Kalen was thirteen when his grandmother told him that he’d been born under a black moon.
That didn’t sound so great, and to be honest, Kalen didn’t want to hear it. Wasn’t he enough of a freak without adding another nugget of crap to the pile? His dad already had plenty of excuses to beat his ass, and like hell did Kalen need to give him one more. On top of that, it was Saturday—his dad’s busiest day at the shop where he worked as an auto mechanic, which meant hours of glorious freedom. A whole day of no yelling, no fists. No new bruises. As soon as Kalen could get away and hurry to meet his friends, he’d make the most of it, too.
He squirmed as his grandma’s old, gnarled hands gripped his. Who the heck cared about this moon thing? He resisted the suicidal urge to roll his eyes. Barely.
“A black moon is a rare occurrence in astrology, but you were born during the rarest of the four types—a month with no new moon or full moon at all.”
Kalen suppressed a sigh and tried to appear interested. “Yeah, so?” He loved his grandma, and she loved him right back, but jeez. The guys had probably taken off on their bikes without him. “Do we have to talk about science stuff right now?”
Ida May’s faded blue eyes bored into his. “Pay attention, my boy. You’re old enough to understand what I have to tell you, and my stay in this world won’t last forever,” she said, the gentleness in her tone at odds with her intense expression.
All thoughts of his friends and a sunny Saturday of screwing around vanished as fear curled in his stomach. “Are you sick?” he asked in a small voice. “What—”
“Never mind that. Have you been practicing the arts?”
Flushing, he kicked the toe of his scuffed tennis shoe on the carpet. “Not much, since the last time Dad caught me.” He swallowed hard, remembering the awful scene. How his mother had once again refused to intervene with his father. How he’d begged her to at least call Grandma. But she’d just stood there, grim-faced, as he curled on the floor of the living room, yelling in pain and fear while Dad kicked the shit out of him.
His grandmother’s lips thinned. “You must keep developing your skills, no matter the danger. One day you’re going to need every ounce of the incredible power you’ve inherited from my ancestors. Dark days are coming for you, my boy, and I won’t be around to see you through them.”
“Don’t talk like that,” he said hoarsely. “Please. I need you, Grandma, not some stupid magic.”
She ignored his plea. “You’re going to be the greatest Sorcerer the world has ever known, your power beyond comprehension. And that means there are those who would seek to control that power, or take it from you altogether.”
Kalen tried to calm his thundering pulse. The world’s greatest Sorcerer? Dark days? He swallowed the smartass remark that threatened to burst from his mouth. Because Grandma was serious as hell, and she was never wrong when it came to the supernatural. Shit. “Okay. If that’s true, what does it have to do with the black moon?”
“Everything.” She paused. “The moon is protection, an omen of inner strength and good for our kind. A Sorcerer born during an absence of a new or full moon is at great risk for being swayed to the dark arts. For using his power for evil. Do you understand?”
“I—I guess,” he said, though he didn’t. Not really. The scope of what she was telling him was so vast and overwhelming, he couldn’t grasp it. He picked at a ragged hole on the knee of his jeans. “So what am I supposed to do about it? Who’s gonna help me if—if not you?” His throat almost swelled shut with grief at the mere idea of his beloved grandma not being around. She loved him, cared for him as best she could. She was the one soul in the world who did, and she could not leave him.
“That’s why I asked you to come over, my boy—so I can give you something important.”
Standing, she walked slowly and stiffly to an antique sideboard and slid open a drawer. She reached inside, withdrew a small wooden box, and returned to sit beside Kalen. Handing the box to him, she nodded for him to open it.
Curious, he raised the little hinged lid and peered inside. “Wow,” he