V3 Veiled Enchantments - Deborah Blake Page 0,1

to meet his ocean-colored eyes, “Fine, but consider yourself warned. I’m off men at the moment, so don’t expect me to fall for your charm and the old stolen-flowers routine.”

He chuckled, handing her the blooms, and wandered briefly around the living room before plopping onto the couch and putting his feet up on the scarred table in front of it. “I like your new place.” He paused. “I take it I don’t have to worry about Peter coming in and challenging me for your hand then?”

She gave a small growl through clenched jaws. “No,” she said flatly. “He was around for a bit, but it didn’t work out. He’s gone.”

Magnus raised an eyebrow. “‘Gone’ as in left town, or ‘gone’ as in he pissed you off and you killed him?” He didn’t sound as though he thought either outcome was a problem.

“‘Gone’ as in left town without a forwarding address,” Donata said, grabbing a couple of beers out of the fridge and handing one to him as she settled into the chair opposite him, intentionally keeping a safe distance between them. She hadn’t seen him in over seven months, but they’d always had a dangerously tempting chemistry. “I killed the other guy.”

The eyebrow moved higher. “Is that a joke?”

A small hand appeared out of nowhere holding its own beer; the hand was attached to a three-foot-tall man wearing a long, neatly trimmed brown beard and matching brown overalls. “Not at all,” the Kobold said. “But it’s okay. The bastard had it coming to him.”

Magnus choked on his beer, sputtering slightly. Ricky helpfully handed him a handkerchief to mop up with. “You killed someone, ’Nata? I’m impressed.”

She rolled her eyes. Only an Ulfhednar, descended from a race of shapeshifting berserkers, would consider murdering a former boyfriend to be a kudos-worthy achievement. “Don’t be. I wouldn’t have done it if I’d had any choice.”

“It looks like I missed a lot in the last few months.” He reached out for her hand but sat back again when she made no move toward him.

Donata held herself stiffly upright. There was no way she was going to go down that road again. She’d learned her lesson.

“You could say that. It’s a long story; one for another time, perhaps. After you’ve told me how you’ve been, maybe. I know you had to leave to finish your Ulf training at home.” It had been tough, watching both him and Peter walk away. “It would have been nice to have gotten, oh, I don’t know, a phone call or something to tell me you were still alive.”

She hadn’t even known for sure about Peter’s continued existence until recently. She sure could pick ’em: a half-Dragon forger with anger-management issues and a disgraced Shapechanger, both of them with enough baggage to fill an airport carousel.

“I’m sorry, ’Nata. The Ulf training is incredibly intense and requires complete focus. We’re supposed to avoid all distractions during the training.” He grinned at her over the top of his beer. “You know I’ve always found you very distracting.”

Donata huffed out a breath. “And you know I hate that nickname,” she said automatically. “So, does your presence here mean that your training is finished and you’ve finally become an Ulf?”

She knew it had been important to him to learn how to control his inner berserker, and after avoiding the training for years he had returned home to take up where he’d left off when he was much younger. He’d intended to triumph over the arduous tests that would make him one of the elite warriors of the Ulfhednar. Or die trying. Until he’d shown