Surrendered in Salem by Milly Taiden

Chapter One


Selene pushed the stack of sticky notes to a corner of the reception desk. The space was clear and organized, and that made her very happy. It wouldn’t stay. She knew that. The second her sister sat behind the desk, there would be carnage on her thoughtfully organized work area.

Technically, it was their desk so Selene really shouldn’t be so territorial and particular. But Astra sort of bred chaos wherever she went. Selene knew that was the fire magic inside her twin. It wasn’t exactly Astra’s fault.

But it sure drove Selene insane. Needing to do something to keep busy before her pride and joy, Healsome Magic Holistic Center, opened, she grabbed the office phone. It was either make a call or reorganize the pens. She’d done it twice already this morning, and she had a feeling that if she went for a third, she would end up feeling way guilty about her need to have everything just so. At least she was comforted to know this neurosis didn’t follow her in her regular life. Just her work life, and that was enough, thank you very much.

There was one person in particular Selene needed to speak with. She dialed the number by memory.

“Are you awake yet?” Selene didn’t even bother to hide the smile in her voice. Cerise, one of her cousins and half of another set of Bishop twins, would know she was being teased.

“What is the matter with you?” Cerise grumbled on the other line. “Who calls anymore? Can’t you just text like a normal person?”

“So you can ignore me for a few hours? Absolutely not. I want to talk to you about expanding both of our businesses.”

This was a project near and dear to her heart. Selene was desperate to merge and expand both Gemstones and Healsome Magic Holistic Center.

It would mean they could hire a few staff members and get the chance to take a day off. Selene hadn’t had one of those in so long, it made her ache. She loved her job, and she loved her business. But sometimes a lady just needed to stay in gross, ratty, and perfectly comfortable pajamas all day to play board games and watch movies.

That sounded like absolute heaven.

“I already told you that we have to get Raven in on this first,” Cerise answered with a sigh. “We both know Raven will want a business plan and an idea of the profit margin. If we do some of the legwork before we talk to her, she’s more likely to be receptive. I still think it’s too soon to take this to her.

"I know she talks about wanting an expansion for both the store and your clinic, but if she puts all of her energy in this right now, she’s going to be lost to the business forever. She’ll let it consume her. I want to wait until she’s over Arthur.”

Selene scoffed. “Fuck that guy. I think this is the best thing for her.”

And she really believed that. Focusing on something new would be good for her cousin and good for business.

“Give me a few more weeks, and then we can start on the business plan for the expansion. I’ll do some recon and see what Raven would want, that way she can’t say no to us.”

“I hate that you’re right,” Selene mumbled.

If anyone knew how to wrangle Raven into doing things she didn’t like doing, it was Cerise. Raven was, without a doubt, the most stubborn of all four Bishops.

“It’s because I’m older and wiser than you,” Cerise teased.

Selene rolled her eyes, and she hoped the cousin could sense it even at a distance.

“Look, witch,” Selene said, “let’s reconvene in three weeks. I have to go. Astra isn’t here yet and her client has just arrived.”

“Creepy Mrs. Gellar?”

“Yup,” Selene confirmed. “I still say she’s evil.”

Not that Selene would ever admit that to Astra. It was bad enough her twin believed it. Selene didn’t need to feed into the paranoia.

“Oh, come off it. She’s an innocent little old lady. She’s what, eighty?”

“Probably more like two-hundred. I seriously think she’s a vampire.”

“Okay, Selene. This is where I let you go if you’re going to go all conspiracy on me.”

Selene put the receiver down just as Mrs. Gellar walked in.

“I don’t like your door,” the woman snapped. “It’s too damn heavy.”

“I’m sorry about that. You could use the mechanical feature, if you’d like.”

Mrs. Gellar gave her a cold stare down and Selene had to force herself not to shiver.

“Is she here yet,