Day/Time: Sunday, 1:32 AM
Current state of mind: Chill
What are you wearing? Sweater & jeans
What are you listening to? The Fire by The Roots and John Legend
What are you drinking? Whiskey
Where are you? My room
Getting stranded in a snowstorm had not been on my December Bingo card. But there I was stuck in Small Town Fucking USA, population 3,001. Snow Creek Pointe was plenty quaint and plenty cozy, nestled away in the mountains and located in the middle of nowhere. The tiny town’s remote location was a dream for some. For me, it was a logistical nightmare, but at least I was with Marissa.
See, I have this disease, this incapability of saying no to Marissa. She’s got this disarming and infectious smile; this way about her that makes turning her down damn near impossible. It’s how I got suckered into this little adventure. But then again, I’d been just as eager to escape from all the holiday madness as she was. I’d made my choice. No arm-twisting involved.
So when Rissa hit me with one of her infamous megawatt dazzlers, asking if I was up for a reunion with some old friends, I couldn’t refuse. Not that I wanted to. Besides, I couldn’t have her traveling all by her lonesome, could I?
After two-plus-hours on the road, we finally reached our destination: an old Victorian mansion which looked like it had been decorated by Clark Griswold himself. The entire three-story home was covered in warm whites glowing against the pristine white siding. I’m not gonna lie, I was impressed with Marek and Tessa’s dedication to holiday décor.
Marissa yawned, stretching languidly in the passenger seat, reminding me of a cat after a long nap. Her crystal blues snapped to mine, her dark red lips turning up at the corners. Damn, I wanted to taste that sweet mouth, wanted to find a secluded spot where I could lose myself in her for hours until we were both satiated and spent.
Rissa leaned in nice and close, as if she knew what was on my mind, as if she knew what I wanted. She whispered my name, tracing her finger over my lower lip as my body awakened beneath her touch. And hell, if I wasn’t tempted to kiss her right there and then. I cupped the back of her head, my fingers tangling through her thick, long hair as I pressed my forehead against hers. I asked her what she wanted, but before she could reply, a soft rap sounded against my window.
I swiveled around, coming face-to-face with Tessa. Our old friend beamed at me from the other side of the foggy glass, her warm brown eyes sparking with excitement. I plastered a smile on my face as Marissa heaved out a disappointed sigh. I felt her pain. Every fucking ounce of it. And I was beyond ready to end this reunion before it even started.
After a brief exchange of hugs and greetings, we followed Tessa up to the house. My instincts were on high alert, my gaze sweeping over the snow-covered pines surrounding the home, searching for any sign of a threat. But I got nothing. The protective warding enveloping the property was as potent as it was impressive. Anyone with ill intent would be in a world of hurt.
We might’ve been safe from demons and rogue witches, but another threat remained. Mother Nature.
The wind kicked up, blowing the lighted lawn ornaments over as the thick flakes fell from the sky at a fast clip. Powerful and turbulent energy punched through the icy air, pricking my skin, unease curling up my spine as the gray clouds churned above. The supernatural storm was coming in hard and fast. Marissa and I were fucked unless we tried turning it, but that would take a shit-ton of magical juice. We needed to conserve our powers for the time being. Just in case.
As Tessa ushered us inside, my mind cycled through a list of possible culprits. The magical energy was familiar. If we could isolate the storm’s magical signature, we might be able to trace it back to the source and stop snowmageddon. But that would take a lot of power, as in a full coven of hybrids, which we didn’t have. I needed to call Nick. See if he knew anything about blizzard-palooza.
We followed Tessa down the hall to her husband’s office, where Marek stood all statue-like by the window, watching the snow. He turned, his dark brows furrowing with concern as he asked what was up with the freak storm. I would’ve loved to give him an answer, but I didn’t have one. I was just as baffled as he was. And didn’t that just irk the living fuck right out of me?
As soon as Marek and Tessa closed us in the office, Rissa cast a privacy spell. We called Nick, but it went to voicemail after the fifth ring. Rissa left him a message, and I texted him. When we didn’t hear from Nick after ten minutes, we texted and called our way through the Coven, striking out each and every single time.
Someone should’ve answered. I’m not a worrier by nature, but I was concerned. I didn’t know what the fuck was going on, but I couldn’t just sit on my ass and do nothing. I needed to get a bead on the supernatural snowstorm, and I needed to get us home. Safely.
I turned to Marissa, who was pacing around the small space like a caged cat, worry and guilt etched into her gorgeous face. She paused mid-stroll, panic flashing in her eyes as she demanded we head home. But driving wasn’t an option. Not in whiteout conditions, and she knew that. I tried talking her down, but there was no reasoning with her. Fear had trumped logic, turning into impulsive and dangerous desperation.
Marissa eyed me, then the door, and bolted for the exit. I snagged her around the waist and pulled her into my arms. I held her tight, stroking her back while she rambled into my shoulder. She blamed herself for our predicament. Claimed that if we’d stayed home, everything would’ve been fine, and everyone would’ve been safe. But she had no way of knowing that. Just like she didn’t know we were going to get sucker-punched by some freak storm. But she was all about playing the self-blame game, even though she wasn’t responsible for shit.
I led Marissa over to the couch, tucking her against my side as I turned on the TV, flipping to the local news station. I needed to learn more about the storm, and the news would be all over it. As expected, they did not disappoint.
The monster storm raged across Massachusetts and into parts of New York, causing widespread devastation, and showed no signs of weakening. If anything, it was intensifying with each passing minute.
The good news was, my list of suspects had narrowed. There were only a handful of beings capable of that kind of destruction. The bad news was, we were epically screwed. There wasn’t anything we could do to stop the damned thing—at least not without some serious magical backup. And sure, Marek and Tessa were plenty powerful. They just weren’t powerful enough to stop a storm of that magnitude. But if we rounded up enough witches, we could at least weaken it—or try.
Marissa was on board with my plan. Just as we got up to talk to Tessa and Marek, our phones chimed. Nick. We called him back, and after reassuring him we were safe, Nick got down to business. They were able to trace the storm’s magical signature back to the source.
My suspicions had been confirmed. Long story short, one of the old gods—I’m not saying who—threw a tantrum and weaponized Mother Nature. Over a fucking property dispute. Can’t say I wasn’t surprised by the newsflash, given the cranky asshole’s short fuse and appetite for death and destruction. Hell, that raging fucker had done worse over less. Much less.
I wanted to murder that hot-headed sack of shit, but Nick was handling it—and by handling it, I hoped he meant ripping the old fucker’s heart out of his chest and feeding it to him. In the meantime, Nick wanted us to crash with Marek and Tessa for the night. Cleanup was gonna take some time, and it was safer for us to stay put.
Marek and Tessa were more than happy to accommodate us. They busted out the booze and the four of us got to cooking dinner—well, technically the three of us. We try to keep Marissa away from the stove. Safer that way.
After dinner, we gathered by the fireplace and spent most of the night chatting and reminiscing over drinks and dessert. The conversation flowed easily and before we knew it, it was time to hit the sheets. Marissa stifled a yawn as we headed up to our room, but she didn’t want to sleep. So, the two of us cuddled by the fire, watching the snow fall until she passed out on my chest.
I didn’t want to move, didn’t want to disturb her as she slept. She looked so peaceful, so impossibly beautiful in the glow of the firelight. I could’ve watched her sleep for the remainder of the night. But I needed to get some shut-eye. I needed to get us home in one piece the next day. And I missed home. I missed our friends, and our family, but at least I got to spend some time with Marissa. And if I had to choose anyone to be stranded with, I’d choose her.
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