Fleeting Dreams

(A scene in the life – Devon from Dream Man learns how to use her magic)

Autumn swept into the city of Solstice with a howl. The day had been sunny and crisp with color exploding everywhere, but once the sun had set, the wind had charged in. Devon looked out her kitchen window at the trees in her back yard. Their limbs swayed and dipped in an eerie dance with an invisible partner. Overhead, the moon in the sky was bright, but dark clouds gathered. The feel in the air was electric. Powerful.

The sensation resonated inside her, making her belly swirl and her fingertips tingle. Her power was surging… the power she hadn’t even known about a few months ago…

When she’d learned she was a witch.

She wrapped her fingers around her mug of herbal tea and watched as more leaves gave up the tug-of-war and fluttered to the ground. She was fighting the same battle. The energy inside her was strong. It wanted to be set free, to be used, but as they said, curiosity killed the cat…

Her gaze drifted away from the window to her kitchen stove. She’d first learned of her abilities when she’d performed a love spell right here. She’d done it on a whim and had been stunned when it had worked – yet she’d also learned that magic could have unintended side effects. She’d nearly lost everything important to her before she’d managed to fix the damage.

She’d stopped using magic ever since then, but the power was still inside her. It didn’t like being held back. Cael could feel it, too. He’d been encouraging her to learn more about her abilities. He supported her taking baby steps into the world of magic – as long as she didn’t enter the dream realm again. She’d learned her lesson there. She took a step back from the stove. And she’d developed an appropriate respect of spells. It would be a while before she worked up the nerve to try another one.

A crack split the air, and she flinched. She watched as an old branch fell from the neighbor’s tree and tumbled to the ground. That was what happened when you stood firm and brittle against the forces. Should she be flexible, too? Should she be testing her power rather than holding it in? What if it got to the point where she couldn’t contain it anymore?

A shiver went through her.

She’d learned to trust her power of foresight. Her grandmother had known she had supernatural talents. She’d wanted her to have faith in them and not be afraid.

Devon put down her tea when a blue spark left her fingertips. It was time. Her intuition felt good about this; it was her brain getting in the way. She was alone tonight; there was nobody around that she could harm. Cael was down at the Sentinel’s offices working late on a story. Cedric, the neighbor’s dog, had gone home before the wild weather had started and was probably settled in for the night. She wouldn’t enter the dream realm and she wouldn’t perform a spell, but there was something else she could try.

She’d done it once before by accident – and it was a good thing she had.

She turned away from the stove and headed out of the kitchen. Too many memories there. She looked at the living room with its comfy furniture. Here would do, because she wasn’t going up to her bedroom. Although she and Cael had been busy making new memories up there…

The blush that entered her cheeks felt bright enough to match her hair.

Some really good, steamy memories.

She propped her hands on her hips. How was she going to do this? Where should she even start? She hadn’t needed props or ingredients before like she had with the spell, but the energy outside seemed to be helping. She hit the lights and moved across the darkened room to the sofa. The moon shone bright through the window, but only seconds later dimmed behind yet another dark cloud.

Toeing off her shoes, she climbed onto the couch and sat cross-legged on the middle cushion. She arranged a pillow behind her. Her leggings and knit top felt comfortable. She swept her hair over her shoulder so it hung out of her way, down her back.

“What now?” she asked aloud. Just how did one astral project in the waking world? On purpose?

She nibbled on her lower lip. She didn’t want the impetus to be fear or danger this time. She simply wanted to be able to project herself elsewhere. When she’d been in the crush of a crowd, some part of herself had gone looking for Cael, and she’d found him with his brothers at a restaurant. She’d manifested right in front of them, shocking the waitress and causing Tony to nearly crawl up the wall. She’d called for help before she’d lost the ability to maintain and had come back into herself.

She still didn’t know how she’d done it. It had been instinctive. But it had to be like what she’d done to cross into the dream realm – and she remembered that.

She rubbed her palms against her knees. There was one common denominator there, Cael. Whenever she’d managed to access her power, she’d wanted to see him. Badly. But she wasn’t going to use him as her test case. No way. No how.

But maybe that was where to start. Focus on a person rather than a place.

“Tasha.” That was simple. What were old friends for if you couldn’t just pop in on them? Literally? And maybe scare the bejesus out of them on an eerie, stormy night?

She shook her head. No, she didn’t want to do that at all. Tasha had fully recovered, but Devon didn’t want to do anything to rock her mental stability. Yet she knew Tasha better than anybody else on the planet. And Tasha knew her secrets. She’d been pushing her nearly as hard as Cael had to explore her magic.

“She’d kill you if you tried this with somebody else first.”

Devon closed her eyes and focused on her breathing. She rolled her shoulders and settled into a place of calm. She tried not to let the weather outside distract her, even as the moonlight brightened again. For several minutes, she sat there that way, thinking about her best friend… picturing her in her apartment… wishing to see her…

Nothing.

Not even a false start.

Devon blew out a hard breath and adjusted the pillow at the small of her back. She tried again, squeezing her eyes shut and concentrating harder. Hard enough to make herself dizzy. She didn’t make it half as long this time.

She let out a sound of frustration. Why wasn’t this working? She hadn’t even felt a hint of movement or lightness or even a destination.

She stretched out her legs and rubbed her hands against the microfiber fabric of the sofa. She wanted this to work, but not for a party trick or even to tell Cael she’d found an outlet. Her ability to astral project in the physical world could be useful if she learned how to do it safely and on demand. What if she had car trouble when she was working and found herself without cell service? She was a photographer for the Sentinel, and news stories didn’t always appear in the safest part of town. She glanced out the window. Or in the safest weather. If she could hone her ability to astral project, she could find help. Or she could be of help. What if Cael was out there instead of her? Or one of his brothers?

She had to figure this out.

She rolled the tension out of her shoulders again and tried to think. Her brow furrowed. Wait. She hadn’t thought the last time she’d done this. She hadn’t even known it was something she could do. She’d simply been feeling.

The trick wasn’t in her head. It was in her heart.

Closing her eyes again, she pictured her pint-sized friend. She envisioned Tasha smiling at her boyfriend, Justin, and dancing circles around him at the bar they’d all gone to the other night. Her long dark hair had swung, and her short skirt had lifted dangerously as she twirled.

Devon felt her body lighten, but she kept focusing on Tasha. As a photographer, she was a visual person, but she heard her friend’s laughter. She smelled the fumes from the oil paints the artist used. Devon wanted to see her friend. She wanted to talk to her.

The wind outside suddenly felt like it was rushing through her hair. She resisted before she remembered to give in and let the flow take her where it may. The howling became louder in her ears.

Until it suddenly stopped.

She opened her eyes cautiously, worried that a window had been left open, but a gasp left her lips. The wind hadn’t been coming through a forgotten window. It had worked! She was at Tasha’s workshop. She held her hands out in front of her, turning them over. She looked whole. She wrapped her arms around her waist. She felt whole.

Had she really traveled through space? Was another part of her still back home, sitting on the sofa? Or had she accidentally fallen asleep and was dreaming?

She swept a shaky hand through her hair. There was one way to find out.

“Hello?” she called, her throat husky.

She looked at her surroundings. She was in the front lobby of Tasha’s studio. The sign on the door had been turned to display “closed” to any visitors. Even the lights had been dimmed. Everything looked so vivid and smelled so distinct. She detected oil paint, paint thinner, and pottery clay. But was Tasha even here?

Devon rolled her eyes. Given how her explorations into magic tended to have unexpected consequences, that was entirely possible.

She saw light glinting under the door to the work area, and she headed for it. She stopped before she’d made it two steps and looked at her feet. She was barefoot. She could feel the coolness of the floor. Okay, that was important to know. She needed to prepare before she traveled this way for real.

But this felt real…

“Tasha?” she called. Again, her voice came out at half-volume. She’d been worried about scaring her friend, but she was half-petrified herself. Power gushed inside her, but it was uneven. She didn’t know how to control it. She was in a quiet, dark workshop, but outside the streetlights were swinging in the wind. Awareness prickled at the back of her neck. People weren’t going to expect her to be visiting this way, but she didn’t know what she was going to be walking in on, either. She hadn’t anticipated this would be stressful for her, too.

She wrapped her hand around the door handle and turned it carefully so it wouldn’t squeak. She opened the door slowly…

And found herself blushing bright red all over again.

Tasha was here all right, and she wasn’t alone. She and Justin were in the middle of a heavy make-out session. Tasha was sitting on the work table in the middle of the room with her legs wrapped around her boyfriend’s waist as he bent down over her. He had one hand fisted in her long dark hair, while the other was pushed under her shirt to cup her breast.

The traitorous door squeaked, and Devon squeaked right along with it.

The couple quickly broke the hot kiss and looked in her direction. Caught.

“Devon!” Tasha said, breathing heavily.

“Sorry. I didn’t mean to… I’ll just go.”

“No, don’t.” Justin’s cheeks were flushed, and he quickly pulled his hand out from under Tasha’s clothes. He arranged them quickly, as if nobody would notice. “We just didn’t hear you.”

“I called your name.” Like a timid little mouse. “I should have knocked.”

Devon’s mind was racing, and not because she’d caught the couple at an inopportune time. They could see her, and they were talking to her. They didn’t seem to notice anything out of the norm. Excitement rose inside her. It had worked. It had really worked.

What more could she do? Could she do this with anyone else? How long would it last?

“Devon?”

Her chin snapped up. “What?”

“I asked how you got in. I thought I’d locked the front door.”

“Oh, uh… I just came in.”

Tasha’s brow furrowed, but not as much as Justin’s. Tasha’s shop wasn’t in a bad part of town, but it was right on the edge. She was careful to lock up, especially after the unrest that had rolled through the city.

“It’s locked now,” Devon said quickly. Technically, the truth.

Tasha grinned and wriggled forward on the table. Justin caught her by the waist and set her on her feet before she could jump down. He looked abashed. Her friend looked exhilarated.

“Hi!” Her grin spread wide across her face. “You caught us smooching.”

Devon hooked her hair over her ear. “I noticed.”

“Good thing you didn’t get here ten minutes later,” Tasha said with a giggle.

Justin shook his head and ran a hand through his blond hair.

“I should have called first,” Devon said as she backed towards the door. Maybe she really should have done that before she’d made this attempt.

“Wait. Did you need something?” Justin asked.

Always the helpful one.

Tasha looked at her expectantly, too. Soon she’d realize that Devon was barefoot and without her purse… or her camera… Her friend was observant that way.

Devon froze. She hadn’t thought this through. She had no excuse. She’d just thought she’d visit Tasha. She could tell her friend what she’d done, but she couldn’t confess in front of Justin. He and Tasha were solid – probably on their way to something long-term and meaningful – but that didn’t mean that Devon wanted him to know that she was a witch. Tasha might know. Cael knew. And okay… all of Cael’s brothers knew, too, but she couldn’t just blurt it out.

“Uh… I… I dropped by to see… Dinner.” She latched onto the idea. “I wanted to ask the two of you to have dinner with Cael and me on Friday.”

“On Halloween?”

She’d forgotten what time of the year it was. “Sure.”

Devon felt the power within her shift, like it had just lost its balance. She curled her toes against the floor. Oh, no. She was losing control of the projection. “Unless you have other plans.”

She swayed. Her grip was slipping, and her heart began to pound as the couple looked at each other. She couldn’t hold on much longer, but she didn’t want to vanish right before their eyes.

Justin shrugged. “As long as we don’t have to dress up, I’m in.”

“No costumes?” Tasha said with a pout. She swatted at Justin’s hand when he tried to pull down her top that was still snagged under her bra on the side. “Can I at least bring something?”

Devon took a step back towards the door and then another one in a hurry. “Sure. I’ll send you the details.”

Right as soon as she figured out what they were.

Justin straightened. “You don’t need to leave, Dev.”

Oh, yes, she did.

“Sorry for the interruption,” she called. She’d barely made it into the lobby before she felt herself lighten and lift. She closed her eyes at the unusual sensation. “See you Fri—”

Devon opened her eyes and wobbled. She was back in her living room, sitting on the couch. Her hair whipped around her shoulders as she took in her surroundings. Nothing had changed. The moon still glowed. The trees outside were still weaving.

But her phone on the coffee table showed that time had passed.

Her heart thudded inside her chest, but she nearly lurched off the cushions when that same phone pinged with an incoming text message. She grabbed it swiftly. The message was from Tasha.

“Are we having Halloween food? Please, please, please.”

Which meant she wanted to bring witch finger breadsticks or meatball mummies.

Devon’s eyes snapped open. The text also meant that she hadn’t dreamed anything. It had really happened. She’d visited her friends without ever leaving her house.

She stood from the sofa and did a quick circle around the room. This was big. It was huge. And it was a rush.

She threw back her head and twirled impulsively.

She stopped before she made herself dizzy. Still, she smiled. It felt good to be happy. Even more, it felt good to be confident. They’d been through a bad spate, all of them. It was a relief to know that she could use her powers and not be afraid of them. She just needed more practice.

She glanced at the time. Cael was working on a big story with one of the Sentinel’s reporters, and they were racing to meet the print deadline. She wanted to share the news, but she didn’t want to bother him.

But he wouldn’t be home for a while…

She drummed her fingers against her thigh, feeling the sensitivity of power sparking within them. Did she dare try again? She wondered if it would work if she attempted to visit someone else. Someone with whom she wasn’t as close.

She hesitated only a moment before reaching for the phone and dialing. Interrupting Tasha and Justin was one thing; barging in on these two was something else entirely.

* * *

Shea was waiting in the kitchen of her condo when Devon made her way to her. Even knowing she was coming, the blonde still let out a surprised yelp when Devon appeared out of thin air.

“Oh, my God,” she said. Her eyes widened in wonder. “That’s amazing. How are you doing that?”

“I don’t know,” Devon admitted. She didn’t know how she was able to do these things. She just could.

She looked around the kitchen in wonder. She’d never been to Shea’s place. They’d gone to dinner and had met whenever the brothers got together. They’d even started having breakfast together away from the boys when the Oneiroi had their weekly gathering at IHOP. They were friendly, but she couldn’t have targeted this place if she’d wanted. Or could she?

She was interested enough to try, but she needed to become more secure in her ability first. Until then, she was seeking out people… people she knew and was fond of…

“Shea?” The concerned voice came from the other room.

Devon shot a worried look in that direction. Uh oh, Derek was here, too. Good thing she’d phoned. If he figured out what she was doing, he’d call his brother for sure. Then Cael would come racing home. This was something she needed to do on her own. She didn’t want him worrying or hovering.

“I’m fine,” Shea called. She was still staring in wonder, but questions had started to swirl in her bright blue eyes. Devon was glad; she’d chosen her for that exact reason. Shea was one of the few people who knew about the Dream Weavers. She was a believer, but at the same time, a trained scientist with a PhD brain.

Impulsively, she reached out and touched Devon’s arm. They both jumped at the contact.

“You’re corporeal,” Shea said in amazement.

Devon looked down at the woman’s pink colored fingernails. She could feel the touch, and she could sense the heat. But hadn’t she felt the grittiness of the floor? And opened the door at Tasha’s shop, too? She was physically transporting herself, but that confused her all the more. “It wasn’t like this in the dream realm.”

There, she and Cael had been able to touch, but she hadn’t been able to contact anyone in the physical world. She hadn’t been able to talk to them or move anything.

Shea nibbled at her lower lip. “You’re in the same plane here. You’re traveling from one location to another, but you’re still in the same realm.”

Devon nodded. That made sense. She touched the kitchen counter and the bowl of popcorn set atop it. The wrapper of a Baby Ruth candy bar crinkled when she nudged it. Fascinating. It was a good thing she hadn’t projected herself into the roses in her back yard or somewhere underwater. She still needed to be careful.

“I wonder what state you’re in back in your house,” Shea mused.

Devon’s lips parted on a sharp inhale. She hadn’t considered that. “I don’t know.”

Was she there in spirit state? Another physical shell? Was part of her left behind, defenseless like Cael had been? Or had she left her home entirely?

“We should run experiments,” Shea said.

Devon was nodding in agreement when the kitchen door swung, startling them both. They pivoted around guiltily to face the man who’d entered, and the kitchen counter dug into Devon’s back. Caught. Again.

She needed to get better at this.

Derek’s hands came up in defensive mode when he found someone else in the room, but he stopped short when he recognized her.

“Devon,” he said in surprise. His gaze quickly narrowed on her.

She tried not to squirm. Derek might be dressed down in jeans and a T-shirt, but his steady dark gaze wasn’t easy-going at all. Handsome like all the Oneiroi, he was by far the most intense. Of all of Cael’s brothers, he was the one who could ferret out the truth before she was ready to share.

Confusion lit his face, and it wasn’t a state that settled well on him. His brow furrowed and concern began to set in. Shea moved in before he could start asking questions. She wrapped her arms around his waist and lifted herself on her tiptoes to kiss him on the cheek. “Sorry I’m slow with the popcorn. Devon just dropped by.”

It was then that Devon realized that Shea was clad in a slinky blue robe. The couple was settled in for the night. They weren’t busy like Tasha and Justin, but the environment was cozy and intimate.

Again, she’d crashed in on a couple’s private time without a viable reason. Instinct made her want to flee, but she concentrated on rooting herself when her power rose to her bidding. Shea knew she was testing her astral projection skills, but Derek didn’t. Or he shouldn’t. The look on his handsome face said his machine-like brain was trying to deduce what was going on.

Devon pushed her hair over her shoulder. Could he see? He had magic, too. Could he sense the difference in her?

“You came to the back door?” he asked.

Devon froze like a deer in the headlights. From what she could tell, the door led to Shea’s private back yard. Why would she do that? What reason could she possibly— “I wanted to invite you two to dinner on Friday. Tasha and Justin will be there.”

Shea quickly picked up on what Devon was putting down. “We’d love to come,” she said, a smile pulling at her lips.

The lines on Derek’s forehead only deepened.

“Feel free to bring Halloween-themed food,” Devon said.

“What’s that?” he repeated, clearly off-balance. And not liking it.

She plucked at the hem of her long stretchy top. “You know… Jack O’Lantern stuffed peppers… or popcorn balls…”

“Excellent,” Shea said. “We’ll be there.”

She picked up the bowl of popcorn and thrust it into Derek’s hands. When she headed for the door, Devon fell into step beside her. Of course, when she wanted a hole to open up in the floor and swallow her, she couldn’t summon it. She felt as solid as a rock.

“Text me the details?” Shea said as she opened the back door.

Devon stepped outside and winced when she saw Derek scanning for her car or the way she might have come. She caught her hair when the wind whipped it around her face. The chill went straight through her. She’d put on shoes, but she didn’t have a coat.

Shea leaned in for a hug. “Can you get home the way you came?” she whispered into her ear.

Devon searched internally for the power that had almost made her disperse reflexively when Derek had walked into the room. “I think so. What are you going to tell him?”

It was obvious that The Machine wasn’t buying into their little act. Derek Oneiros ran a security company. He wasn’t easily deceived.

Shea’s lips curled up in a sly smile. “I know how to distract him.”

She caught Devon’s hand. “I was serious about the experiments.”

Devon nodded. So was she. She had so many questions. She squeezed her new friend’s hand, but suddenly found herself holding nothing.

Her eyes snapped open. She was back in her house, on her sofa. “Whoa.”

Her control really was fleeting. Some controlled experiments might be a really good idea.

She stretched on the sofa and felt her back pop. The energy inside her wasn’t as chaotic anymore. It was still pulsing, but the spikes seemed to be evening out. That was good. She felt more in control. Empowered.

Almost as if she was a witch on the verge of Halloween.

A laugh escaped her. Why not? Apparently, she was going to have company. She retrieved her tea from the microwave and warmed her hands around the mug as she waited for her energy to recharge. She’d better not leave anybody out.

* * *

She popped in on Tony next and found him, naturally, at the gym. She hadn’t called ahead or given him any advance notice. He was a Dream Weaver; he popped in on people all the time. So they were sleeping when he did it. There was no reason why he shouldn’t experience his own medicine.

He flinched hard when she appeared next to him, and Devon laughed. She’d caught him flexing in front of the floor-to-ceiling mirror. He dropped his pose as if it had never been and looked around the gym quickly. This late in the evening, it was sparsely populated. Still, his eyes were huge when he turned on her. “You’ve got to stop doing that.”

“I’m practic— Ow!

He laughed right back at her when she banged her head on the overhead pulldown machine.

Devon rubbed the spot on the back of her head. “That’s not funny.”

“Serves you right.”

She stepped away from the machine carefully and took Tony’s hand when he guided her around a weight stack. She’d manifested right up against the mirrored wall, in the most difficult to navigate open spot. At least she hadn’t solidified on top of a machine or inside one. She must have some sort of internal sense on where she could and couldn’t materialize.

“How do you do it?” she asked. “How do you know where to appear when you’re visiting your sleepers?”

“What do you mean?”

“I can go to the right place, but how do I stick my landing? How can I tell if anybody else is there?”

He shrugged. “You could start by opening your eyes.”

Her jaw dropped. Was it that simple? “Seriously?”

“They were squeezed pretty tightly, from what I saw.”

She poked at his bicep. “So were these.”

She imitated his bodybuilder pose, and he laughed good-naturedly. “Nice of you to notice.”

He gave her another flex to her ooh’s and ahh’s.

Finally, he draped his arm over the bar lying atop the bench press. “So why aren’t you using your boyfriend for practice?”

“Because he’s busy tonight, and I don’t want him to know. Besides, I’m here to ask you over for dinner on Halloween. You can bring the veggie skeleton and brain dip, Mr. Healthy.”

“The what?”

She gave him a wave as she began to vaporize. “Look for a text.”

* * *

When Devon returned home, she felt more settled than she had in a long, long time. She’d visited more of Cael’s brothers, and none had been the wiser on how she was making her travels. That she could tell, at least… She was tired, but the energy inside her felt stronger. More secure. The muscle had been used, and it no longer ached from forced atrophy.

She could do this.

With a smile, she bounded off the sofa. She couldn’t wait to tell Cael. He’d been worried about her, she knew, but she hadn’t wanted to rush into anything. She hadn’t wanted to slip over an edge from which she couldn’t recover. Now she knew what she could do. She felt secure in her abilities.

She let out a sigh of relief. Magic wasn’t something terrible or dangerous. It just needed to be treated with respect.

She looked out the back window as she put her tea mug into the dishwasher. The wind had tapered down, and the moon had traveled all the way from the left side of the window to nearly overhead. Time had passed during her travels. She looked to see how late it actually was. She blinked when she saw the numbers on the microwave. It was past the print deadline time; Cael should be home.

Where was he?

She turned on the lights as she retrieved her phone and frowned when the call she placed rolled straight over to voicemail. That was odd. Was he still busy? Had he pushed the deadline back? He had the power to do that, but it had all kinds of implications. Overtime for all the people who put the paper together; the pressmen, the mailers, and the delivery men. She crossed her arms over her chest and drummed her fingers against her elbow. He would have sent her a message that he was going to be late, if that was the case.

Had he misplaced his phone? Had he run into trouble on the way home? Was it late enough that he’d decided to just sleep over at the office so he could get to his charges that were already calling for him in their sleep? Dating a Dream Weaver had taught her they kept regular hours.

But wouldn’t he have called to tell her?

She rubbed a hand over her stomach. Her foresight wasn’t giving off any indicators. There was no need to panic.

That didn’t mean she couldn’t go check on him. Instinctively, she looked for her purse, but then she remembered that she didn’t have to drive down to the offices. She glanced at the moon outside. She’d developed a much more efficient mode of travel – and she had wanted to share it with him.

Nerves suddenly assailed her. She’d practiced with her friends, but showing off to him was something different. She didn’t want to crash into any walls or startle her coworkers.

“Just keep your eyes open.” Tony’s advice had helped on her last jaunt to see his brothers.

She could do this. She wasn’t a pro yet, but she was getting more adept. And the need to see Cael was growing stronger. She could feel the pull. She had to go to him.

This time, she didn’t bother to return to the sofa. She simply watched the moon outside and felt the tingling running across the surface of her skin. The wind might not be as fierce, but she could feel air rushing around her in the stillness of the kitchen. Her hair swayed, and her weight lightened on her feet.

She began to project, light rushing past her. She sensed the direction, but experienced a virtual speed bump when it wasn’t toward the Sentinel’s offices. The lurch almost threw her off, but she let the forces take her where they wanted to go. Her curiosity grew.

Where was he? Had he and the journalist stopped for drinks? Had he dropped by Hooligan’s to see his brothers?

Her concern eased when she recognized her destination. His apartment. He’d basically moved in with her, but had been gradually moving his things over until he could find a subletter. Still, why was he here?

Was he not coming over tonight?

Devon was frowning when she manifested in his bedroom. She felt the weight of her form return and braced herself on the balls of her feet. The room was dimmed, but for the light on the bedside table. Her breath caught when she saw what it lit.

Cael was waiting for her, lying on his side with his head propped in his hand. The sheets were low across his waist, baring his muscled chest and abdomen. And giving hints as to what was lower…

His eyes lit when he saw her, and the smile that pulled at his lips was sexy. “It’s about time you got to me.”

Devon’s shoulders dropped. Derek. “Your brother told you.”

“Brothers.” A wink joined his smile. “Have you been playing, Sexy Red?”

“I wouldn’t call it playing.” She pushed at her hair, but then gave in. She crawled onto the bed and stretched out beside him. Hesitantly she reached out and laid a hand to his chest. Oh, yes. She liked having the ability to touch in this realm. “I was practicing.”

He swirled a lock of her hair around his finger. “You know you can always practice on me.”

Her stomach tightened. Her Dreamer was a serious guy, but she loved when he got playful. “I was saving the best for you.”

“Are you gaining control of your powers?” he asked.

“This one. At least I think I’m getting the hang of it.”

“You’ve been flitting all over the city from what I hear.”

She had, and it had been exhilarating. “About that,” she said. “You should know that we’re having a party this Friday.”

That, finally, caught him off-guard. “We are?”

“A Halloween-themed one.” She grinned. “I just delivered all the invitations.”

“In person.”

“I needed an excuse.”

“You don’t need an excuse to—”

She laid a finger across his lips. “Not everyone knows I’m a witch, just like they don’t know what you and your brothers can do. I’d like to keep it that way.”

He caught her wrist and pulled her closer until their bodies sealed from chest to knee. “It will be our little secret,” he promised.

Her fingers dug into his back when he kissed her. He could still thrill her this way. Every little touch. Every little kiss. Every little sigh. They crackled through her with sensual energy she couldn’t deny.

The kiss deepened, becoming hotter and more intimate. When he gave a tug, she followed as he rolled onto his back. Straddled atop of him, she lifted herself up onto her elbows. Her red hair draped around them, cocooning them in intimacy. She kissed his chest and felt his heart pound against her lips.

His hands settled on her hips, and his fingers snagged on the stretchy material covering them. “I love what these leggings do for you, but I’ve got to tell you, they’re a bitch to take off.”

Devon laughed. “I thought you were a Greek god.”

“Daemon,” he corrected.

Her laugh caught on a groan. He was right about that. He’d devilishly changed tactics and instead of getting into her pants, he’d gotten under her top. His hands covered her breasts and began to play. Her nipples stiffened, and suddenly, she decided he was right about the leggings. Way too tight. Way too constricting.

She tried to push them down, and he let out a grunt at the way she wiggled. She finally managed to pull them away from her skin, and he was there to take full advantage of the access. His hand dove into the tight opening and spread wide across her lower abdomen. Devon sucked in a breath when he tickled the waistband of her panties.

He pressed another hot kiss to her lips. “Want to party now?” he asked.

Another kiss landed on her neck.

“For practice?”

Devon moaned when his hand shifted lower. Pressed tight against her inside the stretchy Lycra fabric, the contact seemed naughtier. Scandalous. “Okayyyy,” she sighed.

Sensation whipped through her when the tips of his fingers touched her intimately… and the hand against her breast squeezed. Her body arched, feeling powerful, energized, and light as air…

“No, no. Not now,” she cried. “Oh, damn.”

Cael let out a surprised sound, but then began to laugh. Her tough, serious, leader of the Oneiroi.

She was fading. The lightness wasn’t caused by euphoria; she was dematerializing. She’d forgotten she’d astral projected here, and her control had gone on the fritz.

Whose wouldn’t?

“You did this on purpose,” she said, looking down at him. She fought to stay, but even she could see herself flickering.

He grinned deviously. “That’s what you get for playing with my brothers instead of me.”

She squeezed her eyes shut when his fingers moved against her intimately. “I wasn’t playing. I was perfecting.”

She was slipping… sliding… Being pulled back to full form.

His laugh filled the room, and he nuzzled against her temple. “Drive back over when you get yourself together. I’ll be waiting for you, my sexy red witch… in the flesh.”

~~~

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