Authors: Rachel Carrington


Skye turned around to stare at him.
“You’re kidding, right?
You’re holding
me prisoner in your home and expect me to share a meal with you like I’m a

Rane buttered a thin piece of rye bread.
“You are a guest… an uninvited one, but a
guest nevertheless.
Try to accentuate
the positive.”
He winked and took a bite
of the bread.

Skye fumed inside.
She didn’t
have time for this.
She checked her
watch and blew out a breath.
How much
longer would Sabrina keep Emily alive?
“Look, I understand you’re concerned I’m going to spill your family
secret, but let me assure you that I won’t.”

“Isn’t that what you threatened yesterday?”

“That was yesterday.
I was
cornered and I reacted.”

Rane nodded and extended a bowl of grapes.
“You were caught,” he corrected smoothly.

Skye accepted the bowl and joined him on the bed.
Look, in case you haven’t figured out by now, I’m not exactly an old pro
at this criminal stuff.”
She blinked her
eyes at him, playing up the innocent role.

“I did make that connection, yes.”
He filled a crystal glass with wine and passed it to her.

Skye’s fingers curled around the fragile stem and she brought the
scarlet liquid to her lips.
“To that
end, don’t you think it would be only fair to let me go with a warning?
I mean, if I promise I won’t say a word to
anyone, of course.”

Rane poured another glass of wine and calmly corked the bottle
before responding to Skye’s question.

Skye leaned in closer to stare at him.

He gazed at her over the rim of the glass and Skye thought she saw a
glimmer of amusement in the depths of those gorgeous black eyes.
“That’s what I said.”

She sat back with a huff.
“You’re making me angry.”

He whistled low.
“I imagine
I’m supposed to be afraid now?”

Skye popped a grape in her mouth and chewed with more anger than
“I didn’t come here to scare

Rane caught hold of her wrist and Skye froze.
“Then tell me exactly why it is that you did
come here.”

Skye tried to twist her arm free but the wizard held fast.
“I don’t have to tell you anything.
You’ll know soon enough.”
She looked away from Rane’s eyes, that
probing, intense gaze which seemed to read through to her soul.

Rane released her.
“I imagine
I will.”
He took another sip of his
“Would it have anything to do with
the amulet I have in my wall safe?”

Skye’s breath caught in her throat.
If he knew about the amulet, did he know about the other portion of her
“You must think every witch in the
free world is after that amulet.”

“It is very powerful.”

Skye shrugged, playing it casual.
“I’m sure it is, but I’m not interested in the amulet.”
It wasn’t a lie.
Skye cared little for the charm.
She only wanted to take it back to Sabrina
and secure the release of her sister.
Then she and Emily could escape and pretend they’d never heard of the
Coven, or witchcraft, or wizards.

Rane tipped her face with a finger beneath her chin.
“Then tell me who does.”

Skye couldn’t look away this time.

“Who sent you, Skye?”

Her mouth went dry.
makes you think anyone sent me?”

His eyes burned into hers.
“Do you know so little about wizards?”

“I know enough about you.”

“I am but one wizard, but you should know I can read you.
Every move of your body tells me you aren’t
the mastermind behind this plot.
All I’m
asking is for you to tell me who sent you and I’ll release you.”

Skye’s hands clenched.
no doubt the wizard would keep his word, but only one-half of her mission was
She still needed to gain
possession of the amulet and striking deal with Rane when Emily was still at
Sabrina’s mercy was out of the question.
“And I’m supposed to trust you to keep your word?”

Rane’s eyes narrowed and as his face set, Skye knew she’d angered
the wizard.
The knowledge should have
scared her, or at the very least, concerned her.
It didn’t.
“The word of a wizard is sacred.
We do not make a promise we will not keep.”

The stony edge to the words coupled with the succinct way Rane said
them made Skye scoot farther away from him.
She held up one hand.
“Look, I
understand your frustration and all that, but you have to understand where I’m
coming from.
I don’t know you any more
than you know me.”
She paused and
surveyed him with a studious look.
as well as I think you know me anyway.
Don’t you think it’s only natural that I doubt the man who’s holding me

Rane’s posture didn’t relax.
“If you choose to think of me as a man, then, yes, but I am first and
foremost, a wizard.”

Skye got to her feet and walked to the window once more.
“That I’ve never doubted, Mr. Hansen.”

“The name is Rane.”

“I’m well aware of your name, but I don’t think it’s a good idea for
us to get very familiar with one another.”

“Why’s that?”

Skye fidgeted with the edge of the curtain.
“Because I won’t be here much longer.”

Rane approached her.
felt his presence even before he reached her.
The width of his shoulders obliterated the furnishings behind him and
when he drew closer, Skye had to tip her head back to see his face.
Cast in the light of the moon, his features
were more relaxed, approachable even, but she didn’t doubt that could change in
a moment’s notice.

“Apparently, you’ve read my mind.”
Rane reached out to touch her face with the tips of his fingers and Skye
shivered, frozen in place as his hand made a caressing journey toward the swell
of her throat.

His skin rasped softly against hers and Skye drew in a shaky
“What do you mean?”
Focus was eluding her, skating away like a
fine mist in the early morning sun.
Could she really hope that he had gotten a dose of conscience?
Would he really release her?
And what would she do if he decided to let
her go?
She couldn’t go home without
proof of his death and the amulet.
wasn’t exactly being a cooperative victim.

Rane placed his lips against her ear and Skye’s knees almost
She’d never doubted the wizard’s
way with the ladies, but this close, his magnetism was overwhelming.
Her hands fluttered against the soft cotton
of his shirt before fisting against the buttons.
“You were correct when you said you wouldn’t
be here much longer.”

A strange buzzing sensation started in the base of Skye’s brain as
she concentrated fully on his words, trying to make sense of them.
“What are you talking about and please move
away from me.”

Rane only leaned in closer, so close his cheek scraped her jaw
“You don’t want to stay here.”

“That can’t be a surprise to you.”
Skye wished he’d move away.
least she thought that was what she wanted.
His hand was now moving in slow, lazy circles over her spine, sinking
lower and lower until her knees bumped against one another.

Rane chuckled, low and husky.
“Nothing comes as a surprise to a wizard, Skye.”

“Don’t tell me you’ve grown a conscience and you’re going to release

He lifted his head and while black eyes searched her face, hope
swelled in Skye’s heart.
Could it really
be that easy?
Would the wizard really
release her?
Maybe his ethics had
finally stepped in.

“Actually, I’ve decided to leave as well.”

Skye’s thoughts came skidding to a halt.
“What do you mean?”
Suspicion crept into her voice.

He caught hold of her wrist and pressed a kiss against the tender
skin on the underside of her forearm.
“You and I are going to take a little trip together, Skye.”

“Little trip?”
The words
squeaked out.

Rane’s smile was wickedly charming.
“It’s been a while since I’ve been home.”

Skye parroted
“What home?
You are home.
What are you talking about?”

He shook his head, still holding her wrist loosely.
“Not this one.
My real home.
I’m taking you to Mystique.”



The city took her by surprise.
Skye had heard stories of the mystical city the wizards called home, but
to see it in person, awed her.
Everywhere she looked, she saw trees whose roots sank into downy
Leaves of gossamer crowded
together to hang low overhead and giant butterflies floated past, so close Skye
heard the gentle swishing of their wings.

She stumbled alongside Rane, trying to keep pace.
Her excitement held her back.
She wanted to stare at each and every vivid
detail, take in the sights and sounds to share them with Emily later.

Angelic voices sang together in perfect harmony, though Skye didn’t
recognize the words and the air was redolent with the scent of jasmine and
Stars hung low, close enough to
touch and when Skye lifted her hand, she felt the cool smoothness of one of the
luminous points.

Rane stopped so suddenly, she bumped into his hip.
“Why are we stopping?”

He cast a look over his shoulder and Skye a glimpse of humor in his
“Why are you whispering?”

Skye glared at him, the spell broken.
“I’ve never been here before.
I’m not sure of the etiquette.”
A loud whinny startled her and she shrank
closer to his large frame, seconds before a unicorn galloped by, its rider, a
long-haired blonde, leaning low over his shoulder.

Skye sucked in a breath.
it always like this here?”

“Isn’t your world just as magical?”

“Earth is my world.”

He studied her.
“You’ve never
been to your true home?”

She gnawed on her lower lip.
“I just told you that Earth is my true home.”

His eyes narrowed.
been misled.”

Her shoulders squared.
Does your city have rules I
should know about?”

Rane searched her face, taking an infinitely long time.
Skye wanted to look away but his eyes held
Transfixed, she could only stare
“The wizards will let you know if
you make a mistake.”

She sucked in a sharp breath.
“How are the wizards going to feel about your bringing a witch into
their midst?”

He shrugged.
“This is my
I’ll handle them.”

“Is that why you left?
Because you were so good at handling them?”

Rane didn’t respond.
he spun around and resumed the pace down the long, marbled runway leading
toward the golden castle at the end.

Skye followed at a much slower pace, still drinking in the sights
and sounds of his home, the majestic city she’d only heard about in the tales
her mother would read to her each night.

To think that a
witch would enter the hallowed halls of the Assembly’s home was
Even better, to think she
would be that witch was beyond Skye’s comprehension.

The double doors shielding the entrance to the castle swung wide
with barely a whisper of sound and just as Skye prepared for even more
inspiring sights, a loud bellow, not unlike the sound of an injured bull, burst
out of the opening.

“You dare to bring this kind to our home?”




Other books

Phineas L. MacGuire . . . Gets Slimed! by Frances O'Roark Dowell
Nefertiti by Michelle Moran
Twice As Nice by Lin Oliver
A Tale of Two Tails by Henry Winkler
Mindsiege by Heather Sunseri
Married in Seattle by Debbie Macomber Copyright 2016 - 2023