“Follow her, you said,” Lily quietly mumbled to herself. “Couldn’t you have suggested that when she was heading to the mall, rather than out here?”
Instead of the luxury of good lighting and an even floor below her feet, Lily found herself stumbling over every invisible object that was littered across a field she had no permission to be on. It was nearly nine o’clock at night, so she only had the moon to light her way. Her favourite outfit was currently paying the price for her covert actions, and unfortunately, she doubted she would be wearing it again. Her dress had been shredded by the branches that seemed to be working against her in her pursuit. And as for her shoes, well, they were no longer the sweet, dusty-pink pumps she had originally fallen in love with. The dark Texan dirt would have all but guaranteed that, after tonight, they would be unsalvageable.
“Why didn’t I ignore the damn voice, just this once?” she grumbled as yet another large chunk of flesh was ripped out of her exposed legs.
The voice she spoke of was the same one she had been hearing inside her head for as long as she could remember. Before her mother had died, she’d told her to always listen to it. She had said it was Mother Earth herself. But if it truly were the one person her kind worshipped beyond anything else, then why was it that none of the other witches in her coven could hear her?
Even though the voice had never previously steered her wrong, Lily was beginning to question the sanity in listening to it this time. She was currently trudging through God knows what, to God knows where, getting further mutilated with every step she took, to follow one of the few people she trusted with her life. Yet still, she followed its directive.
“Follow her. It’s time for them to awaken, and for you to come out of hiding. The world needs you all if it’s going to survive this next attack,” the voice had said.
So here she was being ripped to shreds to follow “her,” who happened to be her best friend, Cara. Since meeting in high school, Lily and Cara had been inseparable, except for this one night every year. Earlier tonight, Cara had once again excused herself from Lily’s birthday dinner before all the courses had been served. Each year, Lily’s confusion grew at her friend’s odd behaviour. Cara’s actions had continually denied her of her favourite part of every meal, dessert. When they were younger, Lily could almost buy her excuse of her having a curfew had it not been for the fact that the time limit hadn’t existed on any other night. No matter how many times this had happened over the years, Lily had never challenged her friend, until tonight.
As for the rest of the message, well, that was something she was still trying to decipher. She had no idea who “them” were, and as for her coming “out of hiding,” well that meant nothing to Lily considering the only hiding she had ever done was from her best friend. Maybe the voice wanted her to reveal herself as a witch to Cara. But that still wouldn’t explain the rest of the confusing message. What danger could possibly threaten the whole world? And would she, a simple librarian who dabbled in witchcraft, want anything to do with it?
After several painful minutes and more skin being claimed as payment for Lily’s act of trespassing, she came upon an opening in the landscape. There seemed nothing outwardly unusual about it except for the fact that Cara and her sister, Mia, stood in the clearing beside a flowing river, yet no sound could be heard. No distinct sound of the water running, or even the soft hint of Cara or Mia’s voices being carried by the gentle breeze.
Shuffling closer to where her best friend stood deep in conversation with Mia, Lily felt a sense of foreboding, warning her to leave this place immediately. But still, something wouldn’t let her move from her hiding spot. It was as if two hands lay upon her shoulders, holding her where she was crouched, preventing her from leaving.
Lily was relieved when Cara and Mia finally stepped away from the water’s edge and moved toward her. Reinforcing the incantation surrounding her, she ensured she would remain unseen by all. Holding her breath, she waited until the two women had passed her and moved beyond her line of sight before she stood from her crouching position. Stepping out from behind the bush, Lily walked toward the clearing. Again, the feeling of dread washed over her.
“Keep going, child,” the voice encouraged.
Once again, she did the voice’s bidding. Unease stirred in the pit of her stomach as she neared what seemed to be an invisible barrier. She quickly identified it as a powerful spell warding off unwelcome visitors. Her incantation fell away as soon as she stepped through it. She recognised the power behind the barrier. She knew exactly who had placed the ward around the clearing, she just had no idea why. That was a question she knew would remain unanswered tonight, so she moved onto the mystery of her best friend’s annual disappearance.
As she looked around the clearing, nothing seemed to be out of the ordinary. All the noises she couldn’t hear on the other side of the ward were now making themselves known. The running water seemed to be drawing her toward it. Moving on instinct, she closed the gap between herself and the water’s edge.
As she took in the soothing effect of the river, something under the water caught her eye. Leaning closer, she tried to get a better look. The limited light and the moving water seemed to be hindering her view. Using her ability, she improved her chances of identifying the object of interest by willing the water over it to remain still, while the rest of the river continued to flow freely. What she saw had a scream lodging in her throat, and her feet retracing her previously eager footsteps.
“Don’t move,” came the order. Like the other voice, she had also heard this one in her head, and she obeyed it. But she knew, without a shadow of a doubt, that it hadn’t belonged to Mother Earth. It was male.
“Lily, come here,” Dustin said from where he now sat on the couch. While he held his hand out as an offering, she had seen that look in his eyes and heard that tone in his voice before to know he expected to be obeyed.
Slowly she moved toward him. Her step faltered, stopping her just out of his reach. Or so she thought. Before she knew it, she was sitting across his lap. His hand gently tilting her head up toward his, while he all but pleaded. “Look at me, please, mo chridhe.”
Unable to deny this man anything, she raised her eyes to his. What she saw there surprised her. His piercing blue eyes held one emotion, desire, and it was aimed solely at her. Finding her confidence once again, she raised herself slightly and brushed her lips against his. On a groan, Dustin deepened the kiss. His hand moved to the back of her head, angling it to his liking. He held her firmly to his mouth, while his tongue traced the shape of her lips. This caused her to gasp, which was all the permission Dustin needed. His tongue swept through her mouth, seemingly tasting every inch of her. Not one to be left out, she followed suit. His unique flavour burst onto her taste buds. He tasted of coffee with a hint of dark chocolate—and hope.
“Where’s Hannah?” Dustin asked breathlessly when he pulled back from their kiss.
“She’s staying at Sully’s,” she replied immediately.
As soon as the words had left her mouth, Dustin lifted her off his lap. Her confusion at his actions was short-lived. Her feet had barely touched the floor when he pulled her toward him. She found herself positioned between his spread legs while his large hands unbuttoned her shirt. When it hung open, she allowed the material to slide down her arms before it fell to the floor. Suddenly self-conscious, she raised her arms in an attempt to cover herself.
“Never hide from me, mo chridhe,” Dustin gently chastised before placing her arms down at her sides. “Leave them there. I want to look at what’s mine.”
His words should have caused the modern woman in her to slap him over the head, but instead, she stood there basking in this man’s possessive stare. His eyes left a trail of goose bumps as they raised slowly from her feet until they came to a halt at her chest. His eyes suddenly met hers. Slowly, he leant forward and took one of her lace-encased breasts into his mouth. Her knees went weak. But before she could fall to the ground, a strong arm came around her, providing her the support she desperately needed.
A moan escaped her as she felt Dustin’s teeth pull on her rock-hard nipple. The slight pain quickly turned to pleasure. She could feel each hard pull in her pussy, as if the two areas were connected by a piece of string. His strong fingers then joined his mouth, pinching and twisting her other nipple. The rougher he was, the closer she moved to coming. Her orgasm hit her hard and fast, leaving her shocked at the power this man had over her. He was a musician playing her body like an expert. And boy, what beautiful music they made together.
By the time she had emerged from her post-orgasmic buzz, she became aware of two things. She had been moved and was now lying on the couch. And she didn’t have a stitch of clothing on. She reached for Dustin, who grabbed her hand and placed a kiss on her palm. His other hand seemingly content to play with her bare pussy.
“God, woman, you have the most beautiful pussy I have ever seen,” Dustin said before thrusting one of his thick fingers in her weeping channel. “Please tell me, you did this for me? That you shaved for me.”
“Yes, Dustin. I did it just for you,” she said between moans as his finger continued its assault on her pussy. “I have never shaved down there before. For anyone!”
Suddenly his eyes bore into hers as his talented finger brought her closer to another orgasm. At some point, he had bent it and with each thrust and withdraw the tip of his finger scraped along her g spot, leaving her seeing stars.
“Only for me, mo chridhe. No other man will see what belongs to me.”