Home > Sin & Chocolate (Demigod of San Francisco #1)(4)

Sin & Chocolate (Demigod of San Francisco #1)(4)
Author: K.F. Breene

I sucked in a deep breath, feeling a pull in my core, the kind of warm tug that made a girl stand up and take notice. Both female checkers, older but no less immune, mirrored my reaction. I nearly didn’t notice the lilt to his words, a slight accent pleasantly riding his speech. I absolutely noticed, however, the force of his presence, beating into me in a way I’d never felt before. It was lovely and disconcerting and horrible all at the same time.

I leaned forward, my legs shaking harder and my feet tingling. “Hurry there, if you wouldn’t mind,” I said softly, cash held out in front of me.

Her smile was less sure, and her eyes kept darting to the man in line behind me. “Of course.”

A moment later, I took the bag and forcefully told myself not to glance back. Not to make eye contact and possibly excite the little gremlins cranking the wheel in his head.

I could knife myself for how infrequently I listened.

His stormy gaze found mine immediately, his eyes the blue-gray of the ocean right before a squall. I guessed his height at six two, topping mine by only five or so inches. Usually that wouldn’t feel imposing, but with his size and stature, it felt like he towered over me, impossibly large and powerful.

His hands were empty. He wasn’t buying anything.

“Did you want your receipt?” the cashier asked, but I was already striding away.

Outside the door, I walked as fast as I could, ready to break into a sprint if he came running after me. I made it down the walkway and out of sight from the store, however, and no one followed me.

That didn’t slow my pace.

My dilapidated Honda with rust patches and various shades of blue paint waited where I’d left it, blessedly alone. Heart hammering, I stuck the key into the lock as fast as possible before ripping open the door. I threw in the blanket and pulled my purse up over my head.

A large motor revved, capturing my attention. Cherry red and ultra-sporty, a Ferrari turned the corner into my parking aisle.

“Oh crap,” I said in a hasty release of breath, clutching the handles of my purse.

The sports car stopped right behind my Honda. My heart tasted acidic in my throat. The predator had me cornered.

The door swung open, and the stranger crawled free of its depths. Movements lithe and athletic, he walked around the car with a purposeful gait, his shoulders back and air confident.

I did what any sensible woman would do. I dove into my purse and fished out a small can of mace.

I straightened up with the mace at my side, holding it near my leg so as not to be obvious. He stopped in front of me and stared down for an intense, silent moment. Tremors ran through my body and shook my knees. I licked my parched lips. Was he waiting for me to speak first? Because I’d play ball if it would help me figure out what kind of trouble I was in.

Right after I unstuck my tongue from the roof of my mouth.

“Can I help you?” I asked as calmly as I could.

“You should watch where you’re walking.” His voice was oh-so-pleasant. The harsh stare with a vicious glimmer was not. Sweat trickled down my back.

“I should. That’s true. But that service driveway is for authorized personnel only. Your car doesn’t fit the bill. I didn’t realize it would roll through.” The excuse was a poor one, but it was all I had.

The intensity of his gaze increased. Silence stretched between us. My tongue re-stuck to the roof of my mouth.

“You’re lucky,” he finally said, and the raw danger in his voice cut right through me. “If this were the magical zone, I could have killed you outright. But clearly you know that…”

Ah, crap. He was magical.

My brain churned furiously, and I cursed myself for not knowing more about the magical hierarchy. There were a ton of rich guys driving nice cars in either society, but only the people toward the top of said hierarchy could dole out punishments to civilians.

“Exactly,” I rushed to say, pushing the advantage. In the back of my mind, I was scratching this complex off the list of areas I would visit…ever again. “I’m out of your jurisdiction. I don’t even live in the magical zone. Your rules don’t apply to me. When here.”

His eyes dipped to my lips then back up, the flicker so quick that I half wondered if I was seeing things. “I can feel the magic in you,” he said accusingly. “Unless you are here for other reasons…it is beneath you to reside in this place.” His words dripped with disdain, and though he didn’t turn to survey the shopping complex, his tone gave the effect that he had. His gaze delved into me, searching. For what, I had absolutely no idea. “But you are correct. It is mutual soil. I can’t do to you what I would like.”

Shivers washed down my body, and I flicked off the safety on the mace. If he could sense magical power, it meant he was either a Sensor, and I was moderately in the clear, or he had a shitload of power himself. Those who were close to the pinnacle of power could quite literally get away with murder. The only things I had going for me were a bottle of mace, a good sprint, and witnesses.

“But you can rest assured—” He stepped forward, the movement so fast that I instantly panicked.

I yanked up the mace, aimed, and pressed the button in one quick movement.

He dodged to the side, his reactions superhumanly fast and his movements so smooth they looked oiled. His hand sailed up out of nowhere to slap the bottle away, but he stopped before he made contact.

Because nothing had sprayed out.

Cold liquid bubbled out of the spout and dribbled over my fingers.

“Freaking Daisy and her crappy hookups,” I muttered, before doing the only thing I could think of: I threw the bottle at his face and looked around for help. But despite the half-full parking lot, no one else was around.

Of all the rotten luck!

He batted the bottle away lazily, and a tiny smile ghosted across his lush lips. He straightened up slowly, eyeing my hand.

“You’ve got a bit of problem there,” he said, and I could detect the faint accent again, though from where it came, I couldn’t say.

I braced myself to run, but what was the point? At the speed he could move, I wouldn’t even get one foot off the ground before his fingers were wrapped around my neck. Fighting was pointless, too. I had a couple years of martial arts training, plus a couple months of boxing, but I was rusty, and this guy was way beyond what I could handle on my best day. He’d bat me down like that bottle of mace.

Please don’t drag me into the magical zone and make an example of me…

“Sorry about the attempted macing,” I blurted, trying to keep it light and respectful. Maybe smoothing the ol’ ego would help. “You scared me. And also, sorry about stepping out in front of you earlier. That was my bad. You have places to be. I’m nobody. I shouldn’t keep you…”

His stormy, vicious gaze beat into me, and a small crease formed between his brows. My words trailed away into a thick, suffocating silence. The desire to run was so strong that I could barely breathe.

Without warning, he pivoted.

I jumped and lashed out. My fist sailed through empty air.

With my heart trying to punch through my chest, I panted and stared after him, incredulous.

He was walking away! He didn’t even glance back. After stalking me through the complex and basically threatening me because I’d stepped out in front of his car, he was choosing to ignore my obvious attempt at violence.

Was he off-kilter, or was I? Because my brain was having a hard time with the logic on this one.

He paused by his door. “You said you were buying that blanket for a sick kid?”

I lifted my eyebrows and tried to work my brain around to the change in topic. “Yes?”

“Was that true? The blue blanket?”

“It’s turquoise,” I corrected him without thinking.

“Why that one and not the other?”

I couldn’t stop blinking in confusion, which made me uncontrollably blunt. “Just so we’re clear, spying on people as they make life decisions is not appropriate whether we’re in a dual-society zone or not.”

“Choosing a blanket is a life decision?”

The fear for myself bled away instantly. All I could think about was Mordecai’s situation. “For the kid, yeah. It is.”

He rested a large arm on the edge of the door and his other hand on the roof. “Then why not go for the fluffier one?”

I shifted uncomfortably.

Usually, I didn’t mind admitting I was dirt poor. I couldn’t even get handouts. The non-magical government said I didn’t qualify because I was technically magical, and the magical governing body didn’t give a shit about me or my situation because I wasn’t useful or powerful. I’d set up camp in the crack of the two uninterested societies, my meager earnings just enough to keep me and my two wards off the street. I was doing what I could, and it was for a good cause. Why would anyone be embarrassed about that?

But…for some reason…I didn’t want to share my nitty-gritty with this guy. I didn’t want him shining a light on my life and commenting on what he saw. For once, I didn’t want to admit that I was essentially the dog poop ruining important people’s shoes.

I lifted my chin defiantly. “Because he likes cheery colors, and turquoise will fit the bill.”

His penetrating stare made me squirm, even from that distance. Finally, he nodded with a flat expression, then sat into his car and closed the door behind him. Without another glance, he revved the engine, and the car lurched forward.

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