The large tub in the corner of Alain’s bathroom was flanked by uncovered windows that allowed an unfettered view of the city and the harbor beyond. I voiced my concern about the lack of privacy, and Alain pointed out that his hilltop villa was guarded by an electrical fence and a powerful protection spell. The exclusive area was off the beaten path, too remote for hikers, and even if anyone managed to break through his first and second line of defense, they’d have to fly or scale the rough granite wall to peer through the windows, only to find they’d been specially treated to reflect the sun and block the inside view from prying eyes.
Tonight, we’d opted for candles instead of electricity, and there were dozens scattered on ledges and counters. The subtle aroma of honeysuckle—one of Alain’s favorite scents as it turned out, and the chief ingredient in catnip he informed with a naughty grin—added to the alluring atmosphere. Outside, stars glinted in the cloudless sky, and a full moon illuminated the tub’s ornate gilt fixtures. This secluded sanctuary was conducive to romance and magic, two items high on my wish list. I concentrated on the dolphin-shaped spigot and directed the water to flow.
Alain stepped closer, encircling my naked chest from behind, and whispered in my ear. “Envision a waterfall.”
“I’m trying,” I muttered, “but I can only move solid objects. I’ve never been able to conjure up something inanimate like air or water.”
“Close your eyes and block out all distractions. Focus on your desire.”
I snorted and whirled around. “It would help if you stopped touching me. At the moment, the idea of blowing you is far more appealing than a warm bath.”
“Slutty boy,” Alain teased in a husky voice. His arresting tiger eyes flared with hunger as he surveyed me possessively. “Under normal. circumstances, I would yield to your irresistible pull, but I don’t want to get derailed.”
“Can’t this wait?” I purred, wrapping my fingers around his impressive erection. “Who’s grading me?”
Disappointed, I released him. “Tell me why this is so important to you?”
“I’m determining if your skills are learned or hereditary.”
“You’ve had the worst teacher on the planet, and I would like to wipe out whatever your grandmother taught you. Most anyone can cast a spell with a proper grimoire and a modicum of interest, but someone who comes from a long line of witches, like you, has magic in their genes. With proper guidance on my part, your natural abilities should flourish and increase on their own.”
“My father, Sebastian, has no magic.”
“So you’ve said,” Alain said dismissively.
“I’m not so sure I’m one of the gifted ones,” I said. “Wouldn’t it have manifested at a younger age?”
“Maybe it did, but your grandmother blocked it in case the other royals got wind of your skills. I don’t know what she did or didn’t do, but I can feel your power, so I know it’s somewhere inside you.”
“Leave poor Granny out of this,” I warned. “She’s trying to make amends.”
Alain frowned. “How?”
“By looking for someone who can teach me.”
“She need look no further; I volunteer.”
“Unfortunately, she doesn’t trust you.”
A Tangled Legacy releases on August 6. You can preorder your copy from NineStar Press and get it on August 3 or one-click at Amazon. Paperback copies will contain the prequel, Once Upon A Mattress.