Sample Sunday — Deep Magic

Only a few more days to go until Deep Magic comes out! Here’s a little peek at an early scene in the book.

*~*~*

Hayley made herself get up from the sofa and go over to where she’d left her purse, then dropped the phone in an inner pocket of her bag. She knew she needed to force herself to go outside. Otherwise, she’d probably just sit here on the couch, watching Netflix or channel-surfing and ignoring her empty stomach until Brandon came home. It seemed like the best thing to do would be to go over to Rachel’s store, say hi. Hayley had met her distant cousin years ago at a reunion, but because the event had been so overwhelming, so full of witches and warlocks she’d never met before, she didn’t remember much about her except that she had reddish hair and was plump, and wore the kinds of boho-looking outfits you might expect of a modern-day witch. Anyway, it was nearly five o’clock; if she didn’t get moving now, Hayley knew she ran the risk of the store closing before she even got there.

She’d just finished locking the deadbolt and had begun to turn around to head down the stairs when a pair of piercing blue eyes met hers. The sight surprised her so much that she took a step back, and managed to drop the keys to the flat at the same time.

“I’m so sorry,” said the apparition. He bent and retrieved the keys, then handed them to her. “I didn’t mean to startle you.”

“It’s fine,” she replied, regaining enough control of herself to focus on the man who stood before her. And holy hell, was she glad she’d focused on him, because he was insanely good-looking. At least six foot two, fair hair, those amazing blue eyes, and the face and body of a male model, or maybe an actor. In fact, he was positively Hemsworth-ian in the looks department.

“Are you Brandon’s sister?”

“Yes.” So her brother had actually remembered to mention her to his neighbor? At least, she assumed the man standing there must be the person who lived in the flat opposite Brandon’s; there wasn’t much point in coming up here otherwise. “I’m Hayley. You live next door?”

“Yes. I’m Levi — Levi McAllister,” he added after a brief pause, as though he wasn’t used to introducing himself in such a way. Well, that made some sense. Being a McAllister in these parts was kind of a given.

Yet another cousin, of course, but since he was a Jerome McAllister, it meant they were distantly enough related that it didn’t really matter. A flush rose in Hayley’s cheeks. All right, so the guy looked like a Greek god. That didn’t mean she should automatically be contemplating whether they were genetically compatible.

“Brandon said you would be coming to stay for a while,” Levi went on, and Hayley found herself mentally forgiving her brother for ditching her. At least he’d had the presence of mind to mention her to his hunk of a next-door neighbor.

“Yes,” she said. “My parents thought it might be safer here.”

“Safer?”

“From — ” She stopped there and gave a nod in a vaguely southerly direction. “You know.”

“The Escobars and the Santiagos.”

“You know about all that?”

“Oh, yes.” Levi’s handsome blond head tilted to one side. “Was there a particular reason why your parents thought you would be at risk? Your brother didn’t say anything, except that you’d be coming to stay in Jerome for a while.”

Hayley shifted her weight from one foot to the other. In general, witches and warlocks didn’t discuss their individual talents at first meeting. And she especially didn’t want to talk about that sort of thing while standing here on the landing outside her brother’s flat. Even though she and Levi were the only people here, it felt somehow…exposed. 
“Well….” she hedged.

“Ah, of course. I should not be asking you about your talent on such a brief acquaintance. I apologize.”

“It’s fine,” she said quickly. At the same time, she couldn’t help but give him a sideways glance of her own. There was something about the way he talked — much more formal than what she was used to, with a certain carefulness that made her think of someone whose native language wasn’t English. But that didn’t make any sense. He’d said his name was Levi McAllister, and he was certainly fair enough in coloring to be one of their clan. “I mean, I would rather not talk about it here, but….”

“But you would speak someplace else? Maybe…someplace where I could have a drink with you?”

A drink? This Greek god was offering to buy her a drink? All right, just so he could talk to her, but she didn’t mind. It had been a while since a guy had seemed this interested in talking…or anything else. Besides, the truth about her gift was going to come out sooner or later. She might as well spill the beans to Levi.

Things in Jerome were definitely looking up.

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