At first sight.

I scoured the book for an excerpt that would properly portray Samantha in her best light. Maybe “best” isn’t the correct word. Her snark rivals mine *gasp* and there was one scene I kept going back to. So, without further ado, I give you Samantha and Malakai’s very first, very awkward meeting.  -Rachel

* * * *

            I first saw Malakai across the courtyard in the town square of Cadiza. It was winter and I was outside to get away from everyone else. The human had large bags in both hands. Fresh meat, I thought with a small smile, feeling sorry for his obvious auditing detail and jealous of his freedom all at the same time. He glanced in my direction and acknowledged me with a small head tilt, pausing to look at me a touch longer than normal. It was as if he saw me there first. It was an odd occurrence as I was usually the first horse out of the gate. I flashed him my best smile and returned to the open book in my lap. Maybe if I studied these spells long enough I’d be able to come and go as I pleased too. It was a doubtful sentiment, but I remained stubbornly hopeful.

Out of the corner of my eye I saw he was still standing there looking lost.  “He looks more entertaining than you right now,” I said to my spell book as I slammed it shut and trudged through the crackling, icy lawn. I knew what I wanted to do next―a test.

Touching my newly minted tattoo, I wandered toward the handsome stranger. First things first. Let’s see exactly what we’re working with here. I briefly shut my eyes to concentrate as my diamond-shaped ink lit up. I whispered, “The air is hot, the air is heavy, he’s unprepared, so make him ready.” The wind whipped around him, immediately responding to my cast. His battered brown leather bags were the first casualties, hitting the ground twenty feet away.  His shirt flailed wildly and was stripped off his well-muscled back in the next moment, despite his avid attempts to hold it on. I stifled back a laugh, biting my lip as I watched the shirtless stranger dance around the courtyard in the middle of winter. When he realized saving his shirt was a lost cause, he grabbed his pants, which were now threatening to take flight. I was caught up admiring my handiwork of a cast but even more caught up in the unbelievable body gracing this man. I must have been ogling with abandon because when I finally wandered my gaze up to meet his, he was staring directly at me with a menacing look.

I quickly ended the cast by mumbling, “The air is stiff, the air is cold, I say it now, release your hold.” I let go of my wrist and pointed up at the sky with a baffled look on my face. I shrugged and tried my best to look like an innocent bystander, hoping he’d turn his death glare elsewhere so I could escape―or stare at his almost naked body some more.

Unfortunately, neither happened. He wagged his finger to summon me over. With the wind gone, he started collecting his clothes. It was a lose-lose situation. I pulled my gloves higher hoping to hide my tattoo. I’d tell him I didn’t have my talisman yet, give him a little attitude, and be on my way if he so much as gave me an accusing look. Most witches in Cadiza feared the visiting humans because they knew too much and could get you into a lot of trouble with the Elders. Neither fact bothered me. He needed to know that.

I approached slowly while he was facing away gathering his bags. “Hey. Crazy weather today, huh?” I inched closer to make sure he heard me.

He shrugged on his shirt, effortlessly ruining my view. He turned around so quickly I thought he was using speed skill. “You must be Samantha Scott. I’ve already been warned.” He looked attractive even at his angriest. I blushed and wished I had worn something more girly. “I’d appreciate it if you’d keep your undefined skills as far away from me as possible. Jade is going to love to hear how your abilities to control the natural elements have progressed.” He raked a hand through his still-perfect sandy-colored hair and bent to pick up his bags, dismissing me without words.

Oh, pretentious was he? We’d see how far that got him. I may not have had anonymity on my side but I still had my attitude.  I tapped him firmly on the shoulder and waited for him to face me.  “Yes, I am Samantha Scott.” I pointed my finger into his chest as hard as it could and left it there. “If you, whatever your name is, want to get along here in Cadiza and live a long life, I would suggest you get a sense of humor quickly. While you’re so busy being a pious, self-righteous, boring human you should probably hit the gym. Windstorms are common in these parts as are rain storms.” I removed my hand from his chest and quickly touched my wrist, murmuring, “Thickly clouded, water to the brim, drench this man, make him swim.” I released my wrist as the clouds opened up and rain began to pour on him.

I took a few steps backward, never taking my eyes off his, and stood on the edge of his personal rainstorm. I squinted my eyes and cackled. “If your muscles aren’t up to par when your shirt is off, let’s face it you won’t be winning any wet-T-shirt contests around here either.” I turned on my heel and walked away, then wrapped my jacket a little closer and thought how miserable it would be to be wet.

* * * *

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