Home > Fused in Fire (Fire and Ice Trilogy #3)(4)

Fused in Fire (Fire and Ice Trilogy #3)(4)
Author: K.F. Breene

“You’re always hungry,” Callie said before pulling her lip through her teeth. It was another indication she was mulling something over.

“No, Callie. Stop it. Darius, congratulations, you are driving me home. Get in the car before I dent it somewhere else.”

“But wait, what about the warehouse?” Dizzy asked, surveying the nearest hole. “The damage is extensive.”

“I’ll take care of it.” Darius opened the driver’s-side door and looked at me across the roof of the car. “Come. Get in.”

“Not only are you not planning to open the door for me, you’re being pushy as well? Good grief. Pain doesn’t suit you at all.” I grinned in jest (and also apology) before pulling open my door.

“Reagan, I am holding the door for you. The car is ruined. You can drive it home if you’d like.”

Joy surged through me. I had gotten a car after our trip to Seattle, but it was more or less a beater that didn’t go very fast. My version of fast, anyway. While Darius had access to the equivalent of fighter jets on wheels, he wouldn’t let me drive them for fear I’d scratch, dent, or otherwise tarnish them.

He refused to believe me, but the one time I’d run a guy over, it had been on purpose. Mikey, my neighbor, had asked for a favor. A guy had been selling drugs to the kids in our neighborhood. The thug had needed a good scare, and everyone knew I was better than Mikey at acting crazy. Had I been behind the wheel of a very pretty Ferrari in pristine condition, I would’ve taken the extra effort to get out of the car to give him a lesson. That was just common sense. I’d taken the lazy route and stayed behind the wheel.

I’d only hit him hard enough to give him a limp, and the ding in my hood from the altercation was very small. Hardly noticeable. If anything, the whole thing showed what a great driver I was. Hitting a guy with hardly any damage to show for it? Just call me Ace.

Darius had not agreed.

I paused with my hand on the door. “Not to talk you out of it or anything, but the dent is relegated to the door. You can get a new door, and everything would be fine…”

He sniffed in a condescending way and continued to wait patiently.

Sold!

“Are you sure you don’t want to ride with us?” Callie asked as I limp-skipped around the car.

Even though she still ardently mistrusted vampires (like all self-respecting people), she’d lightened up a lot when it came to Darius. Everything he’d done for me—buying me the warehouse, getting me a new identity, hiding my parentage from everyone (including his maker), and, most importantly, putting his life on the line so I could practice my magic without holding back—had softened her up just enough that she didn’t complain too loudly when I spent time alone with him.

That didn’t mean she’d be okay with me dating him, of course. Neither would Dizzy. Vampires as old as Darius usually didn’t have much humanity left. They thought in terms of logic and strategy, creating intricate webs with their plans, often at the expense of everyone but themselves, including other vampires. Emotions were not their strong suit.

Something had happened with Darius, though. Ever since my near-death experience on our foray into the Island of Eternal Light, where the unicorns lived, his humanity had been creeping back. He claimed he was falling in love with me. It shouldn’t have been possible, and maybe he was lying, but based on his actions and the changes I’d seen in him, the evidence was hard to deny.

Which put me in a bit of a predicament, I had to admit. I couldn’t deny that I also had feelings for him. I didn’t want to attach any L-words to it or anything, but falling for a vampire was as crazy as it was stupid. His species was known for entrapping prey with their sensuality. For using it to take control. If Darius was playing me for a fool, acting like he was invested in our budding relationship and coaxing me to fall for him, he’d be in a unique position to accomplish his ultimate end game: to bond me, emotionally linking us in such a way that severing the connection would cause great pain.

So while it seemed like he was really into what we had going, and that he was genuine in the sweet nothings he said to me in the quiet hours we spent wrapped in each other’s arms, there was a very real possibility that he’d figured out how to manipulate me into getting exactly what he wanted.

A smart girl would’ve run away screaming. A sane girl would’ve kept her distance. Clearly I was neither of those, because I just couldn’t get enough. The man in him was like a disease without a cure—he ate away at me until I had no option but to submit. He was a sickness I loved to hate.

Even the vampire side of him had me on board. Dizzy was right: our practices had improved his already impressive abilities. He’d gotten faster. Stronger. More skilled. If he wasn’t better than Vlad at this point, he was as good, taking away Vlad’s upper hand physically. I doubted there was anyone in the world that could fight alongside me, complementing my abilities with his own, as well as Darius could. And if the two halves of my magic warred with each other, leaving me defenseless, I also doubted there was anyone who would protect me as viciously and ardently as he would. The girl side of me was totally into that. It was very hot.

“I’m good,” I said to Callie as I slid into the driver’s seat. The leather bucket seat welcomed me like a long-lost friend.

I wonder if he’ll let me keep it…

The door shut with a soft plunk.

I pushed the ignition button, then smiled in glee when the engine purred to life. My soft pump of the gas pedal made the beast rev in a refined sort of way.

“What a beauty,” I said in a terrible Australian accent.

Darius sat into the passenger seat a moment later. The dual mages got into their car as well.

“Do you know how to drive it?” Darius asked as he closed the door.

His asking meant I probably didn’t.

He proceeded to explain the paddle shift gearbox and give me some tips on how to keep from losing control. “Most importantly, Reagan,” he said seriously, “don’t kill us.”

“Do not kill us…” I put it in gear. “Got it.”

I stomped on the gas. The tires spun, kicking up dust and slapping the warehouse walls with dirt and rocks. That poor warehouse really had a hard life now that it belonged to me.

The car shot forward.

It would take a lot to kill Darius or me. Game on.

Chapter Three

“That was sensational,” I said as I neared my house twenty minutes later. I would’ve made even better time if Darius hadn’t insisted I obey the stop lights.

Party pooper.

“Yes. You have a knack for reckless behavior,” he said.

“I feel like that shouldn’t be a surprise for you. I’ve never tried to hide that flaw in my personality.”

His lips tweaked upward into a half-smile. When I’d put it in park, he took my hand, turned it over, and kissed me lightly on the inside of my wrist. “Will you allow me to feed from you tonight?”

Butterflies filled my stomach. I tried not to smile like the idiot I was. “Not if you use the word feed, I won’t. We’ve talked about that.”

“Will you allow me to make love to you in the way I do best?”

The heat rushed to my face, and I shut off the car with a small shrug.

When I got out of the car, I was immediately greeted with “What the hell?” Mince, a resident in the neighborhood and an ex-boxer with the nose to show for it, came along the sidewalk in front of my house. He stopped beside the car and shot me an accusing stare. “What did you do, Reagan? What did you do? And, more importantly, what is he going to do to you for doing what you did?”

“Words, Mince. Use your words. Preferably ones that make a little sense.” I walked around the car as Darius got out, managing to look like a million dollars despite being hurt and missing most of his hair. It wasn’t fair.

Mince shoved his finger toward the dent. Every line of his body screamed indignation. “Are you serious?” He turned to Darius, his expression now pleading. “Dude, for the love of all that is holy, do not let her drive your car. Because she did this, right? She’s responsible for the dent? You don’t have to answer. I already know.” He bent over his phone, his fingers tapping the screen. “We’re going to have to get someone to look after it, or it’ll be stolen before you close your door.”

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