Bladed Magic
job here,” he murmured.
    I blinked and eased back, half-expecting the moment to shatter, sending shards of glass into my flesh. I almost welcomed it. But instead, he reached out, rested a hand on my forearm. That light contact pulled a gasp out of me. It was like grabbing magic out of the air, his skin on mine. It wasn’t painful, but it sent sparks of sensation jolting through me.
    I couldn’t move, could barely breathe as he moved in and dipped his head. The heavy fall of his hair fell around us as he brushed his lips against my cheek. “I knew the second I looked at you that you were going to be trouble. Turns out I’m right,” he whispered against my skin.
    I tensed, terrified.
    “I kinda like trouble. But…”
    He pulled back and my heart slammed, too hard and too fast, against my ribs. “This is the kind of trouble that requires some time, some attention. So we’ll just let it wait a little while. At least until this job is done.”
    Curling my hands into fists, I let my nails cut into my skin, that slight pain focusing me enough so I could come back down to earth. “That’s fine,” I said. Was that my voice? That raspy, erratic tremble? Clearing my throat, I tried again. “That’s just fine. You go finish the job. I did my part.”
    I edged around him.
    “You never did tell me what you found,” he called out behind me.
    “Sure I did. I gave you the information.”
    He chuckled. “Kitty, you’ve got a lot to learn about the world you live in. Here’s your next lesson.”
    I made the mistake of glancing back at him.
    His eyes were gleaming and that wide, taunting smile was firmly in place. His gaze dropped to linger on my mouth for a moment and my heart started to race all over again.
    “You can’t lie to a witch. We see it. But you go on ahead…poke around, see what you can find.” Then he winked. “Tell you what, Kitty-kitty. If you find that runner before I do, I’ll let you try to beat me up. You won’t win, though.”
    I gaped at him. “Who said I wanted to fight you?” Then blood rushed to my face as my own thoughts taunted me.
    “Don’t you?” He rocked back on his heels. “It’s not about fighting, though. It’s called fun. It’s not like you don’t like those weapons you pack around. I know better. I saw the way you were all but drooling over the ones on my wall. Go on. Go see if you can’t pull a thread free and figure out something about this monster we got on the run.”
    He turned back to the large table. “Find him. I dare you.”
    I was half through the door when he said, “Hey. Catch.”
    I barely caught the keys. Staring at them, I scowled.
    “You’ll do better if you have wheels.”
    Find him. I dare you .
    Arrogant peacock.
    I made a face at the dials on the dashboard and tried to remember the lessons Goliath had given me the past summer.
    I knew how to drive. I had driven a car, a few times.
    But this one had a lot more bells and whistles than Goliath’s old van.
    “Works the same way,” I muttered. It had to. It had a key. It had four wheels. It operated on a road.
    I passed the keycard over the ignition area and when it purred to life, I smiled, pleased.
    I managed that much.
    The smile lasted exactly fifteen seconds. My screech of terror took a little longer to fade. I damn near drove the car through the front of Justin’s house.
    Panting, I gripped the wheel and stared at the porch in front of me. I gulped and then looked down at the lettered area. I’d wanted to pull the car around. I’d pressed on the gas.
    Looking up, I saw Justin standing on the porch, arms crossed over his chest.
    Already this wasn’t going well.
    I eyed the letters again. I’d just given it too much gas—no. This was too new. It wasn’t going to operate on gas. Too much of whatever fuel it used. Sleek and shiny as it was, it probably had a duel engine, solar and e. Slowly, I shifted into reverse and lightly touched the pedal. It glided back, nice and

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