“Okay…” Bridget took several deep breaths. Then she took several more. Then she got a drink of water, drank it, and took several more deep breaths. Only then did she turn to look at Khait. “Let’s set a few more ground rules.”
“Sharks.” Abigail was sitting on the couch, staring at the wall as though shell-shocked.
“I am uncertain —” Khait started shaking his head.
“One…” Bridget held up a hand to stop him from talking. “Street lights. Do not alter them in any way.”
“Yes, mistress.” He nodded.
“Two…” She took a deep breath. “When I say I wish someone would go away, it is a rhetorical statement. Do…” She exhaled. “Not teleport them anywhere. Especially not anywhere they may be endangered.”
“Even if they attempt to take liberties with your person?” Khait raised an eyebrow.
“He grabbed my ass.” She shook her head. “That’s the kind of thing you punch someone for. Teleporting them to the arctic circle is not okay.” She hesitated a moment, then sighed. “Even if it was a little bit funny.” She shook her head. “It’s still not okay.”
“I…” Khait shrugged. “Yes, mistress.”
“Three. Do not change my grades.”
“You wanted an A.”
“Bridget, don’t you think your priorities are a little —”
“I will get to it, Abigail.” Bridget sighed. “I wanted an A. But it’s my responsibility to get one. I don’t learn anything when you go in and change my grades. Don’t do it.” She glanced at Abigail. “Don’t change Abigail’s either.”
“Four…” Bridget stood there a moment, trying to put the words together properly. Then she just started shaking her head. “Why the hell did you put sharks in the swimming pool? It’s a shark. Swimming pool. People swim in pools so they don’t have to worry about sharks. If they wanted to swim with sharks here is an ocean like twenty miles that way —” She pointed.
“It is that way.” Khait pointed in a different direction.
“Irrelevant! You don’t put sharks in pools!” She stared at him. “Why did you put the sharks in the pool?”
“The little girl wanted to see them. She gave me ice cream.”
“You…” Bridget blinked. “What?”
“Ice cream. It is a frozen dairy thing with sugar and —”
“I know what ice cream is!”
“Oh.” Khait nodded. “She was too small to go in the cage to see sharks, and it made her very sad. She likes sharks.”
“So you put sharks in the pool so a little girl could see them.” Bridget ran a hand down her face.
“She gave me ice cream.” Khait nodded.
“That is simultaneously one of the sweetest things I’ve ever seen…” Abigail was trying not to laugh. “And the worse nightmare I’ve ever experienced.”
“No sharks in pools.” Bridget felt her own lips trying to twitch into a smile.
“You know, you could have gone with smaller sharks.” Abigail leaned back. “Like nurse sharks or something. That way she could have touched them.”
“Abigail…” Bridget all but growled her friend’s name.
“Those wouldn’t have eaten her stepfather.” Khait shrugged. “Bull sharks are —”
“Wait.” Bridget held up a hand. “What’s this about eating a stepfather?”
“Khait…” Abigail was staring at him in horror. “Did the sharks actually eat someone?”
“Well, no.” Khait frowned.
“He got out of the pool too fast. I had to get a tiger.”
Abigail looked up from the computer screen. “They found a body. From the article it looks like the cops think it might have been a pack of dogs or something.” She set the laptop down. “He killed somebody.”
“He almost killed others. The guy on the airplane…” Bridget sat down, wrapping her arms around her knees. “It seems almost funny then but holy shit, Abbey…” She shook her head. “He teleports somebody to fall miles and somebody else to freeze to death because they annoyed me a little. He’s…” She sighed.
“You know, we never really asked him how he got cursed in the first place. I mean, we got an offhand explanation, but…” Bridget looked up at her. “An incubus is a demon.”
“Most of the time though, I mean…” Abigail looked out the window. Khait was in her small backyard, reading the book she’d given him. “He seems nice. And that’s not just the fact I really want to jump his bones talking.” She looked back at Bridget. “He killed somebody.”
“Shit.” Bridget banged her head into her knees before looking up. “I was thinking that as soon as he got acclimated to the modern world, I’d let him go. But I can’t, can I? I mean…”
“He’s really powerful and a bit of a sociopath?” Abigail lifted an eyebrow.
“We can’t inflict him on the world.” She exhaled. “Let alone turning him loose on sorority row.”
“You were…” Abigail tilted her head. “What’s this about sorority row?”
“Oh. The thing the other day where he said his powers come from…” When Abigail narrowed her eyes, Bridget gave her an abashed look. “I didn’t actually do it.”
“You were going to let him loose on sorority row.”
“It was just a thought.”
“Bridget Siobhán Monaghan.”
“I was just curious as to how much power he’d need to get rid of all the litter on the beach and…” She held up her hands. “My intentions were…” She trailed off. “Good.”
She leaned back. “What makes a little girl want to have her stepfather fed to sharks?”
“We didn’t ask.” Bridget’s voice was quiet.
“You are not angry anymore?” Khait looked from Bridget to Abigail and back again.
“Oh, no, we are absolutely still angry.” Bridget shook her head.
“Furious.” Abigail folded her arms.
“What you did was still not okay.” Bridget held up a finger.
“There were a lot of better options available.” Abigail nodded.
“And at the very least, you could have gotten innocent people hurt and you damn well should have informed us of the situation before you did anything.” Bridget jabbed the finger into his chest.
“Then…” Khait frowned uncertainly. They had both clearly been relieved just a moment ago, and their facial expressions didn’t quite match their words.
“But on a scale of bad…”
“And you shouldn’t do anything bad at all.”
“Feeding a child molester to a tiger is kind of about a one, and uh…”
Abigail nodded. “Sicing a tiger on some random guy is more of a four.”
Bridget blinked, then turned to Abigail. “A four? Seriously?”
“Well, where would you have put it?” Abigail blinked.
“Six, at least.”
“Where is changing grades?” Khait raised an eyebrow. When Bridget glared at him, he held up his hands. “I am asking for reference only.”
“A four.” Bridget narrowed her eyes.
“A four?” Abigail stared at her. “On the scale of one to ten changing grades is about a one point insert a billion zeroes here one.”
“Ugh, fine.” Bridget sighed. “It’s a one.”
“So, is it better or worse than feeding a child molester to a tiger?” Khait scratched his head.
“Uh…” Abigail and Bridget exchanged a look. Abigail shrugged. “We’ll get back to you on that.”
“The point is…” Bridget jabbed her finger into his chest again. “Don’t do anything that can be measured on the scale of bad.”
“I asked you to stop filching things.” Bridget folded her arms.
“I didn’t filch anything. It was for sale.” Khait gave her a confused look.
“How did you buy it?” Abigail was running her hands over the hood of the car.
“The strange rectangles you use as coins have their denominations hidden on the inside and send signals back to the dragon hoards telling what they are worth.” Khait shrugged.
“You…” Bridget replayed what he had just said twice before her eyes widened. “You have a credit card?”
“Ah. Yes. That was the word. Credit card.” Khait exhaled. “Thank you. I’ve been trying to remember for hours.” He gave Bridget a hesitant look. “You do not like it?”
“You got me a car?” Bridget stared.
“Oh, how sweet.” Abigail beamed.
Khait nodded. “You said you hate the bus because of the men on it, but you got mad when I removed the man from the airplane.” He tilted his head. “Should I have gotten you an airplane instead?”
“You can’t…” Bridget stared at the car. Abigail was practically draped over it, making small purring sounds. It was a hybrid, with all the bells and whistles, and her favorite shade of blue. “Just…” The seats were leather. The heated seats were leather. “Go around…” The radio had USB ports.
“It has built in wifi.” Abigail stroked the hood, her eyes half closed. “Khait, I want one.” She smiled up at him. “In red.”
“The man said the ones on the lot were white, and it takes seventy-two hours for painting but they are not open on the ending of the weeks.”
“Monday is soon enough.” Abigail put her head back down on the hood.
“Abigail!” Bridget started shaking her head.
“Look at the MPG, Bridget.” Abigail ran her hand over the head. “Look at it.”
“I…” Bridget had to make herself tear her eyes away. “I saw it.” She took a deep breath. “Khait, you can’t…”
“Oh, almost forgot.” He handed her a small envelope.
“What’s this?” She took it cautiously.
“Parking. Ten years prepaid.”
“Ten…” Abigail stood upright. “How the hell did you get a ten-year lease on a parking space?”
“I am an incubus.” Khait shrugged. “I brought whipped cream.”
“Khait!” Bridget gave him a horrified look.
“What?” He blinked.
“As near as I can tell, he magicked himself an unlimited line of credit on a VISA.” Abigail turned the card over and over in her hands.
“And what happens when the bill comes due?” Bridget folded her arms.
“He said not to worry about that…” Abigail glanced over to where Khait was happily munching an ice cream cone. He seemed addicted to the things. “Which if I’m coming to get to know Khait…”
“Means we should really, really be worried?” Bridget sighed.
“You want the car.” Abigail gave Bridget a sympathetic look.
“He got every single little detail right on my dream car…” Bridget leaned back in the chair. “It even has a net in the trunk so items can be secured so they don’t roll. And my god, Abigail, did you see the new attaché case on my bed? It’s got a built-in battery for charging devices, with a fold out solar panel to recharge that.”
“And a hybrid car. He’s environmentally conscious.” Abigail grinned.
“And yet somehow oblivious to all other consequences and…” Bridget stared. “And that is his second container of fudge ripple.”
“Oh god.” Abigail blinked. “Now, if that isn’t proof he’s demonic, I don’t know what is.” “Khait?” When he looked up, she gestured. “Come here a minute?”
“Yes, mistress.” He immediately walked over.
“What did I tell you about the mistress thing?” Bridget ran a hand down her face.
“You said not to call you mistress.” Khait blinked. “I was calling Abigail mistress. She likes it.” He grinned at her.
Oh yes. Yes, she certainly did. Her heart was already beating faster. “Yes, well, uh…” Bridget was glaring at her. “Shit.”
“Khait, stop whammying Abigail.”
“What is whammy?”
“That thing you…” Bridget sighed. “Abigail, you were saying?”
“I, uh…” Abigail gave Bridget a defensive look. “Forgot.”
“Oh for…” Bridget sighed. “Khait, I told you not to do anything bad.”
“How is this bad?” Khait blinked at her.
She opened her mouth. Then she closed it again. Then she opened it again. Then she closed it again. Then she turned to Abigail. “Help me out here.”
“Uh…” Abigail shrugged. “I got nothing.”
Abigail made a frustrated sound, then tossed the papers off her lap onto the table. She leaned back and exhaled loudly. Khait frowned, then walked up behind her. She went still as he put his hands on her shoulders, then made a soft moaning sound as he started kneading her muscles. “Oh, right there. Exactly like that.”
“I know.” He smiled down at her as he kept massaging her skin.
“Mmmmmmm.” She sighed. “This part of your incubus thing?”
“Seduction is both skill and art. But one barely needs supernatural powers to pick up on this particular desire.” He used his knuckles to work at a particular bit of tension in her neck. He hesitated a moment. “I though the car would please her.”
“For a guy who understands everything about women…” Abigail laughed softly. “You know nothing about women.” Then she gave a small twitch of her shoulder. “Though this isn’t exactly a woman thing. Bridget has worked hard for everything she has. Getting something for free, taking the easy way. It bothers her.” She smiled. “Bridget is a military brat.”
“I do not understand the term.” He kept working on her. Anything she could tell him about this mistress he’d been saddled with would be helpful. Her restrictions were starting to hamper him considerably.
“Yeah, you probably wouldn’t.” Abigail leaned forward so he could work more on her back. “Her mother was a soldier. She grew up on the base. Every detail, everything in its place. Bridget likes it when things make sense. And you…” Abigail groaned softly. “Don’t make a lot of sense.”
“You are much more fun.” He smiled. “Pity you did not put the ring on.”
“We’d be naked on a beach surrounded by fruity drinks right now if I’d put the ring on.” Abigail laughed.
“No.” He worked his hands lower. “A beach, perhaps…” He smiled. “But a castle fit for a queen, overlooking the waves crashing below. The drinks I would bring you on a tray, offering as I kneel at your feet.” He leaned forward as he kneaded her skin, his lips barely brushing her ear. “You’d have me wearing nothing but a collar.”
“You…” Abigail leaned back into him, her eyes half closed. He took the opportunity to nibble a little at her neck. She tasted sweet. “Are dangerous.”
“You like that. Something powerful at your command.” He flicked his tongue over her tender flesh, and she raised a hand to catch hold of his hair, holding his head in place. “At your will.”
“Yes, I…” Her grip tightened in his hair, and she pulled his head forward so she could look into his eyes. “Are you whammying me again?”
“What is…” He laughed a little. “I am not using magic on you. She has forbidden it.”
“So, this is…” Abigail gave him a considering look. “Just…” She reached her other hand up to brush her fingers against his lips. He kissed them. “A lot of experience, hmmm?”
“I am slightly older than I look.” He smiled at her.
“You know I would really like to handcuff you to my bed and do all kinds of unspeakable things to your body, right?”
“You wanted the leather flogger, yes?” His lips curled up. “The one with the slightly smaller handle, to better fit your hand?” When her eyes widened. “You are my hostess, Abigail. Getting you a present is only good manners.”
She stared at him for a moment longer, then looked away. “Bridget?” She yelled. “Help!”
He sighed and straightened up, staring at the ceiling. “I am starting to dislike modern women.”