She turned to discover the wizard had her sketchbook in his hands and was peering at her drawing. Her cheeks suddenly felt extraordinarily warm.
“Oh…I, um, just thought you and the puppy looked sweet together.”
He shot her a dark glance. “You should have asked my permission before drawing my portrait.”
“I didn’t want to wake you.” Humiliated beyond measure, Minna hastened to take the sketchbook from him. “Honestly, there’s no reason to be so sensitive. I didn’t mean any harm.”
His chin lifted. “I don’t much like being stared at when I’m dozing, thank you very much!”
Her temper flared. “Really? I had the impression you enjoy being stared at all the time.”
A muscle in his jaw quivered. “That’s my cue to go. If you’ll excuse me, I’ll get my coat.”
As he strode into the kitchen, Minna felt a pang of genuine remorse. Just because he’d caught her admiring him was no reason for her to be so churlish.
Evan returned, wearing his coat. “Thank you for the hot chocolate, Miss Westerfield. I’ll see myself out.”
“Wait.” She tore the sketch from the sketchbook, folded it into a square, and pressed it into his hands. “I’m sorry for being rude just now…and for disturbing your privacy.”
His expression softened. “I probably overreacted.”
“You didn’t. No hard feelings, I hope.”
“Of course not.” He gave her a crooked grin. “I was embarrassed to be caught sleeping, if you want to know the truth. What with all the thunder, I didn’t sleep well last night.” He tucked the folded paper into his coat pocket. “Listen, it’s none of my business, but with magical abilities like yours, it’s a shame you don’t use them openly.”
She feigned puzzlement. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“You don’t have to pretend.”
Any remorse she’d felt at her incivility shriveled up. “You’re right. It’s none of your business.”
Without warning, the wizard slid his arm around her waist and pulled her close. The hair on her forearms and the back of her neck rose. Unbidden, her gaze was drawn to his full lips.
“W-What are you doing?”
He looked at her askance. “Come on, Miss Westerfield. Can’t you feel the electricity between us?”
“I don’t know what you mean.” Shaken, she took a step back.
“We both have goose bumps.” He pointed at her bare forearms. “A wizard can sense magic, especially when it’s as powerful as yours.”
“You’ve overstepped the mark, Mr. Valentine.”
“I don’t think I have.” He raised one of his eyebrows. “Furthermore, I bet I’m not the only one who enjoys being stared at.”
She gave him a level glance. “You’re rather conceited, Mr. Valentine. Don’t get struck by lightning on your way out.”
Evan chuckled. “Oh, I was struck by lightning years ago, when we first met.”
“But we’ve never met.”
A flicker of disappointment crossed his features. “I didn’t think you’d remember.”
The Dragon Rider’s Daughter (to be released on 2/7/17) is available for pre-order HERE