“Spread those pretty thighs wide for me, Lani love,” Kieran growled before returning his attention to my clit, moving his tongue in circular motions that spread delicious heat through my core.
His magical signature was heavy in the air, three shades of blue and the scent of mint swirling around us, whispering against my skin like a caress.
My head fell back as a moan escaped my lips, my legs beginning to shake as I neared my climax. It wasn’t enough, though. I needed…
“More,” I begged, one hand fisting the sheets beside me and the other tightly clasping his hair as I ground against his face.
I was desperate for him. I was unequivocally positive the feeling would never go away. The need for his touch would never abate.
I felt his grin against my skin. That wicked, wicked grin.
“As you wish,” he said and speared me with two fingers, curling them to hit that spot that he knew drove me crazy as he devoured me with his mouth.
That was all it took for me to explode, crying out his name as my orgasm crashed through me in dizzying waves.
He stayed between my thighs, lazily licking me clean until the aftershocks wore off, and he raised his head to look at me with his piercing cobalt eyes. “Gods, your taste is heaven on my tongue. I swear there’s nothing sweeter.”
I grinned at him and pulled him over me, pressing my lips against his. “And I love how I taste on your tongue.”
Rolling him over, I kissed my way over his naked chest and dragged my tongue down the sprinkling of hair that led to his rock-solid erection.
He put a hand behind his head and brushed a thumb over my lips, his dark, auburn hair mussed from our seemingly endless sexcapades.
Yes, that’s a real word. I looked it up.
“Come on, little witch. Claim me.”
I lowered my head, parting my lips to take him in, when a loud knock banged on the door.
“Get a move on, you insatiable love birds. We’re going to be late,” Enzo called from outside the door.
Kieran was taking me to see a blood witch about my magic. He was sure that if he knew my ancestry, he’d be able to unlock the power he could sense in me.
A power I sincerely doubt was as strong as he seemed to believe.
“Enzo, I swear to the gods, if you don’t fuck right on off this min—"
“No,” I said before kissing his torso and clambering to my feet. “He’s right. Let’s just get this over with.”
“Fine,” he said and ensnared me with his gaze. “But you better be ready for a long night. I’m not through with you yet.”
I grinned. “You better not.”
I’m not sure why I had expected it to look more gothic, probably because the term blood-witch implied a darker aesthetic, but Gwyar’s house was so… ordinary. Located in the suburban area nearest to the city center, it had a white picket fence, mowed lawn, and a bike resting against the siding.
We reached the entrance, and Enzo knocked on the door, Kieran shifting his body slightly until he was partially blocking me from view. As if he was prepared to jump in front of me at a moment’s notice.
The feeling of being protected — of meaning that much to someone — was everything to me. As an orphan, I meant nothing to no one until Ella, Akira’s mom, took me in and raised me as her own.
The only other serious relationship I’d had was with Raf, which was a shitstorm of epic proportions in and of itself. This was the first time I felt precious to someone.
I lightly grazed his muscular back with my fingertips and felt it immediately soften, his face turning to glance back at me, a question in his eye.
“This is exciting,” Enzo said as he bounced on the balls of his feet. “The possibilities are endless of what you are. I bet 50 marks you aren’t human at all.”
I lifted a brow. “If none of the tests I went through at the orphanage could give me an answer, I don’t see what you’re hoping to accomplish here. She won’t find anything.”
“Eh,” he said, waving his hand dismissively. “You had amateurs testing you. Gwyar is the best at familial bloodline magic for a reason. She’ll figure out why you’re such a little weakling now.”
“Enzo,” Kieran warned.
The door swung open before Enzo could respond, and a middle-aged man in a sweater and slacks, his hair greying on the sides and a kind smile lighting his face, appeared. His magical signature was pale yellow and smelled of daisies. He was a low-level witch and seemed utterly content with that.
Your magical signature was nearly impossible to hide, and it told other magic users just how potent your magic was. White was the lowest, yellow was the second lowest, then blue, and finally red. There were only five known magic users with red signatures and only a few more with pure blue. If your magic was green or purple, it meant you were somewhere in between those levels. And it was impossible to change your power level, no matter how much you tried.
“Welcome, welcome. Gwyar is just setting everything up in the other room. I’m Mannix.”
His smile was genuine, and his gaze was curious but gentle as it passed over me.
Kieran stiffened, shifting to block me entirely from view, before handing who I assumed was Gwyar’s husband a small glass vial. “A drop in someone’s drink and their tongue will rot if they lie to you.”
Mannix’s expression lightened as a smile tipped up the corners of his mouth. “How exciting and extremely useful. Thank you very much.”
It was customary to bring a gift if you visited another witch’s home, especially if you were there to ask for a favor. Even if you were going to pay for the favor.
“The effects last for fifteen minutes, so use it wisely.”
Mannix nodded and ushered us into his home. We passed through a comfortable-looking living room with pale yellow walls and light-brown furniture into a smaller, separate room, clearly reserved for clients.
Shelves lined the walls with different magical items, endless vials of blood, ancient books, and other odd bits and bobs. A large, soft carpet covered the floor, and a metal basin took up the middle of the room. On the table beside it was a small dagger and a few pieces of cloth.
Gwyar sat on the floor beside the basin, her hair held back in a low bun and her eyes closed as she murmured something too quiet for me to hear.
My eyes trained on that dagger, knowing precisely why it was there, and panic began to climb up my spine.
It didn’t matter that I had multiple piercings and even more tattoos; just knowing the dagger would soon slice my skin had me on edge, my magic thrumming almost painfully beneath my skin.
My heart skipped a beat before picking up its pace, my chest rising and falling in quick succession.
I was moments from losing my absolute shit. This was nothing like being in a fight when your adrenaline was too high to think about anything but the fight. I had to remain still and allow someone to purposely cause me pain. It was a kind of panic I’d never experienced before.
Kieran’s arms came to rest on my shoulders, spreading instant tranquility throughout my body.
I sighed internally and leaned into his embrace, grateful for his presence and how he always seemed to know what I needed, sometimes before I did.
“I’ll leave you to it,” Mannix said before leaving the room and closing the door behind him.
A pop sounded as the door closed, and the feeling of being submerged underwater flooded through me.
“Not to worry, that was simply the soundproof spell activating. It’s totally normal.” My gaze flew to Gwyar, whose eyes were now open and a startlingly deep red. Like blood.
My mouth fell open as Enzo said, “Bamboo’s tits, you’re terrifying.”
Gwyar lifted a brow in his direction, and he had the decency to look sheepish. If she was offended, she had every right to lash out with her magic, and we weren’t meant to respond. It was unseemly to cast spells in another witch’s home.
“Sorry about that, ma’am, but even you must admit that looks freaky as all Hells.”
She grinned. “It does, doesn’t it? I sometimes forget how alarming they can be. No harm done.”
Kieran’s arms relaxed around me, and I let out a relieved breath.
Gwyar turned those blood-red eyes to me and gestured me forward. “Please. Come sit beside the cauldron so we can begin.”
Kieran’s lips pressed against my temple, lending me the courage to move forward and lower myself beside the basin.
Gwyar appeared younger than her years, her skin smooth apart from a few laugh lines around her eyes and mouth. She held out an arm, palm up.
I exhaled and placed a shaky hand in hers, and she gripped me gently.
“This won’t hurt, darling. I have been doing this for long enough to ensure a painless procedure.”
I nodded and kept my breathing slow and steady as she brought the other hand up to clasp the dagger and slice it quickly across my wrist.
I flinched, but for no reason.
Even as I watched my blood drip into the bowl, I felt no pain.
“See?” She looked up at Enzo and Kieran. “They’re always surprised.”
Sparks exploded from the cauldron, flashes of magenta light flying about the room in terrifying arcs.
Kieran’s hard form slammed into mine as we crashed onto the floor, his body covering mine but not blocking the magical spectacle from view.
Gwyar gasped, her eyes gleaming as she brought a hand up to cover her open mouth.
Enzo crouched on the floor, his magic swirling around his hands in deep-green arcs, ready to respond to a potential threat.
The magic halted without warning, sucking inward until the sparks vanished into the basic, and the room returned to normal as if nothing odd had occurred at all.
Gwyar turned to me as Kieran slowly pulled himself off my body. “Your paternal side is too murky to read, but there is no mistaking your maternal bloodline. Your mother is Tabitha Sinclair, queen of the Sinclair coven.”
My eyes widened, and my mouth dropped open simultaneously.
It couldn’t be.
I couldn’t be the daughter of a queen. A princess. I was a low-level orphan with a made-up name. Leilani Fowler was given to me by the orphanage after I’d been dropped on their doorstep twenty-five years ago.
She said my paternal bloodline was too murky to decipher. That meant I was a bastard child born of the queen and someone else. The queen had purposely left me at the orphanage with no knowledge of my parentage. The consequences would be deadly if she learned that I had discovered the truth. She would do anything to keep her secret. Even kill her own daughter. Of that, I had no doubt.
“Shit sticks,” Enzo said moments before shadows erupted from Kieran’s hands, bathing the room in darkness.
I blinked, and the image of Kieran standing over Gwyar, his hand wrapped around her throat, came into view.
“You will not breathe a word of this, blood-witch. If you so much as speak, text, email, write down, mentally communicate, or in any other way relay the information you have just learned with another soul, you will not only lose your life. You and your husband will die a slow and agonizing death as your blood turns against you from within.”
His voice was rough and commanding, and I suddenly understood why he was so feared in the supernatural community.
I felt the magic take hold of Gwyar, felt as it wrapped around her soul and latched on tight.
Should she violate the order, there would be no escaping her fate.