Mercenary Magic Page 33

Naomi folded her hands up into a tent and balanced her chin on them. “Oh, Kai, is he? So what did you and Kai do yesterday?”

Sera did her best to ignore the smirk on Naomi’s face. “We went to Magical Research Laboratories and did a little replay of our fight on Wednesday. It turns out Mr. Crazy Pants Mage is his cousin.”

“Hmm.”

Sera told her about the glyphs, and how she and Kai were shoved through them during the fight with Olivia and the other mages.

“I’ve heard of those glyphs. Fairies used to use them too.”

“Do you know how to activate them? One of the mages did it during the fight, but when Kai tried later, nothing happened, no matter what magic he threw at them.”

“My grandma once told me that the key to activating the glyphs was not to attack them, but to feed them some of your magic.”

“What’s their teleporting range?”

“It’s dependent on the power level of the mage or fairy performing the magic.”

“Interesting. Thanks.”

“No problem.” She smiled. “So then what happened?”

“By the time we got back to MRL, the mages were gone. And they’d stolen something from the vault. Ever heard of Priming Bangles?”

Naomi shook her head, her blue locks bouncing off her cheekbones. “Sorry, no.”

“After that, we drove to Illusion.”

“The super-fancy, super-exclusive, top-tier-mages-only restaurant in the Presidio?”

“Uh, yeah.”

Naomi snickered.

“What?”

“Kai Drachenburg took you on a date.”

Sera shot her an annoyed look.

“This is wild.”

“This isn’t wild. And it wasn’t a date,” Sera argued. “We were working.”

“Interrogating the gold-plated forks, I’m sure.”

“No, interrogating Harrison Sage.”

Naomi’s platinum eyebrows lifted. “And before that?”

“Before that, we ate. But it was only because we were so hungry from fighting all those mages,” she added quickly.

“Yeah, hunger is typically why people eat. What did you have?”

“Steak.”

Her brows slid higher. “Steak at Illusion is like a month’s paycheck. I hope it was good.”

“It didn’t cost that much, it was good, and Kai paid anyway.”

“Date,” Naomi’s lips popped.

“Work expense.”

“You keep telling yourself that, Sera.” She blinked, and when she opened her eyes again, they were hazel.

“Wow, you’re getting good at that. All your practice is really paying off.”

“Thanks.” She grinned. “And stop changing the subject. What happened after dinner?”

“Kai drove me home.”

“And then?”

“And then nothing.”

Naomi’s grin widened, showing off her perfect white teeth. They were flat and beautiful, not pointed and scary like some types of fairies. “You’re not a very good liar, fyi. You get really still whenever you’re trying to hide something.”

“Thanks for the tip.”

“You’re welcome. Now you can repay me by spilling the beans.”

“He drove me home.”

Naomi nodded.

“He walked me to my door.”

She leaned in.

“And then…and then he kissed me.”

The surprise flashed first across her face, but the delight stayed longer. “Oh, yes, my dear, that was a date.”

Sera couldn’t think of a clever retort, so she kept her mouth shut.

“A date with Kai Drachenburg!” Her hands buzzed with excitement. “Not that I blame you for going out with him. Did you see him on the cover of Mages Illustrated?”

“No.”

“He was topless.”

Sera rolled her eyes.

“And flexing.” Naomi began to fan herself.

“Stop that.”

“He is one gorgeous man, Sera.”

“He’s manipulative and arrogant.”

“Of course he is. Just look at who his family is: the prestigious Drachenburg Dynasty. They own the world’s largest consortium of magic companies. They have a seat on the Magic Council.”

“And who sits in that seat?”

“Your new boyfriend.”

Sera went hot and cold, all at once. “He’s not my boyfriend,” she managed to ground out—barely. Her jaw was stuck.

Naomi ignored her protest. “You didn’t know he was on the council?”

Sera shook her head. That part of her body was still working. For now. She stirred whirlpools in her soup with her spoon.

Kai was on the Magic Council. Well, of course he was. Deep down, she’d known it all along but refused to admit it to herself. And all because she was attracted to him. Stupid, stupid, stupid.

This ended now. Things could never work out for them, even assuming he wasn’t stringing her along for kicks, which she wasn’t all that convinced of. The fact of the matter was, he was on the Magic Council, and she was the abomination the Magic Council had sentenced to death. That sort of relationship was as doomed as an ice sculpture in the desert.

She ate her lunch in silence, promising herself that she wouldn’t let him kiss her again. When he kissed her, she lost all sense. In fact, she needed to figure out a way to block out his magic asap because it was just as bad. It felt so good that she didn’t even care that the sweet song it sang was all a big, fat lie.

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