Home > Rhapsodic (The Bargainer #1)(5)

Rhapsodic (The Bargainer #1)(5)
Author: Laura Thalassa

I’d been two weeks away from freedom. Two weeks. And then this happened.

“Finally,” he sighs, “some good news. Pack your bags. Tomorrow you’re moving to the Isle of Man.”

I blink, my mind slow to catch up. “What? Wait—tomorrow?” I’d be moving? And so soon? My head spins at the thought.

“Peel Academy has summer sessions starting in a couple weeks,” he says.

Located on the Isle of Man, an island smack dab between Ireland and Great Britain, Peel Academy was the premiere supernatural boarding school. I’d been dreaming of going for so long. And now I would be.

“You’re going to attend classes starting then, and you’re not going to tell anyone that you killed Hugh fucking Anders.”

I flinch at that.

“Unless,” he adds, “you’d prefer that I leave you here with this mess.”

Oh God. “No—please stay!”

Another long-suffering sigh. “I’ll deal with the body and the authorities. If anyone asks, he had a heart attack.”

The Bargainer eyes me curiously before remembering that he’s annoyed with me. He snaps his fingers, and the body levitates. It takes several seconds to process the fact that a corpse is floating in my kitchen.

The Bargainer looks unfazed. “There’s something you should know.”

“Uh-huh?” My gaze is fixed on the floating body. So creepy.

“Eyes on me,” the Bargainer snaps.

My attention snaps to him.

“There’s a chance my magic will wear off over time. I might be powerful, but that pretty little curse all you sirens have hanging over your heads might override even my magic.” Somehow he manages to come off as arrogant even as he’s telling me his powers might be inadequate.

“What happens if that’s the case?” I ask.

The Bargainer smirks. Huge asshole. I’ve already got him profiled.

“Then you best start utilizing your womanly wiles, cherub,” he says, his eyes flicking over me. “You’ll be needing them.”

With that parting line, the Bargainer disappears, along with the man I killed.

Present

Power.

That is the heart of my addiction. Power. I was once crushed under the weight of it, and it almost swallowed me whole.

But that was a long time ago. And now I’m the formidable force.

The restaurant’s private room glows softly under the candlelight. I lean in close to Micky. “So this is what’s going to happen. You are going to return that money you embezzled back to your mother.”

His previously vacant eyes focus on me. If looks could kill …

“Fuck. You.”

I smile, and I know I look predatory.

“Listen closely, because this is the only warning I’m going to give you: I know you have no idea what I am. But I assure you, I can ruin your life, and I’m just enough of an asshole to consider it. So unless you want to lose everything you care about, you are going to be respectful.”

Regular mortals know that supernaturals exist, but we tend to separate ourselves from the non-magically gifted, simple reason being that fun shit like witch hunts tend to pop up when mortals get too intimidated by us supernaturals.

I reach for my purse.

“Now, because you can’t be a good son on your own, I’m going to help you,” I say conversationally. I pull out a pen and a series of documents my client gave me out of my bag.

Shoving Micky’s plate out of the way, I lay it out in front of him.

One is a written confession of guilt, and the other is a promissory note, both documents drafted by my client’s lawyer.

“You’re going to repay every penny you stole—with ten percent interest.”

Micky makes a small noise.

“Was that fifteen percent interest I heard?” He shakes his head furiously.

“That’s what I thought. Now, I’ll give you ten minutes to flip through the document, and then you’re going to sign it.”

I spend those ten minutes sampling the wine and food that Micky’s guests left behind, kicking my heels up because, ugh, stilettos.

When the time’s up, I collect the documents from Micky. As I flip through them, I peek over at the man himself. His face is now coated with an unhealthy sheen of sweat and I bet if he removed his dinner jacket, I’d see huge rings of it beneath his armpits.

I finish flipping through the document. Once I’m done, I slide them back in my purse.

“We’re almost done here.”

“Al-most?” He says the word like he’s never heard of it.

“You didn’t think I’d leave you to just a few paltry signatures did you?” I shake my head, and now my skin is doing more to illuminate the room than the low lighting is. The siren in me loves this. Toying with her victim. “Oh, Micky, no no no.”

And this is where I stop toying with Micky and go in for the kill. I lean forward, putting as much power into my voice as I can manage. “You are going to right your wrongs. You’re never going to do this ever again, and you are going to spend the rest of your life working to be a better person and earn your mother’s forgiveness.”

He nods his head.

I grab my purse. “Be a good son. If I hear you haven’t been—if I hear anything at all that reflects poorly on you—you’ll be seeing me again, and you don’t want that.”

He shakes his head, his expression vacant.

I stand. My work here is done.

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