Excerpt for Seeker: Magic Means Book 2 by , available in its entirety at Smashwords

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Books By Damon Rain

Learning My Lust

Founder: Magic Means Book 1

Seeker: Magic Means Book 2

Gathering: Magic Means Book 3 (Coming Soon)



For more information about Damon Rain, news, previews, special works or to find other novels, visit: www.DamonRain.com


Seeker: Magic Means Book 2 ©2018 Damon Rain all rights reserved.


No part of this eBook may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording or by any information storage and retrieval system, without written permission from the author.


This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, locales, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.


Prologue

To Regan Charles, Jessica Tate was the picture of feminine grace and beauty. She had blonde hair, startlingly blue eyes and a figure that begged to be caressed by the eye at every instant. He had no idea what he could do to please her next. He'd bought her two cars - a giant SUV and a beautiful town car - both of them were fully loaded, top of the line. He paid for her drivers, dinners at the most posh spots, more clothing than he could account for and more. He'd even accompanied her to an orgy where he and her other suitors watched - fully dressed in their suits - as the High Priest and Priestess ravaged her as a part of some black ceremony.

They looked on stoically as the High Priest slipped inside her, his Priestess massaging Jessica's marvelous body, kissing her full pink lips. Watching the young woman orgasm, singing sweetly into the night with her angelic voice, as the High Priest maintained a controlled, thorough pace of thrusting only as deep as Jessica would allow, while the Priestess massaged her breast and helped bring her to a climax with an expert hand.

Only they were allowed to touch her during the sacrament. At the end Regan almost left. The three of them were covered in hot blood by followers who spread it onto their skin with their hands. There was something completely wrong about it all. He could hear animals screaming in the other room - that blood was hot because it was just given by sacrifices they couldn’t see - and Regan nearly broke away. A look from his mistress - those blue eyes peering through a face that had been coated in red - was enough to freeze him to the spot. He had to stand firm; he was her adoring servant.

The ceremony concluded when the High Priest and Priestess made Jessica orgasm again, her blood covered legs and shoulders twitched as she cried out lustfully. Followers in white masks prayed all around them. He washed her with care afterwards, and when Jessica was clean, pretty and nude again, she joined a party that was beginning in the next room.

That was the second time he almost turned away. The affront of seeing her join a crowd of people who gathered nude on a massive mattress without hesitation was almost too much. He watched as a woman drew her face down between her legs, where Jessica's pink tongue eagerly licked her womanhood in long, broad strokes. A young man who looked around her age, nineteen, presented his manhood, holding it near her face and drawing her attention by patting her bottom.

To Regan's astonishment and frustration, Jessica looked at it, smiled, kissed the tip and nodded. He wanted to leave. So much money was wasted on this young blonde creature that would not give him his due. The offered manhood was small compared to Regan's - he would fill her and more, please her with skill that came with experience and age - but Jessica obviously liked the size of it. Hands reached out to her breasts from the writhing pile of people, kneading them, taking pleasure in their shape and volume as the young man moved behind her. Jessica's head came up again, sighing as he thrust into her slowly. Three strokes and he was hilt deep, grasping her bottom.

For a long moment Jessica's face was an expression of lustful enjoyment as the young man inside her vigorously took her from behind, burying himself to the hilt every time. "Yes! Yes! Like that!" she encouraged, one voice amongst many moans and cries in the pile of participants. The black-haired woman who had Jessica between her toned thighs smiled devilishly and took a handful of the younger woman's hair, drawing her mouth back down to her wet quim.

Regan wanted to leave, but he loved Jessica so much. If she was cold and he had no jacket, he would wrap himself around her and freeze in her stead. Every account he had was now in her name, in fact, he'd given her full power of attorney. She'd met her guardian, who spat on him, called him a weakling before leaving him in a closet for the night while they went out for dinner. He was there the next morning, apologizing for wetting himself in the meantime, but he was ordered into the closet, and no order given by Jessica or her guardian could be disobeyed. She loved him; surely, because Regan's love was so powerful, it must have been requited.

The image of Jessica being filled by three enthusiastic, moderately endowed men one after another, giving oral sex to two women, haunted Regan. He was commanded to stand at the door, to help guard the space while two dozen people or more writhed together and he did so even when a woman as beautiful as Jessica began to kiss her. He almost broke from his spot when the curvy brunette offered herself to him, spreading her legs, revealing her smooth womanhood. The lovely creature spread herself, staring right at him, biting her lip, and he almost took a step. Jessica looked over her shoulder at him and shook her head.

Regan remained in place as the pair laughed. The comely brunette moved so Jessica could attend to her, and she did with gusto. It was apparently something Mistress Jessica was very talented at - getting plowed from behind while she went down on women - two ladies were treated to multiple orgasms that grew louder and more intense as they let Jessica lick, kiss, and finger them. Men loved her pussy, and Jessica turned away anyone too large, treating the others to her pink passage.

Several nights later, Regan woke from a dream that left him shaking. Jessica was on the large mattress, surrounded by orgy participants. None of them were human. Most had twisted faces, made long or too wide, their eyes red, yellow, or gleaming violet. Mistress Jessica was blindfolded, and couldn’t see their hideous bodies, gleeful grins or long clawed fingers as they licked her skin. Sniffed her sex, her hair, greedily drew on her breasts with their mouths.

Angels with bright white wings, perfectly chiseled bodies fought to reach her from the outside, drawing blood with daggers and swords. Their progress was slow, their fates were gruesome as some were gored by long horns, bitten apart by demons that overpowered them or clawed open. A rush of smaller demons - chattering little beasts with erect cocks that were too large for them - descended upon her. Jessica, unaware that they were demons, greedily sucked one into her mouth when it teased her lips with its head. Another spread her legs, licked her intimate space for a moment before another demon slapped him aside. To Regan's horror, it held her legs open and plunged in deep, making her writhe as he rapidly plunged and withdrew.

With a gleam in its eye and a devilish grin the demon turned its head and looked directly at Regan. That's when he realized that the demon had his face, and he woke up. He didn't know how he got there, but he was following Jessica around in the Tate Private Library. The brunette he saw at the orgy several nights before was there, presenting a book to Jessica that looked old. Her glasses were poised on near the tip of her nose above glossy pink lips. A tightly fitted plaid vest revealed a white silk blouse that had several open buttons. Black stockings adorned short but shapely legs that were covered almost down to the knee by a pleated skirt that bore the Tate tartan. "Three members of the First Circle were looking at this the other day. Mistress Ember had me look up the sections on the origins of magical light wells and how new ley lines are made, but even this book only presents theories. They seem like good, responsible speculation, but no one who contributed to the text claims to have seen the new formation of either. They used one of the meeting rooms after they reviewed this text."

"What do you think?" Jessica asked. "Could there be new ley lines or could a few have moved, crossing in a new place? Maybe even a new well of magic?"

"I've been looking into it," Inez said. That was her name, he remembered; Inez. "I think it's possible, but according to this," she pointed to a passage in the old book. "Whole magic wells can be concealed. When they’re revealed, people can mistake them for a new one. The appearance of a brand new light magic well is highly unlikely. It would take a miracle, or the righting of a great wrong done to an incredibly powerful spirit. It’s like a minor diety granting someone, or a whole area a boon. Making a new ley line is difficult, but more likely. Restoring one that's been dormant for a long time is easier, and it would be easier to hide because it could run under another."

Regan didn't care about what they were saying. He was focused on Jessica again. Her strapless dress left her body bare above the swell of her breasts and beneath her bottom. Her hair was up, baring her fine neck and shoulders. How he wanted to kiss that sacred skin, make her shiver and shudder with pleasure.

"Well, now I don't need to read it, do I?" Jessica laughed.

"I guess not," Inez replied. "That's what I'm here for." She replaced the book on the shelf and let Jessica give her a lingering kiss goodbye, pink glossy lips momentarily merging with slightly darker lips, before it ended slowly. "There's a new store opening in Old Town. I was wondering if you knew anything about it."

"That's what I'm researching. There's a powerful crossing of power there, maybe a deep well," Jessica said. "There was a surge and healing energy moved through the district, but I don't know what they're doing in the building on top of it. I think a few people in the First Circle may have an idea, they don't seem too pleased, but they're not willing to tell me anything."

"I'll be there opening day," Inez said. "They’ve already told me to investigate."

"You're not a neophyte anymore, you could hand it off."

"It's a good excuse to get out. I've been cooped up in the library for too long. Besides, I doubt I’m the only one. They’re most likely sending someone who can read the energy patterns in and around the building secretly. I can barely see a hard ward, I’ve never had a sense for it."

"Maybe I'll go with you. I'll tell you if I find anything out." Jessica turned towards Regan "Come," she commanded him, leading him further into the stacks. The shelves were old, thick, and there were thousands of books. The carpet was just redone, soft underfoot. They were several rows back when she pointed up, her skirt pulling enough to reveal the swell of her bottom. "I would like that one, right there," she said in her crisp British accent.

It felt as though pressure had been building up in his mind for months. He looked at her pretty, petite form stretching up, the thin green tube dress nearly revealing what his hungry eyes always sought. Jessica pulled the top of her dress up with a few tugs and started to turn. The pressure in his mind mounted. He wanted to do something, to tear into her like the demons of his dreams. A feeling - like a dam bursting - filled him. His vision was blurred, breathing quickening, and all his desires surfaced.

Regan drew her diminutive form into his arms, pulled her dress down, releasing her pink tipped breasts. He fondled one as he took her mouth. When his tongue sought and - to his surprise - found hers, he was almost instantly erect. For a moment they tangled together, then she bit him, and he pulled his tongue from her teeth, tasting blood. "Easy, Regan, be gentle," she begged as he bunched her dress in one hand, gathering it in her middle.

His fingers caught in her hair, and he pulled until her back was arched, drew a breast into his mouth and rasped his tongue over her puffing, firm pink nipple. Little cries escaped her throat as he drew on her mound.

She nearly toppled from her high-heeled shoes as he yanked his pants open, his underwear down. Jessica was wearing a green velvet G-string, flimsy to his fingers as he yanked one side, snapping the string. "It's okay, Regan," she said as he released her breast and grabbed her waist firmly. "I'll let you have me if you'll be gentle."

A mind filled with hot, unreasonable desire left him only able to hear; 'I'll let you have me,' and he lifted her up, kissed her urgently on the mouth then down her pretty body until his lips found her sex. He pinched the tuft of blonde hair above her most intimate space and pulled it up, she gasped and moaned. Regan hurriedly pressed into her pink space with his tongue, his lips, pushing her open and tasting her. It was surprisingly sweet, unlike any woman he'd known, and she put her legs over his shoulders, her hand down on his head while he licked her greedily. "Fuck, fuuuck, yeeeesss, fuck, fuuuuck!" she said, her voice too sweet for the words.

Regan lapped at her hard, over and over until he felt her twitch against him, her fingers pulling at his hair. When she relaxed, sighed, he grasped her legs beneath the knees and pressed them up, bracing her against the shelf. When he rose up, met her blue gaze, he touched the tip of his manhood against her slick space. "Oh, no," Jessica said, fear in those eyes. "You're too big for me to take you like this!"

"I gave you everything," Regan breathed, pushing himself in slowly. Her finely finished nails dug at his shoulders, those beautiful eyes went wide, and she bit her bottom lip. "I gave you everything," he repeated as his stroke ended at her absolute depth and she whimpered.

Jessica was tight, shallow, but he withdrew a little and pushed in, celebrating the grip of her heat. "Everything," he said with each stroke. "Everything. Everything. Everything. Everything!" He watched her writhe as he increased his pace. It was so good to watch her, to feel her intimate space grip him. Her breasts jostled and jiggled with the completion of every upward thrust, her eyes pleaded with him, but he knew there was pleasure.

"Oh fuck! You're breaking me open! Don't stop!" Jessica cried, a tear rolling down her cheek. "Fuck! Fuck! Fuck!"

The ancient shelf did not rock with the power of his thrusts, but books fell as he punished her, filled her, forced her to accommodate him. It was worth it, all worth it. Her blue eyes stared into his, Jessica's loud cries as he bashed into her filled the air around them. "You're! Mine!" he shouted as his seed released into her, his legs shaking, head and body filling near to bursting with pleasure.

"Oh, noooo," Jessica groaned mournfully. "I almost came."

There was a sharp pain against the back of his head, then the back of his neck, and he collapsed to the floor. Inez was there, making sure that Jessica wouldn't fall, helping her catch her feet.

"Be still, be silent," a male voice said to Regan, and he was. Feet in expensive, perfectly polished dress shoes stepped barely into view before turning and leaving. “There, he’s restrained. The rest is up to you,” said a low male voice.

"Thank you, Master Torn,” Inez said before turning to Jessica. “You really should find another kink," she chuckled, handing her a box of wipes.

"I'm sorry, I didn't think he'd break here. I thought my love spell would hold for another week at least."

"You're so evil, I love it."

"Who is this guy, anyway?" a younger male voice asked.

"Regan Charles. He owned Nightsoil Processing. Now I own it and his plants won't be poisoning the East End anymore. They're going to shut down, install upgrades worth millions of dollars that will make all that waste they work with completely safe."

"Couldn't you have just convinced him to do that while he was under your spell?"

"Oh, that's not really why she does this, Brett," Inez said. "Her big kink is putting them under a love spell, slowly draining them of all their wealth, then driving them crazy by having sex in front of them until they snap."

"I love being taken like that," Jessica said. "He was extra big though, so I'm going to feel him for days."

"Ouch," Inez said.

"I like it every once in a while, it's a good tenderness."

"My sister could heal you."

Jessica laughed. "I don't think she'd heal a Tate, even if it's me waving a white flag. That's okay. Besides, dad wouldn't like me talking to her," Jessica said.

"So, what do we do with him?" Brett asked.

"Dumpster," Jessica said. "The love spell will break completely in a couple hours, and he'll die of heartache overnight." She finished cleaning herself with the wipes. Inez helped her pull her dress back into place. "With all the children he's poisoned, he doesn't deserve more. His own trucks will pick up the dumpster, and they know that one goes right into the new plasma incinerator."

"All right. I will never get on your bad side, Jess. Holy fuck." Brett bent down and picked up his arm by the wrist and started to drag him like he was a toy doll.

"Wait," Jessica said, kneeling down towards Regan.

He knew it was a mistake. Jessica wouldn't abandon him. They finally found pleasure together. "Goodbye, Mister Charles. Thank you for everything. I have your millions, your companies, and I hope that when the love spell wears off, you hate me just as much as you loved me. Oh, and all those waste disposal and toxic recycling plants will never hurt anyone again. I'll make sure they become beacons of hope for environmentalists everywhere. They'll go on forever, but they won't be the way you made them - money factories that poison everything around them - and I'll make sure everyone knows the changes started when I took over. Fuck you, Mister Charles. I'll pay for an orgy with some of your money and summon your spirit to watch."

Nothing she said was right. The empire he built starting with a small recycling centre when he was a boy was a perfect money generator. It took waste in, recycled what it legally had to, and dumped the rest. It was perfect; everything his companies did made money. How could Jessica change it? How could she ruin it?

"I'm guessing I'll be tying him up then," Brett said as he dragged him towards the back door.

"Yeah, I'll give you each five thousand dollars for helping," Jessica said.

Inez kissed her softly, it looked sweet and pretty. "Fifty each," she said with a little smile.

"Okay," Jessica said, resting her arms on Inez's shoulders. "He had a few million in the bank, so why not?"

"Your accounts now, though," Inez said.

"All mine. His houses, his cars, his companies, his collections, and everything else; all mine. I'll have ten times what's in his bank account after I finish selling all his boy-toy crap and those modernist mansions he paid for. I'll probably keep the Slate Hill one though, I love the pool."

"I hate to ask, but what does your father think of this?"

"He asked me if I could find an easier way for us to dispose of bodies and if he wanted me to come up with ideas for taking control of more of the city's infrastructure. I think he'll be impressed." Jessica leaned towards Inez, fishing for a kiss, and she was rewarded with a short meeting of the lips before her quarry pulled back and giggled at her.

"I have too much work to do and I'm up early every morning this week. Have your driver pick me up Saturday morning. I want to see the Slate Hill mansion."

Jessica sighed, running her hands down Inez's back, slipping her fingers under the waistband of her skirt so she could cup a shapely cheek. "Fine. You're the only one who can talk to me like that, you know."

"That's because I will always have something new to teach you," Inez said with an impish smile. "Who's your next victim?"

"I have three pretty boys who are in from out of town with their daddy's money. I'm gonna use them for a while then let them go. They won't end up like him; I just want them for a little shopping and loving. You can take your pick if you want some male attention this weekend. They're all eager gym rats, so they look amazing and I bet they'll last for hours. Just three rich fuck boys. I’ll probably have them come in cups so I can have some leverage over their families. I know you’ll find one you’ll like."

"We'll see, I'll have to meet them first, but it's been a little…" the back door opened, and Regan couldn't hear them as he was roughly dragged out. The sound of a dumpster opening filled Regan's ears, and he tried to fight the invisible bonds that held him. He failed, unable to move a finger.

"Man, I don't envy you," Brett said, his tanned face moving into view. "I should spare you the night you're about to have, just slit your throat right here, but Jessica is the Heiress to an empire that makes your companies look like a lemon-aid stand." With little effort, the young man picked Regan up and dropped him into the dumpster. It smelled like something died inside, the garbage was a rough, hard-edged bed.

Brett's hands went up, and it felt like everything around Regan moved with the young man's gesticulations, wrapping him, tying him, and enveloping him tightly so his eyes and nose were clear. "That cocoon will keep you quiet and still until your heart explodes. I guess it couldn't happen to a better guy, if your plants really did poison some kids. Can't say I give a shit for that environmentalist stuff though. Happy trails." The dumpster lid came down with a thunderous clang.


Chapter 1

To Mack the three weeks while the shop was coming together were absolutely crazy in terms of how busy things were. His tech room was finished in three days. New counters, flooring, ceiling tiles, painting, rubber surfacing on all the counters so things would stay where they were put and have a lesser chance of getting shocked, new lighting, and updated electrical in three days! He'd never seen craftspeople that were so well organized. His two other rooms - the storage downstairs and the little showroom that was as big as his living room - were ready on the fifth day.

His new landlord's girlfriend, Laura, was one of the bossiest people he'd ever met, but she never ordered him around, only people she paid. The fire she lit under people got them moving. They did good work, and they finished on time. When she left things relaxed a little, but not much. The carpenters finished the shelves in the first week; setting up half the enormous main floor for books, trinkets and whatever else Scott would be selling. The rows were beautifully made, antique grade with real wood that could last for a century. The cases along two walls used security glass, almost completely bullet proof and the locks were heavy duty.

To his surprise, Scott had ancient looking books for half those display cases the day after the glue and varnish was set. Some of them looked like they came from the set of a fantasy movie, with old iron clasps, thick leather, and illuminated pages within. At the end of the first week, after Mack finished setting up the microscope he used for fine circuitry, moved in a few things to tinker with, brought an old computer he planned on using for servicing and set his tools up in the new drawers, he approached Scott. "So, I'm moved in, what can I do to help?"

Scott smiled at him and looked around for a minute. "You remember my Dad's pawn shop?"

"Yeah, I loved that place. We used to play video games on all the TV's at once."

"That place would fit in the first two floors of this building ten times. I have stock coming, amazing things to put up, even my cousin is sending me half a ton of semi-precious stones, so all I can think about is stock, how I'm going to display it all, and what I could be missing." He gestured at the empty shelves. "I'm sure I'm missing so much that I should be embarrassed, but at the end of the day I want to just play guitar for an hour then pass out."

"I don't blame you," Mack snickered, looking at what was already piling up. There were boxes in the basement that Scott hadn't even opened yet.

"So, what am I missing? Help, man."

Mack looked around. The first floor was a big space. The rows of shelves were five feet tall, a couple of the freestanding racks weren't as closed in, but they were taller. "Security. Unless you want eight people watching this and the second floor at all times, you'll need cameras."

"Cool, I hadn't thought about that yet. My dad only had two, and one didn't work."

"What about an inventory system? Cash register?"

"I thought I'd get a company to come in."

"Hell, no," Mack scoffed. "The software is free, and I can build you a good computer for the front counter with a couple keyboards and monitors that'll run a pair of cash drawers. I have four or five scanners I fixed up at home. I'll clean them up, set you up. We'll use a cheap laser printer for stock tags and stickers."

"How much cash do you think you'll need?" Scott asked, pulling his roll out. He was still using cash he'd gotten from selling the appliances, tables, and chairs that came with the place.

"The cameras won't be cheap, we'll use mini-cams that will hide perfectly in the ceiling tiles, and we'll need a system for recording and managing it. Some of the parts will have to be new, too. Can't build a surveillance system with half-dead hard drive. A big screen too. The rest will be cheap." Mack sucked air in through his teeth, realizing how expensive the cameras would be. The rest was reasonable. "Six or seven cameras per floor will give you good visibility, get sound on three and almost no one could hide anything. That stuff alone would be about two thousand, maybe twenty-five hundred."

"Order the cameras," Scott said, handing him a credit card. "And how much for the rest of the equipment?"

"About fourteen hundred, most of it'll be used."

Scott gave him the rest of the cash in his roll. "Here's sixteen, just in case. Tell me how long it takes when you're done and I'll pay for your time too."

"Don't worry about that," he replied. "Just wondering, how much did the point of sale guys want to set you up?"

"They quoted nine thousand," Scott said.

"Damn, I love taking jobs away from greedy bastards." So, he set to work. The cash register and tagging system was finished the next day. He'd done the work several times before for local businesses. He was looking at the wall beside the cash register for the best place to put up the big screen that would scan between the different cameras when he heard the faint clicking of heels outside. He peeked between the newspaper and the edge of the window in time to see a raven-haired goddess walking towards him down the sidewalk. "Oh, my God. I thought women who looked like that were only on the Internet."

A low cut, black and gold satin dress hugged her shape down to the hips, where a loose skirt shimmied and shifted around her mid-thighs while she walked. The wind threatened to catch the hem, flipping it a little, baring the curve of her pale thigh.

Her red lips turned up in a smile as she saw something on her smartphone. "Whatcha looking at, beautiful?" Mack asked quietly. Her lively eyes looked up, around then met his. He was frozen, caught!

She looked back at him, fixing her hair, flashing him a surprised grin. Those eyes were pretty, lively, dark pools. "Just a puppy video," she replied just loud enough to be heard through the window. "Whatcha looking at, mystery man?" she asked, her smile turning mischievous, saucy.

A pinch on his ankle made him duck and try to swat whatever got him away. There was nothing there, no culprit. When he looked back through the window, she winked at him - long dark lashes starting a hurricane of butterflies in his stomach - and turned away. "See you later, sweetie."

He watched her cross the street, the wind catching her skirt when she was half way. "Wow," he muttered as her shapely bare bottom was flashed at him for a couple seconds, whipping up so high that the T back of her black G-string made an appearance before her hand smoothed her skirt down.

"Lilith," Scott said, startling Mack so hard he jumped. "She owns Pink Secret, the sex shop across the street."

"I look forward to admiring her from afar."

"She has a calendar out, I can get you one," Scott offered. "They had to take the shots with a telephoto lens for some reason, but you can't really tell the photographer was thirty feet away."

"I’ll take you up on that, price is no object. Well, it would be nice if it were less than twenty bucks. Just don't tell her it's for me."

"No problem. She seemed to like you though. If I were you, I’d introduce myself."

“I haven’t had good luck with the ladies in a very long time. Even then, it always ended badly, really badly.” Mack cleared his throat and turned his attention to the inventory and sale system. "Your point of sale system is good to go. Gimmie an hour and I can teach you everything you need to know."

"Wow, that was fast," Scott said. "Did you get the credit stuff looped in and everything?"

"Yeah, that's easy."

"Show me how it works."


Chapter 2

Izzie dreaded Lilith's return home. Things were under control in the shop, it was a good sales day, but the five 'o clock lull was striking. They would be alone in the store, and Lilith would go upstairs to freshen up before taking over. She'd see that Izzie was packed, ready to stay at her friends' place. She didn't want to go, but Izzie felt Lilith had too much control over her.

The bell over the door rang, and Lilith entered, clearly in a good mood. "I caught someone from across the street checking me out." She sensed something was amiss. It was easy; Izzie was sad, nervous and felt guilty at the same time. "Are you okay?"

"I have to leave. I'm moving in with Cara, she has a spare room."

Lilith locked the door; it made a loud CHUCK. "Please, don't," she pleaded, starting towards Izzie.

Izzie put her hand up then stepped back. "Wait, if you get too close, I'll just cave. You have too much control."

"I'm sorry, I don't mean to. I love you, Izzie, sometimes I get too excited."

"I feel like I'm your toy more often than I don't. Like I'm some kind of backup energy source in case you can’t get enough from the people who come through here or from a bad date. You work me up whether I'm in the mood or not and pull what you need from me." Izzie pushed the words out. They were practiced, something she'd considered for nearly two weeks.

"I didn't realize I was doing it," Lilith pleaded, a tear running down her cheek. "When we have fun, you always seem like you're in the mood. The few times I didn't a while ago, I could tell you weren't, but in the last few months you're always happy to be with me."

"That's because I'm too open to you. My body responds by reflex, your energy opens me like a well-oiled door. Even right now, I see you crying and all I want to do is rush over and kiss you. I've cast a parasite counter on myself though, and I can see the black tendrils reaching from you to me." They twitched at her mentioning them, like long, dark wisps of smoke getting hit with a brief puff of air.

"I'm not doing it on purpose," Lilith said, stepping back until she was against the wall. "See? I'll stand here, we can talk like this."

The tendrils surrendered, slipping back into Lilith's pink, red and dark purple shifting aura. It was beautiful from a distance, Izzie thought. So was Lilith. "I always have to question what it means when you say you love me," she said, shedding a tear of her own.

"Oh, God," Lilith wept. "You know just what to say to make this hurt, but I'll suffer it if you'll stay."

"I can't," Izzie said.

"I can start clubbing again," Lilith said. "More than once a week. Make sure I'm completely topped up, throw more orgies, more toy demonstrations here."

"I'll still be the one you can draw on easiest. Don't get me wrong; you’re a wonderful lover. Sometimes I feel like I'm so lucky, but that's part of the problem. You touch me and I want to give in right away." It was painful, watching her best friend struggle.

Her dark eyes were filled with panic; mascara started trailing down her cheeks. "I'll put you in control," Lilith said quietly. She nodded. "I know the spell. I'll put you in control of all my power. I won't be able to use them unless you tell me I can. You'll control me while I learn to control myself again. I’ll let you collar me."

"You'd do that for me?" Izzie asked. "No, that's like… It's a punishment."

"If it'll keep you from leaving, I'll do it. I don't need my powers to attract people; I can do it like anyone else when I want to, so I'll be able to sustain myself. I just won't be able to magically influence people. That's all. We'll enchant a choker, or a collar. You pick. Tonight, you'll know your will is your own, and when I tell you I love you, it'll be real. We can be friends, we can be lovers, and you'll trust me again."

"I'll only do it until you learn to control your power again and if it looks like the spell is hurting you, it comes right off. I'll have to leave too, but I'm willing to try. Are you sure, though? It means no more playing cupid in the store, no more luring people upstairs or into the demo room. I'm sure they're losing as much as you are there, but they won't know it."

Lilith snickered, nodding. "I'll have to lure them the way everyone else does. The human way. If it means you stay, we'll do it. I'll write it down, it's easy."

"I've never seen a succubus get collared before," Izzie said.

Lilith walked to the counter, ripped a receipt out of their booklet, and drew a symbol on it - a circle with three snakes intertwining - then wrote the phrase that would bind her. "A grown succubus has to surrender control, otherwise it won't work. Everything else is easy. Get something that will always touch my neck. If you knew more of my kind, then you'd know that most of us don't stay free forever. My mother and both my sisters are bound to masters. My sisters are lucky; they got bound to a High Priestess in Vancouver. My mother was bound, I could feel it, but I don't know where. So, if I could choose my mistress, it would be you, Izzie. I just haven't thought about it because I've been on my own for so long."

Izzie went to the back of their clothing section where she found a cheap choker - black, simple, cotton - she wished they had something nicer, but it would do. Lilith stepped away from the counter and stood straight, holding her hair away from her neck.

Izzie felt a new rush of guilt as she saw her friend preparing to surrender her power so they could continue to be friends and more. "Are you sure this is what you want? I'm moving out, not leaving you forever."

"You'll move out, and you won't come back. You're afraid of me, I never wanted that, I don't want that," Lilith replied, tears brimming again. "You know I'm not the brightest, not here, not with money or laws and you've stopped people from taking advantage of me more times than I can count. People who kinda know what a succubus is believe I'm this powerful creature, but I need more than anyone, crave more than anyone, and I grew up in a world that didn't even have electricity. Sometimes I still barely understand this place. Then there's you. I trust you, I love you, and if you're afraid of me, then I should be the one who leaves. Or we can do this, and you can see I don't want to take advantage of you, that I really do love you, Izzie. I trust you enough to be my mistress. You’ll also be protecting me. No one can force me to surrender to them as long as I’m yours. I’ll know that I have to behave because anything I do wrong can become your problem too. I need that kind of discipline. You’ve shown me that."

Izzie thought of all the things that Lilith gave her. A place to live when she had nothing, a friendship like none other, the confidence to believe she was beautiful, and a job she didn't hate. "I don't want to do this now."

"Do it, say the words, give me the collar," Lilith said, her chin quivering, tears falling. “I want to be yours.”

Izzie recited what was on the piece of paper. "I bind your power, Lilith Zane. You may accept the lust a being sheds but take none by force. You may influence others, and wield magic, but only with my permission. All other uses of your power are forbidden." Izzie considered the words and added her own. "Unless you are defending yourself. By these words, and with the tying of this choker and any binding I place on you, you are bound. I am now your Mistress, accountable for your safety, your well-being and your actions."

With shaking hands, Lilith accepted the choker and put it on her neck. "I am so bound."

Izzie wished she couldn't see Lilith's aura, that she didn't enhance her second sight temporarily. Lilith's energy recoiled from the collar, reaching out desperately before the multi-coloured and black tendrils became jagged, jerking into her, hiding beneath her skin. The presence, a soft influence that made Izzie feel like she was always a moment from excitement faded. Lilith tried to stiffen herself, conceal her feelings, but the tears wouldn't stop. She was about to say something but Izzie interrupted her with a firm, close embrace and let her cry on her shoulder. "I love you, Izzie. You're the best friend I've ever had," Lilith said as the tears ran down.

"I love you too," Izzie said, stroking her back. "I can't believe you're doing this for me."

"I never want to hurt you," Lilith said. "And you give the best hugs."

"It's my gift. Part time fertility expert, part time sex shop employee, and fulltime hugger."


Chapter 3

As time moved on, Mack grew more accustomed to going to the store every day. Progress made it clearer by the day that it wasn’t some pipe dream. He’d actually have space in a public store where he could receive repair jobs and sell his work. The signage came - a highly polished gold metal coloured TECHNICAL WIZARDRY sign that would hang over his shop window under a spotlight and a larger VAN VELD BOOKS sign in silver for the main store - and they kept them hidden in the back of the main floor. "Suspense and rumour will get us half or more of our customers in the first week," Scott said.

There was something to that, Mack knew. He often heard people outside on the sidewalk, trying to catch a peek through the window where there were cracks between the newspaper pages. That only became more frequent after all the workers were finished. Everything that needed repainting, repairing, replacing, and improving was done, even the display room for the array of old typewriters, ancient game consoles, computers and other devices that Mack had to sell already was finished. It was a strange spot, he had to admit, but probably the only display room like it anywhere.

When Laura was still running around, arranging all kinds of things for Scott, Mack discovered that he would have that room as a space where he could display his wares however he liked. There would be some space outside, in the main area, but he liked the idea of having his own, lockable space more. The carpenter who was going to do the finishing and Laura looked at him from the doorway and asked; "If you could do anything to set this room up, what would it be? What's your dream display look like?"

On a whim he said; "Mirrors everywhere with shelves built in front of them with no backs so you can see the stuff from all angles."

"That actually sounds interesting, very creative." Then she was off, the carpenter nodding as he kept up.

It was three weeks later, and he chuckled at how his ancient consoles, two working pre-electric typewriters, a row of computers and a Sputnik TV looked on display. He hadn't filled a tenth of the space, but he was starting to get a feel for the room and it was kind of crazy, and very cool. The optical illusions alone were enough to amuse, with mirrors reflecting against mirrors. His restored stuff and his image repeated at odd angles into infinity.

"People are going to talk about this," Scott said from the door, smiling. "Hey, where'd you get a brand new VX Console?" he asked, rushing to get a closer look at the brown and grey box from the eighties.

The fact that Scott was convinced it was brand new warmed Mack's heart. It was actually rebuilt, two of the chips inside were replaced, and he'd done a lot to restore it cosmetically. "That came from the dump," he said. "I had to find the right decal material, get the logos re-etched onto new foil stickers that I had to cut to shape, re-dye the plastic so it was the original colour again and do some electronics work. It plays exactly the same, though."

"I can't tell," Scott said, taking a closer look. "You can't get these. Not looking like its fresh from the box."

"I thought of printing a new box for it, I know the copy shop guy well, he could do it."

"Fifty bucks?" Scott boggled at the price tag. "I think you could charge two hundred for this quality if you mark it as a reproduction. Unless you're just selling it for buzz."

"It cost about twelve bucks to buy and do the work on," Mack shrugged. "But I'm definitely not just selling it for buzz."

"I don't know your business, but I think you're undervaluing your work." Scott said, carefully making sure that the VX Gaming Console was in the same space he found it in.

"If you think I could get two hundred, I'll try it," Mack said. "I'm used to online auctions, where everyone's undercutting. Speaking of auctions, how did the estate sale go?"

"I got the private library, it cost twice as much as I thought, but the books should sell for three to five times what I paid. I ended up with some furniture and a red typewriter I want you to look at. It doesn't work right now, but the character set is special I think. There are no numeric or English characters on it."

"A typewriter’s a typewriter. I'll fix it, no problem."

"Get to your own stuff first," Scott said, picking up a game cartridge that had been cleaned, had the colour restored in the plastic and then re-stickered so it looked perfect. "I think you'll do well. Anyway, the estate sale guys are delivering everything tomorrow. It's going to be a lot of boxes and careful packaging."

"I'll help you unpack, no problem."

"Thank God, I'll need it. Most of the books are individually boxed. They're that old."

"How many?"

"A hundred forty-seven individually packed books, and some boxes of paperbacks less than seventy years old. Oh, and I couldn’t get the personal library without the furniture, so there’s a study table, a couple desks, big shelves, a leather sofa and some other stuff. The delivery guys will do the furniture, but unboxing is up to us," Scott said. "So, help will be cool."

"Wow, that's a lot of stuff," Mack said. “How many old books? A hundred…”

"A hundred forty-seven. Those are just the ones that'll be for sale - first editions, encyclopaedic guides, grimoires, and some other things - I'm keeping the family books of shadows."

"What's the difference between a grimoire and a book of shadows?" Mack asked.

"A grimoire is a textbook on magic, charms, potions, and so on, while a book of shadows is more like a personal journal. The family books of shadows came with the lot I bought. I'll take a look at them, but they're probably too personal to sell, so I'll probably have to keep them. There's no one left in the family, so maybe I'll put something together from what I read. It could make a good book."

"That would be something, you writing a book to sell in your own shop."

"I already have copies of most of the books my mother wrote and had published, they arrived yesterday. I was able to get twenty-eight, so I don't think anyone would be surprised if I start putting my own out there. I'll need some help, though, I don't know how to organize all that."

"Your mother wrote twenty-eight books?"

"More, half of her books are out of print, I'll get them eventually. It's a lot of high magic I don't understand yet. She only wrote about magic, spiritualism and other occult things I can't even really put a name to. Speaking of which, I have to find a place for about two hundred books. Time to start tagging and shelving."

"Antique, or?"

"Oh, normal, in-print stuff. Time to start washing stones and putting them up too."

"I'll be in my tech room, making old things new," Mack said as he left the room behind Scott. He was behind the counter, opening the door to his shop when he realized something was different. The chips he left out after finishing work on the VX were sorted into neat piles of different types - the pair of dead ones weren't there at all - his screwdrivers were back on the rack, the glue, spot cleaning solution and brushes were all neatly put back where he would have put them at the end of the day, and the old sticker matter he removed from the underside of the console he fixed was gone too. "Scott, did you clean my tech room up?" he shouted over his shoulder.

"No, I haven't been in there this week," Scott called back. "Everything okay?"

Mack considered that question carefully for a moment. "Sure, everything's fine." He entered the room, closing the door behind him. Nervously, he checked the storage space downstairs, taking the private stairs to the old pantry, which was just a repainted, freshly tiled space with a large basin sink and some shelves thanks to the renovation. There was no sign that there was anyone through there except for a tiny pile of refuse in the corner. A piece of plastic from the bag of chips he brought that morning, a soda bottle cap, the dead microchips from the VX, and the discarded stickers. He bent down to sweep the pile up in his hand, then had second thoughts. He rushed upstairs, then came back down with a tiny battery powered camera and set it to start recording if it detected motion. He took a picture of the neat pile with his smartphone and returned to his workshop, shaking his head.

After only an hour the strange events were pushed to the back of his mind as he finished cleaning the inside of an old console that still worked. Feeling peckish, he took the bag of chips from his backpack and a few morsels fell through the bottom. The rest of the chips were gone. "Oh, shit, don't tell me we have mice or something." There were five chips, several of them only partial, and on a whim, he took one to his old microscope. That one worked, it was huge, salvaged from a university who bought it in the forties. The other one, the newer one that was perfectly white and polished was just for show. The lights burned out in it long ago, and he didn't bother fixing it because he liked working with the older one more.

Once he had the chip under the microscope he reduced the magnification and focused in on the edge, where he found bite marks. "Ha!" He exclaimed, turning the light up and looking a little closer. "That's not a rat or mouse bite…" he had a conclusion but dared not say it aloud. "That can't be real," he took the chip out and looked at it with the naked eye before putting it back and refocusing. "A normal, All Dressed flavour chip," he narrated. "Normal looking human bite mark on the chip."

He refocused again. "The bite looks normal. The chip is normal. The bite is nine millimetres wide. What is that small, and leaves human bite marks?" The rest of the day was spent on his phone, looking for a creature that left that kind of evidence behind. A couple hours of searching produced no reasonable results, and he decided to take a look at the chip again. It wasn't in the microscope anymore. He searched everywhere and discovered that none of the chips he found earlier were around. "We have a mouse problem, that's all there is to it, I wasn't seeing what I thought I saw, I need to clean the lens on the end of the microscope." He did so, then returned to searching the Internet for a rodent or insect that could leave a bite mark that looked human but tiny.

A pinch on the back of his neck made him twitch, raising his head. Through the narrow slits he left in his blind, he noticed that Lilith, the owner of Pink Secret next door was sitting on the steps. It was a nice day outside, and she was wearing a summer dress that stirred in the breeze. Her full lips drew on the straw of an iced coffee, the slender strap of her dress falling off her shoulder. The choker she wore matched her hair, black, but didn't compare to the fine ones that Scott bought for the store weeks before.

Lilith crossed her bare legs, her skirt lifting enough so he could see her shapely thighs up to the hip. She let her shoe dangle on her toe, swinging it leisurely as she watched people go by, smiling at them as they passed. She looked so relaxed, as if she didn't realize that she was the most beautiful woman on that street, possibly in the city. "Do hot girls know they're hot?" He quietly asked himself, correcting after a moment. "No, that's not a girl. That's a woman. A magnificent woman who could probably trick me into anything." He watched her laugh at something a passerby said and smiled. "I really have to get Scott to find me one of her calendars. She doesn't even have a Facebook profile, there's nothing online. God, she has me talking to myself." He chuckled. His stomach grumbled. "I need snacks."

A pair of young ladies in short skirts and crop tops stopped at Lilith's steps and started talking to her. A moment later, Lilith stood and walked them into the store. Mack sat back and sighed. "Now, what am I going to have for dinner?"


Chapter 4

The flow of workers in and out of the secretive building across the street stopped, but the rush of delivery people from every company she knew and a few she'd never seen before replaced them. She would never admit it, but she watched the estate sales people - professional auction companies - arrive nineteen times. Three companies in all, they brought boxes and ancient looking trunks - upright and horizontal - through the front and the side of the building. "An occult shop that buys from the oldest auction companies," she thought, remembering her one and only visit to the Tate Estate library, where her sister worked. The books in the monitored section were older than anything she'd seen, some of them required white gloves. She got to see a few illuminated pages that were being restored from an ancient Light Bearer's text. If she wasn't so entranced by the beauty of it - a high priest and high priestess were opposite each other on either side of the page, both of them half transformed into doves - she would have realized how strange it was for the Tate Estate Library to have something that would have been so precious to the Light Bearers, even the Guardians. She realized after leaving the place. The Tate Estate seemed to have an appetite for knowledge, sure, but she came to suspect that they wanted their enemies to have as little access to it as possible too.

After that visit she was told she wasn't allowed onto the grounds. Her and her sister were both Guardians, but Izzie was firmly attached to the Light, and the circle where her adoptive father was the High Priest. Her sister, Inez, had taken the Dark Oath, and was a member of the Tate's Dark Enclave, part of their second highest circle. A guardian by training, and a guardian by practice, but lured in by their offer of wealth and power. She hadn't seen her sister in nine months. That was a brief meeting, where they had a chance to hug, and for a moment they grasped at each other as though they were afraid to ever let go. Izzie's twin let go first, and there hadn't been a call or sighting since. Eleven months before then, Inez turned up at her doorstep, cut and bruised. She'd fought someone, or something, and couldn't go to the Tate Enclave's healers.

Izzie healed her, they sat up until four in the morning, filling the air with chatter, then Inez left. Izzie was alone again, without her twin, realizing that Inez let her talk for most of the short time they had together. All that she'd learned about her twin was that she was no longer a neophyte, and had an important position in the Tate Estate Library, the centre of dark magic knowledge for the city. She was on track to become a member in one of the upper circles and was going to Gardner's University on a scholarship. It was the most significant school of magic in North America. It also leaned heavily towards dark magic. Izzie didn’t know a single person in her generation who wasn’t a dark practitioner who had gone. If you were sympathetic to the light, they kept the doors closed to you. As for the rest of her sister's personal life, Izzie learned nothing.

Her thoughts wandered as she looked through the window in the apartment she shared with Lilith above the Pink Secret. She'd just finished getting ready for the day, but wasn't dressed, only in a pair of small bikini panties and a crop top. She watched the movers from an estate auction company carefully deliver a heavy oaken table she shook her head. "Don't let your people interfere with this, Inez. We're desperate for a good store here. You have your shop, let us have ours." The memory of Aura Kindler trying to open a much smaller, modest religious supply shop for white witches still haunted people.

A week before opening, Aura's son was kidnapped by his drug abusing father, her aunt and uncle died in a car accident on the other side of the country, and a tax bill from a small business she owned years before surfaced. She wasn't even aware that she still owed anything, but interest and penalties over the years inflated the bill to five figures. The community stepped in to help, and she was able to find her son after two weeks, leave town to help with her relatives' funeral and eventually pay the bill, but she was further in the hole than she could be while opening a new business. The landlord decided it was a bad venture and cited every little thing that could look like a lease violation.


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