Tag Archives: Gwendolyn Cease

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Time for a flash fic. We're writing flash fic inspired by Travis Collin's "Call Me Crazy"

I had a hard time with this one - don't know why. Finally went with pulling some lines and coming up with something from those... The lines I went with are:

To the life we had
To the rules we broke
To the plans we made together that you left to me alone
To every dream, every good night kiss
And so you had to leave
Did you have to leave, like this


I stared at the number on the screen, chest aching. I shouldn’t call him. I knew that. Really I did. But… It felt like I needed to. Until now, I’d had no way of getting ahold of him. I’d had nothing but memories of the life we’d built together. And the unbelievable pain his leaving had caused.

Then, I’d heard Ryan talking to him on the phone—fuck, just hearing his name had jumpstarted something in me, made me feel alive when I’d just been existing all these months.

I hadn’t hesitated, when Ryan had ducked into the bathroom, in grabbing his phone, finding Dominic’s number, and plugging it into my contacts.

That’d been four days ago. Four days of telling myself I shouldn’t call. Four days of remembering the years we’d spent together, happy and in love, and dreaming of a future. Four days of picturing him in my head, imagining his smiles, his soft, sleepy goodnight kisses, the way he would look at me as if I was all he needed. Four days of knowing I was going to call, eventually, because how could I not? Finding his number, now, was a sign, right? A sign that we could make this work again. All I needed to do was call.

Mind made up, and fingers trembling, I hit “call” and brought the phone to my ear.

“Hello?”

Oh god, his voice. My stomach clenched at the sound. Memories had nothing on actually hearing it again. I wet my lips and swallowed the lump lodged in my throat.

“Dom,” I breathed.

A long silence. I pulled the phone away, saw the time still counting up on the screen, then tried again. “Dom, it’s me.”

“You shouldn’t— Fuck.” He sighed heavily. “Goodbye, Grant.”

“No, no! Wait. Please! Don’t hang up,” I pleaded, hating the fact I was begging but, at the same time, grateful because I could still hear him breathing on the other end. “I just needed to hear your voice. I…I…I miss you.” When he didn’t respond right away, I asked, “Don’t you miss me?”

“No.”

I frowned at the harsh reply then shook my head.

“You don’t mean that,” I whispered. “You love me. I love you. We’re meant to be together. All the plans we made…the dreams we had for a life together… That doesn’t just disappear, Dom. It just doesn’t.” I shoved a hand through my hair, pulling slightly on the strands. “I’ve been thinking, remembering all of that. I can’t stop thinking about you. How you look when—”

“Well, try harder,” he snapped. “Or if you want something to think about, something to remember, remember that last night. Or were you too drunk to remember clearly? Because I remember it all too well.”

“I said I was sorry, and I am. I never meant to hurt you like that. It won’t ever happen again,” I vowed, even as his beautiful face, bruised and bloody, filled my mind and made me want to vomit.

“I’ve heard that before. Believed it the first couple times you said it.” He sniffed and cleared his throat. “The man I fell in love with left long before I walked out the door, Grant. All the plans, the dreams? Were destroyed long before that night, and you know it.”

“Dom, please, give me one cha—”

“No. No more chances. You already used them all up.” Then, voice quieter, softer, he added, “Keep getting help, Grant. Get better. Be happy.”

The click echoed in my ear—just as loudly as the slammed door all those months ago had, and yet somehow, more final than anything I’d ever heard.

“How can I without you?”

Of course, that was the question I'd been asking myself since that night. And hearing him again, I was farther from an answer than ever.


Bronwyn Green | Deelylah Mullin | Gwendolyn Cease | Kris Norris | Siobhan Muir

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Time for another Promptly Penned post. We all start with the same prompt and see where it takes up.

Unlike most of the prompts—which end up within in the story itself—this week’s prompt is a scenario.

While cleaning up the attic, he/she finds a box of glass balls with names on them. One drops and, as it shatters, a person appears.

So, here goes nothing…


Kayleigh Hughes wrinkled her nose as she looked around the dusty old attic. There was so much freaking stuff. How on earth was she supposed to sort all this? She poked at a gaudy coat hanging from a rack full of equally ugly-ass clothes. Didn’t Gramps get rid of anything?

She sighed. Well, she could kiss her weekend goodbye. Clearing the attic alone was going to take that much time, let alone the rest of the house. She rolled her eyes as she heard the raised voices downstairs. Well, at least she wasn’t under Gramps’ supervision like Andy was as he worked on the main level. The older man—who had raised the two of them—was not happy about leaving his home and moving in with Andy. And he wasn’t shy about bitching about it, that was for sure.

Which was exactly why Kayleigh had hightailed it up to the attic, but now that she was here, she didn’t even know where to start. With another sigh, that morphed into a violent sneeze, she grabbed a couple books that sat atop a box and flipped through the yellowed pages of one. Spellbooks. Looked like her grandmother’s handwriting. Definitely keep. She set them aside gently.

She lifted the flaps to the box in front of her and frowned. Glass balls, nearly a dozen, of them filled the small container. Kayleigh reached for one but yanked her hand back at the jolt of power that raced through her when her fingertips touched the surface.

What the hell?

Bracing herself, magical shields firmly in place, she again reached for one of the orbs. Grasping it carefully, she turned it around. Writing caught her eye, and she squinted in the crappy light.

Henry Thames.

That sounded vaguely familiar, but she couldn’t quite place it… She peered down at the other balls—all had names etched into them.

Seriously…what…the…hell?

This was not good. She wasn’t as proficient with magic as her grandparents, and Andy, were. Her power was more instinctual, and she’d never liked devoting hours to the study of it. But she knew that there was no way whatever this was could be good.

She took a deep breath, then shouted, “Andy!”

“What?”

Kayleigh cringed. He already sounded pissed off. But nothing for it. She had no clue what these things were, but they reeked of magic, and that was for big brother to deal with. Always had been.

“Come here!” she called back, fingers sliding over the smooth glass.

She jolted and blinked when colors swirled within the sphere. Holding it closer, she frowned. Nothing. No colors, no movement. Must have been a trick of the lig—

“What?”

With a shriek, Kayleigh spun around at the sound of Andy’s voice, and the ball slipped from her grasp. As it shattered on the wood floor, a cloud of color—identical to the ones she’d just seen in ball itself—billowed up beside her. Coughing, she staggered back.

“Phillip Hughes!”

Kayleigh fell straight on her freaking ass at the strange angry voice—and the sight of a tall dark-haired man standing where the glass had broken.

“Son of a bitch.” Her brother… Sounding more pissed than before, with an edge of exasperation.

“Andy?” The other man shook his head then looked down at the box next to him. “Well, fuck.” He turned his gaze back to Andy. “Again? Really?”

Her brother sighed and shoved his fingers through his hair. “I told you he was getting bad, Henry. Not fit to be on his own anymore.”

“Yeah, I figured that out,” Henry said, drolly. He picked up the box and moved toward the door. “Let’s get this taken care of then we’ll deal with Phillip."

Henry? That’d been the name on the ball…and now he was… And they were basically acting like she wasn’t standing right here!

“Wha—“ She pushed to her feet and glared at the men. “What the hell is going on here?”

Andy waved a hand. “Don’t worry, Kayls. I’ve got this.” He turned on his heel and headed down the stairs, Henry right behind him. As they descended, Andy yelled, “Gramps! What the fuck did I tell you about collecting! You can’t just keep people you daft old man!”

Collecting….keeping people…he’s got this? Oh hell no! She raced after them, wondering what crazy shit Gramps had gotten them into.


Bronwyn Green | Gwendolyn Cease | Kris Norris

 

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We're talking our top 10 story tropes today. Jumping right in....

Workplace Romance - Love in the workplace, and all the awkwardness that can ensue...sign me up. I was actually taken aback when I realized I've never written a workplace romance...how is that even possible? A frickin' tragedy, that...and should be remedied in the future. 

Returning Home - Especially when home is a small town and there are issues. Maybe it's the small town girl in me that loves that setting, I don't know, but I really enjoy stories with this trope.

Fling to a Thing - I love when one or both characters go into it with the expectation that it's gonna just be a fling - all short-term -  and then, it becomes so much more. With feelings, even. Le sigh.

Age difference - I will be honest, I tend to go for the Older Woman/Younger Man before an Older Man/Younger Woman, but I adore them both. So very much. Like an unhealthy amount of adoration.

Reunion/Second Chance - Who doesn't love second chances? Okay, I'm sure there are people who don't like those stories, but that's not me. I quite enjoy seeing characters with histories - often bad one with legitimate things that drove them apart and have kept them apart - coming back together and, ultimately making it work.

Redemption - Okay, one of my favorite, FAVORITE things is when a character makes good. Whether it's one of the protaganists or one of the baddies... I want the tragic back story, I want to understand why they did what they did, I want to CRY for them and root for them and see them better and happier and in love and all that.

Angst/Hurt/Comfort - O...M...G I eat this up. So much, it's not even funny. Seriously, with a freaking spoon! Everyone who knows me knows I adore the angst SO FREAKING MUCH. Just take a look at my Albion's Circle series, and you'll know just how much... 😉

Secret Relationship - Please, secret relationship is prime real estate to build angst, baby. Sign me up. Also, even though it's not required for me,  I dp love when there is humor woven in, too - like, how they keep it secret, what they tell others, times when they slip in conversation or are almost caught...

Enemies to Lovers - A very close second for my absolute top trope. An enemies-to-lovers story will suck me right in. From the initial attraction to how they decide to deal with it...angry sex, anyone? Yes, please...to how they make it work.

Friends to Lovers - This has always been a favorite of mine and would be my instant answer if someone asked me for an absolute favorite. The first book I ever finished and published was a friends to lovers. I love seeing the hero and heroine figure out how they're going to navigate the change in their relationship, especially when they know each other really well and they're thrown for a loop.

Honorable Mentions - Professor/Student (but not in a creepy way LOL), Soul Mates/Destined (but it totally has to be done right...no instalove with no conflict except external...) and Them Against The World (when no one else thinks the couple will make it, or even understands how they're together...)

*Fling to a Thing
*Age Difference (Older Woman/Younger Man)
*Secret Relationship
*Secret Relationship
*Angst/Hurt/Comfort

~Within the Albion's Circle series~
*Angst/Hurt/Comfort
*Redemption
*Reunion/Second Chance
*Friends to Lovers
*Enemies to Lovers...kinda
*Soulmates/Destined

~Within the Seeking Shelter series~
*Fling to a Thing
*Angst/Hurt/Comfort
*Friends to Lovers
*Them Against the World (in a very literal way...)


Bronwyn Green | Gwendolyn Cease

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It's time for another flash fiction - this one inspired by Halsey's "Ghost".

I'm again visiting the world of my Albion's Circle series. This takes place not long before the series begins. A small glimpse into Anna's head...before she finds out that her dreams are more than she realizes.


~Anna~

Music pulsed.

Lights flashed.

Bodies pressed against me. From every side. The touches, the scents, the heat… All of it, surrounded me, filled my senses, driving everything else out.

I closed my eyes, as anxious to escape what was happening as I was desperate for it. I sighed in relief as hands circled my waist and pulled me back against a very hard, very male body. I leaned into him, letting my head fall to his shoulder, as our bodies began to move.

His lips glided along my ear, and his breath tickled as he whispered, “Fuck, you feel amazing…”

Jamie.

My heart sped up. From excitement, from the knowledge of what the night would bring…from shame. Shame that I was using him. Again. And an even deeper, more painful shame that probably wouldn’t be the last time.

Hands firm on my hips, Jamie turned me to face him. I opened my eyes and, tipping my head back, met his gaze. Swallowing the immediate disappointment I always felt when I looked into his gray-blue eyes—and hating myself even more for it—I forced a smile.

He grinned then jerked his head toward the front of the club. “Let’s get out of here.”

Heat coiled in my belly, and I trembled slightly as I nodded. He grabbed my hand, and as I let him lead me through the crowd, I tried desperately to hold on to the excitement and desire. And not think about the tendrils of dread and regret weaving their way through.

I could only hold it off for so long, I knew. It was inevitable and would fill me to bursting soon enough. Because I wasn’t going to find what I was looking for in Jamie’s bed, in his arms, any more than I’d found it is this club or with any other person. I gritted my teeth as another face flashed in my mind. Another set of blue eyes—clear and piercing and haunting.

I shoved all away as Jamie pushed me up against his car and took my mouth. I let myself to fall into the kiss, to become lost in the bliss of his touch, because however temporary, it dulled the edges, softened the harshness of not having what I yearned for.

And made me forget, for just a little while, that I was searching for something I couldn’t reach. Because it wasn’t real.


Bronwyn Green | Deelylah Mullin | Gwendolyn Cease
Kayleigh Jones | Kris Norris | Siobhan Muir

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Though they're numbered, they aren't really in a particular order...

10 - Trustworthy - I write romances, so this is a big one. If the hero and heroine can't trust each other, there's a big problem. I try to write characters who are there for each other, there for their families and friends, who are someone who can be counted on, no matter what.

9 - Artistic - I love to write artists... Don't really know why. Maybe it's because I don't have an artistic bone in my body, although I certainly wish I did. It is certainly a trait I admire - in what I write, in what I read, and in real life.

8 - Confident - Oh, confidence is sexy. Not saying the character doesn't have moments of insecurity. They most certainly do, but whether it's something that develops as the character grows, or it's confidences in a specific aspect of their life or with themselves, I find that very, very appealing.

7 - Honest - I don't like liars, so I certainly don't like writing them. Also, I like writing characters who are honest with themselves...even if it takes them a while to get there.

6 - Persistent - I don't want to write people who give up easily. I want them to fight for what they want and need. So much more satisfying that way. 🙂

5 - Creative - Not the same as artistic. It could be creative in how they show they love someone, how they solve a problem, how they talk to their lover, how they are in bed...

4 - Sensual - Kind of a must for erotic romance. 😉 But I really like to write characters who explore that side of themselves.

3 - Humorous - I LOVE a sense of humor. I try to write characters who have one. LOL Who like to have fun and laugh.

2 - Empathetic - Being able to understand and express emotion is a big character trait I love to write. Even the struggle to be empathetic is awesome to explore on the page.

1 - Strong - I don't necessarily mean physically strong here. For example, there's nothing wrong with heroine who kicks ass and takes name, but a heroine who isn't that, but stands up for who she is and what she believes, and loves passionately and goes after what she wants...she is no less strong, IMO. I definitely tend to focus more on the emotional/internal strength than physical, I think.

BONUS - Emotionally Broken - I don't know a better way to phrase this, but it has been brought to my attention frequently (LOL) that I "break" my characters. Now, I love me some angst and pain, I will admit that. But books that have that in abundance are, for me, the most satisfying to write. To take a character through a trauma and have them at their lowest (or close to) and then write their rise from that, the re-building of themselves....OMG...it's the best. 🙂


Bronwyn Green | Deelylah Mullin | Gwendolyn Cease | Kris Norris

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It's time for another promptly penned - we all start with the same prompt and see what we come up with. This is part of an idea I have floating around in my head... The actual prompt is in bold within the fic. 🙂


“Ma’am, you can’t go down there.”

Cecilia froze at the loud announcement. Then, mortification washed hotly over her body as she realized her leg was still hiked up in the air. Like a damned dog about to take a piss on a hydrant. And wasn’t this just the fucking cherry on this perfect shit sundae of a night?

Lowering her foot back to the ground, she took a deep breath and tried to reclaim even a fraction of dignity. Coming up woefully short—and getting to the point she really didn’t even care anymore—she turned.

“The floor down that aisle has just been washed and waxed. You can’t go down there.” The store employee rolled his eyes then, with a sneer, added, “That’s why there’s tape there...ma’am.”

Fisting her hands, Cecilia focused on the bit of her nails in her palms and counted to ten. She didn’t need this. She just wanted this night to be done. She’d escaped dinner her parents, their meddling, the ambush of her cheating ex…

“Look,” she said, trying to keep the sharpness out of her voice, “I only need to grab one thing and—”

Ma’am.” Well, he certainly wasn’t trying to keep anything out of his voice. “You cannot go down there.”

“I just—”

“It’s a liability issue,” he continued, talking right over her. “We can’t risk a customer injuring themselves, which is why we have the tape up. Please move along, ma’am.”

Annoyance flared, and Cecilia took a deep breath, and even as she opened her mouth to speak, she knew she was going to regret this come tomorrow. Hell, come ten minutes from now, but she was simply out of fucks to give.

“All right.” She bit out each word, glaring at the pimply-faced, condescending child lecturing her. “Then, why don’t you hop on over and grab me a package of toilet paper, so I can ‘move along’?”

“I can’t do that, ma’am.” He folded his hands in front of him.

“You can’t do that?” she repeated. “All right. Can you tell me where else in this store stocks toilet paper? You are a twenty-four-hour store, aren’t you?” she said quickly before he could answer. “I should be able to come in here, at any point during the twenty-four freaking hours of the day, and be able to get what I need, right? That’s the point of this place, isn’t it? If a customer can't even count on being able to—”

Her throat tightened suddenly, cutting off her tirade, and her vision blurred. Well, this was it. She’d hit Rock Bottom. Yelling at a kid about toilet paper in the middle of the grocery store… Yeah, Rock fucking Bottom.

“There’s no need to raise your voice,” the employee hissed. “I’m s—”

“Whatever.” Cecilia shook her head frantically and, fighting the emotions choking her, spun on her heel.

Get out, get out, just get out, was all that ran through her mind as she rushed from the store and hurried across the lot to her car. Breath hitching painfully, hands shaking, she pulled her keys from her purse…and promptly dropped them.

“Fuck.” She twisted and, back against the car, slid down until she landed on her ass. “Get a hold of yourself,” she muttered.

So, it had been a shitty day. People had shitty days and didn’t freak out at innocent—albeit annoying—grocery store employees over stupid things. She swallowed thickly. Okay, it was more than just a shitty day. It’d been a series of shitty days…weeks…hell, months. And every time she thought she had a handle on things, that she was making some sort of progress and getting back on track, something or someone came along and knocked her for a loop.

Tonight was just another one of those times. She hadn’t expected Nick to show up at her parents’ house. She sure as hell hadn’t expected to learn they had invited him. Or to have them plead his case for reconciliation.

She pressed the heels of her hands to her eyes. They’d backed her lying, cheating asshole of an ex-husband. Accused her of being selfish and unreasonable. How did she deal with that? Where did she even start? By freaking out in public, apparently. She laughed—a strangled, desperate sound that quickly morphed into a sob she tried desperately to pull back inside.

“Oh, hey, now.”

Cecilia startled at the deep voice and, dropping her hands, found herself staring into the clearest blue eyes she’d ever seen. Eyes that seemed even bluer for the smudged black lining them. She couldn’t move, couldn’t make her mouth form words as she took in the man crouching in front of her—his shaggy black hair, pierced ears…and lip...his dark shirt with the sleeves rolled up to expose lean forearms, his long almost elegant fingers and the simple silver rings adorning them, his tight black jeans…

“That bastard certainly isn’t worth your tears, caridad,” he continued, voice low and soothing, a hint of an accent she couldn’t quite place. Not British…not exactly. He tilted his head to the side, his full lower lip caught between straight white teeth, and studied her a moment.

“Though, I’m guessing this,” he gestured from her head downward, “isn’t simply because of some loo rolls or a bratty kid with his head up his arse.”

When she continued staring, silently, he sighed. “Well, I can help with one of your problems tonight.” He held up a package of toilet paper and grinned. “Jumped his blasted tape when he wasn’t looking. Can’t have a pretty girl going without the necessities, now, can we?”

Cecilia pressed her lips together, unsure exactly what she was feeling. Whatever it was, whatever this man, with his blue, blue eyes and simple kind act, was pulling from her, it was overwhelming. Almost too much after…after everything. She tried to calm down, to thank him. Then, he reached out and laid his hand on her shoulder. And, she promptly burst into tears.

Well, shit. Apparently, Rock Bottom has a basement, and Cecilia had just tumbled headlong into it.


Bronwyn Green | Gwendolyn Cease | Kris Norris

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Posting late - was camping over the Fourth with the family...

Okay, so top 10 quotes from movies, shows and songs. It's hard to just do 10, to be honest. It's just the tip of the iceberg... But here we go...

10 -

Friends

9 -

Parks & Rec

8 -

Pride & Prejudice

7 -

Merlin

6 -

Hamilton

5 -

Parks & Rec

4 -

Friends

3 -

Merlin

2 -

Parks & Rec

1 - 

Merlin

Aaaaanad a bonus -

Hamilton


Bronwyn Green | Deelylah Mullin | Gwendolyn Cease | Kris Norris

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Today's photo fic takes place in the world of my poor neglected serial "Your Lies".


I sat in the coffee shop, ignoring the buzzing of my phone—been doing that since the conversation with Mom earlier. When I’d told her I wasn’t going to stop seeing Maddock Roberts, that he wasn’t the enemy. Not the way Mom thought he was. Sure, his family embodied the anti-magic movement, but Maddock wasn’t like that. Yeah, when we’d met, he was leading anti-magic rallies on campus and seemed to think along the same lines as his parents, but that had changed. He listened to what I said, what my friends said. He wasn’t unreasonable.

Though he didn’t know I was a magic user. While I didn’t think he was as bad as his family or his friends, I wasn’t at the point I’d out myself that way. I wasn’t stupid. Despite what Mom thought.

I understood where she was coming from. She was worried. I totally got that. But what she was doing—calling and texting constantly to tell me I need to come home, calling Kyle so he was constantly harassing me too. It was infuriating. The last straw though? Finding out she had someone basically spying on me and reporting back to her. This morning was the first time I’d talked to Mom in a week after finding out that little tidbit. And the worst part? She wasn’t even sorry. Not even a little. Just dove right back into how unsafe it was on campus, especially with Maddock in the picture. I’d hung up on her. Felt a little guilty about that—until she kept calling and texting, and within an hour, Kyle was doing the same.

“Hey.”

I jolted and felt my face heat as I met Maddock’s clear green gaze. Shit, I’d lost complete track of time and been too caught up in my thoughts to notice when he’d walked in.

“Hi,” I said, cursing the breathlessness of my voice—though it was a regular occurrence.

Whenever I saw him, the emotions I felt for him were like a punch in the gut. Not to mention my magic swelling, practically reaching for him every time he was near. It was why I wasn’t willing to give this—give him—up with without a fight. Even if a small part of me could concede this was likely going to end poorly…especially when he found out about me. Did that make me naïve? Mom and Kyle would say yes, obviously. But I didn’t think so—not when I was prepared for that possibility. Not when I was going to protect myself for the eventuality that he was going to know that I was the thing his family hated, the very thing he spent his whole life fearing and speaking out against.

“Ready to take off?” He frowned when my phone skittered across the tabletop, even more so when I hit ignore and shoved it into my pocket.

“Yep.” I snagged my backpack, slinging it over my shoulder as I stood.

He grabbed my hand, tangling our fingers, and together, we walked out of the café into the cool night.

“So, still not talking to your mom?” he said softly, after we’d gone a few blocks toward campus.

I sighed. He knew I was upset with her. Knew it kind of had to do with him. Not the full extent of it, of course—I’d let him assume that it was because we were Sympathizers while his family was very vocal in the anti-magic movement.

“I talked to her this morning,” I admitted. “She just didn’t like what I had to say.”

“I don’t like being the cause of problems between you and your mom.”

“You’re not. Really,” I said quickly when he opened his mouth to protest. “She doesn’t even know you, so it’s not you. She isn’t happy she can no longer control what I do. That’s what it comes down.”

He hummed, lips turned down, and squeezed my hand. The hairs on the back of neck suddenly stood on end, and an energy I didn’t recognize slid along my skin. I looked over my shoulder and saw a young woman about my age, with long dark hair, dressed all in black, walking behind us, a cell to her ear. She spoke in a low tone, but now I was aware, I caught a few words—yes, with him…will see where they…will keep you updated—and anger rose swiftly, to the point I nearly gagged on it. I came to an abrupt stop and letting go of Maddock’s hand, spun around.

The woman stopped, too, just as she was pocketing her phone. She stared, wide-eyed at me, mouth hanging open slightly.

“I told her to call you off,” I bit out, shoving down the power that snapped inside me, aching to get out of the confines of my skin.

“What?”

I rolled my eyes at the forced smile and fake confusion. “Since she’s not getting the message, I’ll tell you. No more spying for my mother. Back the fuck off of me. If I see you again…”

I let the implied threat hang in the air, not willing to say more with Maddock standing right there. And honestly, I didn’t exactly know what I would do but it wasn’t going to be pretty, damn it!

The confusion—which didn’t look so fake anymore—clouded her face for a moment longer then cleared.

Before she could speak again, though, Maddock took several steps forward. “Get the—” And nearly fell back onto his ass when she had no problems revealing her power on the dark, nearly deserted street.

The intense energy radiated off her, sparking off her open palms, lifting her hair wildly. My magic nearly suffocated, pushing out, out, out. Wanting to answer the blatant show, desperate to protect. Protect the man beside me with a desperation I’d never felt.

“Don’t threaten me, Maddock Roberts,” she sneered. “I would have no problem eliminating the problem you pose to us. It would be easier than you could imagine.”

I moved forward, placing myself between them, staring into the woman’s dark eyes. “It would be harder than you imagine.”

“You would align yourself with him? He would see all of us caged like animals!”

“You don’t know him,” I shot back. “Leave now.”

In a blink, she pulled her magic back and straightened to full height. “You’re going to regret this, Delia,” she said.

I frowned at her words, at her tone. It was a warning, yes, but she didn’t sound threatening. She sounded…sad, resigned.

“You don’t know him either,” she continued. “His family. This is going to end badly—for you more than any of us. He can’t be trusted.”

I shook my head, almost violently. “You’re wrong. And you can tell my mother that.”

She chuckled hollowly, backing up a few steps. “Don’t know your mother, but if she’s trying to stop this,” she gestured between Maddock and myself, “she’s smart, and you should listen to her. Listen to Kyle. Choose who you associate with more care, before it’s too late.”

With that, she turned and walked away.

“Kyle? He sent you?” I called after her. I got no answer, except a quick glance as she turned a corner out of sight.

“Delia?” Maddock moved in front of me and cupped my face in his large hands, dipping his head to catch my gaze. “Well, that was…something. Haven’t been confronted by a magic user like that before and— Shit, you’re shaking, baby.”

“I’m okay,” I lied, eyes burning, vision blurring.

“Who’s Kyle?” he asked quietly, fingers catching the stupid tears I couldn’t hold back.

“A friend. My…my best friend.” I swallowed past the lump growing in my throat. “At least I thought he was.”

“He’s a magic user. Like her.” He jerked his head in the direction the woman had disappeared. When I didn’t answer immediately, he smiled and brushed his thumb along my bottom lip. “It didn’t take me long to figure out someone close to you had to be a magic user—you’re so dedicated, so passionate about protecting them. It’s clear that it’s not just a cause for you. It’s personal.”

Still unable to speak, because the truth—like my magic—was so close to the surface, I was terrified all of it would come spilling out, I just nodded.

“It’s going to be all right.” He released his hold on my face and wrapped his arms around me.

I gave a strangled laugh as I returned the embrace and leaned into him. Into his warmth and strength.

“It will be,” he insisted, running his palm over the back of my head, fingers massaging my scalp. “We’ll make it all right. You and me. Because she was wrong—you do know me, and I would never do anything to hurt you.” He pulled back and looked me in the eye. “You know that, right?”

“I do,” I whispered then pushed up to kiss his tempting mouth. And I did. I knew he wouldn’t do anything to hurt me—as he knew me now.

 


Bronwyn Green | Deelylah Mullin | Gwendolyn Cease | Kris Norris | Siobhan Muir