All Jet wants is a fun night out at the club he’s finally old enough to get into. Okay, not all -- he also wants mystery, adventure, love, college tuition, and a new best friend who isn’t too busy to spend time with him. But he wasn’t expecting any of those to find him at Club Nox. And he definitely wasn’t expecting a gorgeous stranger to offer him his heart’s desire in exchange for ... his actual heart? What kind of crazy deal is this? And what does the alluring Darken mean when he says it’s too late for Jet to change his mind? Why can’t Jet take off the heart-shaped pendant?
Darken feels a little guilty about tricking the cute goth boy at the club into taking on his curse. But what choice did he have? Any one person can only wear the heart pendant for so long before it drains them, and he’s served his three years. As curses go, this one honestly isn’t so bad. And maybe Jet will let Darken sweeten the deal with a few kisses. He isn’t sticking around now that he’s free, though. And he definitely isn’t falling in love again. That’s what got him into this mess in the first place.
Soon Jet realizes Darken told him the truth: Jet has made a bargain he can’t escape. Does he even want to, if Darken is part of the package? If only human hearts were as easy to win as magical ones ...
Jet ordered a cherry soda and waited until the bartender handed it over to venture, “I’m looking for this guy who was here on Thursday. He had long hair, and a flowy shirt, and he was, uh ...” Amazingly attractive might have helped a little, but it was ridiculously hard to describe one goth in a generally goth club.
“He was wearing this,” Jet tried desperately, lifting the heart pendant. It twitched in his fingers, and he dropped it, even though he knew it was his imagination. The bartender wasn’t looking, anyway; his eyes were fixed on two women in corsets who were kissing.
“Sorry, kid,” the bouncer said, not sounding sorry. “I wasn’t working that night. Ask Star.” He waved toward the other end of the long bar.
Jet passed behind the kissing couple, dodged a pair of men who had drunk too much and were trying to help each other walk straight, brushed an ostrich-feather hair ornament out of his eyes, and came face to face with Darken.
Well, not quite face to face. The bar was between them. Darken was behind it, looking not at Jet but at the bartender, who was showing him how to mix a cocktail.
Darken seemed subdued, in some way Jet couldn’t put his finger on. Darken was still beautiful and put-together, but he wasn’t too amazing to be breathing the same air as Jet. Jet wasn’t going weak in the knees.
In fact, he was still walking, which resulted in him bumping into the bar.
Darken looked up and smiled.
Like he was genuinely pleased to see Jet.
For some reason, that made Jet furious.
Jet had agonized over how to approach Darken. He hadn’t considered lunging over the counter, grabbing his shirt, and snarling, “You bastard! What did you do to me?”
“Good things, it looks like.” Darken grinned “You’re a lot fiercer today, kitten.”
“My name is Jet!” Jet snapped.
“Jet.” Darken’s eyes flicked past Jet for a second and he raised his hand, palm out.
Jet looked over his shoulder and found the bouncer only a few feet away.
“It’s fine.” Darken raised his voice. “Jet will be taking over my duties upstairs.”
“Jet, Star is the head bartender and also does the ordering. Carson is in charge of security.”
Star, a thirtyish woman with an elaborate Victorian updo and lots of barbed-wire tattoos, smiled, and said, “Good to meet you.”
Carson nodded, bulged his arm muscles at Jet, and turned back into the crowd.
Feeling stupid, Jet let go of Darken and gave the bartender an awkward wave.
“Star, I’ll have to bail for the night,” Darken said. He helped himself to a bottle of wine and a glass.
“Come on,” Darken nodded at Jet as he came around the bar, bottle in hand. “We need to talk somewhere quieter.”
“So you can roofie me again?” Jet was annoyed to find that he sounded sulky rather than angry.
“I didn’t drug you,” Darken said. “It was magic.”