Tides of Time
The roar of a small engine combined with slaps of water came to her above the normal “whoosh” of the waves hitting the shore. Her head snapped up. A jet ski raced along the waves, encroaching on the surfers.
She stopped grabbing at her board and pushed the tangle of wet hair from her face. The rider zoomed dangerously close to Sam. Her breath caught.
The tall, lean man leaning over the handlebars had a cap pulled low over his forehead. She couldn’t see his face, and long sleeves covered his skin, but she could swear she saw twists of familiar blond hair beneath the hat. It couldn’t be. Her imagination zipped to memories of her last night at the beach with Neil.
How could the rider not see Sam where he sat astride his board? Panic swirled through her.
“Sam!” She jumped on her board and pulled fast strokes.
Sam paddled toward the shore, whipping his head around to the jet ski.
Too late. She judged the distance between them, climbing to her knees to wave her arms in desperation. She had to get the rider’s attention. She screamed Sam’s name again.
The jet ski edged so close she could see the plume shooting out the back as it skipped over the water. Sam paddled harder, his jaw set in a tight line.
The motor blared louder. The bastard was accelerating.
She’d never get to Sam in time, and he was no match for an engine. A wave swept over his head. He rolled beneath it. The spray from the jet ski arced over him as the rider banked.
Her hand flew to her face. Relief poured over her. The jet ski revved again and rolled into a sharp U-turn straight for Sam.
Fear shot through her, surging her elemental magic perilously close to spilling over. Thrusting one hand into the water, she shoved hard. Her mouth curved downward. She pulsed a wave between Sam and the jet ski. One to stop the danger.
Power thrummed through her, and another pulse created a second wave pushing Sam toward the shore. She should stop while she still could, but the connection and clawing need rolled through her. The third push brought Sam almost even with her, a fourth wave capsized the jet ski, and a fifth tugged the menace further from his ride. She could scare him as badly as he’d terrified them.
Hurt him. Pull him under, hold him there as he would do to you and yours. The same hunger she’d fought when she’d held Neil’s head below the tide tore through her. A heartbeat later, she could hear echoes of Ama teaching the first rule of magic. Ama’s sweet brown eyes filled with laughter as she sang lullabies and kissed her to sleep with whispers of, “May you harm none. I love you, mija.”
The water stilled beneath her fingers, rocking her tenderly. She wouldn’t break the rule. Not again. Not for this.
Yet, her elemental magic rushed through her, more thrilling than any ride on a board. The call devoured every part of her, wanting to reclaim her as its own.
“Sweetheart.” Sam reached for her. “You good?”
His hand brushed her waist, and the magic blazed. His fingers locked on her, and her magic blinked away to a calm, constant hum. She studied him, taking in every inch of him.
“Sam?” Her voice broke, and he gathered her close. She ran her hands over his head and down to his suit, checking for any injuries. Or at least she’d meant to simply assure herself of his safety. But magic had a price. An individual toll for each user to pay.
For Mina, it brought on hunger. For Delia, the power could send her into a blackout. For Cami, her magic had always craved affection, and right now, it wanted Sam.
She crawled from her own board until she’d practically climbed in his lap. He fumbled for a moment but adjusted to hold her against him. She brought his head down to hers and pressed her lips against his. Her kiss marked a claim, licking and teasing until the needs of her power subsided.
The demand for passion finally gave way to the catcalls and encouraging whistles from the other surfers. Cami ducked her head.
Sam snickered and bit his lips, clearly savoring the taste of her there. “Surfer girls are hot.”