Just a shorty for now....
Home to Hawk Ridge
Available from Whiskey Creek Press Torrid
This was the night she’d waited for. Studied for. Gathered, cooked, chanted and spelled for. Katerina Bauer stood in the cool October evening and let the breeze filter through her knotting curls. Her Mediterranean ancestry had blessed her with many mystical gifts, but an evil twist along the DNA strand made her a blonde. Tonight her hair was especially untamed and she felt hot as a pistol. Maybe it was the enchanted bath oil she’d soaked in. Maybe the radiance dust. Whatever the source, her personal well overflowed with sex appeal and it made her blood run hot. I sizzle.
He’d notice her. He had no choice, really. She found a foothold in the stone wall, then another, climbing to stand on the narrow structure. Egad, one misstep and—No. Positive thoughts. As important to her success tonight as any amount of magic. She squared her shoulders and stared with deference at the silver moon. “Be my ally tonight,” she whispered.
She slipped her denim jacket off and slung it over her shoulder, pacing silently along the wall. He’d notice her. This house party sounded like a doozie, with loud music screaming from open windows and the smell of marijuana seeping from the siding. Not an ideal setting, but this is where she’d find her man. Steve Rider liked these parties—liked to play cards. Kat had tolerated boozy come-ons and ass pinches to watch him over the past month. Finally she’d resorted to an invisibility charm to admire him in peace. Tonight she’d stay outside and wait for him to come to her.
Why him? He responded to her ad. Sort of.
A month ago she sat in front of her simple altar, massaging empowered oils into a crimson candle. Chanting a quiet gypsy spell, she’d scrolled magical symbols along the length of the soft wax while envisioning the man of her dreams. Then, with a delicate rosewood ember, she lit the flame and left it to burn softly on a bench outside the Hawk Ridge College library. The afternoon breeze stayed obediently at bay while she waited quietly and unseen in the nearby woods. One hour passed, then two. Hundreds of feet had marched by her little burning solicitation on their way through the big double doors.
Finally a big fat guy with an itchy red beard stopped and gave it a curious look, but passed over it with no further interest. Kat was glad of that. But when Steve Rider sauntered up and ran his hand over the flame, she felt the heat. Her left palm burned, then tingled, then cooled. He was the one, unaware that he’d been drawn to the flame by an ancient magic. As he stepped back, the flame snuffed out. It had fulfilled its magical purpose.
In the light of the full moon, Kat squeezed her eyes shut, and opened them quickly. Not a smart move on a narrow ledge. But geez. Trapping a man with a gypsy spell? First of all, she’d become jaded with the authenticity of her family magic. She’d grown up among devious and scheming women who “charmed” men to get what they wanted. Kat knew when the day was done and the money counted, they were simply thieves.
She looked at the moon again and sighed. She couldn’t help it. She was born a gypsy witch, and it was what she knew. Manipulation and deceit. Her aunts and cousins made their way through life charming men and stealing their money—magically or through trickery. Inept and unsure of herself, Kat felt certain she’d remain lonely without help from the gypsy wisdom, such as it was.
There he was. He stood in the doorway of the party house, chatting with a drunken friend. Steve wasn’t a drinker. At least Kat had never witnessed it since she’d been—well, stalking him. This was another plus, since her charms had a better chance to work on a sober man.
Her chest tightened and a smile eased the corners of her lips. He was handsome as hell. What luck. Her flame’s simple intention was to attract “the right” man. The right man could easily have been a troll. Fortunately, the hands of fate brought her someone delicious, with a chiseled jaw line and brown waves that played at his neck. Over the past few weeks, as she watched him from afar, she’d hungered to explore every inch of him.
Her man stepped out into the evening and glanced at the moon. Perfect. C’mon moon, smile on him. Kat looked too as a wisp of clouds drifted over, not blocking the light but giving the moon a moody snub. She ran her hands nervously down the front of her tight, pencil-leg jeans. The game began. Her first fascination.