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Kidnapped by the Fae
Author: Laxmi Hariharan

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"Moanday, Tongueday, Wetday, Thirstday, Freakday, Suckday... Every f'ing day is a f'ing shitty day, esp the day I was born..."

-From Charley's secret diary

 

 

Charley

 

 

"Happy…bloody…Birthday to me." I raise the martini glass to my lips, sip. Green apples and the acidic tang of vodka explode on my palate. I gulp it down and the liquor hits my stomach with a subdued explosion. Sweat pops on my brow; my scalp burns. I hiccup, bite down on my lower lip and choke. Shit, should I get some water? Nah.

Today I am going to get piss-bloody-drunk.

"Celebrating something?" The bartender’s face weaves in front of my eyes.

"No," I snap.

The bartender’s smile switches off. Oh, goody! No one deserves to be happy. So what if it was probably a fake smile to begin with anyway? Bet he just wants tips. Hell. I hang my head; now I am being uncharitable. "Ignore me."

"Bad day?"

I scrunch my lips, "I turned eighteen today."

He opens his mouth. I scowl, "If you wish me ‘Happy Birthday,’ I'll deck you."

He blinks.

"Bloody hate birthdays." I drain the glass. "Hate this miserable weather more."

"It's London." He grins.

"So?"

"It's the center of the world."

I snort. "You believe that?"

"I know it." He waggles his head. "In fact, I'll tell you a secret."

That's all I need.

He leans closer, "Good things come to people who turn eighteen in this bar."

I snicker, then slap my empty glass onto the counter. "You can start by getting me a free drink."

"She’s had enough."

What the—? I whip my head around. Dark eyes blaze at me. Mean, selfish, the depths are like black holes. So bottomless, they’d suck me in, never let me go. I jerk back. My butt slides off the bar stool. Oh! Hell!

I fling out an arm, looking for something to hold on to. He swoops down, and I flinch, squeeze my eyes shut.

Hard fingers encircle my wrist, then I am pulled up onto the stool. I keep my eyes closed, shut out the sight of him. I’m not actually here. Not here, I mumble. Old habits. Someone— My Ma, maybe, when she was coherent?— had told me that if I retreated to a space deep inside and wished hard enough, things would get better.

"You’re a mess."

That familiar gravelly voice slides down my spine. Goosebumps pop on my skin. Heat flushes my face, radiates out from where he has a hold of me. I yank at the restraint and his grasp tightens. His fingers dig into my skin. Bet I’ll be wearing marks tomorrow. "Let me go."

"Make me."

"Hey... She said to release her." The man on the next stool rises to his feet. He's at least six feet, bearded, tattooed, and with a jacket that proclaims him to be a biker. Hawke towers above him by at least a head.

"Leave." His voice lowers to a hush.

The other man retreats so fast his stool clatters to the floor.

Shit, why do I find that so hot?

The biker guy slinks away. Of course. No one can stand up to Hawke. That won't stop me. I am not going to give in to his dominance. Not without a fight. I grit my teeth, tug at my arm. His hold doesn’t give a millimeter.

I open my mouth to tell him off. He clicks his tongue.

I stare. "You didn’t actually do that?"

He tilts his head and smirks. My breath catches. My nerve endings seem to fire all at once. I stare at that thin upper lip—so mean, so stern. A complete contrast to the fullness of that luscious lower one. I gulp. "What are you doing here?"

"That doesn’t matter."

I purse my lips, "I see you have been brushing up on your communication skills?"

His chest swells and swells. Whoa. Has he been working out?

He's bigger, taller, meaner, broader than I remember him. W-a-ay more sexy than I'd imagined him in my dreams. The reality of his dominance pounds every single X-rated thought I've had about him into insignificance. I gulp. My scalp tingles.

He leans in closely enough that I can decipher the network of lines that fan out from his eyes and every individual hair that adorns his whiskered sexy-as-hell chin. The soft skin of my inner thigh itches. How would it feel to have that rough visage on my most sensitive flesh? Goosebumps rise on my skin.

He snaps his teeth and I jump.

"Let go of me."

"Lesson number one: always speak the truth."

"You've effing lost it." I set my jaw, pull at his hold.

He grips the barstool I am seated on and yanks it in his direction.

"What the—?" I tip sideways, turn at the last second only to smash into him. My breasts flatten against his chest. Hard. Male. The scent of him crashes over me. Thick. Dark. Edgy with a hint of something tangy. Cut grass. Dark chocolate. The hint of cinnamon that laces my favorite chai. The scents tug at my senses, rush to my head. My blood begins to pound at my temples. I hear a moan… No, wait. That’s my voice.

I shove at him. He simply wraps a massive arm around me, holds me in place.

"Everything okay?" The bartender’s voice sounds from somewhere behind me.

"No." My voice emerges muffled because asshole bully here has me pinned against him.

"Yes." His voice rumbles up from somewhere above me. My nipples tighten. My belly quivers.

Why does he have this effect on me?

Anger radiates down my spine. I struggle in his hold, and he grips the curve of my ass. Liquid heat pools between my thighs; moisture leaks from my core. Ridiculous.

Bloody Hawke.

Why does his touch always unhinge me? The confidence, the possessiveness, and the dominance of his personality push me down and pin me to the bar stool. I hiccup again. Shit. Blood rushes to my cheeks. He presses his big palm into the small of my back, rubs circles. Warmth seeps into my blood; my pulse quietens. All of my senses hone in on the sheer authoritativeness of his demeanor.

Silence. A beat, then another.

"Get her a glass of water."

His voice rumbles up his chest and the vibrations sink into my blood, tremble down my thighs. My toes curl. No, no. I can’t react with such intensity to him. I slide my hand around him, squeeze his butt. Or try to. He may as well be made of some metal that hasn’t been discovered yet. Muscles coil, tense under my palm. Then he leans back. I blink, tip my chin up, "I was drinking—"

He looks past me. "Water," he growls.

I hear the bartender move away.

"It was an Appletini." I huff.

"What-bloody-ever."

I open my mouth, close it again. "You're a Neanderthal."

"Your opinions don’t matter."

"And yours do?"

"You bet."

"Alcohol." I huff, "I want something with alcohol."

"Not happening."

I scowl, "Why are you here?"

He glares at me, "You haven’t earned the right to ask me any questions."

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