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Kellum opened his eyes and a soft gasp left his lips as his sleep-drugged mind tried to make sense of his surroundings. It took him a moment to recognise the popcorn texture of his bedroom ceiling as it loomed inches from his face. Turning his head to look behind him, he spotted his bed still where heâ€™d left it even as his body floated several feet above his tangled sheets.
Huh. This was different. Weird things always happened around him, but after that last ghoul attack heâ€™d thought heâ€™d seen the worst of it by now. Accidentally freezing the black oozing creatures had given him nightmares for months. He still didnâ€™t know if they were still alive or if theyâ€™d ever defrosted.
A knock sounded on his bedroom door. Weird. Kellum thought heâ€™d locked his front door. No one should have been able to walk right in. A polite lockpicker?
Kellum cleared his throat. "Who is it?" Two could play the polite game. Maybe his friendly intruder could help Kellum out with his current predicament...or run away screaming. It could go either way.
The door swung open. Kellum twisted his neck to check out his visitor. His neck crackled from the unnatural angle. If this kept up heâ€™d have a perpetual crick.
Although his viewpoint made it difficult to judge the strangerâ€™s height, Kellum was a little surprised he didnâ€™t have to duck to get through the bedroom door. The intruderâ€™s dark brown suit faithfully moulded across his broad shoulders revealing an impressive breadth Kellum wouldnâ€™t mind running his fingers across. Oddly enough, despite the strangerâ€™s carefully tailored clothing, his midnight hair curled at the ends like he hadnâ€™t had time to have it cut.
Time for the tailor, but not for the barber. Interesting.
The well-dressed man marched through Kellumâ€™s door as if he had a right to be there and planned to take charge of the situation. Kellumâ€™s gaze eagerly roamed across the parts of the man he could see from his elevated angle.
Despite his precarious position, Kellumâ€™s cock hardened in his thin sleep pants. Yum. Heâ€™d invite the guy to his bed if he could ever return to it again.
Damn, he was fine.
Kellum hoped he wouldnâ€™t drool. Dripping spit on Mr Gorgeous probably wouldnâ€™t make a very good impression. Then he wondered why he cared since the man was essentially an intruder.
The stranger looked up, calmly assessing Kellumâ€™s position.
"Hmm. You do seem to be having a problem, Mr Richards."
Ice crackled up Kellumâ€™s spine as fear took over intrigue. Heâ€™d never had a good experience with a stranger knowing his name before an introduction. Who was this guy?
"Do I know you?" Kellum had an amazing memory so he knew he hadnâ€™t seen the intruder before.
"Not yet. Iâ€™m Drake Lender, the head of the Magical Council of Wizards. Iâ€™ve come to take you in for testing."
"Testing for what?" Kellum didnâ€™t remember signing up for anything, certainly nothing that involved having a gorgeous man wander into his apartment to collect him.
Lender scowled. "Weâ€™re going to test you for magic, of course."
Kellum laughed until tears streamed from his eyes. He ended up hiccupping from trying to laugh and cry at the same time.
"Is there something you find amusing, Mr Richards?" Lender raised an imperious eyebrow. Kellum was certain Lenderâ€™s expression had probably scared more than one magical entity straight. Unfortunately for Lender, it took a lot more than that to intimidate Kellum. Heâ€™d been fighting ghouls since the age of fifteen and had seen more than one person he loved ripped apart. An eyebrow lifting didnâ€™t even ping on his radar of fears.
"Yeah, Iâ€™m floating in the air and you think I need a fucking test. Iâ€™d like to check a yes next to levitation. Now get me the fuck down from here!"
Lender crossed his arms over his chest. "Perhaps you should learn some manners, young man."
"Iâ€™m getting manners lessons from a guy who broke into my apartment?" Kellum asked. "Listenâ€”if you canâ€™t help, leave. I have no interest in your tests."
"If you donâ€™t take the test, we can strip you of your powers."
"Really? Great! Iâ€™ll take option number two," Kellum said with fake enthusiasm.
Hell, if it would make his father leave him alone, heâ€™d let his magic be taken away. However, Kellum was pretty sure if he didnâ€™t have magicâ€”the one thing his father wanted to strip away from himâ€”his life wouldnâ€™t be worth anything. His father would probably kill him just out of spite. One of these days heâ€™d be strong enough to hunt down his father just as the man had stalked Kellum his entire life.
"Clear your mind." Lender pulled Kellumâ€™s attention back to him.
Kellum tried to focus on Lenderâ€™s instructions. "What do you mean clear my mind?" Heâ€™d just woken up and was still caffeine-freeâ€”a condition he planned to fix as soon as he peeled himself off the ceiling.
"Take a deep breath and close your eyes."
Kellum obeyed Lenderâ€™s instructions. The man really did have the most soothing voice. Maybe he could get the man to read him a bedtime story, one that ended in hot steamy sex...
Kellum shook his head, trying to refocus on emptying his thoughts. He didnâ€™t know why he kept having naked yearnings for Lender. In general, he had a low sex drive. At the age of twenty-five, he only had a few quickies under his belt. Getting close to people had always resulted in his father having them killed and Kellum didnâ€™t want to be anyone elseâ€™s death sentence.
"Focus!" Lender ordered.
"How do you know Iâ€™m not?" he asked sulkily.
"I can practically hear you thinking."
Kellum breathed slowly in through his nose and out through his mouth.
"Think of the blackness of space," Lender said in deep, sultry tones.
That was something Kellum could relate to even as he blushed over the gorgeous man seeing what a big geek he was. Maybe the posters with planets and spaceships had tipped him off to Kellumâ€™s geeky status.
Taking another slow, deep breath, Kellum closed his eyes so they wouldnâ€™t cross while trying to ignore the ceiling inches from his face. He imagined the blackness of space. First one star then another appeared in his inner eye. Kellum gasped as the air slammed out of his lungs at the impact of him hitting his mattress.
He definitely needed to get a softer bed.
"Good job, pretty boy."