10. Dangerous Games

150 15 22
                                    

ZARA

Blaze's casual shrug didn't mask the twinkle of amusement in his eyes. "Seems so. After all, we're supposed to be lovers, aren't we?"

Heat pricked my cheeks at the thought of sharing a room with him this time. I tried to shove the idea aside, yet it clung to my thoughts, teasing and taunting me like some catchy song that I couldn't get out of my head.

"Don't worry. I promise I don't bite." He paused, his grin turning devilish as his tone dropped a notch. "Much."

I shot him a glare, my heart thudding in my chest. Not from fear, but because our interactions seemed to supercharge the air lately, each more electrifying than the last.

"This is hardly the time for jokes." I sighed, rubbing my temple. "We're on a serious mission, remember?"

His hands flew up in mock surrender, that insufferable grin never leaving his face. "Alright, alright. Just trying to lighten the mood."

I tried to hold back a smile, but it broke free, revealing more than I cared to admit. His charisma, his wit—they were both infuriating and irresistible. Ever since we'd crossed paths, it was like we were two magnets—sometimes repelling, sometimes stuck together. Our growing trust, our playful banter, it was all spiralling into something that I was not willing to name, even if I kept telling myself that it was just the intrigue of his lethal mix of danger and charm.

"Something amusing, Dimples?"

I bit my lip, my gaze hardening as I crossed my arms, erecting an invisible barrier between us.

"Far from it." I had no plans to tell him what was going through my mind, even more so when I noticed a servant approaching, snapping me fully into focus. "We are here to catch a killer and clear my name, so that's what we should focus on."

Easier said than done. Despite my words, it was clear to me that with Blaze around, focusing on anything else was a challenge. This charade we were playing was rapidly turning into a complication I hadn't anticipated, and perhaps, just perhaps, it was not entirely unwelcome.

Before he could respond, the servant bowed. "Lord Leo has requested that I take you to your chambers. This way, please."

The hallways glittered as we followed the servant, light dancing off ornate mirrors and chandeliers. Everything in the palace screamed of Leo's taste for decadence and grandeur.

"Lord Leo hopes you find the accommodations to your liking," the servant said, stopping outside an elaborately carved door. "The ball will begin at sunset. If you need anything, don't hesitate to ring." With a final bow, he vanished, leaving us alone in front of the room.

"Ladies first." Blaze gestured, pushing the door open.

"Look at you, playing the gentleman," I quipped, stepping into what could only be described as a magical realm within a room.

Celestial motifs adorned the walls, and a fireplace ignited as we entered, bathing everything in a warm glow. For a moment, it felt enchanting, ethereal even... until I noticed the single grand bed in the centre of the room.

"One bed, Blaze? Really?"

"That's not my fault. Mission, remember?" He winked, an impish grin lighting up his face.

I almost rolled my eyes, but caught myself before he groaned seconds later, scanning the room with a frown.

"Trust Leo to make things interesting." There was a touch of annoyance and resignation in his words, which didn't really put me at ease. "The room is enchanted."

Elemental Attraction | ONC 2023Where stories live. Discover now