I cracked open an eye.
Daylight peeked through the curtains of the hotel room, which fluttered over the air-conditioning vent. I reached for my phone on the bedside table. We’d overslept.
I groaned, stretching back out on the bed.
Keive was frantic, grabbing various articles of his clothing from around the room, his hair a mess. “If I don’t hurry, I’m not going to be back before she gets in from her camping trip, and then I’m done for.”
“Well, at least it was worth it.”
He slid me a look. “Oh, like you want your husband to know about us either.”
I shrugged, propping myself up so the blanket would slide off to reveal my naked chest.
That grabbed his attention like a hook. And like a proper catch, he was pulled into my orbit. He blinked. “Dammit, devil woman. No.” He shook himself out of it, giving one of my breasts a squeeze and kissing my forehead before rushing toward the door.
I started flipping through my phone. “Fix your hair,” I called as he left.
“I’ll call you later,” he promised, and shut the door.
I had about an hour before check out. I was in no rush. I had a full workload on my desk, the latest husband was on a work trip, and I still hadn’t come out of my full-night-of-spectacular-love-making-trance yet. I ordered a coffee from room service, then stretched, sliding lazily out of bed and heading toward the jacuzzi-style bathtub. I ignored the knocked-over candles and spilt wine as I ran the bathwater, looking forward to a nice long soak.
Before I could indulge, someone knocked on the door.
Damn, that was fast.
I had no idea where my clothes had ended up, but I found a clean towel to wrap myself in. I pulled open the door to reveal a very surprised young man bearing Starbucks.
He fumbled, and I tried to imagine what he saw. A woman with a wild mane of jet black hair falling around pale shoulders, fierce blue eyes, and a raised eyebrow. Legs that were annoyingly long, but the type men tended to favor, chipped black nail polish, and thin black tattoos.
“You look just like that—”
“Author, actress, publisher? Yes, I know. I get that all the time. Thanks!” I grabbed the coffee, shutting the door in his face before he could recognize just how famous I really was. Avoiding paparazzi had become a fine art for me. I wasn’t about to slip up now.
I took a sip of the coffee and grimaced. It was too lukewarm to be satisfying, but I appreciated the caffeine. I took it with me as I settled into the tub, flipping on the jets as I attempted to ignore my phone.
After several moments of rushing water, when the blinking wouldn’t stop, I finally relented, putting it on speakerphone. It was my assistant.
“I’m not even going to ask you where you’ve been. I know you’ve been banging Kieve, and I don’t feel like going back and forth with you about how toxic you both are.” Her voice blared over the speakers.
“The sex is so damn good, though.” I sighed.
“You were supposed to be in a meeting today, at nine, with the costume director. I canceled it. You’re welcome. Then you were supposed to be on a phone call with the executives that want to buy our imprint —”
“Oh, fuck them.”
“And you have a flight at noon.”
I cursed and flew out of the tub.
That was something I could not miss. If I wasn’t there to sign the contract for the latest acquisition, my company would lose a potential goldmine. I could barely hear Anne’s voice as I flew around the room like a tornado, grabbing my jeans, top, purse, phone, hat, bag before rushing out the door.
It was autumn, my favorite season, but the sun was a little too bright for comfort. I fished my oversized aviators out of my purse as I headed down the street, preferring to walk to the nearby airport rather than deal with an Uber. I also hoped to discover a little bistro with coffee that didn’t taste like cold motor oil.
There were a bunch of shops along the street, and one, in particular, caught my eye. Its bright red window sills called to me. Upon closer inspection, I realized it was a metaphysical shop, aptly called Hex. I squinted ahead to see the airport wasn’t too much farther up the road. I had time.
I ducked in and was promptly greeted by a blend of patchouli and nag champa. I couldn’t explain why I was so drawn to the store, but the display of crystals, the dried herbs hanging on the walls, and the witchy paraphernalia on the shelves made me feel oddly at ease.
A shop owner with purple hair approached me with a smile, colorful tattoos twisting up her arms. As she got closer, she squinted. “Wait…I know you.”
I groaned. I shouldn’t have made a pit stop.
“No, I just look like Cassandra Thompson,” I lied. “I’m not really her…” I started to back out of the shop.
“No, you’re the goddess Hekate, aren’t you? I can see her soul in your eyes. You helped my brother once.”
My mouth went dry. I dropped my sunglasses, not even wincing as the expensive frames shattered on the floor. Hekate…The name pulled at me, beckoning me from another time and place. Her brother…visions of a man I couldn’t recognize on the beach. The sensation of my heart being ripped out of my chest.
I gasped for breath, backing into a display and sending various crystals and rocks to the floor to join my broken sunglasses.
The shopkeeper’s mouth was moving, but I couldn’t understand what she was saying. I was running as fast as I could out of the shop and back into the dreadful sunlight, wishing, for reasons I could not explain, that it was dark and gray like the Underworld.
I heard the sounds of dogs barking in the distance.