Witty, engaging romance...

Read an excerpt from Ordinary Magic

Wesserick eased the door of the room open. A grunting, rutting sound iced his innards. Then, the shattering of glass.

"Argh!" The bloated man sprang back, gripping the back of his head. "You bitch!"

The man raised a hand up, ready to smash down into the soft pillowing structure of the curtain-strewn bed. Wesserick snatched that arm’s wrist.

"What the hell?!" The poxy man glared into Wesserick’s face. "You!"

His other arm connected with Wesserick’s breadbasket. Unprepared, the duke whooshed out a breath, but didn't relax his hold on the man's arm. Instead he placed his free hand against the poxy man's temple.

"Sleep," he commanded.

They collapsed on the bed together, the poxy man unconscious, and Wesserick crippled by pain, his wards clamoring in protest. Lack of concentration would rob the spell of its potency. Instead of hours, they would have only minutes until it wore off. Wesserick fought past his paralysis.

He rolled the poxy man over and shoved him off the edge of the bed. Then he turned toward Emma. She lay face down on the mattress, her left hand dangling over the edge. He brushed her shoulder. She took a deep, struggling breath and boosted herself on her elbows, her hair dangling above the pillow.


She raised herself on her left arm and lifted her right hand high. She clutched a shard of glass, not much more than a sliver. But she clearly intended to defend herself with it. So like her.

He laughed in relief.

Her wild hazel eyes softened as she recognized him.

"Oh," Emma said, tossing the shard on the floor. It landed amidst the shattered remnants of a bottle that must have contained amorinthe. "It's you."

"Yes," he said before her insistent mouth robbed him of breath. The kiss was both yielding and wanton. In his own weakened state, Wesserick found himself powerless to resist it.

Her body pressed against his, throwing him back on the bed beneath her. Emma’s hand slid down his side to pull his shirt free from his trousers while her soft lips beguiled his mouth.

She tasted irresistible. A remnant of the drug. Wesserick drew on the tongue thrusting its way between his lips, then invaded her mouth in turn, seeking out its sweetness. Emma. His senses were filled with her. Intoxicating.

The graze of cold metal on his midriff as her hand ventured lower roused him to sanity. He grabbed her fettered arm and pushed her back.

"No, no, no," he said. "We aren't doing that."

"No?" Emma pouted, her hazel eyes slitted but smoldering all the same. "That's too bad."

He mentally echoed the sentiment, as he pulled her to her feet, side-stepping the fallen figure of the poxy man. She was none too steady. She laughed lightly as she clung to him, resting her head on his shoulder and playing her hands on his hips. Wesserick walked them toward a stuffed chair in the corner where her clothes lay, carefully folded.

"We have to go, Emma," he said, picking her shift out of the stack. "Be a good girl and put this on."

"Okay." Emma stepped back, wobbling slightly, and gripped the hem of the flimsy chemise to strip it from her body.

He pushed her arms down. "Leave that on," he said, as a fine sweat beaded his brow. An inkling of the charms lurking beneath the thin cloth was disturbing. Revelation could be overpowering.

"It'll be uncomfortable," Emma complained, unconsciously echoing his thoughts.

"Not as uncomfortable as your memory tomorrow," he replied.

She laughed. "You're such a prude."

"Spoken like a confirmed virgin," he said, offering her the shift.

Emma stepped closer to him; too close. Her lips curled at him seductively. "Just because I haven't succumbed yet, doesn't mean I haven't had my chances."

"I don't doubt that a bit," he said, pushing the shift into her hands. "Put it on."

Emma rolled the shift into a donut shape and thrust her curly head through its neck. She had some trouble finding the holes for her arms. Wesserick guided one hand through the opening. She continued around his neck, draping herself against him.

"I'm so tired," she complained.

"I know," he said softly. "But there will be time to rest when we're safe away from this place."

She pushed away. "I can't wait that long," she murmured. She collapsed back on the bed, nestled her head on the nearest pillow, then fell into the deepest slumber.

"No!" Wesserick exclaimed. "Emma!"

He shook her shoulder, but she was out cold. He might have the strength to carry her out to the yard, but boosting her into the tree would require her cooperation.

"Emma," he placed his lips close to her ear. "You have to wake up. "Bertos is waiting for us."

"Mmmmmm," she articulated through pretty, pouted lips. How much amorinthe had they given her? He'd drunk it once, at the insistence of the Lutonian ambassador. He wasn’t particularly proud of his behavior on that occasion. The drink had made him a libidinous, muddle-headed mess. But when all was said and done, it was sexual activity—excessive amounts of sexual activity—that had best counteracted the drug’s effects.

This is in our best interests, he told his pricking conscience. He pressed his mouth to hers again. Her soft lips instantly roused. Wesserick drew his mouth upwards bestowing little, cajoling kisses. Like a pony following a carrot, Emma followed the pressure until she sat on the edge of the mattress.

He drew her into his arms. She clutched at him, nuzzling at his neck and playing her tongue along the hollow of his throat.

"That's right," he said, his voice thickening in spite of himself. He pulled her to her feet. "Come with me and I'll take care of you."

"Do you promise?" she whispered.

Before he could formulate a credible answer to this provocative question, the door flew open. He instinctively pushed her behind him.

"You, sir," Grened said. "Seem determined to cost me a deal of money."

The brown-haired prostitute peeped around the procurer's shoulder and flashed Wesserick an apologetic smile. "We work by the quarter hour," she explained. "He came to check on me."

"Return to the taproom, Mollie," Grened said. "You're down two customers already."

"Come back when you have money," Mollie invited Wesserick before disappearing.

Emma's arms circled his waist and wandered under his shirt. She pressed against his back suggestively. This is the strangest position I've ever found myself in, Wesserick thought, as he determinedly detached her and deposited her in the chair atop her clothes.

Copyright 2015, Barbara Satow