By Lena Hart
Mary’s heart dropped at the sight of the dark shadows looming over the Pastry Bitch like menacing claws. They swooped down sharply, and she jumped out of her seat.
The shadows instantly fell away like a black drape, disintegrating into dust. Stirling pulled her back down to her seat as a hush whisper began to travel through the crowd at her sudden outburst.
Mary ignored the curious gazes and rounded on her date. “Why did you do that?”
Stirling cocked a brow. “That was not me, love. That darkness manifested from you.”
What was he talking about? She didn’t have darkness in her. She was a good person—she just didn’t like to be walked all over. Or accused of doing something she hadn’t.
“It appears you hold more power than you realize, Mary.” He smirked. “And you’re more vindictive than you think.”
She stared at him then down at her hands, incredulous. “You’re crazy if you’re saying what I think you’re saying…”
“And what is it that you think I’m saying?”
“That I’m a…witch?”
“A very unseasoned one, but you’ll learn.”
Mary’s heart began to race at what he’d just confirmed. Did she really contain that kind of magic in her?
“And once you grow into your own, you’ll find your path.”
“My path to what?”
“The dark or the light.”
“You mean I’m either going to be good or evil?”
“More or less.”
She shook her head. “I don’t want to be wicked, but I can’t let the Pastry Bitch get away with ruining my career.”
“You want revenge, then take it.”
“I want to have her hair fall out. I want ants to come pouring out of her chocolate soufflé. I don’t want to actually kill her.”
“You can do all of that and more, love.” Stirling leaned back in his seat and assessed her quietly. “But will any of that satisfy you?”
Mary glanced at where the Pastry Bitch stood at the far end of the room, admiring her work as the attendants began to serve her popular dessert to the guests. Mary should have been standing there, too. She’d put in just as much work into this function to make it a success, and that moment of glory had been taken from her.
But looking around the room, it was hard not to let the delight from the guests lift her spirits. She may not get the acknowledgement for it, but she would take pleasure in knowing that she’d been a part of putting those smiles on these people’s faces.
Mary sighed in resignation. To hell with the Pastry Bitch. She would let karma take this one.
“If I have to be a witch,” Mary murmured, “I prefer not to be a green one.”
Stirling chuckled. “I can see you’ve watched too many movies. Witches are actually quite attractive.” He winked at her. “Exceptionally so.”
Mary’s eyes widened. “You’re a—” She didn’t bother completing the sentence. Of course he was a witch. He’d practically told on himself with his impossible good looks—and that blood pen he kept in his pocket. “So are you a good witch or a bad one?”
“What do you think?” he asked, taking a sip of his champagne.
Mary tilted her head to the side. “I don’t know. I have a feeling you’re only good when it suits you…”
“You’re very perceptive. That’s a useful trait to have with your kind of power.”
“Can you teach me to be a good witch?”
He carefully placed his glass down then lovingly ran the pad of his thumb over her cheek. She trembled from the delicate touch.
“I can teach you a lot of things, love. And I plan to. But goodness is as innate as it is subjective. Goodness is having the power to steal every soul in this room but choosing not to.”
She stared at him blankly. “You can do that? Steal souls?”
“Yes.” His dark eyes flashed brilliantly. He leaned down and lightly brushed his lips across hers. “But I’d rather steal your heart.”
As he deepened the kiss, Mary lost herself in his embrace. In that moment, she forgot about everything—and everyone—and concentrated only on Stirling Drake and the sensuous spell he casted with his lips.