Home > Magic Games (Dragon Born Serafina #2)(2)

Magic Games (Dragon Born Serafina #2)(2)
Author: Ella Summers

“Yes,” he said without hesitation. “You have the power inside of you. You just need to practice controlling it.”

“I am trying.”

“Yes,” he agreed. “Setting the wind barrier on fire was a good move. A combination like that will work well against most opponents you’ll face.”

“It didn’t work on you,” she grumbled.

His shoulders lifted in an easy shrug, and his fitted black t-shirt stretched taut against his chest, showcasing every dip and bulge of muscle. Not that she was looking. Or ogling.

You’ve been ogling at him for the past hour. That’s why he’s kicking your ass, the voice in her head said helpfully.

I have not been ogling at him, she told the voice.

It snorted. How many people had voices in their head who could snort? She did glare extra hard at Kai, however, just to prove she wasn’t ogling.

The lift of his dark eyebrows told her he wasn’t fooled either. “Like what you see, sweetheart?”

“I’ll like what I see when you’re flat on your back.”

His smile spread wider.

Argh, not like that! She tried—and failed—to hold back the heat spreading across her cheeks.

“With my boot pinning you down,” she clarified.

He walked toward her, his eyes shining like blue glass. And burning with magic.

“You know, like a wrestling match.” She held her ground, resisting the urge to flee. She was a tough mercenary who killed monsters for a living. She wasn’t afraid of a big, bad mage. Even if he could shift into an even bigger and badder dragon.

“You have to pin down your opponent…” Her voice trailed. She wasn’t helping matters.

He stopped in front of her. “Tell me more about these boots.” His deep voice buzzed against her skin, his magic electrifying the air around them. “And what else you’ll be wearing.”

She folded her arms across her chest and scowled at him. “That’s not what I meant, and you know it. This is about fighting. You’re supposed to be helping me.”

“I am helping you,” he replied, his voice low. He looked offended.

Ok, that was true. For three weeks, ever since that messenger from the Magic Council had showed up on her doorstep, Kai had spent every day training her. And, much as she hated to admit it, she really did need his help. She was so out of her league that it wasn’t even funny.

When the council had found out she was an unregistered mage, they’d told her she would be participating in the next Magic Games to have her magic assessed. Well, maybe ‘assessed’ was too nice of a word. The Games weren’t just about the actual fights. That would have been easy; Sera had been fighting monsters since she could walk, after all. The real fight in the Games was on a whole other front. They would try to get inside her head, to crack open her magic, dig out her secrets, and hang them out to dry. And the moment the Magic Council learned Sera’s secret, they would kill her.

She couldn’t tell Kai that. He was on the Magic Council himself. He knew she was hiding something, but he’d stopped asking what it was. Maybe he didn’t care. Maybe he cared about her, as he claimed. She hoped…

No, she couldn’t hope. The day she started hoping and dreaming was the day she started forgetting to check behind her back. Things had already spun too far out of control. The Magic Council knew she was a mage, a fact she’d managed to keep hidden from them for twenty-four years. She’d gotten sloppy.

This had all started when the guild sent her to do a job for Kai. Well, she’d made a mighty mess of that. She’d allowed her feelings for him—hell, she shouldn’t even be having feelings for him—to get in the way, and she’d used her magic to save him. And it hadn’t been some tiny flicker of fire or a few snow flurries. She’d set a whole freaking stone tower on fire. She’d set off an earthquake under it. And she’d poured her magic into a glyph to teleport them across San Francisco. In short, she’d been as subtle as a stampede of warring centaurs.

She was so screwed.

“Sorry,” she told Kai. “My nerves are shot right now.”

Just one day left until the Magic Games. One day to figure out how to survive the Magic Council’s mind games.

“You have been helping me.” She reached toward him—but dropped her hand to her side before it made contact. Touching was a bad idea. “And I really appreciate it.”

According to Kai, they had cracked him back when he’d been in the Games. Him. Kai Drachenburg, the world’s most powerful mage. The man who turned into an enormous dragon. The man who stomped on werewolves and toppled armored military tanks. The man with more self-control than anyone she’d ever met. If his mind hadn’t held up, how could she entertain even a glimmer of hope that hers would? She pushed the thoughts from her head. They would only paralyze her.

“Sera,” he said, setting his hands on her shoulders.

A tingle of magic lingered on his fingertips, the soothing vibrations rippling across her skin. Whatever he was doing, she wished he would keep doing it. Forever.

See? Touching is bad.

She shifted her weight to put some distance between them. He didn’t try to hold onto her; his hands just rolled off her shoulders. Sera had to admit she was disappointed—even knowing that touching was bad. Touching led to kissing. And kissing Kai cracked her self-control faster than anything the Architect of the Magic Games could throw at her.

   
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