Chasing Magic: A Reverse Harem Series (Capturing Magic Book 2)Jessica Sorensen
(Capturing Magic, #2)
About the Author
Also by Jessica Sorensen
Extra chapters in the lengthened edition of Chasing Wishes (Capturing Magic, #1)
Thanks for reading Chasing Magic (Capturing Magic, #2)! Please note that this book follows Chasing Wishes (Capturing Magic, #1) the lengthened edition. If you have not read the lengthened edition of Chasing Wishes (Capturing Magic, #1), I included the extra chapters in it at the end of this book, so please proceed to that part first before reading Chasing Magic (Capturing Magic, #2).
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Copyright © 2018 by Jessica Sorensen
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I’m not going to try to be tough and lie about how I feel right now—that I’m a little bit freaked out about going to the planet Steel. I want to hold on to my badass image, so I’m pretending to be calm. Really, though, I’m a clusterfuck of nervous pixies.
I can’t believe I’m about to step out onto another planet.
That thought repeatedly crosses my mind as I step off Asher, East, and Arrow’s transporting vehicle. I’m unsure what I’m about to walk into. Yeah, I saw planet Steel while we were floating above it; saw the giant orb made of gadgets, steel, and liquid bronzed rotating amongst the seemingly endless stars outside. But to actually step foot onto the planet is an entirely different experience.
Not only is the ground shiny, smooth, and metallic brown, the atmosphere gives off a brownish aura, making everything appear shimmering bronze, including the sunlight glaring down from the liquid-like sky. And don’t even get me started on the gadgets. They cover everything—the lofty, metal trees; the grassless ground; and even the clouds.
“This place is …” I turn in a circle, taking everything in. “Crazy weird,” I decide. “Not in a bad way. Just in a … weird way.”
“Planet Steel is one of the more stranger planets,” Arrow says as he jumps out of the vehicle.
Half-man, half-machine, his arms and neck are spun of flesh and bronzed gadgets, and his fingers are mechanical. And while he may be wearing a shirt right now, I’ve seen him shirtless and know his abdomen is inked with small pieces of steel. But his face is human-like, with bronzed, full lips; short, black hair; and the most beautiful silver eyes.
He’s changed his clothes since we landed and is now rocking a shirt and vest, black pants with pockets, and heavy boots. The look is topped off with a worn leather jacket covered in bronzed buckles and fingerless, leather gloves. His outfit is way fancier than what I’m wearing.
Should I have changed?
I have no idea and wonder if Asher and East are going to change, too. They haven’t gotten off the vehicle yet, so I don’t know. But if the creatures on this planet are dressed like Arrow, I may stand out in my black pants and T-shirt. Since we’re supposed to be stealing the Steel books, I should try to blend in, especially since the worlds patrol might be after me.
“It’s not the strangest, though,” Arrow adds, staring at the fields enclosing the area with his arms crossed and his jaw set tight.
The guys have mentioned a couple of times that planet Steel is dangerous. Asher also implied that Arrow was once locked up here. They’ve said a couple of things that make me think Arrow doesn’t have a good past, but they’ve never given any details, so I don’t know his story. I’m curious, though, about the sweet, quiet drummer of the band Ash East Arrow.
Who is he? What makes him seem more emotional than the other cyborgs I’ve crossed paths with?
“What’s the strangest planet?” I ask, shielding my eyes with my hand.
Arrow rubs his jawline. “Probably planet Ivory.”
“I’ve never heard of that planet.” I squint at him. “What’s it like?”
“Very soft.” He faces me, his lips lifting upward. “I have a book that shows all the different planets. When we have extra time, you can borrow it, if you want.”
I nod eagerly. “Thanks. I’ve always been interested in other planets, but I haven’t had much access to books since my parents … Well, you know.”
He smiles understandingly. “I have a whole collection of books in my bedroom that you can borrow anytime.”
“Thanks,” I say again, offering him a genuine smile.
“You’re welcome.” His smile fades as his gaze drifts toward a city in the distance, just beyond the forest that surrounds us.
“What’s the city like?” I ask, fiddling with the hem of my T-shirt.
“Dangerous,” he mutters, his gaze sweeping the land.
“Yeah, I got that from some of the stuff you guys have said. But, why is it dangerous? And why is there no one out here?”
“We parked on the outskirts of the city to avoid our landing being seen.”
“Because it’s so dangerous?”
“That and our band’s pretty popular. If anyone recognizes our transporting vehicle, we might get mobbed by fans.”
“Oh.” My brows dip. “Cyborgs are fans of your band?”
“No, not really. Most don’t even listen to music.” The wheels in his arms turn as he scratches the back of his neck. “But other creatures on this planet do.”
“If cyborgs aren’t into music, then how did you end up a drummer in a band?”
His throat muscles work as he swallows hard, glancing at the city. “I’m not like other cyborgs, Harlynn.”
“I already caught on to that.” I deliberate whether or not to ask the question burning on the tip of my tongue since he appears so uneasy with the subject. But I feel like, if I ever want to be comfortable around them, especially since I’ll be around for the next couple of months, I need to learn more about them. “Why, though? I mean … what makes you different?”
He sighs. “You really want to know?”
“I do, but you don’t have to tell me if you don’t want to …” I trail off as he encloses his mechanical fingers around my wrist. While Asher and East frequently touch me, Arrow has only done it a couple of times.
His metal fingers are startling cold against my skin, but not necessarily in a bad way.
My heart beat speeds up as he guides my hand toward him and lines my pa
lm over his chest, right above where most creatures’ hearts are. Cyborgs aren’t supposed to have beating hearts, though, just a mechanical device that sends energy through their bodies. So, when I feel a heart beating inside his chest, my eyes widen.
“You have a heart?” I peer up at him and find him staring down at me with nervousness all over his features. His fingers are shaking slightly, too.
He’s anxious, but why? Perhaps he isn’t supposed to be sharing this information with me?
“Cyborgs usually have a machine in their chest, but I was created with a heart,” he says quietly. “I don’t know why or how, since I can’t remember a lot of my life.”
I flatten my palm against his solid chest. “It’s beating really fast. Is that normal?”
Squirming, he shakes his head. “I’m just nervous about … about being back on this planet.”
“Oh.” No wonder he’s been acting so squirmy.
“Are we feeling each other up before we head to the city?” East’s amused voice sails over my shoulder. “Because, if so, I call next.”
I roll my eyes, and a trace of a smile rises on Arrow’s lips.
Sighing, I step back, lowering my hand from his chest and twisting around to face East.
“Arrow and I already did it, so I guess that leaves you and Asher to do it to each other.” I smirk, but then my smile falters as I note East has also changed his clothes and is now wearing a pinstriped jacket; black pants; and thick, buckled, steel boots. His blond hair is swept out of his sparkling eyes, and his wings are hidden beneath his jacket. “Dude, did you squish your wings underneath your jacket?”
Amusement dances in East’s eyes. “My wings are retractable.” He steps toward me, his boots squeaking against the metal ground. “When we get back from the city, I’ll make sure to strip down and show you.”
“And when you do, I’ll make sure to show your balls what I do to guys who strip down in front of me.” I throw him a snarky grin.
He throws it right back at me. “I’m going to hold you to that. My balls love getting fondle—”
“That’s not what I meant,” I say loudly, my cheeks flushing with embarrassment, an emotion only he seems to bring out in me. It annoys the living pixies out of me, but the more I try to get him to stop, the more persistent he gets.
His smile broadens as he stalks toward me, his strawberry faerie scent engulfing my nostrils. I discreetly breathe it in, secretly loving it and secretly despising myself because I do.
“You know, when I first met you, I thought, with how sassy you are, that you might be a dominatrix,” East tells me, his lips curling. “Now that I’ve been around you for a bit, I realize that, excluding your sassy mouth and attitude, you may be the most innocent creature I’ve ever met.”
“Thieves are far from innocent,” I point out, trying to mentally will my embarrassment away. “I’ve been in trouble with the law a ton of times. I’ve even spent time in the electric cells.”
“I’m not referring to your criminal activities.” An impish grin tugs at his lips. “I’m referring to your sexual ones.”
Arrow lets out a strange cough, and then wanders away, pretending to scope out the trees.
“My sexual experiences are none of your business.” I hold his gaze, despite the increasing warmth in my cheeks.
He rubs his jawline, considering something. “Is it because of the curse? Is that why you haven’t done anything yet?”
I cock a brow. “Who says I haven’t?”
His lips span into a wide grin. “You can’t pretend your way out of this one, sweetheart. Faeries have a sixth sense about these things.”
“About how sexually experienced creatures are?” I question in doubt.
“You think I’m lying?” he asks, highly amused. “Faeries are the flirtiest and most sexual creatures in existence. We even have festivals that celebrate sex.”
“You’re not the most sexual creatures,” I quip. “Succubi and incubi are.”
He dismisses me with a flick of his wrist. “That’s a myth.”
“Hmm … I think you’re wrong. In fact, I once crossed paths with a succubus that said faeries were lacking in the sexual department.” I’m so full of shit, but I want to get the upper hand in this conversation before he makes me blush again.
His eyes glint as he leans closer to me. “How about we step back onto the vehicle and I’ll show you how wrong that statement is?”
Do not blush. Don’t you dare, Harlynn!
“If I really am as sexually inexperienced as you think, then how would that prove anything?” I question, giving myself a mental high-five for being so chill.
His eyes shimmer in delight. “I’m a fan of your innocent blushing, but I think I might like the sassy side of you, too. It’s an alluring combination.” He tucks a strand of my hair behind my ear, letting his fingers linger on my cheek as he stares at me in complete fascination.
I’m about to step away from him, even though his touch is sending wonderful tingles all over my skin—stupid, traitor body—when Asher exits the bus.
He takes one look at East and I, standing close enough to kiss, with East’s hand on my face, and a frown pulls at his pale blue lips.
I wonder if his irritation has anything to do with the curse his father put on him? You know, the one where he’s supposed to fall in love with me, only to watch me die in his arms. None of the guys are aware that I know this little tidbit of information, since I only learned about it while eavesdropping on one of their conversations.
While Asher’s father may have cursed him, I’m not sure if I believe in the possibility of me ever falling in love with anyone, let alone a genie. Sure, Asher doesn’t seem as cruel—or even cruel at all—like the other genies I’ve crossed paths with. But, just because I don’t entirely despise him, that doesn’t mean I can envision myself falling in love with him. Love is more complicated than that. At least, from what I’ve seen.
I’ve spent most of my life shutting down any possibility of falling in love, which means closing myself off from almost everyone and only watching others fall in and out of love. I even closed myself off with Jason, my friend, especially after he kissed me.
It happened one time and lasted about a second—an amazing, better than melted chocolate second—before I had to pull away and suggest we just be friends. He seemed cool with it. Later, I discovered he was high when he kissed me, so I’m not even sure he ever really wanted to.
Being so closed off sucks and can get lonely. Never kissing, hugging, touching. For the most part, though, no one’s ever tried to get intimate with me, except now. But I think the only reason East continues to flirt with me is because faeries flirt with anything.
As Asher continues to frown, East drapes an arm around me and tugs me against his side.
“I was just telling beautiful Harlynn that she should let me prove to her that faeries are amazing at fucking,” East tells Asher with a wicked grin. “And I think she was about to say yes.”
My cheeks flame with heat. “I was not.”
East chuckles, stroking my cheek with his fingertips. “She’s so cute when she blushes, isn’t she?”
Asher gives him a hard look, but then his gaze blazes when it glides to me. He gradually scrolls over my body, and his frown deepens.
“You should change,” he mutters.
I suddenly become aware that, like Arrow and East, he’s also changed his clothes. He’s now dressed in a pair of striped pants, a black shirt, and a black overcoat covered with buckles and chains. Fingerless gloves cover his hands, his trademark genie cuffs are visible, and buckled boots run all the way up to his knees. His short, cropped, brown hair is styled, and his crazy blue eyes are framed with eyeliner, which yes, I’ll secretly admit is extremely sexy.
Honestly, all three of them are sexy, but I’m never going to tell them that.
“Are you done mentally undressing me?” Asher questions, arching his brow.
; “That’s not what I was doing.” A partial lie, but whatever. “I was just wondering what was up with all the buckles and metal on all you guys’ clothes.”
“Sure you were.” Asher smirks, but then his lips sink back down as he sighs. “Planet Steel has a very distinct look, which is why you need to change. You already stand out too much.”
“I do not. Well … unless there isn’t a lot of human-looking creatures here. Then maybe I do.”
Asher trades a look with East before looking back at me and shaking his head. “You really have no idea, do you?”
“Nope, I’m completely clueless,” I reply, irritated because it feels like he thinks I’m an idiot, which I’m not.
Sure, I don’t know much about world traveling and other planets, but I took care of myself since the day my parents were taken away from me. I learned how to get food and find shelter at a very young age. How to swindle, how to survive. A clueless person couldn’t do that. Or, would at least be terrible at it.
“I wasn’t trying to insult you, so stop sulking”—Asher sticks out his hand—“and let’s go look through your closet and find a different outfit.”
I don’t want his help at the moment, so I swing around him and head back inside the vehicle.
When he follows me, I quicken my pace, striding down the hallway and hurrying into the room. Then I shut the door and lock him out.
Of course, two seconds later, he materializes in the center of my room, encompassed by a cloud of smoke.
Damn genie magic.
“You know, when someone locks the door, it usually means they want to be alone.” Giving him a dirty look, I move to step around him.
He folds his fingers around my wrist, stopping me. “I’m sorry if I upset you,” he says with a hint of sincerity. “I don’t think you’re clueless. In fact, East, Arrow, and I have had many conversations about how clever you are.”