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A Game of Wills

But peering into her mind to find that she was actually afraid of sobered him instantly.

“Calm, Elsabet.” He gave a chastising cluck. “Your fears are unfounded with me.” Willing his tone soft, he kept his hand out defensively. Prepared to send another surge of magic if needed.

“I fear nothing.” Chin hitching. Her voice rose as a dark whisper in his mind. Her mouth unmoving.

And secretly he hoped for more of her beautiful fury.

He felt an immediate response to the crackle of energy in the air. His animal trying to roar to the fore, making his eyes flash gold and breathing deepen as power pulsed through him.

Pressing against his magic she tried to rise. Almost a physical shove against him as she struggled under the strength of his will. Rising to her knees she slowly lifted to stand. Wings shivering against their bindings until finally snapping loose.

“Strong little thing, aren’t you?” He gave a lopsided grin. Impressed.

Give me more, Little Bird. He growled low in his throat.

Her head tilted down as she eyed him from under lowered lashes. Squawking again.

For the first time in a century, Sebastian felt excitement. Energy and hope.

She took a step towards him.

His mind raced. You’re mine. He decided in that moment. You’re not going anywhere.

His eyes roved her assessingly as he decided how he’d put that decision into play. Fighting her magic will be a matched battle.

I’ll borrow hers. Turning outward palm in, he clenched and pulled to his midsection. Abdomen reflexively tightening around the thrill of magic.

The dark brown of her flesh was stolen from her. Leaving her skin porcelain perfection. Her head fell back, and the red drained from her eyes like a retreating pool. When her head jerked forward, those eyes were so perfect blue they were nearly purple. Her hair changed from the roots. Spinning back into a moonlit silver glow. Twisted tresses straightened as they dropped around her shoulders. The glistening cover of brown fur running along her sides disintegrated in dark flakes. She dropped naked to her knees, a whoosh of air erupting from her lips. Lurching forward she landed on her palms, back heaving. Struggling for air, since she’d not been able to breathe during the process.

Head tilted he watched her recovering.

With the last vestiges of her strength she lifted terrified eyes and met his blue-green gaze burning like sunlight on dancing water. Bright as if a flame lit behind them.

Where she’d shrank and withdrawn, his body expelled a flow of energy like a rushing river.

Her eyes fell weakly to the ground.

Stronger than I anticipated. He growled low in his throat as he felt her power charging through him.

Does she know how powerful she is? He offered her a hand up.

Gritting her teeth, she shunned it. Turning her head.

Oh, really?

Quirking his lips, he told her. “You’ll come with me, one way or the other. Willingly or nay.” Determination set his jaw.

Please say nay. He hoped. He’d enjoy putting his hands on her to take her in.

Another man appeared in the clearing barefoot from having run from the castle. He looked at them both and quickly assessed the situation. Long black hair framed a narrow face and bright green eyes took in the scene.

“Oh, I’d listen to him.” The tall thin man suggested. “When Bast gets that look on his face, he means what he says…”

Damn right I meant it.

But I don’t need his help.

“Rhyers.” He greeted stiffly his gaze zeroed in on the woman.

She spat on Sebastian’s shoes.

Oh, you did not. He looked at them before his stern gaze slid back to her. Fire sparking in his eyes. “You’ll pay for that.”

“I think she likes you, Bast!”

Shut up.

“I have this, Rhye.” He shot Rhyers a contentious look.

“I see that.” He laughed. “Good luck with the wee beastie!” He waved over his shoulder as he headed back. Black hair billowing in the breeze as he walked quickly away.

Get over here. Leaning over, Sebastian grabbed her upper arms and hefted her into the cradle of his embrace.

She slumped helplessly.

He gave a smacking kiss to her forehead. Just to remind her who’s in control.

Gnashing her teeth, she lifted penetrating eyes to glare at him. Her rage tangible.

Little savage. His lips twitched.

When she gets herstrength back, she’ll come at me again. He was certain. And he reveled in the knowledge.

His eyes grew shadowed as he eyed the fragile looking thing he held. She shouldn’t be in the outside world. Best contain her.

In WaterRose. With me. A slow smile was already turning his lips.

He thought a moment. If the demon got his hands on her, he’d never let her go.

I can’t let that happen, now can I.

Not when I want my hands all over her. His eyes slipped over her firm, curved body again.

Now this…will be fun…

I never saw anything like her. So beautiful. Filled with fire and life and…Rage. Her spirit was breathtaking. She was as wild and untamed as she was beautiful. And my heart ached at the thought of what could happen to her if I let her go.

So, I decided I would not.

From the Journal of Sebastian Bodane.

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