Lady Sass(Witches and Werewolves Book 1)(15)

By: Jen Talty

He shook his head as he stabbed one of the steaks with a long fork. “No. My instincts tell me your dad is a good man. But only a powerful witch could have turned three sparrows into wolves that quickly.”

“I could do it.” She bit down on the inside of her mouth. Her magic might be strong, but she wouldn’t be able to construct that spell in an afternoon.

He turned and arched a brow. “Isn’t it against your witch code to manipulate nature that way and use it to harm others?”

“Yes, but it doesn’t mean I don’t have the chops to do it. I’ve been honing my craft for years and while I’m no high priestess, I have the knowledge and besides, my bloodline comes from some of the most powerful magic in all of the witch community.”

“You’re making my point for me.” He closed the top of the grill. “Anyone in the Royal family probably has the power to construct such a spell. But a spell like that would take a while to perfect, unless you were a high priestess or a wizard.”

“For someone who says they don’t spend time with witches, you certainly know a lot about us.” She scowled. It could take multiple times to get a spell of that magnitude right. It would cause the death of many innocent creatures, something that was forbidden unless under dire circumstances. Whoever had turned the birds had been practicing black magic for years, and anyone who cared to do their research on the Royal family would know that many of their ancestors were masters of dark spells and had deep ties to the underground.

Today, those descendants have been outcast, even if they no longer dabble in the obscure shadows of evil.

“I learned a lot during my father’s trial. I’d skip school and sneak into the back of the courtroom. My father’s lawyers tried to make all of you look evil.”

“We’re not bad witches, and no one I know would do this.”

He let out a sarcastic laugh, shaking his head. “You can believe that all you want, but someone close to one of us is responsible for what just happened, though I don’t have any witches that I’m close to, for obvious reasons.”

“Your agent’s assistant is a witch, as are half a dozen people in our producers’ office. Not to mention—”

He held up his hand. “I know, and I suppose it could be any one of them. But whoever it is, has a motive for wanting me out of the picture.”

“Maybe it’s one of your exes. Wasn’t it Heidi who threatened to castrate you?”

“Among other things, but Heidi hates witches.”

When he opened the lid to the grill, smoke bellowed out. The rich scent of a well-seasoned cow drifted in the breeze, making her stomach growl. Meat had always been her go-to food.

“Doesn’t mean she wouldn’t hire one to destroy you.”

“She’s got no reason.”

“She said you were cruel, and you cheated on her,” Amanda said, wiping her lips. How could she have kissed him so passionately?

“No, I didn’t, on either account.” He tossed the steaks on the tray, setting them down in front of her.

“But there were pictures of you with another—”

“Those pictures were of me and an old friend who was going through a hard time. The press went nuts, and no matter what I said, Heidi didn’t believe me.”

“So, why didn’t your friend come forward and say nothing happened?”

“I don’t know, and she and I are no longer friends.” He scratched the back of his head, staring off into the woods. “Want some wine? I’ve got a nice bottle of red. I’ll go get it along with the potatoes.” His voice inflection turned flat, and his normally bright eyes dulled.

Before she could comment, he disappeared into the cabin. She remembered his break up with the spoiled actress, who discussed the supposed affair on every talk show she could get herself on. Jackson, on the other hand, continued to be his recluse self, ignoring the press and not once did he make a statement until Heidi had made a snide comment about his family, bringing up his father, and implied that he wasn’t any different. But even then, Jackson not once denied the affair.

She put a piece of meat on each plate, glancing toward the cabin. He had a reputation for being moody, sometimes difficult to work with, and a ladies’ man, but something about the way he ignored the negative talk, focused on his work, and the way he treated her with dignity and respect, led her to believe that he’d been misjudged and misunderstood his entire life.