Being a witch doesn’t mean one can beat the devil forever.
Jeffrey Overton, unemployed IT professional turned poker player, pushes his luck once too often and runs afoul of the host of an illegal card club. The man sent to escort Jeffrey to a “meeting” about his supernatural winning streak arrives at Jeffrey’s crappy North Portland apartment, lock-picking tools in hand and a charm to block Jeffrey’s magick.
Head muscle for said host, Mike Wells, is a Daisy from Daisyville. He isn’t a witch. What he lacks in magickal talent he makes up for in brawn, so he doesn’t expect the guy he’s after to overpower him. But once Mike renders Jeffrey helpless, he’d rather seduce him than bring him in.
Jeffrey and Michael ditch the “meeting” and end up hunting some of the same people they ran from, trying to get Jeffrey back into his own body. And that’s only part of the adventure. The pair travel halfway across the country on the quietest road trip in history and find missing people, empire-building witches, and maybe even the families they’d both thought lost to them.
USUALLY I stayed clear of Sal’s club, but slim pickings in the smaller establishments of late had left me dangerously close to dipping into my emergency stash. And, to be a little too honest, close to broke and closer to stupid. Hindsight. If I’d listened to my gut, I wouldn’t have had to try sneaking out the back of my own crappy apartment, hoping to beat a mountain on legs to the back fence. It had to be Sal’s muscle picking the lock on the front door, because I couldn’t change the configuration of the lock to keep him out no matter how many times I tried to magick the damned door.
Everyone has to make a living somehow. It’s not like Sal couldn’t afford a few hundred, but no, nobody got to use magick inside his club except him.
The guy stopped trying to get in, for the moment, so I guessed I was going on the lam in jeans and old Doc Martens. Great. Never thought I’d be running for my life in the clothes I wear to take out the trash. With a few minutes to change, I could hit a poker game in Southwest after ditching the goon, but maybe an indulgence was in order. If Sal had sent someone after me, a short trip up to Seattle might be a good idea, maybe even BC. That called for some new clothes, so I grabbed my battered gym bag—my quick escape kit—and was almost home free when the kitchen door burst open. It would’ve been dumb to turn off the light when the goomba first went to work on the lock—I can’t see any better in the dark than your average Daisy, not when I’m blocked. Once that massive body filled the doorway, I wished I had. Wished I’d done something.
He hesitated, barely a moment, and I bolted for the front door. He grabbed me before I made it out of the kitchen and pinned both of my arms to my sides. It wouldn’t work, I knew that, but I still tried to burn his hands. All I needed was enough time to—fuck, is he laughing?
“Give it up, pretty boy. You’re blocked.”
The big man pushed me against the wall face-first and pulled both hands behind my back.
“Hey, wait a sec, big guy. Let’s talk about this. I can—”
He pushed me flat against the wall, and the rest of that sentence disappeared in the rush of air he squeezed from my lungs. I couldn’t help being turned on, even though pain and domination usually aren’t my thing. Neither are bears, but underneath the padding he felt nice and solid, leaning full against me. He tightened a plastic zip tie around my wrists with shaking hands. And then he held me there.
“You done? Because this ain’t a negotiation. I gotta bring you back to Sal.”
He still leaned against my back, so I couldn’t answer with more than a soft groan. It almost sounded like a sigh of relief—if he wasn’t going to kill me, maybe I could talk my way out with Sal. Since Mom left, Sal’s temper—always unpredictable—had gotten out of control. Sal probably wouldn’t listen to me, even if I knew where she was, but maybe I could bluff and buy enough time to disappear.
“Sal’s had trouble with too much magick in his place. He needs to make an example outta someone, and he picked you.”
Fuck. I’d rather take my chances with the big man. “What’s your name?”
He turned me around and gripped my upper arms. “I don’t have one. Mr. Jeffrey Overton.”
“Come on. Big sexy guy like you has to have a name.” I took a better look at him and shivered. He really was sexy. In a rough, bad boy kind of way. He towered a head taller than me, bald—the kind of bald that said he shaved his head, and not to hide pattern baldness either—full beard, and hair peeking up from the collar of his shirt. A sexy mountain. “If you’re gonna feed me to the wolves, at least tell me your name first.”
He’d started breathing heavily, and I wasn’t even trying to charm him. Well, only a little, but if Sal had sent him, I was well and truly blocked. No magick for Jeffrey, and since that’s about all I have, I was also well and truly fucked if I couldn’t sweet talk him into releasing me.
The guy’s hands were so big he could wrap them all the way around my biceps, and he did. Both of them. I might be slender, but I do not have skinny bird arms. So hot. He bent forward and smelled my hair at the same time he pressed his thigh against my cock. His moan started my blood rushing faster.
“Gotta bring you back.” He rubbed the length of his hard body against mine. His heart was about to thump out of his chest, and mine would’ve been happy to meet it halfway. “Just business.”
If I didn’t know better, I would’ve sworn he was under some kind of spell. Not even Sal had that cruel a sense of humor—to send a man after me and have him feign interest.
He whispered the name “Mike” in my ear, and then his mouth covered mine. Everything about the guy was big, from the mouth devouring mine to the cock pressing into my stomach. I should’ve been working on how to use this attraction to my advantage, but as soon as his tongue invaded my mouth—exploring, tasting, battling mine into a quick submission—my brain shorted out. I kissed him back—bruised my lips, I kissed him back so hard. He pulled me away from the wall and crushed me against his chest until only my toes touched the floor. It was so hot I would’ve climbed him like a tree if my arms hadn’t been secured behind my back.
Mike—Michael—wrapped his arms around me and squeezed. When I moaned, he slipped one hand under my arm and filled it with my ass. He kneaded and pulled me up even higher. When he moved his mouth to my neck, I bounced on the balls of my feet and jumped to wrap both legs around his waist. A growl rumbled deep in his chest as he sucked on my neck.
“This is the best price I’ve ever had on my head. Fuck me before you take me to Sal, Michael.”
He walked into my sparse living room and paused, but only for a second, before continuing on into the bedroom. Before we made it that far, I was writhing against him, my prick and asshole throbbing, I wanted him so badly. He tossed me onto my bed and ripped my T-shirt open. That growl sounded again, louder this time, and he ran both hands over my chest and stomach.
“Yeah, that’s it. Oh, fuck, Michael—”
“Yeah, I heard you, but Michael sounds better. And since this is my last fuck, I get to call you what I want.”
He flipped me onto my stomach, and I cried out. I’d lost my mind, but it felt so good I didn’t give two shits. All I cared about was getting fucked by that huge prick trying to burst through Michael’s zipper. A knife snicked open, and my cock grew harder. He wrapped one huge hand around both of my forearms, right above the wrists, and lifted them clear of my ass.
“You sure you want to do that, big guy? I could overpower you and run.”
He chuckled, deep and rich, and the sound made me shiver and moan. “I’m no rapist.” He cut the plastic tie and gripped my arms tighter. He stretched out over my back and nibbled my ear. It was like being tickled, except I felt it in my balls. His breath raised goose bumps on my neck. “You already overpowered me, Jeff.”
“Jeffrey. If you don’t mind.”
He snickered, and the next thing I knew I was on my back, arms pinned over my head, nose to nose with Michael. His eyes were gorgeous—deep blue rings around blown pupils. He crushed my mouth with another kiss, driving my head into the mattress. Once he popped my jeans open, he covered my throbbing cock with his hand and rubbed. I sucked on his tongue and bucked against him. He slid his hand up my body and lowered his hips to rub against me. His moan left me trembling.
He was no rapist, but this wasn’t his first rodeo. Not by a long shot. He stripped our jeans away and pushed them off the bed with his knees and then his feet, then turned me over again. His hand never left my wrists, and the bed never smothered my face, but that grip of his didn’t feel half as bruising as his kisses. His every movement was quick and firm, but tender in a way that would’ve ticked me off, should’ve ticked me off. It was hard to be angry when everything felt so damned good.
Michael slipped a beefy hand between my thighs and pulled me up onto my knees. He stopped short of gripping my cock—which made it jerk and leak, and turned my bones to limp rope. I couldn’t have run even if I’d wanted to. By then, all I wanted was his meaty dick. Somehow he came up with the necessaries, and my heart barely had time to beat again before he pushed inside. Maybe it’d been a long time for him too, because neither of us lasted more than a couple of sweaty minutes.
After he finished, I expected to get the bum’s rush out of there. Instead, Michael eased onto his side and brought me along for the ride. He had amazing control of that large body. The bed hardly squeaked and didn’t bounce at all. A few minutes later, I found my face resting on a hairy chest with a nice bit of padding. The last person who’d cuddled me was my mom, so I went with it.
“So tell me, if you can do magick, why do you live in a dinky apartment in North Portland?”
“Disorganized. I make money and I spend it. Used to work in IT, but after that job dried up, I….”
Fucking shut up, Jeffrey.
… started floating from one card game to the next, wasting money on good cigars, great booze, and the finest clothes money could buy, then doing it all over again. The big guy had probably guessed that much before he hit the square of concrete I called a front porch.
“How do you know so much about it anyway? Sal doesn’t hire anyone with the gift. It’s against his religion.”
“I’ve been standing at his left hand for—long enough to learn a few things.”
“So you’re a real grown-up? Good for you.” Guess he hadn’t smelled my Daddy issues. Or he didn’t care. His cock didn’t care, anyway—Little Big Guy was already thinking about round two. “Got a smoke?”
“No. I don’t smoke. Who smokes anymore?”
“Neither do I.” Cigars don’t count. “But I’ve always been curious. This could be my last chance.” Way to throw cold water on the bed, Jeffrey. Now that massive cock’s getting smaller again. “Well, no sense in dragging this out.”
“Huh?” His arm tightened around my shoulders, and I wondered how he interpreted my shiver. And if he’d been listening to me.
“If that was my last fuck, at least it was a good one.”
He moaned. The tough old goomba actually moaned when his dick was—nope, only half-soft.
“Or you could tell Sal I wasn’t home. You couldn’t find me. And then come back for round two.”
Michael chuckled, and it sounded a lot like the way he’d growled earlier. “Can’t. I already told him you were here. I go back empty-handed and he’ll have my ass beat and send someone else.”
I answered with a different kind of shiver. “Yeah. I’ll go with you, Michael. At least I can flirt on the way, make you squirm. Have a little fun.”
He didn’t make any move to get up, his hand roving over my skin, the other arm loose and easy around my shoulders. It had been a long time since anyone wanted to spend time with me without trying to win their money back. If it turned out to be my last night, I could do worse than Michael….
“What’s your last name?”
“Why?” That fast he was completely still. For a second I would’ve sworn his heart even stopped.
“Come on, I can’t do anything. I just want to hear your full name.”
“Wells. Michael Wells.”
“Nothing in the middle?”
Michael Wells sighed and hugged me tighter. Damn.
“The last-wish deal says I get to hear your middle name.”
He snorted. A big puff of breath lifted my hair off my face, and I almost laughed out loud.
“Don’t you want to run? Shouldn’t that be your wish?”
“Where’m I going to go? I like it here. Well, not here here, but Portland.”
“We could leave, go east. Into the High Desert.”
That was so ridiculous I couldn’t help myself. I tried to stifle my laughter against his massive, hairy chest—his shiver did that and then some. But if he’d already reported in to Sal, there wasn’t time to go again. “I’m not exactly the outdoorsy type.”
“You’re thinking you can talk your way out of Sal’s bad graces, but it won’t work. He wants to take you apart and wave the scraps where the whole world can see. God help me, but I can’t let that happen.”
“You still lacking blood flow to the brain?”
And there we were, as ludicrous as it sounds and then some: the man who’d come to drag me back to face— No sense thinking about that, but shit, we were naked on my bed and he’d given me the fuck of my life. It sure felt good to have his gigantic arms around me.
“At least you’re honest.”
“So, whaddaya say? My car’s down the block. Tank’s full.”
The big guy sounded serious, but I wanted to see for myself. He didn’t let me move enough to see his face.
“Not likely you could shake me.”
“Unless you wanted to let me go.” I rubbed my cheek against his pec, and we shivered together.
“Like I said. Not likely.”
After another minute I tried again to get up, and he let me. I hit the can, and when I got out, he stood in front of my open closet. In all his hairy, naked glory. Fuck. The guy was seriously built—everything about him was big, from his shaved head and broad shoulders to his thick cock and those snowboards he probably called feet. I hadn’t even thought to grab the pistol hanging behind the toilet tank.
“Here’s all your money.” Michael nodded but didn’t stop perusing my clothes.
“A guy’s gotta have his priorities straight.”
Michael snorted. At the priorities or the word straight? He reached out and fingered the Italian virgin wool of my newest addition, a heather gray Hugo Boss not even two years old. Gotta love that German craftsmanship. And a crappy economy—consignment shops were making a killing, and my wardrobe kept growing at half price.
“Too bad this isn’t practical. Nice suit.” He looked me up and down once and then sighed.
“Hugo Boss is always practical.”
“Not where we’re going.”
I grabbed my gym bag from the floor where I’d dropped it and started packing on top of the clean workout gear. Far be it from me to argue with a guy who wants to save my life. After a few hasty wardrobe decisions—and some extra bending and stretching, just to see what would happen—Michael started to get hard again. I pulled on a pair of jeans—black this time—and a black T-shirt. “About that….”
“East.” He sighed again and then started pulling on clothes. To be a little too honest, it made me sad.
“Yeah. You said that. How far? NYC?” Stumptown witches don’t wander far from the source of our power—it’s been that way since the early nineteenth century when the first three settled in Portland. Whether he knew that or not, he could at least get me clear of Sal’s territory in one piece.
Michael snorted, and if I had to guess, he tried hard to keep from laughing full-on. Probably for the best. If he laughed anything like he fucked, we’d be here long enough for Sal to send someone else.
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