Mercenary Magic Page 12

“What are you?”

Sera didn’t answer. Her mind was too busy trying to block him. The thought of attacking him briefly crossed her mind, but she pushed it aside. Simmons would kill her. He’d argue that beheading clients was much worse than telling off purple poodle ladies. Spoilsport.

“Your magic is strong,” he said, stepping forward. There was a hint of awe in his voice.

“What magic? I have no magic.”

His blue eyes shone out, blinding her in the search scope of his magic. He’d closed most of the distance between them. There was nowhere to run and precious little room to fight. Sera reached down to the knife at her hip.

“Planning on skewering me like you did those vampires?” His brow twitched. He thought this whole thing was all enormously funny. Well, good for him.

“No, I don’t skewer mages.” Usually.

“Glad to hear it.” He folded his arms across his chest. “Tell me about your magic, Sera.”

He said it like he fully expected her to answer. Yeah, so not happening. The Drachenburgs were one of the oldest magic dynasties. Duty was tattooed into their sub-conscious. If he figured out what she was, he’d feel compelled to turn her in to the Magic Council. And those distinguished men and women, leaders of the supernatural community, would kill her.

“There’s nothing to tell,” she said.

“I can feel it.” Magic pulsed in his eyes. “You’re delusional if you think you can hide that much power.”

Well, it had pretty much always worked before. “Look, whatever you think you’re feeling, you’re wrong,” she said. “Just think of me like a magic mushroom.”

“A magic…mushroom?” Sera couldn’t tell if he was bewildered or amused.

“Right. Magic mushrooms have magic in them, but they don’t use magic.”

All emotion—bewilderment, amusement, or otherwise—wiped from his face. He gave her a hard look. “You don’t feel like a mushroom.”

She said nothing.

“Fine, keep your secrets.” The hard lines of his mouth melted into a satisfied smile. “I’ll find out eventually.”

Over my dead body. Which, come to think of it, was exactly how this would all end. “What do you want?”

The dragon’s grin widened. Oh, yes, it said, I’m going to eat you for dinner, but I’ll save your bones to munch on for a midnight snack. I might even toast them first.

“Why did you hire me?” she clarified.

In an instant, the dragon disappeared, and his expression shifted gears to the professional, civilized businessman he pretended to be. “Do you remember what happened at Magical Research Laboratories?”

“Sure.” It was sort of hard to forget a crazy mage who summoned dragons and wielded the power of tornados and firestorms. They weren’t exactly a dime a dozen. “Your cousin went berserk.”

“Spontaneously berserk. Without warning.”

Hmm. So the hallucinations spawned by smoking magic weeds weren’t warning enough?

“I know what you’re thinking.”

No, you don’t.

“And Finn wasn’t taking any drugs when he went mad.”

“You’re a telepath?”

“No.”

“Good.”

“But everyone always assumes drugs.” He held her gaze, amusement woven into those intense eyes. “The thought of me inside of your head scares you. Is there something in particular you’re afraid I’d find there?”

“Dead bodies.”

His gaze flicked to her sword. “That I can believe.”

“Ok.” Sera stepped away from the window and circled past the desk. He was too close. “Is your cousin back to normal now?”

“Yes, he woke up shortly after you dropped him off with my crew. He was back to himself again. How did you do that?”

“I hit hard.”

He laughed. The laugh rumbled in his chest, buzzing beneath the black t-shirt he wore. His shirt looked exactly like the one he’d worn last night—or at least its twin brother. So did the jeans. He probably had a whole closet full of that same badass outfit.

“You’re staring.” The smug bastard was smiling. “Like what you see, do you?”

She hoped he choked on his own narcissism. “You’re not wearing a suit.”

“Pardon?”

“You’re a businessman. Businessmen wear fancy suits.”

“Not all.”

She ignored him. “They don’t dress like they’re ready to visit a supernatural biker bar.”

“I don’t like suits. They aren’t comfortable.”

“You own this glass castle monstrosity. I’m sure you can afford a custom-made suit. Hell, I bet you have Armani on speed dial.”

The dragon snorted. Luckily, fire didn’t shoot out of his nose. “Do you always have such a smart mouth?”

“Yes.”

“Mayhem’s clientele consists mainly of arrogant, stuffy mages from aristocratic magic dynasties.”

She arched an eyebrow at him.

“I am not stuffy,” he said. “However, most of Mayhem’s clients are not only stuffy; they are quick to take offense and slow to forgive.”

“And?”

“And how do you stay out of trouble?”

“I don’t.”

“Mr. Simmons assured me that all his mercenaries are exceptionally well-mannered.”

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