On the heels of one battle, Kayla and Kaleb race to aid their new friend Peggy Periwinkle. They discover her shop in shambles, and Kaleb senses at the heart of the attack a presence he hasn’t felt in a long time—a childhood friend who had disappeared when he was young. The news sends him reeling, and he disappears on Kayla to process what he’s learned.
Worried Kaleb has gone on a renegade mission, Kayla seeks comfort and answers with her new friend Peggy. Together they devise a plan to find Kaleb and the man responsible for the destruction to her shop.
New friendships forged, old connections strengthened, and the past gets cleared in their Hearts. As Shadow brings the heat to their summer, Kayla and Kaleb fight back with the only weapon strong enough to defeat the darkness—Love.
Kaleb stood in the middle of Kayla’s back lawn, fists clenched at his side, body rigid, seething with rage. Growling, his gaze zeroed in on Ahren who crouched inside an energetic cage. The makeshift prison had Kayla’s signature all over it.
Pride surged up inside him at her handiwork. Love slithered in between the anger like sunrays through cloud cover. He grimaced in pain as his Light fought off the darkness. Shuddering, he refocused on Ahren, rage once more burning bright.
Snarling, Ahren crawled on the ground like a caged beast. Kaleb answered in kind, then pointed a finger at his brother. “We settle this now!”
Ahren swiped out a hand, fingertips grazing his prison of Light. A crackling sound filled the air around them. “Tell them to let me out and it will be my pleasure!”
“Do it!” Kaleb roared, addressing the guardians who had now come to stand as a barrier between him and Ahren.
Murmured discussion travelled round the group, further agitating the two men itching to fight. Through the red haze of his anger, Kaleb caught snippets of their conversation.
“We need to keep them apart until they’re fully healed,” Dawn said.
“I agree,” Marabel concurred.
“We’ll make sure they don’t hurt each other,” Trey put in, smoothing back his blonde hair.
“And one of you get Kayla,” Henry said. “Perhaps she can get him to see reason.”
“No!” Kayla’s shout caused everyone to turn in her direction. With slow, deliberate steps she walked down the porch stairs and onto the lawn. Ahren’s prison disappeared with a wave of her hand.
Ahren jumped to his feet with a howl of triumph. Kaleb noted the wild gleam in his eyes, and conjured a fireball to hurl at his friend. He wouldn’t allow the other man to escape until they’d settled their score. Years ago, Kaleb had felt abandoned by his friends, and anger at the Universe for the unfairness of his lot in life bubbled up from the bottom of his heart. Since that moment, he’d sought to protect those he cared about so they wouldn’t have reason to leave. A desperate move on his part, and it was time to unleash his fury.
Kaleb’s attention was diverted from the inner workings of his Egoic mind when Ahren rounded on Kayla. “You’re an idiot,” Ahren spat in her direction. “You think I’ll stick around now that I’m free?”
Once more, anger overrode Kaleb’s consciousness. Protect her at all costs. He wouldn’t allow Ahren to hurt anyone else, especially Kayla. He raised his arm with the intention to release the fireball directly at his old friend.
Without batting an eye, or looking in his direction, Kayla raised a hand and brought her fingers together in a closing motion, distinguishing Kaleb’s fireball. He blinked in surprise, attempting to conjure more in the palms of his hands, but he couldn’t do it. Mumbled chanting reached his ears, and he glanced over to the porch where Peggy stood as if in a trance. Somehow she’d blocked his powers with her magic.
With her attention still on Ahren, Kayla addressed him, her voice calm, cool, and collected. “Calling me an idiot is passing judgment.”
Ahren snarled in response, and advanced on her. Waving her hand, she threw up a wall of energy between them. The force of it struck Ahren, and he crumpled to his knees. Panting, he glanced up at her, expression wary.
Kaleb watched as she crouched down in front of him, and said, “All four of you—go. Margaret and I have this.”
Cautious agreement travelled round the group of guardians, but nevertheless, they stepped aside, and walked together toward the back porch.
“Now,” Kayla went on, speaking to Ahren again. “We will do this my way.”
“The hell we will,” Ahren growled.
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