Beguiling a Bookworm

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The last thing she thought she would do is agree to go to a book club meeting. The last thing he thought he would do is become transfixed with a human woman. When Sena walks through the doors to attend the meeting, she walks into a world of fantasy and a very unexpected bond. Evros has been long forgotten by society, locked away. When he finally escapes, he loses his soul in novels and opens up a chain of bookstores to quiet this lonely soul and empty heart. And then he meets her. His world is thrown into anticipation and avidity. Soon, the only thing either of them look forward to is the next meeting. These moments become everything, until everything is taken away. Now, truth is what they both seek and fear.

Fantasy / Romance
L. M. Huntwork
4.8 5 reviews
Age Rating:

Chapter One

The book made the loudest thud a book could possibly make on the thin carpet floor. I felt my whole body turn hot and tingles erupted over my neck and cheeks. Embarrassment bled out over my blurry eyes and shaking hands as I bent down to pick it up.

Any possible way to make myself known in this world, I take it. All of the nerves I possess dread their existence the moment I leave my home for the stress I will undoubtedly be putting on them. Just as I am sliding the book back where I think I remember it belonging, I meet the eyes of a worker. And cue another shot of tingles and heat that rushes through my body.

I am never returning to this store ever again. Nope. Never. Nobody will ever see this clumsy face again. Goodbye Cruela street.

I wander the store for another five or so minutes to try and make my swift exit seem less apparent. I imagine no one truly noticed me, but my nerves took over and instructed my path to the car. There are half a dozen Sire Books in a rough 300 mile expanse. They just suddenly were around one day. Everybody behaved as if they had always been in the area but the actuality is that they just suddenly popped up one Saturday evening. I seemed to be the only one that questioned the appearance of these massive bookstores. Although, it did not last long as my love for books outweighed my curiosities on how they came about. It is a good thing that there are so many of them anyway, I was running out of places where I could go. I already embarrassed myself out of 4 locations.

As I pass the doors to a breath of freedom, I hear an alarm suddenly start up. I plunge my hand in my purse and grab my keys. I fumble to quickly press the unlock button and the car quiets. Apparently, today is going to be one of those days. I take a long breath and slump into my driver's seat. I pull the small sun shield down and prop open the mirror. My brows are furrowed and my eyes appear a little wider than normal. I take another breath and my face softens, slightly. I brush my fingers through my black waves of hair and try to lessen the frizz on top. After a few pats, I decided to just pin it up.

I just wanted a book! Or five. That’s all. Why can’t one day go smoothly? Why can’t I just have a normal day where something goes right!? Just once. I look at my features again. I hate him. I hate him. I hate him. I wish I could see what I saw before. Why…I shake my head roughly and slap my hands on my steering wheel.

“Knock it off Sena, let’s just go. On to the next!” I breathe out and roll my windows down. The drive takes a little over an hour, but the feeling of going into a bookstore is like nothing else, so each minute is well worth the wait. This one sits on the side of a massive hill and there is a nestling of trees in the back that expand out further than I can see. Peaceful. I park and leave my car unlocked this time.

I walk in and the smell of mint hits my nose within seconds. The atmosphere here appears slightly more dim and calm. There are only a handful of customers in this one. I head to the fantasy section and do my best to keep away from shelves or people. Even the air seems cooler than the other bookstores. I begin perusing and reading synopsis after synopsis. They have a massive collection of books! I love it here! Please don’t mess this one up Sena! I can feel my grin widening and I do my best to shove it down. If I am over here grinning all alone, I am going to look like a mad woman. I wander around for roughly two hours and decide that I have all that I want. I heave the four books I picked out in my arms and head to the cashier.

The woman smiles warmly at me as I enter the queue. I take the smile as a sign to come up and place my books on the counter. Her loose curls bounce with each movement. “Did you find everything you were looking for? Or more?” Her voice comes out high and excited.

I chuckle my agreement enthusiastically. “I actually meant to only purchase two even though I set aside enough money for much more than that. I am under budget for once.”

She nods and responds within moments of my statement. “Oh! Well, you got all these fantasy novels so I would feel awful not telling you about our event today! In about twenty minutes we are actually just starting our first day of our new book club. I have the book here if you want to take a look. It’s on sale today to try and get more to join in. So far we only have team members.” She finishes ringing up the books I had brought to the counter.

“Oh uh…um. Well.” I stammer a very lengthy reply out. I always say no to things. I never involve myself in activities and stay as close to home as possible. Maybe I could just go this once. This is an opportunity to be part of something. HE forced me in the shadows. I am so much more than a mere shadow.

“Okay!” She startles at my abrupt reply. Her mauve curls had to be moved out of the way, as they sprung from behind her ears. A rich umber skinned hand shoved them aside as I continued. “I would love to be part of this event and I will go ahead and purchase the book. It’s on sale after all.” I finish with a bright smile. She hesitates for a small moment and then grabs the book and expresses her excitement about my decision.

Nearly 15 minutes later, I find myself in the back of the building on a beautiful patio area. The ashen marble encases several seating areas as well as a chess table. It all seemed luxurious against the forest backdrop. There was hardly a ray of sun coming through the trees as it was making a quick descent at this point. Only three other members, the cashier woman included, sat in metal chairs surrounding a crystal table. Everything out here seemed as if it was taken from a museum. I felt my cheeks heat every time anyone looked over at me and I kept a very shy smile plastered to my face trying to figure out if I should talk or not.

The cashier woman spoke suddenly. “All we are waiting for is Boss and then we can start.” She smiles at me and looks down at her phone.

Okay…maybe I can make some conversation here. Or introduce myself. I should say something. Right?

I go with the most simple question I could possibly think of. “Oh, Boss? Is your supervisor part of these events?”

One of the guys chuckled a little. He was incredibly tall and his features were lanky and reptilian. He could most likely wrap his entire self around the table as if it was Midgard and he, the protector. The only other person had very handsome features. They appeared average height with bright blonde hair gliding in wisps down to their ears. Their eyes were the most astonishing though. The silver was that of a bright winter storm that beckoned you to walk into the epicenter, so it could swallow you whole. I almost shivered looking into those eyes that were surrounded by a warm sandy complexion.

They responded “Actually, it is the one that owns all of the Sire Books. He shall be joining us this evening. This was all his idea.”

I froze for definitely too long to seem normal. The owner…of ALL the stores!? I am going to meet someone with that kind of status? What is he doing hanging out with strangers on a weekend!? My breaths began to come in a little faster and I looked down at my clothes. I had on oversized sweatpants and a small shirt that had random mythology names written across it in a teal overlay. My long black hair was pinned in a loose bun and I did not even don mascara.

And then he was here. Suddenly appearing from around the corner he glides towards us. He was just a little above an average height with an incredible intimidating aura cascading around him. He is dressed in simple black jeans and a loose white button up shirt. The sleeves were rolled up to show off an opulent watch and bracelet duo. He had rounded glasses against his warm copper skin. His hair was pinned in the back just as mine was and appeared to be the same shade of twilight.

My hazel eyes meet his amber ones. He had stopped walking as I took him in. He seemed to be doing his own assessment. He only hesitated for a moment and then continued towards us.

“I am so happy we have a real member that is not being paid to be here.” His voice is exactly what I would imagine Hades to sound like if he were real. A note of authority and mystery. “What is your name? Let us all introduce ourselves” He enunciated each syllable in that deep tone. His eyes did not leave me as he spoke.

Silence spread throughout the cool evening. I guess they are waiting on me. Breathe Sena. “My name is Sena. This is actually my first time even here, at this store.”

The cashier woman spoke next. “I am Kithra. I am actually pretty new, so we are in the same boat, Sena.” Her smile enhanced mine by several degrees.

And then the reptilian man went next. “The names Jud.” His voice even had a small tremble that reminded me of a hiss.

Next up was stormy eyes. “You can call me Raye. I have been here since the beginning.” Raye spoke with a sharpness that did not quiver or denote timidity in the slightest.

I looked at who everyone called the Boss expectedly. He was still looking right at me. “Welcome Sena. And thank you everyone for coming to my book club. In this setting, you may all address me as Evros. I am looking forward to our discussions, discoveries and new adventures.” His lips curled into a smile, exposing an extended canine. He leaned back and pulled a book from his bag to set it on the table. Just as my nerves were screaming at me to leave, he spoke up. “Let us begin.”

What did I get myself into...

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