SHADOW MAGIC

SHADOW MAGIC

Liandra will do whatever it takes to rescue her twin from Faeryland – even if it means seducing her nemesis. Too bad she’s the one falling for him.

 – SHADOW MAGIC by Ruby St. George

Chapter One

A scream ripped through the night. It wasn’t mine, but it didn’t matter. Between that and the alarm, it would wake the humans and bring down the Hunters. I took off, sprinting. My hair flew out behind me, and I wished I’d taken the time to braid it. It would be a beacon for the hunters, especially if he came. 

Jett. My nemesis. He had no clue who I was, but I knew every chiseled inch of him, from his leather booted feet to the top of his six foot three frame. His hair was black, like his name, and his eyes a piercing green. I was pretty sure he was some kind of shifter, but no one knew for sure. I kept a close eye on him because he was the biggest risk to my freedom. The hunters had an understanding with the Fae, and he’d hand me over in a heartbeat if he figured out who, and what, I was.

My feet pounded the pavement. I turned a sharp left into the alleyway behind the bar. Once I got over the twelve-foot chain link fence at the other end, I’d be clear. It looked like a dead-end, but not for me. My half-Fae heritage gave me supernatural speed and healing, but what would save me tonight was my hard-earned agility. I’d trained in gymnastics and martial arts since I was six, when my sister was stolen, so I’d have a fighting chance when they came for me. I’ll be my own damned hero, thanks very much.

So far, I’d been lucky. 

And tonight, I was one step closer to getting my sister back. Good thing too, I was on a time limit. I just had to make it over the fence.

I took a flying leap and hit the chain links halfway up. My fingers gripped tight, and my toes scrambled for purchase, tricky with my boots on, but I wasn’t leaving them behind.

Footsteps thundered down the street behind me. I hoped I’d lost them when I turned down the alley, but they took the corner full speed and sprinted towards me. 

Move!

I reached up as high as I could and started pulling myself hand over hand. My legs swung uselessly below me and my shoulders burned. I might be a lightweight, but I was tall. Which would have been in my favor if I could have climbed the fence properly, but I’d chosen my kick-ass boots over my sneakers and was now regretting that life choice.

My pursuer crashed into the fence below me. I glanced down.

Damn. It was Jett himself. 

I was nearly at the top, well clear of his reach. He’d have to climb after me, and if I could make it over, my chances were good to get home free. The train station was a block away, and I could disappear into its depths and he’d never be able to track me.

I wasn’t going to make it – I was out of time.

Plan B, then.

I froze, using my shadow magic to blend into the night. I’ve got no idea if shadow magic is the official name. It’s just what I call it. It doesn’t make me invisible, just less noticeable. It had been enough to save me fourteen years ago when my sister was taken and had gotten me out of more than a few tight places since then. I was counting on my magic to let me escape Jett’s notice. Even if he looked up, all he would see was a smudge against the night. His eye would pass straight over me, and he’d decide he’d been too slow, and I was long gone.

Something latched onto my ankle, and I squealed. I couldn’t help myself. What the hell? A glance and I realized it was a hand. Jett’s hand.

Holy crap, how did he even know I was here? There was no way he knew where to grab. He shouldn’t be able to see me. And it wasn’t as if he could simply stretch up and flail about until he found me. I was too far off the ground.

Nope, even if he’d seen me, which he couldn’t, there was no way he could reach me. Except he had. 

His weight dragged on me. I fought to hold on, to climb higher, all the while kicking frantically to try and shake him off.

I realized he’d jumped, reaching a height well above what was humanly possible—a shifter for sure. I panicked, channelling all my fear into kicking at him.

It wasn’t enough. He had a huge weight advantage, and momentum was on his side. He managed to keep hold of my flailing leg, and gravity did the rest, dragging me down to the ground with him. 

My shadow magic fell away as we landed. He kept to his feet, but I wasn’t so lucky. I came down hard, my hands burning where I’d fought to hang onto the thin wire. He absorbed my momentum, taking a single step backwards and wrapping both his arms around my upper body. Somehow he caught me, my back up against the hard planes of his chest and stomach. 

The stubble on his chin grazed my neck, and his lips met my ear.

“Hello, Liandra.”

Well, crap. He knew exactly who I was. So much for my supposed anonymity.

This was bad. Really bad. I’d been caught by my enemy, he knew who I was, and I’d left my knives at home. And if he figured out why I’d been running, it would be worse. My whole plan to rescue my sister hinged on the gem I’d just stolen from Hunter HQ.

Sirens sounded a few blocks away, approaching rapidly. I had to get out of here.

“Let me go.” I wriggled, trying to free myself from his grip.

He hissed in a breath, and one of his hands started roaming down my waist and further south to trace the curve of my hips. 

I froze. “Don’t.”

He immediately released me, and dammit, for a moment I missed his warmth and wanted him back. I turned to watch him over my shoulder. 

He was backing away, hands up in the ‘I surrender’ gesture. 

“See you soon, Liandra.” He swung around and sauntered back towards the street, just as headlights turned into the alley. The strobing red and blue lights atop the car added to the glare and made it hard to see what was going on. But I heard Jett’s voice as he said, “All clear.”

I invoked my shadow magic. No point letting myself get caught if Jett wasn’t giving me up. It made me wonder why. It didn’t make sense.

I patted my pocket, checking to make sure the gem, the key to the Midnight gate, was still secure.

I couldn’t feel it, but I told myself not to panic. It had slipped to the crevice at the bottom of the seam, that was all. 

But it hadn’t. It wasn’t there.

Which was when the reason for Jett’s wandering hands became clear. Damn it. He hadn’t been copping a feel. He’d been taking back my hard-earned treasure—the key to all my plans. And I only had five days before I was out of time.

to be continued…

Shadow Magic

Included in the One More Kiss charity anthology releasing 9th August 2022.

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