Cade shrugged and stuck a finger into his half-empty coffee mug. “Couldn’t help it. Won’t cook with it, promise.” Steam drifted out of the cup. He removed his finger and wiped it on the pristine white towel hanging from the oven door.
She rolled her eyes and rubbed a fuzzy sage leaf. “Right. If you do, that’s it. Because then I’ll know you can’t control it as well as you say you can.”
He set the cup on the counter and closed the distance to wrap his arms around her. “Aw, you don’t mean that. It’s not like I put scorpions in the bed or leave the toilet seat up.” His breath always smelled of caramel, no matter what he ate or drank.
“I mean it.” Her resolve faltered as he kissed her neck. “Really. No cilantro in the food.”
“Mmhmm.” As he brushed his lips across her skin, the flesh on his hands turned brick red.
Knowing very well what that meant, Madison sighed and wanted to let him do as he pleased. Her eyes caught the time on the wall clock. “Cade, we don’t really have time to indulge your insatiable appetite right now. My parents will be here soon. They’re visiting for dinner, remember?”
“Dammit.” He slumped against her and made a whiny puppy noise.
“Ow, your horns.” Pushing away from him, she rubbed the back of her neck. The twisted, blackened spikes on his forehead receded, showing he took her warning seriously.
“Sorry.” He scraped shrinking fingernails through his shaggy black hair and went back to his coffee mug. “We can make this work, I know it.”
She pulled her hand away and found a smudged line of blood. “Great. How long will this take to heal?”
Staring into his coffee, his shoulders lifted and fell in a sullen slump. “Not sure.”
“Look, I understand the accident was traumatic, and I’m happy you found a way to survive it. I love you no matter what, but that doesn’t mean I can live with you like this.” She half wanted him to break into a rage so she had an excuse to throw him out.
“I just need some time to get used to it.” He flicked his gaze up to her. “It’s not like there are websites explaining how to handle being possessed. I checked.” He chugged down his coffee and set the cup aside. “Just give me another two weeks. If I can’t get a handle on it for you by then…”
The doorbell buzzed and Madison took a deep breath. “We’ll continue this later. For now, we’re happy and all that.”
Cade flashed her a dazzling smile. Six months ago, he’d walked up and melted her knees with it. Now it seemed dark and dangerous, sending a thrill down her spine. “I’ll be on my best behavior.”
“Of course you will.”
Lee French has published several fantasy and superhero novels, and is a member of the Edgewise Words Inn staff.