Date Night – A Spellbound Short Story
This Spellbound short story is spoiler free, so you don’t need to have read Say You’re Mine to enjoy it! But click here if you’d like to read more about Violet and Reece’s story.
The aroma of simmering marinara sauce was the first thing to hit Reece when he opened the door to his apartment.
Violet was next.
One minute he caught sight of her in his kitchen, leaning over a pot on the stove, and then next she was across the room, slamming into him and pushing him against the doorframe. Not that it mattered when she was right there with him, her hands sliding up into his hair, her mouth moving in sync with his.
Hard, hungry and taking his shit day and throttling it all the way up to fan-fucking-tastic.
Grinning she drew back, and he noticed the splatter of crushed tomatoes across her cheek. God, she was cute.
“I know we didn’t have plans tonight, but my last couple of meetings were rescheduled so I decided to be spontaneous and—”
He kissed her again, holding on until she stopped talking and sighed into his mouth in that breathless way that made him want to challenge the Guinness World Record for how quick he could get someone naked. “I’m glad you’re here.” The kind of glad he hadn’t expected and was already addicted to.
Her smile widened and she eased out of his arms. “I didn’t think you’d mind if I let myself in and started dinner. I wasn’t sure when you’d be home, but figured if it turned out to be late, at least you’d come home to more than grilled cheese sandwiches or three-day-old pizza.”
“Pizza isn’t any good unless it’s at least three days old.”
She shriveled up her nose at him. “And your fish looked like she was starving, so I fed her.”
He pretended to glance at the goldfish his partner had given him. Well, Sloan had given him the first one at any rate. He was on Dory Version 3 at the moment, but a fish was a lot less demanding than a dog. And she seemed to get pretty excited whenever he turned on a hockey game.
Tossing his keys on the side table, he shut the door, deciding he wanted to see Violet in his kitchen a lot more. And in the living room and the bedroom…
Violet pointed her spoon at him. “You’ve got that look, Detective.”
“What look?” He took his time crossing the room.
“The one that says I’m seconds away from being thrown over your shoulder and dragged off to your cave.”
He stepped up behind her, pressing his mouth to the curve of her neck. “But it’s a very nice cave.”
Laughing, she pushed him back. “This is a family recipe, and I refuse to let it burn, so you’re just going to have to wait.”
Sighing dramatically, he pressed a kiss to her nape and grabbed a beer from the fridge. He took a second to smile at the stained apron Violet wore over her frayed jean shorts and black tank top.
“Crazy day?” Violet asked, sampling the sauce.
“Probably not as crazy as yours.”
She arched a brow, waiting.
“I deal with criminals. You deal with your brothers.”
Violet winced. “They didn’t pull anything lately, did they?”
“Surprisingly no.” He glanced around, pretty damn sure he should knock on wood or something. He’d never been the superstitious type, but then he’d never been in love with a witch before. That had taken a little getting used to, but not as much as her pain in the ass brothers who’d made it their mission in life to torture him with one magically-induced prank after another.
Actually, it had been a really quiet week where Finn and Dante Calder were concerned. Maybe they’d finally gotten the message that he had no intention of walking away from Violet. Ever.
Setting her spoon down, Violet faced him. “You know they’re getting used to you, right?”
He snorted, but wasn’t interested in talking about his two least favorite Calders—although Violet’s crazy sister Riley sometimes competed for the second spot. Man, he never wanted to get on that woman’s bad side. “How about we forget about Fred and George Weasley for a minute—”
Violet burst out laughing. “Do me a favor and never call them that to their faces. They are not Harry Potter fans.”
“—and you and I sneak off to my cave for a while?” he finished, promising nothing. He took her hand, lacing their fingers. “Dinner can wait.”
She glanced at the stove and he saw the moment she thought about giving in. He moved in for the kill, reeling her in and catching her lips in a kiss that guaranteed he’d sink to begging if it came to it.
“Okay,” she murmured, teasing her tongue across his bottom lip. “I just need to turn off the stove first—”
Violet jumped, and sensing movement behind him, Reece whirled around, shoving her behind him.
Standing opposite them in his living room, a brunette he’d only met once or twice watched them curiously. “Looks like he is a good kisser. Riley is gonna be pissed she lost that bet.”
Violet sighed. “What’s up, Tate?”
This was only the second time he’d witnessed Violet’s cousin teleport into the room, and he wasn’t any less stunned than he’d been the first time at Calder Investigations. Although, out of all the magic Violet’s family could wield, he found Tate’s rare ability to travel just by thinking about it the most intriguing.
“Fred and George are on their way over,” she quipped, not evening looking the least bit apologetic for eavesdropping before they realized she was there.
“Of course they are,” Reece muttered. He would’ve had to knock on a whole damn forest to keep his earlier comment from coming back to haunt him. “Why?”
Tate shrugged. “Something to do with a case.”
Reece glanced at Violet. “Did they know you were coming over?”
She shook her head. “Only Tate and Darby knew. Finn and Dante were out of the office all day.”
“I didn’t tell them you were here,” Tate threw in. “Dante just happened to call Darby when I was standing there to reschedule something they were doing tonight, said he and Finn were on their way over to talk to Reece. Figured I’d give you a heads up.” She disappeared, then reappeared a few seconds later with…popcorn?
Reece stared at the container that could have only come from a movie theater judging by the fresh-popped smell.
“You guys don’t mind if I stay for the drama, do you?”
“Tate,” Violet warned.
Reece cocked his head. “How does that not make you dizzy? All that zapping in an out?” He would have thought it would take her longer to travel from place to place, but now he knew how fast she could be.
Tate shrugged. “Just used to it I guess.”
“No headaches or vertigo?”
“Nope.” She popped a handful of popcorn into her mouth.
“No butterflies or nausea? Ever throw up from it?”
Tate shoved the container at him. “Appetite ruined. You two have fun with the Weasleys. Riley is going to laugh her ass off over that one. Not bad, Detective.” Just as fast as she appeared, she vanished into thin air.
“How does that not blow your mind?” he asked Violet.
She grinned. “Cavemen are easily spooked.”
He reached for her. “Over the shoulder it is—”
A knock at the door stopped him, and he sighed. Tossing a few pieces of popcorn into his mouth, he crossed to the door. “Best to get this over with.”
“They’ll behave,” Violet promised.
“I wouldn’t hold them to that if I were you.” He opened the door and faced the two Calder brothers he’d spent months dreading running into. It had routinely involved them being somewhere they shouldn’t be—private investigators or not—and somehow magically getting themselves out of trouble. Emphasis onmagically since Reece hadn’t known about their true nature at the time.
Finn stood smack in the middle of the doorway, his gaze bored but resigned. Reece knew the feeling. The oldest Calder brother stood off to the side in the hallway, his hair and eyes the same shade as Violet’s, his usual brooding expression intact.
Snatching the container of popcorn out of Reece’s hand, Finn strode past him, his cocky expression fading when he spotted his sister. “I didn’t know you were going to be here, Vi.”
“Guess you didn’t realize how much time we spend together.” Reece took the popcorn back.
“Is that Mom’s recipe?” Dante stepped into Reece’s apartment, following the scent of the marinara sauce right to the stove.
“No.” Finn shot Violet a scandalized look. “You made it for him?”
Unfazed by her brothers, Violet grabbed the spoon before Dante actually tried to taste-test the sauce. “Why are you two to here?”
Without taking his eyes off the out-of-reach spoon, Dante thrust an envelope at Reece. Violet nodded encouragingly, forcing Reece to concede to the Calder Brother invasion. For now.
He pulled a photograph out of the envelope, feeling only a little weird when Violet glanced past his shoulder to see the image of the dead man in the photograph. The victim had been struck over the head with a blunt object that left a peculiar star-shaped indentation on his skull, but the grainy photo thankfully made the image less disturbing than other pictures Reece had glimpsed of the crime scene.
“I don’t even want to know how you got this, do I?”
Finn only winked.
Violet tilted her head, taking the photo from Reece for a closer look. “Is that Alan Hutchinson?”
Five minutes ago his plans for the evening had involved Violet and a cave and breaking world records. Dante and Finn and a murder victim that even Violet recognized had not even entered the picture.
“Why are you bringing this to me?”
“Because,” Finn said, snagging a beer from the fridge, “Your partner was the arresting officer on this one and she picked up the wrong guy.”
Reece handed the envelope back to Dante. “Then go talk to Sloan.” He took Violet’s hand, pulling her closer.
“Telum manus.” The amulet around Dante’s neck brightened and dimmed so fast Reece might have imagined it if he didn’t know better. The oldest Calder brother held up the spoon Violet had in her possession only a moment ago, using it to sample the sauce.
Violet rolled her eyes.
Moaning around the mouthful of sauce, Dante nodded to the envelope. “Look at the other picture.”
The second pic that Reece missed the first time was taken inside someone’s home. A living room maybe. He looked to Finn for an explanation but he was too busy poking through the grocery bag Violet had left on the counter.
“That picture was taken a month ago when we were contacted by Alan Hutchinson about his suspicions that one of his employees was selling software designs to his competitors. We didn’t manage to find anything concrete before he changed his mind about the investigation.”
“So who’s house is this?”
Dante was too busy enjoying more sauce to respond.
“His brother’s,” Finn piped up, digging into the grocery bag. If he pulled out the uncooked pasta to go with the sauce Reece was throwing him out.
Glancing back at the photo, Reece couldn’t remember if the victim’s brother had been considered a suspect or not, but he definitely hadn’t been arrested. Since Reece had been preoccupied with a trial at the time, he hadn’t involved in the investigation.
Finn took another long drink of his beer. “Take a look at the sculpture on the top shelf above the television.”
His gaze locked on the same star-shaped design that probably matched the one left on the victim’s head. “I’m guessing this picture wasn’t acquired in a legal fashion?”
Finn glanced at Dante. “Did we tell Tate to proceed in a legal fashion on this one?”
Violet punched her brother, and Reece fell in love with her a little more. He wasn’t even sure how that was possible, but for a moment his thoughts were focused entirely on her. Her smile, her eyes, that shy look she still got when she caught him staring at her.
And then Finn spoke up and reminded him they weren’t alone. “Do not make me turn you into a slug, Prescott.”
“Don’t get your wand all bent out of shape, Fred,” he growled, looking at the two pictures side by side.
Grinning on the inside, Reece asked, “Is the sculpture back in it’s place?” Assuming it was the murder weapon. He glanced between the brothers. “I assume one of you checked or you wouldn’t be here.”
“Fred?” Finn asked again.
“How do you know he’s not George?” Violet asked, enjoying the private dig as much as Reece.
“It’s still there.” Dante finally set the spoon down. “You just need to call for a warrant.” He snapped the envelope and pictures out of Reece’s hand.
“Yeah, I’ll just get the judge on the phone,” Reece quipped. “We can’t get a warrant without a damn good reason.” Unfortunately presenting Dante’s picture of the murder weapon in the brother’s house would lead to a lot of questions none of them wanted to answer.
“That’s your problem. We’ve done our civic duty.” Finn turned away from the grocery bag, stopped, and dug in deeper.
Violet rushed forward to shove his hands out of the way. Finn shot Reece a murderous look.
What the hell was in the bag?
“What?” Dante looked back and forth between his siblings.
“Nothing,” Finn grumbled. “We need to go. I have a date.”
“You always have a date.” Dante followed his brother to the door.
“I’m guessing you guys dug into Hutchinson’s brother a little bit during your investigation, before he shut you down? Can you get me something I can use to convince a judge to give us a warrant?”
Dante nodded, following Finn’s gaze back to the bag on the counter. “What’s your deal?”
The younger Calder shuddered. “Let’s just go.” Finn closed the door, and Reece barely caught something like, “Before I do turn him into a slug.”
Frowning at Violet, he crossed over to the counter, fishing out the box of condoms that had sent Finn running. “So this is the secret to getting rid of them?”
“I think Finn likes to pretend I don’t have sex.” She looped her arms around Reece’s neck, pressing up against him in a way that made it hard to remember they’d even been interrupted. “Now, you were saying something about a cave I believe.”
“I thought you didn’t want me acting like a caveman? Something about your family’s special sauce getting burned.”
“Screw the damn sauce.” She rocked up and slanted her mouth across his.
He wrapped his arms around her, dragging her even closer. The kind of close that involved feeling every inch of her rub against him until his blood turned molten in his veins. He lifted her onto the counter and slid between her parted legs, groaning when she tightened them around him. Her tongue swept across his bottom lip, slow and soft, and melting at least half a dozen of his brain cells a second. He was happy to see them go.
Falling all the way into the kiss, he tugged at the bottom of her shirt, slipping beneath the hem to tease her abdomen. She left her head drop back on a breathy sigh, and he took the opportunity to devour the slender column of her throat.
Another knock at the door left him sighing against her neck. “He wants to see me rip open that box of condoms. He must.”
Half-worried he might be serious, Violet hopped down and left him to open the door.
Sloan barreled inside the second she pulled it open. “Hi, Vi.” Shoulders shuddering, she walked right past Reece and straight to the small fish tank. “You never feed her, do you?” She dumped enough food into the tank to turn it into a winter wonderland without even noticing, then turned and flopped on the couch. “Max and I broke up.”
“I’ll get the wine.” Violet turned away, leaving Reece in unfamiliar territory.
He tried not to stare at Sloan’s red-rimmed eyes. She never cried, at least not that she ever admitted to, and somehow he knew she didn’t want to have to admit to it this time either. “Asshole,” he grumbled, sliding into the chair. “Always knew he was an asshole.”
Violet handed Sloan a glass of wine, and his partner drank half of it before taking the bottle Violet offered her instead.
“Sorry. I kind of barged in here.”
“Don’t worry about it. It’s sort of the trend tonight.” Violet dropped onto the couch and picked up the television remote. “We were just going to watch something. I voted for Encino Man but Reece wasn’t feeling the whole caveman thing.” She bit down on her grin. “How do you feel about The Walking Dead?”
Sloan brightened. “You need to marry this one, Reece. She’s a keeper.” She took the remote from Violet. “I know exactly what episode we should start with.”
Moving over next to Violet, he glanced at her and mouthed, Zombies?
She smiled and shrugged, leaning into him as Sloan got the show going.
“I think we should watch Encino Man afterward though,” Sloan said, chugging straight from the bottle.
Reece choked on a laugh and squeezed Violet’s hand in punishment. Against her ear, he whispered, “Now or later, you’re still going over my shoulder.”
“Promises, promises,” she murmured.
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