Excerpt: Something Witchy
They had a name for someone like me, someone who falls in love
with their kidnapper—besides idiot, that is—but I was still too messed up from
my nightmare to remember what it was. I
wasn’t going to fall in love with Nathan, though. I was going to wait and watch, and the first opportunity
I got, I was going to run like hell.
Yeah, keep telling yourself
that, babe, a traitorous voice whispered in my ear.
Vampires and smartass ghosts.
My life was a real nightmare come true.
I suddenly wished for that ghost tank thing the Ghostbusters toted
around. The idea of vacuuming Snake into
an ectoplasmic Dirt Devil was almost enough to make me smile.
“This is a nice car,” I said, looking around at my kidnapper’s
mode of transportation as a way to distract myself. “Who’d you say you stole it from? Batman?”
It was sleek enough to be the frigging Batmobile. It was jet black and purred like a well-fed
cat. The inside was as black as the
outside, the only break in the color scheme being the yellow Ashton Martin logo
stitched into the headrests, and so spotless you would have thought he had
driven it straight off the assembly line that morning. Every electronic gadget known to man that
would fit in a car was there to be played with. I found myself itching to try the stereo to
see what the sound system in a car that nice would be like.
“No, I didn’t steal it from Batman,” Nathan said, laughing
softly. “Like I told your friend back
there, it’s just a car. It’s a pretty
toy, that’s all. I have a weakness for
His voice changed at the end of his explanation, became deeper,
more intimate, and I found myself blushing for no reason whatsoever. I needed to get a grip. I was an abductee,
not this guy’s girlfriend. Besides, he
had said he had a weakness for beautiful
things. If that was the case, he should
have kidnapped Kim instead. She would
have been more his speed. Though,
knowing Kim, she probably would have crushed his scrotum and been drinking
lattes at the Coffee Bean by now, not panicked, fainted, and crawled back into
his car like a complete chicken-shit because he yelled at her.
“Are you going to tell me where we’re going?” I asked moodily,
staring out the window again. “No, wait,
let me guess. We’re off to your creepy
vampire lair where you will store me safely away in the dungeon until I’m gray
and wrinkly from either loss of blood or old age?”
To my surprise, he threw back his head and laughed. I guess you can imagine how happy that made me. When he glanced at me and realized I was
trying to glare a hole through his thick skull, he finally pulled himself
“I don’t intimidate you at
all, do I?” he asked, looking torn between amusement and surprise that I wasn’t
shaking in my boots.
I arched an eyebrow when he flipped on his blinker and pulled
into a gravel parking lot that looked like it had been hit by a meteor
shower. He could have lost his whole car in one of the craters rimmed in
gravel that made up the lot.
“Hardly,” I told him
grumpily. I glanced at him from the
corner of my eye to see his reaction.
Another smile. What a surprise.
“Hmm…” he murmured, giving me a playful look. “Then maybe I’m starting to make you
“Sorry to bust your bubble, Dracula, but it would take a lot more
than some fangs to make me nervous.”
“That’s not exactly what I meant.”
He reached over to brush a curl from my cheek, and I felt that
delicious chill slip down my spine again. Wishing I wasn’t a blusher, I did my
damnedest to meet his gaze. God, if only
that heat in his eyes meant something… I
was usually morally opposed to having sex in a car, but for him I might have
reconsidered my position.
Have I mentioned that I am totally
“I think I do make you nervous,” he said softly, reaching for my
hand and twining our fingers together.
“You really shouldn’t think,” I told him. “You’re obviously not used to the strain.”
Giving him a sickly sweet smile, I pulled my hand away before I
could start to hyperventilate from the electric tingles racing up my arm. That was it.
I was going to have to institute a strict No Touch policy—as soon as I
remembered how to talk again. I didn’t
think my poor heart could take the beating it was getting every time he touched
me. Rather than press the issue, Nathan
gave me a mysterious little smile and made a show of placing his hand back on
the steering wheel.
When I decided there was something else in the universe worth
looking at besides Nathan, I found myself staring through the windshield at the
shabbiest looking diner in history. And
when I say shabby, I mean this place looked nasty. The building was leaning to the side slightly
like it had been the loser in a fight with an earthquake. The paint that hadn’t peeled off the exterior
looked like it might have once been an awful shade of gray that would have set
off the duct tape over the broken window panes to perfection. The stench from the overflowing dumpster I
could see off to the side of the building was enough to make me queasy—and I
hadn’t even gotten out of the car yet.
There was a battered old sign hanging over the door that had
probably been painted before the west was won.
I peered at it, trying to make out the name of the dump where I was
expected to have dinner.
“Haven,” I muttered, arching one eyebrow. “They should have added an E and made it
Heaven. That’s probably where the people
who eat here end up. We’re not going to eat here, are we?”
“Don’t let the outside fool you,” Nathan said, already getting
out of the car. “The food here is
actually pretty good. Besides, it’s the
only place I can get dinner…unless
you’re rethinking offering yourself up as a snack.”
Yeah, because that was
going to happen. If he was waiting on me
to offer myself up as dinner, he was in for one hell of a long wait.
“Sure,” I agreed sarcastically, batting my eyelashes. “Let me find the rat poison and get a good dose
of it in my system and I’m all yours!”
Rather than get offended, Nathan laughed again before jogging
around the car to open my door. He held
out his hand to me, and I gave it a wary look before getting out on my
own. Call me crazy, but, considering my
change in attitude toward mobile intercourse, I thought it might be best to
avoid contact with him as much as possible.
Nathan thought otherwise.
The car door had barely closed behind me when I found myself
pressed back against it once again. With
the sexiest smile in history, he planted his hands on either side of my
shoulders and leaned in closer, then closer still. My heartbeat sped up like a freight train,
and my skin started up that damn tingling again as he leaned down to breathe
his next words in my ear.
“Are you sure I don’t
make you nervous, Ember?” he asked, making the mutant butterflies that had
taken up permanent residence in my stomach wake up and go wild.
“Don’t flatter yourself, dead boy.” My voice came out all breathy, rather than
the hard tone I had been trying for, totally irritating me.
“Hmmm,” he murmured, leaning closer and pressing me against the
door at my back, his voice only a breath against my skin as his nose skimmed my
jaw. He filled the space around me with
his scent, his body, his mere presence blocking out everything and everyone
else. “You know, I think you might be
lying to me. Your heart is beating like
a hummingbird’s wings and you seem to be having a little trouble catching your
“Um…you kidnapped me,” I told him, trying to remember why I
didn’t want him molesting me in a dark parking lot in the middle of
nowhere—with a very convenient crater only a foot away where he could hide my
body. I wouldn’t be found for months.
As rank as the air around me was, they probably wouldn’t even notice the
smell. “Maybe I’m afraid. Ever think of that?”
“You know you’re not really afraid of me, Ember,” he whispered,
letting his nose trail down the side of my neck.
“Yes, I am,” I murmured. In more ways than one, I finished silently. I didn’t want to be attracted to him, but I
couldn’t seem to stop feeling that electricity between us that was potent
enough to make my hair stand on end.
He pressed a soft kiss in the hollow below my ear, his lips as
soft and silky as I had imagined they would be, and I thought maybe I had died
and gone to heaven. I gasped, trying and
failing to come up with a coherent train of thought as he pressed me even
closer to the metal behind me, fusing our bodies together from chest to ankle.
Bad idea! my more
practical side screamed. This is a very
“Ah, you want to play hard
to get, is that it?” he breathed against my ear, his lips barely brushing my
earlobe, a butterfly caress that made my blood sing in my veins and my pulse
pound. “That’s fine with me. I have to warn you, though; I don’t play
games I can’t win.”
Vocal ice water.
Playing games, huh? I was
sure that was something he was very
good at. As beautiful as he was, he
probably never had any shortage of playmates, either. He was probably one of those assholes who
thought women were put on earth for the sole benefit of being his favorite form
of entertainment. Unfortunately for him,
that wasn’t going to work for me. I
didn’t want him to use me to amuse himself so he could toss me when he got
bored. I had more self-respect than
“Don’t bother,” I told him, pushing him away. He looked surprised, at first, but then his
eyes became totally unreadable. “I don’t
know what game you’re playing,
Nathan, but you’re going to have to find someone else to play it with. I’m not interested in…whatever this is.”
“Aren’t you?” he asked, his tone as cold as ice.
“No, I’m not,” I snapped.
And at that moment, I meant it, damn it, because he'd dragged me
from my home against my will and I had absolutely no idea what he planned to
do with me, except maybe add me to his Slushie dungeon. Then, just to entertain himself, he thought
it was okay to play head games with me.
Well, he thought wrong.
He flinched, and I know he read my mind because he scanned my
face long and hard, and I stared back with all the disgust for him that I could
muster. Eventually, his eyes
“Suit yourself,” he said, shrugging like it didn’t make any
difference to him one way or another.
Tilting his head, he gave me a once-over that made me feel half an inch
tall. “I doubt you could have held my
attention for long, anyway. You’re a bit
too…frigid for my tastes.”
I felt like he had punched me.
In the chest. As hard as he
could. Tears of humiliation welled up in
my eyes before I could stop them, and I felt a desperate need to get away from
him before I embarrassed myself—more than I already had, that is. With no other route of escape available to
me, I turned and ran toward the only form of shelter I had.
I stumbled through the dingy front doors and took in my
surroundings through tear filled eyes that made the world look all blurry and
soft. Haven was a lot better looking on
the inside than the outside, the worn tables polished and clean, the chairs
upholstered in bright colors. They
definitely weren’t doing booming business, though. The only person I saw was a gaunt old man who
looked up in surprise from behind the register as I bolted through the doors
like my ass was on fire. But the only
thing I cared about was the sign painted in curly black script that read
I ran into the women’s bathroom and locked the door behind
me. It was only then that I let the tears
fall. Sliding down the door, I crossed
my arms over my chest and clamped my mouth shut tight so the sobs fighting
their way up from deep inside wouldn’t escape as I tried to figure out why
Nathan’s words had hurt so much.
Because you know they were true,
a sad little voice said in the back of my mind, and the truth hurts.
Even after the tears had run their course, I continued to sit
there and stare at the faded roses on the wallpaper across from me. I had never willingly hidden from anyone or
anything, but I couldn’t bring myself to stand up and walk back out that door
knowing I was about as important to the vampire waiting on me as a piece of
I don’t know how long I sat there before a soft knock at the door
reminded me that I was hiding in a public bathroom. I had just opened my mouth to tell whoever
was on the other side that I would be right out when the one voice I could have
happily gone the rest of my life without hearing again drifted through the wood
“Ember, are you all right?” Nathan asked softly, tapping on the
“I’m fine,” I said woodenly, his voice giving me the push I
needed to stop acting like a child.
Standing up, I threw the door open to find him looking about as
miserable as I felt.
“Are you ready to go?” I asked, pushing past him to get out of
He caught my arm and turned me back to face him, and I focused my
eyes on his chest and kept them there.
Even when he tilted my chin up so I would have to look at him, I still
refused to meet his gaze.
“God, I can’t do this,” he said softly, more to himself than to
me, I think. “I’m so sorry, Ember. I didn’t mean to—”
“Didn’t mean to what?” I snapped, knocking his hand away. “Didn’t mean to kidnap me? Didn’t mean to play with me? Didn’t mean to make the poor, pathetic loser
cry? What is it that you didn’t mean to
He flinched back from me like I was throwing silver bullets in
his face instead of words. The sadness
in his eyes might have made me feel sorry for him, but I didn’t have enough
pity to spare for him. No, I was saving
that all for myself.
“I didn’t mean to hurt you,” he said, his voice still soft. “I never wanted to hurt you.”
“You didn’t, so I don’t guess you need to apologize,” I lied,
keeping my expression neutral and my voice cold. He had
hurt me, but I’d be damned if I told him that. Instead, I decided to let him know he was no
more important to me than I was to him.
“I would have to care about you for you to hurt me, Nathan, and I
don’t. You’re just the guy who kidnapped
me. So, why don’t you get on with that
so you can dump me off somewhere and leave me alone?”
I pulled my arm free and he didn’t try to stop me. Without another word, I turned around and
walked away. The old man I’d noticed on
my way in caught my eye on my way out, and I immediately bristled when I saw
his sympathetic expression. I didn’t
want his pity. And I damn sure didn’t
want Nathan’s. All I wanted was to go
home and cry on my bestie’s shoulder.
“Prince Charming, my ass,” I muttered as I marched back to the
car. “Bloodsucking toad is more like
it. I have absolutely no taste in guys. None at all.”
I jerked the passenger side door open with enough force to warp
the hinges and had already thrown myself into my seat in a fit of temper when I
realized two very important things.
Nathan hadn’t followed me out.
Stupid vampire probably thought I was too scared of him to try
anything—proving he didn’t know me at all.
If he had, the genius never would have left his keys in the
And if he hadn’t, I wouldn’t have stolen his car.
Remember this is the LAST day of the giveaway. It ends tonight. Winner will be posted in the AM tomorrow!
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Along with many reviewers (which we could not do this without)