Sin & Chocolate Page 2

The week after I’d gotten what I wanted, I chastised him every time he was a dickhead, and often stormed off afterward. As desired, the pseudo-friendship fizzled quickly, and I was back to zero headaches and one stylish, newish phone.

It was a small dream turned reality. And my conscience was clear, too, because he was universally acknowledged to be an asshole, and everyone knew those types had it coming. They deserved a little manipulation once in a while.

I dug in my purse for the phone as I made my way down the sidewalk within the shopping complex, headed for the store I’d originally intended to solely visit. The phone’s large, bright face read twelve thirty-four. Irresponsible fashion bargain hunting had bled away half of my lunch hour.

Seeing a message alert from my home number, I tapped into my voicemail and watched the transcription slowly load. I stepped off the sidewalk and into a rarely used service driveway cutting through the stores.

The scream of tires on concrete stopped my heart. The flash of light on a red hood dotted with a black stallion in a plate of yellow caught my eye. Some rich somebody in a sweet ride was bearing down, ready to cut the legs out from under me! He or she wouldn’t think to stop for a poor girl—I was about to be a new hood ornament.



The echo of his father’s grating voice telling him to have a little pride played through Kieran’s mind as he eased his new Ferrari through a dilapidated shopping complex in a disgusting part of town.

Of the magical community, only derelicts with no self-respect or outlaws hiding from the magical governing body spent time in dual-society zones. Kieran was neither of those things, but he needed the cover of this shadow zone to meet privately with his crew. Only here, amongst the dredges of both societies, mostly unwatched by either government, could he be sure none of his father’s spies were watching. If Valens got one whiff of Kieran’s plans, he would rip his world out from under him. He had the power to do so.

Kieran sped down a row of cars, aiming for the service driveway that would take him to the back of the complex where his Six waited. The handpicked group of dedicated acolytes, who’d given a blood oath to protect him to their dying breath, were the only people on this planet he trusted implicitly.

Before he turned, he caught sight of a woman striding purposefully along the sidewalk, her long legs eating pavement while her focus remained fixed on the phone in her hand. She reached the driveway first and stepped off the curb without so much as bothering to glance up. Apparently, she expected others to navigate around her.

She needed a lesson on how the world worked.

He let the car roll until the last possible moment before slamming on the brakes. The supercar screeched to a noisy stop, his bumper sliding to within a couple feet of her thighs.

She jolted in surprise, jerking her arms. Her phone broke free from her grasp, tilting in the air before gravity got hold of it.

Kieran grinned. A cracked screen wasn’t much of a lesson, but hopefully the scare would make her pay a little more attention next time.

He waited for the fearful glance in his direction, followed by a look of surprised realization when she saw just whom she’d inconvenienced, but instead she braced herself and bent forward, her hands sinking low. The phone bounced off her waiting palms, but she adjusted gracefully and trapped it, cradling it like a little baby bird.

A strange fascination momentarily wiped away his annoyance. She was athletic, this woman, with good and quick reflexes. But she’d ignored an obvious threat on her life…for a phone. That wasn’t usual in a mundane part of the world.

He pushed the button to lower his window. Half of him wanted to sarcastically congratulate her on having saved a replaceable commodity instead of worrying about the continued functionality of her legs. The other half wanted to deliver a warning that would do what his screeching tires had failed to.

But before he could decide, the salty oceanic breeze wafted into the car and flirted with his senses. The feel and smell of it reminded him of home. Of the good times, hunting and fishing and roaming the green fields of Ireland on horseback. Almost immediately, though, the sorrow that had been plaguing him for years took over. Followed by the sharp, consuming bite of loss, remembering his mother’s death six months ago.

Images crowded his mind, unbidden—of his mother’s withered face, of her pained eyes, of her paper-thin body, wasting away to nothing.

She’d sacrificed herself for him. She’d let him feel free, and live wild, while she endured a hellish cage. One that had eventually killed her.

A wave of guilt tore through him, hot and sharp. He gritted his teeth.

No. That wasn’t true.

Kieran had to remember who was truly at fault: his father. He had essentially kidnapped her and forced her to live a half-life. Stolen her vitality and, slowly but surely, her desire to keep living. Valens had killed her. Slowly. Painfully.

Kieran’s hands tightened on the wheel as rage burned through him.

His foot lightened on the brake. Giving this woman a hard metal tap right now would surely teach her a lesson, and maybe alleviate some of his burning anger at the same time. There wasn’t a damn thing anyone would do about it if he were to hit her. It was illegal, sure, but charges didn’t stick to a Demigod. His father would wave the incident away. And, because of the location, the non-magical government would be all too happy to cooperate. His foot lowered on the brake again. Did he really feel like dealing with the repercussions of his father finding out where he was?

It was at that moment that the woman, her phone clutched in her hand, finally looked up.

Without warning, her fierce, deep brown eyes burrowed into him. A burning sensation sliced down his middle. His small hairs stood on end as his skin, tissue, and bone were peeled away like tissue paper, revealing what lay inside of him. Revealing his very soul for her analysis.

He’d never felt anything like it. The strength of her magic…

He marveled at it for a solid beat. He felt vulnerable, of all things. Like, at any moment, she could rip the life force out of him and toss it away.

His heart sped up and adrenaline pumped through his blood. He barely kept himself from looking down to make sure the effect was from her intense, thick magic, not some sorcery that had actually cut through him physically.

Before he could swell his magic to defend himself, the feeling washed away. In its place, a new sensation crawled across his skin before buzzing through his entire body. Delicate, sensual, spirited, and exciting, it was like nothing he’d ever experienced. It was so strong and carefree, yet as solid as the earth, and as old as time itself. The feeling…was better than sex. More fulfilling than intimacy. And even though he’d only had a small taste, he knew it had to be desperately addictive.

His eyes narrowed as he looked over her ill-fitting clothes and holey shoes. Even an oversized shirt, sports bra, and rat’s nest of hair couldn’t disguise her sexy form and beautiful face. She was trying, though, that was clear. Trying to look poor and mundane, like all the other dwellers of this dilapidated place.

But with magic that strong and unique, she had to have gotten training when she was little. It was her unlucky day that she’d almost been run down by someone who could assess magic without electronic instruments. Her disguise had just been ripped away.

Now, to find out what she was doing here, and whom she was working for…



A cherry-red Ferrari idled in the mouth of the service driveway, the yellow equine emblem two feet from my legs. A shockingly handsome man in his late twenties with high, arching eyebrows and sharp cheekbones glared at me from the driver’s seat.

Oh good, a rich and probably important guy whose parents likely owned one of the stores in this complex. He was probably skirting around to the back to fire a delivery guy or something. He’d be pissed I got in the way of his oh-so-important business. These snooty bastards thought the sun shone out of their asses, and people like me were of little use. He wouldn’t accept an apology for accidentally stepping in front of him. My death, however, he’d accept just fine.

Thankfully, a store could kick me out, but the complex as a whole could not. I was legally allowed to be here, and he was not legally allowed to kill me.

Which meant I needed to own my space and up my confidence. When you didn’t know if you were dealing with the magical or non-magical, but were sure the arrogance level would be high, it was best to bluff about your self-worth. It often threw the snobs off their high horses long enough for you to get out of Dodge.

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