“Pass what you have around,” I instruct Az. If Shifters are made of magic, as she says, then an influx must do something for the healing process. “To the wounded first and then to the wards if you can.”
She prances around the yard, stops at each Shifter, and lays her hand on a furry head like a queen bestowing an honor. She murmurs to them, but I can’t pick up the words. When she reaches Tommy, she spends twice as long with her hand on his unmoving form. By the time she works her way back to me, some of the frenzied light in her eyes has dimmed. Her steps aren’t quite as bouncy.
“You want some?” She pops up on her toes. Warm hands land on my hips when she wobbles. Her grin is just this side of manic. “Plenty more to share.”
Her lips are too close. Too inviting. I know the taste and feel of them. It’s not the time or the place, and I’m not made of stone. One kiss won’t be enough. Selfish bastard that I am, I want more than the simple exchange she’s offering. I want it to be more than just a convenient manner of transferring energy.
I place a finger across her lips, careful to avoid her busted nose, before she can move any closer. “The next time my lips are on yours, Princess, it’s going to be because it’s something we both want. And it’s damn sure going to mean more than a magic transfer.”
Az blinks, nods. Drops back so that her heels are on the ground. As soon as my hand returns back to my side, she launches herself at me. I automatically wrap an arm around her waist to keep her from her from falling on her ass. She curls an arm around my neck and crashes her lips to mine.
Her lips are warmer than I remember. Softer. Beneath the bitter tang of blood, I can taste peppermint lipgloss and a hint of coffee. She makes no move to deepen the kiss, and I don’t push. This is good. Slow. No magic flows between us – at least not the sort that witches use. Her fingers rake through the short hair on the back of my head before brushing across the shell of my ear.
After an eternity, and far too soon, she lifts her head and presses her lips to the tip of my nose. “It means that I am exceedingly fond of you, and I’m very, very glad you’re all right. If you tell me you didn’t want that, then your pants are on fire.”
She’s on her feet and back in the middle of the Shifter huddle before I can respond. Damned kiss-and-run void. It’s just as well. I’m not entirely sure what I would have said.
Title: Witches, Voids and Other Sanity Suckers
Author: Kara Thorpe
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Alpha of the only Shifter pack in Houston, Rick Haskell has his hands full. When the Mage of New Orleans calls for a favor – a favor that pays $400,000 – Rick can’t refuse. Even if that favor means adopting the Mage’s daughter into his ragtag pack. Az Vardan is beautiful, smart, and takes frequent vacations from sanity. Before Rick can learn how to handle the blonde kiss-and-run firecracker, wolfsbane appears in the local coven’s garden, witches mysteriously die in police custody, and a rash of centaur murders rocks Houston’s Paranormal Community. Az’s knowledge of magic may be all that saves Rick’s pack when a new, powerful threat moves in to take over his city.
First person, present tense
Warning: language, violence, and irreverence (and Oxford commas)
Kara Thorpe started writing as a distraction in French class and never stopped (don’t ask her to conjugate many verbs). Born and raised under the South Texas sun, she spends her days navigating Houston traffic and the exciting world of production planning. Nights are for creating character-driven romances and wrangling a stubborn Siamese. Look for Chai’s cameo in each story.