Voodoo Kiss, p.19Jayde Scott
"We're in Brooklyn," Thrain said, switching lanes.
I nodded, already missing Scotland's breathtaking nature and clean air. "My apartment is around here."
"I know." Was that disappointment in his voice? I shot him a sideway glance. His face betrayed no emotion. Ten minutes later, I recognized my block. To my surprise, Thrain knew exactly where to park and get out. A hot hunk walking me to the door seemed surreal, as though I was coming back from an amazing adventure no one would ever believe. Only a few days ago, I had been nothing but a young woman trying to figure out who she was. I felt different now, more confident, more determined to embrace my true self.
Fishing in my handbag, I pulled out my keys with shaky fingers and tried to unlock the door to the building.
"Let me help you," Thrain said, grabbing the keys out of my hand. I let him do the work for me and followed him in through the narrow hall up to my apartment on the seventh floor. The hall still smelled of garbage as always, the plaster was still peeling off the wall in several places. I guessed I got used to it in the months I had been living here, but walking up with Thrain on my arm, the state of this place made me insecure. Would he think differently of me now the glamour was gone? What would he say to my tiny matchbox apartment with the old furniture I liked to call retro and the windows that wouldn't open most of the time?
"Want to come in?" I asked as soon as we reached the door, ready to find out the answers to all the questions bugging me.
He smiled. "I'd love to."
"My roommate might be here." I let him walk in and closed the door behind us.
"Then she'll get to watch quite a performance," Thrain whispered, catching me between the door and his hard body. I raised my lips to meet him as his arms wrapped around my waist. His hungry mouth descended onto mine, and for a moment the earth actually trembled beneath our feet.
Later, we lay on the couch, his arm draped around me, my fingers drawing circles on his naked chest where his tattoo seemed to twitch beneath my exploring fingers. I could see the silver thread around us, binding our souls together. It was strange looking at the sparkling air that seemed to be shifting slowly before my eyes, wondering whether he could see it too. My finger traced the air where the particles shimmered like tiny diamonds, barely visible if I didn't focus. We were bonded, drawn together by fate, which made the entire situation both bitter sweet and tragic. Two people from different worlds. Would it work out?
"Do you remember the talk you never wanted to have?" Thrain asked.
Groaning, I propped up on my elbow. What was it with this guy and his tendency to spoil the most beautiful moments with talk? I raised my brows. "Nope. Do you?"
"I can't stay here—with you."
His words caught me off guard. "You said that already."
"No, you don't understand." He shook his head, his eyes gleamed with something I couldn't pinpoint. "I want this. I want us, but it's going to be difficult with my job. I don't have a choice because I was made to serve. We'll have to figure something out because I'm not leaving you here all alone with a killer still on the loose."
His attitude pissed me off. As much as I fancied the idea of a proper, long-term boyfriend, I didn't like him thinking me weak. I wanted him to stay because he had fallen in love with me, but not to protect me. "I don't need a babysitter, Thrain." My tone sounded sharper than intended, and yet I couldn't help myself. I had been taking care of myself my whole life. Once I learned to use my new powers, I would be immortal, able to fend off even the Blade of Sorrow.
"Come with me." His thumb brushed my cheek gently, his green gaze betraying his emotions. It broke my heart to say it, and yet I had no choice.
"I want to, but I can't, just like you can't get away from your commitments." I took a deep breath to hide the quiver in my voice. "You see, a long time ago I made a promise to myself and to my family that I would succeed as a musician. I can't back down on my word."
He nodded. "Well, in that case I'm not going to try and change your mind. It wouldn't be right." He was putting my own needs before his. I appreciated his respect, but it stung that he didn't even try to find a solution to our dilemma.
"Thank you," I said, swallowing down my pride.
"I'll visit you whenever I can. We can take it from there," Thrain whispered.
Promise, I wanted to say, but I didn't because it would make me seem needy. I opened my mouth to say that I would very much like to see him again when my emotions choked me. So I just pressed my temple against his shoulder to hide the tears threatening to spill down my cheeks. I wished I had a choice, but I didn't. My voice was a gift I intended to use. My mother and grandmother were counting on me. I needed the money to help them out of poverty. I wouldn't disappoint them like my father did, not when they had sacrificed so much to get me where I was now.
An hour later, Thrain left me with a last kiss and the promise to return soon. I knew soon could mean anything. A day. A week. A month. A long time when surviving even an hour without him already seemed like the toughest task of my life.
Six weeks later
The sun spilled bright rays through the café window, where I worked during my study breaks and the regular, badly paid performances my band mate, Aaron, set me up with. We were still a team, albeit a more efficient one now that Gael was no longer here to monitor my every move. With experience, my voice had gained in depth, and with every gig I felt more confident. Aaron said if we kept up the exposure we'd be a household name soon. I trusted his knowledge of the business, so I focused on using every opportunity to perform while staying away from the usual industry parties fueled with sex and drugs.
In the last six weeks, my inspiration had been at an all time high. I had been missing Thrain so much that I poured everything I had into songwriting. Like promised, he had called but our conversations had been brief and superficial. Several times I wanted to ask when I'd be seeing him again, but I chickened out. The only glimpse I caught of him was at Cass's birthday party, followed by a heated kiss and yet another painful goodbye. He hadn't called in a week now, which made me wonder what he was up to and whether he had already forgotten about me.
I wiped the counter to finish my morning shift, then hurried home to get changed for my first class. A few days ago, I had moved into a room on campus, figuring I was closer to college and could fully focus on my studies. Besides, I would be safer here. My new roommate would arrive today, so I made a quick stop at a convenience store to get coffee and cake. A good first impression could decide whether sharing a room with a stranger for the next four years would be bearable or pure hell.
As I opened the door to the dorm room, the bathroom lights were already switched on.
"Hello?" My voice reverberated from the walls, making me cringe because it sounded so insecure. Truth was, I wasn't over the fact that Gael had tried to kill me.
A girl dressed in jeans and a long sweater, black hair in a ponytail, appeared in the doorway and held out her hand. "Oh, hi. You must be Sofia. I'm Liz, your new roommate." She was pretty with tiny freckles covering her cheeks, a bit taller and more athletic, but she didn't look like she was the chocolate-skipping kind. I instantly warmed up to her.
Grabbing her hand in a tight grip, I looked behind her at the things cluttering the bathroom floor, then back to her. "Sorry about the mess. I didn't expect you before eight."
She nodded, her eyes shimmering. "Yeah. I hope you don't mind."
"Not at all."
She grinned and something flickered in her gaze. I thought I recognized her from somewhere, but it couldn't be. I had never met her before.
"So we'll be roommates, huh? How cool is that?" She pointed at the box in my hand. "Is that cake?"
I smiled. "Chocolate topping. Figured you'd like it."
"Love it. I got you a gift as well," Liz whispered, her tone growing a little husky.
"Really?" I raised my brows at her broad smile and her sparkling eyes. There was something weird about her
"It's on your nightstand."
I nodded and walked past her through the tiny hall into our bedroom. It was quite spacious with two beds and desks as well as a tiny walk-in closet and a few bookshelves. What I liked best, however, was the view on the communal garden that I knew I would frequent often. As soon my gaze fell on the huge, hideous thing on my bed, my heart almost stopped and I let out a loud shriek. There, right next to pillow sat a butt-ugly gargoyle with shiny, red eyes peering right at me. Its mouth hung slightly open, revealing a long string of sharp teeth. I swear for a moment I thought it grinned at me, but it might as well been a silent growl. Either way, this thing looked very much alive—I could tell from the way its ginormous head cocked to one side to get a better glimpse of me, probably considering whether to have me for lunch now or a bit later. I took a step back, unsure whether to dash for the door in case it might give chase.
Something touched my shoulder gently, startling me. I turned sharply and peered into the most gorgeous green eyes ever.
"You don't like your gift?" Thrain asked with a grin playing on his full lips. Lips I wanted to kiss that instant.
"You scared the hell out of me," I said, catching my breath. "How did you get in here?"
He wrapped his arms around my waist and pulled me close until our lips met. "I have a few tricks up my sleeve."
"My roommate might not like it." I peered behind him, where Liz had just been standing a minute ago. The hall to our en suite stood empty. "Where did she—" My gaze wandered back to him, regarding him, his gorgeous smile, the way he carried himself, so confident, amused, mischievous. Something flickered in his eyes, reminding me that I had seen it before. I could feel my brain working, putting together the missing pieces of the puzzle. Thrain was a demon, but what did he say he could do? Tracking and shape shifting. Realization kicked in when I remembered the girl in the woods on the day Gael tried to kill me. She had been the spitting image of me. Later, while Gael kept me hostage inside the circle, Thrain had been standing in the girl's place, next to Devon. Thrain had tried to fool Gael in order to save me.
"You're my roommate," I said, not trying to hide the surprise in my voice.
Thrain's grin widened. "I thought you'd never figure it out."
"So, are you staying?"
"For as long as I can." He moistened his lips as he drew me down on the bed. I settled into his arms, inhaling his manly scent, as I tried to ignore the gargoyle inching closer to sniff my hand. "Since you saved Cass, the big boss has decided to give me a bit more free time. I'll have to leave every now and then, during which Bonnie—" Thrain pointed at the gargoyle "—will be taking care of you."
Bonnie? He couldn’t be serious. More like Monster or Craze. The gargoyle grunted and slumped down on the bed, snuggling next to my thigh like a cuddly cat. I wasn't sure whether to rub her head or run away, screaming. I figured it might take me a while to warm up to my new pet. Particularly at night.
"Guys aren't allowed to spend the night," I said.
Thrain nodded. "Which is why I'm going to be Liz most of the time."
The thought almost made me burst out with laughter. "You want me to make out with a girl?"
"You would do that?" Thrain cocked a brow.
I slapped his arm. "Just so you know the rules. First, no touching when you're Liz."
"Come on, admit it. You thought she was hot."
He couldn’t be serious. I slapped his arm again, this time harder. "I mean it. Second, I'm not cleaning after you. And third—" I took a deep breath to steady my racing heart "—I'm not going to bed without a goodnight kiss every night."
"Rule number three is definitely a must," Thrain whispered, cupping my face in his hands. "Unless you have other plans, I hope you don't mind we start practicing now?"
I shook my head then pulled him down to kiss him, my first class of the day forgotten.
THE END…for now.
Read on for an exclusive excerpt of The Divorce Club, a fun chick-lit novel by Jayde Scott
Other titles in the Ancient Legends series
A Job From Hell
Other titles by Jayde Scott
The Divorce Club
Born to Spy
The Divorce Club by Jayde Scott
I'm thirty-four, the mother of a thirteen-year-old and divorced. But don't feel sorry for me because it was my own choice. You see, when the sonofabitch slash husband slash Greg decided to drop the mistress, I politely declined—and sold his priceless golf collection on the Internet in the process. I had a hard time—getting rid of him, that is—and I wouldn't wish the same begging and tears of guilt upon anyone else. That's why I'm standing in front of 21 Terrace Street on a rainy November day, waiting for the estate agent to finally make his grand entrance. Today in a fortnight I plan to open my personal revenge act on the male population and hopefully make a few bucks in the process because my daughter needs orthodontic braces and her beloved father decided to go undercover literally minutes after being told about the costs involved. Maybe one day I'll find him on the back of a milk cartoon.
A Ford pulls up and I crane my neck to get a better view. A guy, mid-thirty, tall but gangly, steps out. We make eye contact and he smiles.
"Sarah Beaver? I'm Ben Foster."
I cringe at hearing my previous, married name. Must have quoted it in a moment of fake domestic nostalgia induced by my unconscious.
"Actually, it's Sarah Davis." I hold out my hand and he grabs it in a sweaty grip. "I just got divorced."
"I'm sorry." Ben points around the corner. I follow a step behind.
"There was no way you could work it out?"
I sigh. "At first I thought about it—until I found lipstick on his boxer shorts. Then it was war and I forwarded all his mail to Alaska."
"You play dirty." Ben laughs. "Have you ever made a purchase this big before?"
"Only a major league football team." I regard him from the corner of my eye, waiting to see whether he gets the joke.
Something crosses his hollow features; his brown eyes sparkle for a moment, but it's not with amusement. "Shall we get started?"
"Sure." When I step aside, letting him take the lead, I swear he checks out my cleavage. He must believe the myth that all divorcees are rich and desperate for a shag because they haven't done it in years, what with the hubby cheating with the assistant and all.
He unlocks the door and puts a hesitant palm on my shoulder. "Come on in. There's lots of natural light, for a city."
I walk past quickly, brushing off his hand, then peer around. The hall's tiny with a trail of plaster peeling from the walls. Two massive arc windows tower above me. I'm definitely sold on lightening. This alone will save me a small fortune on electric bills. The musty smell reminds me of cheese though. I can only hope it's not mildew and someone just forgot to put on clean socks this morning.
"It really brings out the highlights in your blonde hair," Ben continues.
I smile, sweetly. What next? Will he tell me rays of sunshine are bouncing off my hazel eyes? He needs to get his mind on what I came here for—real estate, so I can finally start my revenge act. I walk past, staring up at the ceiling, which seems to be in good shape. A little sweat, hard work and a coat of paint, and this place will sparkle like a jewel.
Ben points at the bathroom. "Now, that's extra spacious. You'll never find a restroom this big in such a small house with lots of shelf space for perfume or makeup. Do you see how large the mirror is? The lighting above is fantastic for putting on blush or powder. Why don't you try it out? You know, to get a feel for it."
I'll give him something to feel when I kick his butt into next week. Do I look like a powder chic? I'm a serious businesswoman. "But I'm so smitten with the floral wallpaper and the deep scratche
He doesn't seem to hear a word as he keeps going like a robot. "Yes! This house is perfect for you. You definitely need to get one of those soft, padded toilet seats."
I turn to face him, taking in the dark circles around his eyes and that glint that signals his brain's counting the money as we speak. "Ben, let me assure you I couldn't care less about the bathroom design. If you don't want to flush this deal down the toilet, I suggest you quit talking fluff. I don't care if my bum gets a soft landing when I use the restroom. I'm more interested in your inspections dealing with cockroaches, electrical wiring, plumbing, and heating." I pause for effect. "Give me the facts. When was it built? Is the roof in good shape? How much does it cost to heat?"
He clears his throat and adjusts his tie, regarding me. "1983. The roof's seen better days, but if anything happens the insurance company will cover the costs. Heating shouldn't be that bad given how much natural light you get. There's a second room that you could use for storage." He opens another door and I scan the scratched but still shiny, wooden floor. Storage, my butt. The space's so tiny, I could barely fit a vacuum cleaner in here.
We move to the largest room and Ben resumes his infomercial, but I've switched off as I peer out the bay window to the overgrown backyard. I've always wanted one of those instead of Greg's meticulous lawn and trimmed hedges. They were just as boring as he was in our fifteen years of marriage.
"I could get the landlord to clean that up for you." Ben clears his throat. He seems almost apologetic as he points at the rusty windowpanes, and I feel sorry for him. "I know it's not up to scratch, but it's a nice area and the price is—" He hesitates. "You said you wanted something affordable."
Voodoo Kiss by Jayde Scott / Romance & Love / Young Adult / Mystery & Detective have rating 4 out of 5 / Based on32 votes