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Authors: Devon Monk

Magic on the Storm

BOOK: Magic on the Storm
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Magic on the Storm

Allie Beckstrom – Book 4

By Devon Monk

For my family
           
Acknowledgments
Writing is only part of what brings a story to its final form. Without the many
people who have contributed time and energy along the way, this book would not
have come to fruition. Thank you to my agent, Miriam Kriss, and my editor, Anne
Sowards, two consummate professionals and awesome people who make my job easy.
All my love and gratitude to my wonderful first readers, Dean Woods, Dejsha
Knight, and Dianna Rodgers. Your speedy and loving support and brilliant
insight make this possible. Thank you also to my family, one and all, who
always offer unfailing encouragement and share in the joy. And to my husband,
Russ, and sons, Kameron and Konner, who are the very best part of my life. I
couldn’t do this without you.
Last, thank you, dear readers, for letting me share this story and this world
with you.

Chapter One
T
wo months of self-defense classes, mixed martial arts, and weapons
training did not make it hurt any less when I was thrown over my opponent’s
shoulder and slammed into the ground.
Yes, I should have tucked and rolled. Would have too, if he hadn’t kept hold of
my arm and twisted at just the right instant to knock my balance off and make
me sprawl like a dead jumper waiting for my chalk outline.
“Give up?” he asked.
My right wrist still locked in his grip, I stretched out my left hand and
grabbed his ankle, leveraged to pull down, and twisted. I broke his hold on my
wrist and rolled up onto my feet. I got off the mat and out of arm’s reach
quick.
“I’ll take that as a no, then?” Zayvion Jones asked. He was a little sweaty, a
lot relaxed, standing halfway across the mat from me. Barefoot, he had on a
pair of jeans that, if there were any justice in the world, would not let him
flex and move and stretch the way he did in a fight, and a nice black T-shirt
that defined the muscles of his chest, his thick, powerful arms, and his flat,
hard stomach.
He was every kind of good-looking in the dictionary.
“Take it as a hell no,” I said sweetly.
That got a grin out of him, his teeth a flash of white against his dark skin,
his thick lips open enough that I suddenly wanted to drop this whole
I-kill-you/you-kill-me act and kiss the man.
Instead, I rolled my shoulder to make sure my arm was still in its
socket—Zayvion Jones played for keeps—and tried to come up with a game plan to
tip the fight to my advantage. He might have bendy denim on his side, but I had
something better. I had magic in my bones.
My shoulder sore but still attached and functioning, I stepped back onto the
mat.
I could use magic on him. It might be worth ending up in bed with a fever just
to take Mr. Superpowerful-Guardian-of-the-Gates down a notch during a practice
match.
The void stone necklace, a chunk of rock caught up and caged between silver and
copper whorls and glass beads, rested against my sternum and made the magic in
me lazy and slow. I could still use magic, but it took a little more effort
when I was wearing the stone.
If I’d known about void stones, I’d have found a way to steal one months ago.
Not that they were common knowledge. The Authority had lots of tricks up their
sleeve that they didn’t like the common magic user to know about.
“Is there a particular way you’d like to end up on the floor this time?” he asked
as he shifted his stance and waited for me to attack. “Or do you just want me
to surprise you?”
“Gee, if I get a choice, how about if I end up on top this time?” I gave him
that slow blink-smile combination that always got him into bed.
He licked his lips, and a flash of uncertainty narrowed his eyes. “I thought
you said you wanted to fight.”
I strolled up to him and paused. Out of arm’s reach—I’m not dumb. “I thought
you were asking me how I wanted this to end.”
Zay studied me, his brown eyes just brown, no hint of the gold that using magic
always sparked there. As far as I could tell, he hadn’t been using magic for
the past couple months. Ever since my test to see whether I could become a part
of the Authority, and the craziness with the gate between life and death
opening right in the middle of the test room, things had been quiet.
And I mean quiet. I’d Hounded only a couple magical crimes for Detective Paul
Stotts. My dead father, who had taken up residence in my head, seemed to be so
distant, he mostly appeared in my dreams. And my training—both physical and
magical—with members of the Authority had been exhausting, but a long way from
life threatening.
Things were actually pretty good. I liked that. Liked not having to worry
whether I’d survive the day. And it wasn’t just my life that was better for the
downtime. Over the past several weeks I’d watched Zayvion change from a somber,
tightly controlled, dutiful man, to someone a little surprised he was enjoying
life.
Time off from his duties with the Authority looked good on him. Sexy.
“I wasn’t talking about ending this,” he said, and it took me a minute to
remember what we were talking about. Oh yeah, the fight. “But we can call it a
day. Since you’re surrendering and admitting you lost. Again.”
As if I’d give up that easily. I glared at him.
Light poured in through the windows, casting warm coffee-colored shadows
beneath his high cheekbones and jaw. His hair was always short, but he’d
recently buzzed his dark curls, which somehow only enhanced his beautiful eyes
and strong, wide nose. The look of worry that I only occasionally glimpsed
through his Zen mask had been absent for weeks. He smiled more. Laughed more.
And it made me realize how hard I’d fallen for him. I didn’t want what we’d had
for the past few weeks to change or disappear. But I’d lost too many people in
my life, and too many memories along the way, for me to think things would
always be this easy between us. The idea of losing him made it hard to breathe.
I tried to push that fear away, but it clung like a bad dream.
“Allie?” Zay was no longer smiling. “Are you hurt? Your shoulder?” He came
closer and put his wide, warm palm on my shoulder.
That touch gave me the faintest hint at what he was feeling: concern that he’d
torn my arm out on that last flip, which, yes, he could have, but no—I wasn’t
that fragile.
And that reminded me of what this little get-together was all about. Fighting.
Training. Becoming strong enough to hold my own against anyone. Even the
legendary Zayvion Jones.
I knew I shouldn’t do it. But hey, a girl has to take what opportunities
present themselves, right? I had my game plan.
I stepped into him and turned my hip, sweeping his foot out from under him. He
went down, rolled, but I was there, got in close, getting his arm back, my arm
through it, and the other over his throat.
“Give,” I said. We were in close contact, but I was too busy staying on the
winning side of the tussle to have brain cells left to concentrate on what he
might be thinking.
“No,” he grunted.
Even though I am a tall woman, Zay still had me on sheer muscle. He flexed and
managed to break my hold, twisting over and onto his back, his legs scissoring
to catch mine.
No way I’d let him do that.
I followed him, using his momentum to roll over him and then behind. I huffed
out air, got to my knees, and tried to keep his arm pinned.
He shifted, rolled. I ended up kneeling with him beneath me. Boo-ya! I was on
top.
I had one knee planted beside him and the other foot braced on the opposite
side. Forget about his arm—I wrapped my hands around his throat, knuckles at
his windpipe.
He pressed his palms flat against my hip bones and tilted his hands inward so
his fingers stroked upward beneath my T-shirt. I glared at him as the heels of
his hands slid over the bullet scar on my left side and the smooth skin on my
right. Then up and up. His thumbs tracked slower than his fingers over my
stomach, pausing to dip and press at my navel. Then he fanned his hands
outward, upward, and rested them beneath the curve of my breasts, supporting
the weight there.
I raised an eyebrow. “You do notice I’m choking you?” I squeezed a little
harder in case he thought I was kidding around.
He grunted.
I most certainly was not kidding around.
He shifted his grip. Tried to pull me down and rolled one hip to throw me. No
chance. I braced my heel to stay out of the roll and pressed harder.
“Mercy,” he whispered.
I relaxed my grip. “Say I win.”
“I win,” he managed.
I retucked my thumbs against his windpipe. “What? You win? Is that what you
said? I must not have heard you correctly.”
“Draw,” he whispered.
“Oh, sweet hells, Jones. You have got to be the most stubborn man I know. You
lost.”
“I agree,” he said.
Huh. I hadn’t expected him to give in that easily. I pulled my hands away,
rested them against his chest.
“I am the most stubborn man you know.” He rubbed at his throat with one hand.
Grinned at me.
I smacked his other arm. “My honor’s at stake here. You lost. I won. If you
can’t admit that, I’m not sure our relationship will survive.”
He snorted, grabbed my shirt, and pulled me fully on top of him. His fist, in
the valley between my breasts, was a hard pressure between us.
“Nothing’s going to get in the way of our relationship.” His gaze searched my
own, and the slightest fleck of gold sparked there. “So long as we want this,
nothing can stand in our way.”
Damn. Could the man get any more romantic?
I tipped my head down and caught his lips with my own, soft, thick, hungry. He
instantly responded, then licked gently at my mouth until I opened for him. He
tasted of deep, warm mint, and his pine scent, peppered by sweat, carried the
memory of the countless times we had touched, loved.
I explored the textures of his lips, his mouth, savoring him slowly, and he did
the same, his tongue stroking a delicious heat through my body. I moaned softly
and gave in to the liquid fire burning through me.
I wanted him. And it was very clear he wanted me.
He flattened his fist and released my shirt, then wrapped his arm around me,
holding me tightly, as if he were afraid I might disappear.
A little too tightly. Claustrophobia tickled the back of my throat. It was
suddenly hard to breathe.
I exhaled and pushed back enough that he knew to loosen his grip. I lifted my
shoulders and chest and took a deep breath. There was plenty of room here,
plenty of room for us to be this close.
He drew his arms off from around me, his hands at my ribs instead, helping me
stay half raised above him. My right hand on the floor next to him did the rest
to support my weight.
With his free hand, he tucked my hair behind my ear, a gesture that was
becoming habitual and endearing.
“Okay?” he asked quietly.
I nodded. Just that much space, that one deep breath, cleared my head and
pushed the claustrophobia away.
I wove my fingers between the thickness of his and pulled his hand out to the
side. I eased back down on him and caught his other hand, and drew it outward
too, so that we lay body against body, spread wide upon the floor. My breasts,
stomach, hips, thighs, melted into the length and hardness of him beneath me. I
wanted more of him. All of him. I kissed the side of his neck, bit gently. His
hands clenched, and his body responded to my unspoken invitation.
I sucked at his neck while his heartbeat grew stronger and faster beneath my
breasts.
“Allie,” he begged. Electricity rolled through me, and I caught my breath.
It had been two months, and it still felt like I couldn’t get enough of him.
I want you
, he whispered in my mind. We kissed again, his tongue tracing
the edge of my bottom lip. I felt his desire burn through me like a hot wind,
making my skin prickle with tight heat.
Soul Complements, they say, can cast magic with each other, matching and
blending exactly how they use magic, work magic. Soul Complements, they say,
can become so close, they hear each other’s thoughts. Soul Complements, they
say, can become so close they lose their sense of identity and go insane. That
made Soul Complements an unmeasured power, a combination that could change
magic, break magic, make it do things it should not do.
Zay and I could hear each other’s thoughts when we touched. We hadn’t cast
magic together, which was a little strange. I thought the Authority would have
wanted to know what kind of strength or liability we could be for them. But
Sedra, the leader, refused to allow us full testing.
We hadn’t pushed for it. Maybe we were both worried it would feel too good.
Would make us need it too much. Maybe we were afraid if we got too close, we’d
never be able to let go, no matter the price.
Yeah, that last thing was pretty much it.
But what they didn’t say was that sex, when you could feel your partner’s
pleasure, when you knew exactly what his body craved, was awesome.
I rocked my hips against his and nipped at his earlobe.
Ask me real nice-like
, I thought.
Zay paused, swallowed. I pulled up, gazed down at him. His eyes held more gold
than before, as if he was resisting the need to use magic. He slid one leg
between mine. “Or what?” he asked.
Didn’t he know I couldn’t ignore a challenge?
I propped my forearms on his chest and tried to look unconcerned.
“Or we could call it a day and go get lunch.”
“Hmm.” He brushed my hair back again, tucking it behind my right ear. He traced
the whorls of magic that started at the corner of my right eye and flowed like
metallic ribbons down the edge of my cheek, jaw, neck. I shivered at the cool
mint that licked behind his touch.
His finger stopped at the pulse point at my throat, even though the marks of
magic continued down my arm to my fingertips.
“Are you hungry?” he asked.
I was. But not for food. “Yes.”
A rock hit my arm.
I twisted, my palms up, ready to cast a spell.
Zayvion was way ahead of me. One elbow braced beneath him, he rolled, putting
me partially behind him, his right hand already outlining a glyph in the air,
though he didn’t pour magic into it yet.
Another rock, a wet rock—no, an ice cube—hit my hip. More ice hit Zayvion’s
shoulder, clattered down his chest to the mat in front of him. Ice rained down
around us in handfuls.
Shamus Flynn stood at the door halfway across the room, a bucket of ice tucked
between his arm and chest, and a grin on his face.
“Thank God I got here in time.” He tossed another volley our way. “You might
have gone up in flames. Burst into sex at any minute.”
“Shame,” Zayvion warned. “Put the ice down.”
“Like hell. No need to thank me. It’s what friends are for.” He tossed another
cube at Zayvion’s head. Zay didn’t even blink as it whizzed past his ear.
Boy had good aim.
Zay didn’t take his eyes off Shame, but he shifted so that we were no longer
tangled.
“Do you remember what happened to you the last time you threw ice at me?” he
asked calmly.
Shame shook his head. “Doesn’t ring a bell.”
“It had something to do with you not walking straight for a couple days.”
Shame grinned. “Oh, you mean what Chase did to me.
That
I remember.
Girl’s got no sense of humor. And she kicks like a mule. Bad combination.”

BOOK: Magic on the Storm
3.49Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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