FLAME AND FURY - Merlin's Legacy Book 1
Maya had him right where she wanted him. If he was the one she was searching for, it would be pretty obvious soon enough. If not? Well, she was having a hell of a good time. Honestly, she hoped it wasn’t him. There was something so sweet and innocent about the guy. The Elementals were supposed to be calcu- lating and hardened, trained from birth just like her. She knew they could be really good actors, but her being duped like that would make Aedan Sparks Johnny freaking Depp.
And he was a very good kisser.
She could feel he was holding back. Of course, they were in the middle of the library parking lot in the 100-degree heat. And she had just been kind of bitchy. Still, she knew her guys, and by now they were usually groping her clumsily.
Everything about this was hot. His mouth, his hands, his body pressed against hers. It was all very intense and real, and she was losing herself in his scent, like a campfire in the woods. Full of earth and spice.
She pulled away. It was too much, and she was panting. She wiped at the sweat on her forehead and sucked in her bottom lip. He was breathing hard too, his chest looking mighty good beneath his tight black T. She liked the way his hair was sun kissed on top, but got darker and darker the further down you looked, until the bottom was black as coal. And his eyes, they were almost golden, they were such a light brown.
You’re not allowed to fall for him. Not unless he’s cleared. And even then it can’t last. It was okay though, purely physical. She didn’t even really know him. At most she could say she was curious. Yes. That was it.
“Why do you look like you just ate a dirty sock?” she asked finally registering his expression.
“I – I’m not looking for a relationship,” he said. What an unusual thing for a guy to say. Could he be gay? Not the way he was getting into that kiss...
“Good. Cause neither am I.” She flicked the curl lying in the center of his forehead and straightened her tank, well aware of how much cleavage was now visible. If he was an eighteen-year-old Elemental, this was the easiest way to get him to give himself away. And the most fun.
And if it was him she’d been searching for, she knew exactly which of the four Elementals he was. They were all dangerous, but even the unenlightened humans had a saying about playing with fire. And that was exactly why she’d wanted this assignment. The adrenaline rush. She was well equipped to deal with her target once she found him.
She stepped forward until she was back in his personal space. She could feel the heat coming off him in waves, but his shirt was probably soaking up the sun like a miniature black hole. He stayed very still as she ran a finger down his arm. He shivered at her touch, and she wondered what would happen if she jumped him right there in the parking lot.
“Maya, I really have to go now. The hour’s almost up anyway.” “You owe me fifteen more minutes,” she teased.
He looked away over her head, and his eyes hardened for a minute. “I can’t do this.”
“You already did, and unless I’m missing something, it wasn’t that bad.” She flipped her hair back.
“I told you, I’m not looking-”
“For a relationship. And I told you I’m not either. Just some fun
during the summer in this stinking town. I mean, you can’t even be outdoors around here in the summer. It sucks.”
“Where are you from?” Aedan asked.
“Minnesota. Now that’s a place you can really enjoy the summer.”
Aedan made a face. “Yeah, because the other eight months of the year you’re barricaded behind twelve feet of snow and ice.”
“Don’t like winter, huh? That’s so shocking coming from a desert dweller.”
“You really hate it here that much?” he asked, softening. He seemed really curious.
“I haven’t found anything worth the heat, the snakes, and the scor- pions. At least not yet. But I can be open minded,” she said, pressing against him again. He took a step back and looked around like he was hoping for an extraction team to swoop in and rescue him. “How about you convince me otherwise? You have exactly three hours a week for ten weeks. What do you say?”
SOUL CONQUERED - BOOK 3 in the Of Demons and Angels Series:
“You will never be my enemy, no matter where you are, Grace.” His voice is strong and clear, and I’m once again drawn toward him. I fight with all my being not to rush into his arms again.
“I’m supposed to seduce you.” The words come out shyly, like I’m admitting a crime.
“I get it now. What it was like.” My throat thickens, and I can’t get any more words through. And oh, it would feel so good to kiss him again.
“Grace, no matter what he does, remember who you are and that I love you. I will always love you, no matter what.”
I can’t stand another moment. I throw myself onto him like I’m diving off a cliff and press my mouth to his. Electricity, familiar and wonderful, flows through us as we kiss, every bit of emotion inside of me poured into this one act that eclipses everything else in the world. I was crazy to think I could survive without him, no matter what mistakes he made in the past.
He lets me kiss him, holding me close but somehow walled off. After a minute he separates from me, holding me at arm’s length. “This isn’t what you want, Grace. It’s Lucifer’s influence, not you. I know what it’s like to feel desperate and want to give in for a moment’s happiness. I can’t let you make that mistake.” Pain is all I see when I look at him, and I hate that I’m making him feel that way.
“It isn’t a mistake, Josh. It’s how I feel. This is more me than I’ve ever been. Please.” I’m nearly in hysterics now. If being with him will make it all go away, even for a moment…
But then I remember what I am and what he’ll become, and I deflate in his grip. “You’re right. Of course I don’t want you to fall. You shouldn’t touch me. Not like that.”
“Grace, I want to take you in my arms and love you forever. I want to forget everything else. This is the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. It’s why I didn’t come before. I can’t trust myself to resist you.”
A jolt of pain shoots through my chest, and I gasp from the severity of it. Lucifer is watching me. He’s given me a job. But I don’t care. I won’t hurt Josh.
But…would I really be hurting Josh? Aren’t I hurting him by keeping us apart? I should let him make that decision for himself. I know what I want.
“Then don’t resist me.” I throw myself at him again, forcing my mouth over his. My hands cling to his face, afraid he’ll back away again if I loosen my grip.
His hands slowly rise to my waist and pull me closer. I run my fingers through his soft black curls, and he sits me on the edge of the counter where I throw my arms around his neck and let him bury his head against my chest.
“Grace,” he cries. “I love you.”
“I love you, too, Josh. Why shouldn’t we be together? Who cares where it is or what else happens?” I don’t want to think anymore. I don’t want to worry about what comes after. I need Josh. His touch, his presence… It’s like I’ve been in a coma and suddenly I’m alive again and all the world is in color because he’s here.
His breath catches as I run my hands up his chest, over his white T-shirt now stained with what was left of my mascara. But he traps my fingers beneath his and holds my hand over his heart. We stand still for a moment, feeling the beat as it pounds out a hectic rhythm.
“I’ll find a way to bring you back to me. I promise,” he says.
“But we can be together right now if you just let me…” I trail off and lift myself toward his mouth, focused on his delicious pink lips, desperate to have this moment of joy.
“No, we can’t.” He holds me back far enough not to make contact. “Lucifer would never let us actually be together, Grace. You know that. He’d torture us forever by keeping us apart.”
Tears of frustration burn my eyes and I glance away, not wanting him to see the Demon red. I can’t accept a future in which I’ll never be with Josh, never feel his arms around me or the electricity that charges between us. “I can bargain with him—” I start.
“No. I’ve been down that road. You can’t. He doesn’t make a bargain that’s fair to anyone but himself, no matter what he says. Just know that I haven’t given up on you and that you just need to hang in there a little longer.” He takes a large step back toward the door.
“Josh, please don’t leave me.” Panic sets in along with another wave of pain. “Please. I need you.” He may be right, but I feel like if he leaves, I’ll lose myself again.
He hesitates. “I’m doing this for you. It’s always for you, Grace.” He shoots me a wistful smile, and I have to look away as he’s enveloped in blinding light.
Lucifer appears at my side as I sob on the countertop.
“You failed, Grace.”
Psst. Want a sneak peek at SOUL CORRUPTED? Here you go!
What’s the worst thing you ever wanted to do?” I ask, moving in front of him to take his hand.
He smiles. “I don’t know. Do wicked things with you?” He wiggles his eyebrows.
“That’s not awful. It sounds pretty good to me.” I crawl into his lap and pull his mouth down to mine, placing his hand on my waist.
He stands, lifting me up, and tosses me down on the bed where I bounce and squeal. He climbs over me, entwining his fingers with mine. “I just want to be somebody, you know?” he says as he kisses my neck. “Is that really so evil?”
It’s tough to catch my breath, engulfed in the feel of Noah and his scent of cloves and mint, but I try. “I don’t think it’s evil.”
“Says the Demon in my bed.”
Noah drowns out my next words with his mouth, and this time the kiss is hot and fierce and hungry. I respond with fervor, hoping he can make me forget myself for a moment instead of reminding me of what I am.
Need a reminder for the heat in Soul Crossed? Check it out:
Slowly I move my hands over his, and I feel the electricity tingle in the small space between us, but neither of us pulls away. I close my eyes, feeling the warmth of his body pulsing so close to mine. I want the wall between us to crumble. How can this be forbidden? I say a silent prayer. I’ve never been religious, and the irony does not escape me, but I try.
Please, please let me have this.
I open my eyes. He waits for me, still and intoxicatingly beautiful. I set my hands on his and feel the prickling sting travel over my fingers and up my arms. Far from pain, it’s like my flesh is alive with desire. If he feels it, too, he does not let on. He simply leads me to the dance floor, never taking his eyes off of me.
I’m thrilled by the sensations running through me and giddy with the knowledge that the Earth hasn’t swallowed us whole. I wrap my arms around his neck and lean my head against his chest, letting our bodies meld together with the music.
For the first time since I died, I feel content.