Elemental's Heart – Excerpt

A hard rain started to fall. It beat down, soaking Genevieve through her jacket. Aetius remained dry.

"You'd better use your magic to get home and dry off," he said. "Even though witches are immortal, I hear you can sometimes get sick."

"Thanks for your concern." She frowned.

"By the way, there's no need to avoid using your magic. It doesn't take you off my radar. I'm always watching you. Don't be so foolish to think I forget." He vanished, but Genevieve knew he lingered on the wind, hidden from her.

"Enforcer Aetius, you're worse than the ones you hate!" She held her fist up and shook it. "You use your superior power to hurt others. To torment them for things they're not responsible for. Take a good look at yourself. Do you hear me, Master Elemental Aetius? Punish those who truly deserve it, and that would be you."

She closed her eyes to control the rage and fear. Then she flashed herself back to her kitchen. She removed her coat and magically dried herself. He never forgot a thing. She fixed her hair back into a ponytail. I've been avoiding using magic for nothing.

Despite her angry words, Genevieve was beside herself with worry. She didn't want to be the center of anyone's attention. Her hands shook as she put the kettle on the stove. Relax, he's gone for now. She stood by the stove and waited for the water to boil. After it boiled she poured it into her teapot. The aromatic rosemary blend would help her combat the anxiety she had from encountering Enforcer Aetius.

He was a true force of nature, master of all the elements. Immortals feared him. He sought out and captured those who crossed the line and brought attention to themselves in a bad way. Aife and Crexan had crossed the line. They doomed their child to Aetius's wrath. No one could avoid a Master Elemental who controlled all the elements. His type of power was rare and godlike.

Gods, Aife, you've been a thorn in my side since you were born. She'd tried to put Aetius out of her mind. To forget she'd literally made a deal with the devil. And what for? Aife was a lost cause. Her granddaughter, Terra, was a young woman now, and she could very well be a wonderful immortal. How could I have betrayed her even before she was born?

Genevieve sat at her kitchen table with her cup of tea. She sipped her tea and watched the rain fall. Using several breathing exercises, she tried to calm herself more.

"Genevieve."

She jumped, spilling her tea. She looked over to see Aetius sitting in the chair catty-corner from her at the table. "Gods."

"I have more to say to you."

"How did you get in here?" she yelled.

He grinned. "Like you said, I have superior abilities."

She jumped out of her chair. "I have protection spells to prevent this."

"Sit down, Genevieve." He patted her spot at the table. "Or what's left of your tea will get cold. Your magic's weak, and the protection spells protecting your house don't work against me." He shrugged. "For everyone else your spells are decent enough."

She sat back down. "But not for the great Aetius?"

"Exactly."

"What more do you want from me?" She sighed.

"I've thought about what you said to me." He held up his hand and a cup of tea appeared. He drank some. "The tea is good."

"I didn't know you had practical magic too." She gestured toward his tea cup. "You control all of the elements and you have practical magic too. What can't you do?"

"There are some things." He looked down into his cup.

"Not very many things."

"No, but enough about me. I spoke to God Dionysus after our earlier discussion."

"Already? That was quick."

"Yes, and it was a hasty discussion."

"What did he tell you?"

"He really cares for your granddaughter. I'm surprised." He finished his tea. "But to each his own."

"Really?"

"You seem surprised," he said. "I thought you knew she was a special handmaiden to God Dionysus."

"I did know that. God Dionysus has a lot of handmaidens. I don't know anything else much about her."

"I see. God Dionysus says she loves the earth and cares for it as a guardian. It seems that she's unlike Aife in every way."

"That's a blessing." Genevieve leaned on the table.

"It is." His cup filled back up with tea. "She cares for all living things and has the gift of healing. She's only now learning the full extent of her powers as mortals raised her. And her name is Terra. Imagine that? After the goddess of the earth. There's poetry in that irony." He smiled.

"Yes, I've known her name. I named her. I thought the name was fitting considering what her mother had taken from the earth while she carried her in her womb. Aife wasn't concerned with naming her. She was too busy pleasing her dark warlock lover."