Kendra Leigh Castle
After escaping from an abusive relationship, the last thing Neve Logan wants is another man. Then fate brings her a magic looking glass containing a mirror slave who is compelled to satisfy Neve's deepest desires…Adrian Dulac has spent centuries doing the bidding of cruel masters, and is wary of the beautiful woman who craves nothing more than his touch – and their mutual pleasure. He knows Neve will be a delightfully wanton lover if she can manage to let go of her fears.She is the first mistress Adrian wants to please, but will past hurt derail the possibility of a future together?
Kendra Leigh Castle
After escaping from an abusive relationship, the last thing Neve Logan wants another man. Then fate brings her a magic looking glass containing a mirror slave who is compelled to satisfy Neve’s deepest desires….
Adrian Dulac has spent centuries doing the bidding of cruel masters, and is wary of the beautiful woman who craves nothing more than his touch—and their mutual pleasure. He knows Neve will be a delightfully wanton lover if she can manage to let go of her fears. She is the first mistress Adrian wants to please, but will past hurt derail the possibility of a future together?
The panic attacks were sneaky things.
One moment, Neve Logan would be fine, browsing in a store or walking to get her morning coffee. The next, she would be nearly frantic from the crushing fear that made her desperate to run somewhere—anywhere—to get away.
Neve felt the familiar bands clamp around her chest, tightening, squeezing all the air from her lungs. Her breath hitched, and the hand that held her water bottle quivered when her hand clenched convulsively, making the plastic crunch. Suddenly it seemed like every eye in the small park where she often stopped on her way home was on her, the light was too bright, the noise painfully loud. And all the while, there was the sense of impending doom, of some violent disaster creeping up on her that she could neither avoid nor escape.
It took everything she had to rise stiffly from the bench where she’d been sitting and walk in deliberate, measured steps away from the park, never even breaking stride when she tossed the bottle in the trash. By the time she hit the sidewalk, her steps were staccato clicking on concrete. All it took was the sound of a male voice, sharp and raised, to send her into flight. The fears, carefully boxed up since the last attack, all came tumbling out at once. What if it was Jamie? What if they’d let him out of jail early and he’d come to find her, to finish what he’d started? What if he’d been watching her again, learning what her routine was, where she liked to spend her time alone….
Neve’s heels clicked against the sidewalk as she raced blindly away from the park, ever faster, twisting and turning down streets that quickly became unfamiliar. By the time the fear ebbed enough for her to get a handle on it, she had no idea where she was. Her daily trek to and from work was a comfortable, well-worn path for her. But this hadn’t been her city for very long…and she hadn’t made much effort to explore. Now, it looked like she was going to pay for it.
Neve forced herself to stop, resting a hand against the brick wall of the building beside her and feeling vaguely ashamed, as she always did, that she’d let him get the better of her again. Even now, when she’d done everything she could do to pick herself up and start over, when he was rotting in a cell like he deserved, he was winning.
Pushing aside the self-defeating little voice that nagged at her, Neve looked around while she locked down the fear again, let her heartbeat slow. She’d run into a street that was little more than an alley—narrow, one-way and perfectly quiet. It was a little…eerie.
“Honestly,” she grumbled, hitching her messenger bag higher up on her shoulder and walking slowly forward. “At this rate, I’m going to end up a complete freak show.”
Knowing that she wasn’t, that she was far more than what a violent stalker had tried to make her, brought her fully back to herself. She was no victim. She’d survived thanks to a neighbor who’d heard her and called the cops before Jamie had gotten the gag in her mouth. She would get through this. Somehow.
When she passed the window of the little shop, stuffed with odd objects in a fascinating and somehow stylish jumble of colorful clutter, her feet stopped. Just…stopped. Neve blinked, frowned. She hadn’t even really been aware of the store, and she certainly hadn’t intended to stick her nose to the window. Panic attacks didn’t really put her in a shopping kind of mood. Except she found herself compelled to look in, almost as though someone had called her name.
One hand lifted to touch the glass, upon which was painted what Neve assumed was the shop’s name: Wicked Little Things. The kind of name that put her in mind of a place that might sell, say, bondage wear, she thought with a sudden grin. Except what she saw, beckoning, were more like antiques. Jewelry, much of it very ornate and undoubtedly expensive. A painted box. An intricately carved walking stick. A mask that could have been from a nineteenth-century masquerade.
Money was tight, as usual, but it had been too long since she’d treated herself. Maybe she’d take a peek and see if she could afford something pretty, even if it was only a little thing.
A small silver bell announced her entrance, but there was no sign of another soul as Neve stepped inside. Immediately she was struck by the warmth, the faint scent of sandalwood and the pervasive silence that was less threatening than simply… waiting. Which seemed like a foolish thing to think, but she couldn’t shake it.
She walked slowly around the shop, taking in the dark wood that gleamed in the dim light, the shelves that climbed the walls to the high ceiling. Lower shelves and display cases were scattered about the room, interspersed with the larger pieces for sale. Neve let her fingers brush over a massive stone gargoyle, then sucked in a breath and jerked her hand away. What looked like cold stone had felt strangely warm, almost alive beneath her hand. And it hadn’t felt friendly.
“You don’t want that,” a voice said beside her.
Neve jumped with a sharp yelp and stumbled back a few steps before realizing how badly she’d overreacted. She felt the blood rush to her cheeks. Were her nerves ever going to be right again?
“Sorry,” Neve stammered. “Sorry, I just…it was so quiet in here, you startled me.”
“It’s not a problem,” replied the woman who was watching her with a small, knowing smile. She was, Neve thought as she looked back at her, the most gorgeous woman she’d ever seen. Hair the color of flame tumbled down her back in a riot of curls, and jade-green eyes, almost catlike, dominated a face that managed to be both sharply featured and stunning. She was dressed simply, in a plum-colored velvet dress that went from neck to ankle and still managed to convey the beauty of the form beneath.
“Do you need a moment?” the woman asked, arching a slim red brow. “A drink of water, a place to sit?”
“No, no, I’m fine,” Neve blurted out, embarrassed that she was so obviously rattled. “Thank you, though. I was just admiring the things you have in here. It’s really…unusual, what you’re selling.”
“Unusual, yes. Dangerous, some would say. But things worth having are often worth bleeding a little for, don’t you think?”
A smile, both inviting and knife-like. Neve had to fight back a shiver. That smile held the promise of as much cruelty as compassion.
“Um, I prefer to avoid blood if at all possible,” Neve said.
“A wise decision.” The woman’s laugh was warm and genuine, but Neve still felt nerves flutter deep in the pit of her stomach when a slim hand was extended. She took it, and felt the hum of power ripple right up her arm.
And yet, she had no interest in pulling away. A sense of peace and calm enveloped her almost immediately, a pleasant fog that made her feel as though she’d just been wrapped in a lovely dream.
“I’m Morgan. Morgan le Fay,” the woman said, in a voice as rich as the velvet she wore. “Welcome to Wicked Little Things, home of the maligned, the misunderstood and, of course, the magical.”
“Neve Logan,” Neve heard herself saying, though she felt oddly detached from her body. “Did you say magical?” This didn’t seem like one of those little Wiccan shops she and her friends occasionally liked to visit. Then again, there was something really odd about this place…and Morgan, who seemed to have named herself after the most famous witch of all. Couldn’t be her real name. No way.
Morgan shrugged, a dainty lift of the shoulders. “Someone has to take care of them. They’re all hopeless on their own. And we can’t all be knights on white chargers.” Those amazing eyes narrowed. “Or brats who yank swords out of stones. But I digress.”