Recent college graduate and part-time cat familiar Dulcina “Sweets” Gato is having the worst New Year’s Eve in living memory. End of year expenses trigger serious cash flow problems, and her microwave just went up in smoke. To make matters worse, her best friend’s overprotective big brother is back in town, and his return threatens to put a huge crimper on her nocturnal activities. The only thing she can look forward to is Madame Eve’s 1-Night Stand service. After all, she’s sick and tired of being a 21-year-old virgin. Enforcement Agent Mikal Knight is a warlock on a mission. Having finally scored a transfer to Washington, D.C., he’s now at liberty to pursue the object of his desires—his baby sister’s best friend. But first, he has a vigilante to track down and a mysterious matchmaking service to investigate. Sent on an undercover operation, he resigns himself to a pointless 1-Night Stand on New Year’s Eve. As luck would have it, his mystery date’s identity might let him kill several birds with one stone.
“Need a boost, Dulcina?”
His continued use of that god-awful name baffled her. Even her parents and sister had switched to calling her Sweets, but this guy couldn’t seem to wrap his mind around the preference. Of course, the three syllables somehow gained a hint of sexiness when he said it in that Southern drawl. The word rolled off his tongue with a lilting musicality that appealed to some traitorous part of her psyche, the unwelcome effect getting on her nerves in a big way.
On top of that, the weird physical reaction she had to his mere presence irritated her. Ever since she’d hit puberty, being within five feet of the boy she’d known all her life—one who’d since grown into a gorgeous twenty-five-year-old man—did weird shit to random body parts. Her cheeks burned, her breath quickened, her palms got sweaty, and her heart rate turned erratic. The smug grin he wore, along with the patronizing tone he’d used, earned her best friend’s half sibling a temporary place on Sweets’ list of least-favorite uninvited guests. “You’re blocking my view.”
He offered his hand. “Of what?”
“Water damage.” Before she could accept his assistance, the empty space between them distorted. Transparent, flickering waves created a blur, as if two realities had shifted out of sync. Frozen in place by the premonition’s onslaught, she watched a version of herself meet his palm with her own. Their fingers twined, and he hoisted her up too fast. When she crashed into his chest, his arms lowered to circle her waist.
He drew her closer. She tilted her head back and parted her lips. A storm brewed in the depths of his almost-black eyes, coloring them with swirls of white and gray. A light furrow formed between his brows, certainty and possession lending his face a dangerous edge.
Alarm bells ringing in her ears, she blinked away the vision and clenched her hands into fists. Keeping them at her sides, she did a full sit-up. Talk about a close call. “Thanks for taking care of the smoke. It even smells nice in here now.”
Lines bracketed the sides of his mouth. He scrutinized her through narrowed eyes, as if he somehow suspected she’d altered their course. “No problem.”