by Myla Jackson
As punishment for using magic unwisely, Catherine Wein, ex-witch and totally cursed, is doomed to spend each year in a different woman's life. It's New Year's Eve and at the stroke of midnight she'll make the switch to another host's life. Catherine's determined to grab for as much happiness as she can with her remaining hours in Kindra Merlot's body. Enter sexy cop, Sam Cade
Damn. New Years Eve and alone.
“Hey, I got one for you.” BJ handed him a glass of champagne and pointed across the floor at a woman with long, silvery blonde hair and a shimmering silver dress that hugged every curve of her body. He glanced around. “Where’s mine?”
Sam missed BJ’s question, his gaze captivated by the woman standing with a glass of champagne, a sad smile playing around her lips. Something about her pale blue eyes and the way she stared with longing at the couples dancing amid soft blinking lights called out to him. Despite his words to the contrary, Sam wanted to meet the woman. His feet shifted and he stepped out.
BJ’s hand smacked him in the arm. “Did I do right by you, buddy?”
Boy, did he. No use letting him in on the news. BJ would just get a big head, besides, Sam wasn’t sure he should move on his instincts to go meet the woman. “I guess she’s all right.”
“Now, where’s mine. I’m anxious to meet the future Mrs. Drake.”
Sam gave his friend an exasperated look. “Aren’t you getting ahead of yourself?”
“I never date a woman I’m not willing to marry.” BJ stared around the room. “So, where is she?”
A woman with a shock of bright red curls joined the blonde. Sam squelched the chuckle rising in his chest. Perfect. “She’s next to the blonde. Say hello to the future Mrs. Drake.”
“Hey, I gave you a sex goddess and you give me Little Orphan Annie?”
“BJ Drake, I’ve never known you to pass on a challenge. Are you telling me you aren’t going to give my choice for you a chance?”
BJ scowled. “Some friend you are.” He grabbed another glass of champagne from a passing caterer. “Come on, let’s go meet our futures.”
Now that he was headed across the floor to meet the blonde, Sam wasn’t so sure it was a good idea. What would he say? He’d been out of the dating scene for the most part, having been in a steady relationship for the past year and a half. His gut clenched and butterflies invaded. Storming a crack house wasn’t nearly as nerve-wracking as chatting up a strange woman who looked like a super model.
Since this was BJ’s idea, Sam couldn’t back out now. Not with BJ headed the same way. Tamping down his nerves, he attacked the task as if he were about to face a crime boss head-on.
When Sam and BJ were only halfway across the floor, two other men approached the women. They shook hands and then the men led them out onto the dance floor.
“Damn.” BJ shook his head. “Guess if you snooze you lose. I was getting used to the idea of a redhead. I’ve never been with a redhead before.”
“Songs only run for three minutes,” Sam pointed out. Not that he cared. Or so he told himself, although the sense of relief he felt came out of nowhere when he realized the music had changed to a lively rock beat. The thought of the silvery blonde in another man’s arms did bad things to his insides. Was it possible to be jealous even when you hadn’t met the woman?
BJ glanced around the lobby. “I could use a beer.”
“What, had enough champagne?” Sam’s gaze followed the woman around the floor.
“Not particularly. Wanna hit the bar?”
“You go ahead. I’m fine for now.” BJ could have stayed or gone, Sam wouldn’t have known. He only had eyes for her. Was she a tenant in the apartment complex? Had he ridden the elevator with her a hundred times and never seen her? Was he becoming obsessed in only a few short minutes?
By the time the song ended, his hands were clenched in his pockets. A sultry rhythm took the place of the rock song and the man the blonde had been dancing with grabbed her hand when she would have walked away.
No way. All his cop instincts kicked in and Sam charged onto the dance floor like a bull moose in full rut.
The woman was shaking her head and tugging against the man’s grip.
“Hi, sweetheart. I see you found a dance partner while I was away.” Sam turned to the man whose hand was gripping the blonde’s wrist. “Thank you for entertaining my wife while I ran up to check on the babysitter.”
“Huh?” The man’s grip loosened, and he dropped the woman’s arm. “Excuse me.” Then he ran like a scalded cat.
“You’d think I had the plague the way that guy took off.” She rubbed at the red mark on her wrist from the guy’s bruising fingers. “Thanks.” Then she turned the full force of her smile on him.
The music swirled around them, weaving a tantalizing spell on Sam. Now that he’d done the cop thing, he should turn around and leave. He’d just been dumped by one woman, he didn’t need the complications of another woman in his life so soon. He’d only be on the rebound. Wouldn’t he? “Would you like to dance?”
“I suppose it’s only right, afterall we’re married and have children together.” She moved into his arms and laid her fingertips against his chest, her body straight, despite the music’s intimate rhythm. “One problem...”
“If it’s a bad guy, I’ll shoot him.” He tried to pull her closer, but she pushed against him. “Really, I’m a cop, no thug is too tough.” Where was he getting this corny talk? Sam resisted the urge to slap his own forehead.
“Slow down, Lone Ranger. I don’t need rescuing.” She laughed, the sound better than the music and twice as intoxicating as the best champagne. Make that rum and coke. “I just want to know the name of my husband.”
Her scent wrapped around him, the soft aroma of honeysuckle and moonlight. He should leave, now. “Sam. My name’s Sam Cade.” He leaned back. “And your name?”
Why had she stumbled over her name? Was she afraid he was a Tom cat on the prowl? “Kindra, huh?” He stared hard into her pale blue eyes. “You don’t look like a Kindra.”
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