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Granny’s dying, but Zoraida can save her with a magic crystal of smoky quartz. Too bad the crystal is in Scotland—in a haunted castle—guarded by mind-reading, psychopathic sorcerers.
Getting inside Castle Logan is easy. Getting out––not so much. Before she can snatch the stone, Zoraida stumbles into a family feud, uncovers a wicked ancient curse, and finds herself ensorcelled by not one but two handsome Scottish witches.
Up to their necks in family intrigue and smack-dab in the middle of a simmering clan war, Zoraida and her best friend Zhu discover Granny hasn’t told them everything.
Not by a long shot.
I swallow the spit and dust collecting in my throat. His fingers wrap around my throat, but only to hold me still. He isn’t squeezing. Not yet, at least.
“I have to have the crystal. Granny says she’s going to die without it.”
He points the light at my eyes again and lowers his face close to mine. I can’t move, held in the ring of light. I feel him in my head, intrusive, insistent. Strong sinewy threads of persuasion goad me, tearing, shredding my thoughts, prying into the secret recesses of my mind.
“Tell me the truth!” His whisper sinks into my stomach like rotten meat. His fingers tense on my neck
He is in my head, but I’m in his as well. “This is why you brought me down here. You’ve been playing me along all day.”
“Of course I have.”
“What makes you think it will be so easy?”
His tone is measured, not cruel, but not comforting either. “Do you think you can waltz in here and do as you please? You’re not in Kansas anymore.”
“You mean I’m not in Arkansas anymore.” My voice rasps under the pressure of his fingers.
Pain in my temples pulls me deeper into the abyss. He pushes the spell into my head.
I open my mouth to scream but forget to do it. How much of this ensorcellment is due to his spell and how much to the smell of peaty whisky on his breath, to the warmth of his muscular arms, to the solid weight of his body against mine?
What is this strange pleasure, even as he pries open my mind, as he pushes his will into mine, as he touches my most private thoughts? All memories of the healing crystal, Granny, and the temptation of the black stone disappear in a puff of desire.
His fingers loosen and, feather light, he caresses my throat, my shoulders. Warm, moist breaths in my ear, warm, soft lips on my hair. He leans against me, and my back arches toward him.
He’s in my head, and I don’t remember inviting him. This will not do. I steel myself, dismissing the tendrils of passion threatening to draw me closer to him. Granny taught me tricks to use. Let the Universe move through you and beyond. Nothing can harm you. Remember your own power.
I lead him in circles, drawing him deeper with desire only partially fabricated. He follows too eagerly, our combined passion clouding his intentions. Too late, he sees the trap. I hold him for an extra second, reluctant to let him go entirely.
Shea draws in a sharp hissing breath and pushes himself away. Iclose the doors of my mind behind him and bolt them. I’m not sure if he stopped on his own or if I stopped him. I’m angry at my own stupidity—angry at Shea for trying to take what he wanted out of my head.
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