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The Secret Life of a Witch 3, Page 5

Jessica Sorensen

  “You mean, I have to leave Mystic Willow Bay?” I want to add, leave my family, but I guess I don’t really have one.

  I wonder if my fake parents know I know. I wonder if they care that I’m hurting. I wonder if they were upset when—and if—they heard I’d been taken by a demon.

  “Don’t worry; I’ll go with you,” he promises, skimming my cheekbone with his finger.

  As lovely as the gesture is, I have to wonder … “Why? We’re not friends. Is it because of your job?”

  “We are friends,” he insists, avoiding the question about the job. “I already told you that was real.”

  “Are we, though?” I wonder. “I don’t really know you, and I think friends are supposed to know each other a little bit.”

  “I already told you that you know me better than anyone.”

  “But after you said that no one really knows the real you.”

  “Eva …”

  “Hunter …” I mimic his tone.

  He sighs, and so do I, mostly to annoy him.

  He shakes his head, but he’s on the verge of smiling. “You drive me so crazy sometimes.”

  “Right back at you.”

  He grins. “No matter what you say, we are friends, Evalee. We click way too well.”

  I snort a laugh. “Click? Ha! Yeah, right. We’re complete opposites.”

  “And that’s why we’re so perfect for each other.” A lopsided smile lifts his lips. “No one can keep up with my banter like you can.”

  I wish I could agree with him, and maybe a few days ago, I would have. Now I’m not even sure I know him at all. Besides, would he still say that if he knew what I was?

  “What can I do?” he asks, searching my eyes for something.

  “What do you mean?” I wonder, feeling so lost.

  He gently sweeps a strand of hair behind my ear. “To help you feel better.”

  I sigh heavily. “I’m not sure there’s anything you can do.”

  “Of course there is.” Determination burns in his eyes. “I always used to be able to cheer you up whenever you were sad.”

  “I know.” And I’m being truthful. Hunter was always good at cheering me up. “But I’m not sure I can be cheered up right now. After everything …” I suck in a tremulous breath, fighting back the tears. “Between Ryleigh being … gone, and the whole thing with the demon kidnapping me and telling me what he thinks I am …” I give a dreary half-shrug. “I don’t think I’m going to be able to cheer up soon. Sorry.”

  “You don’t need to be sorry.” He rubs his lips together as he seems to decide on something. “He told you what you are?”

  I nod, looking away from him. “He did.”

  Silence drags between us.

  “Can you …?” He struggles for words. “Do you want to talk about it?”

  I shake my head, tears bubbling in my eyes.

  He hesitates. “I don’t want to force you to do anything, especially right now, but if we knew what you are, it could help us figure out why the demons are after you.”

  “By us and we, you mean the society, right?” A single tear falls to my cheek as shame burns in my chest.

  I’m a monster.

  “Yes.” He swipes the tear away with his thumb then rests his hand on my cheek. “I know you’re probably a little unsure of this society thing, but I promise that everything in it is working hard to protect you.”

  “Even my fake parents?” Another tear escapes my eye and another. Freakin’ bawling baby witches, when did I become such a cry baby? I need to woman up!

  He nods with remorse in his eyes. “I know you think everything was fake, but the people who are looking out for you care for you.”

  “Then why aren’t my fake parents here?” I question, fearing the answer. “If they really care about me, why aren’t they here?”

  His lips part, but no words come out. Sealing his lips together, he studies me intently, and then says, “I’m here.”

  “I know.” I have to wonder why. Is it solely because of his job? Or is he here as my friend, too? I could ask him. Then again, I fear the truth. Instead, I ask, “Am I ever going to meet other people in the society?” Another thought clicks. “Is Peyton a part of it, too? I doubt it, because she’s a vampire, but she’s also my roommate, and so far, those are two for two.”

  “Peyton’s not a part of it.” He gives a reluctant pause. “Eventually, you’ll meet the rest of the society. Some of the members you’ve already met, but there are some you haven’t.”

  I eye him over carefully. “Why do you sound unhappy about me meeting them?”

  He gives a dismissive shrug, his jaw set tight. “I don’t.”

  “You do, too.” I wait for him to tell me what in the wiggling monkeys has got him so squirmy, but all he does is push to his feet.

  “I’m going to let you shower and get changed into your pajamas. I need to go talk to Opal for a minute.”

  I watch him cross my room, my heart aching in my chest. I may not know the real Hunter, but I can tell he’s keeping something from me.

  Before he steps out of my room, he casts a glance over his shoulder. “I know you don’t want to talk about what the demon told you, but you really need to tell me soon, okay? If you don’t …” He wavers, worry flickering in his eyes. “Well, someone else from the society is going to get the truth out of you.” He quickly exits the room without so much as a backward glance.

  Puzzlement swirls in my mind, thick and potent and laced with fear. Fear over telling the truth and fear because … Well, because when Hunter said someone else from the society would get the truth out of me, it sounded like a warning.

  Chapter Eleven

  After I’ve showered and changed into a pair of pajamas, I head back to my room. I don’t know why, but I expect Hunter to be there waiting for me. He’s not.

  I consider hopping into bed, because holy sleepy spells I’m exhausted. However, curiosity gets the best of me, and I decide to try to do a little bit of eavesdropping.

  Tiptoeing out of my room, I pad down the hallway and toward the top of the stairs. As I pass by Opal’s room, I hear murmuring coming from the other side, so I stop and press my ear to the door.

  “Hunter, I seriously have no idea what the hell is going on in your head,” Opal hisses with frustration. “Kissing her like that—that’s completely against the rules.”

  “I know what the rules are,” Hunter bites back. “I don’t need you to remind me.”

  “Obviously, you do,” Opal says. “Since you kissed her twice that I know of. God knows how many other times you’ve done it.” When Hunter says nothing, she lets out a sequence of curses, sounding very un-Opal-like. “You’re going to get in so much trouble.”

  “No, I’m not,” he states. “Because you’re not going to tell anyone.”

  “Please don’t put me in that position.”

  “If you care for Eva and me at all, you won’t say anything.”

  Silence lingers in the air.

  “Why is this so important to you?” Opal finally asks. “Do you really care about her? Or is this just another one of your flings where you’ll use her then dump her? It’s not worth getting into trouble over if it is. And I don’t want you messing with Eva’s heart like that. She’s too sweet.”

  More silence.

  “Look, I’m not—”

  I let out a banshee scream as Peyton’s pet bat swoops down the hallway and dives at my head.

  I realize my mistake a squeal of a second later and make a mad dash for my bedroom. Then I dive into bed and pull the covers over my head, feeling a little silly. At the same time, I don’t want them to know I was listening. If they do find out, they might be more careful about what they say, and I need to find out as much as I can.

  What I really want to know is why Hunter isn’t allowed to kiss me. Because of the society?

  I really need to find out more about this society. I mean, I know nothing about them or what they do. Why work so hard to
protect me when they supposedly have no clue what I am?

  As I lie in bed, waiting for someone to check in on me and teeter-tottering between sleep and consciousness, my thoughts drift to what else Hunter and Opal said. Am I just a fling for Hunter, like a lot of the girls he’s dated? A while ago, I would have never doubted him. Now … I don’t know anything. About him. My life. This world.

  I’m completely lost and alone. I worry I may never find my way to a place where anything makes sense again.

  Chapter Twelve

  I lead Hunter down a path paved with flowers, staring up at the twinkling stars sparkling in the sky. The way I move feels different than normal, like I’m more in control over my body. A seductress. Powerful. Hypnotic.

  My heart is steady inside my chest as I steer him farther down the path and into the darkness. Then my pulse quickens with excitement as I turn around and look at him.

  “You don’t need to worry,” I tell him, my lips curling. “I won’t hurt you.”

  Not physically, anyway.

  I can feel a darkness stirring inside my chest. A darkness begging to be fed. It’s terrifying and invigorating. I want to turn around and run, yet at the same time, I want to keep going.

  Soft, sultry music flows from somewhere and candles sparkle in the distance. The air is hot and my skin is damp beneath the short dress covering my body. I feel sexy and alive. Awake for the first time. In control.

  I love the feeling. Crave more of it.

  I walk backward in front of Hunter, still holding his hand. I slip my tongue out of my mouth to wet my lips, and his eyes flare with desire as he watches the movement. When I do the movement again, he lets out a groan.

  The urge to lean forward and bite on his lip rushes through my body, and I lean forward to do just that. A simple taste, but it sends my senses into a frenzy and makes Hunter groan again.

  I’ve never felt this way before. Wildly in control, yet reckless, like I’m about to do something very wrong, yet so, so right.

  “Are you ready?” I ask, stopping where the path opens up.

  Thousands of candles flicker across the ground, matching the stars in the sky. Leaves and flower petals rain in the air. This place is gorgeous, familiar, but I don’t know why.

  Hunter slowly nods, skimming the inside of my wrist with his finger. “Fuck yes.”

  A smile tugs at my lips as I move into the space at the end of the path. Petals and leaves instantly swirl around us, making the atmosphere magical. But the uplifting feeling clashes with the hungry darkness clawing at my chest.

  I need something. From him.

  A nervous breath puffs from his lips as he stares at me, hypnotized, waiting.

  For what?

  I crook my finger at him. “Come here.”

  He steps toward me until our bodies are nearly flushed. “Now what?”

  I stare into his eyes. “Do you want me?”

  He nods without hesitation. “More than anything.”

  I pull him closer. “How come you’ve never said anything before?”

  His shaky fingers find my waist. “Because I was afraid.”

  I trace my finger up and down his back, smiling to myself as he shivers. I have so much power over him.

  “Afraid of what?”

  He loops his arms around my waist, then slants forward, leaving only a mere inch between our lips. “You. Me. How I feel about you. What it means. How the society would react …” He trails off, his gaze dropping to my lips. “I want you so badly, Eva.”

  “I want you, too.” My bold words don’t feel like they belong to me. Nothing about me does at the moment. Something is wrong, and I know it, but I can’t stop myself from leaning closer to him and breathing in his scent. “You smell so good.” Tasty.

  I’m going to devour you.

  The thought sends terror coursing through me, but the darkness in my chest promptly squashes it.

  “So do you,” he whispers dazedly.

  I dip my lips closer to his. “I want to kiss you.”

  What is happening to me?

  He shuts his eyes and lets out an untamed moan. “I want you to kiss me, too.”

  Giving him what he wants, and what the darkness inside me craves, I seal my lips to his.

  He shivers, his eyes slipping shut.

  A consuming hunger blazes through my veins as I deepen the kiss, slipping my tongue into his mouth.

  He whimpers, almost seeming in pain, but he has to like what I’m doing to him because he says, or more like begs, “Please, Eva, I need more.”

  I give him what he wants, and what the darkness inside me craves, as I tangle my tongue with his, tasting, wanting, driving him mad.

  My pulse throbs as I grab ahold of him, stabbing my fingernails into his flesh. A husky moan flees his lips, and I press my body closer to him, kissing him fiercely, nearly bruising our mouths.

  What in the world is happening to me? I’ve never acted this way before. So out of control. So bold. So sexual …

  My mind gets lost in a cloud of desire as I kiss his jawline, his neck, gently grazing my teeth across his skin. I’m sweltering with need.

  Take it from him, Eva. Feed your powers.

  What powers?

  He groans out my name as I bite his neck, kind of roughly, too.

  He clutches on to me, groaning and panting, begging for more.

  “Eva,” he groans out my name as his head tips back and his hand finds the back of my head. “More please.”

  I bite him again, probably breaking skin. I’d worry maybe I have vampire blood in me, but it’s not his blood I crave. It’s him—all of him.

  “This is crazy,” I whisper more to myself. “But I can’t control myself.”

  “Good … I don’t want you to.”

  I bite down on his neck again, leaving teeth marks. “I’m going to devour you.”

  “Yes, please …” he begs as my lips move toward his mouth again.

  I prepare to kiss him until he can’t breathe, until the hunger inside me is fully fed. But right as our lips are about to reunite, I realize what’s happening.

  I’m seducing Hunter in a dream.

  Max told me I have succubus blood.

  Oh, my God, I’m in succubus form right now!

  I jerk back and slap myself across the face. “Wake up!”

  Hunter gapes at me with wide eyes. “Eva, what are you—”

  I smack myself again, and it seems to do the trick as I’m yanked away from Hunter and into the unknown.

  Chapter Thirteen

  My eyes snap open, and I bolt upright in bed, panting, sweaty, my mind completely wired. The lamp is on, filtering light through the darkness blanketing the room.

  As my sleepy mind begins to process where I am, that I’m in my bedroom, Hunter sits up in my bed, too, the panic and confusion in his eyes mirroring mine.

  Wait a second? Hunter is in my bed? Why?

  “What are you doing in here?” I ask, trying to ignore the frenzy taking over my body.

  Even awake, I want him. Too much.

  Crappity, what if the feeling doesn’t fade?

  The panic in his eyes subsides as a faint smirk touches his lips. “You told me I could sleep in your bed, remember?”

  I rack my mind for what in the magical kingdoms he could possibly be talking about, and the moment comes rushing back to me. Then I frown and shake my head. “Yeah, but that was before everything happened.”

  He has the audacity to simply shrug. “So? You never said otherwise, so technically, your offer’s in place.”

  “Are you only sleeping in here to keep an eye on me?”

  “Partly.” He wets his lips with his tongue while staring at my mouth. “It does have its perks, though.”

  I swallow hard, wondering what he means by that. “Hunter … Did you …?” I pick at my fingernails, my cheeks flushing. Okay, so apparently, my dominant powers are strictly a dreamland thing. “Did you, by chance, have a strange dream?”

; “Yes.” His husky tone draws my attention back to him. The same desire he had in my dream now fills his eyes. “Did you?”

  I nod, feeling unsettlingly guilty. Should I tell him what I think was happening? Do I dare?

  “I think it might have been …” The words are stolen from my lips as he presses his lips to mine, kissing me with so much passion I can scarcely breathe.

  Pull away, Eva. This isn’t right. No matter what Hunter’s done to you, you don’t want him kissing you simply because he’s being seduced by your succubus paranormal powers.

  Sucking in a deep breath, I pull away. But then he cups the back of my head and guides me back to him.

  “Don’t go yet,” he whispers. “Just give me a few more minutes. Then you can return to being mad at me.”

  He sounds fully coherent, like he knows exactly what he’s doing, which befuddles me. In my dream, he seemed so dazed. And why doesn’t he seem more concerned that we both had a strange, probably similar dream? Does he not realize that? What does he realize?

  I want to pull away—I really do—but he keeps kissing me as if I mean the world to him.

  The old Eva takes over, the one who is in love with her best friend, and I end up kissing him back.

  “God, I’ve wanted this for longer than you can possibly imagine,” he murmurs between kisses.

  As his words register, guilt consumes me.

  I jerk back, ready to tell him the truth about why he probably wants to kiss me, when my attention wanders to the doorway as movement shifts in the shadows.

  “What the heck was that?” I whisper, starting to get up.

  Hunter grabs my arm and yanks me back against him. “Don’t.”

  When my lips part to ask him why, the question fades on my tongue as Ryleigh appears in my doorway.

  “Ryleigh …” I trail off as she steps fully from the shadows and into the light.

  Her skin, which was pale from death to begin with, is now pallid and tinted blue; her veins beneath her skin are visible and purplish black; her lips are stained blood red; and the gleaming hunger in her bloodshot eyes can only mean one thing.