Home > Wolf Gone Wild (Stay a Spell #1)(6)

Wolf Gone Wild (Stay a Spell #1)(6)
Author: Juliette Cross

Yes. Immediately, a sweep of calm shivered through me. Instant relief. Like cool water on a hot day. I knew it.

I glanced down at her white T-shirt. This one had the silhouette of a man and woman’s hands touching fingertips with #Reylo4Ever scripted in hot pink. I couldn’t help but notice how the letters swelled over her breasts. This is probably because Alpha was constantly infiltrating my thoughts. But then again, he hadn’t said a word.

I looked up at the creepy smiling cat and chuckled.

“Something funny?” She inched back a little and arched her brows in concern.

“No. Not funny.” Pathetic, actually. But I couldn’t wipe the grin off my face.

“Well, you’ve got this kind of crazy look.” She thought I was nuts, and I guess I was. “We don’t have anything new for you on the hex yet.”

I nodded, easing back another step. But not too far. I needed her nearness. “I came for something else. I’d like to ask a favor.”

“Another one?”

“Yeah.”

“Okay.” She set her cat on the counter where he wobbled a second before curling gracelessly into a ball.

I hesitated, trying to find the right words that wouldn’t make me sound like a freak or a stalker. Nothing came to mind. Swallowing what little pride I had left, I tucked my hands into my jeans pockets and went for it. “I’d like to pay you to spend time with me.”

Her face paled. “Uh, I’m not sure what kind of witches you think we are, but we’re not whores.”

I choked on my own spit. Somehow, Alpha remained blessedly silent. “No, no, no.” I put my hands up in protest. “That’s not what I meant. I assure you.”

“Then what did you mean?”

“I mean”—I dropped my voice lower—“there’s something about you that calms the wolf.”

She smirked. “Come again?”

Combing a hand through my hair, I tried to figure out a way to say this without it making me sound completely insane. But there really wasn’t one. I’d have to tell her the truth. If there was anyone who’d believe me and understand, it was a witch.

Clearing my throat, I started again. “It’s not just animalistic compulsions that I’m troubled with right now.”

She stared. Said nothing. Just raised her eyebrows as if to urge me to go on. So I did.

“I can hear his voice in my head.”

“His?”

“The wolf’s.”

Alpha, motherfucker. It’s Alpha. Introduce me proper.

For Christ’s sake.

“He actually has a name.”

“Which is?”

Exhaling a heavy sigh, I looked at the shelves of quartz and crystals. “Alpha.”

When she didn’t snicker or laugh, I looked back. Her pretty mouth was tipped up on one side, an expression of pure curiosity heightening her brow.

“I know, I know. If I could lie to you, I would, but then he’d be even louder in my head, and it’s hard enough to concentrate as it is.”

She placed a hand on the countertop, drumming her fingers, then leaned a hip against it. “He talks to you all the time?”

“All the time.”

Her eyebrows shot up further, drawing my gaze to the deep green of her eyes. There were tiny gold flecks circling the pupil, and somehow, I’d never call them hazel. They were such a shocking shade of green, like the new leaves of spring. I lost my train of thought, trying to figure out exactly what they reminded me of.

She cleared her throat. “Like right now?” An amused smile creased her mouth.

I jolted from my musings on her eyes, reprimanding myself for being a creeper, then glanced away for a second. I nodded, trying to come across casual and normal. The opposite of how I felt these days. “He insisted you know his name.”

She stepped closer and stared keenly into my eyes, as if she were trying to look through me to him. Funny that she showed zero fear at my supernatural schizophrenic confession. I clamped my jaw tight when Alpha purred a wicked growl.

I knew it. She likes me.

“So he was talking last night?”

I laughed. “Oh, yeah. He was running his mouth nonstop last night.”

“That explains a lot,” she said, tilting her head and examining me intently.

I cleared my throat, nervous. “How do you mean?”

“You seemed, I don’t know, distracted. On edge. And don’t take offense, but a little weird.”

A bark of laughter escaped me before I pressed my lips together with a nod and another nervous rumple of my hair. “I was distracted, on edge, a little weird.”

She smiled, then her brows pinched together. “I’m confused then. What does this have to do with me?”

“It’s hard to explain.”

“Try.” She crossed her arms, accentuating her assets Alpha loved so much.

Don’t even try to fucking fool yourself. You love them as much as I do.

Realizing how creepy my request was going to sound, I eased around her toward Z on the counter, curled in a lumpy ball.

Alpha bristled inside me, rumbling with a low, menacing growl only I could hear.

I reached out.

Don’t you do it. He used his gravelly, aggressive tone with me.

Calm down.

Don’t touch that hell-spawn.

Fuck off.

I stroked the cat’s head with one finger. It’s motorboat purr sputtered louder.

“I was trying to work, and he just wouldn’t shut the hell up. I’ve hardly been able to work since last month when he became even more…well, just more.”

She sidled up in front of me, leaning a hip on the counter. In jean shorts, I got an eyeful of her long, well-toned legs. Strange that Alpha let me enjoy the moment without yelling obscenities. He truly was more docile with her around.

“What do you do?”

“Sorry?” I jerked my gaze up to hers.

“You said you can’t work. What do you do for a living?”

“Oh. Right. I’m a metalwork artist.”

Her tilted smile widened, nearly knocking me out. She was a pretty girl. Straight auburn hair that leaned toward brunette made her emerald-green eyes even prettier. Her face was more round than oval, making her look much younger than she probably was. Of course, witches aged slowly with their longer lives. All supernaturals lived longer than humans. Not immortal—not even vampires as myth would have it—but our lifespans were much longer than humans. Her nose was a little small with a sprinkle of freckles across the bridge. Her mouth was perfect, her top lip a defined bow-shape. Distractingly perfect. But it was her smile that elevated her from pretty to beautiful.

“Maybe I’ve seen your work. Where’s your gallery?”

“Not far. A few blocks up on Magazine. The Prometheus Gallery.”

Her eyes widened. “I know that place,” she said excitedly. “I’ve window-shopped a bit. Did you make that sculpture of Hermes on flying sandals?”

Smiling, I nodded. “Yeah. That one just sold last week.”

“Wow. That is so cool.”

A flush of heat rushed up my neck at her compliment. “You like art?”

“Yeah.” She eyed me a minute, her thoughts seeming to wander away. “So, how will spending time with me help you?”

I licked my lips, my mouth suddenly dry. Unsure if it was nerves or being this close to her or what, I tried to explain this without coming off like a complete freak.

Too late.

“It’s like I said. Being around you calms him somehow. Must be because you’re a Hex-breaker, I guess. All I do know is that last night, the longer I was with you, the quieter he became. And since I’ve walked in, he’s become...less.” I eased closer, trying to dial down the desperation I felt. “If you like artwork, I’ll create a sculpture for you in payment. If you want. Or I’ll pay you in cash. Whatever—”

She held up a hand. “I don’t need payment.”

“But I’d need access to you every day. Your time is worth something.”

“Whatever Jules decides as far as payment goes for the hex-breaking job, that’ll be payment enough.”

“You don’t decide your own fees?”

“I do. We have standard fees for individual jobs. But this will require her input, it seems, so the cost will be hefty enough.”

Whatever price they set, it wouldn’t break me. What would break me was enduring another day with Alpha’s nonstop diatribe of obscenities.

“So you’d do this for me for free?” I asked, disbelieving.

“I’ll do this for you as part of the job until we break the hex,” she clarified. “And no offense, but I’m not spending all day with you. How about two hours?”

I huffed and stepped closer. She arched a brow at my nearness. And possibly my sudden aggression. I needed longer than that to get my commission completed on time.

Easing away, I countered, “Six hours.”

“Six? Are you out of your mind?”

“To be honest. Yes.”

Her mouth hung open a second before she rounded the counter and pulled her cellphone from underneath. While texting speedily, she said, “Four hours, and that’s it. I do have a life, Wolfman.”

“Mateo.” I winced. “Please.”

She tucked her phone in her back pocket and propped a hand on her hip. “Fine. Mateo. But I’ve got stuff to do today. It’s Wednesday, and I’ve got a standing date on Wednesdays. So you’re coming on an errand with me first.”

For a second, I was frozen, basking in the sweet sound of her husky voice saying my name. Such a small thing, but I wanted to hear her say it again. And again.

I’d like to hear her scream it.

He could really ruin any perfect moment. Truly. Shaking him off, I glanced around. “Don’t you have to work the shop?”

“Clara had some morning errands, so I was supposed to watch the shop for her. But Violet will be here in a minute. She can take over for me.”

   
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