Thanks to everyone who read all the Summer Sunday Samplers. I hope that you’ve enjoyed them. Here’s The Book of Lost Souls, with a Devlin scene for all my fellow dog lovers.
Devlin followed Ivy up the stairs and into her room. Ivy shut the door and sifted through her dresser, retrieving a lavender sleep T-shirt. After changing and tossing her clothes in the direction of the clothes hamper, she pulled the book bag from under her bed.
Why had someone buried all three books? Who had left the bag and the remaining books there for them to find? And what did a gardening book have to do with The Book of Lost Souls?
She looked at The Rise of the Dark Curse. Her hand hovered over it for a second or two. Giving in to her curiosity, she picked the book up, and a sudden surge of energy rushed through her like an electrical current.
From his spot on the end of the bed, Devlin whined.
“It’s okay, buddy,” Ivy assured him. She sat on the bed and rested the book on the covers. “Just a minute or two. Maybe it’ll give us a clue on who’s using the other book.”
Devlin whined again and lay down, paws over his snout.
Heart racing, Ivy gently flipped the book’s cover open. The tendrils of black mist twirled and danced, as though rejoicing.
She’s back! Little one is back!
Ivy paused and listened, but the voices had grown silent. It was her imagination, nothing more. Although the tendrils of mist had died down, the immense cold that began to seep from the pages had not. Ivy flipped through a section of the book, the buzzing in her head, the adrenaline-sugar rush tingling inside her. It was both horrible and exhilarating.
The spells within the book bordered dark to downright gruesome. She read one page after another, each spell more and more like a train wreck she couldn’t look away from. Each spell filled her mind, feeling oddly like they’d settled down for a long visit.
Devlin barked. He stood inches from her, snarling, teeth bared. A sudden rage flared through her, and Ivy raised a hand, preparing to repel Devlin off the bed—and maybe into the wall—for his uncommon outburst of disloyalty.
Devlin lunged. Surprised at her beloved pup’s behavior, Ivy’s spell missed. She jerked back, out of the way of Devlin’s teeth. He clawed at the book, slamming it shut, yelping in pain as one of the tendrils of mist touched his paw. He scurried to the edge of the bed, ears and tail tucked in fear, paw still lifted in pain. But he was still snarling at the book.
It was the book he’d been after. Not her. He’d wanted her to stop reading it.
Ivy couldn’t believe that she’d almost struck Devlin. She’d never do such a thing. But something had come over her while reading the book. She scooped Devlin into her arms. “I’m sorry,” she repeated over and over. Devlin licked her face in accepted apology, but his eyes darted back to the book.
“Yeah. You’re right.” Ivy retrieved her book bag and, using the covers as a barrier, slid the book into the bag. She exchanged it for A Botany of Spells—Magic for the Garden. She zipped the bag shut and pushed it under the bed.
She examined Devlin’s paw, which looked okay. He tentatively set it back down on the bed, applying a bit of weight to it. The book was far too dangerous. She had to get rid of it soon. Ivy glanced at the alarm clock. She’d been going through the book for over half an hour. The longer she’d spent with it, the more engrossed she’d become and the more it had affected her. Devlin had seen that and tried to protect her from it. But it had affected him, too. Beelzepups were very in tune with their owners, and Devlin was feeding off her energy.
Ivy scratched under his chin. “Thanks, buddy.”
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