Scent of Magic Page 89

“I should blast you until you scream for mercy, then take your life,” he said. “You have wrecked my plans, slept with Kerrick and have been actively helping my enemies. Both Cellina and Sepp strongly advised it. It’s sound advice. I should heed it.”

Sharp daggers of pain pierced my skin. I yelped.

His expression softened. “Yet...when Cellina informed me you still lived, joy touched my heart. Not only did you survive the plague with the help of a Death Lily, but you’re also smart. And you react to my touch like no other.”

The pain turned into desire in a heartbeat. Goose bumps tickled my skin as a warmth spread along my stomach and between my legs. He slid his hands under my loose sleeves, up my arms and around my back, pulling me closer. Tohon kissed me, sending a blaze sizzling along my spine. I groaned and climbed into his lap, straddling him and deepening the kiss.

The smart side of me acknowledged that my healing magic made me far more susceptible to his life magic than any other woman. That I still despised him despite the part of me that wanted to yank his pants down and ride him. Too bad logic had no control of my body.

He broke off the kiss. The force of his magic eased a bit.

“As much fun as it would be to have you quivering under me every night, you would no longer be you. You’d be a...what did you call it before?”

“A drooling mess?” My voice sounded husky. “Scatterbrained?”

“Yes. And I don’t want that. I want to woo you.”

I leaned back in surprise. “You do?”

“Yes. Kerrick was nasty to you and you forgave him. Ryne’s rumors and accusations caused the death of every healer in the Fifteen Realms except you, and you died for him. It’s only a matter of time before you see me as I truly am and fall in love with me.”

Biting my lip, I kept from saying that his actions—using the dead and experimenting on children—were unforgivable. He took my silence as...I’d no idea.

“This is how it’s going to be,” Tohon said. “I can’t trust your word, so I won’t ask for it. I also won’t force you to make love to me. However, you will stay by my side. And—”

“What about my patients?”

Annoyance creased his brow. “Wait until I’m done. You can work in the infirmary, but you will be guarded at all times.”

Still shocked, I mulled over his words. “What if I try to run away?”

“What happened when you tried to run away from Kerrick?”

“That was different.”

“How? He basically kidnapped you so you could heal Ryne. When you tried to run, he chased you down and dragged you back. Right?”

“How did you know?”

“When you were in my dungeon, my guards paid close attention to your conversations with Ryne.”

“So you’ll do the same? Drag me back?”

“Not me personally, but one of my men.”

“What about my sister?”

“What about her?”

I huffed. “Aren’t you going to use her to ensure my cooperation?” Not that I wanted to give him any ideas, but it needed to be said.

“I told you before that I won’t.”

“Then you’ll let her go?” I tried to keep the hopeful tone from my voice.

“If she wants to leave, she can. But where would she go, Avry? She’d be alone.”

True. I thought quickly. “I know a lady who owns an inn in Sectven Realm who would gladly take her in.” And Mom would heal her in ways that I couldn’t, maybe even earn her trust.

“Fine. We’ll ask her in the morning.”

I slid off his lap and stood. “Just like that?”


“Uh-huh. Is this part of that whole...wooing thing?”

He didn’t answer, just smiled that killer smile.

Cellina arrived without knocking. She strode in still wearing her purple gown but stopped when she spotted me and Tohon.

“Should I escort her up to the ballroom? She’s missing all the fun, and Sepp’s been waiting to dance with her,” Cellina said with a touch of malice.

“No. She’s staying with me.”

“She’s dangerous and you know it.”

Tohon stared at her.

“At least have Sepp freeze her. There’s too much—”

“You’ve made your point. Did you want something?” he asked in an icy tone.

She shot me a poisonous glare before answering. “The dinner guests have all been...taken care of. Do you want me to help with the...uh, swearing in of Estrid’s soldiers in the morning?”

“No. I need you to gather your ufa pack. You’re going on a hunt.”

Cellina’s anger slipped a bit. “Who are we hunting?”

“Ryne and Jael.”

“Which one first?”

“Avry? Who should we find first?” Tohon asked me.

“Jael.” Her magic could probably handle the pack. And if not...oh, well.

Tohon chuckled. “I see there’s no love lost between you two. However, she’s bound to be farther away and will be tricky to capture. While Ryne is probably quite close.”

Ryne might be closer than he thought. Fear swirled in my heart.

“Do you want me to bring him in?” Cellina asked.

“Oh, no. Let the ufas tear him apart, just bring me a souvenir.”


The night insects buzzed and trilled. An owl called for a mate. A raccoon rustled, foraging for food. Kerrick detected no sounds of a person moving within the forest.

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