She reluctantly edged her hands towards him.
Kin was the one who hesitated now. A war erupted inside him as he stared at her outstretched hands and the silver manacles that linked them. He really shouldn’t do this. He fought the need that pressed him to say it, that pushed the words up his throat as he lifted his gaze to her face and lost himself in her eyes again.
“I want a boon in return,” he murmured, feeling hazy as he breathed in her scent, as his wolf side paced and growled, goading him into obeying his instincts.
“What?” She frowned at him, a wary edge to her green eyes as she held his gaze.
Her pulse was off the scale, rocketing in his ears, and he told himself to forget it, to take back what he had said because he was pushing her too hard. So much for not listening to his instincts. It had been two seconds and he was already trying to dominate her, to make her his whether she wanted it or not.
“A wee kiss.” He braced himself, sure she would lash out at him or storm away, that he had ruined everything by being too forward with her.
She looked as if she was contemplating striking him, but then she thrust her hands towards him and tipped her chin up, a fire in her eyes as she glared at him.
His bonnie lass was a wild one, just as he’d expected.
Kin flexed his fingers and shook them to try to stop them from trembling, not wanting her to notice how she fired him up and how deeply she affected him, stealing his strength and making him weak.
He drew down a breath as he took hold of her right cuff. It hitched as their skin made contact, as a sizzle chased up his arm and his gaze leaped to meet hers. Her green eyes were wide again and gods, he was close to her. Her scent and heat swirled around him, fogging his mind, making it hard for him to focus on anything other than how tempting her soft pink lips were.
Lips that would yield to him soon.
He bit back a groan and went to work, careful not to rub her wrists with the sharp edge of the shackle. They were stronger than they looked. He had figured he could easily break them, but they were more than just steel. It struck him that was the reason she feared him, and the reason she was happy to pay his fee for her freedom. There was a spell in the restraints, one that had to be inhibiting her powers.
His beautiful lass had been more than chained. Her magic, a fundamental part of who she was, had been stolen from her.
He growled and dug his fingers beneath the thick metal, strained and refused to give up this time. His wee witch wouldn’t be treated in such a manner. Not when he could do something about it. The edge of the shackle bit into his fingers, drawing blood, but he kept at it, yanking the two sides apart.
The lock gave, the cuff opening so suddenly he almost hit Hella in the face as his hand flew up. She ducked backwards and scowled at him. He issued her an apologetic look and then tackled her other cuff.
The second it opened and the restraints dropped to the ground, he reached for her, eager for his reward.
Only the wily witch snatched something from her pocket, brought it to her lips and disappeared with a single finger salute in his direction as the small bottle fell towards the moss.
Kin snatched it on a vicious growl before it could hit the ground, and wanted to howl when he straightened and opened his fist and spotted a label on the dark blue bottle.
He sniffed it. Some kind of potion? In her haste, she hadn’t drunk it all. There was a drop left.
Shouts echoed through the trees from the direction of the castle and Kin stared at the bottle. If this didn’t work, the nymphs would hunt him down. The shackles the witch had worn would become his prison instead. He sucked down a steadying breath, brought the bottle to his lips and tipped the drop onto his tongue.
A howl tore up his throat as every molecule in his body vibrated and then burned, and he was sure the damned potion was rearranging his entire body into a new order.
And then suddenly he was standing where he had been in the fae town in Geneva.
“Oh, fuck,” a sultry, oh-so-bewitching voice muttered, rousing his blood and sharpening his senses.
He locked gazes with Hella.
A heartbeat passed, a moment in which he felt sure she would do the sensible thing and not provoke him any further.
And then she pivoted on her heel and ran.