Mercenary Magic Page 38

“Now for once don’t be stubborn,” he said. “This is about more than just you. Someone is taking control of the city’s mages. I don’t have to tell you how bad it will be if he turns his new army against the other supernaturals—or the humans. Remember what Finn saw.”

He was right. Damn him. If this mess tore the city apart—or worse yet, spread even further—she’d have bigger problems than her own life. Thousands could die. Or even millions. She couldn’t let the whole world go to hell just to save herself. If she did that, she’d be no better than those who had sentenced her kind to death. Steeling herself, she nodded at Kai.

“Good.” His hands slipped out of hers. “Here, I’ll help you.” He slid them up her arms with languid relish, finally settling them on her shoulders. “Reach out with your magic and try to find mine.”

A million voices began to scream warnings in her head. Dragon! Danger! Magic Council! Death! She pushed them down, opening a hole in her shield just large enough to squeeze out a slender sliver of magic. She extended it toward him.

“Good,” he said as her magic brushed against his. “Now we need to get our magics to merge.”

“How do we do that?”

“By putting them on the same magical wavelength. Since you’re new at this, I’ll adjust to your magic.”

His magic shifted to a higher note, humming against hers.

“Not quite right,” he said.

It shifted up again. And again. He tried down. Then up again. Four more times he tried without success. Sweat beaded his hairline.

“Your magic’s rhythm seems to elude me. Let’s see if you have better luck.” He took her hand and set it on his chest. “Magic is like blood. It pumps out from the heart. Get a feel for its rhythm and try to match it.”

Beneath her hand, Kai’s chest thumped with the power of a war hammer. His magic pulsed out, spreading up one arm and down the other, pouring through every pore in her body. She closed her eyes and opened her senses. Kai’s magic sounded like the beating wings of a giant dragon. It smelled like burning timber, hot and sweet, and it tasted like cinnamon. It was the most beautifully devastating thing she’d ever experienced. She melted into blissful oblivion under its strong and subtle velvet touch.

“Sera?”

“Yes?” Her voice was deep and throaty.

“I think…oh, God, please, stop doing that.”

For the first time since she’d met him, she could feel a weakness in his self-control. She slid her magic against the weak spot, trying to pop it open. A deep, primal growl rumbled inside his chest. The temptation to break through his control overwhelmed her.

“Sera.” His fingers massaged her head through a curtain of long hair. Her ponytail had come loose, and she didn’t care. “You’re almost there.”

“I know,” she breathed, pushing her magic into alignment with his. As their magics locked together into one note, liquid heat flooded her body, driving out what little was left of rational thought. So this was what being drunk on magic felt like. For the first time, she understood how mages turned into magic junkies—and why they never wanted the rush of magic to end.

Kai’s soft lips brushed up her neck. “Slap me.”

“Why?”

He kissed her ear as he spoke. “Because you need to snap me out of your spell.”

“Why?”

His mouth hovered over hers. “Because if you don’t, I’ll have no choice but to start doing things to you that you’ll really, really enjoy.”

She snorted.

“You don’t believe me?” His hand slid over her bottom.

“No, I don’t. Your men are watching.”

“Is that your only problem? In that case.” He kissed her cheek once, then turned his head to look at the three commandos. “Guys, turn around.”

As one and without a word, they pivoted around, turning their backs to Sera and Kai.

“You’re serious?”

He leaned in to kiss her long and deep—then pulled back, leaving her lips burning for more. “I’m serious and then some.”

She drew a deep breath, struggling to steady her racing heart. “I’m not going to have sex with you.”

He arched an amused brow. “No?”

“No. And definitely not while the commando triad is here.”

“Should I have them take a walk?” he said, the words lingering on his lips.

Yes. “No,” she asserted, mentally slapping herself. “I’ve aligned my magic with yours. Now tell me what to do next.”

He wet his lips.

“About finding the Sages, you crazy dragon.”

Feather-light, his hand caressed her cheek.

She glared at him. “Do you want that slap now?”

“No, let’s save that for later.” There was something really indecent about the way he said it. “Ok, tracking. What’s the furthest you’ve ever been able to track someone?”

She swallowed hard before answering. “The same room usually. Sometimes the same building.”

“Nothing further?”

“No.”

“You haven’t been training your magic.”

Sera stiffened. There it was again: disapproval. At least it put some ice on the fire.

“With your power level, I’m willing to bet you could even track someone with only trace amounts of magic from across the city,” said Kai. “After a bit of training. We don’t have time for that right now, so I’ll just draw on your magic to boost my range.”

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