The Key’s Guardian by #EAReynolds

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Dallan is a four hundred-year-old apothecary-witch who is enjoying eternity but is growing bored with being alone. One fateful afternoon while making deliveries, he runs into Hansel Grimm and knows Hansel is the one.

Hansel is a teacher at a catholic school living his life carefully as a closeted gay man. But that’s not the only secret Hansel is hiding. He’s a powerful witch and the key to a grimoire a dark coven will kill to possess. Only Hansel doesn’t know it yet, but when he lays eyes on Dallan, it’s almost love at first sight.

One date is all it takes to convince Dallan he could have something special with Hansel, but Hansel has been hurt. He’s reluctant to rush into anything no matter how sexy Dallan is.

With dark forces whirling around them bent on claiming Hansel’s power, Hansel may never get the chance to find out if Dallan is worth risking his heart on.

Excerpt

STORY EXCERPT

The man slumped in his chair, eyes down on something on the table, and Dallan wished he’d look up so he could see the man’s eyes. Suddenly, he lifted his head, giving Dallan a good view of his profile. His nose was a little long, and his lips were just shy of full. Then, the young man turned his head and Dallan caught sight of sky-blue eyes that held curiosity.

The baby face was smooth with a barely noticeable scar across the right cheek. He was simply dressed in a light-blue button-down shirt and a loosely knotted red tie.

Dallan’s gaze washed over the male’s face again, carefully drinking him in once more, and that’s when their eyes collided. It was like a sucker punch to the solar plexus. His stomach tightened and his power tensed and shot up like water through a spout fountain. His heart raced and he felt like a schoolboy laying eyes on a crush.

Dallan did a mental double take because it had been a very long time since any sweet young thing had made his heart rush or his breath catch. Looking to admire, because he did love to look at beautiful and attractive men, had turned into looking to devour.

The hunger must be rolling off him in powerful waves, because the other man looked away briefly and then back again. Dallan’s gaze was drawn to the bow lips as they fell apart, and his dick twitched. His mind painted a picture for him of those lips stretched around his cock as they sucked him past them.

And then the man’s little pink tongue darted out to lightly moisten his bottom lip. The simple act sent Dallan’s body into a full hard-on.

Oh, fuck yeah.

He loved men of all shades and found something to like in all features, but Dallan had to admit this one was very appealing. And he was flirting without truly trying.

Dallan got to his feet and moved with catlike grace toward the other man’s table. He kept his eyes on the stranger, who couldn’t seem to look away now either despite the peel of feminine laughter that grated over his nerves from a nearby table. Dallan rested one hand on a vacant chair and the other he slid into his slacks pocket.

“Good afternoon.” Dallan was well aware that not every man he saw was gay, but he wasn’t afraid of taking a chance, especially since he had the magical might as well as the physical strength to defend himself from a pissed-off straight guy. “May I join you?”

“Uh—” The object of his interest looked around briefly.

“Is your girlfriend one of those ladies over there?” Dallan asked, and blue eyes jerked back to his, snapping with a bit of ire. “Or are they more your type than I am?”

The other man’s eyes lit with a bit of humor. “Not really.”

Dallan pulled out the chair and sat down without breaking eye contact. “I’ll take that as a yes then for now,” Dallan drawled. “What’s your name?”

“I’m Hansel.”

“Dallan,” he introduced smoothly. “Why isn’t your boyfriend joining you for lunch? With a pretty face like yours, I’d be hard-pressed to allow you to dine in public alone.”

Hansel’s lips curved into a smile that made his eyes spark with mischief. “You’d just keep me locked up like a prisoner?” he drawled, keeping his voice low.

Dallan leaned toward him, his lips spreading into a slow grin. “It would be a thought.”

“And leave me to eat alone?” Hansel added, those blue eyes still dancing with mirth.

“Hardly,” Dallan murmured. “I’d just be worried about you having to fend off so many men and women.”

Hansel laughed, and a swirl of darker blue turned Hansel’s eyes sodalite. The color bespoke of one of the intriguing jewel witches. Their magick was expelled in shades that matched the color of their eyes, and their eye color was a mood indicator. The darker the shade, the more amused and in good humor they were. The paler shades indicated anger or confusion.

“I get my share of attention, but I’d be the one worried.”

“About what?”

Hansel leaned forward, elbow on the table. “About you being unfaithful to me. All the hot men I’ve ever known seem to have trouble keeping it in their pants.”

His words were laced with a hint of anger, and Dallan wanted to throttle every man who’d ever hurt this ray of sunshine.

“Sounds like you’ve been played a time or two,” Dallan replied quietly.

“Once or twice, yeah,” Hansel admitted with a shrug. “But who hasn’t?”

“I’m not that guy, Hansel,” Dallan said softly. “In fact, the only playing I’d be doing is with you. I bet you’d be a feast spread out for me every night.”

Hansel looked down at the table where Dallan’s right hand lay facedown, and then back up at Dallan. “Are you one of those guys who got married to hide being gay? I mean, I don’t—you’re keeping your other hand out of sight, so I can’t tell if you’re wearing a ring, not that it means much these days.”

“I’m not married.” Dallan held his left hand up, revealing dark brown skin with copper undertones and short neat nails. “That’s not how I roll, Hansel. Those kinds of games are for little boys and bastards. If all I want is one night, I just tell a guy that up front so he can make an informed decision.”

 

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