Authors: Shawntelle Madison
This novel is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, or persons living or dead is purely coincidental.
Copyright © 2013 Shawntelle Madison
eBook ISBN-13: 978-0-9887985-6-4
Cover design: Shawntelle Madison
Edited by Jennifer Jakes and Abigail M.
Stock Image: Dreamstime © Masta4650
All rights reserved. Except as permitted under the U.S. Copyright Act of 1976, no part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, or stored in a database or retrieval system, without prior written permission of the author.
Dating Tip #24: Witches hate warlocks who want to jump into bed after the first date. Just because you can pull a rabbit out of your hat doesn’t mean you can pull something magical out of your pants.
From behind the desk in her matchmaking agency office, Tessa Dandridge thought she’d heard it all until her client blurted,
“My last date had National Geographic boobs.”
She leaned forward, praying she had a serious expression. “Liam, you’re a five hundred year-old warlock. You can’t be picky when it comes to witches. I understand some women tend to decline and often use glamour to portray themselves as something they’re not, but you shouldn’t close yourself off from perfectly fine dates.”
“Tessa, after all these years, I feel like I’ve obtained a status that should attract younger witches who aren’t hags—no offense, ladies.” He glanced to where Tessa’s assistant, Danielle, took notes.
In her line of work, too many warlocks used the wand between their legs to do all the thinking. “Don’t talk that way about the women I represent. The simple fact is that you won’t be able to relate well to most of the younger women in my club. They have a lifestyle that you don’t follow anymore. I think you’d be better suited to an older witch.”
Liam shook his head and stroked his salt-and-pepper-colored beard. The wealth and power he’d accumulated in the magical community hadn’t attracted any quality women—women who didn’t need an enchantment spell to remain in his presence. The young ones found him disgusting and the older ones weren’t going to put up with his superficial crap. Of course she couldn’t tell him that…
With enthusiasm she added, “Now, trust my professional judgment. Danielle will arrange a party in a week for you to meet eligible women. You’ll love who I have for you.”
Liam had approached her agency a few days ago claiming he was tired of the old-school witch matchmakers who weren’t hip enough to find a woman worthy of his status. He was full of it—and she didn’t mean all-power magic either. He was out for sex, plain and simple. And if she didn’t need the income so badly, she’d send him packing.
“Why can’t I just help you pick out the women you intend to invite?” he asked. “Then I’d be sure to find one I like.”
“If you connect with someone, then you’re free to go out on a personal date. But, you’re not allowed to cast any spells on her and I expect the date to be platonic. If you both have a good time, you can continue on your own from there.”
He frowned. “If you could just sprinkle in a few younger ones—”
Tessa cut him off. “Be sure to stay open-minded over the next couple of days.”
He tapped his finger on top of her desk. “About this no sex thing…I see no reason why two adults can’t have a good time together if the feeling is right.”
“Because I run a matchmaker service. If you’re looking for a call girl, there are plenty of them around town. I make marriages, not one night stands.”
Deep furrows lined his forehead in displeasure. He rose, gripping an old oak cane between long fingers. With a curt nod, he shimmered and disappeared into mist. She’d won, for now anyway.
Danielle rose and removed a piece of lint from her tweed skirt suit. Tessa had dragged her best friend from Northwestern University in Chicago to New York City to join in this venture. Over the years, she had been the optimistic, perky side to the business. From her blonde pixie haircut to her short, dainty frame, Danielle exuded sunshine. “Two or three witches we have on file fit Liam perfectly.”
Days like these made her long for weekends. “Thanks, Dani.”
She nodded and left. Most likely to take care of something Tessa always forgot to do.
Time to focus on what the day would bring. The glare of the morning sun peeking over the New York City skyline reflected against her iPhone as she confirmed her full schedule. It looked like she would have enough time to run an errand or two before a lunch with an important client. So, with a skip in her step, she left the office to enjoy a bit of the day before she had to head back to the office.
Spring had arrived in New York City, and the streets buzzed with pedestrians flowing down the streets. April sunshine wasn’t too hot or cold, the perfect time to enjoy the city. Tessa hailed a cab to the curb. A sexy businessman in a tailored suit emerged and grinned. His emerald-green eyes glanced at her legs and ran up her skirt. Before settling on her hazel-colored eyes, his gaze lingered on her chest. If Tessa didn’t have a limited amount of time to get things done, a brief conversation might’ve been in order. Her gaze drifted to his ring finger. Not married. But he wasn’t supernatural either, so she smiled and tried to enter the cab, only to find out she wasn’t the only one eager to reach her destination.
An older woman, dressed in a dark red coat, swept in like a vulture on a kill and slid into the seat.
“Whoa!” Tessa said.
One would expect the cab driver, or even the gentleman in the suit, to say something, but the woman gave Tessa a rude gesture, grabbed the door, then slammed it shut. Everyone left her standing on the curb gaping.
Just another day in NYC.
The man in the suit shrugged and offered a half-assed apology, then walked away. Wow. Good thing she didn’t do matchmaking for herself.
She glanced at her iPhone. Since she didn’t have much time left, she’d have to walk until she caught another cab. The exercise wouldn’t kill her.
The first stoplight she reached took forever so she checked her cell for any new messages. She got through a few before a strange sensation stirred her stomach. It was that feeling of being watched. A long shadow extended toward hers, showing the profile of someone tall and lean. Long legs. Wide shoulders. Even though he stood a few feet behind her, she could practically sense his heated gaze as it traveled from her high heels up to her calves. Caressed her inner thighs then rested on her ass.
She shifted her weight while the light remained red. Enough time had passed for him to take in her favorite black skirt which showed off her hips. His gaze then tickled the nape of her neck beneath her shoulder-length brown hair. For a moment, she was self-conscious that he could see through her and take in the opening of her shirt.
The desire to lick her dry lips intensified, and the urge to turn around to see the man grew stronger. Was he attractive? Would she be horrified to know he was checking his phone instead of checking
Hell, wasn’t she usually spot on with this kind of thing?
She slowly turned around to see a gorgeous Asian man staring at her. Most of the time—like earlier—she would’ve glanced at his ring finger, but her gaze left his to linger on muscular legs wrapped in jeans before moving up to his intimidating chest. His shadow hadn’t lied. Matter of fact, it had held quite a bit back from her. This dark-haired guy was hot as hell and had bedroom eyes to boot.
A buzzer sounded, the light turned green, and a few pedestrians began to walk across. For a second, she wasn’t sure what to do. Yeah, a shocker. Most men just spoke up and tried to strike up a conversation. This one simply walked around her and strolled across the street and this time, Tessa took in
backside. She would’ve watched the view even longer if she hadn’t stared so long the light changed yellow. She prepared to dart across, but gave up since she didn’t want a free ticket to the emergency room.
Now separated by a busy street, Tessa lost the mystery man as he disappeared down the street into a parking garage.
Rob Shin rarely used his magic in public—especially for something as childish as messing with stoplights—but he couldn’t help himself. He was practically on the clock with a time limit imposed by his employer: Repossess the vehicle at the 12th Street parking garage by noon. No pit stops, no coffee breaks, and most certainly, he shouldn’t have held up all those humans so he could undress that witch with his eyes. He made a beeline for the elevator. He could practically hear his boss busting his chops. “You keep messing around and sooner or later, the wrong person will see you doing that shit, Rob. If you really want to get paid, play by my rules.”
There really weren’t many rules to be honest. Just one in particular for his line of business:
Don’t get caught.
He couldn’t afford to break the rules right now. Not with others he had to be financially responsible for.
His target, a Honda Coupe Civic, sat between two other smaller cars. Everything was squeezed in nice and tight, but he had more than enough room to work. He opened his worn satchel and reached into the folds.
A whisper, followed by an old man’s chuckle, emerged from the satchel. “I’ve never seen you do that in public before,
. What was so special about that one?”
Rob sighed. “Oh hush and pass me what I need, Harabeuji.”
Magic brushed against his hand like layers of electrified silk. Between the layers, his hand encountered wands, bolt cutters, and other tools. So many toys to play with—the tools of the trade for a warlock who needed to collect on the debt of others.
The restless spirit woven into the old leather bag harrumphed. “You don’t see me casting spells to charm the Gucci bags off 5th Street.”
Rob chuckled. “Every man has his weakness. Mine happens to involve beautiful women with long legs. You have no room to talk. You almost convinced me to let you spend the night in a leather outlet.”
“The craftsmanship in that place was impeccable. Almost as fine as what you’d find in a
marketplace. Have I ever told you about the time I armed my handler with a grand ice staff? He stood proud against ten fire demons!”
Rob couldn’t help but shake his head with a smile. Harabeuji had constant tales from medieval Korea to tell him, but he had work to do. First things first, he needed to disable the spell protecting the vehicle. A pretty powerful one, but he’d faced stronger ones before. After that, the hardest thing he’d have to face was the parking brake. He tried to focus on the mission at hand, but frowned when he smelled perfume. The scent was probably from the car beside this one.
The feminine perfume filled his nostrils and then settled into his tightening groin. He couldn’t help but think about the woman he passed on the street. Damn, she was beautiful. She’d satisfied his curiosity easily enough when she peered at him.
Rob had been too long without a woman. He should remedy that when he got some spare time which, unfortunately, he didn’t have much of. Just one month of medical leave and then he’d have to report back to base.