Home > Magic Games (Dragon Born Serafina #2)(8)

Magic Games (Dragon Born Serafina #2)(8)
Author: Ella Summers

“Kai? Yes, I really do.”

“Then go for it,” Alex said. “Just make sure you make him work for access to your underwear drawer.”

Sera laughed. “Sure thing.”

“Ok, there’s an assassin standing over me, tapping his egregiously overpriced watch. We have to go.”

“Hot date?”

“I wouldn’t call street-side warfare with a motorcycle gang of mage delinquents a hot date, but the night is still young. Maybe my assassin will woo me with chocolate later. Talk to you soon, Sera. Kick some serious butt in the Magic Games.”


Leather & Denim, Blood & Gore

AFTER ENDING THE call, Sera walked back to the table. Kai was still sitting there, but Riley had moved out to the middle of the field. He tossed something up into the air, then hurried back a few steps. Magic exploded overhead, sizzling and sparkling like fireworks. Green and blue and black, the magical lights coalesced into the shape of a dragon that looked an awful lot like Kai. The fiery dragon shot past Riley, looped a few times in the air, then dove for the table.

Kai’s cool blue eyes watched its descent. He didn’t stand—or fidget—even as it hit the tabletop in an explosion of magic and light that rumbled the wooden planks. The aroma of lilacs and redwoods saturated the air, tingling Sera’s tongue.

Kai looked at Riley. “The lilac was a nice touch,” he told him calmly, as though a magic bomb hadn’t just exploded in his face. “It covers the stench of sulfur.”

“Actually, I got rid of the sulfur by switching fire and lightning ingredients for ice and earth. The natural scents are from the earth. I thought it made the magic more palatable.”

Kai brushed his finger across the tabletop, then licked the tip, tasting the magical residue. His eyebrows lifted. “Good. You’re hired. I need someone with your sense in my labs. Last week, they tried to sell me on a new line of magic-retardant suits.” He crinkled up his nose. “They smelled like burning plastic.”

“No,” Sera said.

Kai looked at her. “Yes, they actually did. I couldn’t believe it either.”

“No, I meant that you can’t hire Riley. He has to finish school.”

“My courses are over,” Riley said. “I graduate in just a few weeks. All I have to do is walk across the stage, give my magic presentation, then claim my diploma.”

“At which point, you and Kai can discuss lilac and sulfur all you want.” She gave Kai a hard look. “But not before then.”

Riley frowned. “You really need to chill, Sera. I won’t drop out of school a few weeks before the finish line. I’m not stupid.”

“Of course you’re not,” she told him. “You’re really smart. And since you’re really smart, you realize how much that diploma will be worth. It’s something no one will be able to take away from you. Unlike a job.”

She made a conscious effort not to look at Kai as she spoke. She couldn’t, however, miss the smoky sizzle electrifying the air—that of his magic flaring up at her last statement. Well, he could huff and puff all he wanted, but he knew she was right. He’d certainly pay Riley a lot of money to come work for him, but without his Magical Sciences degree, Riley would have trouble getting any other job. What if something came between their friendship, and they started hating each other? Would Kai fire him? Or would Riley just quit? Sera had a pretty good idea what—or more like who—could come between them. She could never, ever let Kai find out that she was Dragon Born. It wouldn’t just end her life; it would ruin Riley’s.

Suddenly, she felt really tired. “I’m beat,” she told them, stuffing what was left of her sandwich into the bag. “I’m meeting Naomi in a couple of hours. I need to get back to the hotel and shower first.”

Kai rose smoothly to his feet. “I’ll drive you.”

“Thank you.”

Kai walked down the path, shifting gravel crunching beneath his shoes. Sera and Riley followed him out of the park. Only one car was parked on the road—actually, on the sidewalk. Kai had a history of delinquent parking.

A black rental SUV, a perfect replica of his own car, blinked in greeting as they approached. It looked like the sort of car the FBI would drive—or the type the military would use. Sera often teased Kai by referring to his beloved car as ‘the tank’, but she wasn’t in the mood for teasing now. A morning of elemental warfare had left her drained, and worrying about the Magic Games looming on the horizon wasn’t helping either.

She couldn’t help but think about what Alex had said. Her sister was right. She liked Kai. But how could she be with him while lying to his face about who she was? The safe thing—the responsible thing—to do would be to stay away from him. If she could even do that.

Riley made up her mind for her. He cut in front of her, hopping into the back seat of the car. Then, giving her a wink, he shut the door behind him. Sera sighed and climbed up into the front seat. As Kai slid into the driver’s seat, his devastating eyes meeting hers, she quickly looked away to focus on her seatbelt. Then she turned forward and stared straight through the windshield. By then, Kai had started the car and was pulling away from the sidewalk.

They passed the long drive in silence. Well, at least Sera did. A couple minutes after they hopped into the car, Riley and Kai started talking about the shoreside run they’d be taking later. Sera leaned against the window and closed her eyes.

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