Home > Midlife Mojo (Not Too Late #3)

Midlife Mojo (Not Too Late #3)
Author: Victoria Danann

CHAPTER ONE Jersey Devil, Part Deux

 


Keir wasn’t the sort to move around the house in silence. When he was up and about, I knew it. Unless I’d ended the night before with too much Bailey’s.

As one of the dual natured, he might’ve had some noiseless cat traits, but in human form he was as rambunctious as a teenage jock.

Do not misconstrue this as complaining, even though that’s how it sounds. I was eager for his company and not just for the usual reasons. I needed his help to make sense of the previous night’s strange occurrence.

I was sitting by the kitchen fire with my laptop and a cup of ginger tea, still in my pretty pink and gray silky pajamas, when he appeared wearing nothing but drawstring pants.

He looked scrumptious as could be with his towel-dried mane of tawny hair, and I knew that, if I planted my face in his abs, I’d be treated to the heady scent of sephalian freshly washed with sheep’s wool soap. Locally milled, of course.

He saw that my eyes were fixed on his midsection. After glancing down, his mouth formed one of my favorite expressions, the sexy, cocky smirk. Those pants had a way of accentuating his happy trail so that it drew the eye like a neon arrow.

“Like something you see?”

My moment of being transfixed was broken by his teasing. “I guess by now you’d know I was lying if I said no. So. Yeah. I like what I see.”

His smile faded. “But something’s wrong.”

He looked around like he thought it might be something external. His eyes landed on the large pink crystal sitting on the table in front of me then shifted to the screen on my laptop. I had just typed my email password and the “SHOW” feature was turned on. It wouldn’t have made any difference if he was human, but Keir’s eyesight was phenomenal. He had no trouble reading an eight-point font from across a room.

“Mojomom?” It was a goodnatured heckle, but I wasn’t feeling goodnatured.

“Stop reading my screen. You’re invading my privacy.” He waited. “And what’s wrong with ‘Mojomom’?”

“Nothing at all. I just don’t usually think of you as a mum. I know you have offspring and all…”

“I don’t have offspring. I have one, um, spring.” It was just about then that I recognized I was blithering. Again. “Just one daughter.” I trailed off.

He shook his head like he thought I’d been into the magic mushrooms. “Rita. Your password is up to you. I think it’s cute.”

“Damn right!”

He turned slowly and repeated his question with a firmness that wasn’t there before. “What. Is. Wrong?”

I slumped and sighed. “Grab a spot of tea. I have a story to tell.”

“Is it a good story?”

“I’ll let you decide. After you hear it.” With an enigmatic departing look he headed toward the kettle on bare feet that were unjustly beautiful on a male; perfectly formed minus the myriad flaws that’re customary with feet. “Aren’t you cold?”

His back was to me, but I plainly heard the chuckle. “I don’t get cold, love.”

“Then why are you such a good snuggler at night?”

With steaming cup in hand, he joined me by the fire. Not, apparently, because he craved the warmth.

“I wouldn’t think of myself as proficient at snuggling in general. I snuggle with you because I like it. Not because I need it. And, if you think I’m good at it, eye of the beholder and all that.”

“Huh.”

He smiled into his cup just before blowing across the hot liquid, took a sip, then said, “But the pleasure of it is something we share in common.”

An involuntary sigh erupted making me sound more vulnerable than I’d ever intended to be. Again. In the beginning there’d been a brief time when Cole looked at me adoringly and said lovely things.

“Storytime?” he prompted, seeing that I’d been carried into a reverie.

I recounted the entire story. How I’d awakened, gone to the kitchen and had a conversation with a monstrous thing that claimed to be a Jersey Devil, by all the gods, had a pronounced Jersey accent.

“You know, if you said ‘Jersey Devil’ to anybody who’s not me they’d say that’s a hockey player.” With a slight shudder, I added, “I kind of wish that’s what I still thought, too. Anyhow, I woke up early and assumed it’d been an unusually vivid dream. But when I arrived in the kitchen, the rock that ‘tells the future of virgins’ was sitting on the island just as it had been in my, um…”

“Recollection?” he offered, when it was clear I was stumped for an appropriate word.

“Yeah. My recollection.” Keir stared into his teacup. “Come on. Of the two of us, you’re the one with nine hundred plus years of magic kind experience. Give.”

“I admit that, comparatively, I have more experience in matters of magic. But hard as it may be to believe, I’m not an authority on everything.”

“Every woman in a relationship lives to hear those words.”

“Funny.”

“What’s not funny is that this pretty pink crystal, which may or may not have mystical power, was delivered to my kitchen while we slept.” My gaze jerked to Keir. “How likely is it that you’d sleep through a break-in? I mean I could. Sure. But not you! For that matter, my house isn’t supposed to let people… or creatures, in without my permission. Right?”

“Right.”

“Well?”

“Well, what?”

I chuffed. “How. Did. This. Get. Here?”

“I don’t know, but being out of sorts with me will not solve your mystery, will it?” At that moment Keir sounded irritatingly English. Or maybe I was just irritated. He rose, cup in hand. “I’m going to my room to see if there’s some American football on.”

“It’s the middle of the night in the U.S.”

“Reruns.”

I let him walk out because I was behaving badly and didn’t seem to be able to dial the bitchmeter back. The idea of monsters prowling around my house in the middle of the night was unsettling to the core, even if their purpose was to leave gifts and messages.

A pop of green wood sap brought my gaze to the dancing fire in my counter-height kitchen fireplace. The light reflected on the planes of the crystal was hypnotic.

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