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Authors: Cait Miller

Finding the Magic

BOOK: Finding the Magic
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An
Ellora’s
Cave
Romantica
Publication

www.ellorascave.com

 

 

Finding the Magic

 

ISBN # 1-4199-0753-0

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

Finding the Magic Copyright© 2006 Cait Miller

Edited by Lesia Ward.

Cover art by Syneca.

 

Electronic book Publication: October 2006

 

 

This book may not be reproduced or used in whole or in part by any means existing without written permission from the publisher, Ellora’s Cave Publishing, Inc.® 1056 Home Avenue, Akron OH 44310-3502.

 

This book is a work of fiction and any resemblance to persons, living or dead, or places, events or locales is purely coincidental. The characters are productions of the authors’ imagination and used fictitiously.

 

Content Advisory:

 

The following material contains graphic sexual content meant for mature readers. This story has been rated S-
ensuous
by a minimum of three independent reviewers.

 

Ellora’s Cave Publishing offers three levels of
Romantica
™ reading entertainment: S (S-
ensuous
), E (E-
rotic
), and X (X-
treme
).

 

S-
ensuous
love scenes are explicit and leave nothing to the imagination.

 

E-
rotic
love scenes are explicit, leave nothing to the imagination, and are high in volume per the overall word count. In addition, some E-rated titles might contain fantasy material that some readers find objectionable, such as bondage, submission, same sex encounters, forced seductions, and so forth. E-rated titles are the most graphic titles we carry; it is common, for instance, for an author to use words such as “fucking”, “cock”, “pussy”, and such within their work of literature.

 

X-
treme
titles differ from E-rated titles only in plot premise and storyline execution. Unlike E-rated titles, stories designated with the letter X tend to contain controversial subject matter not for the faint of heart.

Finding the Magic

Cait Miller

Dedication

 

For the all women in my family who taught me everything I needed to know, as well as a few things I could have lived without knowing. Your courage, humour, wit and wisdom helped to make me who I am today.

With thanks to Kelly, who was my cheerleader; Patti, whom I couldn’t punctuate without; Virginia, who pointed out the difference between strawberry sauce and honey; Renée, who nagged me until I finished; and Raelene for her unending patience and occasional cracking of the whip.

 

 

 

 

 

Trademark Acknowledgement

 

The author acknowledges the trademarked status and trademark owners of the following
wordmarks
mentioned in this work of fiction:

 

Velcro: Velcro Industries B.V. Limited Liability Company

Technicolor: Technicolor, Inc.

 

 

 

 

 

Glossary

 

Ceangal
(Kea al) — Bond

Dearbh
Ceangal
(D’
earav
Kea al) — Proven Bond

Fìor
cèile
(
Fiar
K’
ehli
) — True mate

Sgian
Dubhs
(ski an
doo
) — traditional Scottish knife

 

Chapter One

 

A cool breeze from an open window caressed her bare shoulders as she relaxed back into the shadows. Her lips parted on a soft moan of pleasure. Jayne Davis stretched her newly bared toes and kicked her confining high heels to the side. Relief. She’d been imprisoned in the silver shoes since early that morning. Had been fantasizing about the moment she could slip them off since dinner an hour and a half ago.

Floor-to-ceiling windows filled the wall on one side of the room and she knew the pair of doors in their
center
led out to a well-tended patio and garden. It had, so far, been unseasonably mild—for Scotland in January, that is. Thoughts of cooling her feet on the damp lawn posed a temptation she didn’t think she could ignore. She wouldn’t be able to stay outside for long dressed as she was but it would be lovely for a few minutes. The darkness outside reflected the room, making it seem larger than it actually was. The lights of the ballroom were designed to cast a soft glow on the parquet dance floor and give the seating areas privacy. This darkened booth in the corner seemed like the perfect place to hide away for a while and rest her aching toes.

Man, the things she’d do for friendship, she never was one for wearing skirts and dresses. In fact, she’d be surprised if there were more than a couple of each in her wardrobe. She much preferred the comfort of jeans, sweaters and sneakers. It had all but taken an act of God and some cleverly designed hidden support to get her breasts to stay where they were supposed to in this dress. Even then she was worried they might pop out of confinement if she should move the wrong way. Girlie clothes were more Megan’s forte, Jayne rarely needed to dress up. On the surface she was friendly and outgoing but, truthfully, Meg was her only close friend. Jayne preferred to spend her free time losing herself in books where only the bad guys died and everyone lived happily ever after. Where magic was real and anything could happen.

She sipped her drink,
savoring
the sweet burn of the whiskey, and took in the scene before her. Her best friend stood in the arms of her new husband on the polished wooden dance floor, the ivory of her dress bright against Jack’s dark suit. They had met less than four months ago when Jack had come from America to Scotland on business. Jayne still had no idea just what that business had been, but Megan and Jack had ended up running for their lives and had fallen in love. They swayed together, completely oblivious to the other couples around them and Jayne suppressed a sigh of envy. Since her father’s death, she had guarded her emotions from all but Megan. Now, looking at the nauseatingly happy couple, she knew she wanted that to change.

She studied the groom with narrowed eyes. In a phone call a few months ago, Megan had urged Jayne to believe in magic. A few days before that her friend had asked her for advice because the man she’d just met thought he could turn into a cat. An understandably distraught Megan was convinced she had just had stupendous sex with a nutcase. It probably hadn’t helped when Jayne’s advice had been to give him the benefit of the doubt, Meg was remarkably narrow-minded when it came to the supernatural.

When they had next met, she had questioned her friend for details but Megan had merely smiled knowingly and shrugged her shoulders. All through Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, Megan had kept her silence. They had spent the whole of it together before she had joined Jack to celebrate with his family. Now here Jayne was at their wedding…and she was left with the strong suspicion that Jack be might more than he seemed. She smiled, realizing that her recent change of attitude had a lot to do with Meg’s enigmatic statement. For the first time in a long time, she was noticing real life could be more interesting than fiction.

Speaking of which
… Her gaze strayed over the rest of the guests. Less than forty in total. Although most of them were friends of the bride, she couldn’t have imagined a more diverse group if she had tried. Nearby, Jack’s parents were dancing, looking far too young to have a thirty-two-year-old son. All day, their happiness and pride in Jack had been evident to everyone. Regret flitted through her that neither Megan’s nor her own parents were here. Her mother and Megan’s parents had been killed when their car skidded on black ice and hit a bridge. A few years later the same bridge had claimed her father’s life. She closed her eyes at the bitter memory, it was a bond both she and Megan could do without. A few nights ago, she and Megan had bought some wine and had a drink in their memory. Exchanging both happy and sad stories into the early hours of the morning and getting so drunk that Jack had come and put them both to bed. It had been an exorcism of sorts, a cleansing of sadness, allowing them to enjoy the wedding day with the renewed knowledge that their families would have wanted it that way.

On the edge of the dance floor, Danny, the Irish breakfast chef Megan worked with, was engaged in conversation with Meg’s
neighbor
, Mrs.
Timms
. His brows were drawn in obvious puzzlement and his pint of beer was all but forgotten in his hand. The elderly lady had pulled out all the stops tonight with her pink taffeta dress. Perched on her pink-tinted hair, like a stuffed flamingo, was a large pink, feathered hat. Every now and then she directed a comment to the empty space beside her, causing one of Danny’s fuzzy
gray
eyebrows to lift. Jayne chuckled, recalling her own first encounter with Mrs.
Timms
’ long-deceased husband
George
. When she had nodded and politely introduced herself, Megan had looked at her as if she’d just stepped out of the twilight zone. Maybe the old lady was a little…
strange
…but in Jayne’s opinion, just because they couldn’t see George
Timms
didn’t mean he wasn’t there. She’d just never been able to convince her
skeptical
friend of that.

Her eyes continued to roam, passing over familiar and unfamiliar faces alike until they landed on the imposing form of Cameron Murray. He was standing at the bar, the overhead lights making his golden hair shine like a halo. She snorted at that. If there was anyone further from angelic in the room, Jayne had yet to meet them. His broad back was deliberately turned to her, as it had been most of the day. He was Jack’s best friend and was supposed to be serving as his best man but, in her opinion, he wasn’t doing a very god job of it. He hadn’t shown up for any of the pre-wedding stuff—not even the rehearsal.

Megan had told her he was wealthy, that he lived in his family estate in the Highlands and that he ran a successful computer security company. The first time Jayne saw him was when she walked Jayne down the aisle. She had seen his shoulders tense and he had turned and glared, first at her then at an oblivious Jack. At the end of the ceremony, he had stalked ahead, leaving her to walk back up the church aisle unescorted. Since then, he’d avoided everyone, but most especially her, and that stung. Jayne couldn’t think why she might want to attract the attention of someone as rude and unfriendly as him unless it was simply his physical appeal. He was certainly attractive, tall and broad through his shoulders and chest with a tight backside that she would love to get her hands on. His hair was blond and shoulder-length and his eyes were a wonderful golden brown that she’d love to see filled with heat, instead of cold and hard.
Shallow, Jayne
,
very shallow

Unlike Megan, who had described him to her as “a babe with a bad attitude”, Jayne didn’t think he was cover-model handsome but he certainly had a beautiful face. A square jaw, shadowed with golden stubble and a crooked nose that might have been aquiline at one time. He had a small scar on his chin and another through his left eyebrow. Something told her he could be a very dangerous man. One look at him and you could see he had lived and that it had been an eventful life, he
certainly
didn’t look as though he sat behind computers for a living. Jayne’s fingers itched for her paintbrush. Maybe it was time to retrieve her palette and easel from under the bed and brush the dust off. It was time to brush the dust off a lot of things, it seemed. She sighed and dragged her attention back to the dance floor.

* * * * *

She

s watching me

Cam felt his whole body tense with the knowledge. He nursed a bottled beer and fought to keep his eyes focused on his fingers as they peeled the label off in strips. He had discovered her name was Jayne Davis and she had been a constant presence in his mind since he had seen her in the church this afternoon. He could feel her attraction to him but she didn’t like him. He knew all he needed to do was look in the mirror behind the bar and he would see her sitting in the shadows. Her lips would be quirked in that annoying smile that seemed to say “I know what you’re doing and I don’t care”.

He wanted her to care that he was ignoring her. It would only be fair. Already he was aware of her on a level he wouldn’t acknowledge. His skin tingled and the air crackled with the magical energy that wanted to connect them. It was intense, like every cell of his body had suddenly come alive and become sensitive to her presence. The urge to go to her was so strong that he had to grit his teeth against it. He refused to consider that it could be anything more than the usual demand of the mating cycle. A demand that he had every intention of ignoring.

An image of her long slender body wrapped in her
gray
silk dress mocked him. The material clung to her curves from her breasts to her ankles, concealing the paw-shaped birthmark that he now knew had to be there. The light
color
made her upswept red hair burn like fire. How long was it? Was it as soft as it looked? He wanted to release it from the clip that secured it and tangle his fingers in it. His cock hardened painfully and he shifted his hips, trying to relieve the pressure. “Shit.” His soft exclamation drew the attention of the man standing next to him, and Cameron glared at him until the man tossed his drink back and walked hastily away from the bar.

Why hadn’t Jack warned him?
Probably afraid you

d refuse to come
… He glanced over at his friend, he looked happy for the first time in more than a year. Cam wanted no part of it. He’d seen how bonded mates could destroy each other. Jack knew it too and yet, here Cam was, under the scrutiny of a woman who could make him forget. He had doubted that such a thing as a true bond even existed until he had been in the same room as her. It didn’t change anything though. Even a
Dearbh
Ceangal
doesn’t guarantee happiness. Only torments you with the possibility of it.

Occasionally, Jayne’s thoughts tracked through his brain, each one putting another dent in his resolve not to acknowledge her. She thought him rude and arrogant. That didn’t bother him. It was a popular opinion, though most people were afraid to express it. It didn’t make any difference that she thought he wasn’t worth her time.

Really.

He tipped his bottle to his lips in an attempt to ease his dry throat and almost choked as she turned her attention to his backside. It couldn’t hurt to introduce himself, could it? Just to show her he wasn’t as worthless as she believed? Her intention flitted through his brain an instant before she moved and he watched her reflection weave its way toward the patio doors at the far side of the room. The
gray
silk of her dress dipped dangerously low at the back, revealing a small henna tattoo in a Celtic design at the base of her spine. Throwing a couple of banknotes beside his abandoned drink, he followed her, suddenly glad that he was the only unmated shifter in the room.

 

Beyond the lights of the patio, the partial moon gilded the trees and shrubs with a white luminescence. The air was cold and Cam could smell snow on the light breeze, along with the light, spicy scent of her perfume. Jayne stood in the middle of the neatly trimmed lawn, her shoes dangling from her fingertips. A slight smile curved her lips and her face was tilted toward the clear sky, her eyes closed as though she was being bathed by the sun instead of moonlight. She looked ethereal, like a fey queen with her creamy skin and fiery red hair and, for a moment, he was frozen. Gradually the muted sounds of music and laughter from the ballroom intruded and he mentally shook himself, feeling ridiculous. When did he get so poetic? He cleared his throat, suddenly unsure how to approach her. The smile fled and she opened her eyes and looked at him. “What do you want?”

You
, the thought rose instantly in his mind and he clamped his lips against the urge to say it. He crossed the wet grass until he stood in front of her. “To apologize, I
shouldnae
have ignored you…at the church.” Her light eyes shone with mocking amusement.

“Just at the church?” she prodded.

“Aye.”

She laughed. “Not the most tactful of people, are you? Don’t worry, I’m sure I’ll get over it.” She turned her back to him and started to walk away and he caught her wrist. Her pulse fluttered under his fingertips like a trapped bird and he knew she wasn’t as calm as she pretended to be. A gentle tug brought her around to face him, her hand resting on his chest. The contact burned his skin through his shirt. Arousal rushed through him, bringing his cock to full, painful attention, and standing as close as she was, he knew she must feel it too. Her confidence had fled, leaving behind uncertainty to battle with the desire in her eyes. Without conscious thought, he caressed her face with his fingertips, tracing the smooth, cool skin. She shivered and her lips parted on a shaky sigh.

“I told myself I wasn’t
goin
’ to touch you…” Cupping her head in his hand, he kissed her. Gently at first, just a sampling of her soft lips, then deeply, tasting the sweetness of the liqueur she had been drinking earlier. Dimly, he heard the thud, thud of her shoes slipping from her hand. His pulse pounded in his ears and his groin throbbed when she moaned and clutched at his shirt. Faint echoes of her desire mingled with his swirled through his head. Cam knew that, with a little focus, he could join her mind with his. Instinct hammered at him,
take her

take her
… He felt electricity crackle through his body and his fingertips began to tingle where he still grasped her wrist. Suddenly the significance of what he was feeling pierced the fog of desire. He pushed himself away from her, gasping, “No!”

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