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Reconstructionist 3: Ch 1, Part 1 – excerpt

August 11, 2017

WARNING: The following excerpt contains spoilers for book one and book two of the Reconstructionist Series. Click here for the full reading order of the Adept Universe.

Unproofed. [I shared an unedited version of this scene in my August 2017 newsletter].





The moment that Jasper reclaimed the manor … the moment he regained control of the magic embedded in the Fairchild estate, I fell to my knees in the produce section of a Whole Foods in Chicago. Losing hold of the lemon I’d been about to add to my basket, I gasped as the magical connection was ripped from me — torn from what felt like my very soul, my very essence.

Then, with a wash of brownie magic, rough-skinned fingers I couldn’t see brushed my arms, and a disembodied voice whispered, “I’m sorry.”

“Lark,” I murmured, struggling to focus through the aching emptiness radiating out through my chest and into my limbs.

“You must come.” The brownie’s hushed request was woeful.

Lark had pledged herself to me after I’d claimed the Fairchild estate magic almost four months before, in a rash attempt to free Jasmine and Declan from the clutches of three vampires. Even as I struggled to regain my equilibrium, I felt a moment of honest surprise that it had taken Jasper so long to wrestle control of the ancestral magic back. Though I didn’t doubt that it had taken some terrible feat to break the connection, anchored as it was to the power of three — namely Jasmine, Declan, and me.

That same manner of dreadful magic had most likely been responsible for my uncle getting out of his wheelchair. He’d been walking when I saw him in Litchfield, for the first time in more than twelve years. But I’d chosen — selfishly perhaps — to once again walk away from Connecticut and everything it represented only a day after rescuing Jasmine. And I had no plans to return, despite my aunt Rose’s repeated attempts to woo me back into the Fairchild coven.

The energy of the brownie’s magic lingered around me for the space of a single breath. Then I was alone.

Once again, I was disconnected from the magic of the Fairchild coven. Severed from the power that it was my ancestral right to wield.

I should have felt relieved of the burden, of the obligation. Instead, I knelt on gray-stained wood flooring and felt … bereft.




A low pulse of frenetic energy nearby informed me that Jasmine was running back through the grocery store toward me. I’d left her drooling over the candy bars and chips a couple of aisles away. I could feel her magic and her panic before she cleared the towering display of organic Royal Gala apples, then slid to a stop as she spotted me.

Her dark golden curls tumbled across her shoulders. She was pale, frantic. Her bright-blue eyes were wide with tension and simmering with her witch magic. The vivid and unusual power display was likely a residual of whatever effect Jasper’s reclaiming the estate was having on her — on us — since I’d inadvertently bound her and Declan, along with myself, to the estate’s magic.

Jasper. Our uncle. The bane of my existence. Reaching out once again and playing with my life, as easily as the wind stirred the leaves in the apple orchard that had once been a haven from my childhood.

Perhaps I shouldn’t have walked away so readily. But there was no place for me in Litchfield. Nothing but constant reminders of an abusive childhood, despite us holding the ancestral ties to the magic of the Fairchild estate. The coven was corrupt from within, and I had no ability to forgive and forget. Honestly, I hadn’t wanted the responsibility of confronting our elders, purging the corruption and destroying the coven in the process.

Jasmine took another step toward me. Her expression twisted with despair, reacting to whatever she saw on my own face. Reacting to a decision I hadn’t even made yet. But Lark wouldn’t have asked me to return to the manor if it wasn’t crucial.

“You aren’t his keeper, Wisteria,” she said. She meant Jasper.

“If not me, then who?” I whispered, placing my palms flat on the floor and pushing myself to my feet.

Jasmine’s phone buzzed.

Glancing around and hoping I hadn’t drawn any awkward attention from the few patrons quietly grocery shopping alongside me, I smoothed the fabric of my fitted, dark-navy, stretch-linen dress, making sure the subtle black lacework appliqué that ran from the center neck to the hem wasn’t oddly twisted.

Jasmine pulled her phone out of the pocket of her figure-hugging brown suede jacket, answering the call but not taking her gaze from me. “She’s here.”

Declan. He would have felt the severing of the connection to the estate magic, as Jasmine had.

Ignoring the way my heart rate momentarily ramped up at the thought of Jasmine’s brother calling out of concern for me, I checked to make sure my white-to-teal-blue gradient silk scarf was still draped around my neck, artfully tucked underneath my open Burberry heritage navy-blue trench coat.

“We’re on a job in Chicago,” Jasmine said, still eyeing me as she spoke to her brother. “A missing girl.”

Turning away from her conversation, I collected the items that had spilled from my basket — two bananas, an orange, and the lemon I’d lost hold of. We’d been shopping for light breakfast items for the following morning, filling the hour between our flights and the meeting that had brought us to Chicago. Well, along with snacks for Jasmine, though she appeared to have left her basket elsewhere.

“You know I can’t stop her,” Jasmine said crossly. “But duty will keep her in Chicago. For now.”

I contemplated the apples. Jasmine was partly correct. Duty did drive me. Duty to my job as a reconstructionist for the witches Convocation. But despite my resolve and resistance, I understood that Lark’s plea was going to force me back to Connecticut once again.

Because of Jasper. Because of whatever malicious spell he’d cast to reject the brownies’ dominion over Fairchild Manor. Whatever magic had let him tear through the familial ties I’d grounded in my own, Declan’s, and Jasmine’s magic.

Because investigating terrible deeds was our job. My duty.

Even if it meant facing our family again. Even if it meant facing our own ingrained fears and nightmares.

Unfortunately for me, those were one and the same.

“It’s time,” I said to Jasmine, heedless of whatever Declan was saying to her. “We’re just hypocrites otherwise. Investigating the crimes of Adepts not powerful enough to hide from us, from the Convocation. But ignoring those crimes committed by our own coven.”

“A child is missing …”

“And we’ll find her,” I said, interrupting the beginning of my cousin’s protest. “Then we’ll go and collect enough evidence to bring Jasper to a tribunal. We’ll depose him. Properly.”

Jasmine stared at me, utterly aghast.

I placed two apples in my basket.

Declan shouted something through the speaker on Jasmine’s phone. I didn’t catch his words, just the furious intonation.

Jasmine snapped her mouth shut, then spoke into the phone rather than to me. “If you want to stop her, then get your ass over here.” Then she ended the call, hanging up on Declan.

“No one in the family is clean,” she said to me. “None of them are without some tarnish. Are you prepared to head the coven?”

I shook my head. “Rose will. Officially, as she does now. And the coven magic will naturally settle on her.”

Jasmine snorted. “If you rip down the facade, she’ll be the first conspirator to be condemned.”

I closed the space between us, gently placing my hand on Jasmine’s arm. She shuddered at the touch of my magic.

“It’s time,” I said quietly. “You don’t ever have to be in the same room as him. But it’s time.”

“Just tear it all down, hey?” Her voice cracked with emotion. “Just expose all our darkness? Invite the world to witness our wounds?”

“Yes. It’s time to move forward.” I dropped my hand. I crossed through the produce section, adding seedless red grapes to my basket, then moving toward an open-front refrigerator that held freshly blended juices.

Jasmine trailed after me.

I couldn’t carry the pain any longer — mine, Jasmine’s or Declan’s.

I had almost lost myself, almost allowed myself to be consumed within my own reconstruction of my happiest childhood memory in order to flee that pain. We were all lost within it even now, clinging to each other — though none of us stood on solid ground.

Jasper wasn’t a monster. He was just a man. Flawed and depraved, yes. Insurmountable, no.

So though I felt like sobbing at the devastating loss of the magic that had just been torn from me, I would move forward. I would force the three of us into the future. I had no other choice, really.

It was time to put an end to the feud with Jasper. And it would be better to do so before Kett was compelled to demand my acceptance of the conditions of the contract with the Conclave. Time-sensitive stipulations, which required my lifeblood but would gift me with immortality and invulnerability.

It would be better to defeat Jasper as a witch, on witch terms, and within the bounds of Convocation law.

Because after I was a vampire?

Well, depending on how the transformation affected me, I expected it was going to be much better for the health of the coven if I never set foot in Connecticut again.

And I wanted my vengeance cold and calculated. After all, that was exactly how Jasper had ruined our childhoods. He deserved the same in return.

A violent, terrifying death would be too simple for him. And too easy for the coven to cover up — as they had already covered up the mental and sexual abuse our uncle skillfully inflicted on Jasmine, Declan, and me, under the guise of training the next generation of Fairchild witches.

No, I didn’t want Jasper’s blood. I wanted to strip away everything that gave his life meaning and worth. And I’d do it all aboveboard.

Then we’d finally be even.

But first I had a job to do, and a missing girl to find.





7 Comments leave one →
  1. August 11, 2017 12:17 PM

    OMG soooooooooo can’t wait 😀

  2. Beth A permalink
    August 11, 2017 2:05 PM

    Ugh! I’m so ready for this!!!!!

  3. Kendall Jarish permalink
    August 13, 2017 11:00 AM

    To say that I cannot wait is an understatement!

  4. Maiya Rose permalink
    August 14, 2017 4:44 PM

    Pre-Ordered mine!

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