Authors: Bonnie Lamer
He looks at me and shrugs. “I should not have to be cold because you do not want to share a blanket with me.”
I hold out for another long five minutes but it’s too cold to continue being stubborn. “Fine,” I grumble and I lift up a corner of the blanket and pull it over me. The next thing I know, Kallen has slipped an arm behind my back and grabs my waist on both sides and lifts me up and settles me between his legs. “Hey!”
“It is a better use of body heat to sit like this.” He wraps his arms around my waist and leans back against the rock again.
I hate to admit it but he’s right; it is warmer this way. I grumble about it for a couple of minutes, which he ignores, and I finally relax and settle back into him. We sit like that for a long time without saying anything until we both fall asleep.
I wake up stiff and cold the next morning. Kallen’s arms are still wrapped tightly around me even in his sleep. I wonder if that’s because he’s cold or he just wants to be that close to me. I’m sure it’s the former. Regardless of how he has started acting, I doubt that it’s possible he could have put all of his prejudice aside about me being half Witch in just a few days. But on the other hand, if he’s stuck in this realm forever I am the only female who is part Fairy except Maurelle. I guess that would make me the lesser of two evils. Gee, that’s romantic.
Now I’m super annoyed that he has his arms around me. So annoyed that I am sure to elbow him in the stomach as I wrestle my way out of his grasp. He wakes up with a loud, “Humph,” and I glare at him. His eyebrows draw together in confusion as he looks at me with sleepy eyes as I stand up and move away from him.
Looking down at him, I ask, “Do you have a plan or are we just going to hide out in the mountains forever? Because this is getting really old.”
Kallen takes his time answering me as he rubs his hands against his face to try to wake up. He stands up and stretches his full height with his arms above him and I really, really hate the fact that he looks so good doing it. Finally turning to me, he says with a grin, “I rather enjoy the mountain air.”
I growl in frustration and turn around and start walking. “Where are you going,” he asks.
“Not that it’s any of your business but I have to pee.” I keep walking and if he tries to follow me, I’m going to drown him in my magic. Five minutes later when I return to the place where we had slept, my bladder feels better but I’m not any less crabby. I stand akimbo in front of Kallen who is leaning with his back against the rock. “What’s your plan?”
“We need to bind Maurelle and Olwyn’s magic so they are of no threat to you or your family.”
I look at him like he’s an idiot. Which he is. “Why didn’t you do that yesterday when they were lying unconscious on the ground? It seems like that would have been the perfect time.”
Now he looks at me like I’m an idiot. Which I’m not. “If it was that simple I would have done so. But it takes two powerful Fairies to perform the ritual to bind Fairy magic.”
“Are you saying that I’m not a powerful Fairy?”
“It is not your power that is lacking; it is still your control. Binding Fairy magic is a delicate process and delicate is not a word that I can use to describe your magic.” He cocks his head and raises his brows. “Unless you do not care if we kill them instead of binding their magic as you almost did yesterday.”
I feel my face blanche. “I what?”
Kallen sighs and pushes himself away from the wall. He puts both hands on my shoulders and looks down at me with something that almost mimics sympathy. “If I had not let my magic go and drawn most of your magic inside of me, you would have killed Maurelle and Olwyn. If I had been a less powerful Fairy as most are, you would have killed me. I have never met a Fairy who could send out so much raw magic and force it into others as you can. It is both fascinating and frightening to behold.”
I step back away from him and he drops his hands to his sides. “Why are you saying this? Are you trying to scare me into staying in the mountains with you?”
A small smile touches his lips. “As much as I am growing to enjoy your company, with several obvious momentary exceptions of course, I am not trying to scare you to keep you in the mountains with me. I rather dislike the cold myself and would have chosen a much more temperate climate if that was the case. I am trying to make you understand that until you learn to control your magic, you are a dangerous Fairy to be around. I am assuming that no matter how badly you want to leave my company and go home, you do not want to add murder into your repertoire of skills.”
I have to be whiter than the snow by now. I believe all of the blood has left the upper half of my body as I take in his words. I almost killed three people yesterday without even knowing what I was doing. “Maybe I should stop doing Fairy magic and only do Witch magic.”
Kallen looks at me sadly and shakes his head. “Again, it is not that simple. Your mother explained about a Witch’s mana as they choose to call it coming from the earth. Magic is magic, Xandra. It all comes from the same place whether you draw it into you using spells and incantations or you are able to draw it simply by calling to it. As I wanted to explain last night but I did not think that you were of the frame of mind to hear it, the amount of magic you pull could cause a spell to go awry or become a hundred times more powerful than you meant it to be.”
Secrets, secrets, secrets. I am so tired of secrets. “Last night you said you would teach me Witch magic. Was that a lie?”
“No. I will teach you if you insist upon it but I was hoping to discourage you from it until you have more control.”
I hang my head. I am so overwhelmed that it’s taking great effort to remain standing up. “Am I going to destroy the world like the prophecy says?”
Kallen takes two steps towards me and folds me into his arms and I let him. “No, you are not. I hold no stock in prophecies and neither should you. You are going to learn how to control your magic and we will bind Maurelle and Olwyn’s magic and you will be able to return to your old life away from Fairies and gateways and other realms.”
That’s the first time he’s talked about what would happen after I no longer need him to teach me. “What will you do?” I ask still in his embrace.
“Perhaps I shall go into Denver and become a bartender. I have been told that I am handsome enough to make excellent tips.”
I can’t help but laugh and I finally wrap my arms around his back. “Thank you,” I murmur into his jacket. It feels really good to be in his arms like this. So good that it can make me forgot about a lot of things, which is what I blame for what I say next. “Kallen, will you kiss me?”
He leans back and takes my face between his large hands and searches it to determine if I am serious or not. Right now, I am. I don’t know if I will be if he doesn’t hurry up and kiss me sooner as opposed to later, though. As if reading my mind, he dips his head and his lips are on mine. This isn’t the gentle kiss from the other night, this is a kiss full of need and passion and hunger. I open my mouth to him and his tongue delves into its depths and I respond in kind. He wraps his arms back around my waist and lifts me so he doesn’t have to lean over so far and I feel my back pressed against the rock we had slept against and his mouth never leaves mine. I wind my arms around his neck and pull him closer not wanting this kiss to end. This kiss is keeping reality at bay and that’s what I need right now.
So I can’t even begin to tell you how disappointed I am when Kallen abruptly stops kissing me, swears under his breath, lowers me to the ground and turns around. I’m about to make a cutting remark about him only wanting someone who is full-blooded Fairy when I see why he stopped kissing me. About fifty feet from us and looking this way with hunger in his eyes is one of the biggest grizzly bears I have ever seen. Okay, granted I haven’t seen that many because they are almost extinct in Colorado, but still. It’s big.
“Shouldn’t it be hibernating right now?”
Kallen looks at me over his shoulder with one raised brow. “Would you care to explain that to him?”
I make a face at him and he laughs and turns back around. “I am going to give him a little encouragement to be on his way. Stay here.”
“Stay here? Where are you going?” What, does he suddenly know how to wrestle bears now? “It’s a grizzly bear, Kallen. He’s probably as tall as you when he stands on his hind legs and he outweighs you by probably five or six hundred pounds.”
Kallen smiles at me over his shoulder as he keeps walking towards the bear. “True, but he does not have magic.”
As much as I think he’s being stupid, I can’t help but be curious how he will make a hungry bear leave us alone. Kallen stops walking when he’s about ten feet away from it. The grizzly stands on its hind legs and lets out a roar but Kallen doesn’t even flinch. And then just as he did when he and I had our snow fight, he causes snow to start falling from the trees onto the bear. A lot of snow. The bear goes down on all fours and starts shaking its fur to try to rid himself of it. He seems to have forgotten about Kallen as more and more snow falls on him. Finally, as if he realizes he’s not wanted, the grizzly turns around and lumbers away. I can’t help but be impressed that Kallen hadn’t used any harmful magic against it.
“What would you have done if he attacked you?” I ask when he’s close enough to hear me.
Kallen shrugs. “I guess we will find out if he comes back hungry for Fairies.”
He keeps walking towards me and I want to back up but my back is still flat against the rock. When he’s right in front of me, he puts his hands on either side of my head and leans towards me. “Now, about that kiss,” he says with a sexy grin.
I quickly dart under his arm and put distance between us. “The other night you said you couldn’t let anything happen between us. How come you’ve changed your mind?”
Kallen stands up and disappointment is plain on his face as he looks at me with those intense green eyes that make me want to kiss him again. So, I back up another couple of steps. “Well?”
“Because you had no knowledge of the big picture. It would not have been fair of me to engage you in any type of romance without first explaining to you my original intent when coming here and what the king is willing to do if he gets his hands on you.”
I frown at him. “And you couldn’t have just told me those things that night?”
A sad smile touches his lips. “As I recall, you were not of a mind to listen to me.”
No, I guess I hadn’t been at the time. My feelings were hurt and I hadn’t wanted to hear anything from him. “You know what this is, don’t you, this sudden attraction you have for me?”
Kallen looks amused again. “Please, enlighten me.”
“I’m basically the last Fairy on earth because Maurelle doesn’t really count so you have to be attracted to me.”
His eyebrows rise and he crosses his arms over his chest. “I have to be? So, even if you were spindly with warts all over your face, I would still have to find you attractive because of your Fairy blood and my lack of other Fairy options?”
Okay, it sounds stupid when he says it like that. “Shouldn’t we be practicing?”
His eyes are flashing with amusement now. “Yes, we should,” he says and he removes his glove from his left hand and holds it out to me. Slightly embarrassed to be touching him again after I had asked him to kiss me, I gingerly put my hand into his. His fingers curl tightly around mine and I try to close my mind off to any thoughts of him as I prepare to draw magic from the earth.
Ten minutes later, Kallen is still on the ground trying to recuperate from my attempt to control my magic. He looks up at me and he is definitely paler than he was before. “I believe you are getting stronger with even less ability to control your magic. It should not be happening like this. You should have to grow into your powers for years, not days.” Rising to his feet, he brushes the snow off from him.
“Maybe I have been.” I say thoughtfully.