Mercenary Magic Page 27

Sera sat in the passenger seat of Kai’s tank, her fingertips crunching into the cake box on her lap. She gazed out the window, her eyes unfocused—and more importantly, not looking at him. She could still feel him beside her, his magic bubbling just below the surface. It unrolled, inching toward her in slow, pulsing breaths.

“Stop that,” she growled as his magic brushed across her neck.

“Why?”

“Because I find it annoying.”

He sniffed the air. “Your magic would seem to indicate otherwise.”

Damn. No matter what she did to mask her magic, he always saw right through her. When she got home, she’d have some serious reading to do. Maybe she’d find something to help her in one of Dad’s old magic books.

“You like my magic,” Kai continued. “And your magic likes my magic.”

“No,” she lied. His magic snapped and sizzled and burned—and not even in a bad way. When it touched her, adrenaline and endorphins hooked up and threw a wild party in her body.

“Right.” A smirk spread across his lips, smug and overbearing. He slid his hand across the armrest toward her.

“Touch me and I’ll retaliate.”

His smile widened. “That might be worth it.”

“I mean it. I have a knife, and I’m pretty good at using it. So unless your magic includes the ability to regrow fingers, I’d keep it and the rest of you away from me.”

He retracted his hand, but the look in his eyes told her that her threat hadn’t repelled him. Just the opposite actually; it had enticed him.Why? Oh, that’s right. Because he was a freaking psychopath. Just like the rest of the magical elite.

“Sera—”

“What do you think Harrison Sage knows?”

Kai’s gaze flicked to her, then back to the road. Thank goodness. The last thing she needed was to end the night in a ditch. Probably hacking her way through an army of zombies too, knowing her luck.

“Either Harrison’s protecting his sister, or he’s involved too,” Kai said. “I hope it’s not the latter. That would be a phenomenal pain in the ass.”

“Why?”

“He has a seat on the Magic Council.”

Sera couldn’t say she was surprised, what with Harrison’s stellar personality, but she was worried. She’d made it her goal in life to stay as far away from the Magic Council as she possibly could.

“As you saw, he has power and resources. And bodyguards.” Kai snorted, and smoke puffed out of his nostrils. “Fine, he’s not a top fighter, but the guards just make him look weak.”

“I see… Um, did you know your nose is on fire?”

He patted down the flames. “That happens sometimes.” There was something awfully eerie about the casual way that he said it.

“So, what kind of mage is Harrison?”

“A summoner mainly, his favorite summons being unicorns, eagles, and vampires. I bet you didn’t know you can summon a vampire.”

“I did actually,” she said. “I fought a crew of them once. And barely survived. Killing summoned vampires is about as easy as trying to decapitate a mosquito with a sword. It’s a good thing I’d brought along a flamethrower.”

His face went completely serious. “Look, if you ever get bored working for Simmons, I’ll double whatever he’s paying you.”

Walk willingly into the mouth of the dragon? I don’t think so. “If you’re nice to me, I promise to think about it.”

“You’re lying.”

“Yes.”

“I think I can change your mind.”

I seriously doubt it. “You’re welcome to try.”

Sera was kicking herself even before she saw the spark in his eyes. She had not just taunted the dragon with an impossible challenge. Except that she had. Because she’d lost her mind. Taunting dragons was bad. Bad, bad, bad.

“Um, let’s just get back to the Harrison issue.” She cleared her throat. “You were saying he likes to summon unicorns, eagles, and vampires.”

“Among other things.” He was watching her strangely, like he half-expected her to jump through the window. “Harrison never did master dragons, though. And he’s pretty sour about it too.”

“Because the summoners in your family can summon dragons,” she guessed.

“Of course they can. It’s all in the name.”

“So I take it ‘Drachenburg’ means crazy dragon people who go on long and fiery rampages?”

He laughed. “Something like that. Dragons are the pinnacle of summoning. And Harrison cannot stand failing.”

“What magic can he do besides summoning?”

“He can cast a handful of elemental spells,” replied Kai. “Olivia is the stronger mage, but she’s too unstable for the Sage family to put her in the driving seat. She’d drive their legacy right into the ground just because it sounded like a funny idea at the time.”

“And did your family put you in the driving seat?”

“For some things. Mostly the business side. My parents still control the rest.”

“What about your siblings?”

“I don’t have any. My extended family is large, though. Dozens of cousins.”

“And you’re the oldest of them?”

“No, just the most responsible. I’m not that old, you know.”

Sera knew she shouldn’t, but curiosity won out. “How old are you?”

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