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  • Writer's pictureAyla Volk

Newly Released: The Wiccan's Alpha

Ayla Volk's newest title The Wiccan's Alpha is now available on:



Juniper was raised within her coven by her Gran refining her powers and living a peaceful life within their settlement. When the opportunity came to travel with her aunt to Vancouver, she jumped at the opportunity. She never expected to feel pulled to something hidden in the dense forest around their cabin. She is soon faced with a decision. Should she leave everyone she loves and the only life she knows behind or does she turn away from the gift Selene, the Moon Goddess has given her?


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Prologue


The beautiful young woman strolled through the bar and took a seat on the leather stool that had its fair share of grunge left on it. She let her thick red curls flow down her exposed back before pulling it to the side and draping it over her lithe shoulder, letting all of the gawking men get a glimpse of what was underneath her green halter top.

“What will you be having?” The bartender asked as he set a coaster down in front of her.

“Gin and Tonic,” she replied in a flirtatious tone.

He was not the one she was after, but she wanted to appear available for when the one she was waiting for showed up. The bartender looked her over and licked his lips before pulling out the bottle of gin from beneath the counter and pouring it into a glass with ice. He topped it off with tonic water and added a lime to the rim, slowly sliding it over to her.

“Thanks,” she said smiling up at him.

“Can I get you anything else?” He was implying something more, such as himself served up in the backroom.

“I’m fine,” she said with a wink before turning around to face the room.

The bartender waited a moment before moving on to another customer. She scoped out the collection of people inside. There were a handful of fishermen along with a few other day laborers who were in for a drink after a hard day’s work. One or two were attractive, but most of the others were older than she was looking for.

She had come to Bellingham almost two weeks ago and started her search, scouring several bars and event halls looking for the right target. She was looking for a strong, attractive man that had some book smarts. A week ago she found the perfect mark. A tall man named Jeff who worked as a city planner. His short cut chocolate brown hair and deep green eyes were an instant attraction for the woman. After spotting him at the bar, she returned each night to learn his habits. He was a regular there, coming in every evening after work to have a few beers before heading home for the night. After being sure that he was the one she wanted, she dressed herself up and came to the bar ready to lure him to her hotel room.

She waited, eager but nervous. She had only done this once before, four years ago. It was exhilarating and a fun break from her normal life. For a few days she was able to pretend that she was someone else. She thrived on the thrill.

Out of her periphery vision she noticed she had caught the eye of another man. He was older. She put him around fifty or so with his greying hair and his growing wrinkles. His eyes roamed over her body as if it were a dessert that needed to be consumed. A shiver ran up her spine and she turned away from him not wanting to lead him on. She sipped her drink and looked at the clock. The man should be getting off of work about now. He would be there soon and it would be time for her to work her charms on him.

She polished off her drink before walking to the restroom to freshen up her make up. She looked in the dirty mirror and applied her brick red lipstick as she heard the door open. She glanced over and saw the creepy man from the far side of the bar. Her body froze.

“This is the ladies room,” she said sternly, wanting to steer him back the way he came.

“It is?” he replied as if dumbfounded, an obvious rouse.

She turned to look him in the eye, wanting to project as much confidence as she could muster.

“It is, and it's best that you head back out the way you came.”

“I will,” he said with a cocky smile. “I just happened to see you out there and what my luck to have stumbled upon you here.”

“You mean, after you followed me in?” she stared at him hard.

“Oh, nothing like that. I just got mixed up…but while I’m here, perhaps a lady like yourself is looking for a good time? One I would be happy to help you with.”

“No, sorry. Not interested. Now leave,” she said more forcefully.

“Okay, okay. I get the hint."

He turned back to the door. The woman's body began to relax with the threat seemingly leaving. That was until she heard the click of a lock. Her eyes widened and watched as he turned back around to face her. There was no more playfulness in his eyes, just evil.

“Last chance before I scream,” she hissed at him.

“The band is starting up. Might be hard for them to hear you sweetheart. We both know what you came here for. Why don’t you just accept that it will be with me and we can both be happy.”

He took a step towards her. She dropped her lipstick, throwing her hand up at him. The man that had been standing a good ten feet away from her flew into the door, knocking the air out of his lungs, but he stayed on his feet. He looked at her stunned, before turning angry. He stormed at her again, this time when she threw her hand at him he jumped to the side, only his shoulder was struck. He pulled a metal pipe out of his waistband and brandished it against the fearful woman.

She screamed, but as he noted, the band had begun playing. A steady loud beat reverberated off the walls muting her sounds outside of the restroom. He neared her and she tossed her hand once more, the man flew into the sinks, falling to the ground.

“You bitch. I was going to make it good for you, but now I will have to make you pay for this.”

He pulled himself back up as she ran for the door, continuing to scream out for help. She unlocked the door and began to pull it open when she felt a hard crack to her skull. She fell hard to the ground squinting her eyes in pain, finding everything a blur. She took in a few deep breaths trying to gain some composure. Grabbing ahold of the handle to the door, she began pulling herself up only to be hit again and again.

Her body was riddled with pain when she felt her pants being undone and yanked down her legs. She tried with everything she had to push her assailant off of her, but with one final hit to the face, her world turned dark and she felt her life slipping through her fingers. The last thought she had was of her three year old daughter, Juniper. With her last living breath, she mustered out one last chant to the world. Le m’ anail mu dheireadh, bidh mi a’ cur thugad mo phàiste, mo chumhachd agus mo neart gu lèir. Great Selene, ar màthair agus ar dìonadair, cùm sùil air an Juniper agam.

As her prayers to the great Selene to protect her daughter were cast into the universe, she felt the last flicker of her light dwindle and leave her body.


Chapter 1


Nineteen Years Later


~ Juniper ~


I walked through the meadow full of vibrant wildflowers. A mix of floral scents filled my nostrils and brought a sense of calm and peace to me. I held my hand out gliding it across the tops of the plants around me. I glanced to my right and found what I was looking for. I leaned down to inspect the small beautiful magenta flowers in front of me. I picked a few stalks of the catchfly flower and added them to the handkerchief inside the satchel that hung around my waist. They had a sticky sap that I did not want to have to clean out of the leather pouch later if it could be prevented. With the increased number of children as of late, we had used our supply and needed to replenish. It worked wonders on promoting a good milk supply. I was happy to volunteer to travel out to the meadow in search of the flowers. After taking my time, I had collected a good allotment that we would dry upon my return and store until needed.

I strolled back through the thick, lush forest, following the thin trail back to the settlement, stopping once or twice to observe the birds nesting in the nearby trees. I whistled back their tune to them as if I could speak to them, though they only returned the gestures in my imagination. I decided while I was out, I would check the creek beds for some algae. Aunt Iris had an amazing spell she concocted using the slimy green substance that kept your skin as smooth as a baby’s. I scraped up a few handfuls worth and slid it into a jar before continuing on my way once more.

“Juniper, where have you been?”

I had just broken off of the trail, coming into the main part of our village when I heard my best friend Meadow call out to me from across the lush green grass that filled the center of the settlement, a collection of houses and buildings that belonged to the Whisper Creek Coven, my home.

“Hey Meadow,” I replied as I smiled at her and picked up my pace so that I would not need to shout at her. “I went out to the north meadow to collect some catchfly.”

“You should have let me know! I would have gone with you.”

“I peeked in your house but your ma had you busy scrubbing out the pots again.”

“Ugh, every day! I spend more time cleaning her pots than any other chore.”

“So I take it business is good?”

“Yeah, the online sales have been going crazy! And the demand in town has picked up too,” she said.

I laughed at her unamused expression as I started to lead us further into the settlement.

“We all pitch in. She has a great thing going,” I tried to encourage her.

“But why do I have to be the dishwasher?”

I laughed at her again and let her complain to me as we walked past the cottages that composed our village. I always felt like our little community looked straight out of a fairy tale written in one of my childhood books. A simple little village built entirely out of stone and dark timber. Each structure nestled into the tall trees that made up the surrounding forest. Every house had its own garden out front that was fenced in and accessible through a small wooden gate. The center of our settlement was covered with a sea of deep green grass with little purple flowers scattered throughout. A large fire pit that we used for celebrations and gatherings sat centrally flanked only by a few log benches and picnic style tables. To the east of the fire pit a small stream flowed over colorful rounded pebbles bringing a harmonic, peaceful sound to the area. A little wooden bridge was built over it connecting the two shores.

Our people were strongly connected to the earth as we were elemental witches. Here, we could connect to each element and harness its energy. There were six families that comprised our coven. Our great-great grandmothers all flocked here to the northern wildernesses of Washington after fleeing the old country. They had been chased out by religious groups in the area, having been accused of devil magic, something I didn’t even think existed. They knew as soon as they found this land that this was where we were meant to be. They used everything that they had to buy the surrounding twelve thousand acres over a century ago, building their first homes by hand little by little. Each generation added to those original homes, updating and maintaining them along the way. Those buildings still stood and have become home to the family matriarchs and a gathering place for each family and their collection of trinkets and heirlooms. Over time, with our population growing, additional houses were built. Families would build smaller cottages close to their ancestral home.

Today there are just over ninety of us, all women, as, witches are only born female. Due to this, the women of my coven must take a journey into the human world when they wished to become with child. They cast fertility spells upon themselves and search for a strong man to impregnate them, disappearing before any attachments could be made or that anything beyond a one-night-stand had happened. It was not hard to find willing men. Sex seemed to be the only thing on their mind. There were strict rules to never bring one of them back here. This was our safe haven from the outside world and the elders did not want to bring any bad energy into our space.

We walked up to our family home on the far side of the compound and went inside. The warm air circulating through the room paired with the strong smell of herbs was like a comfortable embrace, welcoming us home. I lived in the main house of our family with my Gran, along with some of my mother’s cousins and my Great Aunt Violet. She was the eldest matriarch in the coven and leader of the elders. Most of my cousins lived in separate homes with their mothers or had their own little cottages where they lived with their own children. Had my mother not been murdered when I was only three, I would still be living in our little home that sat tucked back into the forest. I have often considered moving there to have some independence, but it would not be approved upon from the rest of the coven. No one lived alone.

“Ah, Juniper, I’m glad you're back. Were you able to find some catchfly?” my grandmother asked me.

“I did, and I also got some algae while I was out,” I said as I set my satchel on the wooden counter in the center of the kitchen and pulled out its contents.

“That’s my girl,” she said with a soft comforting smile.

Meadow and I sat at two of the stools on the far side of the counter and watched my grandmother as she walked over to the counter and inspected the ingredients I had foraged before preparing them to dry. She bunched the catchfly into small bundles and tied them together with some twine before disappearing into the pantry where we hung herbs to dry. She returned and added the algae to a jar of liquid then tucked it into a cabinet. Once everything was stored away, she resumed her original task, kneading dough for bread that she was preparing for dinner. I looked over the herbs she had out, noting thyme and rosemary.

“I have some big news!” Meadow nearly shouted.

Both my grandma and I looked over at her excited expression. She seemed as if she would burst if she did not spill the beans soon.

“What is it?” I asked her with a grin.

It was hard not to smile when Meadow was around. Her excited personality filled any room with light and happiness.

“Wren is asking the elders if she can travel!”

My grandmother stopped kneading the dough and asked her, “Is she wanting a child?”

“Yes! It would be my first niece!”

“That’s wonderful news,” my Gran smiled.

“What about Willow?” I asked about her eldest sister.

She was twenty-eight, two years older than Wren.

“She doesn’t care. I don’t think she will ever want children.”

“Each of us gets to make that choice, Juniper,” my Gran added.

I rolled my eyes at the added lesson my Gran felt I needed. I had always wanted a child, but it was encouraged to wait until you were older, at least twenty-five, though a few had their children younger. They wanted us to be fully versed in our skills before venturing outside of the settlement. The elders had wards in place to protect us and to keep our gifts hidden from the rest of the world. They were fearful that we would be driven off of our land once again. We were still allowed to go to town every so often, but it usually had to be under the supervision of one of the older generations. I enjoyed going with Heather, Meadow’s mother when she dropped off her shipments. She would allow us to go shopping and even catch a movie from time to time.

Most of the coven shied away from technology, but it was slowly becoming more tolerated. Heather was one of the main advocates for it, showing the elders how we can use it to make a profit from their tinctures. She had set up an online company and had a bustling business that most of the coven helped out with now. I liked to think my mother would have been similar to her if she were still alive. My Gran told me stories from when she was young. She was known for always pushing the boundaries.

“When is she asking them?” I directed back to Meadow.

“Tomorrow night.”

“That’s so exciting for her. Does she know where she wants to go?”

“She was thinking Bellingham.”

“Not that city,” My Gran said as she quickly turned away from us.

Even though she tried to hide it, I still caught her concern. Ever since my mother’s death she has been wary of larger towns and cities but none more than Bellingham.

“Magnolia, Bellingham is a safe city,” Meadow said, already knowing where her fear stemmed from. Would she address an elder by first name only?

Everyone knew of my mother’s demise. Raped and killed in the bathroom of some dive bar. She had gone to find another suitor. My Gran told me how she was excited to give me a sister to share my life with.

After her death, most were scared to leave our protected lands for a long time. There was even a gap in births. As time went on though, the urge to have children became too strong and the women of our coven began going in pairs. After a decade, things finally began to return to normal and the women who wished to find a suitor would take the journey on their own. They all came to realize that the process itself was a journey, one only the individual could pursue. When you traveled in pairs, the other often had too much input or thoughts that interfered, taking away from the experience.

“You may say so, but it will always be the place my daughter was murdered. I will take it up with the elders,” she said determinedly as she returned to her kneading.

Her fists pushed the gooey dough roughly. I had never seen her so outwardly angry.


Chapter 2


~ Juniper ~


I walked to the main hall with my long black cloak trailing behind me. The building itself was one of the largest and was located near the center of the settlement. It had a stone base and dark wooden planks for walls traveling twenty feet up. Large circular windows on either side allowed the moonlight to pour in from the clear night sky. We used the building for gatherings of the whole coven. One of which was the weekly meeting where we came together to discuss updates on the businesses we ran, plan for upcoming celebrations and let anyone could bring issues to the elders, our six leaders. They were the eldest women from each family and were lead by the eldest of them all, my Great Aunt Violet.

An eclectic array of wooden chairs were spread through the room and filled with women dressed in similar cloaks to my own. At the front sat a table with six padded chairs where the elders were sat. I was one of the last in but found Meadow had saved me a seat beside her. I waved to a few other close friends before my attention was drawn to the front by Violet standing from her seat.

“Sisters, we welcome you tonight. Selene looks down upon us with open eyes as she sheds her light and power on us. Let us thank her.”

We all stood as she turned and raised her arms to the window where the nearly full moon proudly shown.

Màthair, tilg do chumhachd nar cuirp. Bidh sinn a’ caitheamh ar beatha dhut.” We all chanted together.

“Be seated my sisters.”

Everyone took their seats once more. Heather walked up to the front, facing the table.

“I am pleased to inform you that we have made growth in our business. Sales are up in both the town and online. I received an email this week from a company that would like to stock our products in their stores. They are offering us forty percent of the revenue, moving to fifty percent after six months if enough product sells.”

Elder Hazel of the Heenan family raised her hand, “That seems like a low percentage. Why can we not get the sixty percent?”

“In my research, forty percent looks on par for what is expected. In a year or two, if our product sells well through their avenues, we should be able to renegotiate to sixty percent. I think this would be a good move for us. We will still have the income from both the store and online, but it would open up a larger market.”

“Perhaps it is best if we stay to our own coven for business. Things can become problematic if we open up our walls for too many outsiders,” Elder Rose of the Kelly family added.

“I agree. But inflation is coming. We have all seen it. We need to be able to protect our land not just with our power, but financially. Setting the coven up for future generations should be at the forefront of our concerns. I do not want us to lose our land due to lack of funds.”

The elders whispered with each other before Violet looked at the crowd, “What says the coven?”

“I think it’s a smart move,” Rowan Nary, my second cousin added. “I would like to know that my daughter will have the same land and protection that I do. The world is changing, and we must accommodate it.”

“Does anyone else have an opinion on the matter?” Violet asked.

With uniform silence, she put it to a vote. “All in favor?”

“Aye,” everyone’s voices chorused through the room.

“Do any oppose?”

Only a few hands raised followed by their pledge of ‘Nay.’

“It seems that most agree. Heather, what would the next steps be?”

“I suggest getting an attorney to help settle the matter. We want to be sure that all of our basses are covered.”

Violet grumbled, “I do not like bringing in more people, but if you feel like that is the right step, we will trust in you.”

Heather smiled proudly before stepping back to her seat.

“Next on the agenda, the full moon is in two days time. We will have our celebration around the fire as usual. Attendance is mandatory. We must stand together as one to celebrate and thank Selene for her gifts. As with tradition of the rose moon, we will shower her light with rose petals and delight in there berries of summer. We will need a few volunteers to collect the materials.”

Several hands raised, mine included.

“Wonderful. Those of you who have volunteered will meet tomorrow morning at nine, here at the main hall.” With all in agreement, she continued, “Does anyone wish to approach the elders?”

I saw Wren raise her hand from the corner of my eye.

“Wren, approach.”

She walked to the front, facing the elders just as Heather had.

“I wish to have a child,” she spoke confidently.

“Hmm, I see,” Violet said looking her over. “And what about your sister? She would be first in line for the privilege.”

Willow stood from farther back in the room and joined her sister at the front.

“I do not wish to have children at this time. My sister has my blessing to become with child.”

The elders whispered to one another before returning their gazes upon them.

“Where do you wish to travel to?”

“My heart calls me to Bellingham, Elder Violet.”

“Do you wish to bring someone with you?”

“No, I would like to go alone.”

“Stop!” Everyone turned to see my Gran standing from her seat. “She cannot go to Bellingham. It is too dangerous.”

Violet’s eyes filled with sympathy at her sister’s outburst. She stood and walked over to her holding her hands tightly within her own.

“It has been nearly two decades, sister. It is time to stop living in fear of what may happen and focus on the joy a new life would bring,” She spoke softly, but still loud enough for me to hear.

“She can go to another town,” Gran said sternly.

Violet ran her hand down my Gran’s cheek.

“Oh, Magnolia,” she said in a sweet tone, “what happened to your Daphne will always bring pain to our hearts. She left this world too soon, only when she wished to bring new life in. We have brought her murderer to justice…”

My eyes shot in their direction. I had never heard more than she was raped and murdered. How had they brought him to justice?

“We have done our part to rid the world of his evil, returning her soul back to Selene. Now we must allow our young to make their choices. If Wren feels the pull to Bellingham, Selene has made her wishes known. We need to respect that.”

I could see a tear prick at the corner of Gran’s eye, constricting my chest with sorrow. She had never been able to get over my mother’s death. It has been the only unnatural death in our coven since we settled here over one hundred years ago.

“We need your blessing as well, Magnolia,” Violet said in a soothing tone.

My Gran stared at her for a moment. I could tell that she hated the idea and wanted to protest more, but Violet brought reason to her. She nodded her head as she conceded. Violet helped her sit back down and returned to the elders table.

“Does anyone else oppose?”

The room was silent apart from a stray cricket that had found its way in.

“Then your request to travel to Bellingham on your own to look for a suitor is approved. We shall see you off the day after the full moon. We wish you the best of luck and a fertile womb.”

Wren smiled and returned to her seat along with her sister.

“Anyone else?” Violet asked the room. Without a reply she stood from her chair. “Let us conclude our meeting around the fire.”

She motioned for the doors to be were opened revealing the bonfire outside. Everyone stood from their seats and made their way out. I quickly made my way to Gran to check on her. I grabbed her hands tightly.

“Are you alright Gran?”

A sad smile shown on her face, “I will be dear. I think I will go have a rest though. You enjoy yourself and I will see you at home.”

I watched as she made her way back to the Nary house, her shoulders drooped in defeat. My heart went out to her. I was only three when I lost my mother. I remembered the sadness and the looks everyone would give me, but I was too young to have fully comprehended the situation. Gran had sat me down when I turned twelve to tell me the story in detail, I was wracked with grief for the whole summer, but I slowly came to terms with it, something she had yet to overcome herself.

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