It's In the Mix
(Wit & Wizardry)
by Ayla Ruse
Page Count: 71
Genres/Themes: Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy, Elves, Dragons, and Magical Creatures, Magic
Mix 1 part narrow minded fairy with 1 part human bachelor to get 2 parts love everlasting.
Aisling is not happy to be tending bar in a human pub. Her fairy aunt predicted she'd find love by the next full moon, and that means she should be back in Ireland -- not in the middle of Massachusetts.
Despite the happy married lives of his friends, Daniel is content to remain a bachelor. After all, the pretty new bartender may want to come home with him. Why spoil that with a relationship?
Something might have happened on its own, but a mischievous pub owner slips each of them a Wit & Wizardry brew known to contain a powerful love potion. Before either can say a word, Aisling and Daniel find themselves tumbling headlong into love.
Unfortunately, all is not happily ever after. Aisling does not want to love a human, and Daniel believes he's unfairly pressured her into being with him. When the pair settle down to breathe, can they discover something deeper to bind them, or will daylight make the heady effects of a potioned brew fade away?
Two hours later, Aisling had been asked her name so often she practically growled it out in answer. That or flat out ignored the question. She'd also been propositioned more than she had been in her entire life. She'd had to do her best not to gag whenever a human dared speak to her. All her senses were overloaded with smells of beer, food, human sweat, and the thick New England accent that jarred her ears. She wasn't sure how much longer she could take it.
Aisling didn't even bother looking up when the human leaned against the bar. She'd been hit on so often she mentally blocked all their talk. "What'cha be needing tonight?" she asked instead and swiped a damp cloth across the bar's work surface.
She could have sworn he murmured the word, "you," and her head shot up at that, but his warm smile told her she must have been mistaken. Once she looked up at him, though, she couldn't look away. She should be disgusted at the mere presence of him, a human, but he had the perfect, classic dark Irish look -- hair as black as the Hidden Fairy Caves, eyes as blue as the deepest reaches of the seaside springtime sky. To complete the package, even though he leaned against the bar, she knew when he stood straight he'd be tall and athletically lean. His face was chiseled, and he looked as if he'd fit in perfectly with the clans of old. For a brief second she even imagined him in a tartan. True, she didn't care for humans, but she'd always loved the old stories of when fairy folk would interact openly with them. She would be the first to admit she'd not want those days back, but looking at him reminded her of the old lore, and she couldn't help it. She sighed.
"Miss? Are you okay?" He grinned, and his deep voice shook her out of her musings.
"What? Oh, I'm sorry. You said you wanted... ?" She tried to focus. He gave her his order, but nothing registered because she was so caught up in simply listening to his voice.
"Did you get that?" he asked.
"Hmm? Oh, um, forgive me." She rubbed her temple as if she had a headache. “The noise is getting to me, I think," she lied and averted her eyes so she wouldn't be looking at him. "Can you tell me again what you'd like?"
"Three house beers, please. I understand the Wit & Wizards aren't available tonight?" He sounded amused, which both made her upset and made her blush. She didn't like the dual feelings so she ignored both to focus on her temporary job. She answered the man while pretending to work her cloth over a stubborn spot on the bar.
"You'd be right. There's been a recall. It's nothing bad. The taste was a little off. You know those Dunn Brothers. If something's even a little off, they're not happy." Why was she rambling?
She stepped away to put distance between them and to pull the longnecks from the cooler below the bar.
"No, I don't, actually," he said.
"The Dunn Brothers. I don't know them. Who are they?"
"Well, they're --" sniveling, slave-driving, demanding Leprechauns "-- um, they're the triplets what own the Wit & Wizardry Brewery."
"Fascinating. I take it from your accent you know them well?"
"I work for them."
"Wow. You're straight from the source, so to speak. Being put to work here must be the very definition of excellent customer service."
"Being put to work here is called punishment," she muttered.
"How so? My name's Daniel O'Hare, by the way."
"Oh, never you mind. Nice to meet ya, Daniel." She set the opened beers on the bar top at the same time as he reached for them. She allowed their hands to brush. Allowed because she'd kept a clear touching distance from the humans tonight. But with this man, something told her that she had to know what he felt like.
As soon as their fingers touched, a shock ran though her body. She'd never felt anything like that before, and she jumped back.
"Are you okay?" he asked quickly, but he was looking at his hands as if he'd felt something, too. Strange, very strange.
"I'm good," she answered, her left hand darting behind her back to slip under the hem of her sweatshirt. "I'm good," she repeated. "And that'll be twelve seventy-five, if you please."
He handed over a twenty, and she snatched it from his fingers so as not to touch him again.
"Keep the change," he told her and winked. She nodded and turned to go to the other end of the bar.
Maybe she could talk Mitchell into letting her take her break early. On top of everything else, it was becoming strangely hot in here.
His words stopped her in her tracks.
"Can I know the name of the beautiful woman who served me the best beer I'll have all night?"
She didn't even think of growling back at this human. "It's Aisling."
His full-on smile almost knocked her back. Again, not sure what was going on with her reactions to this man, this Daniel, she hurried to the other end of the bar. He might look and sound like folk of yore, but he was still a present-day living human. And that meant absolutely off-limits.
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