Title: Crimson Cove
Author: Eden Butler
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Release Date: December 31, 2015
Ten years ago Janiver stole a kiss from the meanest boy in school.
He never forgot.
One minute before the tardy bell rang, Bane Illes would slip through the door.
He never smiled.
He never spoke.
Each day, that dark, dangerous boy gave Janiver Benoit a glance. And when she could not take another quiet stare, or the warmth that look sent over her skin, she took from Bane something he’d never give freely—one lingering, soul knocking kiss.
Ten years later, her family needs her, and Janiver will have to face the one person she promised herself she’d never see again.
The dangerous wizard that might make leaving Crimson Cove the last thing she wants to do.
Crimson Cove ~ Excerpt
A small breeze picked up against the water and I closed my eyes, trying to push back the sensation of longing I felt when Bane’s scent lingered in the air. Did the lines push us together or some other mystical force draw us closer despite the expectations laid at both our feet? I had no clue where that inclination came from, didn’t much care, if I was being honest. But out here under the bright moon, with the lines humming behind us and Bane standing close enough that I could feel the heat of his body, nearly feeling the whisper of his breath on the back of my neck, that closeness felt like a weight I thought I’d dropped years ago.
It never left you, the lines sang, and in my mind I imagined that tone was a bit smug.
Still, it wasn’t wrong. But it was pointless. The truth was useless when reality serves up a generous helping of impossibility. Which made Bane’s closeness and that gravitational pull of him almost impossible to ignore.
At my side, the wizard kept his attention on the sky and, possibly, on that quick, steady buzz of magic pulsing from the lines. Bane closed his eyes, tilting back his head to give his face to the moon as though the beams of light warmed his skin. He was so ruggedly beautiful, so impossible to resist that I had to remind myself we weren’t alone, the others would likely notice if I stood there staring at him helplessly for so long. But before I brought my attention away from those sharp features and the subtle, soft hint of stubble along his jaw, Bane grinned, a slow, amused twitch of his mouth and then he glanced at me as though he found it the height of funny to catch me gawking.
“Your eyes are telling secrets, Jani.”
“Hardly,” I tried forcing an eye roll I didn’t mean. Bane wasn’t buying it. He didn’t seem overly concerned that the others stood some distance from us or that Cari or her bored brother were likely spying on us. Bane, in fact, somehow stood closer, arms crossed so that his elbow brushed against my bicep.
“It doesn’t mean anything, you know.”
“What doesn’t?” My question came out too quickly, the words too clipped as he inched closer. He liked to torture me, I knew that, but I’d never seen him enjoy dolling at that torture so openly.
“The attraction you feel.” Bane shot his thumb over his shoulder. “The lines, the raw feel of them—without the Elam they aren’t buffered and we are all feeling it.” He nodded grinning as two witches snuck off into the forest alone. “It’s in our nature, Jani. The lines unhindered, raw, they just bring it from us.” He’d drank whiskey from a canteen he edged out of his pocket. The rich hint of it came off his breath when he stepped closer. It made my fingers shake. Bane was easily five inches taller than me and as he crowded closer, he used that height to his advantage with his breath fanning over the top of my head and his chest touching my back. “They’ll only get stronger.” It wasn’t anything I hadn’t already guessed, but that claim coming from him, with that air of seduction in his tone, made me realize, finally, what that might mean. Uninhibited magic influencing every magical creature; no voice of reason to temper our behavior should we get too close. God help me, I’d cave, and from how eager Bane was to get close to me, I had a feeling that’s exactly what he wanted.
“What is it about you, Jani?”
He’d said my name like that once, right after he’d confessed he wasn’t sure what I wanted. But one look, one real, honest examination of my expression and Bane had guessed. I wanted him, and my name falling from his mouth in that throaty, eager whisper was all it had taken to unravel my hesitation.
My fingers rubbing against my eyelids, another breath against the top of my head and the sweet, warm bourbon scent brought my awareness away from the never-dimming desire to kiss him. He was twisting magic, working me over on purpose. Bane let the lines take him over, just a bit. His control was waning as he moved his fingers through the ends of my hair.
“You’re more open out here, this close to the lines, aren’t you?”
“We all are,” I told him, curling my arms around my waist like I could really protect myself from him.
“They’ll get stronger,” he said, taking one wavy strand of hair off my shoulder to curl around his finger. “They’ll get stronger and you’ll want to lose control.”
Eyes closed tight, I saw what that loss of control would look like. Something erotic and inappropriate involving that large wizard behind me and lots and lots of fallen red maple leaves sticking to our naked skin.
I blinked, stepped out of his reach to block that imaginary scenario. “That is not going to happen.”
“Why not?” he asked, moving in front of me, keeping me from retreating further away from him.
I arched an eyebrow and smiled. “Why do you think, Mr. Iles?”
His shoulders fell and the tension crowded around his features again when my small words pushed reality right back into his mind. One low grunt and Bane turned his head, attention back on the crowd in the clearing. “You know how to ruin a moment, don’t you?”
“Was that a moment?” I teased, trying not to laugh when Bane started working his jaw.
His gaze flashed back at me and some of that irritation lessened the severity of his expression. “Could have been.”
Sometimes Bane let a little emotion—real emotion that has nothing to do with teasing or trying to bate me into a reaction—pass in his eyes. I saw it just then. It was sincerity, maybe a little longing, but I couldn’t stop and give it much weight. How could I when that would lead to nothing but disappointment?
I cleared my throat, bringing my eyes down to the ground where I kicked a rock with the tip of my boot. “I don’t think your fiancé would have appreciated any moments you might have wanted with me.”
“Probably not,” he said and the humor in his voice was forced, as though he’d noticed the real emotion had snuck in for a moment and he needed to tamp it down quickly. Bane put back on that dominant, in-control mask and moved his head, trying to catch my eye. “But that doesn’t mean they won’t happen anyway.”
“That’s a little selfish of you, don’t you think?” When he squinted at me as though he were confused, I clarified. “You engaging with moments not reserved for the witch you’re supposed to marry.”
“Maybe, but you know, Miss Benoit, I’m not married yet.” He stepped even closer, bringing my hair back between his fingers. “And when the right moments come, I generally don’t care who they’re with.”
It was a lie, one that I saw clearly through his arrogant demeanor. But Bane walked away from me then, looking back only once as though he wanted me to see the promise in his expression with the low glance of his eyes over my body and that thick bottom lips between his teeth. That expression, that promise he gave, was a challenge he wanted me to take. But as he climbed back up the hill and greeted several of members of the Birmingham coven, I knew the challenge would be unmatched. Just like us, it’d be the game I’d refuse to play with him.
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- (3) eBook copy of Crimson Cove
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