Mercenary Magic Page 34

“What are you thinking about, Sera?” Naomi asked her.

About Kai naked. About sliding her hands over his hard abs. Wait, no. Not about that. Nothing about him. She kept quiet.

Naomi’s young, wise eyes met hers. “You’re thinking about Kai Drachenburg, aren’t you?”

“Yes.”

“Good.”

Sera didn’t turn when the familiar voice spoke. Not right away. And when she finally did, she wished she hadn’t. Kai stood behind her chair, looking as good as ever in his signature fitted t-shirt and rugged jeans, his hair just messy enough to make him look relaxed but not sloppy. As she met his gaze, his magic—which he’d coiled so tightly around himself that she hadn’t even sensed his presence—flared out, hitting her like a shockwave. Naomi let out a soft gasp.

“I’ve been trying to reach you all day, Sera. You’d better have a damn good reason for ignoring my calls,” the dragon said.

CHAPTER SEVENTEEN

The Mystic Palace

HE’D FOUND HER. Somehow. Sera gave him a hard, long stare, all the while wondering how much he’d overheard.

“Sera, we have to move. I’ve had a lead on the case.”

“Ok.” She set some money on the table, then pushed back her chair. “See you later, Naomi.”

Naomi bobbed her head, her gaze still locked on Kai. Maybe she’d never seen a dragon before. Kai just marched off, leaving Sera scrambling to catch up. They walked in silence along the water, passing docks, restaurants, and boatloads of tourists. On one of the water platforms, a herd of selkies were bathing in the sun. They were one of the area’s biggest tourist attractions, and sure enough, a crowd stood nearby, clicking photos with their cameras.

“I tried calling you,” Kai finally said, his words as hard as granite. “Multiple times.”

“I know. I was ignoring you.”

He stopped suddenly and spun around to face her. “You will tell me why.”

“No.” She crossed her arms and stared back. “I won’t.”

“Woman, you must have a death wish. No one can be this foolish.”

“We’ve discussed this before. I’m a dumb brute who runs after monsters.”

“So you say.”

“How did you even find me?” she asked. “Did you have someone track my phone or something?”

“After I heard about the attack on you this morning, I tried calling you again.”

“Ah, you were worried. How cute.”

Smoke started rising from his hair.

“Nice trick. Did they teach you that in your fancy pants mage school?”

“When you didn’t respond,” he continued, every word crisp and tightly controlled, like he was on the brink of losing his cool. Maybe poking the dragon hadn’t been such a good idea after all. “I decided to look for you. But I didn’t need to track your phone. As soon as I went looking, I could feel your magic from clear across the city.”

He towered over her, his body blocking out everything. There was nowhere else to look. She saw only him. He leaned down, his cheek brushing against hers. His skin was smooth and smelled of magic and masculine spice. So this is what dragons smelled like. She inhaled deeply, letting it soak into her.

“Your magic is intoxicating, Sera.” His words buzzed against her skin. “So delicious, like a slice of dark chocolate cake.”

She remembered last night—and how good it had felt to kiss him. She sensed her body leaning toward his, yearning for another taste.

“Did you like the cheesecake I left you?”

“I didn’t eat it.” She fought the urge to touch him. “Riley did.”

He laughed under his breath. “Stubborn woman, it was meant for you. I could see you wanted it. Why do you always insist on denying yourself what you want?”

“I don’t—”

“Like your magic.” He traced his finger down her arm, trailing invisible fire across her skin. “You hide it away when all it wants is to be free. I want to see what you can do when you really let it out.”

Then he pulled away, leaving her breathless. She backed up and bumped against the metal railing. Nearby, the selkies raised their voices, singing out in seal-like barks.

“You should see your face,” he said, watching her with smug eyes.

Jerk. He was playing games with her. And she’d let herself be played. It might be too late to save face, but she sure as hell was going to try.

“Did Dawson finish going through the vault?” she asked, steering the conversation back to work.

His face shifted gears. “Nothing else was taken.”

“So the thieves’ target was the Priming Bangles.”

“Apparently.”

“I’ve learned some more about the glyphs,” she said.

“Tell me.”

“Naomi told me how to activate them,” Sera said, trying to speak over the selkies, who were getting louder with every passing second. She stole a glance back at the herd; two of them were fighting over a gem-studded comb, while the others cheered them on. “Hitting the glyphs with offensive magic doesn’t work. You need to pour some of your magic into them.”

“Interesting. Like jumpstarting a car battery.”

“Yeah, kind of like that. The more magic you can pour into it, the further you can teleport.”

“Good to know.” He walked across the path to a black car parked between two very large flower pots.

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