Cursed By Destiny Page 9

I smiled back. She didn’t scare me in the least. “Go ahead. Emme would love that new Porsche Boxster Misha gave you for your birthday.”

Edith’s olive skin paled. The others cracked up. Besides prom night, there was nothing they enjoyed more than laughing at someone else’s expense.

• • •


I groaned. “Misha.”

“Faster, my love, faster.” He laughed when I snarled. “If it pleases you, I can push harder from behind.”

I smacked his arm. “Knock it off before I throw you out of the damn car!”

Vampires were ridiculously oversexed creatures. Mostly, it got on my nerves. But when Misha interjected comments best said in a dark room filled with the scent of sex and sweat, it made me uncomfortable. Although it was his manner of teasing me, in part his propositions carried a serious offer. All it would have taken was a yes from me and we’d end up parked on the side of the road bouncing harder than a mob of horny kangaroos. That knowledge in itself scared the hell out of me.

“Behave, Misha.” I’d been scolding him the entire way to Dollar Point, where my sisters and I had shared a home. As much as he’d bugged me, he kept me distracted from dwelling on my brief time with Aric.

Aric had told me he loved me. This was only the second time he’d shared the depths of his feelings. And just like the first time he’d told me, it wrenched my heart. Against my better judgment, I’d spent the night clinging to his words, knowing it was likely the last time I’d hear them and lamenting that our time together had ended so soon. I wished our interlude had been different. When I peeled off my socks, I wished that the rest of my clothes had followed, and that we’d made love. But as much as I wanted him, it was wrong. Forced marriage or not, he was engaged to someone else.

“I said, faster.” Misha’s lips tickled my ear, making me squirm and hauling me back to the moment at hand. I rubbed my ear against my shoulder. I’d insisted he come along, so Taran could thank him for the gifts. Hank followed us in the new limo, since we also recognized it was best that Misha not stay.

Misha wasn’t happy with my sluggish speed, which even made an elderly couple pass us, but the last thing I wanted was to hit a patch of ice and damage the car. So Grandma and Grandpa could go ahead and flip me off; I didn’t care. It was another cold January day in Tahoe and flurries spun from the sky, slicking the already precarious asphalt.

“If you wish to attend the brunch, I advise you, go faster,” Misha complained.

“If you wanted a fast driver, you picked the wrong sister. That’s Shayna’s territory.”

“You have told me stories about her spirited driving techniques . . . how did you put it? Oh, yes—she has a need for speed.”

“More like a need to drive us along the highway to hell.”

The flurries stopped before I turned onto our cul-de-sac. I honked the horn a few times, but that only brought me the wrath of our evil neighbor, Mrs. Mancuso. She stormed out of her house. She must have had her hearing aid at its highest setting. “Celia Wird! What are you doing here? I thought the neighborhood was finally rid of you.”

My sisters might not have heard the car horn, but they heard that mean hag loud and clear. Taran threw the front door open and stomped onto the wooden porch of our custom colonial. Of all my sisters, Taran was the most striking and carried the exotic beauty of our mother. With her long black hair, deep golden skin, killer curves, and striking blue eyes, she was the walking cure for erectile dysfunction. Still, even without her loveliness, her mouth would have brought her attention. “For shit’s sake. Leave her alone, you old fart!”

“Stay out of this, tramp,” Mrs. Mancuso shot back.

“Die, lady. Grant me a happy birthday and just die already.”

Gemini stepped forward and turned Taran to face him. His dark almond eyes stared at her with adoration before he kissed the top of her head. “Taran, honey, she’s just trying to upset you. Don’t let her ruin your day.” His gentle words would probably have been enough to calm Taran, but Mrs. Mancuso wasn’t done.

“Gemini, leave her at once before you get syphilis!”

Taran launched herself across our snow-covered lawn right at Mrs. Mancuso. It’s a good thing for Mrs. Mancuso that Gemini’s werewolf ability gave him superhero-like strength. No human alive would have been able to hold Taran back.

Mrs. Mancuso, finally satisfied that she had done enough damage, shuffled merrily back to her house. “Trust me, Gemini, you’ll go blind,” she sang before shutting her door.

Misha and I stepped out of the car just as Taran let loose some of her more colorful invectives. Everyone else, including Bren and Danny, our extended family members, now stood on our front walkway. Hank cackled from inside the Hummer. He obviously thought the confrontation was funny—I didn’t, and neither did Koda. He growled at him and glared at Misha. “Anyone giving you trouble, Celia?” he asked.

Koda’s long black hair did nothing to soften the strong planes of his Native American face. At six feet five, he intimidated without even trying. “No, Koda. Everything is fine.”

My sisters and their wolves welcomed me warmly. Shayna skipped to me, with her long dark ponytail bouncing happily behind her and her blue eyes sparkling. Her perky personality had always put cheerleaders to shame. But it was her recent marriage to Koda that gave her an extra special spring to her step. She hugged me tight. “I’ve missed you, Ceel,” she said. She released me slowly, the gleam in her smile fading as worry spread across her pixie face. “The witch fire . . .” she began.

I pursed my lips. “Let’s talk about it when we go inside.”

She nodded while our youngest sister, Emme, walked timidly to Misha.

“Hello, Misha,” she said. Emme’s blond wavy hair had grown longer since the last time I’d seen her. I chuckled as her fair and freckled skin blushed when Misha returned her smile. She and Misha were dead opposites. Emme reminded me of an angel, sweet, quiet, innocent. Misha reminded me of sin. He radiated sexual attraction and temptation like a brothel sign. He was well aware of his allure and so was everyone else. Liam, Emme’s rock star–looking boyfriend, gathered her in his arms protectively and pulled her away.

Misha was about as popular with the wolves as E. coli. With the exception of Danny, who stepped over to shake his hand, the rest scowled at Misha when my remaining sisters greeted him.

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