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Authors: Touch of Enchantment

Teresa Medeiros

BOOK: Teresa Medeiros
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A TIMELESS SPELL

Colin cradled the back of her head in his broad palm, pressing her face to his chest. One squeak from her or the cat and they would be trapped at the mercy of Brisbane’s men.

Their forced intimacy should have been awkward. But there was something disarmingly natural about standing in Colin’s arms, feeling the powerful throb of his heart. An inexplicable languor melted through Tabitha, making her feel warm and cherished and safe from all harm for the first time in her life.

Until the menacing hoofbeats receded and the tension failed to melt from Colin’s body.

His hand crept around to cup her cheek, alerting her to a more subtle danger. But the warning came too late. He didn’t even have to tilt her face upward to find her lips with his own. They were already there—tingling, moist, and parted in an invitation Tabitha hadn’t even realized she’d extended until it was too late to rescind it.

His mouth brushed hers, his bottom lip too persuasively soft to belong to such a hard man. Lost in a daze of pleasure, Tabitha considered calling back Brisbane’s guards. From a practical viewpoint, she’d be better off losing her head in this century than her heart …

Also by Teresa Medeiros

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HE
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EMEMBER

TOUCH OF ENCHANTMENT
A Bantam Book/July 1997

All rights reserved.
Copyright © 1997 by Teresa Medeiros

No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher. For information address: Bantam Books.

eISBN: 978-0-307-78541-1

Bantam Books are published by Bantam Books, a division of Random House, Inc. Its trademark, consisting of the words “Bantam Books” and the portrayal of a rooster, is Registered in U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and in other countries. Marca Registrada. Random House, New York, New York.

v3.1

T
o the memory of Suzanne Wages, a shining star who blazed brightly, but all too briefly, through our lives. See you on the other side, sweetheart
.

T
o Jack and Berta Pitzer and Patricia Ramsden, who shone the light so brightly I could not help but follow
.

T
o Wendy McCurdy, who was generous enough to give me the keys to the kingdom without even realizing it
.

A
nd to Michael, whose steadfast love makes every home we live in a castle of dreams
.

Contents
Prologue

Tabitha Lennox hated being a witch. The only thing she hated more than being a witch was being a rich witch. But she had little or no say in the matter, having been born the sole heir of both her father’s multibillion-dollar empire and her mother’s rather unpredictable paranormal talents.

Her mama had named her Tabitha, pronouncing it a good solid Puritan name. Her daddy had smoothly agreed, but the reason for his wry chuckle had not become readily apparent until a
Bewitched
marathon on Nick at Nite had choked a scandalized gasp from her mother.

“Did you know that cheeky little brat was named Tabitha?” she asked, referring to Darrin and Samantha Stevenses’ precocious progeny.

Her daddy lowered his
Wall Street Journal
and blinked behind his reading glasses, his gray eyes disarmingly innocent. “Sorry, darling. It must have slipped my mind.”

But a hint of a smirk betrayed him. Tabitha’s mama launched herself across the cozy great room, pummeling him with one of the fluffy couch pillows until they both collapsed over the ottoman in a giggling heap.

“You really can’t blame me,” her daddy gasped, tickling her mama into submission. “Your second choice was
Chastity!”

As their playful tussle dissolved into a tender kiss, seven-year-old Tabitha had rolled her eyes at the plump black cat lazing on the hearth and returned her attention to her laptop computer, wondering why her parents couldn’t communicate through E-mail or their lawyers like the parents of all the other children in her Montessori school.

From an early age, Tabitha had craved the soothing boredom of routine the way other children craved toys and candy. Although her parents made a convincing show of normalcy with their Victorian house nestled in the Connecticut countryside, far more than her father’s wealth set her apart from her playmates.

Several of her peers rode to school behind the smoked-glass windows of stretch limousines or hosted birthday parties at The Four Seasons, but none of them ever came home from school to find the family cat quoting Shakespeare to a shelf of engrossed plants or a trio of elves peering at them from beneath the shrubbery. Tabitha’s mama didn’t just bake cookies. She baked dancing cookies that had the unnerving habit of popping themselves into Tabitha’s mouth every time she opened it to complain. Tabitha would proudly display her completed homework only to have it vanish into thin air the night before it was due.

Her father would frantically help her duplicate her fractions while her mother conjugated French verbs and apologized profusely for her lack of control over her magic. Although her dismay at causing her daughter distress was genuine, her mama could never quite hide the pride she took in her unusual gift.

Tabitha didn’t consider it a gift. She considered it a
curse. Which explained why on her thirteenth birthday, when her casual wish for purple icing on her birthday cake sent sugary globs of it coursing over her stunned head, she experienced no wonder, but only frigid horror.

Trailing purple goo, she fled up the stairs and threw herself on her ruffled bed, weeping as if her little heart would break.

Her parents followed, sinking down on each side of her to exchange a helpless glance over her sobbing form. Her daddy patted her heaving shoulder while her mama stroked her sticky hair.

“Don’t cry,
ma petite,”
her mama murmured. “You must think of your talents as a gift from God. You’ll soon get used to the idea of being special.”

Struggling to catch her breath, Tabitha blurted out, “You don’t understand! I don’t want to be special! I want to be normal.” She snuffled into the
Snow White
comforter she had always detested. “I want you two to yell at each other instead of kissing all the time. I want my toys to stop talking and the dishes to stop running away with all the spoons. I want to live in a trailer park and wear clothes off the rack and,” her voice broke before rising to a wail, “eat my birthday dinner at McDonald’s!”

This startling declaration provoked an even more puzzled glance and a shudder of distaste from her father.

Despite her frequent and often disastrous brushes with the supernatural since that day, Tabitha continued to turn up her rather plain little nose at Disney movies with their talking teapots and singing mice, much preferring the stolid gloom of Ingmar Bergman festivals to those silly princesses always yearning for Prince Charming to swoop down off his stallion and carry them away.

Tabitha Lennox had no choice but to believe in magic.

But she didn’t believe in fairy tales.

Or happy endings.

Or Prince Charming.

Yet.

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