Shadows & Light
Emily Procter is a witch in timeout. It’s not her fault she has the abilities she does, it’s just dangerous – for a variety of reasons. She’s been removed from fieldwork and has been nursing a grudge about it for eight long years, when who should come calling? Kade Walker; vampire, ex-partner, ex-lover, and the man who sold her out, to begin with.
Something is stirring in preternatural circles. A witch has gone missing, and the council is calling on Emily and Kade to resurrect their dead partnership and to solve her disappearance. All too quickly, Emily suspects the young witch doesn’t want to be found and there’s a lot more at play than either her or Kade are equipped to deal with on their own.
Still, it’s their job to cut through the shadows and shed light on the plot that’s threatening to expose them and their world.
I heard him smile, the slight exhalation of air as he fought to suppress his chuckle too late. I could picture him, leaning nonchalantly against the open archway to my kitchen from the dining room, the living room beyond that framed by another open archway. Not that I’d be able to pay attention to that at all, not with Kade standing there looking delicious, not aged a single day from the last I saw him, his fangs denting his bottom lip ever so slightly as the corners of his lips upturned into this amused, sexy little smirk at my expense.
Kade was infuriating for a lot of reasons. Where did I start the list?
“Eight long years for you,” he said. “It’s but a blink of the eye for someone like me.”
“Someone like you . . . ” I repeated, trailing off, resuming what I’d been doing, chopping thyme carefully with my ritual knife against a board of fragrant blessed and anointed cedar.
A silence rose like creeping vines throughout my little West Seattle dwelling, the weight of his gaze compelling me to turn around but he didn’t have that kind of power over me. I was human, certainly, but I wasn’t just a human. I was a witch. Certainly not immortal, like Kade, but markedly longer-lived than your average human being and with a few added benefits and perks. One of them being that Kade couldn’t mesmerize me or bespell me merely with his presence. It required eye contact and it also required both a certain amount of cooperation from me and a lot more effort than he was used to putting forward for him to accomplish exerting his will for the purpose of overriding mine.
What he did have, in spades I might add, was patience— a patience that far outstripped mine.
“What do you want, Kade?” The demand spilled from my lips, my voice rasping with irritation over his ill-timed and unwelcome intrusion.
He clicked his tongue against the roof of his mouth, tsking at me.
“Last time I saw you, I felt that we’d come so far with working on your patience, Emily. I’m sorry to see the lessons were lost. I expected you to hold out for at least a few more seconds.”
“Cut the bullshit,” I said setting my ritual knife against my granite countertop and turning from my cauldron bubbling gently on the stove. My concentration was ruined, the spell I’d been working falling away and the potion I’d been working on rendered inert. I was seriously irritated with him but that didn’t stop my heart from swelling in my breast at the sight of him, the tender meat of it thumping painfully into the wall of my ribs only to quail at the hurt the sight of him brought it. That sweetly agonized ache of longing, of yearning . . . Goddess above and God below, I missed him and I hated myself in some ways for it.
He was exquisite. There wasn’t any other word for it. Tall and muscled, though lean and not bulky; he filled out the shoulders of his mandarin collared motorcycle jacket perfectly. His hands stuffed in the pockets of his jeans, the cuffs of which were frayed over classic, blocky motorcycle boots.
He filled out the jeans in all the right ways, too.
Still, it was his face that murdered a piece of my soul every time I looked at it. Cheekbones, high and sharp, eyes dark over a perfectly carved nose. Black eyebrows winged perfect above deep and brooding eyes that on first look, appeared to be as dark as the glossy black hair he sported in its perfect modern-day cut.
I knew better, though. His eyes were dark, yes, but they were the deepest, darkest blue I’d ever seen when I got up close. I swallowed hard, and my eyelids fluttered slightly as I fought not to close them against the angelic image of a man that stood, shoulder pressed to the rich mahogany wood supporting my ceiling. I didn’t want to give him a damn inch.
“You look good, baby,” he said, tone hushed, cheeks ruddy and skin a smooth, golden tan.
“You do too,” I said keeping my voice blasé. I couldn’t help myself, though, I just had to ask . . . “Who’d you eat?”
Text Copyright © 2020 A.J. Downey DBA Timber Philips
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.
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