Cooper laughed, a touch nervously, it seemed to me. "I ... just don't feel like being out in the boonies. I figured we could do this in the Grove. Any magic we work there will be amplified for miles."
To most people, the Grove is just the middle of Taft Park. The park's made up of two dozen acres smack in the middle of downtown, extending from the east side of the Statehouse to the Columbus Art Museum. The central dozen acres were old-growth forest, virtually unchanged since the first European explorers set foot in them.
But to the city's Talents, the Grove is the focal point of a strong upwelling of Earth magic and is one of only two places of power in the entire state. It's home to some of the only enchanted trees left in the Midwest, and, as the occasional normal kid on a ghost hunt finds out, the Grove is a lot bigger on the inside than it looks on the outside. The Talented families in the city have worked hard behind the scenes to make sure the Grove stays wild and unmolested by developers and Parks & Recreation officials bent on "improving" it.
The problem was, if any of the vast majority of the populace who didn't know wizards existed saw us performing magic, Cooper would get into in quite a bit of trouble with the local governing circle. A few people, like the farmers paying us to call down some rain, know Talents exist. But those few are put under a geas to keep the secret and not speak to outsiders about magic. In the wake of the medieval witch hunts -- which murdered a lot of harmless mundane women and almost nobody using actual black magic -- Talent leaders had decided it was best that most mundanes knew as little as possible about the magical world.
"If we get a really good storm going, the skyscrapers will give better lightning protection," Cooper said.
He put his right hand on my leg and moved his fingertips in a light, teasing circle on the inside of my thigh. Tingly. "I have a feeling we're going to get things very, very wet tonight, don't you?"
You just want to fuck me downtown where someone might see us, I thought, then found myself sitting there with a dirty grin on my face as my inner exhibitionist pushed my worries under the covers. Erotomancy was just the thing for working forces of nature. I lifted his hand and put it over my left breast so he could feel my nipple hardening beneath my thin tee shirt.
"Why, ah have no idea what you are talkin' about, Mista Marron," I said. "Ah think you might be trying to take advantage of me. Ah think you are planning to put that great big ol' cock of yours inside me and make me just scream."
His fingers gently squeezed my nipple, sending a shiver of delight down my spine. "Stop with the Southern belle dirty talk ... you know it gets me hot."
"Why, Mista Marron, isn't that what you want?"
"What I want is to stop this car, throw you onto the hood, and take you right here by the side of the road."
He had that certain horny-loony gleam in his eye; he wasn't kidding one little bit about stopping the car. He was going to do it -- do me -- right out there in the light of the oncoming traffic so the truckers could get a quick rearview mirror peepshow at 70 mph. And he'd be able to get us both off before the highway patrol showed up -- and if he couldn't, he'd be able to cast a mirage spell and make the cops and everyone else think the car was parked miles away from our actual location.
You should stop this, I thought. Take his hand off your tit and put it back on the steering wheel.
Instead, I squeezed his hand tighter against my breast and said, "I want you."
It was the nightmares' fault this was happening. I knew he woke up so crazy with relief at finding himself alive with all parts intact that he wanted to send us both into orgasmic oblivion right out in the open where gods and monsters and mundanes could see them.
I knew because I felt exactly the same way. Cooper had always been a bit of an exhibitionist, but I had warmed to it during the year of nightmares as my own way of giving the Darkness the finger. The Darkness could take us to dreamland and torture us, it could murder us in a thousand ways and leave us shivering on our sheets in confusion and terror, it could leave us psychically scarred, afraid to sleep, but it could not break us. We wouldn't let it.
As Cooper's foot touched the brake, my ferret wiggled out of the crook of my right arm, hopped onto my chest and nipped Cooper's thumb.
"Ow! Dammit!" Cooper jerked his hand away.
The ferret chittered at both of us, his little beady eyes glittering.
I laughed. "Guess he doesn't want us getting our freak on until it's rainstorm time."
>> Go on to Spellbent: Chapter One, Part 6