Threads of Desire (Spellcraft) - By Stone, Eleri


I’d like to thank my family for their ongoing support and my editor, Gina Bernal, for pushing me to make each story better than the last one.


Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

Chapter Nine

Chapter Ten

Chapter Eleven

Chapter Twelve

Chapter Thirteen

Chapter Fourteen

About the Author


Chapter One

Ily rolled her carpet, not looking up, not wanting to see the smirk on Kal’s face. He’d been dogging her steps for weeks, setting up his stall right next to her favorite spot and stealing away all her best prospects. She was no threat to him. He played with her purely for his own sick personal amusement. Why won’t he just go away and leave me alone?

The crowd roiled around her. The smaller merchants were beginning to pack it in for the day. The travelers who sold directly from their wagons would close their doors soon and light the fires. Best that she was gone before then, before darkness and drink made the men bold.

An instant before she rose from her crouch, Kal’s solid legs blocked her vision and she could ignore him no longer. Her gaze drifted up, lingering on the bulge between his thighs. Flat belly, firm chest, proud shoulders and the mocking smile that never failed to rile her.

“You got greedy.”

She gave the cord a vicious jerk. “My work is worth twice the garbage you sold her.”

“Sold,” he repeated. “That’s the important thing, Ily. Your pride’s not keeping your belly full.”

She stood, but he held his ground, forcing her to tip back her head. “That rug will start to unravel before the month is out.”

“Perhaps she understood that and only made do with what she could afford now.”

He would lecture her on economy? His arrogance took her breath away.

“I hate you.”

His lips quirked at the corners. “My fault, is it? You don’t hate me.”

Dark, knowing eyes dared her to contradict him, but she couldn’t. He was shrewd and powerful, wickedly sexy and for some unfathomable reason, he’d fixed his attention on her. A man like Kalar Azi could snap his fingers and have any woman. Why her? “What do you want, Kal?”

“You do good work, but the streets aren’t the place to be selling it.”

“The shops won’t buy from a woman,” she said, glancing over her shoulder to see if she could slip between the stalls and escape him. The poles were permanent fixtures, spaced less than a foot apart. Too tight a fit, even for her—there was no way through. She’d have to push past Kal, but she was reluctant to touch the lean body that disturbed her so greatly.

“I could help you.”

That brought her attention back to his face. A mistake. It was far too easy to look upon that raw masculine beauty and think that was all there was to the man. She’d seen him work before, studying his clientele in the same way he was looking at her now, searching for weakness while giving little away. Beneath all his dangerous charm, he was ruthless and cunning as a snake.

She slung the bundle over her shoulder and crossed her arms beneath her breasts, noticing the flicker in his eyes when he briefly dropped his gaze.

“’d like to help me out of the goodness of your—do you even have a heart?”

He leaned in closer, lowering his voice. “It’s a simple business proposition. I speak with the shops on your behalf, you give me a cut of the profit. There are several people I use to move my finer quality merchandise. They’re reputable enough and even cutting me in, you’ll make more than you do here.”

He didn’t need the pittance he’d earn for the effort. He wasn’t here for money, which left only one other possibility, as unlikely as it seemed. She should leave now, but her feet were rooted to the spot. Curiosity held her there and greed, along with the unhealthy fascination she’d developed for this selfish, pompous man.

“And this proposition...are there any strings attached?”

He knew what she was asking and seemed intrigued that she’d stopped trying to find a way to slip past him long enough to hear him out. “No strings. We see how this small partnership progresses and then, perhaps, we can explore other possibilities.”

Heat washed over her body and though she tried to keep her reaction to herself, his smile widened ever so slightly. Knowing that she was playing with fire, knowing that she should bite her tongue bloody until the pain restored her good sense, she asked, “And if I’d rather