River Slater is sick of wasting away her life in a boring, dead-end town. The moment Finn walks into her grandmother’s occult store, all that changes. Before she knows it, she’s caught up in a world she’d never believed existed: a world of magic and danger. But, most of all, she’s caught up in Finn. Her attraction to him is unlike anything she’s ever felt for any man before. Intense. Passionate. Overwhelming. But she quickly learns that there’s more to Finn’s intentions than meets the eye. Can she truly trust him, or will the man who’s stolen her heart, end up betraying her in the most tragic way?
I lowered my palms. The barrier was in place. I slumped against the doorframe of the spare bedroom and rubbed my temples. I was still really high from absorbing her power into me. The last time I’d felt power as strong and as potent as hers had been…that night…the night I’d lost my mother.
I pinched the bridge of my nose to distract myself. Not going there.
I couldn’t. There was too much emotion there. Too much pain. I had to remain levelheaded and impassive at all times. I didn’t have the luxury of letting my emotions run wild or of becoming too stimulated by anything. Tonight had already shaken my levelheaded state as it was—I’d felt for the girl. Felt? What the hell was that all about?
I shook my head and turned to go.
Shit. How the hell is she already awake? That power drain should’ve knocked her out for hours. It’d only been about ten minutes so far.
I took another step to the door.
“Don’t go,” her shaky, vulnerable voice of innocence called to me again. Begging me.
“You’ll be fine. Just sleep,” I said, my tone harsh.
“I’ll turn up the heat.”
“Inside. Cold inside,” she said.
Argh! I needed to keep walking. I needed to just walk out and slam the door behind me. But my better judgment was fucked. Maybe it was the high that was still lingering.
I turned around to face her.
Her stunning eyes were wide and afraid. Her hair looked hot as the fires of hell, all messed up from lying in bed. And her big, perky tits were teasing me in that painted on t-shirt she had on. It didn’t help that I couldn’t get the visual of that tiny skin-tight skirt I knew she was wearing beneath the covers out of my head. Where are these thoughts coming from? I was a master of control, yet, here I was, getting hard at the sight of her.
I approached the bed, trying not to make direct eye contact. That vulnerable look in her eyes was dangerous to my self-control. I reached out my hand and pressed it to her forehead. As cold as ice.
“It’ll pass,” I told her. A side-effect of the power drain and the fact that I’d pulled so hard just to knock her out as fast as possible. I hadn’t been gentle like I should’ve been. There hadn’t been time.
“Okay,” she said, dejectedly.
“How long will it take?”
“Just go to sleep. It’ll be gone by morning.”
I was about to step away when her hand suddenly grabbed my wrist. Holy shit. She was cold. I could feel her hand trembling.
“You’re really warm,” she said, in a blissful moan, trying to pull me to her.
I looked at her, finally, and her eyes burned into mine, willing me to help her; to make the cold disappear. Somehow, she seemed to just know, to know that I was the only one who could.
And how could I deny her that?
Son of a bitch!
Okay, I just needed to get a grip. It was business. Just business. I’d help her, but keep it clinical and nothing else. After all, I needed her to trust me. And, after her grandmother had warned her off me, I had my work cut out for me more than I should’ve. So, this would go a long way to fixing that shit.
I pried her fingers from my wrist and took a step back. Turning from her, but staying beside the bed, I commanded, “Take off your clothes.”
“What?” she gasped.
“It has to be skin-to-skin contact.”
“But…uh…leave your…underwear on, yeah?”
She murmured something that I couldn’t make out. I knew she wasn’t really with it. She was still in shock and the power drain could have that effect, too. The other reason I knew she was out of it? When I’d walked into that occult store, the first thing I’d felt from her was her strength. Not magical strength. No, her inner strength. The girl was tough. And right now, that wasn’t the case.
“Finn?” she called, ripping me from my thoughts.
“Yeah?” I said over my shoulder.
“You under the covers?”
“All right.” I turned back to her and pulled off my black t-shirt. Her gasp startled me and my gaze snapped to hers. Her eyes were all over me; sparkling with awe. I couldn’t tell whether she was checking me out just cuz my chest was bare, or if it was the markings covering the length of both my arms and across my upper chest and back.
“Oh my God. They look like mine.”
“Yeah?” I responded, pretending like I didn’t know.
She just nodded and didn’t press it. Phew.
I looked away and toed off my shoes. It pissed me off that I was doing this without magic—the long assed way—but I didn’t wanna freak her out any more than she’d already been tonight, so I was keeping it normal and avoiding overt displays of magic. I pulled off my jeans until I was down to my boxers. As I approached the bed, I saw her eyes dart right there, checking out my dick.
I cleared my throat loudly and she looked away embarrassed. Thank fuck. Having her eyes on me like that was…difficult.
I pulled the covers back and slid into the bed beside her. She didn’t move and it took me a second to realize why: she was waiting for me to instruct her; to lead her.
“Roll into me,” I told her as coolly as possible, just managing to keep the strain out of my voice.
She did as I told her. It struck me that there was no hesitation at all. Really weird considering we barely knew each other and the fact that the witch had spouted some bad shit about me, filling her head with fear towards me. But now…what…she was over it? Just like that?
She buried her face in my chest and I wrapped my arms around her, trying to ignore the feel of her tits pressing into me. I could feel the lace of her bra and, somehow, that was worse than having them naked…more erotic, or something. Fuck me.
“You trust me now?” I asked. “Thought I was dangerous to you?”
“Just like that?”
“No…just now. The longer you’re around me, the more the danger is gone.”
Wow. What the hell did that mean? I hadn’t spelled her. It was all her.
She lifted her head, but I shut my eyes before she could make contact. That shit would be way too intimate in a situation like this fucked up one. I was doing this for one reason…to take away the cold I’d caused from being too rough with the power drain.
I summoned my magic, turning the crackling blue energy on my palms into heat. I couldn’t actually give her my power. She didn’t know how to control it, which was why we were in this situation in the first place. But I could spell her body with warmth to get her through the night, until she recovered naturally from the drain in a few hours.
She made a sound between a moan and a purr. The sweetest fucking sound. This was a bad idea, cuz it felt too fucking good. There was no aggravation to my magic with her, cuz she wasn’t human. But it was also more than even that. I felt something I’d never felt before. Peace. And it freaked me the fuck out. I couldn’t…like this. I couldn’t feel anything. I was her Guard. She was a mission and nothing else. I needed to keep myself in check. It was just a spell. Clinical. I gritted my teeth and choked out, “Sleep.”
But she had other ideas. “Finn?” she whispered.
What is it now? “What?” I snapped.
She shuddered in my arms and I instantly hated myself for it.
“Sorry. What, River?” I asked, gently.
“You feel warm now?”
“Yeah. But not just that. For…caring and for…understanding me. You’re the first.”
Her words ripped right through me and a pang of guilt hit me square in the chest.
If she only knew the truth.
“You’re warm now,” I said, releasing her and scrambling off the bed as fast as I could. I needed to get away from her.
With my back to her, I hastily snapped my fingers and dressed by magic. Screw not doing any overt magic in front of her.I didn’t chance looking back at her, as I passed through the barrier I’d put in place and rushed out the door, slamming it closed behind me.
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