Midnight Moon

Midnight Moon
Marilee Brothers

December 2012 $14.95
ISBN: 978-1-61194-2194

Book 5 of The Unbidden Magic Series

Our PriceUS$14.95
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The Trimarks are planning an invasion. And the only thing standing in their way is Allie and the moonstone.

All Allie wants is a normal life – friends, boys, school dances. Right.Like that’s going to happen.

In two weeks, during the summer solstice, Allie’s going to face the biggest challenge of her life, fighting against time to save the world from a Trimark invasion. You’d think the world of weird might leave her alone to plan how she’s going to survive. But nothing in Allie’s world is simple or easy, especially when she’s attacked by Trimarks trying to steal the moonstone. Then Sammie disappears into the faery world of Boundless, and Allie must follow and bring her home, only to find the fairy queen, Luminata, isn’t about to let Allie leave. So, what’s a girl with magical powers supposed to do?

Fortunately, she has a team to help her, a team with special talents of their own.

Marilee Brothers is a former high school teacher turned full-time author. She married her college crush, and they have three sons. Marilee lives in Washington State, where she’s hard at work on her next book.


"…a clean read that's full of drama, humor and witty sass. Allie and friends will appeal to younger teen audience." -- Latoya Hudson, Little Library Mouse

"Marilee Brothers is a wonderful writer who knows how to create an exciting storyline that's fun to read!" -- Donna Lawrence, Netgalley


Chapter One

EVERY NIGHT, THEY march through my dreams with dusty boots and blood-drenched hands. The sequence never varies. First in line, the evil dictators who killed for power. Adolf Hitler. Joseph Stalin. Osama Bin Laden. Saddam Hussein. Idi Amin. Muammar Gaddafi. Next, the serial killers, those who killed for pure enjoyment. Jack the Ripper. Ted Bundy. John Wayne Gacy. The Green River Killer. The last person to appear is always Timothy McVeigh, the Oklahoma City bomber.

Trimarks. Every one.

Now, picture thousands like them pouring into our world on the night we know as the summer solstice. Once they gain access to the mortal world, the high point of their evening will be the slaughter of my entire family. My mother. My father. Me.

Each night, without fail, I hear the sound of their shuffling feet, see their depraved smiles, feel and smell the corrupt darkness emanating from their shrunken souls. Each night, without fail, I wake up screaming.

The summer solstice is less than a week away. I know this because, along with my nightly horror show, a countdown calendar pops up in the upper left-hand corner of my cerebral screen along with an ominously ticking clock. It’s a reminder that only two people in all of our worlds can prevent this disaster. A girl named Sammie Sullivan. Me. And, of course, the moonstone.

I’m Allie Emerson, a semi-normal seventeen-year-old girl. I say semi-normal because in the last two years, I’ve experienced a series of events that definitely fall in the not-so-normal category. First of all, I was given a magic moonstone pendant. Then, I found my missing father, discovered I was half fae and, most importantly, learned of the prophecy stating it’s my duty to save the world from evil. Little things like that.

In the meantime, I try to live like a normal kid. I go to school. I have friends. Sometimes I even have boyfriends. I live with my mother, Faye, in a twenty-four-foot travel trailer parked behind my Uncle Sid’s house, next to Blaster the bull’s pasture. Okay, maybe that’s not so normal, but it’s my normal.

Because I’m striving for normalcy, a scant week before my personal big bang moment, I was in the gymnasium of John J. Peacock High School, decorating the gym for the graduation ceremony to be held the following night. Call it fear. Call it denial. Call it whatever you want. But until you walk in my shoes, you don’t have a clue about my life, about what I was going through. Therefore, I was clinging to my semi-normal life instead of worrying about saving the world. It’s not easy being semi-normal. What’s important is that you try.

"NO WAY I’M getting on a ladder,” Dora Jean Hoffman said, licking orange cheese doodle dust from each finger.

"Me neither,” echoed her sister, Donna Jo. She was slurping soda from a super-sized paper cup.

I looked around for the rest of my committee. Luella Hoptowit, Peacock Flats high school’s lone Native American, didn’t bother to comment. She raked me with a furious black gaze and stomped off to the bathroom. Samantha (Sammie) Sullivan, my new friend and colleague in all things paranormal, slid into the bleachers. She grabbed a book out of her backpack and gave me a sheepish grin. "Sorry. Homework.”

"That’s crap and you know it,” I said. Sammie never did her homework. If not for me, she’d have flunked out weeks ago.

Mercedes Trujillo, my oldest friend and neighbor, was taking care not to make eye contact.

"Mercedes?” I said.

"Hell no. Girl, if you want streamers hanging from the rafters, get your skinny ass up there and do it yourself.”

"Yeah,” echoed Donna Jo and Dora Jean.

Sammie chimed in. "What she said.”

I gazed up at the high ceiling. "We have bad karma, ladders and me.” Automatically, my hand flew to the moonstone.

"Time to conquer your fear,” Mercedes said.

"Some committee you are,” I grumbled, looking around the gym. Tomorrow night was graduation, and guess who was chairman of the decoration committee? None other than club-fisted, not a single artistic bone in her body, Allie Emerson.

It was tradition. Each year, the outgoing senior class president appointed the incoming class president to decorate the gym for graduation. Nicole Bradford, sister of my former boyfriend, Beck, and my sometimes friend, was this year’s senior class president. Next year’s class president, Caitlyn Rogers, was too busy being fabulous, so she picked me to chair the committee. Whoopee.

In turn, I recruited each and every member of my misfit lunch crew to help me out. So far, they’d pitched in without complaint, crimping crepe paper, blowing up balloons and adding fake flowers to the lattice arch through which each graduating senior would enter the gym.

At the last minute, I remembered Nicole saying, "Be sure you decorate the beams. Burgundy and silver streamers would be nice.”

That’s when my crew rebelled. Not that I blamed them. The Hoffman twins were, um, chubby. Actually, way beyond chubby. Mercedes, despite her ladder experience picking apples in my Uncle Sid’s orchard, flatly refused. Sammie and Luella were uncooperative to the max. Which left me.

Two years ago, just prior to my fifteenth birthday, I’d fallen off a ladder and landed on an electric fence. Shortly after, I developed some unusual abilities and acquired the moonstone. That’s when my life took an abrupt turn into the Land of Strange and Weird. No way was I getting on that ladder.

Actually, the gym looked pretty good. Maybe we could get by without decorating the beams. Maybe Nicole wouldn’t notice. Yeah, right. Le sigh. Oui, I speak French thanks to my favorite teacher, Mrs. Burke.

"Ssst.” The hissing sound came from the bleachers. I glanced over at Sammie, who appeared to be drawing symbols in the air. One vertical line topped by a horizontal line.

"Is that a T?” I asked.

She smiled, nodded and made another vertical line.

"An ‘I’?” I guessed.

She shook her head, re-forming the vertical line and using her other hand to add an upward slanting diagonal line as well as one pointing diagonally downward.

"Oh,” I said. "Has to be a K.”

I glanced over at Dora Jean and Donna Jo, who were looking back and forth between Sammie and me with puzzled expressions.

I said, "T. K....” and then groaned and slapped myself on the forehead.

Sammie was trying to tell me to use TKP to shoot the streamers up to the rafters. Telekinetic power was one of the powers I’d developed after my bounce off the electric fence. I grinned and nodded in agreement.

Sammie winked and returned to her pretend homework.

I walked over to the Hoffman twins. "Hey, you two, thanks for your help. Let’s not worry about the rafters. I’ll ask the janitor to do it. No sense risking our lives. Right?”

Donna Jo and Dora Jean agreed one hundred percent and fast-walked to the door. "See ya tomorrow, Allie.”

"Yeah,” I said. "Tell Luella she can split, too... okay?”

After the Hoffman twins departed, Sammie and I got busy. We had a whole butt load of crepe paper streamers ready to fire. Sammie stacked them in front of me. I picked up a long strand, focused my mind and shot it up to the rafters. The first one fell short, but it didn’t take long before I got the hang of it. In fact, before we were done, I was able to fire ten at a time.

Fifteen minutes later, the last rafter was draped with burgundy and silver. Sammie held up a fist. I’d just lifted my fist to bump hers when a slight movement caught my eyes. I whirled and spotted Luella Hoptowit standing outside the bathroom door, staring at me with a suspicious gaze.

"Oh my God,” I whispered to Sammie. "Luella!”

Sammie shrugged like it was nothing. "Don’t worry, I’ll make something up.”

Sammie was really good at lying. Before she moved to Peacock Flats, she was a runaway and lived on the streets. My mother, Faye, doesn’t call it lying. She calls it survival skills.

"Hey, Luella, wanna help us clean up?” Sammie began picking up the scraps of crepe paper littering the gym floor.

Luella walked slowly toward us. She stepped in front of me, folded her arms and scowled. "I saw what you did.”

I sent a silent message to Sammie. Now would be a good time to jump in, girlfriend. Yeah, we could do that, Sammie and me. With a little effort, we could read each other’s thoughts.

Sammie opened her mouth to speak, but Luella beat her to it. "That was way cool, Allie. It was like the time Shane Boldt was waving his big knife around and cut me. I probably would have bled to death if you hadn’t stopped him.”

A huge sigh of relief whistled out of my lungs. Luella had been one of the victims in a Trimark attack at school last year. I’d used magic that day to keep the moonstone safe. Since Luella mostly operated in silent mode, I’d totally forgotten she’d seen me use telekinetic power.

Sammie’s eyebrows shot up to her hairline. "Say what? You mean she knows?”

I nodded.

Luella flashed a rare smile. "Do it again. I was too far away to get the full effect.”

I focused on a long strand of crepe paper and shot it up to the ceiling. Luella clapped and whistled. I pretended to curtsey. "You’re welcome.”

"Um, Allie,” Sammie said, peering around Luella and me. "We’ve got a bigger problem.”

I followed her gaze and gasped in horror. Caitlyn Rogers, next year’s senior class president, was peeking out from behind the bleachers opposite us.

"Geez,” I murmured. "Trust Caitlyn to show up when all the work is done. Do you think she saw me?”

Sammie didn’t have to answer, because Caitlyn began walking across the gym toward us, her gaze flicking back and forth between the colorfully festooned rafters and me.

I groaned. "Oh man, this is bad. Very bad. Sammie, you better come up with one humongous lie. Sorry. I mean, you better use all of your survival skills.”

Sammie was usually fast on her feet. Not this time. I could see her mind scrolling through a bunch of possibilities and coming up blank. Strangely, it was Luella who saved me.

As Caitlyn walked toward us, Luella began chanting. It’s hard to describe, but the sound was so eerie, the hairs on the back of my neck literally stood on end. Even Sammie looked shocked. Still chanting, Luella began to stomp and spin, stopping occasionally to peer at Caitlyn, presumably to see if she was achieving the desired effect. She was. Caitlyn’s gaze darted toward the exit like she was planning to make a dash for freedom. Caitlyn was a fairly decent human being, but she was about as sharp as a vampire with broken fangs. With a bit more brainpower, she’d surely have realized she was being put on.

Caitlyn stopped a few feet away from Luella, who had stopped chanting and raised her right arm, palm forward. "Halt.” Her voice was guttural and foreign, like it came from the bowels of hell.

Caitlyn froze in her tracks, her eyes rolling in panic.

Luella took a step forward.

Caitlyn stumbled backward and fell on her butt. As she scrambled to her feet, I suppressed a giggle.

In her unearthly voice, Luella said, "You have just witnessed major Indian mojo. Tell no one. If you do, you will gain fifty pounds in one week. Yeah, you’ll turn into a real porker. Do you understand?”

Caitlyn nodded, looking remarkably like a bobble head doll.

"Very well,” Luella said. "Now, repeat what I just told you.”

"Tell no one,” Caitlyn squeaked. "Or I’ll turn into a fat pig.”

"When I say no one,” Luella said, glaring fiercely, "I mean no one. Not your mother. Not your father. Not your BFF. No. One. If I hear a single word about this incident, there will be immediate repercussions and, trust me, you won’t like them. Things like disfiguring facial lesions... non-stop diarrhea.”

Caitlyn clapped a hand over her mouth to stifle a gasp.

"Do I make myself clear?”

Vigorous nodding from Caitlyn.

I could scarcely believe what I was seeing. Really, it was beyond ludicrous. Not even five feet tall, Luella was hardly an imposing figure. Yet, she had the coolest chick in school shaking in her designer clothes. I was surprised Luella even knew words like disfiguring facial lesions. I wanted to stomp and cheer.

Fixing Caitlyn with a ferocious, unblinking gaze, Luella said, "You may go. But remember, I’ll be watching.”

Caitlyn, her face the color of paste, ran from the gym without a backward glance. When the door shut behind her, we waited a few beats before bursting into laughter.

"I owe you big-time, Luella,” I said.

She shook her head. "Uh-uh. Now we’re even.”

We cleaned up our mess and headed for the exit. When I pushed through the door, I stopped dead in my tracks, stunned into silence. I was face-to-face with the answer to every girl’s dream, my former boyfriend, half mortal, half lust demon, Beck Bradford. One look and I knew which half was in charge. His golden eyes glowed with appreciation as he checked me out from top to bottom.

"Hi, Allie. Glad to see me?”



Chapter Two

DID I REALIZE Beck Bradford would be in town attending his sister’s graduation? Yes. Had I let myself think about it? No. I’d filed it in the part of my brain labeled, I’ll think about it tomorrow. Did his presence in Peacock Flats complicate my life? Maybe. Probably. We’ll see.

When I get nervous, I tend to babble. This incident was no exception. "Well, hey there, Beck. Of course I’m glad to see you. Didn’t expect to see you here, at least not until tomorrow. When did you get back? You remember Sammie and Luella... right? Home for the summer?”

Oh yeah, it was embarrassing. Sammie and Luella stared at me, goggle-eyed, like I’d just climbed out of a spaceship and declared, "I bring greetings from the planet Jim Bob.”

Thankfully, Beck was familiar with my quirks. He grinned and pulled me in for a big old hug.

Sammie gave a little hum of disapproval; her not so subtle way of reminding me I had a boyfriend. Junior Martinez. I stiffened in Beck’s embrace. But, Junior was currently on my bad list due to... well, more about that later. Consequently, I hugged Beck back a little more enthusiastically than necessary. In fact, it felt so good, I looked into his eyes and smiled. Big mistake. Beck smiled back at me, and my current worries flew away. So what if Trimarks wanted to kill me? And, saving the world from evil? Who cares? All I wanted to do was stay right there, in Beck’s arms. Warm and comfy.

But wait! I was way too warm and comfy. A split second later, I pushed him away and threw up a psychic block.

Beck staggered backward, clutching his belly. His eyes were wide with shock. "What the heck was that for?” he croaked.

Furious, I put my hands on my hips and yelled, "Why do you think? You used the damn dazer on me. Did you forget I could block you?”

Still rubbing his belly, Beck glanced over at Sammie and Luella.

Sammie was practically jumping up and down with her need to know.

Luella mumbled, "Too much information. Gotta go.” She shuffled off without a backward glance.

I told Sammie. "Beck has a cool little trick he likes to use.” I paused and glared at him before continuing. "Word of warning, Sammie. If he touches you and looks into your eyes, he can read your emotions and change them to whatever he wants. Comes in real handy if you’re a girl and he’s looking to hook up.”

Sammie’s eyes went wide with disbelief. "No way.”

"Hey!” Beck protested. "It’s not just about me. I use the dazer to help people. Have you forgotten I healed you?”

He was so trying to manipulate me. It wasn’t working. "No, I haven’t forgotten. But I don’t need healing today. So, why did you use it?”

The dark pupils in Beck’s eyes grew larger. I’d seen that phenomenon before and knew what it meant. He took a step toward me and reached out a hand.

"No touching,” I warned.

Beck flushed and his arm dropped to his side. "Yeah, sorry about that. It’s just when I saw you, I was having a hard time controlling... well, you know.”

I nodded. He was talking about his dual nature. Good old Incubus Papa had left his mark on Beck and his twin sister, Nicole. His mother, devoutly Catholic and a writer of Christian fiction, had done her best to temper his nature. Bottom line: you can take the boy out of the lust demon, but you can’t take the lust demon out of the the boy. Part of me felt sorry for him. The other part was still mad.

I shook a finger in his face. "No more hugging. Got it?”

Beck grinned. "Got it.” He lifted up his shirt to examine his belly. A dark red mark just below his ribs was purpling into a bruise. "Man, you really nailed me. You’re way stronger than you used to be.”

"And don’t you forget it.”

Sammie snickered. "Guess I won’t have to nark you out to Junior after all.”

I narrowed my eyes at her. "Hey, I thought we were friends.”

"Just kidding. Chill.”

Beck said, "Don’t you want to know why I’m here?”

"To use your dazer?”

He shook his head. "No, not that. I drove by your place. There’s a black Escalade parked in the driveway. A weird-looking dude with long blond hair is standing next to it watching the cars go by.”

Sammie and I exchanged a glance. She murmured, "Teagan.”

"That’s not all,” Beck said.

I sighed. "Of course it isn’t.”

"A big bird kept circling around. Looked like a hawk. Every time it got close to the car, the blond guy threw a rock at it.” He arched a brow in question. "I’m guessing this is somehow significant to you. Seems like I remember you hanging around with some faery kid who could turn into a bird.”

"Ryker,” I muttered, pursing my lips in disgust. Geez, when it rains, it pours. "Guess I’d better get on home before some freakin’ faery war breaks out. Thanks, Beck. For the information, I mean, not the other.”

He shrugged. "No problem, see you tomorrow night.”

Sammie and I walked to the parking lot. She bounced around me like a satellite orbiting the sun. "I’m going with you ’cause I’ve already met Teagan and actually, you need me ’cause sometimes you get confused. Teagan’s tricky, ya know. He might use faery magic on you.”

I flapped a hand at her. Sammie could be annoying. Especially when she was right. "Yeah, yeah, whatever.”

"Besides, I want to meet this Ryker dude. He’s hot... right?”

"If you like birds.”

"But why would Teagan throw rocks at him?”

I continued walking toward the car. "Teagan and Ryker are from different factions in Boundless. Both of them want something. Probably from me.”

Sammie perked up at the mention of Boundless. "You’re talking about faeryland... right?”

I nodded.

"Cool,” she said. "Next time you go, take me with you.”

I unlocked the car. "Boundless isn’t what you think, Sammie. It’s not filled with happy little faeries flitting around with magic wands.” An involuntary shudder shook my body. "The dark fae are too horrible to describe. They’re living nightmares, evil looking and evil acting.”

Sammie remained silent until we pulled out onto Peacock Flats Road. Finally she said, "It just gets to me, ya know?”

I shot her a quick glance. Her lower lip quivered. A tear dripped off the end of her nose. I drove into the parking lot of Fred’s Seed and Feed and stopped the car. "What’s going on? First you’re stoked about meeting Ryker and now you’re all bummed out.”

Sammie pulled her knees to her chest and curled up against the door, a little bundle of misery. She said, "At least you know what you are, where you belong. Look at all the cool things you’ve done. You saved my life. You’ve been to Boundless. I barely remember my mother, and I don’t have a clue about my dad. If Kizzy hadn’t taken me in, I’d still be living on the streets.”

I nodded. For six months, we’d been trying to uncover Sammie’s past, but every road led to a dead end. I reached over, grabbed her hand and squeezed. "Not knowing about my dad drove me nuts too. I had to blackmail my mom into telling me. Not that he’s a prize, but at least I got some answers.”

Sammie said, "I don’t even have a birth certificate. Maybe I hatched out of an egg.”

A sudden visual of naked baby Sammie popping out of an egg, complete with spiky black, purple and pink hair, made me bust out laughing. "Yep, your mama probably sat on it for nine months.”

Her lips curved into a weak smile. Yes!

"About me saving your life?” I continued. "We saved each others’ lives. Trust me, the answers you’re looking for aren’t in Boundless.”

"But Teagan said I have fae blood, so maybe the answers are in Boundless.”

"Come on, Sammie. Think about it. What’s your plan? Pop into Boundless and yell, ‘Hey, who am I?’ It’s dangerous there. Who knows what might happen to you. And, you might not be able to come back. It’s already June and you know what that means. The summer solstice. I can’t do it alone. We’re partners... right?”

Even though the summer solstice was drawing nearer, we didn’t talk about it much, Sammie and me. Remember semi-normalcy?

Sammie sighed. "Yeah, of course I do.”

I said, "That’s why we can’t waste time going to Boundless.”

Sammie’s bright, curious gaze told me she’d recovered sufficiently, so I drove out of the parking lot and pointed the car toward home.

Sammie turned her head toward the window and mumbled, "Still think I should go there.”

I pinched my lips together to hold the words back. We drove the rest of the way in silence. When we pulled into Uncle Sid’s driveway, I spotted the black Escalade parked next to the trailer. Teagan, arms folded across his chest, leaned against one door. Uncle Sid’s prize bull, Blaster, was up against the fence, bellowing and pawing the ground in bovine fury. Blaster didn’t like faeries. The object of his anger was perched atop the weed-covered cistern, a portal to the faery world of Boundless. It was Ryker in his oh-so-studly human form, twirling a russet hawk feather between his thumb and finger. He watched me with an unblinking gaze as I parked my car next to the barn.

I turned to Sammie and grinned. "You wanted to meet Ryker? Today’s your lucky day.”



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