Trapped Chapter 1
Floor under Carmen’s feet was sticky. Fog machines made the air thick with smoke. Colored strobe lights danced in the beat to the music as cigarette smoke, stale beer, and lust drifted around. Supernatural beings and humans mixed. It never mattered the species, they all wanted the same thing. It was one of the grubbiest dive bars Carmen had ever been to. She adjusted her halter top. I hate bars.
She snaked her way through the tightly packed crowd to the bar and waved down one of the bartenders. “Club and lime, thanks.”
She studied the hustle and bustle of the meat market in front of her. Females pranced backed and forth hoping to be picked up. Men stood along the wall. Women danced on the floor with guys lurking on the side, watching, waiting to pounce. While those who already hooked up were making out in corners.
Cool, smooth energy swam against her. Fae. He stood just outside of her periphery. He was a tall, blonde fae. She shot a glance his way. His indigo eyes twinkled while his toothy smile widened. “Hey.”
“Can I get you a drink?” he asked leaning in.
“No thanks.” She held up her drink. “I’m good.”
“In that case.” He edged in closer. “I’m Rick.”
Of course, it was Rick. She believed that like she believed she needed another spell in the cauldron. Fae were known to give out common names to strangers. Knowing their true names forced them into a kind of slavery or worming out of a debt you incurred like in the story of Rumpelstiltskin.
Since she was a witch she didn’t have to worry. “Carmen.”
“I’ve never seen you here before.” He reached out and ran stands of her silky, black hair through his fingers.
Goddess, they were a downright touchy bunch. “That’s right.” And he wouldn’t have because she didn’t bar hop. “I’m not from around here.”
He crowded into her personal space even more and grabbed for her arm. “I can show you good time.”
She snatched her arm away. “Not interested.” Carmen shot him an evil eye.
The bouncer interrupted. “Everything okay here?”
She nodded. “It’s fine.” The bouncer stared a moment before walking away.
Rick stared at her. “How could you not be interested in me?”
The press of his magic weighed on her. She met his gaze. “Easy. I’m not. Stop trying to glamour me. I’m not human or interested.” That was the thing with fae. They knew how to enchant and use their glamour to get what they wanted. If they wanted a lot of attention and to show off their beauty, they unleashed their glamour. The opposite was true for hideous fae; they used it to hide what they were or to scare away others.
His magic shifted and ran through her aura. “Witch,” he said with disgust. Fae always thought they were better than everyone else. Now he knew his glamour wouldn’t work on her. Why? No one really knew for sure.
With a hand flip, she said, “Yes I am, now be go before I turn you into a fly.” He was just as annoying as one. “I’m waitin’ on someone.”
Eyeing her like he couldn’t make up his mind, he asked, “Are you sure you’re a witch? You read similar, but it’s different, almost like you’re one of us.”
Just keep it cool she reminded herself before casting another evil eye. “Very.” She ignored him for what seemed an eternity before he got the hint and moseyed off.
It felt like hours went by with no prey in sight. Where the hell was he? Saturday night and he was still absent. Carmen retreated to a dark corner and cloaked herself in its shadows.
An hour and ten men later, he walked in. “Thank Goddess,” She muttered, tired of her drink and stupid conversations. The last thing she wanted to do was come back.
A path cleared as if a tornado hurtling down the center of a street. Female eyes gravitated toward him as jealous men tugged on their women. He paid no attention. It was almost if they didn’t exist.
It looked like a master craftsman had chiseled his angular face. She narrowed her vision to focus on more imitate details of his face and body. Dark hair pulled back, a line of scruff on his jaw, and light phantomous eyes marked him a warlock. Make that one sexy warlock.
Three busty, beautiful women swarmed him like seagulls to garbage. She’d need to get close and personal if she was going to bring him in.
Carmen scoped out a place where she could be seen, pushed her chest out, and sauntered to dance floor. She rolled her hips and swayed to the beat of the music.
A pair of hands found their way to her hips. She cast a glance over her shoulder, smiled, and leaned back. The fly had flown into her web. “Hey.” She slid from his hold, turned, and danced back into his arms just as a slow jam hit the floor.
“Hey yourself,” he said flashing his pearly whites. His hand glided to her back end. Carmen moved his hand. “Tony’s here every weekend and has never seen you before.”
She clasped her hands at the nape of his neck. “I’m new in town.”
“Does new in town have a name?”
She felt his magic brush over her, leaving a slimy trail behind. “Carmen.”
“Well Carmen, this is Tony.”
Her eyes narrowed. “Where’s Tony.” She peered around him.
He chuckled. “Me.”
She glimpsed down and bit the corner of her bottom lip. “Oops,” and giggled. Oh great. This was going to get old quick.
“How about Tony and you join those lovely ladies over there.” He pointed to the three ladies that attached themselves to him earlier. “And get a drink.”
She threw her head back and laughed. “Sure. But I’ve gotta make a trip to the ladies’ room first.” She let her fingers rake through his hair.
“What are you drinking?”
“Whatever Tony is?” She smirked, giving his hair a quick pull.
He smiled. “Tony likes it rough.”
“Good.” She tugged again, pulling some of his hair out this time. She wrapped it around one of her fingers before moving away from him.
“Tony’s getting lucky tonight.”
“Oh yeah?” Not in this life time. She ran her tongue over her lips. “Be right back Tony.” She waved to him with a finger.
In the stall, she opened her small purse and pulled out one of the talismans. She twisted ‘The’ Tony’s hair around the talisman; chanting a binding spell to prevent Tony from using his stolen power; then bent it to discharge the spell. Please worked, she begged silently. Any other time she’d use own blood instead of a surrogate to activate them, but she was banned from practicing blood magic.
She returned to find Tony surrounded by a half-dozen females mooning over him. Talk about over kill. Carmen shook her head.
“Hey ladies, why don’t you let Carmen here sit next to Tony.” His smile looked blue as the black lights bounced of his teeth. They hemmed and hawed. “Don’t worry there’s enough of Tony to go around.”
She slid in next to him. “So, you’re the popular one around here.”
He rolled the ice around in his glass. “You could say that.” He took a drink and sat it down. “Tony thinks you got amazing eyes and skin.” He ran his fingers up and down her arm. “It’s like you’ve been dipped in glitter. Tony wants to know the color of your eyes.”
“Amber.” Carmen resisted the urge roll her eyes and pop her tongue. Tony’s speech was like nettle to her ears. What a douche.
“Boy, they’re unusual. Reminds Tony of a cat.” His fingers still trailing up and down her arm; pushing his magic on her; trying to ensorcell her.
“I get that a lot.” She twirled her hair around her finger. “Wanna get out here? Maybe spend a little alone time together.”
So, sure of himself, he said, “Tony would love to.” They moved out of the booth. He nodded to the other ladies, “You’ll see Tony next weekend,” he told them.
The women moaned with disappointment, giving Carmen heated looks. His arm embraced her waist as she slid the hand holding the talisman into his back pocket. She patted his behind, praying her ruse would work
The women moaned with disappointment, giving Carmen heated looks. He put his arm around her waist as she slid his hand into his back pocket, slipping in the talisman in and patted his behind. She prayed it would work.
They strolled into the parking lot. “My place or yours?” she asked.
“Mine,” he told her.
“My SUV’s down the street.” The moonless night made it more difficult to see the pot marked street and hideaway alleys. “My SUV’s down the street.” Carmen wished she could’ve gotten a closer parking spot.
Carmen rested her head on his shoulder and murmured, “When you get into the car, you’ll fall asleep,” she whispered in her memorizing voice. It was trait she used to get what she wanted growing up. But it only seemed to work on her parents and not her uncle.
“Why would Tony fall asleep? What the hell are you talking about?”
Shit. “Well…you won’t…” She bit the corner of her bottom lip. “…I asked if I could stay the night with you.”
“That didn’t sound like an invitation.”
“Well…” stammering, “…I’m not,” taking his hands in hers, “…use to asking men to stay at their place.” she chuckled.
He grabbed her arm and pulled her into one of those dark, dank hideaway. Tony shoved her against a brick wall of the alley.
Carmen hit hard, her breath let out in a whoosh. He dug his fingertips deep into her flesh as he grabbed her other arm. She knew she’d be bruised later.
“Who the hell are you? “
“Carmen. I told you earlier.”
“You lie to Tony. What do you want?”
She bent her arms. “You.” Carmen gripped his shirt collar. She put that magical lilt into the voice that worked on humans. Warlocks were just bad humans who used magic. “I want to spend the night with you.”
He pulled her inches away from the wall and slammed her back into it. Her head bounced and she saw flecks of white lights. “Tony doesn’t like liars. Tony feels your power and thinks it would taste good.”
Carmen couldn’t speak, and her head reeled in confusion. Her flecks of pain diminished as a funnel of power started deep in her belly, flowing and then rushing into her limbs and out her hands into Tony.
The force blasted him into the opposite wall.
Carmen fell to her knees in the filth and her pants ripped. She gasped for breath.
What was that? She felt exhilarated. Her magic had never done that before. She’d never be able to explain it if asked.
When she stopped panting, she opened her eyes. Her gaze fell on Tony who was embedded into the concrete.
“Well shit,” she muttered. She gazed up at her handiwork. “Ain’t that something.” Never in her life had she built and manage a power so great. Even when she was dabbling in the darker arts. The arts that got into trouble with the Witches Council and paying penance at her SIR. The Supernatural Intelligence and Recovery an invasive and megacorporations, investigated all supernatural activity, much like human security and domestic agencies.
Carmen picked herself off the ground, wiped her hands on her pants, and went to Tony. She checked his pulse, lifted his eyelids, and gingerly slapped his face. His lights were dim, but not out. She knew couldn’t get him to her car by herself.
Her purse laid at the entrance. Weak kneed, she wobbled to the end of the alley and her purse, when the heel of her boot caught in a pot hole and twisted her ankle. Fuck.
It took several moments she didn’t have to waste until she got herself together and to her car. Driving up to the alley entrance, Carmen put the car in park, jumped out, and opened the back door. Tony was still embedded in the wall and unconscious. Carmen slid the sleep charm into the front of his pants pocket so it would be close his body, and something pricked her hand. She grabbed it.
A white business card with a picture of a cruise ship read Cuddles Elite. A tickle in the back of her mind said it was important and that her uncle might be interested. She put in her back pocket for later.
Having enough wiggle room between Tony and wall, she was able to wrap her arms around his waist and pulled. Several good tugs dislodged him from the wall. She stumbled backwards with his full weight on her and almost fell.
It was no easy feat, but she got him into the car and didn’t care when he went head first onto car floor. He deserved no better she thought. She got in into car and speed off.
Although she hated going to work, she couldn’t wait for this night to be over. SIR loomed over other buildings, casting a shadow over them. It wouldn’t be much longer and she would be there. Thank goddess it would be over soon.
She drove to the back entrance and laid her hand on the horn. The garage door went up and Mika came out. He was short for giant, topping at an even eight feet. Although he could intimidate the bejesus outta someone, Carmen thought he was just a big teddy bear. She waved hello as he drew near.
He opened her door. “Whatcha got?” he asked.
She got out of the car, and handed him the keys. “I brought in the warlock. I left a charm in his front pocket.” At this point she didn’t care if she got into the trouble for using them. It was late, she hurt, and just wanted to be done.
“Looking good Carmen,” he winked. “Any problems?” He glanced in the backseat.
Feeling drained from the evening’s events, she couldn’t even flirt back. “No problems. I’m going in to get my paperwork done so I can be done with this case.” She limped towards the garage to use the back entrance.
“Are you sure you’re okay.”
She stuck up her arm and waved without turning back to face him. “I’m good. Could you just please get him out of my car so when I get done I just go home.”
“The boss wants to see you. Told me to send you up when you came in.”
She stopped and whirled around. A wave of dizziness threatened to take her down. Her hands shot out from her sides as she steadied herself. A moment passed. “Seriously?” He nodded. Shit.
“Good luck,” he told her.