“Eh. Back then we walked.”
“What? You didn’t have cars?”
“There were no cars.”
That made me pause. Man. I was so dense sometimes.
The wolves all looked much younger than they were. He probably wasn’t anywhere near as young as I thought he was. I’d figured he was a few years older than me, but not thirty yet. “How old are you?”
“How old do you think I am?” He asked with a wink.
Was that flirting?
No. Impossible. No way would he be flirting with me. He was far too good looking, and a wolf to boot. “I don’t know. I thought you were maybe twenty-seven, but I have a feeling I’m way off if you were around before cars made it to Peru.” He was grinning big time. It felt like the joke was on me. “Yeah. I’m definitely wrong. You’re way older than that. So how off am I?”
“Seriously. How old are you?”
“Old enough, princess. Old enough.”
I sighed. “I wish you’d stop calling me that.”
“Yeah. It’s demeaning.” I turned away from him, taking in the horizon. “I’ve had enough of that in my life.”
“Hey,” he said as he gripped my hand for a second.
That one touch and I felt his aura, warming me to the core. It was so clear and bright. So strong. I could see a supernatural’s aura all the time, but feeling it, that was something infinitely more personal and unique. It didn’t happen that often. Only when the person was being very open with me and letting me in.
Almost as soon as the touch was there, it was gone.
And I missed it.
What was going on with my feelings for him? I was attracted to him, sure. But then I spilled my guts to him, and now…
“I’m not using the word to be demeaning,” he said, bringing me back to the conversation. Hopefully I hadn’t zoned out too much. “I was using it in a very literal way. But if you don’t like it, I’ll stop.”
Literal way? Someone had grossly misinformed him. “Me? Princess? Of what? The coven?” I nearly laughed. It was a completely ludicrous notion. “That couldn’t be further from the truth and there’s no way I’m going back there. Even once this whole mess is done with. I can’t. So, yeah. No.”
He frowned. “That wasn’t what I was referring to.”
What was he talking about? “Then…” I was so confused. Or he was confused.
“Don’t worry about it. I won’t call you that anymore if you don’t like it.”
“Okay.” I laughed, feeling like I was missing something.
We turned a corner and the cutest little village spread out before us. A church stood off to the left, with little shops and restaurants dotting the road. Homes were practically carved into the side of the mountain. “We’re here?”
“You got it. We walk the rest of the way. The streets in the village are too small for cars.” He grinned at me, and my heart did an embarrassing little flip-flop. “This way. We’ll hit the market first. A lot of people who’ve been indigenous to this area bring their goods to sell. Luckily, you’re here on market day.”
My first thought was that I wished Raphael were here. He loved markets. He would so get a kick out of this. I pushed all the scary thoughts of what might happen away, and thought only of good things. It was hard, but I had to do it. One day, if this market was cool, I’d come back with him.
“You okay?” Lucas asked.
I hopped out of the car and started to follow him. “No. But I’m hoping I will be soon.”
“You will be.” We turned a corner and a wide-open field spread in front of us. People in traditional Peruvian dress stood behind tables filled with all kinds of things. Some had fruits and vegetables. Some had clothes. Others had baked goods. But what hit me the most were all of the colors. Everything was so vibrant and alive.
“Do you see any auras here?”
I scanned the people standing around, looking deeper than just with my normal eyesight, but all I picked up were the energies of normal humans. Nothing supernatural or at all magical. “No.” I couldn’t keep the disappointment from my voice.
“Come on. Let’s take a closer look. Maybe it’s faint.”
I nodded. “Okay.” We’d come all this way. Might as well really look at these people.
As we moved from stall to stall, I thought it odd how Lucas paid each person special attention. One lady was selling cheese. Her colorful skirt and blouse were hand embroidered. A pristine white hat with a small brim sat atop her head. She grinned as Lucas approached and waved him over.