The Sea Witch and the Mage
A sea witch desperate to save herself from the horrific fate of her twin sister discovers the only way to overcome her mortal enemy is to betray her magical lover. Can Athenia survive without destroying Thorne? The Sea Witch and the Mage is a 10,000 word novelette set in the Water Dreams World. Explicit sex and violence and brief mention of rape.
With a whirl, he grabbed her, turning her and shoving her arm up behind her. “What do you want?” Fiercer than he intended, his words came out in a snarl, deep and menacing.
She struggled. “Let go of me.”
Gods, she’s strong.
When she stomped on his foot, pain shot through his leg all the way to his knee. Unable to maintain his grip, he let her go, but called upon air to surround her.
The woman hammered on the invisible fortification, consternation reflected on her face. “What did you do? Let me out of here.”
“Not until you tell me why you followed me.”
She unclenched her fists and smoothed her hair, her expression changing from a snarl to a simper he figured was supposed to appear friendly. “I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean to alarm you. I—” She hesitated.
“What?” When his still gruff voice echoed in the small space, he winced. For a moment, she frightened him, surprised him. Flip-flops might not have been the best footwear tonight. In dealing with a she-devil, steel-toed boots would have been a safer choice.
“I wanted to meet you, Thorne Sanderson.” As she inhaled, her low-cut, gauzy blouse dipped, revealing more ivory skin. She must have noticed where he locked-on his attention, because she exhaled and took another breath, treating him to the sight again.
“Why don’t you ditch this enclosure so we can talk?” She smiled, more genuinely this time, as if amused. “I promise I won’t hurt you.” As though testing the strength of the unseen barrier, she mashed her hands against it.
He frowned. “You already broke my foot.”
The seductive simper converted to a sexy pout. “Because you manhandled me. An instinctive defense.” She plastered herself against the wall of air and squirmed, her silky skirt and top molding to her body.
His mouth went dry. Damn, she’s beautiful. “Huh, I restrained you because you’ve been following me.”
“Because I wanted to talk to you.” She pushed again, which nudged her blouse lower.
Any further and she’s going to fall all the way out. The idea excited him, and he advanced toward her. “Why not introduce yourself?” Much more of this exhibition and he would need to dismiss the wind fence so he could think.
She chewed her lip. “I wanted to ask you something, but I’m not sure how to do it. I thought if I found out more about you, I would come up with a way to approach you, but I ruined everything.” Tears welled in her eyes and spilled down her cheeks.
Instantly sorry, he dissolved the barricade. “Hey, don’t do that.”
She hid her face in her hands, which muffled her speech. “It’s hopeless, I understand that now.”
Must stop her crying. I can’t stand it. He patted her arm. “Tell me.”
She sobbed again. Sniffled.
Impatient now, he blew out a breath that rounded his cheeks. “What is it?”
She dried her eyes. “I want you to take me on as your pupil.”
Surprised again, he recoiled. “What? Why?”
“As I’m sure you’re aware, I’m Nerei.”
She cleared her throat. “My name is Athenia. I don’t belong to a clan like most of my kind. After a disagreement with our relatives, my sister and I left. For many years, we lived on our own, studying arcane arts and helping the Elders as much as possible. By earning their respect, we attained the title of Sea Witches.”
“Okay, so you know a lot. Why do you want to apprentice with me?”
She clutched his hand. “I lost Delphie.” Her eyes brimmed again. “I don’t want to talk about it, but now I have nothing left except my work. In order to help my people even more, I want to rule air, earth, water, and fire as you do.”
Thorne pulled his hand away. “Impossible, we don’t bestow those skills on outsiders. Anyway, we can’t teach them to you, unless the potential is already within you.”
“You see? Now you know why I wavered about whether to talk to you. I expected you to refuse.” Drooping, she turned away.”
Not wanting to let her go, but unsure why, he acted on intuition and clasped her arm. “Wait.”
She wheeled toward him, her eyes sparkling with eagerness. “Yes?”
“It’s forbidden to teach you to command the elements, but we can help each other. Some of my herbal remedies might be useful to you.
Her smile illuminated the area. “I’ll demonstrate what I learned, and we can create new potions together.”
He nodded. “Possibly we’ll discover something to help your people and mine. Heaven knows, plenty of difficulties bombard us all the time.”
She peeped up at him, teardrops wetting her lashes and pooling under eyes the hue of Florida mangrove leaves. He ran his thumb gently under each one, erasing the drops.
She angled toward him and pecked his cheek with her lips. “Thank you. This means more to me than you can imagine.”