"The Salem Witch Trials are Brought Into This Century with Thrilling Results"
Reviewed by Diana Troldahl
Posted January 30, 2011
It has been 10 years since the world discovered magic is
real. Overwhelming fear of the witches among us has brought
into being government enforcement of new anti-magic laws in
the form of Magic Police (MPs) and the Federal Bureau of
Witchcraft (BOW). Their sole purpose is locking witches away
from the general population while awaiting trial. If the
witch has harmed any one or is unwilling to capitulate and
help the government capture others of her kind, her life is
Shea Jameson's aunt was one of the first to die when her
powers awoke to protect her against the fists of her abusive
husband. She was first of many witches to be burned at the
stake. Shea's face was too well-known from the news coverage
of the trial for her to lead a normal life. It took years of
below the radar before she felt safe
enough to take back her career as an elementary school
teacher. She has managed to blend in and avoid the
government scrutiny that followed until the day her own
unsuspected powers burst forth and put her back on the run.
The Eternals have been waiting centuries for this
incarnation of the ancient circle of witches to be reborn,
it is at last time for them to make atonement for the evil
they wrought centuries ago with their thirst for power. Shea
is thought to be the first of them to awaken. Torin has been
watching over Shea most of her life, waiting for her to come
into her true power. He is her Eternal lover, his duty is
to guide and protect her until her ancient memories surface
and reveal what her part in saving the world is to be. But
there was one who awakened before Shea, and her goals are
not to atone, but to rule, the fate of her Eternal mate
Thrilling action, passionate love scenes, and an interesting
twist on the paranormal genre make this an intriguing read.
The madness characterizing the Salem Witch trials is
expanded onto a larger stage and creates a strong framework
for this new series.
Regan Hastings is the pseudonym of a successful romance
author with published books numbering in the double digits.
Her name is to be revealed with the book launch on February
1, 2011. VISIONS OF MAGIC is the first book in the Awakening
Every witch has a destined mate, an Eternal who will serve
as her guardian and complete her powers. Once the first of
the coven has awakened, the witches must race against time
to join with their Eternals and protect the relics that
will prevent the destruction of the world...
In the ten years since magic has reemerged, witches have
become feared and pursued. For weeks Shea Jameson has been
haunted by visions of fire. When she unintentinally
performs a spell in public, she becomes one of the hunted.
Her only hope is Torin, a dangerously sensual man who
claims to be her Eternal mate.
Torin says that the time of Shea's Awakening has come and
that they must find an artifact hidden centuries ago - or
else face the end of the world. As her power manifests,
and danger and death draw near, Shea must decide whether
to trust Torin and the passion and power he brings her -
or risk the destructino of everything she's ever known.
After centuries of waiting, Torinâ€™s patience was long dead.
The woman he craved was, at last, almost his. For hundreds
of years, heâ€™d wandered the far reaches of the globe, a
shadow in his womanâ€™s life, always alert for signs of the
magicks stirring. Now, that the moment had come, to have
the Awakening strike on a tidy suburban street in Long
Beach, California seemed almost a joke. One he didnâ€™t find
Across the street from him, a bell rang and hundreds of
school children spilled from a pale green stucco building
like ants from a hill. Their bright laughter was sharp to a
man already on a razorâ€™s edge. His gray eyes narrowed
behind his dark glasses as he watched the kids scatter in
the sunlight. The last barrier between him and his woman
had fallen. His skin felt electrified with the rising of
power in the air. His blood hummed and if heâ€™d had a
heartbeat, it would have been thundering in his chest.
A woman hurried past him to gather up her child and gave
him a quick, appraising glance. Her steps quickened, her
gaze shifted from him and she rushed her child away as if
they were being chased by demons.
He knew what people saw when they looked at him.
Taller than most men, he had long dark hair that fell loose
to his shoulders. He wore a black T shirt that clung to the
hard muscles of his chest and abs. His black jeans and
scuffed, shit-kicker boots finished off the dangerous
image. His face was lean and hard, sculpted with sharp
planes and angles and his pale gray eyes gave away none of
He looked exactly what he was.
A Sentinel whose second chance had finally arrivedâ€”and this
time, he wouldnâ€™t be denied.
â€śThey took my mom away last night.â€ť
Shea Jameson wanted to lock her classroom door and walk
away. It was the only sane thing to do. But the tremor in
her studentâ€™s voice pulled at her. The day was over at
Lincoln middle school and the hallways should have been
emptied. Shea knew because she always waited until everyone
else had left the building before she headed home. She made
it a point to avoid crowds whenever she could. As a
teacher, she was faced with classes filled with kids
everyday, but they didnâ€™t bother her. It was the parents of
those children that worried her.
She looked down at Amanda Hall and sympathy rose up inside
her. Shea had heard the rumors, the whispers all day. Sheâ€™d
watched as the teachers reluctantly protected Amanda from
those who only yesterday had been her friends. And she knew
that the girlâ€™s situation was only going to get worse.
â€śMs. Jameson, I donâ€™t know what to do.â€ť
Her heart broke for the small blond girl leaning against a
row of closed lockers in the empty school hallway. The
childâ€™s face was streaked with tears, her blue eyes
swimming with them. Her arms were crossed over her middle,
as if trying to console herself and when she looked up at
Shea, stark misery and panic were stamped on her small
She wouldnâ€™t be able to turn her back on the girl, despite
the risks, Shea thought with an inner sigh. How could she
and still live with herself?
â€śIâ€™m so sorry, Amanda.â€ť She glanced over her shoulder to be
sure there was no one near. Not a soul was around though
and the silence, but for Amandaâ€™s soft sniffling, was
deafening. The beige walls were decorated with posters
announcing the coming Fall Festival and Sheaâ€™s gaze slid
away from the drawings of cackling, wart encrusted witches
burning at stakes.
The small hairs at the back of her neck were standing
straight up and she would have sworn that there was someone
close by, watching her. A shiver of something icy slid
along Sheaâ€™s spine, but the halls were still empty. For
She shouldnâ€™t have stopped, a voice in her mind whispered.
Shouldnâ€™t have spoken to the girl. No one knew better than
Shea that there were spies everywhere. That no one was safe
anymore. If someone should see her talking to this child,
her own personal nightmarish circus would begin again and
there was no guarantee that this time, Shea would survive
But how could she walk away from a child in desperate need?
Especially when she knew exactly what Amanda was going
through? Shifting her books and papers in her arms, Shea
dropped her free hand on the girlâ€™s shoulder and tried to
think of something comforting to say. But lies wouldnâ€™t do
her any good and the truth was far too terrifying.
If Amandaâ€™s mother had really been taken, she wouldnâ€™t be
coming back. In fact, it was probably only a matter of time
before the authorities came to snatch up Amanda as well.
And that realization pushed her to speak.
â€śAmanda,â€ť Shea asked quietly, â€śdo you have anyone you can
The girl nodded. â€śMy grandma. The police took me there last
night. Grandma didnâ€™t want me to come to school today, but
I did anyway and everyoneâ€™s being so mean...â€ť She shook her
head and frowned in spite of her tears and a flash of anger
dazzled her damp eyes. â€śMy momâ€™s not evil, I donâ€™t care
what they say. She didnâ€™t do anything wrong. I would know.â€ť
Shea wasnâ€™t so sure of that. These days, secrets were all
that kept some women alive. But even if Amanda was right
and her mother was innocent, there was little chance sheâ€™d
be released. Still, what was important now was Amandaâ€™s
safety. The girl had already learned one harsh lesson todayâ€”
donâ€™t trust anyone. Her friends had turned on her and soon,
everyone else would, too. Once word got out about her
mother being taken, the girl would be in danger from so
many different directions, sheâ€™d never find shelter.
â€śAmanda,â€ť Shea whispered fiercely, â€śdonâ€™t come back to
school tomorrow. Go to your grandmotherâ€™s and stay there.â€ť
â€śBut I have to help my mom,â€ť the girl argued. â€śI thought
you could go with me to the principal and we could tell her
that my momâ€™s not what they think. Momâ€™s the President of
Shea winced as the girlâ€™s voice rose. She couldnâ€™t afford
for anyone to see them. Couldnâ€™t risk being seen helping
the child of a detainee. Leaning down, she caught Amandaâ€™s
eyes and said, â€śYour mom would want you to be safe,
â€śThen thatâ€™s the best thing you can do for her.â€ť
â€śI donâ€™t know...â€ť
â€śAmanda listen to me,â€ť Shea said, her words coming faster
now as the creeping sensation of being watched flooded back
into her system. â€śThereâ€™s nothing we can do to help your
mom. The best thing for everyone is for you to leave here
and go straight to your grandmotherâ€™s. Okay? No stops. No
talking to anyone.â€ť
A door opened down the hall and Shea glanced toward the
sound. Her stomach pitched with nerves as she spotted the
school principal coming out of her office. Lindsay Talbotâ€™s
eyes narrowed as she looked at Amanda and Shea huddled
together speaking in whispers. Instantly, Ms. Talbot darted
back into her office and Shea could only wince.
â€śJust go, Amanda,â€ť she said, giving the girlâ€™s shoulder a
quick squeeze. â€śGo now.â€ť
The girl picked up on the urgency in Sheaâ€™s voice, nodded
briefly, then turned and ran down the hall toward the back
door. Once she was gone, Shea took a breath, steeled
herself and walked in the opposite direction. Her heels
clicked on the tile floor as she neared the glass wall of
the schoolâ€™s office. The front door was only a few feet
away and the sunlit afternoon shone like a beacon of
safety. She was leaving, no matter what, she thought, but
she had to know what Ms. Talbot was doing.
Shea glanced through the office windows in time to see the
principal hang up the phone. Then the woman turned around,
met Sheaâ€™s gaze and gave her a cat-about-to-eat-a-canary
Just like that, it was over.
All of it.
Shea had been happy here. For awhile. She liked teaching.
Liked the kids and sheâ€™d been convinced that over the last
year and a half sheâ€™d found safety. That her behavior, her
gift for teaching was enough to prove to everyone that she
was nothing more than she claimed to be. A sixth grade
But as she met Lindsay Talbotâ€™s hard stare, Shea felt the
old, familiar stir of panic. Fear rushed through her
system, churning her stomach, making her hands damp and
drying out her mouth. She had to run.
She let her papers fall to the floor in a soft rustle of
sound, then she tightened her grip on her shoulder bag and
raced for the front door. As her hand dropped to the cold,
steel bar and pushed, she heard Lindsay Talbot call out
from behind her, â€śYou wonâ€™t get away. Theyâ€™re coming.â€ť
â€śI know,â€ť Shea murmured, but ran anyway. What else could
she do? If she stayed, sheâ€™d end up with Amandaâ€™s mother.
Just one more woman locked away with no hope of ever
Outside, she squinted at the beam of sunlight that slanted
into her eyes, and took the steps down to the sidewalk at a
dead run. She dug into her purse as she turned toward the
parking lot and blindly fumbled for her keys. Her only hope
was to be gone before the MPâ€™s arrived. It would take them
time to find her and in that time, sheâ€™d disappear. Sheâ€™d
done it before, she could do it again. Dye her hair, change
her name, find a new identity and lose herself in some
She wouldnâ€™t go back to her apartment. Theyâ€™d be expecting
her to, but Shea wasnâ€™t that stupid. Besides, she didnâ€™t
need anything from her home. She traveled light these days.
A woman constantly on the move couldnâ€™t afford to be
dragging mementoes from one place to the next. Instead, she
kept a packed suitcase in her car trunk and a stash of
emergency cash tucked into her bra at all times, on the off
chance sheâ€™d have to leave in a hurry.
A cold wind rushed at her, pulling her long, dark red hair
free of the knot she kept it in. Slate gray clouds rolled
in off the ocean and seagulls wheeled and dipped overhead.
She hardly noticed. Parents were still milling around out
front, picking up their kids, but Shea ran past them all,
ignoring those who spoke to her.
Her car was at the far end of the parking lot, closest to
the back exit. She was always prepared to run and wanted to
be able to slip away while her pursuers were coming in the
front. She was sprinting now, her heart hammering in her
chest, breath strangling in her lungs. She held her keys so
tightly the jagged edges dug into her palm.
The soles of her shoes slid unsteadily on the gravel laced
asphalt, but she kept moving. One thought pulsed through
her mind. Run. Run and donâ€™t look back.
Her gaze fixed on her nondescript beige two door compact,
she never saw the man who leaped out at her from behind
another car. He pushed her down and her knees hit the
asphalt with a grinding slide that tore open her skin and
sent pain shooting along her nerve endings.
Hands reached for her as a deep voice muttered, â€śGimme the
purse and you can go.â€ť
Absently, she heard voices rising in the distance as
parents saw the man attacking her. Oh God, not now, she
thought as she turned over and stared up into the wild eyes
of a junkie who desperately needed money. She couldnâ€™t deal
with this now. Couldnâ€™t have all this attention drawn to
He pulled a knife as if he sensed she was hesitating. â€śGive
me the money now.â€ť
Shea shook her head and when he reached for her again, she
instinctively lifted both hands as if to push him off and
away. She never made contact with him though. She didnâ€™t
need to. A surge of energy pulsed through her and shot from
her fingertips and as a whoosh of sound erupted, the man in
front of her erupted into flames.
Shea stared up at him, horrified by what was happening. By
what sheâ€™d done. His screams tore through the air as he
tried to run from the fire. But he only fed the flames
consuming him and as his shrieks rose higher and higher,
Shea staggered to her feet, glanced down at her hands and
Thatâ€™s when she heard it.
Over the sounds of the dying manâ€™s cries, voices roared
together, getting louder and louder as she was surrounded.
One word thundered out around her, hammering at her mind
and soul, reducing her to a terror she hadnâ€™t known in ten
She looked up into the faces of her studentsâ€™ parents as
they circled her. People she knew. People she liked. Now
though, she hardly recognized them. Their features were
twisted into masks of hatred and panic and their voices
joined together to shout their accusation.
â€śWitch! Witch! Witch!â€ť
Shea fought for air as the mob tightened around her. There
was no way out now. She was going to die. And if the crowd
didnâ€™t kill her, then the MPâ€™s would take her away when
they arrived and she would be as good as dead anyway. It
was over. The years of terror and dread, the hiding, the
praying, the constant worry about survival.
â€śStop!â€ť she shouted, her voice raw with horror at what
sheâ€™d done. At what they were about to do to her. â€śI didnâ€™t
A useless argument since theyâ€™d all seen what had happened.
But how? How had she done it? She wasnâ€™t a witch. She was
just... her. â€śIf I had power, wouldnâ€™t I be using it now?â€ť
Some of the people around her seemed to consider that and
their expressions reflected worry. Not what Shea had been
after. If they were worried about their own safety, theyâ€™d
be just that much more eager to kill her.
Her head whipped from side to side, desperately looking for
a way out of this. But she couldnâ€™t find one. In the
distance, she heard the wail of sirens and she knew that
within minutes, the MPâ€™s would arrive. And the Magic Police
werenâ€™t going to let her get away. They might save her from
the mobâ€”on the other hand, they might stand back and let
these everyday, ordinarily average people solve their
problem for them.
Frantic now, she stumbled back as the crowd pushed in until
she realized they were herding her closer to the burning
man stretched out on the asphalt. Heat from the flames
reached for her. The stench of burning flesh stained the
air. Shea looked from the dead man to the crowd and back
again and knew that whatever happened next, she deserved it.
The fire suddenly erupted, growing until hungry licks of
orange and red flames leaped and jumped more than six feet
high. Someone in the crowd screamed. Shea jolted. Black
cars with flashing yellow lights raced into the driveway
and then screeched to a stop. Men in black uniforms piled
out and pointed guns, but they were the least of her
Flames reached for Shea. Engulfed her. The roar of the
quickening flames deafened her to her surroundings. She
screamed and looked up into a pair of pale gray eyes
reflecting the shifting colors of the fire. She felt hard,
strong arms wrap around her, as a deep voice
whispered, â€śClose your eyes.â€ť
â€śGood idea,â€ť she answered, then fainted for the first time
in her life.
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