It doesn't help that things keep disappearing from their apartment or that Rebecca's father refuses to accept that Justyn is an essential part of her life. Yet, all this seems minimal in comparison to the serial rapist terrorizing the campus.
Consumed by fear and obsessed with revenge, Rebecca and Justyn start living the story of Sweeney Todd—both on and off the stage.
Read an exclusive excerpt:
Rebecca unwound the silver ribbon. When she lifted the lid, she found two matching pendants, each laced to a long hemp chain. They were shaped sort of like seashells, with an endless spiral pattern that looped out from the center as the chambers grew larger. They were dark brown in color with a few hints of tan along the edges. The stones had been polished and smoothed on both sides, but when she lifted them, she could see that the two pieces fit together perfectly. She swore the halves fought to snap together, like magnets in her hand. There was an energy pulsing and vibrating within the stones that even a novice witch like Rebecca could feel.
“They’re beautiful,” Rebecca whispered as she ran her hand along the intricate grooves.
“It’s an ammonite.” Justyn lifted one of the pendants, brushed her hair to the side, and hooked the clasp around her neck. His breath tickled her skin as his hands moved with graceful dexterity, giving her goose bumps despite the humid August night. “They’re actually fossils that are millions of years old, named after Ammon, an ancient Egyptian deity. When they’re divided in half, they’re perfect mirrors of one another. Some cultures believe that if the two halves are given to lovers, it will bind them together forever. When made into necklaces, they’re often called soul mate pendants.”
“Wo-wow,” Rebecca stuttered. As usual, the sentiment behind Justyn’s gift was even more beautiful than the gift itself. It left her a little flustered. “That’s amazing. How do you know all this stuff?”
“You don’t spend eighteen years living with Darlene without learning a thing or two.”
Rebecca laughed. Justyn’s mother Darlene was definitely something special. EMT, exotic belly dancer, and Wiccan High Priestess were only a few of the titles she claimed. Rebecca knew she was a fountain of earth-based knowledge after years of studying the Craft. As Darlene’s new apprentice, Rebecca greedily dipped into that knowledge herself as often as possible.
“It’s beautiful,” Rebecca repeated, too overcome with emotion to think of anything more eloquent to say. “You certainly know how to make things interesting.”
“Like I told you on our first date, I try not to be boring.” He winked at her. “So … are you going to put mine on for me?”
“Oh yeah … sorry.”
Rebecca giggled as she lifted the hemp chain. She wasn’t nearly as graceful as Justyn. She almost dropped the necklace in the sand three times before she managed to get the clasp locked. When she finally had it secured, he placed his hand over her heart, where the ammonite lay. He did the same with her hands, lifting them to his chest. His dark eyes had lost all glimmer of humor. He met her gaze with a stare filled with genuine emotion. Beneath her fingers, she could feel the gentle, steady rhythm of his heart beating in perfect tune with her own.
“Our love will span both space and time. In this life and the next, you shall be mine. All eternity I will be by your side. For a love so strong cannot be denied. Spirit and flesh merged into one. So mote it be, for all days to come.”
When he was done with the recitation, he kissed her. Not just a gentle brush, but a deep, passionate embrace that left her throat tight and her heart pounding with a familiar yearning.
“I’ve never heard that poem before,” she said once she’d caught her breath. “Who are you quoting?”
Even in the moonlight, she could see him blush. “I guess I was quoting myself. It was really more of an incantation than a poem though. These necklaces are meant to be a symbol of our love, and it seemed a little spell work could only add to the power of the stones. There is power in words, Becca. Just like there is power in nature.”
“You mean, you wrote that?”
He nodded, but his eyes twinkled, and the playfulness was back in his voice. “Well, actually, I just made it up as I went along.”
“Wow. Actor, singer, and now an improv poet slash chant writer. Is there anything you can’t do, Lord Justyn?”
He smiled and tilted her chin so he could look into her eyes. “I can’t stop loving you.”
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