Authors: Sandra Ross
Tags: #Fantasy, #Romance, #fantasy lover, #witches and warlocks, #adult romance, #fantasy romance, #magick, #magick fantasy, #soul mates romance, #steamy romance, #adult fiction, #romance fantasy free, #Adult
"I'm afraid that it doesn't matter what you say,
Lola. You see, I don't need the money this book will bring, and I
certainly don't want the celebrity status this will entail. You've
wasted a trip," Marcus said firmly.
"I see." And she did look like she did see. He
could also see that her brain was already working to churn out a
Plan B. "Well... I can't say that I'm not disappointed, Marcus,"
Lola said. "Are you quite sure that you won't at least think about
"I'm quite sure," he said, smiling, deliciously
thinking about what Plan B would be. Maybe she'd think of outright
seduction? That would be wonderful. And maybe he would let her. He
couldn't want her efforts to go to waste, could he?
Lola nodded and finished her tea. She removed
the afghan from her shoulders and stood up.
She turned to a suddenly unsmiling Marcus.
"Well then, thank you very much for meeting with
me, Marcus," she said. "It's much later than I realized and I'll
get out of your way so you can get on with your night."
Marcus stood quickly, realizing that he had been
blindsided. He didn't want her to leave. "Honestly, Lola, you
weren't interrupting anything at all. You're more than welcome to
stay. Actually, I would love the company unless you need to be
somewhere else. And maybe we can talk about this proposition a
Lola seemed surprised at his sudden change of
heart. "Um, no, I was just going to drive back to my hotel in New
Orleans. It's starting to rain a lot harder now," she said as she
glanced out of the large windows, looking suddenly worried. That
was when they both became aware that rain was pouring like a dam
had broken in the heavens and all of the contents had come down.
They had been so engrossed with each other that they did not
Marcus retrieved a remote from a table and
turned on the flat screen television that was located on the wall
above the fireplace. Flipping to The Weather Channel, they watched
a report that spoke of some flooding in Louisiana.
Actually, he knew exactly what the news channel
would show when he turned the TV on. He just knew. His gift.
After a few minutes of Marcus listening to the
report intently, he turned down the volume and turned back to
LOLA WAS LOOKING appalled. "That can't be," she
"Well, it is," he said with sympathy in his
voice. "I'm afraid that you're not going to make it back to New
Orleans tonight. That road you came in on is now flooded and
they're not going to let traffic through there tonight."
"But where can I stay?" she asked him
Marcus blinked. "As you can see, though, I've
got plenty of space here. I'd be pleased to have you as my
Lola frowned. "I really don't want to impose
myself on you much longer, Marcus."
What? No Plan B? Marcus was surprised to find
himself really disappointed. "Okay. But I do think the choice was
taken from you by the storm. I also cannot in any possible
circumstance let you leave in this weather."
He saw Lola grit her teeth. No woman has ever
showed aversion to staying with him under one roof for a night. Oh,
well, separate rooms, yes, but he was making a point here.
He frowned as he wondered if he smelled.
LOLA HAD no doubt by now that The Council was
behind the sudden change in the weather. This way, she would not be
able to get out of here so quickly. Of course, if the man didn't
want to come, she could always tell them upon arriving in New
they could do something to me because of that. Choices, remember? I
did my job but it didn't pan out.
But this storm... Lola did not like being
tricked or manipulated by the Council. However, she really did not
have any choice but to accept Marcus' hospitality.
Her heart was beating a little faster and her
stomach seemed to have gotten pregnant with butterflies as she
thought she would be staying with this sexy man in this house-just
the two of them. Other parts of her body were responding to his
presence, too. It was like she was finally waking up from a long
hibernation. Then she realized what it was.
Finally, sexual attraction! So this was it?
Maybe it's just that I'm turning 25
in two days,
but with mixed feelings.
"Are you quite sure that I won't be intruding,
Marcus?" she asked as she slanted her eyes up at him.
Marcus felt a surge of relief that was so
powerful, his knees almost buckled under him. But he managed to
stay standing. "Oh, you definitely are not intruding! Actually, you
don't even have to see me if you don't want to. That's how much
room this place has in it."
Lola smiled at the absurd comment. "I can't
imagine why I wouldn't want to see you, Marcus," she said softly.
"I appreciate your offer. Thank you so much. I just need to get my
suitcase from the car."
"No, you don't need to do that. I'm going to run
out right now and get it. You've already had quite enough wet
weather for tonight. Now, stay here, and I'll be right back."
Lola watched as Marcus went out of the room
again, this time to fetch her bags from her rented car. It was then
that she realized she really was here, with the chance to get
Marcus to trust her enough so she could tell him the truth about
himself. For some reason, she knew that telling him the truth was
the only way to convince him to come with her before the
A wide smile started to spread across her
The Council might have tricked her, but they
certainly did not count that Lola would use the truth on Marcus and
warn him about the Council. For her, honesty had always been the
best policy and she had practiced it enough to know when someone
was ready to know the truth.
By the looks of him, he was intelligent, and
would not easily be made to dance on strings.
Let the Council see how they would be able to
control someone as powerful in character as well as in magical
powers as Marcus Swan.
MARCUS ENTERED the sitting room with Lola's
suitcase. He smiled at her as he crossed the room to add another
log to the fire.
"Please forgive me for being inhospitable, but
are you hungry? My housekeeper makes the best shrimp gumbo in the
world and she always leaves some extra for me. Would you like
some?" he asked.
"You know, normally I would say no, but right
now, I'm just starving and that sounds delicious," Lola said as she
smiled at him.
"Very good," Marcus beamed. "I'll just go warm
some up for you."
After he left the room, she continued to watch
the weather on the television and realized that she would most
likely end up being trapped here for at least the next two days.
She couldn't believe that she would be spending her birthday
trapped in a strange old house with a man she didn't even know! But
it seemed she really has no choice. What would the man in question
say about it, she wondered.
Well, she supposed as her eyes wandered around,
taking in the high beamed ceilings, half-brick walls and the wood
paneling on the wall where the detailed fireplace was situated. The
floor was tiled and rags helped in insulating the heat from the
fire. The furniture was as rustic as the interior. It was a solid
room and she knew that it showed something about the owner of the
She had gathered by now that this was where
Marcus truly lived. She could feel his signature here. He was
comfortable here, safe and most at peace here. This mansion was his
She sighed. It could be a lot worse. The house
is beautiful and the man... was definitely not just beautiful but
Lola felt her cheeks getting just as hot. But
For some reason, she kept getting the feeling
that she knew Marcus from somewhere. But she couldn't tell where,
or how... just that he was drawing on feelings of familiarity from
her. There was no way she could have accepted his invitation to
stay had she not felt this, that she was safe and she could trust
him like a... like an old friend. Strange, really. If she was
adamant, there was no way that she would stay here, Council mission
or not. But... she was here, and she felt safe in this house with
Could the Council have had something to do with
As soon as she thought of it, she shook her
No. The Council, their magick, could not be that
powerful to affect even her own gut feelings.
No, it was something else.
But what was it?
WHILE LOLA PONDERED this, Marcus returned with a
tray holding two bowls of gumbo, a bottle of wine and two
"I decided to join you," he said as he set
things up on the coffee table. "I somehow managed to miss dinner,
and I find that I'm now hungry."
"Oh, this looks wonderful!" And then she looked
at him and smiled. "And I'm happy that you're joining me because I
would have felt odd eating alone. Thank you."
She felt her breath catching when he smiled
back. "The pleasure is all mine."
While eating, they talked and got better
acquainted. The more they talked the more Lola felt that she knew
Marcus even though she was quite sure they had never crossed paths
before. There was just something so familiar and comfortable about
Like what soul mates would feel when they
finally meet each other again.
She paused at the absurd thought. How would she
know, really? How would one know when they have met a soul
when did you become romantic, Lola?
Her mental self shook her head. Romance, to
Lola, was as absurd as all the sappy things one would read about
it. She did not know why she could not place all her trust in
Maybe because her mother and father had been in
love and, she suspected, still were. Maybe it was because of those
wistful looks that would come to their faces every time they asked
her about each other, and yet they were not together? What kind of
love was that? It did not make them happy. But it made them happy
thinking about each other.
That was what romance did to people in love. It
made people crazy.
So could someone really blame her that she could
not trust it too much?
AS MARCUS and Lola talked easily, he also felt
that he had met Lola at some point in his life but he couldn't
He was quite sure he would have remembered
meeting a woman like Lola... beautiful in the kind of way that
spoke to him, and sexy without even trying to be. He could feel the
physical attraction, but there was something more than that.
He somehow felt very close to her as if he had
known her forever. It wasn't just because of the dream. Somehow,
this meeting had made the dream more like a foreshadowing,
something lesser in importance than the being. The being that this
meeting was more than what it appeared to be.