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Authors: Madeline Pryce

Wicked Magic (9 page)

BOOK: Wicked Magic
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“I’m not scared of you.” Jeremiah’s arms over his chest
tensed. “Spill.”

“I’m a witch’s bitch.”

“That’s not how she explained it to me,” Jeremiah said.

“No,” Trent took another drink, “you were too preoccupied
with the chance to fuck her.”

Jeremiah lifted an eyebrow.

Trent kept talking. “Strangest part is, despite the crap Dad
went on and on about over the years, I think I’m okay with that. I think…I love
her, ’Miah. If I don’t do this, I’m going to lose her. Maybe not tomorrow or
next week, but eventually she’ll resent me for screwing up her life. So, I tell
her I want to go through with it. What does she do?” He was on a roll now.

“She changed her mind?” Jeremiah guessed.

Nodding, he took a long swig. It helped numb everything
except the pain in his chest. “She told me no, that I didn’t know what I
wanted.” He unfolded his arm and offered the bottle to his brother. Jeremiah
looked at it, shrugged, then took a drink. His brother slid down the wall,
closed his eyes. Dirt smudged his face—scratches marred his neck and chest.

Then it hit Trent. He was sitting naked, in a bubble bath,
with his brother in the same room, pining over a woman. Fuck. He was in love.
He stood. Water ran down his chest and legs, taking the trailing remnants of
bubbles with it. Jeremiah blinked, his eyes opening, then he groaned and shut
them. No matter how comfortable shifters were in the nude, there was something
different about seeing your brother naked up close and personal.

“You’re turning me into a girl,” Trent grumbled, snatching a
towel from the rack and pulling it around his waist. He walked over the length
of legs in his way, shaking his head on the way to his bedroom.

As he gripped the knob to his bedroom, his brother’s voice
carried down the hall. “Remember, you were the one with the bubbles, not me.”

“In the morning, I’m going to kick your ass,” he yelled
back.

“Right.”

Collapsing face-first into the mess of sheets on his bed, he
closed his eyes. The world spun around him. The overhead fan swooshed, sent a
chill over his wet skin. He shivered but was too tired to care.

Chapter Nine

 

Sam blinked her eyes open and stared at the ceiling of her
bedroom. She tried to figure out why in the hell she was awake. It felt as if
she’d just fallen asleep. Darkness flooded the room, telling her she’d slept
for much longer than she’d planned. It was officially evening. She groaned and
clutched her blanket, drawing it over her head. If she could sleep for the rest
of eternity, she’d be all right. Dreams were a heck of a lot better than
reality. Had yesterday really happened?

A wet, warming sensation tickled her toe.

She jerked her leg and shot straight up in bed. The covers
slid down her face, pooling around her waist. Static electricity hung in the
air. Her hair, once neatly pulled back in a ponytail, was loose and sticking
out everywhere. She gave the term “bed-head” an entirely new meaning.

Had someone been licking her foot? Her heart jackhammered in
her chest. She was almost afraid to look. When she glanced down, the breath
she’d been holding released all the tension in her body. Samhain was tomorrow
and already the veil was dissolving.

Hovering on the edge of her bed was a furry puff of drooling
canine. It was her childhood puppy, Gordon. Through the Pomeranian she could
see the dresser behind him. And thank goodness, his drool didn’t create a pool
on her covers like it had when he was alive.

Eager, panting, the pup swiped his tongue against the sole
of her foot where it peeked out from under the blanket. She hated when he did
that.

“Stop that,” she chastised with a frown.

She swung her legs over the bed and sank her toes into the
carpet. Bringing a hand through her hair, she refastened it in the rubber band
she fished out from the nest of tangles. When she brought her head up, the eyes
that appeared in front of her face made her heart stop. Screaming, she gripped
her blanket and covered her bare shoulders. It had been hot and too humid from
thunderstorms for her not to peel off her tank top in the middle of the night.
The apparition in front of her grinned. Floppy blond hair, pale-blue eyes…it
was an ex-boyfriend who’d disappeared a few years ago. So that was what had
happened to him. She narrowed her eyes and pursed her lips. What a way to wake
up.

“Go haunt someone else,” she snapped.

She stood, dragging the blanket with her, and walked right
through the mist in front of her. Clothes. She needed to get dressed and get
the hell out of the house. Being a witch connected her to the supernatural
world. A normal human wouldn’t have even noticed the ghosts floating around,
perving on the living. Maybe they were bored, or maybe she had bad luck, but it
seemed her house was a hot spot for the dead. Wonderful.

The rich scent of coffee filled the house and eased the
first pounding waves of her headache. It was the least Brenda could do after
keeping her up all night. Hearing someone else having the sex of their life was
low on her list of things to do that night, considering she’d left Trent naked,
in the rain, in front of his house and looking at her with a mixture of shock
and anger.

He’d wanted to complete the ritual. She’d been too stubborn
to let him. Moving past her dresser and the Colonial soldier sitting on top of
it, she opened her bedroom door and inhaled the caffeine. The outdated
coffeemaker groaned, dripped and gurgled. It was music to her ears.

“Trick or treat.” The voice was scratchy, old, and scared
the living shit out of her.

“Jesus,” she yelped.

A green hand rose, fingers mocking her girly screech. That
was it. She adjusted her blanket, mindful of the flickering audience, and
picked up the plastic cauldron. The second she pulled the cord from the wall,
the hand shriveled in on itself.

She marched straight into the kitchen, ignored the way
Brenda casually took a sip of coffee and tossed the contraption into the trash.
The dark-haired man sitting beside her looked up and grinned. Draped on the
chair beside him was a leather jacket, the wolf insignia familiar.
Unmistakable.

Sam’s heart stopped. Her mouth dropped open and she took an
immediate step back.

“Hello there, darlin’,” the werewolf said, the evil haze
surrounding him seeping into her pores.

He had black hair spiked in clumps and looked no older than
twenty. His eyes were green and menacing.

“Y-you,” she stuttered and wrapped a hand around her
constricting throat.

Brenda looked back and forth between them. “What’s the
matter, babe, you look like you just saw a ghost.”

Her butt hit the counter and she blindly reached behind her
for a knife. She wrapped her fingers around the hilt and took comfort in the
weight, before swinging the blade out, in front.

“Get out,” she hissed.

“Whoa, Sam, put the knife down,” Brenda said and rose from
the table.

The red satin robe she wore gapped at the middle and exposed
a whole lot of cleavage and several love bites. This was the guy Brenda had
been having sex with all night? A murderer?

The wolf looked between them and smiled, the tilt of his
lips both smarmy and fake. “You’re the chick from the bar, right? The
bartender?”

“Cut the shit. You know exactly who I am. I was there last
night in the woods. Your pack killed that girl. You almost killed Trent.”

Brenda’s mouth fell open and she stared at her lover. “Dean,
what’s she talking about?”

Dean wrapped a hand around Brenda’s waist and pulled her
close. He draped an arm across her shoulder and stroked a single finger up and
down her throat.

“I think Samhain’s getting to her. Don’t know what kind of
shit she’s spewing. I went back to the bar, waited for you to get off then
followed you here. I haven’t seen my pack or talked to them.” A muscle clenched
in his jaw. “I’m sorry if they caused any trouble, Greg’s been a bit of a loose
cannon since his wife died and the full moon ain’t helping. Wolves mate for
life, don’t we, Brenda?”

The words were right, kind of, but the tone—the look in his
eyes was all wrong. Sexual heat. Hunger. A hint of anger. Dean slid his hand
down Brenda’s neck, between her breasts. He leered at Sam the entire time, as
if daring her to challenge him.

Fucker was lying.

“I don’t believe you.” She held his gaze and forced herself
to keep upright even though she wanted to puke.

Brenda, as if she’d been put under some kind of a spell,
preened under the wolf’s touch. She made a little mewling sound in the back of
her throat when Dean cupped her breast under her robe.

“You believe Brenda, don’t you, Sam? I was with her all
night. She wouldn’t lie to you,” he said and licked his lips.

Her friend’s eyelids fluttered and she panted. “It’s true.
He was here all night.”

“Whatever,” Sam hissed and clutched the sheet around her
body tighter.

Not bothering to put away the knife, she backed out of the
kitchen. Dean winked at her. “Happy early birthday, sweetheart. I hope
it’s…special.”

The asshole was playing Brenda. She didn’t know how to help
her friend who was apparently too enamored to notice Dean-what’s-his-face was a
liar.

Sam glared. “Fuck you.”

His laughter haunted her all the way into her bedroom. She
slammed the door closed and leaned against the hard surface. Her heart hammered
in her chest and her palms were slick. What was she going to do? This guy was
here, in her house, for a reason. Payback? Was Brenda even safe?

She strode for her dirty, discarded jeans on the floor and
pulled her cell from the pocket. Her fingers, having a mind of their own,
dialed a number she’d memorized but never used.

“What,” Trent answered on the sixth ring, sounding as if he
were still asleep.

Over the phone his voice was deeper, even more appealing.

She clutched her sheet. “Trent.”

Bedsprings squeaked. “Sam?”

“Yeah,” she said softly and chewed on her bottom lip. Damn.
Maybe she was overreacting. Maybe Dean really hadn’t been there in the clearing
last night. She hadn’t seen him shift, didn’t know if the wolf that got away
was him or not for sure. On the other hand, he belonged to the same pack—the
pack Trent and Sam had killed. That meant something, right?

“Everything okay?” he asked cautiously.

She imagined he was running his hand through his hair.

“Yes. No. I don’t know.”

“Well,” he said slowly, drawing the word out. “Which is it?”

She had to trust her instincts. “He’s here,” she whispered,
almost afraid Dean would hear her and come barging in through her door.

At the thought, she reached behind her and flipped the lock,
barely catching the sheet before it fell below her breasts.

“Who’s there?” Trent growled.

She knew it wasn’t her imagination when she heard the rustle
of fabric. He was getting dressed.

Sam drew in a deep breath. “One of the wolves from last
night got away. I woke up a little bit ago and went out into the kitchen. He,
Dean’s his name, was sitting there with Brenda. He must have gone back to the
bar after the fight and then came home with her last night. They’ve been going
at it all night, all morning. Seriously disgusting! She’s enamored with him,
didn’t believe me when I called him out. It’s like he has her under some spell
or something. I’m starting to really hate Samhain—the effects have never been
this strong before.”

“The holiday doesn’t normally correspond with the full moon.
And let me get this right, you called him out? Fucking Christ, Sam. Where are
you?” A myriad of sounds drifted through the phone. Grunts, curses, the
jangling of keys, a muttered, “Fuck where in the hell is my gun?”

“I’m in my room, with the door locked. When I left they were
about to go at it again. Trent,” she closed her eyes. “He wished me a happy
birthday, it was really, really creepy. How’d he know about that? Brenda I’m
assuming, but still…I’m freaked.”

“Does she know about the ritual?”

She closed her eyes and nodded, then realized he couldn’t
see her. “She does.”

“No matter what you hear do not leave that room. Brenda
starts screaming her head off, stay in your room. She screams bloody murder?
Do. Not. Leave. Your. Room. I’ll be there in fifteen.”

She gripped the phone harder and hissed, “What! No, I’m not
going to let him kill her!”

“Promise me.”

“She’s my best friend.”

“I swear to God, woman, I’m going to paddle your ass. Promise
me.”

“No.”

A rolling growl tickled her ear.

“Fine, damn you! Hurry up.”

She hung up the phone and fought the urge to chuck it across
the room. If things went bad, she’d need it handy. Clothes. She should probably
get dressed. Damn it, she didn’t have any clean jeans. She settled on a black
above-the-knee skirt that wrapped around to tie at the waist and a blue
sweater. Once she was covered, she pressed her back to the door and slid down
until her ass hit the carpet. She wrapped her arms over her knees and waited.
It was too quiet. No bedsprings creaking. No wall-banging. What the hell were
they doing? God, had the creep abducted her? Guilt gnawed.

Fifteen minutes felt like an hour, especially since she
checked her phone every thirty seconds. Finally, she heard movement. The front
door opened, closed. Footsteps, heavy like a man’s, thudded in slow, rhythmic
steps.

“Where is he?” Trent’s deep voice carried through the walls
and she blew out a deep, relieved breath.

She stood, swung around and was out the door before Brenda
even had a chance to answer. She skidded to a stop in the kitchen where Trent
loomed over her roommate, all tall, sexy, imposing male.

He looked official with his shoulder harness and badge, the
chain of his handcuffs sticking out of his back pocket.

“He bailed about ten minutes ago, said he had shit to do.
What’s up with you two?” Brenda asked, looking between them. “I think I found
my mate and you scared him off with that stuff about his pack.”

Sam’s mouth fell open. “Me? You’re fucking a psychopath and
you’re too blind with lust to see it. Wake the hell up. Every man you have sex
with isn’t ‘the one’.”

Trent strode across the room, plucked the knife from her
hand and set it on the counter. Whoops. She hadn’t realized she’d picked it back
up after getting dressed.

“You’re being a judgmental bitch right now, Sam. Dean’s a
sweet guy, he showed me a good time and he’s been nothing but nice to me.”

“I’m the bitch?” Sam stepped closer, slowly decreasing the
distance between her and her roommate who had thankfully put on some clothes.

“Whoa,” Trent said and stepped in front of her, using his
body to gently reverse her direction.

Around his shoulder, she glared at her friend. “We’ve been
best friends for ten years. Something is off about that guy. How can you be
sure he wasn’t out in the clearing last night? Were you with him all night?
From the time I left to the time you got off work?”

The redhead licked her bottom lip and crossed her arms under
her breasts. The tight green V-neck almost burst apart. Instead of answering,
she tilted her chin up in defiance and glared.

“Brenda,” Trent growled and narrowed his eyes. “I need an
answer. That guy’s pack raped and killed a woman in the clearing behind the
bar.”

Brenda’s mouth opened but Trent spoke over her. “I’m not
sayin’ he was involved one way or the other. Sam says one got away,
information,” he glared, “that would have been helpful last night. Was he ever
out of your sight last night?”

They stared at each other for a full minute before Brenda cast
her eyes down and bowed her head in a submissive gesture she’d seen her use
with her father several times over the years. When she spoke, she didn’t meet
his gaze. Her normally husky voice was somehow subdued.

“You all kicked him out, he came back right after you left.
Sat in my section, we flirted, I took him home. End of story. Now, if you’re
done, I’m going to go get some sleep. Can I go?”

BOOK: Wicked Magic
11.66Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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