As a cat therian (shifter), Greta's blood is already sought-after to boost spells and potions, however owing to a quirk of her birth, her blood is potent enough to kill for. For hundreds of years cat therians have sought shelter with magic users, giving rise to tales of cats being witches' familiars. When she finds out her tribe plans to sacrifice her, Greta aims to form allegiance with Dayne, a sorcerer who is the only one with the power and strength to safeguard her. obooko.
Author's website: http://www.zoewinters.org
Greta perched on a kitchen barstool with a plate of bacon and scrambled eggs covered in maple syrup. Her long tanned legs were crossed, flip-flops dangling off her feet. Mink stood on the counter eating off the side of her plate.
“That’s disgusting,” Dayne said. She wasn’t sure if he was referring to her habit of eating maple syrup on her eggs, or sharing food with the cat. Mink hopped off the counter and fled to the other side of the room.
Dayne poured a glass of juice and took a packet of instant muffin mix from the cabinet. Greta tensed as he brushed past her to retrieve a bowl, muffin tin, milk, and a measuring cup. He took a chocolate cookie out of the cookie jar and chomped on it as he worked. A stubborn crumb stayed on the corner of his mouth, and Greta wanted to lick it off.
She was slowly losing her mind. He was dangerous. Probably.
He was part of the ritual. Maybe. She wasn’t sure anymore. In the daylight it didn’t seem possible he’d do that to her. Two nights before she’d dreamed purple clowns were chasing her down an alley made of Swiss cheese. Some dreams were just dreams.
“ I s something wrong? ” Dayne preheated the oven and was engaged in pouring the batter into the muffin tin.
“Why are you doing that? ”
“Doing what? ”
She gestured to the batter. “Can’t you just zap them? ”
“Only an amateur magic user uses a spell for such a petty thing.” He sounded like he was reciting from a textbook.
Greta spun on the bar stool, first one way, then the other. Some- thing she hadn’t done since she was a kid at Simon’s house. She wanted blueberry muffins. It was getting close to the full moon and she was still hungry. But Dayne made her skin itch, and the kitchen was suddenly too hot and confining.
Her eyes cut to the doorway to see Mink slipping out of the room. In a minute, the cat would be back, whining to be let out. Greta left her plate on the counter and, without a word, followed after her.
Dayne took the blueberry muffins from the oven and dropped the tray. Dammit. Was he developing some type of mental retardation? She’d deflected his question about what was wrong by asking why he didn’t use magic to make muffins. She had a point there.
And since when did he start eating instant blueberry muffins and chocolate cookies? Her poor eating habits were beginning to rub off on him. He never should have sprung for the cookie jar. All those simple carbs.
He was going to have to resort to magic to stay in shape if he kept eating like this. Only two more days, then she was on her own and he was back to the regimented diet. He plucked one of the muffins from the tray and ate it anyway, then went to look for her. Whatever was causing her anxiety needed to be resolved, at least reduced. Otherwise, it could affect the ritual.
He found her in the garden.
“Greta . . . ”
She shrieked and covered herself with one of his bright fluffy beach towels. Dayne looked away, his hand over his eyes.
“Sorry,” he muttered.
“Give me a second. Okay. I’m decent.”
She hadn’t been kidding about a second. She could put clothing on as fast as most people could take it off. Dayne wondered if she was holding out on him about her magical abilities.
As to her decency, that was a matter of perspective. “You avoided my question earlier in the kitchen.”
“Oh? ” She sat on the ground and picked a daisy, tearing the petals off one by one. Her eyes followed each petal as it fell onto her shorts, and the warm breeze carried it away.
“ I asked you if something was wrong.”
She looked up at him, her eyes guileless. “Wrong? No. Why would something be wrong? ”
Dayne felt his face darken at the same time Greta’s aura did. “You’re lying.”
She shrugged and picked another daisy. He felt the tension roll over her as her eyes flashed to gold and then back to brown so fast it could have been a trick of the light.