It’s wrong. Wicked. As coven priest, Aston should know better. But he can’t help his feelings for Gemma. Too bad she likes his brother Drew—his no-good, cheating, engaged brother who takes what he wants regardless of who gets hurt. Aston tries to warn Gemma, but when he steps into his brother’s room and the lights go out and she presses herself against him…
Air witch Gemma has lusted after Drew for years. When she gets her chance to spend a steamy night with him, she takes it. As he makes love to her in the darkness, as he makes her come again and again, she can’t help but think he’s different somehow—taller, more thoughtful. And that facial hair that abrades her skin in some seriously naughty places…how did he grow that so fast?
By day, Aston seems dark and frightening. By night, he rocks Gemma’s world. If he could only convince her to see the truth—he may not be his brother, but he loves her more than Drew ever could.
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He’d been awake since five. Nearly twenty-four hours. He needed to crawl into bed. First he had to confront Gemma. Again. How did he accomplish that? His appearance in his brother’s room would be plenty confrontation. But there would need to be words—something he could say to warn her off Drew for good that didn’t involve an offer of money. All night, he’d considered them. And the longer he considered, the more disgruntled he became.
He’d always held a fondness for Gemma. She’d seemed a bright member of the coven—a warm soul who enjoyed life without overindulging. However, her return and subsequent activities made him question his perception. How intelligent could she be if she was pursuing Drew, knowing his romantic past and his party lifestyle?
Perhaps she would fail to turn up for the rendezvous.
Absently, he lifted the tumbler of alcohol off the side table. Ice clinked against the glass with a noisy jab. Aston received a face full of the chilly substance instead of the whisky he’d expected. He set the nearly empty glass aside, grunting as he folded his notebook over his pen.
His head dropped against the cushion. Aston lifted the reading glasses from his nose and placed them with the tumbler. Pain throbbed in his sinuses. Slowly, he massaged the annoyance away with his thumb and forefinger.
There was too much to do, too many pressing issues and too few witches he trusted to help. Aston stood as he noticed the fullness in his bladder. He set the notebook on the seat and then started for the attached bathroom.
Bottles of hair and skin products cluttered the counter—on their sides, upside down and occasionally open, oozing contents onto the surface. Three products crowded the sink. One had landed on the floor. Aston’s lips twisted at the sight. It was amazing how messy a room in Drew’s hands could look despite Ellen’s daily cleaning. Perhaps it was time to give her another raise.
A soft knock outside caught Aston’s attention. He froze in the process of zipping his slacks. Gemma had come.
“Drew?” The feminine whisper was recognizable even though he’d never heard Gemma speaking at such a soft volume.
Aston stood motionless with his hand hovering over the toilet’s copper handle. He should call out. He ought to tell her Drew had been gone since this evening.
Box springs creaked in the outer room. Aston shoved the handle down, drowning out the sound beneath the rushing water. He made himself move to the sink, where he washed his hands with care. Hard-edged eyes reflected back at him in the mirror. He’d frighten her before he could even speak. Aston wiped his hands on a towel for twice as long as needed.
He relaxed the muscles in his shoulders, and then those in his neck. At the count of ten, he felt a measure better. Still, the words he’d say hovered on the edge of his mind.
He’d have to wing it. But that had worked so well this evening…
A flick of the switch plunged him into darkness. He felt along the wall until he
found the doorknob. Twisting it and pulling the door inward didn’t change his view.
What had happened? Had she turned out the lights? He hadn’t suddenly gone blind at the flip of a switch.
His loafers sank into the plush carpet of Drew’s bedroom as he patted the wall in search of the dimmer switch.
“Don’t,” she whispered from the general location of Drew’s bed. “I like the darkness. Please.”
The urgent press of her final word held his attention. Why did she like the darkness?
It wasn’t a question for him to ask. But it was going to be difficult to explain the situation if she didn’t see him. Aston opened his mouth to greet her. She shushed him into silence. And then a finger set against his lips.
A prickling sensation washed over his skin from where the pad of her digit curved over his lip. The intimate motion roused his neglected dick. She’d never have touched him if she knew who he was. Yet he couldn’t make his body understand it.
The urge to lick her or to nibble her soft flesh roared in his mind. Aston restrained himself, barely. “Ge—”
She smacked her hand over his mouth. “No talking.”
Floral-scented skin muffled his groan. Her attempts to dominate him made him want to submit, if only to lull her into a false sense of security.
This was little Gemmy Erjon. And Gemmy believed he was Drew.
Then again, this wasn’t little Gemmy. This was grown-up Gemma. He’d realized that in the servants’ quarters hours earlier.
Her palm was spread over his mouth and chin. Surely she could feel his moustache. She had to know Drew couldn’t have grown it since this afternoon. Why hadn’t she cried foul? Could she…
Suddenly Aston knew exactly how to solve the Gemmy problem.
In the darkness, Gemma’s remaining senses were hyperaware. Her nose worked overtime, drawing in the crisp winter-air scent that floated off his broad frame. It was as if she’d hiked Mount Washington and drawn in a lungful of the clean air.
Had Drew ever smelled as good as he did tonight?
The warm puff of his breath hit her palm at regular intervals. Should she have touched him without invitation? But wasn’t the invite to visit his bedroom at two in the morning all the invitation she needed?
Gemma called on a little magic to sketch his figure in the darkness. She’d never realized exactly how tall he was until now. He must surely be a few inches over six feet.
Leather tapped against the carpet. The pressure increased against her hand. He was closer now. His scent overwhelmed her, lightening her head.
His rough tongue slid delicately over her love line, overwhelming yet another sense. Gemma shivered.
He curled his fingers around her wrist. Gemma waited for him to tear the hand away. But rather than peel it back so he could speak, he brought it flush and then gave a mighty pull, with his mouth, against the sensitive skin.
She’d nearly forgotten he possessed two hands when the second grazed her other elbow. He moved his lips to the pulse point in her wrist. Gemma let out a small, surprised noise.
Gemma had expected Drew to be fast. She’d seen him with other women on the grounds countless time. Just as he’d done on the lawn today, Drew always went straight for breasts.
Maybe he was different behind closed doors. The tongue circling her pulse point in between those strange and surprising sucks proved it. Drew had game she’d never seen.
Gemma liked the idea of not knowing what he’d do. She remained quiet as he placed her wrist at her side. No sound came out of her even as he grazed his nails along her bare arm.
He brushed along the georgette of yesterday’s polka-dot dress, pausing at her collarbone. The sweep of his knuckles beneath Gemma’s chin teased her nipples to life. They were so close and yet he avoided where he would have ordinarily gone. It was a whole new side of him she was glad she was able to finally experience.
Gemma let her head fall back. A small sigh flowed from her mouth. His lips settled against the column of her neck, cutting the noise short. Soft hair tickled her chin as he bent close. And then he began a deliberately unhurried trip down her neck, kissing as he went.
It was going to take him all eternity to give her what she wanted if she let him set the pace. She’d have to change his mind because she couldn’t handle being loved slowly by him if she couldn’t have him forever.
With a whisper she hoped none of the others in the house would hear, Gemma said, “We can go slow next time. This time, I want it fast like you always do.”
He emitted a quiet growl before hauling her off her feet. And then she was airborne. Seconds later, she landed with a bounce atop her lifelong crush’s bed.
Now they were getting somewhere.
She wanted it fast like he always did. Aston was uncommonly jealous of his brother. He stood over the bed, sensing her body heat below. Now was the time to give in to his conscience.
But she’d had plenty of hints of his identity.
Aston was four inches taller than Drew. He had facial hair while his brother was clean-shaven. Their scents were vastly different—his wilder like the mountains while Drew’s was domestic, closer to a breeze through clean cotton sheets. And Aston’s voice was far lower. Granted, he’d spoken a mere syllable before she hushed him, but it should have been enough.
These were excuses to take what he now knew he wanted. His conscience urged him to explain the situation—to give her the option he was about to steal away. But he recalled the terrified look on her face when she fled his office yesterday and the wintry expression earlier in her living room.
And so he pressed his right knee beside her body, his left palm above her head and then lowered his torso until it hovered above her warmth. Her startled exhale, the exhilarating scent that was a combination of chocolate and lilacs, sent his heart into a gallop.
Aston hesitated inches above her as his conscience howled for him to retreat. Gemma drew in a ragged breath. It was a sexy sound, but one not meant for him.
“I’ve imagined this moment for years,” she whispered.
She’d imagined Drew, not his monstrous brother—a brother who was even now trying to steal Drew’s paramour.
“Please.” She emphasized her urging by curling her fingers along the nape of his neck. “I know your conscience must be smarting. But I want this even if it’s just one time. I’m a big girl now. I can handle whatever happens.”
Aston wanted to throttle his brother. For what, he wasn’t entirely certain. But the frustration coiling in his every muscle was because of Drew. Exactly like her soft words were…for Drew.
His brother had been given everything when everyone else had to work for what they got. Drew wouldn’t have experienced a twinge of remorse for cheating on his fiancée if Aston hadn’t sent him away first.
Drew didn’t deserve her.
Though Aston was certain he was no more worthy of her than his sibling, he was the one here. It was his neck she grasped. And it was his head lowering to give her the first taste of his tongue.
He’d contend with his conscience in the morning.