Let’s see what this baby can do. Jace revved the custom engine of his new ATV and grinned. The desert whirled by at 100 mph, he caught some air, and flew.
“Fuck yeah!” What a rush. Better than winning at the tables last night.
Back teeth chomped together when all four wheels landed. He turned the wheel in the opposite direction, rotated his wrists, and his ride sped forward. Sweeeeet. Ahead lay nothing but blue sky, a couple cactus, and a lot of empty miles.
Above him a falcon circled, then swooped low. He only took his eyes off the terrain for a moment, but when he looked back, his vehicle rocketed, full speed towards a woman’s small form. With only a couple feet to spare, he cranked the wheel and held his breath.
Shit. Where the hell had she come from?
With each turn of the deathly merry-go-round, a huge boulder grew closer. Time stood still. Impact imminent. As he spun out, he swore a fissure ripped through the surface of the desert and the mammoth rock sank halfway into the riverbed.
What the fuck?
The blob disappeared.
His right front wheel hit something solid, and he flipped, and rolled. A sickening crunch, followed by an odd silence except for the spinning of tires.
With some effort, he unclenched his jaw and took a deep breath. The sharp edges of the harness dug into his neck and the sky stood where the ground should be. But he was alive.
Upside down, a woman, no, the woman who’d just caused this disaster, peered down, or rather up, and said, “Are you okay?”
“Hell, no. I’m not okay, lady. Look at my ATV.” What a stupid question. Adrenaline raced through his veins, needing an outlet.
Her face-load of attitude and army-surplus attire was covered in dust. “Listen to me, asshole. I don’t give a shit about your vehicle. Were you hurt?”
He wiggled his toes. Good.
Hanging like a bat, he wedged his legs and released his harness. The world righted itself when he jumped onto all fours and crawled out of the wreckage onto the still cool sand of the morning.
“What the hell were you doing out there? I could’ve killed you.” His hand came back bloody when he rubbed above his right eye.
“Me?” Her dirty brows furrowed. Blue eyes glared, white teeth showed, and no doubt, sharp claws hid inside the oversized jacket. “Didn’t you see the no trespassing signs?”
“There weren’t any signs,” he growled, rolling his shoulders. A wave of nausea washed over him and his vision went foggy. He gripped the side of the ATV to keep from tumbling forward.
She rolled her eyes. “You are hurt. Follow me.”
A sweet little ass turned and walked towards a nearby hill.
Before following, he tried to clear his thoughts and recall the sequence of events.
Woman. Bolder. And…earthquake? Sure enough. He hadn’t imagined the two foot gash that zig-zagged across the river bed. What were the odds?
Slim to none.
Suspicious, he followed her up a steep hill, and through the glassed in front wall of some kind of cave dwelling. Figures. The badger had a burrow.
“You live in a cave?”
“Earthship. Entirely eco-friendly.” She pointed to a ladder-back chair and threw him a roll of paper towels. “Sit and try not to bleed on anything. Give me a sec’ to clean up.”
While water ran from behind the bathroom door, he pulled off a wad of paper towels, and pressed it to one eye. With the other, he made a quick assessment of her space. Cheap, but sparkling appliances lined one wall. On the other side of the island that divided the open space, a lumpy couch faced a fourteen-inch screen.
Above, a wood railing circled a loft with a low bed.
He jumped when an orange tabby landed on the large antique table in front of the glass wall. It padded around a short wave radio, and a laptop, making a dreadful meowing sound. It sat down next to a pile of rough, blue stones.
Jace picked one up and whistled through his teeth.
Turquoise. Beautifully veined. And not from a mine he recognized. Probably worth a small fortune.
Wet-faced, she dashed out of the bathroom with a towel around her neck. “Put that down.”
The gem fell from his hand and his mouth dropped open. Holy hell.
Her newly scrubbed face revealed a pert nose and wide kissable lips, framed by long dark-blonde hair. But it was the damp, white t-shirt, worn without a bra, leaving little to the imagination that had his cock standing at attention.
When she caught him staring, she turned bright red, and grabbed a sweatshirt off a chair. It was too late. His dick knew what it saw–and it wanted it.
Bustling across the room, she struggled with her zipper while trying to balance a first aid kit under her arm.
“I said not to touch anything.” She picked up the stone and put it back in the pile.
“Sorry.” Arms raised, he stepped away, but couldn’t hide the widening smirk.
“Sit down and I’ll clean your cut.” Small palms pushed at his chest, ineffectively, but remained, as if glued. She stared, stunned.
The energy pulsing into him made his knees weak.
No. No. No. Hell, no. He’d only felt that once before in his life and he wasn’t about to do that again.
When he jumped back, she beat him to the punch line. “That is so not going to happen. Understood?”
He nodded, not trusting himself to speak.
“Sit, before you fall down.” Her hands trembled as she snapped open the old metal first aid kit and searched the bins.
Sitting, in one of two chairs, he noticed that there was two of everything. “So, you married?”
“None of your business. Close your eyes. This is going to sting.” She pressed an antiseptic pad against the cut on his forehead.
“Owe. Damn. Stop that.”
Without thinking, he grabbed her hand and bam. There it was again. No denying it. She was a witch, and a powerful one at that. She’d probably be a perfect match for him, if he was looking for a mate. Which he damn well was not.
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