Home > Third Time's A Charm (Order of Magic #2)

Third Time's A Charm (Order of Magic #2)
Author: Michelle M. Pillow

Chapter One



Freewild Cove Hospital



Sam was the only man she would ever love. Vivien had married him the second she’d turned eighteen. He had been nineteen. They were high school sweethearts and everyone told them they were too young to make such a decision. Yes, they were young, but Vivien had never been surer of anything in her life.

The moment she’d met Sam, the very moment, a bolt of lightning had zapped through her. Every psychic sense in her body had lit with fire and every vision she had was vibrant. He was her true love. This was the one man in the world who could love and understand her, and accept everything about her without hesitance or doubt, and worship her as she worshiped him.



A sign from the gods.

Whatever you wanted to call it, that is what Vivien had with Sam. He was the other piece of her soul. There would be no one else because there couldn’t be.

Vivien had spent her childhood hearing stories of the legendary romances of her gifted ancestors, the kind of tales that defied all logic and social expectations. They all ended in one of two ways—happiness or despair. Which you received was as random as the flip of a coin.

The first way, happiness, was exemplified by her great-grandmother, who had worked at a carnival as a fortune teller. Her specialty had been tarot cards, and one evening she had been asked to read the fortune of an engaged man. The moment she laid eyes on him, she knew he was her true love. She saw the misery in his cards if he continued down the wrong path and warned him. Of course, he’d been angry, but he came back a week later with flowers to apologize. He’d broken things off with his fiancée, after which the woman had confessed to cheating on him. Her great-grandparents had loved each other steadily their entire lives and died in each other’s arms.

Her great-great-grandmother had not been so lucky. She, too, had known the love of her life the second she met him. Their hands had touched by accident, and that was it. The world had shifted for both of them, and they had never been the same. They had married, and two years later, her great-great-grandfather had been shot in the heart. Her great-great-grandmother had spent the rest of her life alone, covered in a veil of sadness.

Vivien and Sam had such grand plans. Sam would play his guitar, trying to get gigs at some of the local beach bars. She’d sing, or waitress, or simply stand in the front row dancing. They’d travel the coast in a van, sleeping in the back until they made it big. He was her entire world. He was her heart.

But she was not one of the lucky ones. Her heart was dying, and all she could do is watch.

That was the downside of having a soul mate. Sometimes, life took them away too soon, and then there would be only despair, for how could you find happiness if your heart had died? The psychic abilities that ran through the females in her family also cursed them because it took away all doubts, and in doing so, for some, it took away all hope. If the love of her life died, she would never love again, not like this, not so deep or so sure. Nothing would ever compare.

If ever there was proof that the gods were cruel, this was it. After only four years of marriage—the last one of which had been spent in and out of this hospital—Sam was dying from leukemia. She’d begged the universe for mercy when he was going through the various treatments. The universe did not respond.

Vivien had watched as he became too weak to hold his guitar. She’d felt the frailty in his cracked lips when kissing her became too painful to endure. Even holding her hand had been unbearable for him, until the morphine kicked in. Now he wasn’t even aware she sat next to him, as his mind drifted in a sea of confusion, and he mumbled incoherent things. She had the impression he was desperate to tell her something, but the thoughts never made it past the painkiller haze.

All she could do was wait.

Each second dug at her heart.

The beep of the machine next to the bed kept a steady rhythm. It had become the soundtrack to the last moments. Vivien knew it would be soon. The clarity of that thought made her hate her psychic gifts.

They had said, “I love you,” a million times. She didn’t need him to repeat it to know. The beeps felt as if they became louder, causing her to jerk slightly with each one.

“Don’t go, baby. Find a way to stay with me,” she begged in a hushed whisper.

When she looked at him, she could still see the man she loved hidden in the withered mass of his body. He’d always been so healthy and strong, but cancer had won, and now he was nothing but skin and bones.

“This isn’t the end of our story. It can’t be,” she insisted.

Sam’s eyes opened as if he’d heard her. The drugs had given his dark pupils a glassy appearance. His lips moved, but no sound came out.

Vivien leaned over him, turning her ear toward his mouth to better hear what he tried to say. Her brunette hair fell next to him. She brushed the length over her shoulder to keep it from his face. “What is it? What can I get you?”

“There is only us,” he whispered.

Her breath caught, but she managed to answer, “Only our hearts.”

“I’ll be watching you. Save your heart for me. It’s mine.” The last word was clipped short as a strange gurgle erupted from his lips. She cried out softly as she turned to look at his face. His eyes stared into nothingness.

The monitor beeped a loud, solid tone. She felt people rushing in around her. Someone pulled her arm to move her out of the way so they could work. Vivien stood near the bed, staring for the peaks of her husband she could see through the commotion.

She knew the nurses moved partly out of habit, partly out of pity. There was nothing anyone could do to stop death. Even if they could revive him, Sam wouldn’t want that.

Vivien wanted to scream but instead bottled the sound inside her chest. The pain was unbearable, and she was confident she’d follow him into the afterlife.

“I’ll be watching you. Save your heart for me. It’s mine.”

His last words played in her head.

“I’ll be watching you.”

“It’s mine.”

“Viv?” Heather Warrick, her best friend, appeared in the doorway. Tears filled her eyes as she looked from Vivien to Sam. She was one of the only people who could have grounded Vivien in that moment. “Oh, no. No.”

Heather shook her head as if she could erase what was happening.

The nurses turned off the monitor alarm, and their movements became less pronounced. Vivien had no words. She might never speak again. Any second, the ground would open up and swallow her whole. She didn’t want to be in this moment.

Heather rushed to her side and wrapped her arms around her, holding her tight to keep her from falling. “I’m so sorry, Viv. This isn’t fair. I don’t understand why this is happening. This isn’t fair.”

Vivien pushed away from Heather, stumbled around a nurse, and collapsed on the bed over Sam’s frail form. He was still warm, and if she prayed hard enough, maybe the gods would send him back to her.

They did not, and the pain held her locked in place.

“I’ll be watching you. Save your heart for me. It’s mine.”



Chapter Two



Freewild Cove, North Carolina


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