something is definitely different. Honestly, I would have thought he had already bit her by the way he’s acting. He actually accused me of challenging him last night.”

“Seriously?” Eric said. “But Mitch’s such a push-over.”

Kandi almost snickered but managed to hold it in. It sounded like there was trouble in paradise. If Mitchell was really losing it, it wouldn’t be long before his trusted followers would turn against him. He’ll want to hear this, Kandi knew it. It will be so much easier to get rid of Amelia if Mitchell wasn’t thinking straight. Score one point for the bond.

“I’ll talk to him,” Eric offered.

“Not a good idea right now, Eric,” Angelle said sternly. “He’s not stable.”

“Come on.” Eric’s rumbling laugh tumbled to her ears. “I’m his kid.”

“Angelle, Eric’s right,” Luke piped in. “If he really is that unstable, Eric should go. Mitch will be less likely to feel threatened by one of his children.”

Kandi heard the door swing open and she froze. Crap! Did they know she was listening? She waited behind the tree, staying as still as possible until she heard the purr of an engine turning over, and the tires crunching along the driveway. She snuck a quick look, making sure the coast was clear, before running as fast as she could to report back to headquarters. He’ll be pleased. She was sure of it.

In under a minute, Kandi bolted through the door of their temporary base of operations and skidded across the linoleum floor to a halt in the living room. “She’s here,” she blurted, hardly able to contain her excitement.

“Finally,” a grin twitched at the corners of his lips and his midnight black eyes shined. He was sitting on the couch, his arm draped around that useless Erin. Kandi turned up her nose slightly at the sight of those stupid overalls. And what was with the little spiky pigtails? Erin looked like a little kid and she didn’t get it. Why would anyone try to look so young? Maybe she was jaded, but she had been stuck in an eleven year old’s body for seventy-four years and it sucked. Why did he keep her around? Kandi knew he had no plans to change Erin, especially if his scheme went as planned. She could only hope he’d dispose of her soon, because she just couldn’t imagine spending eternity with Erin.

You’ve made him happy. Good work, my dear, Adam sent the message silently through their bond to her mind and winked. Kandi almost swooned at the attention from her soulmate. Adam didn’t give her attention often, always paying more attention to Him, but when he did notice her, Kandi’s heart fluttered and her body tingled all over. She had to admit, she was the luckiest girl ever.

“There’s something different about her,” Kandi added, hoping that this would get her more attention. “I tried to find out what it is but they don’t know.”

He laughed. “I’m surprised Mitchell hasn’t told them.”

“What do you mean?” Kandi asked, inching forwards.

He rolled his intense black eyes at her question. “She’s a witch. I felt it the night I met her parents.” Then he shrugged lazily, “Mitchell always suspected it.”

“But if she’s a witch…” Erin said with panic trembling in her voice, making Kandi cringe with annoyance. “God, what if she…”

“She won’t,” he cut her off and Kandi giggle. At least he kept her in her place while she was around. “She probably hasn’t even figured it out. She’s only been eighteen for a month and without her parents, no one would have shown her how to access the power yet.”

A burst of red-hot anger hit Kandi and she fixed her eyes on Adam, begging him to keep his mouth shut. She could feel the rage coursing through him, hitting her through the bond harder and harder with each moment and she knew he wouldn’t put up with an outburst from any other them.

Adam either didn’t notice her anxiety or he chose to ignore it, shouting, “Why didn’t you tell us? This changes everything. If they strengthen the bond, we won’t stand a chance against them.”

“Enough!” he bellowed, eyes washing red. Kandi winched, man he could be scary. “I’ve waited too long for this.” He kept his terrifying gaze on Adam for a long and painful moment and Kandi held her breath, terrified. But then his lips twitched into a cruel, little grin and he shifted his gaze to Erin, who still cuddled in his arm. “You’re up. See what you can find out.”


Amelia’s feet hurt. Her back ached and her legs and just about every muscle in her body screamed at her to sit down. She peeked out of the dressing room door and watched Angelle glide around the store grabbing more clothes for her to try on. They had been at it all day and this had to be at least the fifteenth store they had been to. She glanced at the storefront window, through which the golden rays of the setting sun were entering the room. It would be dark soon and with the way Angelle was going, Amelia was sure they were not going to stop anytime soon.

I should have listened to Eric and Luke, she huffed. Amelia looked longingly at her new phone, debating on whether or not she should call in a rescue mission. They had tried to warn her. But really, she had never thought it would be this nuts. Angelle didn’t just have a little shopping problem, she was bordering on an addiction, the kind of addiction that there really should be meetings for. Her shopping was not a hobby. It was a sickness.

Amelia watched for another second, and then she shut the door to the dressing room and looked back in the mirror. She had to admit that her friend had a great sense of style. It had been a long time since she had been shopping, and even longer since she had clothes that fit properly. Most of her wardrobe consisted of hand-me-downs. And even though she felt a little like a dress up doll and she was exhausted, it was kind of, just a little bit, fun.

She took off the little black dress that Angelle had said, correctly, would look fantastic, pulled on her jeans and hoodie, slung the keepers over her arm and ventured back out to the chaos that was Angelle.

Amelia had only made it a few steps from the dressing room when a girl popped up in front of her. “Excuse me. Are you Amelia Caldwell?” she asked, looking nervous. She was a touch taller than Amelia was and about the same age with short bleach blonde hair pulled up in two spiky little pigtails, accentuating her sharp nose and cheekbones.

Amelia had just opened her mouth to reply when Angelle was suddenly there, pushing her back and placing herself right in between them. “That depends,” Angelle said, sugar dripping from her voice. “Who’s asking?”

Amelia’s mouth opened then closed stunned at her friend’s reaction. The girl looked sweet, wearing baggy corduroy overalls and a long-sleeved white t-shirt. Nothing about her suggested a threat. So what was with Angelle’s protective demeanor? She recovered from her shock, stepped out from behind Angelle and gave her a dirty look. “Jeez Angelle, don’t be so rude.”

“It’s okay,” the girl said to Amelia, and then turned her attention to Angelle. “I’m Erin Truscott, ma’am.”

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