After finishing Three Kings, it didn’t feel complete without visiting Hensley for a check-in since she’s had a point of view in the previous books. So, I wrote a chapter for her, Liri, and Jastra showing how they were getting on and the attachments they were forming to the mortal realm.
This is a bonus chapter that takes place before the conclusion of Three Kings. Enjoy! ?
Liri sat with his leg pressed against mine inside the cozy corner booth along a brick wall with vintage light bulbs suspended from the ceiling of the pizzeria. Ever since I’d regained my memories, we’d been inseparable—except during classes, which we were all still attending as though nothing had changed. I spent every night with my mate at his townhouse and ate every meal with him, as we’d done back in Dahlquist.
Across from us, Jastra sucked face with Justin. Yesterday, it had been Derek. The boys appeared to be on an every-other-day schedule.
I still couldn’t quite believe we were on a double date back home in the human world.
Liri’s fingers slid over my leg, his thumb caressing my thigh in small circles above my jeans.
Our perky pigtailed waitress soared over with a pitcher of light beer and four plastic tumblers. She set them on the table, smiling the whole time.
“Your pizzas will be ready shortly. Enjoy.” She spun around in her short gray pleated skirt.
Liri’s hand stilled on my thigh, his gaze narrowing on the pitcher of beer as though it had been filled with piss.
“What is that?” he asked, sounding deeply offended.
Jastra pulled away from Justin’s lips with a smacking sound. She finger-combed her teal locks over her shoulders, eyes bright and cheeks glowing. She reminded me of a succubus whenever she was with one—or both—of her boys.
“That, Brother, is beer.” She smirked and poured herself half a glass. “You’d hate it, so don’t bother trying it.” Jastra took a sip and smacked her lips. “Ahh. Disgusting.”
Liri rolled his eyes at his sister then poured me a tumbler full. Justin poured himself a glass next and immediately began drinking it down as though it was the nectar of the gods.
“Want a sip?” I asked.
“After you,” Liri replied.
I took a sip, handed him the glass, and watched as Liri tipped it back, swallowed . . . then pitched forward, spitting it back out into the mug with a scowl.
“Told you,” Jastra said triumphantly, taking another drink from her tumbler.
Justin chuckled. He was always doing that around Jastra—acting like every little thing she said was the most clever, amusing thing ever. I would have been annoyed out of my skull, but Jastra ate it up like gummy bears. She took another sip of beer, set it down, pressed against him, and ran her fingers through his hair.
To each their own. I’d briefly forgotten I’d married a murderous Fae king. Ha. Top that!
Liri pushed aside the glass he’d spit in and poured me a fresh one. When our waitress returned with our pizzas, I asked for a cola. Liri dished me up a slice of margarita—my favorite kind. When the fizzy fountain soda arrived, I smiled and pushed it across the table to him. “Try this.”
Liri pulled out the straw and lifted it slowly, taking a sniff. Jastra broke away from Justin and leaned against the varnished wood table, watching her brother as he took a tentative sip. For several seconds, his expression remained neutral. Then he looked at me and smiled. “Much better.”
“Then you should try my rum and Coke,” Jastra said. She grabbed a slice of meat lover’s pizza from the pie she and Justin were sharing. Jastra shoved the tip into her mouth and bit off a large chunk. She certainly knew how to adapt to her surroundings. I swear she fit in at college more than I did. Everyone wanted to hang out with her, date her, or ask her for advice.
Liri sat up straight, cutting into his piece of pizza with a knife and fork. It was seriously adorable. I loved having this time together away from the castle. It was the most fun I’d had in years—maybe ever.
After dinner, we walked across the street to Liri’s Mercedes-Benz SUV. The vehicle was gorgeous inside and out. At night, the interior cabin glowed with LED ambient lighting in sixty-four different colors. Jastra and I had both freaked out over it at the dealership.
“Beats any carriage, doesn’t it?” I’d taunted.
Jastra had been too awestruck to quibble. Nope, she’d thrown herself into every seat and gasped each time. If she could have made love to the Mercedes, I’m sure she would have. Instead, she pulled Justin with her to the seats in the very back and straddled him.
Liri turned the radio on to a classic rock station, keeping his attention on the dark road. He said he just wanted a nice car to get us off campus. The cafeteria and nearby fast food options weren’t impressing him, especially since he no longer had his own castle staff to prepare meals and serve us.
Slender, pale fingers squeezed the steering wheel. I kept sneaking peeks at Liri’s side profile in the ethereal glow of the Mercedes. My fingers were always itching to touch his short ash-blond hair, but Liri still wasn’t into PDA—unlike Jastra. Based on the noises coming from the back of the car, it sounded like she and Justin were going at it. I wondered if I should turn up the music. I looked at Liri, but his concentration remained on the road and streetlights.
Back on campus, Liri rolled up the driveway in front of his townhouse-style apartment, put the car in park, and turned it off.
“Oh, damn, we’re back,” Jastra panted, sounding loud with the engine and music off.
Liri and I got out of the SUV, followed by Jastra, smoothing down her skirt and straightening her top. Justin trailed after her, rubbing her shoulders and kissing her neck. Liri looked back at them with a wrinkled nose before turning away and taking my hand in his.
“Is that typical human male conduct?” he asked low enough for only my ears.
I shrugged. “Depends on the guy—and girl. There isn’t really a standard behavior, you know?”
Liri pulled me closer, whispering into my ear. “Is that what you want, dear Hensley? For me to paw at you in public? Fuck you in the back of the car or on the living room couch in front of my sister and her boy toy?”
A shiver ran down my spine.
“No,” I said. “I like it when it’s just you and me.” I meant it. What Liri and I had felt private, special, sacred—even when it got dark and twisted. What we had was for us and us alone.
He smiled and pulled me in for a sweet kiss on the lips. It was quick, but it warmed my insides, especially when Liri wasn’t prone to give them out frequently.
We’d just reached the wooden stairs leading up to the front door when friend Ruby appeared at the top, blocking the way.
“What are you doing here?” Jastra asked from behind me, not masking her irritation.
I guess five was a crowd—if the fifth person happened to be female.
Ruby’s arms were already folded over her chest as she frowned down at our group. “Looking for Hensley. I never see her anymore since your brother stole her.”
Beside me, Liri tensed. I swear I felt a cold energy coming off him. I grabbed his arm and whispered, “She doesn’t mean it literally.” Nice going on the trigger word, Ruby. My college bestie had no idea that my boyfriend was really my mate—and a dangerous one at that.
Not picking up on his signals, Ruby waited by the front door, clearly expecting to follow us inside.
“I’ll text you later,” I heard Jastra tell Justin.
Just as I’d expected, Ruby pushed her way inside with us and made herself at home by flopping down on the couch. “Guys!” she exclaimed, her eyes shining and the pout vanishing from her lips. “I just heard fall’s theater selection. Wait for it—”
“Sense and Sensibility,” Jastra announced, tossing her hair over her shoulder in a teal wave that seemed to move in perfect slow motion. I’d forgotten what a brat she could be. “Based on the book written by British author Jane Austen in the eighteen hundreds. It tells the story of the Dashwood sisters as they come of age.”
Ruby’s jaw hung open. “How did you know that?” she demanded.
“I looked it up on Wikipedia.” Jastra shrugged.
Ruby sat up taller. “No, how did you know we were doing Sense and Sensibility when that information literally just came out?”
Jastra smiled smugly. “Mrs. Bryant begged me to work on costumes and set design.”
“Well, aren’t you special,” Ruby grumbled half-heartedly.
“Yes, I am in high demand here.” Jastra cast a furtive look Liri’s way, but he had a pinched expression concentrated on Ruby.
She got up and grabbed my shoulders, the grin spreading back up her cheeks. “So, what do you think? Sisters? You and I could totally get the parts of Elinor and Marianne Dashwood.”
I wished her enthusiasm was infectious, but it had the opposite effect, sending my heart plummeting into the pit of my stomach. My eyes welled with tears that did not come. I was unable to even force a smile.
Ruby frowned. “What is it?”
Liri leaned in closer, studying my face. I shook my head. “I doubt I’d get either part.”
“What? Why not?” Ruby demanded. “You were freaking Anna in The King and I. Your performance was incredible.”
“Yes,” Liri agreed. “Of course, you would be cast as the lead, my darling.”
Ruby startled briefly at that, but she was more interested in the matter of the fall play. “Those parts are ours,” she said, hands back on her hips.
This time, I managed to force a smile. “Let’s talk about it tomorrow, okay?” When Ruby made no move to leave, I added, “Vanilla latte and coffee cake—my treat.”
Ruby smacked her lips. “Deal. And we’re totally practicing lines for our auditions.”
“Okay,” I agreed. I could at least help out a friend—even if there would be no more plays in my future.
After Ruby left, Liri and Jastra turned to me with heads tilted. Jastra was the first to speak.
“What’s the matter, dear Hensley?” Liri asked, stepping closer. His eyes felt invasive. I couldn’t meet his stare. I couldn’t meet his eyes or his sister’s.
“The only reason I got the lead role before is because that sorceress made it so.”
“And you pulled it off. It’s not like she did the acting. That was all you.” Jastra’s words were kind, but the delivery was dripping with annoyance. Foolish human, is all I heard.
“You were spectacular,” Liri said firmly. “I saw you. I know.”
A tear slipped down my cheek. I valued my mate’s opinion, unlike Jastra’s. The conviction in his tone and expression affected me in ways I couldn’t quite explain.
“You could be Elinor or Marianne—whichever one has more lines.”
“Elinor,” Jastra supplied, curling teal hair around her finger.
“It’s sweet of you to say.” I sank into the couch and sighed. “It really doesn’t matter, though. We’ll be leaving soon.” I wasn’t exactly sure when. Liri and Jastra didn’t know, either, which made it hard to put my heart into anything. I felt like I was living in limbo, neither here nor there. I’d be studying for an exam one moment, watching TV the next, wondering why I bothered.
Liri and Jastra shared a look before Liri took a seat beside me, placing a gentle hand on my thigh. “We do not know how long we will be here. Isadore will never willingly reverse the spell she placed over you, which means she must die for it to be broken. Killing a sorceress is extremely difficult and dangerous.”
“You could be stuck here a long time,” Jastra threw in harshly.
Liri glared at her, his fingers squeezing tightly over my thigh.
“We could be stuck here,” he corrected. His hand relaxed, and his expression turned to one of smug challenge. “Unless you wish to return earlier, Jastra. You are free to portal back to Dahlquist at any time.”
Jastra’s eyes widened in horror. She tried to school her expression, but it was too late. Both Liri and I had seen her alarm. She stopped fiddling with her hair and shrugged, taking a seat on the opposite end of the couch. She stretched her arms behind her head, cupping the back of her neck.
“You think I want to go back and take orders from Aerith? Pass.” A smirk appeared over Jastra’s lips. “Besides, Mrs. Bryant is counting on me for my real, actual talents.”
“Jastra,” Liri growled.
Jastra rolled her eyes. “Teasing, Brother. You need to loosen up if you want to fit in better.”
“I don’t care about fitting in.”
She leaned forward; eyes locked on his. “Well, maybe you should because we could be in the mortal realm a long, long time.” Jastra grinned wickedly, as though this delighted her to no end. She jumped to her feet, skipping toward the stairs that led up to the bedrooms. “Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to text Justin . . . and Derek.” With a gleam in her eyes, she gave her teal hair a sultry toss before running upstairs.
Liri turned to me, his silver eyes intense. “You should try out for the fall play. I enjoy watching you perform.”
“Then you should try out, as well,” I said. “You were captivating as the King of Siam. Perhaps you should play the part of Edward Ferrars or John Willoughby or Colonel Brandon.” I preferred Colonel Brandon, but that was probably because Alan Rickman played him in the movie. His perfectly paced, rough, yet velvety voice gave me shivers. It had broken my heart to learn of his death after my return to the mortal world.
Yeah, Liri seemed more like a Colonel Brandon—loyal, intense, and committed. His eyes alighted on me now. That gaze had a tendency to take my breath away.
“The only part I wish to play is as your forever mate,” he said in a voice that was all velvet.
I reached out my hand to touch his face, followed by his beautiful ash-blond hair. It was thick and soft against my fingers. The part was already his. It didn’t matter where we were or what was going on around us.
I’d fallen in love with him in Faerie. Then I’d lost my heart to him a second time on Earth. Only I wasn’t lost. With Liri, my whole heart was complete.
“Any more news from Dahlquist?” I asked softly. He was always showing such concern for me. I supposed I should do the same even though I found it difficult to care about his kingdom with every passing day. If Liri could hear my thoughts, he’d tell me it was our kingdom. But it had never felt that way, and I knew it never would.
He stiffened beside me. I lowered my hand to my lap, watching him for any signs that he wished to discuss the situation in Faerie. I already knew he had a younger brother named Lyklor and that Aerith had threatened to crown him or Ryo king. Maybe I should have cared more, but I didn’t. It felt good to be far away from all the crazy. I preferred my drama on the stage.
“Aerith knows not to cross me,” Liri answered simply before relaxing into the couch.
“I’m sure she just wants to go home.” That was all she’d ever wanted.
“She will,” Liri said. “We all will—one way or another.”
My scalp prickled where no crown sat, and a quiver wound its way through my stomach.
Why didn’t his statement comfort me?
To read more Royal Conquest, visit the page of titles, descriptions and links, HERE.
LOVE SPELL is a bonus, behind closed door, look at what happened after Adrian Montez and Graylee Perez hooked up in Barcelona in Enchantment (Spellbound #3).
This scene originally appeared in the LOSING IT anthology before retiring in 2015.
(Intended for mature readers.) There’s a recap leading in with the bonus material beginning after the ***’s.
LOVE SPELL by Nikki Jefford
The late-night revelers blurred before his eyes when Adrian staggered into the Rex Room. The DJ they called The Magician moved with the music. The big, bearded man jiggled in tune to the beat. Adrian laughed then went to the bar and ordered a straight shot of vodka.
“Oh wow,” a girl squealed at his right. “You’re that magician guy, aren’t you?”
Adrian looked over. A woman with bleached-blonde hair stood with two equally slender brunettes. They were dressed in miniskirts and halter tops that clung to their bodies like latex gloves.
Adrian grinned instantly. “Are you American?”
“Yes,” the blonde said. “I’m Cami.”
“Did you see my show, Cami?”
“Earlier today. You were amazing, wasn’t he, girls?”
“Better than any magician I’ve ever seen,” one of the brunettes said.
The women blurred before his vision, but still Adrian ordered a round of shots. The potion had gone to his head before he left the apartment. He wasn’t all there, but that was fine with him. Even warlocks needed a night off.
“Do you want to dance with us?” Cami asked.
He looked over the three girls. Even through his blurred vision, he could see they were attractive. It probably wouldn’t take much effort to get one or all three back to the apartment. That would teach his nan to abandon him.
Adrian gave a wicked grin, stood majestically from his bar stool, and held out an arm for each of the brunettes. Cami smiled with straight white teeth and led their group into the throng. The space inside the club was tight, and the girls molded themselves against Adrian at once.
He was drowning in halter tops, high heels, and skin—soft, feminine skin. Three beauties shimmied, shaking all up and down his body. Nothing mattered at the moment. And then he saw those eyes—like a beacon through the fog.
And she looked pissed. She always looked pissed when she looked at him.
She stood with her back to the wall, her friends moving toward the bar. Adrian thought to wink at her before she took off after her group, but Gray held her ground and did not take her eyes off him for a second.
The moment Cami turned her back to Adrian and thrust her ass against him, Gray charged into the crowd. Adrian’s grin widened.
Gray stormed up to the cluster he’d melted into and snapped her fingers three times. The women around him cried out when their clothing turned to men’s trousers and T-shirts.
Laughter erupted a few feet away when three young men ended up in halter tops and miniskirts. The women scattered like fireworks exploding right before they faded into the night sky.
Gray stormed up to him. Adrian was too far gone to care. He chuckled as though amused by her show. He may have even clapped. “I’m surprised you didn’t put them in straitjackets.”
Gray seemed to relax a fraction. She smiled slightly. “Yeah, well, I only have a fifty-foot radius to go on so . . .” She shrugged.
“I’m surprised you didn’t put me in one,” Adrian said. He winked at her and flashed her a smile that would surely get him slapped. He’d welcome it. Not like he’d feel it anyway. He was flying high on club potion.
Gray stepped so close he could smell her shampoo—guava or coconut, something tropical. “I bet you’d like that,” Gray said into his ear. “Being all tied up and at my mercy.” She walked her fingers up his arm to his shoulder and tugged gently on his earlobe. She pulled her fingers back and whispered so close to his eardrum, he could feel her lips on him. “Or would you like it better if I were tied up?”
That’s when he knew she was a glamour and a damn good one. Not only were the looks and voice right on, she even made the standard Graylee expressions. He didn’t care. Adrian crushed her against him and locked her into a lip-bruising kiss. He made love to her mouth. It was the only chance he’d get, and he was taking it. He wouldn’t let her breathe if he could help it.
Glamour girl pulled back and gasped. “Do you really think I’m going to just stand here and take this?”
Adrian maneuvered her away from the crowd and pushed her up against the nearest wall. His words hissed inside her ear. “Take it or leave now because tonight I’m getting what I want.”
Her eyes flashed. Not the glint of club lights reflecting from her widened stare, but actual sparks that moved across the blue-green of her irises.
What sort of witch was stupid enough to mess with him this way? Didn’t matter, Adrian would get vengeance later—but first he’d get what he wanted.
He mashed against the Gray look-alike as though trying to go through her to dry hump the wall. Gray groaned. “God, I shouldn’t want you, but I do.”
Oh yes, she’d do nicely.
Adrian nibbled on Gray’s lower lip before sliding his tongue inside her mouth. She tried to match his movement, but it came across awkward, adding to the illusion of a green girl of eighteen.
“Go easy,” she said, almost pleadingly, when Adrian pulled back for breath.
Her mouth opened slightly and she looked at him all doe-eyed, tilting her head in silent appeal.
“This is wrong,” she said, shaking her head. “Wrong, wrong, wrong. What’s wrong with me?”
Damn, this was a good hallucination. Adrian would have to make a note of the potion he’d used and brew up more.
“I feel like I’m on drugs,” Gray said. “Like I have no control over myself.”
“You feel like you’re on drugs?” Adrian laughed. “I’m looped, you hear me? And you know it.”
That elicited a sheepish grin.
“Oh, you like that, do you?” Adrian asked huskily. He tried to sneer at the glamour girl. On his face it felt more like a grin. “You know you’re going to pay for this, don’t you? Once my head has cleared I’m going to hunt you down and make you rue the day you pulled this ruse over me.”
Gray lifted her head. “Oh, I know. You live for vengeance, Adrian Hedrick Montez.” Each word was like a verbal caress. “You thrive on havoc and disorder. You live for revenge. Haven’t you tormented me enough?”
“No,” Adrian said. His eyes darkened the way hers had sparked. “Not nearly enough.” He leaned in to taste her lips once more. He could have kissed her all night until both their lips blistered and bruised, but Adrian had no intention of staying in the Rex Room. He’d thought to bring home three girls, but this one was worth all three combined. Even if she were a glamour.
Adrian broke away. He gripped her hand and led her to the club’s entrance. Too bad he couldn’t teleport another person home with him.
Outside the club, she resisted his pull. “Where are you taking me?”
“Back to my place.”
She chewed on her lower lip. “What about your nan?”
Impressive. Glamour girl had done her homework.
“The old bird took off,” Adrian said, flicking his wrist in the air.
Gray leaned back to look at him. “Then I guess it’s good you have me for company.”
“Company,” Adrian said with a sneer. “Let’s be clear. I’m not bringing you home to trade tricks. Once you walk through the door I’m taking you straight to my bed. No nightcap, no chit-chat, and no pleasantries.”
Gray lifted her nose in the air. “I can pass on the nightcap. I’d say you’ve had enough to drink already. And when has anything between us ever been pleasant?” Her eyes narrowed.
She looked so much like the real thing, Adrian had stopped referring to her as glamour girl in his head and started thinking of her as the true Graylee Perez. The witch’s mannerisms were especially unnerving. Between the potion and drinking, Adrian was having a difficult time grasping on to reality.
Gray studied his face carefully. Her lips twitched.
“Why are you smiling?” Adrian demanded. Blitzed or not, he wouldn’t be made a fool by some sorceress out for revenge.
Who could it be? Perhaps he had royally pissed off one of his clients targets. Adrian was used to doing the avenging, not being set upon. The thought of standing on the receiving end made his blood boil. It wasn’t going to happen.
Some clever witch had discovered his infatuation with Gray and was trying to pull on his heart strings before ripping them out altogether.
Too bad for her his heart was locked so tight not even Houdini—if resurrected—could break through.
If she thought wearing Gray’s face would protect her, she was sorely mistaken. First he’d bed her then he’d punish the witch—maybe simultaneously.
“You’re acting strange,” Gray said. “Exactly how much did you drink tonight?”
“Not enough to have the wool pulled over me. Who sent you?” Adrian demanded.
Gray squinted. “What are you talking about?” She slowed to a stop.
A group of boisterous Spanish men skirted them. Their words sounded like nothing more than gibberish to Adrian. Unlike Gray, he didn’t speak the language. French was more his speed. One of the young men gave Gray’s tanned legs an appreciative glance, going so far as to lift his eyebrows up and down.
Suddenly, Adrian understood her earlier desire to snap the women at the club into straightjackets. Adrian would love nothing more than to outfit the young bucks inside bulky moon suits—complete with helmets. But magic wasn’t necessary, not the way Gray stared at him as though he was the only man alive. Her gaze hadn’t strayed from him since the moment she entered the club.
Gray placed a hand on her hip. “You have every reason not to trust me, but you can’t expect me to apologize for what happened back home. I couldn’t just sit back while you turned the town upside down and messed with my friends.”
Adrian’s lip curled back. “You mean Raj?”
Gray huffed. “I got over Raj months ago.”
“And the Spaniard?” Adrian’s jaw clenched. Gray’s friend Hannah had claimed Gray’s heart was recently broken by a local.
“Was just a distraction.”
Adrian eye’s dropped to Gray’s lips as she answered. “And me?” he asked.
“You’re a diamond in the rough,” Gray said, eyes sparkling as she stared into his. “I didn’t realize it at first.” She chewed on her lower lip briefly. “Actually I didn’t realize it until a couple hours ago, but then it hit me. I owe my existence to you.”
Adrian snorted. “What I did to you was a mistake.”
Gray frowned. “You think I’m a mistake?”
“Never,” Adrian said. Glamour or not, he wouldn’t allow anyone to consider the duplicate Gray a mistake.
Maybe this really was Gray. Maybe she was on the rebound. What better way to get back at Raj for choosing her duplicate over her? Or maybe this was payback for what Adrian had done to her on stage.
A larger group approached and split apart, surrounding them like the current of a river rushing past two impassable rocks. Unlike the earlier group, Gray took notice of this one and stepped closer to Adrian to make room for them to pass. Her body pressed against his.
Before the group had cleared, Adrian’s lips were on Gray’s. They stood making out on the street for several minutes before Adrian broke away. He took her firmly by the hand. This time she didn’t resist.
Adrian set a brisk pace toward the apartment he’d borrowed—unbeknownst to the out-of-town residents. It was conveniently located near Barcelona’s popular outdoor market on the Ramblas.
As they moved away from the hustle and bustle of the clubs, the streets quieted. Small side streets bisected the city in all directions creating a labyrinth throughout.
The warmth of Gray’s hand was not enough. Adrian wanted all of her, and he didn’t want to wait a second longer. At the next street corner, he yanked Gray around the bend and pushed her into the dark alcove along a stone wall.
Gray’s gasp was quickly drowned by Adrian’s rough kisses. He held her by the nape of her neck. His free hand slid down her back and kept sliding until he reached the hem of her sundress. The flimsy material bunched inside his fist. He ratcheted the dress up to her hips, exposing white cotton panties.
Gray grabbed Adrian by both wrists.
“Wait,” she said.
Here’s where the witch came clean. Adrian smirked. “If you’re worried about an audience, I’ll put up a cloaking spell.”
Gray pushed him away. “Not here. Not in an alley. And what about protection?”
Adrian looked her up and down. “You’re not on anything?”
Gray wrinkled her nose. “Why would I be? I’m not, you know,” she said, pulling an arm free to circle it in the air, “active.”
“What about the Spaniard?”
Gray’s lower lip puffed out. “No, thank goodness. At least my first time won’t be with a cheater.”
“What makes you think I’m the faithful type?” Adrian asked, raising both eyebrows.
The real Graylee Perez never had a kind thought or word to say about him. He better get the imposter on her back, spread eagle soon before she ruined the illusion with her compliments.
“I trust you,” Gray said.
“You? Trust me?” Adrian sneered.
“You’ve proven your loyalty to me again and again,” Gray said somberly. “And all I’ve given you in return is grief. That changes now.”
“Why now?” Adrian asked, leaning in, wishing it were true.
Gray shook her head. “Moment of clarity.” She gave a slight shrug. “I don’t know how to explain it. I only know what I feel.”
Adrian considered her a moment before saying, “Very well. You might not be on a protection spell, but I am.”
Gray folded her arms over her chest. “How many times have you used this spell?”
Adrian snorted. Why not just come out and ask how many women he’d slept with. “Jealous?” he asked, sarcasm lacing each syllable.
Gray returned Adrian’s smirk with a cheeky smile of her own. “At least you know what you’re doing.”
Her saucy confidence was one of the many characteristics that had attracted Adrian to her.
Gray stepped away from the wall. “Very well, Adrian, let’s go to your place.”
Adrian tapped his fingers on his thigh, suddenly suspicious in a whole new way. What if this really was Gray trying to trick him into inviting her home? It wouldn’t be the first time she’d double-crossed him. The prank at Nolan’s had taken a devious turn when Gray placed a confusion spell on him and drawn blood from his arm in an attempt to take away his powers.
Adrian straightened to his full height, glowering at Gray. “You better not try anything funny, Gray.”
She smiled sweetly. “I told you, I’ve had a change of heart. I’ll prove it to you.”
“How?” Adrian challenged.
Her lashes dropped demurely. “How do you think?”
Damn, she was sexy and sweet all rolled into one. Adrian’s groin tightened. Whether or not she really was Gray, whatever her motives, it was worth the risk. Adrian grasped her by the hand and led her home. No more detours.
Once they reached the apartment, Adrian steered Gray down the hall, only stopping to push her against the wall and kiss her before maneuvering her toward the bedroom. At the end of the hall, he stopped in front of the doorframe.
“Last chance to leave.”
Gray stepped around him and walked inside the bedroom. She turned to face him, eyebrows lifting in determination and shoulders back.
Adrian followed her in watchfully, not letting his guard down for a second.
“You don’t have to chase me anymore,” Gray said. “I’m yours and you’re mine.” She lifted a hand, flattening her palm as though slapping the air. The door slammed shut behind him.
As you wish, little witch. Let the games begin.
Adrian snapped his fingers, causing flames to jump from a candelabra on top of the dresser.
Gray backed up, eyes glimmering in the candlelight.
Adrian slunk toward her. He need only snap his fingers to remove her clothes, but he wanted something more hands on.
Standing within an inch of Gray, he reached for the hemline of her sundress and lifted it over her head. Easy. Quick. Like pulling cloth off a table. Eyes on Gray, Adrian tossed the dress aside. Her arms flew to her chest even though she had on underclothes. White cotton bra to match her white panties. Gray hugged herself. Her face turned scarlet. Was she blushing?
“Go easy,” Gray said. “This is my first time.”
Adrian snorted. This witch was too much. “The hell it is,” he said.
Gray’s eyes flashed. “It doesn’t matter what Charlene did in this body. It wasn’t me.”
The witch even knew about Gray’s twin sister. Someone had gone to a lot of work to play the part of Graylee Perez.
Well, hell. If he couldn’t have the real her at least he could have the Graylee Perez fantasy experience.
Taking Gray’s dress off had been fun. Adrian didn’t bother with his own clothes. He lifted his fingers and snapped them off in a flash. This wasn’t the first time he’d stood naked in front of her. He’d snapped his clothes off and gotten into bed with Gray’s old nemesis, Nolan, as part of a revenge prank they’d cooked up back in Washington state. Gray had quickly looked away. This time she stared directly at his erection… and kept ogling it as though she’d never seen one before.
If Gray stared any longer, Adrian might defy nature and grow an extra inch.
“You want it, don’t you?” he asked, his voice turning husky.
Gray lifted her head and looked him in the eye. “I want you.”
Adrian prowled toward her. Their eyes locked. As he approached, Gray stepped back. Adrian’s arm shot out and grabbed her around the waist. He pulled her into him and pressed against her. Beside his ear, Gray sucked in a breath.
Adrian’s arms snaked around her back and unfastened her bra. He leaned back only to pull it from her arms and take in the curve of her breasts and glorious nipples. Adrian relished the press of them on his chest as he invaded her space. Gray’s body quaked in his arms.
The witch could only hold on to the glamour for so long. It was a difficult spell that required full concentration. How would she hold up when he entered her? When he brought her to orgasm?
Time to find out.
Adrian lowered Gray to the bed. Once her feet left the ground, he slipped off her panties, balled them up and tossed them across the room. Gray grasped the bedspread and attempted to cover herself. Adrian pulled it off and straddled her on top of the bed before she could try to cover that exquisite body again.
He nudged her legs apart. They were smooth, toned, and tan from the Spanish sun. Adrian lowered his body toward hers. He kept expecting an attack—for her to suddenly fly at him or whisper a spell. Only heavy breathing broke through her lips.
Unable to wait any longer, he entered her in one thrust.
Gray gasped. Her hips arched. She threw her head back into the covers.
Adrian buried himself inside her.
Gray grabbed hold of his shoulders, eyes ablaze.
How poetic would it be if this really was Gray? Mrs. Perez had ordered Adrian to stay away from her family. How would the woman react if she knew that at this second he was buried deep inside her daughter while Gray’s hands explored his body?
Soft fingers trailed down Adrian’s spine. He shivered and thrust faster to cover the sudden tremor through his body. Part of him wanted to weep with happiness. He shoved that emotion aside.
Adrian rolled onto his back, lifting Gray as he did without breaking contact. Now she was on top, breasts fully exposed and hair tumbling down her shoulders.
She flushed scarlet.
“Ride me,” Adrian said.
Gray chewed on her lower lip uncertainly. Her shyness gave him nearly as much pleasure as her earlier whimpers of pleasure.
When she made no movement, Adrian gripped her by the hips and rocked her body over his.
Gray sucked in a breath. Her eyes fluttered and almost closed.
“Like this,” Adrian said, grinding into her.
Gray rocked gently against him. A guttural moan tore through Adrian’s lips. It wasn’t a deep or frenzied motion, but seeing that body, that face move on top of him while he penetrated her could have made him come on the spot if he didn’t grit his teeth and hold on.
Gray smiled suddenly. Apparently encouraged by his reaction, she rocked harder.
Adrian breathed in puffs of air. Much as he enjoyed having her ride him, if he didn’t stop her soon he was going to come. This wasn’t some flash in the pan quickie. The witch had pushed her way into his life and he wasn’t letting her leave his bed anytime soon. He wanted her in every way possible. Most of all, he wanted her soul, but it was the one thing he couldn’t have.
Adrian lifted Gray. As he slid out, Gray uttered a cry of protest.
“What are you…”
Before she could get in another word, Adrian flipped her onto her stomach. She pushed herself up, which is exactly the way Adrian wanted her. On all fours.
Gray crawled forward. Adrian positioned himself behind her. He paused for only a second before reaching between her legs. Adrian spread her open with one hand and guided himself inside with the other. This time he entered slowly, deliberately, sliding in inch by inch.
Gray’s moan ripped through the room.
The corners of Adrian’s mouth twitched. He pulled out and shoved himself back in. Grabbing her by the hips, he rocked forward with his hips and torso.
Good, she was right where he wanted her. On the edge. It wouldn’t take many more thrusts to push her over.
Adrian’s pulse quickened.
Gray’s gasps and cries turned into one continuous moan.
“Oh god,” she cried. “Oh god!”
If she moaned any louder, he might explode before her.
Not a chance. Not until her body buckled and she screamed in ecstasy.
Adrian pulled Gray’s hips against him. She tightened around his cock. The big O was imminent. As nice as her ass was positioned in front of him, it was a shame to miss her expression when Gray’s final scream erupted through the room.
This was better. This way he wouldn’t have to see her face when it changed. No witch could hold this kind of spell during orgasm. And there’s no way this was Gray. No way that Adrian had gotten the one thing he wanted most in this godforsaken world.
Immediately following Gray’s ear splintering cry, her body went limp. The color of her hair didn’t change. Still sun-kissed blonde.
Adrian resisted the urge to gather it inside his fist and pull back as he sought his own release.
Her hips sagged as though she had no energy left to hold up her own weight. Adrian lifted them up. Just a few more seconds. She was really tight now that she’d reached climax.
With three more thrusts, Adrian bellowed and collapsed over her. They fell to the bed.
Adrian fought back the urge to kiss the witch’s shoulder. He pulled out. She shuddered briefly.
“Wow,” she whispered. “That was just… wow.”
Adrian smiled. “It was good?”
“Like magic.” She snuggled into the pillow then went still.
Adrian watched her carefully. Several seconds later he heard soft, rhythmic breathing.
Was she asleep?
“Hey,” he said, nudging her shoulder gently. “You awake?”
Very well. Get some rest, little witch. The night wasn’t over yet.
Adrian wouldn’t get any sleep that night. He couldn’t possibly. His heart beat erratically. This was the moment when he should be satiated. He should lay on his back, head resting on his arms, and bask in his triumph.
Instead, he sidled up beside Gray and wrapped her in his arms. Gray snuggled against him in her sleep, sighing dreamily before resuming steady breaths.
Tremors ran from Adrian’s fingertips to his toes. He shivered. It didn’t matter how secure she felt in his arms or how much he wanted her to stay—to be Gray. If it really was Gray, she could disappear in an instant. He’d taught her how to do that and she’d used it against him the first chance she got.
No witch in her right mind would ever love him.
But that didn’t stop Adrian from wishing—his heart yearning for the impossible.