“They better not have spiked the punch. So help me, I will end the whole pack of them!” I muttered under my breath as I swished to the refreshments table in my long satin dress. It was the big formal Christmas dance at Magik Prep Academy, and I was head of the refreshment committee for this event.
The werewolves made it their job to disrupt every social gathering, and I refused to let it happen on my watch.
My stomach lurched as I approached the table bordering the stage. There he was. Corbin Fang. Tall, gorgeous, blue eyed, and cold hearted. He’d just moved here and already he was causing waves in the pack hierarchy.
I tucked a tightly wound piece of dark hair behind my ear, snagging a piece of floating magic and weaving it into my wild, unruly mane to keep it in place. Flames threatened to erupt from my eyes as my anxiety heightened. As surreptitiously as possible, I dipped a strand of orange magic into the punch and sighed in relief when it didn’t change color. All was safe for the moment.
“Everything spit spot?” Corbin sauntered up and his accent made my belly flip. I frowned.
“Just making sure every student has the chance to drink without belching fire or singeing their date,” I returned. I glared. His blue eyes danced. “Last year your werewolf buddies put fire powder in the punch. Do you know what that does to poor unsuspecting creatures?”
“I heard about that one.” His eyes twinkled.
I glared at him.
“Dance with me Uptight Girl.”
“Dance with me.”
As if I would ever.
“I can’t. I have to make sure the punch stays legal.”
He snorted. “I’ll take care of that. Hiya!” he called to several other werewolves lounging against the stage looking shifty. “Not a drop in the bowl. Understood?”
One of them bared his teeth and another snarled, but at a hard look from Corbin, heads bobbed. I refused to admit I was impressed.
He was the newly appointed junior alpha of the school-aged werewolves, according to the gossip. Looked like maybe the rumors were true.
Corbin grabbed my hand and tugged. I didn’t budge. My eyes grew rounder.
“Come on. It’ll be fun. You can lambast the finer points of being a werewolf while we dance.” His eyes held a hidden mirth while his comment stung. I felt fire rising in my eyes and blinked it away. Not fast enough.
“Hey now. You’ve got gorgeous eyes. Flames in your veins?”
I sighed. “Phoenix. My grandma.”
“That’s fantastic! Tell me about it. While we dance.” It was the accent. It did me in. I let him tug me away from the table to the dance floor. I cast one more look at the bowl of punch and the werewolves pacing not far away.
“If they put something in there and another fairy grows a tail this year, I will,”
He cut me off. “Relax. I told them not to. They’re honor bound to obey me.”
“Really. Pack law. I may be the new guy, but I’m also the alpha guy. In our bloodlines, Fire Girl.”
“No. Aida. My name.”
“I know.” He winked and I bristled. “I’ve known your name since the second day I got here.”
I wasn’t sure if I should be flattered or consider him a stalker. I looked at him, trying to hide my general disgust. Werewolves were all troublemakers. The whole lot of them. Corbin Fang was their leader.
“You know, we’re not all that bad. Some of us are, sure, but not all,” he said, seeming to read my mind.
I digested his words as he spun me around the floor, graceful but firm. Was I the one who was being narrow-minded?
“Which kind are you?” I finally asked as he twirled me once more.
“I’d tell you, but I don’t think you’ll believe me unless you figure it out for yourself.” Was that a challenge in his eyes?
“Just like you are more than the partial fire inside you, there’s more to me than fur and claws.”
I bit my lip. I felt my own phoenix blood stirring. I hated it when people made assumptions about me because my eyes sometimes glowed. But preconceived notions were often helpful in dealing with the mythical community. At least, that’s what I told myself as Corbin led me off the dance floor. His easy grip projected an inner confidence I envied.
We made it back to the punch table. I quickly dipped a strand of orange magic in and sighed in relief when it remained unchanged.
Corbin tisked playfully beside me as he filled two goblets. He snatched a strand of light blue magic from the air, split it, twisted it, and swirled it into the two cups. The punch glowed. It was beautiful.
“Here you go, Aida, my uptight fire girl who secretly wants to let her inner bird fly.”
I gulped. How did he see me so well?
“What happens if I drink this?”
“It’ll make your phoenix fire glow and give you a secondary sight for awhile. You might see that some people are different than the sum of the rumors surrounding them.”
He winked at me and tipped back his glass. His deep eyes stared back at me and slowly turned electric blue.
“You’re just as beautiful on the inside as you are the outside. Although your insides are still tangled up in knots.” He quirked a smile at me as he finished his assessment. Blood rushed to my cheeks. “What’ll it be, Aida? Do you want to see me?”
The sudden desire to know who this boy was had me abandoning my cautious nature and tipping my glass back as well.
My fire woke within me. It rushed through me like sparklers in my blood. I buzzed with magic and knew the instant it hit my eyes. I sucked in a breath and looked at Corbin.
I gasped. He radiated goodness. Not the snark, not the alpha, not the rotten werewolf I imagined. His heart was kind, his intentions honorable.
I saw him.
“Merry Christmas, Aida.”
“Merry Christmas, Corbin.”