He hopped out of the truck and was around to my side with the door open before I even had my seatbelt unhooked.
“Everything all right?” He tucked his cell phone into his pocket, concern blanketing his face.
“You were frowning pretty intently.”
“Oh.” It was sweet how he was so worried. “Guess the heat is getting to me,” I said with a faint smile. The temperature must have jumped twenty degrees while we were at Trent’s house.
Trent put his hand on my forehead like he was checking me for a fever. The stark contrast of his cool hand against my heated skin made me shiver.
“You are pretty hot.” He winked.
I laughed. “That’s a horrible line.”
He raised a brow and lightly dragged his fingers down the side of my face, stopping to cup my cheek, making the hairs on my arms stand on edge. I looked into his crystal-clear eyes and held my breath. His mouth was so close, and I wanted nothing more than to feel his lips on mine. Why wouldn’t he just kiss me already?
“Do you trust me?” His voice was soft, almost hesitant.
It amazed me how quickly and easily I said that—and how much I meant it. I barely knew him, but deep down in the darkest corners of my soul, I knew he would never hurt me. I didn’t know how I knew that, but I did.
Slowly, Trent closed the distance between us. His lips pressed against mine, featherlight and much too quick. In the split second when our lips connected, I was hit with a wave of intense longing that had my knees shaking. And then in the next moment, he straightened and moved away from me.
Trent cleared his throat and rubbed the back of his neck. “Sorry.”
Fog billowed from the stage and swirled out toward the crowd. My chest tightened, and my eyes burned. I coughed, blinked, and waved my hand in front of my face, but the fog only seemed to get thicker. My vision blurred, and everything around me shifted out of focus.
Something frighteningly familiar hung in the air—the fog, the fear, the confusion—I’d been in this situation before. Hadn’t I? I wasn’t positive, but the feeling I had been was so strong it threatened to choke me.
Taking a few steps back, I looked for a way out of the crowd, a place I could escape to for a moment, just long enough to catch my breath. Someone bumped into me, and I stumbled into someone else as people rushed closer to the stage, ping-ponging me between various bodies. I was trapped.
“Simon!” I shouted.
But he couldn’t hear me over the roar of the music, and soon, we were separated by a few dozen people. I spun around, panic seizing me. I needed to get out of here. Bending over, I clutched my stomach and squeezed my eyes shut.
Strong arms wrapped around me, lifting me off my feet and spinning me around as a someone landed hard on the floor where I’d just been hunched over. I let out a small gasp, and then I realized my body was pressed against a wall of muscle.
Slowly, I lifted my head, and the breath rushed from my lungs.
It was the mystery man.
Fear strangled my ability to speak, and I was paralyzed, unable to shove him away and run—which was exactly what my mind was screaming at me to do.
“Are you okay?” he asked.
The noise and chaos around me dulled to a low hum, making it too easy to hear him. And good God, that voice—it could melt the polar ice caps.
All I could manage was a nod. I was lost in the depths of his ocean blue eyes, mesmerized by his presence. His arms were still around me, holding me to him. Tingles shot through me, and my pulse was like a jackhammer, pounding against every nerve ending in my body. Fear gave way to something else, something just as primal.
He stared down at me, his eyes darkening, and there was something in his gaze… something intimately familiar, like he knew me. But I was positive I didn’t know him and had never known him, because he wasn’t the kind of guy I’d so easily forget.
I offered a small smile, though I wasn’t sure why. She was holding me hostage with no release date in sight. She wasn’t my friend, and while I felt bad she’d lost a sister witch, I refused to feel any sympathy for Ivy.
“We’re not a violent coven, and believe me when I say we don’t want to hurt your father. Yes, he wronged us, but we can understand why he did so. Parents will go to any lengths to protect their children. And I will go to any lengths to protect my coven. Do you understand?”
I sucked in a breath and nodded.
“Also believe me when I say that one way or another, we’re going to break this curse. I’d prefer if we did so with your full cooperation.” She clasped her hands behind her back and turned to face me. “I know this isn’t easy for you. I do. But my patience is wearing thin.”
I crossed my arms.
She stared at me for several moments, then moved down the hallway, waving for me to follow. I was starting to feel like her pet, coming when I was called, being obedient. We were silent as she led me back to my room.
Ivy stopped in front of my door, keys clutched in her hand. “Give it some more thought, and we’ll talk again in a couple of days.” She moved around me to unlock the door. “But know that I’m not going to keep giving you more time. A decision needs to be made. Soon.”
“He won’t change me, you know. He’d die first.” Saying those words nearly choked me.
“I know.” She swung the door open and nodded for me to go in. “Which is why I’m offering another incentive.”
I glared at her as I stepped around her and back into what was now my prison cell. And then I froze. Standing in front of the window, back to me, was a male form. Tall. Dark hair. Broad shoulders. My heart jackhammered in my chest. Trent had come for me!
Then he turned around, and my heart stopped