Gemma Leight doesn’t believe in magic, not after years of witnessing senseless tragedy as an ER nurse. But the sexy vampire anti-hero in his medievalesque TV show speaks to her. As in, he said her name while looking at her. Just when she’s convinced she hallucinated the whole thing, she gets sucked into the TV. For over a century, Skarde Blackmann has roamed as a hunter-for-hire against evil creatures. The moment he begins to believe the prophecy about him is bogus, Gemma comes through a mirror. One slip up, one bite to the sassy woman who makes him laugh, and she’ll become a vampire like him and condemn his soul to damnation. Not a problem. Until he has no choice.
“Get off your knees,” Gemma yelled at Skarde. Now it seemed the spell was in full effect.
She moved toward her fifty-inch screen with her hands out as the camera slowly zoomed in on Skarde like she might be able to touch him. There was so much pain in the strain on his face. “There’s got to be a way to break the spell. Why aren’t you wearing the hexenspiegel to counteract spells?”
Skarde’s eyes widened as they stared her way. She couldn’t interpret his expression.
Did he plan to die?
“You will not martyr yourself. Not tonight,” she said, believing in her heart that he could hear.
The mage’s monologue droned on about how he was going to be the one to take down the infamous Skarde and how powerful that would make him. The bastard might accomplish it, but not because he was better. The vampire had given up. Perhaps he was tired of all the bullshit. Maybe he was tired of being hated and alone.
“You’re not dying on my watch,” she whispered.
He had dropped his crossbow about ten feet behind the mage in a place the mage couldn’t see. Skarde needed a partner on these missions, someone to grab the crossbow and shoot this soliloquizing weirdo.
The mage raised his staff and aimed for the kill shot.
“No!” She pressed both hands on the screen as if doing so might keep her from seeing Skarde’s death.
For a moment it felt as if something pushed on her from all sides. Not painful, but like being tucked into bed with the sheets tight. And then she was falling. Fast. Her stomach bottomed out as darkness surrounded her. There was no wind, but she held up her hands and screamed, although it sounded dull. No echo. No sound being left anywhere above her.
Was she passing out? Had she whacked her head and was going into a coma?
Down, down… Bam.
The hard landing knocked the breath out of her.
On her knees now, she held up her hands to protect her head, fully expecting to die from her TV crashing down on top of her.
But nothing hit her. Her scrubs-clad legs felt like they were soaking up wetness. “What stinks?” she muttered, slowly opening her eyes. The stench, way beyond that of moldy wet leaves, reeked of something dead and thoroughly rotten.
Wet mud coated her hands. She shivered as cold wind whipped through her thin scrubs. Oh my God.
She was in the show.
Freaking in the show.
“Oh my God.” Impossible. She pinched herself hard. Wake the hell up.
Nothing happened. Her hands were still muddy and ass increasingly sloshy. It still stank of something distinctly not her apartment.
She couldn’t be in the show. She didn’t want to be in this show. Things got killed here. It even smelled like death here.
A scream worked its way up her throat.
Skarde’s gray gaze locked onto her.
Holy mother. That was Skarde freaking Blackman. In the flesh. The scream stalled in her throat. All that came out was a garbled wheeze.
The mage muttered and paced, breaking her stare down with Skarde. She glanced behind her to see a shimmery area—that must be some sort of magical doorway through which she’d fallen.
Run for it. Get out of the show.
The mage’s volume increased.
Skarde should be paying attention to whatever the mage was doing. Instead, he mouthed to her, “Leave.”
Guess his paralysis didn’t apply to his face.
“You think you’re just going to cast that spell on me as if it’ll work?” Skarde asked loudly of the mage.
The mage sounded to be in the final phase of whatever kill spell he was about to cast onto Skarde, undaunted by the vampire’s attempt to stall him. Without thinking, or perhaps thinking, since she’d already calculated in her mind what someone else—a character actually in the show, not her—was supposed to do, she picked up the wooden crossbow in front of her and pulled the trigger thingy. The weapon’s wicked kick threw her onto her back. Yet, the arrow wasn’t on it anymore.
A shriek shredded the air. She pressed her hands tight against her ears. The mage landed flat on his back on the ground with his wrinkled face inches from her foot. The arrow had impaled his chest. Dark blood spread in a stain across his ratty shirt. The man’s screeching stopped, but he fixated on her.
His mouth worked as if attempting another spell, but blood dribbled between his lips. The dark pupils dilated in the death glaze. She’d seen the death glaze more than a few times at the hospital.
That had to be a magical crossbow. She hadn’t aimed that precisely. In fact, considering the odds, the way she’d pointed the weapon, she had a higher chance of hitting Skarde than the mage. What insanity had possessed her to even pick it up?
The vampire stood. Whatever freeze spell the mage had cast must have vanished when he died.
Skarde offered his hand to help her up.
She stared at the for-real, offered hand. As she slid her small hand into his much larger one, the rough and callused skin of his palm surprised her. She’d expected a vampire to have perfect, blemish-free skin. Yet, she liked the feel of a man familiar with hard work.
Vampire. He’s not human. Get that through your skull.
He yanked her upright and lifted her many feet away from the dead mage. As he removed his huge sword from his back, she backed away. He turned and efficiently beheaded the mage.
Breathe in. Breathe out.
Skarde Blackmann. Here. Huge, gorgeous, and real. And, oh shit, those were big fangs.
I’m in the snow in scrubs and wet socks. And Skarde is staring at my neck like I’m his next meal.
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