Burn for Me Page 45

“Are you mad at yourself?”

“Yes. It’s my magic. There is a lot of it, apparently, and it’s strong, and I never did anything with it. I got by, because it was enough. I never tested myself. I read about all of the spells and circles, but until that day with you, I’d never drawn one on the ground, and I can’t even tell you why. It never occurred to me. I just thought that being a human lie detector was my limit. I don’t like having my nose rubbed in it.”

He nodded. “Okay. We got it out in the open. Here it is. This is your moment to be angry at your own laziness and wallow in self-pity. A moment is all you get, because any minute Adam Pierce might set Houston on fire. Take a few minutes for your pity party. Would five be enough?”

“You’re an ass**le.”

“Yes, but I’m a very well-trained ass**le. I’m offering you the use of my expertise. So suck it up, get over this bump, and let’s go. Are you with me?”

You know what? No: if he ever fell in love, it wouldn’t be great romantic devotion. It would be an exercise in frustration and lust, and at the end of it his significant other would strangle him.

I couldn’t let Houston burn. “Yes. I’m with you.”

He stood up, wincing slightly, and sat back on the bed. “Magic acts in two ways, passive and active. Let’s take an aquakinetic, a water mage. A water mage always knows where the nearest source of water is. The question is how?”

“He feels it,” I guessed.

“Yes. Some part of his magic scans his surroundings independently of his will. If you ask their kind to concentrate on pinpointing the water, most of them surprisingly can’t actually make that effort. It happens subconsciously. That’s called a passive field. They can’t turn it off either. An aquakinetic in the desert will become fatigued much faster than anyone else in his party. Why?”

“Because he’s constantly scanning for water and not finding any?”

Mad Rogan nodded. “It’s similar to a cell phone. If you take it to an area where there are no towers, it will continuously roam, looking for a signal and draining its battery. Passive field. If the aquakinetic decides to manipulate water by drawing moisture from the air or a water source, that manipulation will require an active effort on his part. That’s called an active vector. If we stick to the cell phone, passive field is the phone looking for a signal. Active vector is you actually making a call.”

“So when I can tell that people are lying, it happens because they’re in my passive field.” That meant that when I’d locked him down to ask if he was responsible for arson, it had been the first time I’d actually actively used my power. Ugh. No, wait. I also resisted his spell when he kidnapped me. Maybe I could draw on that.

“Yes.” Mad Rogan rose. “I’m forty-five years old.”

My magic clicked. “Lie.”

“Turn around,” he said.

I turned around, facing away from him.

“My mother hated me.”

Click. “Lie.”

I turned around. He backed away into the kitchenette area.

“Are you testing range?” I asked.


“I can save you the trouble. If I can see you and/or if you’re close enough for me to hear you, it works. Phone calls, TV broadcasts, and Skype sessions don’t, so there has to be some physical proximity. It works better if I can see you and hear you at the same time. Direct eye contact works best.”

He approached me and stopped about a foot away, looking directly into my eyes. “Ask a question and try to compel me to answer.”

I strained, focusing on him. Something simple that required yes or no. On some neutral topic. “Have you ever been married?” Oh yes. This was totally neutral.


We waited another ten seconds.

“Let’s try something else.” Mad Rogan rummaged through the kitchenette’s drawer and came up with a piece of chalk. He offered it to me. “Draw an amplification circle.”

I took the chalk from him, walked to the wide, clear part of the room, crouched, and began to draw the circle on the floor.

“Wait.” He walked over to me and knelt behind me. “This is one of those cases when size doesn’t matter.”


“A small circle that’s perfectly drawn will have more power than a large, sloppy mess. Here, let me show you.”

He covered my hand with his.

I felt the heat of his hand, the texture of his fingers, and excitement shot through me, an apprehensive thrill, part hope, part alarm. His other arm braced me.

Oh my God. Where did all of the air go?

“Extend your arm. Don’t lock your elbow.” His hand slid up my arm to my elbow, setting off a chain reaction that rolled all the way up my arms into my back in a splash of shivering heat. My mind desperately tried to reassert control, while my body moaned in my head. Touch me. Again. Touch me more.

“Place the chalk down.” He was directly behind me, talking into my ear.

The world shrank. I was suddenly hyperaware of every inch of space between us. The air became charged, as if he’d been a thunderstorm. Anticipation grasped me. My ears tuned out everything except his voice. His hand caressed my arm. His knee brushed against my thigh, and I almost jumped.

“It’s like a compass. Your body is the frame, and your arm with the chalk is a pencil.”

The timbre of his voice had changed. He was breathing deeper. His hold on my arm widened, shifting. “Hold it firmly. Now, turn.”

I pivoted on my feet, drawing a near perfect arch on the floor.


My hand bumped into his leg. I let go of the chalk and looked up. We were face-to-face.

His eyes, normally cold and merciless or sardonically amused, were a hot blue, drowning with an intense male need. They lured me in, promised me things that made my head spin, and I didn’t care if those things were lies.

He moved forward, fast, his arms catching me, and he sealed my mouth with his. His tongue thrust between my open lips, caressing, making me open wider for him, and seducing me into tasting him. A phantom fire spilled over the back of my neck, sliding over my throat like warm amber honey, slipping deep into my flesh, into my veins, and my skin all but sizzled with lust in its heated wake. The liquid warmth rolled down slowly, dripping into the valley between my br**sts, then sliding along their tops to the sides, then under the br**sts. My ni**les tightened in anticipation. Suddenly the fire sped up, cupping my br**sts with velvet pressure. It squeezed gently, lathing my br**sts, and finally seared my ni**les with tiny explosions of heat. My body collapsed under the onslaught of pleasure. I gasped into Rogan’s mouth.

His hand was in my hair, cupping the back of my head. His other hand lifted me to him, hard across my back, effortlessly supporting my weight. His chest flattened my ni**les. The time at the mall was just a tiny taste of his magic. This? This was heaven, or maybe hell, I didn’t know and I didn’t care. I wanted more.

The insanity-inducing liquid heat pooled under my br**sts, sliding down my body, slowly, ever so slowly, tracing the sensitive nerves in my back and igniting them one by one until my whole body hummed with near ecstasy . . . he drank me in, like nothing else mattered, and I let him.

The heat crept down, lower and lower, winding in ribbons of pleasure around me. Pressure built between my legs, aching need and shuddering anticipation. The heat pulsed inside me, building and building.

He kept kissing me, the onslaught of his tongue relentless.

Oh my God. I couldn’t stand it. I couldn’t . . .

He thrust into my mouth. The velvet warmth drenched me. Pleasure was a river and I drowned in it, overwhelmed by the throbbing rush of ecstasy and delirium. My body contracted, so hard it almost hurt and I cried out, my h*ps arching up on their own.

The pressure between my legs broke into a cascade of aftershocks. I slumped against him, into his arms, and floated in a haze of bliss.

He held me to him and kissed me, the brush of his lips on mine almost tender.

Someone banged on the door. “Sir? Sir?” Daniela.

The reality slammed into me like a train. I made out with Mad Rogan and I came. I had a mind-numbing, life-altering orgasm that I would remember until the day I died, and he didn’t even take my clothes off. Oh no. No, no, no. I covered my face with my hands.

“What?” Mad Rogan snarled.

“You’re not answering your phone, sir. I have Augustine Montgomery on the line.”

“I’ll call him back,” Mad Rogan said.

“He says it’s urgent.”

“I’ll call him back,” Mad Rogan repeated, steel in his voice.

I heard retreating steps. His arms were still around me.

“Nevada?” he asked. “You okay?”

I’d shot my professional integrity in the face. I’d made a complete fool of myself. I’d made out with Mad Rogan. But worst of all, he’d given me a tiny taste of what it would be like to be with him. It was magic. It would be a drug that would be addicting from the first moment, and like a drug, it would consume me and leave me hollow. And he would leave me. I couldn’t have him forever. He was a Prime, he looked after his own interests first, and the moment I became boring or tiresome, he would walk away. Just thinking about it hurt.

“Nevada?” he repeated.

Get a grip. I took my hands off my face, pushed away from him, reached for the bed, and handed him his cell phone.

He took the phone from my hand and tossed it over his shoulder with a dismissive flick of his wrist. The cell phone thudded into a wall and fell on the carpet. He reached for me.

“No,” I told him.

“Why the hell not?”

“It’s unprofessional and dangerous. This didn’t happen.”

“It happened.”


“It happened. I was there. And you liked it.”


“You melted.” A male, self-satisfied smile touched his lips. “Like spring snow.”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

We stared at each other.

“Fine,” he said. “You had no idea it could be this good. Nobody in your past was ever that good and you know that nobody in your future will ever be this good. You’ve had a taste and you want more. You want sex. Dirty, na**d hot sex. It’s floating through your head as we speak. You think you can imagine what it would be like. Trust me, you have no idea. I haven’t even started. So run from it, think it over, pretend it didn’t happen, it doesn’t matter. I’ll allow it for now. The more you fight, the more irresistible it will become, until one day I’ll motion with my hand and you’ll come running.”

My fingers closed about something hard. I tossed it at his face. The chalk hit him square in the forehead. He blinked.

I got to my feet and marched into the bathroom to compose myself.

Chapter 15

Either Mad Rogan’s cell phone was shatterproof, or he had an identical supply of them, because when I came out of the bathroom, he was holding one to his ear, listening. He was also wearing shoes. We were leaving.

Mad Rogan beckoned to me and headed for the door. I followed, and we walked out of the room, down the hallway. Rogan moved fast, and I almost had to jog to keep up with him.

“Okay,” Mad Rogan said. “I need you to be there in ten. Can you do it?”

He hung up and sped up. “Augustine called. A police cruiser sighted Pierce driving into the city on South Freeway. They radioed it in three minutes ago.”

“Did he explode the cruiser into a fireball and then laugh dramatically?” I broke into a run.

“He ignored them, and then an armored vehicle following him rammed the cruiser and rolled it off the road.”

We burst out of the doors into the light.

Adam wasn’t taking the opportunity to make a statement. He was heading into the city on South Freeway, which would put him straight into downtown, and he was conserving his energy. He was about to hit Houston like a meteor. This had just turned into a race.

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