Willow Woods Academy for Witches
Willow Woods Book 1
by R.L.Weeks & Skylar Mckinzie Genre: YA Fantasy Mystery
An unforgettable YA novel filled with mystery and magic. Fans of Harry Potter and Beautiful Creatures will love this series.
Kat and Angie have just enrolled at Willow Woods Academy for Witches against their parent's wishes. They're thrown into a magical, mysterious world that is everything they dreamt it to be. However, when an ancient book falls into their laps, their worlds are turned upside down.
10 years ago, a rivalry between the covens of Willow Woods Academy and Morwood's School cost many their lives and cast a dark shadow over the academy. Now, Morwood's has opened again for the first time since the incident, and mysterious happenings are occurring - and they all seem to be surrounding Kat.
School's never easy, and with her exams coming up, a stalker in the trees, and her family name shadowing doubt over what side she's on, the first year of school is more of an adventure than she had ever anticipated.
Katarina Ash shimmied down the drainpipe of her parents’ plantation-style home in St. Francisville, LA, and dropped lightly onto the flower bed below her bedroom window. She quickly glanced around to make sure none of her parents’ staff was wandering the grounds, grabbed her duffle bag, and sprinted down the long, winding driveway to the road where her best friend would be waiting.
The gravel of the driveway crunched under her feet in the quiet of the darkness. The fight with her mom and dad at dinner tonight had been the catalyst for her and her best friend to finally take action. A security guard strolled up the path in front of her, so she ducked behind one of the huge trees that peppered their property. Her mind drifted back to earlier that night.
Her father had been determined—from the time she turned twelve and found out about her parents’secret—that she would never learn of her heritage or set a foot into North Carolina, much less the Willow Woods Academy for Witches. When she asked them why, her dad’s response was always a plain “never happening” and her mom’s was “it’s for the best.”
Tonight, however, she was determined that those answers weren’t enough. They were going to explain to her what was so bad about the academy, and why her mother and father had turned their backs on their families and heritages, or she would find out for herself.
She walked into the dining room with her head held high. “Tomorrow is my fourteenth birthday, and I will be going to the academy, with or without your blessing.”
Her mother sighed, burying her head in her hands.
“You’re upsetting your mother, Katarina. You’re not going, and that’s the final word on the subject. We want nothing to do with witchcraft or the school that ruined our family,” her dad said, his eyes clouding over as he spoke the words. Katarina crossed her arms, for once intent on defying the father she had once thought could do no wrong. She tossed her long black hair over her shoulder defiantly, her brilliant green eyes shining. “That’s just not good enough, Dad.”
er father gave her a warning glare. “Katarina—”
Her mother hit the table with her fists so loudly that dishes clattered. “Because, Katarina, that school and those people killed your sister. Now, march up to your room and don’t come out until you have a civil tongue in your head.” She thrusted her arm outward, pointing upstairs toward Katarina’s room. “GO!” she yelled, when Katarina started to speak.
She turned and fled back up the stairs, as much from the shock that her gentle mother had raised her voice at her as the revelation that she had revealed. She didn’t have a sister and never had.
Pulling her mind back to the present, Katarina made her way slowly to where her best friend waited.
“Well, it took you long enough. Geez, Kat, what did you have to do?” Angelina Dupree stepped away from the curb, rolling her expressive blue eyes at her best friend. They had been tried and true friends since the day Angelina had beat up little Brian Pillman for pushing Kat down on the playground.
Angelina’s mom had been the one to tell both girls about their family history, as Mrs. Dupree was proud of being a witch and her heritage, though they still refused to sign the permission form for Angie to go to the academy. She said it was fair. She had also stopped Angie’s older brother from attending Wandor’s Academy, and would stop Damian, Angie’s younger brother from attending next year too. Angie was the only one determined enough to just go and do it, permission or not.
“I’m here now, Angie. Are we going or not?” Kat said, not wanting to get into trying to explain now.
It looks like someone doesn’t want to be left behind.” Angie pointed to where a solid black cat with tons of fur was winding his way around Kat’s feet. She bent down to scoop her cat up, his piercing green eyes seeming to ask her why she thought she could leave without him. “Well, I can’t leave him out here, and I can’t very well take him back to the house or we’re busted.”
Angie laughed. “Well, Sebastian, it looks like you’re going on a trip.” “Yes, more of one than I think even we imagined.” After putting Sebastian in her book bag and leaving the zipper open, Kat got out a map of North Carolina and studied it for a moment. “I guess it’s now or never. Our bus leaves at midnight.”
Kat took one last look at the rambling plantation house that could be seen in the distance and swore never to come back there again. Her parents may have thought they could stop her from fulfilling her destiny, from becoming what she was meant to be, but they were wrong.
She grabbed Angie’s hand and gave it a squeeze before they walked off into the night. “Willow Woods Academy for Witches, here we come.”
Willow Woods Academy for Witches and Wizards
Willow Woods Book 2
An unforgettable YA novel filled with mystery and magic - Fans of Harry Potter and Beautiful Creatures will love this series.
The girls are back at school, but Angie's dreams about a secret order may be more than just dreams.
Lara Ash is about to find out that all choices have consequences, and that being back from the dead isn't as fun as she first thought. She catches the eye of Angie's older brother, Grayson, and clings to him as her world falls apart. The rift between her and Angie Dupree, her sister Kat's best friend, causes Kat and Angie to fall out for the first time.
Angie meets two new friends, the peppy Isolde and secretive Lizzie. However, they seem to be holding secrets of their own.
When it comes to crunch time, can the group work together to stop an evil from destroying their lives, or will their own secrets be too much?
This book is recommended for readers aged 13+.
Warning: This book deals with bullying and has scenes of mild violence.
The walls were closing in, again.
Angie ran down the halls, her blonde hair whipping behind her as she fell into a forgotten ballroom. The footsteps of the ones chasing her grew louder. She guessed there were at least five of them from what she could hear.
“Use your magic.”
A familiar voice floated around the room.
Angie’s thoughts darted to her best friend, Katarina Ash. They had run off to Willow Woods Academy for Witches last year against their parents’ wishes.
They understood now, why their parents were so against them going back.
“No,” Angie shouted and ran toward a pair of oak doors. “I can’t use our connection. It’s dangerous!” Her voice echoed around the room.
She remembered back to the catastrophic time they had last both used magic as a distraction and ended up destroying part of the academy in the process.
“You must,” the voice stated.
Five women with white eyes, black cloaks, and a deathly glow appeared out of nowhere and blocked the exit.
“You must use the connection,” one of the hooded figures said and grabbed Angie by her T-shirt, pulling her close. “We are your ancestors, Angelina. We are members of The Order of the Star.”
“What’s The Order of the Star?”
Angie woke up, covered in sweat. She took several deep breaths, brushed back her curls, and fumbled for her phone in the dark so she could text Kat.
The sun was just coming up. The dim light shone through the cracks of the red blinds. The walls were painted hot pink. Kat hated Angie’s room and never hid that fact; in fact, she often commented that the bold colors gave her a headache. Angie’s white dressing table was covered with the latest line of the Witches Brew Makeup Collection, and her antique mirror was covered with blue-tacked photos of her, her mom, her older brother Grayson, and her younger brother Damian, who would soon be attending Willow Woods Academy for Witches and Wizards.
Angie was shocked they were opening the school to the wizards of her coven, Harvest Moon Coven. Jake, her boyfriend and a wizard at Bolt’s Academy which was situated across the lake from her school, wasn’t happy on hearing about the change.
She didn’t care too much. The only school that really caught her interest and brought out her detective side was Moorwood’s School for Witches. It was also in North Carolina, right near Willow Woods, and home to witches of the Blood Moon Coven—or the witches of darkness as Angie liked to call them. That was the school where Mona, Lara’s evil ex–best friend, had led a group of witches to Willow Woods ten years ago. It had turned into to a fight that killed a bunch of students, including Lara when she’d switched sides at the last minute.
Angie reached down and rubbed her finger across a picture of her and Jake.
Mona had pushed someone else’s spirit into his body last year, but he had made a quick recovery and was still, thankfully, smitten with Angie.
Her phone buzzed. Angie stared at Kat’s message.
I am now. What’s up?
She typed everything that had happened in her dream but hesitated over the send button. Kat had only found out last year that she had a sister, who had been dead for the last ten years. Kat had watched her come back to life through black magic, was fighting with her mom and dad over going back to the academy and had discovered she was a Mornai. She had enough going on without something else put on her plate.
Angie deleted the message.
Just checking. Nothing’s up. You ready for NOLA?
“It was just a dream,” she said aloud and opened her blinds, letting the dim light cover her room.
She put her phone down and licked her chapped lips. They were leaving for New Orleans soon, which wasn’t too far from St. Francisville.
After showering and drying her hair, Angie pulled her knee-high, black socks on—which were patterned with little white cats and witch hats—a purple pleated skirt that stopped just above her knees, a blue blouse, and her black, tip-up ankle boots. “Almost perfect,” Angie said to her reflection. She pushed her blonde waves back, which cascaded down to the bottom of her back, and put on her signature pink lipstick after deciding red was now out.
Her mom had bought her the entire Mack’s Spellbinding Collection of lipsticks for her birthday, all in bright matte colors. She had turned fifteen only a month before, on July 26th, which meant fall semester started in a couple of days. She coated her eyes with a shimmering light blue to match her eyes and dabbed a little brown in the corners. After brushing bronzer up her cheekbones and applying a little purple mascara, she was ready.
Her phone buzzed.
Angie sighed and quickly texted back.
I’m guessing Lara’s coming?
Kat texted back almost immediately.
Yes, and don’t be like that, she saved your life last year too.
Angie huffed and placed down her phone. It’s not that she didn’t like Lara; she just wanted some time with her best friend. It had always been just the two of them, and she was finding it hard adjusting to it being three.
She had gone to Lara’s sixteenth birthday party back at the beginning of March, which was odd considering Lara would technically be twenty-six had she not died. Headmistress Krauss at the academy had finally come clean about who Lara was to the council, and that had caused one hell of an uproar. Lara had, after all, helped destroy the school with her ex–best friend Mona ten
years ago before having a change of heart at the last minute. That meant the council had a difficult decision to make. Lara was sixteen; therefore, she couldn’t go to Irretitus, a prison for witches and wizards. Between saving Angie’s and Kat’s lives, changing her mind from helping Mona ten years ago, and dying when she’d tried to protect the school, the scales ultimately tipped in her favor, and she was allowed back at the academy as Lara Ash.
“Mom,” Angie said as she walked into the kitchen. She opened the shiny silver fridge, stared at its contents, and closed it again. “There’s no food.”
“Yes, there is, Angie! There’s plenty.”
“Yeah, but nothing I want.”
Angie’s mom tightened her messy blonde bun and looked at her daughter with wild blue eyes. “We will buy something on the way to New Orleans.”
Angie’s face lit up. “I want breakfast from Jay’s.”
Her mom rolled her eyes. “If you keep eating breakfast muffins, you’ll become one.”
Angie lifted an eyebrow and laughed. “Right. Anyway, Kat and her sister will be here soon.” She looked up at the small clock on their orange wall. It was almost nine.
“Why couldn’t her parents take them?”
Angie sighed. “They’re away working, like always.”
Her mom looked out the window toward the plantation-style house. “I guess they have to work a lot to afford that massive thing.”
“I’m pretty sure Kat would rather they were home more.”
Her mom poured a chamomile tea for them both. “Of course. Your dad wants to see you off this year.”
Angie smiled, flashing her brilliant white teeth. “Good! I don’t want to ride a bus again.”
Her mom shot her a disapproving look and placed a cup of tea in front of her.
“If you and Kat hadn’t decided to run off, then that wouldn’t have happened.”
“I needed to go!” Angie complained. “Anyway, you said you were fine with me going back to the academy.”
“I am.” She took a sip of her tea and looked her daughter up and down.
“You’re getting the appropriate uniform this year, missy. I don’t want you turning up in a short skirt and unbuttoned blouse like last year.”
Angie looked down and did up her last two buttons. “How did you know?”
Her mom put up one finger, then another. “For one, you’re my daughter, and secondly, Headmistress Krauss wrote me a letter.”
Angie scoffed. “After everything that happened, you’d think she’d have let me off.”
Angie’s eyes widened. “Uh…nothing, just that we forged the forms to get in last year.”
“Ah, I see.”
Angie relaxed. If her mom knew what had really happened with Mona, and herself almost dying, she’d never let her go back.
“Damian!” her mom shouted up the stairs. “Hurry up! We need to leave in ten.”
Angie jumped up, almost knocking over her tea. “He’s coming?”
“Of course. He starts Willow Woods this year and needs school supplies too.” Angie ground her teeth, sat back down, and crossed her arms as the doorbell rang.
“Don’t huff. Ah, Kat and Lara are here.”
Angie stood as they entered the kitchen. Kat and Lara looked so much alike, but Lara was looking more and more different. They both had the strong jawline and prominent features known to the Ash family, but Lara’s features were a little softer than Kat’s. They both shared dazzling green eyes, but again, Lara’s were softer, yet her gaze was more focused than Kat’s. Lara stood three inches taller than Kat, and her lips were painted with a plum lipstick, whereas Kat wore no makeup.
Kat flicked back her jet-black hair, which she had styled into loose curls for the trip. “Hey!”
Angie ran over and wrapped her arms around her best friend. “I’m so excited,” she squealed. “I can’t wait to show you all the magick shops. There’s one in the Quarter where you can get custom symbols put on your uniform that glow in the dark—”
“Which,” Angie’s mom pointed out, “you won’t be getting. We just talked about your school uniform.”
Angie forced a smile. “Right.” She lowered her voice to a whisper. “We can get them anyway. We’ll sneak off. Plus, Jake and Doug are meeting us there.”
Kat’s eyes widened. “What? Do you know how much trouble we will get in?”
“Cool it!” Angie smiled. “I have a plan.”
“I can’t wait,” Lara said, jumping into their conversation. “For today. It’s been a long time since I’ve been to New Orleans…or anywhere really.”
“Yeah,” Angie replied. “At least you can come back this year as yourself.”
Lara smiled and brushed down her dress.
“Wow!” Angie exclaimed, taking in her dress. It had black sequins running along the bottom, lace sleeves reaching down to her hands, and purple material flowing down to her knees. The plunging neckline showed off Lara’s ample chest, which had grown a lot in the last six months. “You look amazing.”
Kat grinned and pulled Lara’s hand up. “I painted her nails purple.”
“Love it!” Angie said and looked at her own, chipped nails. “I should get mine done today.
They heard the front door swing open after the roar of a motorbike sounded outside. “Great… Grayson’s here.”
“Who?” Lara asked.
Kat chimed in. “Angie and Damian’s big brother. He’s sixteen.”
Grayson walked in and stopped by the kitchen door. “Mom,” he said and put his helmet on the table. “I need ten dollars.”
His mom tutted, then searched through her purse and pulled out ten dollars. “Are you sure you don’t want to come today?”
He shook his head and brushed back his dark brown hair, which was tousled purposely to look messy. He was slim but athletically built, like a swimmer. His eyes were a deeper blue than his mom’s. They were more like the color of the depths of the ocean rather than his sister’s and mom’s sky blue. His features, like the rest of his family, were soft. The sleeves of his shirt were rolled up, and his leather pants looked far too hot for the eighty-five-degree heat they were used to.
His mom sat down with another tea, but this time it was ginger tea. “Angie got to go to Willow Woods Academy, which means you still have the chance to go too. You don’t need to stay at your normal school.”
“Of course! You’re a wizard,” Kat exclaimed. “Why didn’t you go when you were fourteen?”
“She wouldn’t let me, but now that my little sister snuck off and went”—he eyed Angie—“I’m allowed to go too.”
“You should,” Lara chimed in and gulped as everyone looked at her.
Grayson’s gaze fixated on hers. “Why should I?”
She sucked in a deep breath. “Uh, I…I mean, you have a gift. You should learn more about it.”
The corner of his mouth lifted into a smirk. “You’re right.” He nodded his head slowly. “I guess I can give it a go. You a friend of Angie’s then?”
Lara trod carefully, not knowing if she could actually call Angie a friend yet.
“Kat’s sister.” She smiled. “Older sister.”
“I can tell,” he said with a grin.
“Eww,” Angie said quietly. “Well, let’s go then, seeing as everyone’s coming now.”
“I’ll take my motorbike.”
His mom hurried to the sink and washed the cups. “Be careful!” she ordered.
“Yes,” he said and waved his hand dismissively. “Want a ride?” he asked Lara.
She flushed red. “On your bike?”
He laughed, showing off his dimples. “What do you think I meant?”
Her eyes widened. “Oh, I just…I…”
He lifted his eyebrows.
“I said I’d go with my sister.”
His smile fell. “Well, I’ll see you in New Orleans then? We can get a bite to eat.”
She nodded and fiddled with her bracelet. “Nice to meet you, uh…”
His mom grabbed her keys. “Come on then, ladies. We don’t have all day. One sec!” She stopped at the bottom of the stairs. “DAMIAN! IF YOU’RE NOT IN THAT CAR IN ONE MINUTE, YOU’RE STAYING BEHIND.” She turned back to the rest of them. “That boy is always late.”
R L Weeks is the bestselling and award-winning author of the Dead Loves Life Series, Bloodlust, The Fallen, Willow Woods Academy for Witches, Cursed, and the owner of Enchanted Anthologies, publisher of Fractured Fairytales Books 1 & 2, A Deadly World: Vampires in Paris, Things Only the Darkness Knows, and Christmas Nightmares.
She lives in a small village in the UK.
When she's not writing, she's traveling, reading (paranormal, fantasy and horror being her go to genres) and designing covers for Dark Wish Designs.
Skylar McKinzie lives in the small town of Screven, Ga. When she’s not writing, she’s cooking, baking, reading, and spending time with her family. She also loves long walks and sitting by the bonfire in October, which is her favorite month of the year.
She writes horror and paranormal romance. She is working on her next novel due to be released by the end of the year.