The third wish, p.1
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       The Third Wish, p.1

           Lauralynn Elliott
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The Third Wish
The Third Wish

  Lauralynn Elliott

  Copyright© 2014 Lauralynn Elliott

  Cover Design by Anya Kelleye

  This book is offered as a gift to my readers. Feel free to share it as much as you like!

  The Third Wish

  Beth sighed as she gave out another round of candy to the trick or treaters that had rung her doorbell. She had always loved Halloween, but this year it was a lonely night for her. Last year, she had thrown a party, along with her fiancé, and there had been awesome decorations, good food, and friends. She had given out candy when the kids had stopped by, and her fiancé had been sitting on the porch, pretending to be a mannequin. When the kids walked away from the door, he had jumped out and scared them. But the ultimate trick he had played wasn’t funny. She had found him in her bedroom with one of her best friends, and they were making out like teenagers.

  The doorbell rang again, and Beth opened the door to a vampire, a werewolf, and a genie. The genie was holding the prettiest bottle she had ever seen. She filled their bags with candy, and the little genie girl put her bottle down to hold her bag with both hands. As they turned away, Beth called out to the little girl.

  “Hey, you forgot your bottle!”

  The little girl turned back around and looked at the bottle, then said, “I don’t want it anymore. It’s been a real pain to carry around.” She walked off, leaving the bottle on the porch.

  Beth shrugged and took the bottle into the house, placing it on the table by the door, next to the candy bowl. It was getting fairly late, so she knew there wouldn’t be too many more trick or treaters, which was good since the bowl was almost depleted. She had a few more kids come by, and after no one had rung her bell for about an hour, she turned off the porch light. She unwrapped a candy bar and ate it slowly, savoring the rich chocolate. If she had to be lonely, she should at least be lonely with chocolate, right?

  After putting on her pajamas and making a cup of tea, Beth walked over to the table and picked up the bottle. She carried it over to the sofa and sat looking at it. It really was a beautiful bottle. Made of red and gold glass, it was tall and slender, with a slight flare at the top and a rounded bottom. It was a shame the little girl had left it. She hoped the girl’s mother wasn’t looking for it.

  Beth set the bottle down on the coffee table and turned on the television to watch a scary movie in celebration of Halloween, but her eyes kept straying to the bottle. She finally picked it back up and peered into the top. This was strange. She saw what looked like a red tinted mist swirling inside the bottle. What in the world? She turned the bottle upside down to see if any of the mist would come out, but nothing happened. How odd was this? Holding the bottle next to her face, Beth felt a slight vibration emanating from the glass. The bottle should have made her uneasy, but it actually fascinated her. She stroked the side with her thumb, feeling the throbbing, her breath coming faster with each caress.

  The bottle suddenly grew hot, and she cried out, dropping it onto the floor. The red mist poured out of the top of the bottle and began to slowly take form. Standing before her was the most beautiful man she had ever seen. She blinked rapidly, trying to clear the vision from her mind, sure she was having a hallucination. When that didn’t work, she closed her eyes tightly, counted to ten, then opened them up again. The gorgeous creature was still standing there, a huge smile on his face.

  “What’s happening?” she managed to squeak out.

  “You’ve released me from my prison,” the man said. His voice was deep and sensual, rendering her speechless. When she didn’t say anything more, he said, “Thank you.”

  Beth stood there, her eyes wide and her mouth open. No words would come out. Her heart was beating rapidly, and her breathing came in short, shallow bursts. Then the world went black.

  When Beth opened her eyes, there was a grinning face hovering above her. The stunning mouth was speaking, and the words finally got through to her brain. “I have that affect most of the time.”

  Beth realized she was lying on the couch, and she pushed herself up and pressed against the back cushions, but she couldn’t get very far away from the man since he was moving closer to her.

  “Dear lady, you’ve freed me from the bottle, and I’m here to grant you three wishes.”

  “Uh…ah…”

  “Maybe you could use a cup of tea. I’ll make it for you.”

  She watched as he moved with ease into her kitchen and started preparing the tea. He was shirtless and wearing red silk pants that clung to his powerful thighs. He had to be at least six and a half feet tall, and he was built like men she had only seen in her dreams. Maybe this was a dream. It had to be, because genies weren’t real. She pinched herself. “Ouch!”

  The genie came back into the living room and handed her a cup of tea. “Don’t bother trying to wake yourself up. I assure you, this is real. I know it’s hard to believe, but here I am.”

  “Yes, there you are,” she said in a shaky voice.

  “So, about those three wishes. If I don’t grant you all of them within a week, I’m doomed to go back into the bottle. But if I do, then I’m free forever.”

  “Why were you imprisoned in the bottle?”

  He had the decency to blush. “Um, I kind of cheated on a fairy. They have powerful magic. She was pretty mad.”

  “I can imagine.” Beth couldn’t believe she was sitting here having this conversation. She should be screaming and running out the door.

  “So, what is your heart’s desire? Three wishes, one at a time. I’ll grant you one, and we’ll see how that goes. I’ve found that sometimes the wishes don’t work out and another wish has to be used to counteract the other one.”

  Beth frowned. “Wait. I thought if you granted three wishes you were free. So if you’ve done this before, then why aren’t you free?”

  “Well, I might have angered a witch.”

  “Just how many times have you done this?”

  He cringed. “Maybe…six.”

  “Wouldn’t you have learned your lesson the first time?”

  “You would think.”

  She shook her head. “I still think I’m dreaming.”

  “No, I told you, you’re not dreaming. Now about those wishes….”

  “Okay, we’ll test out this theory. My first wish is….”

  “Wait! Make sure you know exactly what you’re doing when you make the wish.”

  Beth said, “I know exactly what I’m doing. My wish is that I’ll meet the most gorgeous guy I’ve ever seen and that he’ll fall madly in love with me.”

  The genie frowned. “Are you sure that’s what you want?”

  “Yes, that’s exactly what I want.”

  “Granted. Your wish will be fulfilled within twenty-four hours.”

  The genie turned back into mist and went into the bottle. Beth picked it up and peered into it. “Hello?”

  A voice came back to her. “I have to go back after each of the first two wishes. When you need me again, just rub the bottle.”

  Beth woke up the next morning and stretched her arms over her head. She had slept well, and she felt refreshed. What an interesting dream! A gorgeous genie, three wishes. She got up, took her shower, and headed into work where she was a video game designer. The dream had given her a great idea for a new game. Before she had left the house, she looked inside the bottle, and there was no red mist and no genie. The dream had seemed so real!

  When she got to work, there was a note to meet in the conference room. When she got there, she poured a cup of coffee and sat down at the table where her boss was speaking with a drop-dead gorgeous man. Beth’s mouth went dry, and she took a gulp of her coffee. The men turned to her and the good-looking one smiled at her. It was a good thing she was s
itting because her legs wouldn’t have been able to hold her upright if she’d been standing.

  Her boss, Don, said, “Beth, thank you for joining us. This is Bradley Randolph, the owner of an online company that is looking for new products to sell. Right now, he’s interested in some video games, and I told him I would have him meet with my best game designer. Mr. Randolph, this is Beth Starnes, the very best I have.”

  “Call me Bradley,” he said, holding out his hand. Beth stared stupidly at the offered appendage until he withdrew it.

  “Beth, are you okay?” asked Don.

  “Yes, of course,” she said when she finally found her voice. “I’m sorry, I’m not feeling up to par today. Forgive my rudeness, Bradley.”

  The Adonis smiled at her. “No problem. We all have off days. Would you like to go to lunch and talk about a project I have in mind?”

  “That sounds great.”

  “Good. I’ll stop by your office at eleven thirty.”

  It sounded like a dismissal, so Beth left the room. She was sure her boss had some contracts or something to go over with Bradley Randolph. She was just the computer geek. At eleven thirty, she had just refreshed her lipstick when Bradley knocked on the frame of her open door.

  “Are you ready to go?” he asked.

  He had picked the best and most expensive restaurant in town. When they were seated, Bradley started outlining the project he wanted her to work on. They worked out the details, then the
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