The Sweetest Mercy (Sexy Shifter Shorts)
    “. . . in addition to evading PNT authorities and violating section 15-372.1 of chain of command standard operating procedure. Does that cover it?”
    My gaze drifted across the stark white courtroom to the Fae woman, her face coming back into focus. They might as well toss me in jail right here and now. I wouldn’t deny my guilt, and I sure as hell wouldn’t explain myself. Silence hung heavy in the room, and Raif cleared his throat. Apparently, it was my turn to speak.
    “You forgot breaking and entering, conspiracy, and all-around willful disobedience. That covers it.”
    Raif pinched the bridge of his nose between his thumb and finger, closing his eyes as he released a heavy sigh. When he finally had his temper under control enough to look at me, he slowly shook his head and mouthed the word: Seriously?
    Yeah, well, it wasn’t like I was going to throw myself on the floor and beg for the council’s mercy. Besides, I’d lost everything in this world I gave a damn about. At this point, I had nothing left to lose. The seven PNT council members leaned toward one another, throwing furtive glances my way while they discussed my fate. This was my third hearing in as many months, and I hadn’t given them any more information today than I had at my first arraignment. What had happened after I’d kidnapped Delilah, the Oracle who’d plotted against Raif and the entire Shaede Nation and left the PNT’s Washington Headquarters with her partner in crime, Faolán, was no one’s business but my own.
    “You do realize that by keeping this secret, you may very well face imprisonment. Or worse.” The worried tone of Raif’s harshly whispered words didn’t change my mind. And though I knew he was grateful for my secrecy, he didn’t want to see me punished, either.
    “Doesn’t matter.” I couldn’t muster an ounce of concern in my own voice. I leaned in to Raif so only he heard me. “They can threaten me all they want. I’m not going to endanger your daughter or the natural order by reminding anyone of things best left forgotten.”
    I didn’t give two shits about the PNT’s discipline. Nothing they could dish out would punish me more than I’d already punished myself. My actions had hurt one of the few people in this world I gave a shit about, and destroyed us both in the process.
    Tyler .
    God, it hurt just to think his name. I broke his heart by leaving him without a word of where I was going or when I’d be back. I betrayed our trust by wishing for him to stay put in Seattle, unable to leave the city, while I traipsed around on my adventure to find Brakae, Raif’s daughter. And in the end, my reward was exactly what I deserved: time away from him and the space I needed to decide what I really wanted.
    I didn’t need time, I already knew what I wanted.
    I wanted Tyler.
    But he wasn’t here with me, was he? Apparently, he didn’t think an appropriate length of time had passed for me to get my shit together. I’d tried wishing for him. I’d wished for him almost every day that first month, but he never showed. Jinn magic is full of rules, regulations, and limitations. One of those being that I could wish only for things I really, truly needed. And somehow, the powers that be had determined my want of Tyler wasn’t good enough.
    “Will the accused stand?” So polite, as if she was asking if I’d stay for dinner or something. You’d never guess the council was about to bring down the hammer.
    I pushed my chair out with the backs of my knees and shoved my bound hands against the table in front of me for leverage. The iron cuffs swirled with silver light, charmed to negate my ability to wreak any havoc, if the whim struck. Whenever an accused stood before the council, they were bound with the cuffs. In my case, they prevented me from leaving my corporeal form and weakened me to the point that I couldn’t break the bonds. Lucky for the council, I had no intentions of wreaking havoc of any kind. Not

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