The Professor Woos The Witch

Page 29

“Just because she’s a witch and you’re a familiar? Maybe. Maybe not.”

“Are you saying she’s not the one I’m supposed to be with?”

“I’m not saying anything about it one way or the other. Listen…” Jack twisted in his chair to face Cole a little more. “It’s our fault you’re not prepared for this, so for that, I apologize, but I’ll tell you now the only thing you need to know. The relationship between a witch and a familiar benefits both sides, but it can hurt both sides too.”

Cole doubted that was the only thing he needed to know about being a familiar. He had more questions than he could count. “How so?”

“If you bond with a woman you aren’t emotionally compatible with, you will be miserable the rest of your days. It can be soul sucking.”

“Doesn’t seem to me like I have much choice in whether or not we bond.”

“Sure you do. Keep things slow, get to know her as a person first.” Jack glanced toward the door. “But most of all, you can keep it in your pants.”


“I’m serious. Sleeping with her is what seals the bond. But the closer you get to her, the more difficult it will become to resist the temptation. Your inner spirits will start to crave each other. I don’t know what it’s like from the witch side, but for a familiar, the witch becomes your sole focus. You’ll think about her constantly. Dream about her. Find ways to be near her.”

Cole tried not to react. That was sort of already happening. “Good to know. But what about everything else involved in being a familiar? What can you tell me about that? Do all human familiars shift into an animal form? Do you? Are you a raven?”

“Yes, I’m a raven. All the men in our family have been. Familiars are almost always men. And all familiars have an animal form.”

Well, that was some information. Cole tried for a little more. “What changes when you’re bonded? How do even know if you are bonded? Is it automatic if you sleep together?”

Jack shook his head. “I’m not going to tell you anything else. Not yet. All you need to know is these next few weeks will be critical. You’ve got to keep your distance.”

The fact that his father wasn’t willing to help him fully understand what it meant to be a familiar came as no surprise to Cole. Not after years of being told nothing. “Keeping my distance is going to be pretty hard to do considering she’s promised to help Kaley and assist me with the renovation of this house. Not to mention the dinner with her family tonight.”

Jack cut his hand through the air. “Cancel.”

“No. It would be rude, and who else am I going to get to help Kaley? I can control myself.”

“You think that now, but—”

The porch door opened, and Kaley popped out. “I’m, like, starving.”

Cole stood. “Then you can help me with the sandwiches.”

Jack got up as well. “I’m serious. You should get out of it.”

“Get out of what?” Kaley asked.

“Dad, for the last time, I’m not doing that.” Cole put his hand on Kaley’s shoulder and aimed her back inside. “It’s nothing, sweetheart.”

Jack followed them. “What your father meant to say is I’m going to dinner with you tonight.”

“You are?” Kaley turned, her eyes lit up. “That’s awesome. I didn’t know Miss Williams invited you too.”

“She didn’t,” Cole muttered.

“Not yet, but she will. And she’ll be happy about it too.” Jack took a seat at the table and winked at Kaley. “Especially if you and I go into town after lunch and get a fancy dessert to bring from the bakery I passed on the way in.”

Cole shook his head as he pulled sandwich fixings from the fridge. He loved his father and generally understood where the man was coming from, but this was too much.

He shut the fridge door, arms full, and headed for the counter. His father and Kaley were laughing about something. If Jack didn’t want to teach Cole how to be a familiar, he could deal with that. If Jack tried to ruin things between him and Pandora, Cole could deal with that too. But if Kaley ended up hurt because of Jack’s meddling, that was something else entirely.

Cole’s mind was made up. He set out slices of bread and started building the sandwiches. “Forget it, Dad. I’m putting my foot down. I’m not going to impose on Pandora and her family that way. I’d be happy to introduce you to her, but dinner tonight is about Kaley and getting her a support system.”

He could feel his father’s gaze on him. “Cole, you need to rethink this.”

“No, I don’t.” Cole scraped mayonnaise out of the jar. “The decision’s made.” He glanced over his shoulder. Kaley looked upset.

He immediately felt like a heel. “What’s wrong, sweetheart?”

Her mouth pulled down at the corners. “Why are you and Grandpa fighting? Why can’t he come to dinner?”

“Honey, Miss Williams invited us. It’s not polite to assume we can bring someone else without asking.”

“So let’s ask her.”

Jack nodded. “The kid’s got a point.”

Cole sighed. Being in the middle was a hard place, but he needed to take a stand. His parents had made decisions about his upbringing that were affecting him in some tough ways. Now he was the parent and the decisions were up to him. He would not let his father jeopardize Kaley’s future. She would grow up knowing everything she needed to know about who she was. “Next time Grandpa’s in town, we’ll have a cookout and invite everyone over, okay, Kaley?”

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