A Fistful of Charms
A Fistful of Charms
Жанр: Фэнтези про драконов
Год издания: 2019
A faint flush rimmed his ears. “Yeah. I thought you wanted them to put under your pillow or something. So it was like I was there with you?”
Taking the bag from him, I peered into it in speculation. “You wore them already?”
He rubbed a hand across his smooth chin, discomforted. “Ah, just once. I didn’t sweat in them or anything. I dated a girl who liked wearing one of my shirts to bed. She said it was like I was holding her all night. I thought it was a, uh, girl thing.”
My smile blossomed. “You mean, like this?” Feeling wicked, I pulled out the sweatshirt and slipped it on over my top. Holding my arms about myself, I shifted back and forth, my eyes closed and breathing deeply. I didn’t care that the reason he smelled good was from a thousand years of evolution to make it easier for him to find prey.
“You wicked, wicked witch,” Kisten whispered. The sudden heat in his voice pulled my eyes open. He took a slow breath, his entire body moving. “Oh God, you smell good.”
“Yeah? What about now?” Grinning, I did jumping jacks, knowing the mixing of our scents would drive him slightly nuts.
As expected, his eyes dilated with a sudden blood lust, flashing to black. “Rachel,” he said, his voice strained. “Don’t.”
Giggling, I evaded his reaching hand. “Wait! Wait!” I gasped. “I can make it worse.”
“Stop,” Kisten said, his voice low and controlled. There was a hint of threat in it, and when he reached for me again, I shrieked, darting around the end of the bed. With vampire quickness he followed, my back hitting the wall with a breath-stealing thump as he pinned me.
Eyes crinkled and smiling, I wiggled and twisted, enjoying pushing his buttons. After only a token show of resistance, I stopped, letting him find my mouth.
My breath left me in a slow sound as I eased against him, my arms crunched between us. His grip on my shoulders was firm and dominating. Possessive. But I knew he’d let go if I made one real motion to break free. Soft jazz completed my mood.
His fingers clenched and released, his lips moving lower until his mouth brushed my chin, following the line of my jaw to the hollow under my ear. My heart pounded and I tilted my head. In a surprised sound, my breath escaped when the tingling at my scar surged. With the quickness and sudden shock of a flag snapping in the wind, heat scoured me, following my veins and settling into an insistent pounding—demanding I follow it through to its natural end.
Kisten felt it, and as his breath quickened, I pulled my hands from between us, sending my fingers to the nape of his neck. My eyes closed as I felt his need, his desire, beat on mine to make it stronger. A sound escaped me as his lips gently worked my old scar. My body rebelled at the surge of passion, and my knees gave way. He was ready for it, holding me firm to him. I wanted this. God, how I wanted it. I should have tried wearing something of his ages ago.
“Rachel,” he whispered, his breathing harsh and heavy with desire.
“What?” I panted, my blood still humming though his lips weren’t on my scar anymore.
“Don’t ever—wear anything of mine—again. I can’t…”
I froze, not understanding. I made a motion to break free, but he held me firm. Fear scoured painfully where passion once ran. My eyes flicked to his, seeing them lost and black, then to his mouth. He wasn’t wearing his caps. Shit, I had pushed him too far.
“I can’t let go of you,” he said, his lips not moving.
Adrenaline surged, and a drop of sweat formed at his hairline. Shit, shit, shit. I was in trouble. My gaze flicked to the glint of fang at the corner of his mouth. From one breath to the next, the coin of desire had flipped from sex to blood. Damn, the next ten seconds were going to be really dicey.
“I think I can let go if you aren’t afraid,” he said, fear and blood lust mixed in his voice.
I couldn’t look away from his black eyes. I could not look from his eyes. While Kisten unconsciously dumped pheromones into the air to make my vampire scar send wave after wave of passion through me in time with my hammering pulse, my gut twisted.
Mind racing, I forced my breathing to be slow and even. Fear would trip him over the edge. I’d pulled Ivy down once, and I knew if he was still talking, then the odds were highly in my favor. “Listen,” I said, the ecstasy from my vampire scar mixing with my fear in an unreal slurry. It felt good. It was a rush, the thrill of skydiving and sex all at the same time, and I knew that letting him bite me would triple the sensation. And I was going to let go of him and push him away. “I’m going to close my eyes because I trust you,” I said.
It was soft and pleading. He truly wanted to let go. Damn it, this was my fault. Tension made my head hurt, and I closed my eyes on the black orbs his gaze had become. It made the fear ten times harder to surmount, but still, I trusted him. I could tap a line and send him flying into the wall—and if push came to shove, I would—but it would change our relationship utterly, and I loved him. It was a quiet, tentative love with the frightening promise that it would grow if I didn’t screw it up. And I wanted a love based on trust, not who was stronger.
“Kisten,” I said, forcing my jaw to unclench. “I’m going to let go of you, and you are going to let go of my shoulders and step back. Ready?” I could hear him breathe, harsh and insistent. It struck a chord inside me, and we both shuddered.
It would feel so damn good to let him bite me, his teeth sinking deep, pulling me to him, the pain twisted to pleasure, scouring through me like fire and stealing my breath, taking me to imagined heights of ecstasy. It would be incredible, the best thing I’d ever felt. It would change my life forever. And it was not going to happen. For all the promised pleasure, I knew it hid an equally ugly reality. And I was afraid.
“Now, Kisten,” I said, eyes still closed, forcing my fingers to move.
My hands fell from him and he stepped away. My eyes flashed open. He had his back to me, a hand on the waist-high post at the foot of my bed. His free hand shook. I reached out, then hesitated. “Kisten, I’m sorry,” I said, voice trembling, and he bobbed his head.
“Me too.” His husky voice ran through me like water through sand, leaving me warm and tingly. “Do me a favor and don’t do that again.”
“You bet.” Crossing my arms in front of me, I took off his sweatshirt and let it fall to the bed. The tingle at my neck faded, leaving me shaking and sick at heart. I had known mixing our scents was a blood aphrodisiac, but not how potent it was or that it could come on that fast. I was still making mistakes. Almost a year at this and I was still making mistakes.
Kisten’s head came up, and I wasn’t surprised to hear the front door open. In three seconds flat six streaks of silver and gold whizzed by my door at head height. Two more seconds and they raced back.
“Hi, Ms. Morgan!” came a high-pitched voice, and a pixy girl came to a short stop at the door, peering in with her dress fluttering about her ankles. Her face was flushed and her fair hair was swirling in the draft from her wings. There was a crash from the living room, and she darted off, shouting so high that my head hurt. The music blared, then cut out.
I took a step to the door, jerking to a stop when Matalina halted before me.
“I’m sorry, Rachel,” the pretty pixy woman said, looking frazzled. “I’ll take care of it. I’ll get them out to the stump as soon as it stops raining.”
Smoothing the rough edges of my bandaged knuckles, I tried to wash away the last of my runaway passions and the fear from Kisten. He hadn’t moved, clearly still trying to regain control. “Don’t worry about it,” I said. “I didn’t have time to pixy-proof the church.” There was another crash, this time from the kitchen. A handful of pixies flowed by, all talking at once, and Matalina followed, admonishing them to stay out of my cupboards.
My worry deepened when Ivy strode past. Jenks was on her shoulder, and he gave me an unsure look and a nod of recognition. Ivy caught sight of Kisten and she backpedaled, her shorter hair swinging. Her gaze went to his shirt on the bed, then took in my soft guilt and the tremor in my hands. Nostrils flaring, she scented the vamp pheromones and my fear, realizing in seconds what had transpired. I shrugged helplessly.
“We’re back,” she said dryly, then continued to the kitchen, the new loudness of her steps and the slight tension in her body the only sign that she knew I had pushed Kisten too far.
Kisten didn’t meet my gaze, but my shoulders eased at the returning ring of blue in his eyes. “You okay?” I asked, and he gave me a closed-lipped smile.
“I shouldn’t have given you a pair I already wore,” he said, taking the shirt and stuffing it in the bag. “Maybe you should wash them.”
I took the bag when he extended it, embarrassed. He followed me into the hallway, turning to the kitchen while I went the other way to get the washer going. The sharp scent of the soap ticked my nose, and I dumped in a full measure, then added a little more. I closed the lid and stood with my hands on the washer as it filled, my head bowed. My gaze fell on my bitten hand. Sometimes I thought I was the stupidest witch ever born. Straightening, I forced a pleasant expression onto my face and headed to the kitchen, anticipating Ivy’s mocking look.
Unable to met anyone’s eyes, I went straight to the coffeemaker to get a mug to hide behind. All the pixy kids were in the living room, and the sound of their play mixed with the soft hush of the rain past the open kitchen window. Ivy gave me one wry look before returning to her e-mails, having parked herself at her computer, out of the way in the corner. Jenks was on the sill, his back to me as he looked into the wet garden, and Kisten was sitting in my chair, his legs stretched to poke out past the corner of the table. No one was saying anything.
“Hey, uh, Kist,” I stammered, and he pulled his head up. “I found a spell to Were with in one of the books you gave me.”
He seemed to have found his calm, and though I was wire-tight, his eyes were weary. “No kidding,” he said.
Encouraged, I brought out the book and thumped it open before him.
Jenks flitted over, nearly landing on my shoulder but choosing Kisten’s at the last moment. He glanced down, his wings stilling before his head jerked up to mine. “Isn’t that—”
“Yeah,” I interrupted. “It’s demon magic. But see? I don’t have to kill anything.”
Kisten blew out his breath, meeting Ivy’s blank expression before easing away from the book. “You can do demon magic?” he asked.
I nodded and tucked a curl behind my ear. I didn’t want to tell him why, and though Kisten was too much of a gentleman to ask when others could hear, Jenks was another story. Wings clattering, he put his hands on his hips and frowned at me in his best Peter Pan pose. “How come you can do demon magic and no one else can?” he asked.
“I’m not the only one,” I said tightly, and then the metallic bong of the pull bell Ivy and I used for a doorbell vibrated through the damp air.
Ivy and Kisten both straightened, and I said, “It’s probably Ceri. I asked her to come over to help me with my spells tonight.”