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I could feel my magic, but I couldn’t access it. I tried to stand, but chains held me.
Ahh, that’s why I can’t use my magic.
I looked over at my captor. His chiseled body screamed hired muscle, but his bright green eyes pulsed with magic.
“Good, you’re awake.” His gruff voice made me shiver. He leaned up against the bars. “It’s time we forgive and forget about this little episode,” he said, smiling.
“You drugged me. You kidnapped me. Now I’m in a cell, chained up, bound from my magic,” I said seething. “Hell will freeze over before I forgive or forget.”
He raised an eyebrow unaffected by my anger. “I don’t think you’ve got this whole forgive and forget thing down.”
I took a deep breath trying to keep my cool. “Why am I here?”
He cleared his throat. “Caelan, your healing magic is well known.”
I rolled my eyes. Great, another jerk trying to force me to heal someone.
“Someone else with well-known magic would like to propose,” he said. His eyes never wavered from mine.
It took a full minute before his words sank in. “You can’t be serious? What century is this? Why couldn’t they talk to me like a normal person?” I was floored. Of all the reasons for me to be kidnapped, I would never have thought about a proposal. What kind of psycho thinks that’s a good plan?
He shrugged. “Your people wouldn’t schedule an appointment with me. I’m on the blocked list.”
I gasped. There were only two people I’ve prevented from scheduling appointments with me, my mother and Donatello de Luca, the necromancer. Shit!
“You’re the necromancer?”
“Guilty. Why wouldn’t you meet with me?”
He caught me looking him over and he smirked. I would never have thought this guy was Donatello. His pale blond hair and Irish green eyes scream more angel than master of the dead.
“Your office kept calling me after I dealt with the consequences of your ghoul that broke free,” I said, derision filled my voice. “How the elders didn’t strip you of your powers after that, I’ll never understand. So much unnecessary violence.” I shook my head.
He closed his eyes for a moment. “I’m sorry you had to see any of that, but perhaps you should have the facts before passing judgment?”
The chains bit into my wrists. I shifted them around to give me more slack, waiting for his explanation.
“A very powerful necromancer raised a small cemetery,” Donatello said, letting that information hang between us.
The sheer power to raise one person was upper-level magic. Who the hell has enough juice to raise a whole freakin’ cemetery?
He sighed. “I was trying to contain them and bind the animator. One got away, along with the animator. Thank you for your help. More would have been injured and probably killed if you hadn’t stepped in. Deaths that close to the site would have sealed them from their graves. Their souls would never be at rest. Thank you Caelan.”
I stared at him unable to speak. Great, anymore tongue tied and I might as well be thirteen again, trying to talk to the cute guy a grade above me. And that’s not what you compare to a man that’s holding you captive… What’s wrong with me? Wait… Donatello could hold that many ghouls? Whoa.
“You’re welcome,” I heard myself say.
He looked me over. “And what about my proposal?”
“You… You really kidnapped me to propose? Are you high?”
“Hear me out. We’re very strong magic users in our fields,” he said, dropping to a knee.
I was dumbfounded until he started tying his shoe.
He looked at me and broke out into a panty-melting smile. “Gotcha,” he said, releasing me from the chains and opening the cell door with a wave of his hand.
“What?” I stood up rubbing my wrists, preparing my magic just in case.
“I do have a proposal for you, but it’s not a marriage proposal. We should work together.”
“Good to know the rumors about you being an asshole are true,” I said, stepping out of the cell. “No.”
“Why do I think you would have preferred a marriage proposal from me?” he asked, chuckling.
I laughed, wiping non-existent tears. “Delusions of grandeur is my best guess. Like I would ever consider marrying the worlds biggest asshole, who kidnaps and drugs people for his own amusement. If necromancy doesn’t pan out for you, at least you have a backup career as a comedian.”
His eyes sparkled with amusement. “Interesting.”
I was not going to ask him. Was not.
“You thought about marrying me and you liked the idea so much it scared you,” he said, taking a step closer to trap me against the bars. I let him.
I caressed his face. His surprise was quickly replaced by intrigue, then I slapped him. “I think you just earned yourself an upgrade from delusions of grandeur to just plain delusional.”
He touched his face. “We’ll see.” He snickered.
“No, we won’t. I’m not going to work with you.” I stepped around him, heading for the stairs.
“The Elders beg to differ,” he said handing me an envelope addressed to me, sealed by the council of elders.
I skimmed the letter and swore.
“We’re going after the animator?”
He nodded. “She’s my sister.”
I shrugged. “If you took my bag when you kidnapped me, I’m good to go when you are.”
“Good to know,” he said with a wink.
This mission was going to test my patience.