At a warm caress on her arm, she half woke. “Thorne?” Enjoying the feeling, she leaned
into the strong hand massaging her bicep and shoulder. “That feels so good, but I thought you
An odor like burning wood permeated the room.
The massage continued, moving down her back. “Mmm, I like that a lot, but you
Concerned and confused, she rolled onto her back and opened her eyes.
Gelion stood beside her.
Still exhausted and groggy from too little sleep, she reacted first with irritation. Perfect,
the last creature I need right now. As she sat up, she grabbed her phone and gave it a quick glance. Only an hour since I went to bed. How can I deal with him after everything else today?
Tears of frustration rose, but she blinked them back . Rested or not, I’m handling this. “Why are you back?”
He ran a finger down the side of her breast, leaving fiery tingles in its wake, and her
pulse sped up. Unable to break away from his entrancing gaze, she whimpered. When he
circled her nipple with his thumb and forefinger, his touch sent shocks of pleasure through her
I don’t want this. Though she tried to pull away, her body wouldn’t cooperate.
As he inched down to her belly, an ache expanded through her core. Need slammed her.
How can I possibly refuse him?
When he made a slicing motion, her caftan tore in two down the middle leaving her
bare skin exposed.
Gasping in shock, she grabbed the fabric and held it together to conceal her body.
With a snarl, he ripped it away. “Let me look at you.”
Fear and repulsion crashed through the haze of lust, and she jerked away. She swung off
the other side of the hammock. Now, I’m trapped between him and the wall. Her heart
hammered and her legs trembled.
The hammock dropped to the floor. Gelion grasped her arm and pulled her to him.
“Give me what I want.”
“No.” Adrenaline flowed. If I’m forced, I’ll fight. She twisted, trying to free herself.
Pulling his lips back in a snarl, he tightened his grip. “I’m tired of waiting. I want your
She tugged as hard as she could, but his grip didn’t give in the slightest. Worse, her arm
had gone numb where he squeezed it. How can I resist so strong a being? “I thought you
needed me to consent?”
“If you don’t agree, I’ll kill you. How’s that for voluntary?”
She opened her mouth to beg, but her Nerei side took over. Out came a song she’d
never thought of before. A song of strength, resistance to forces much larger than oneself, and
surviving all challenges. She sang of her resilience, her self-reliance, her ability to withstand and overcome grief so intense it would fell the mightiest warriors, and she sang of her will to repel
His eyes widened. “You’re not human.” His grip relaxed for a second.
She wriggled free, but her feet tangled in the hammock strings, and she went down.
He loomed over her. “What are you?”
After a few frantic seconds, she pulled the rope from her feet and slid backwards on her
butt to put as much distance as possible between them.
He stalked her. “Tell me. What are you, and what is that song? I recognize it from
somewhere, but I don’t remember where. That tune is a special one with a different kind of
She stood. There’s only one chance to escape. She sang again, but this time, she added
confusion and visual obscurity.
Damp, cool fog, redolent of the ocean on an October morning, filled the room. Within a
few seconds it surrounded her. He can’t see me, but now I can’t make out where he is either.
As she edged toward the door, she amped up the song. Billowy white clouds spilled
beyond her alcove to engulf the cabin.
Gelion called her, “Athenia, Athenia. Where are you?” His singsong tone made a bizarre
parody of the children’s game, Marco Polo.
Don’t get distracted now, you’re almost free. As silently as possible, she took a few more
At the exit, she jerked open the door.
As she took a step outside, he grabbed her from behind and yanked her back inside.
He dropped her on the floor and threw himself on top of her. “This is fun, but no more
playing. Tell me all your secrets.”
Without her song, the fog thinned and dissipated.
His face was an inch from hers. His body covered her, and his erection pressed against
her pelvis. He held his palm over her mouth. “Don’t try singing again. I’ll stop you.”
She bobbed her head up and down.
After he searched her gaze with his, he took his hand away. “Talk.”
“Move off me first, you’re heavy.”
He slid to the side. “Now.”
“I’m a witch and an apprentice to a mage.”
“Not the answer I wanted.” He sent an electric pulse toward her.
Without thinking, she covered herself in a cushion of air. The power rebounded against
As it hit him, he cried out.
She jumped to her feet and ran. Outside, she dove into the water, transforming, and
swimming as fast as she could go.
His laughter followed her. “A Nerei! Fantastic. This keeps getting better. When I drain
you, I’ll take your siren song, too. Swim as far as you want. It won’t help you.”
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