As they walked back toward the car, Magnus glanced at Alec and tossed his keys from hand to hand.
“We’ll go faster if two of us are sharing driving duties,” Alec offered hopefully.
“Ever driven stick before?”
Alec hesitated. “Can’t be harder than shooting a bow and arrow while riding a horse at a full gallop.”
“It’s definitely not,” said Magnus. “Besides, you have superhuman reflexes. What’s the worst that could happen?”
He threw Alec the keys and slid into the passenger’s seat with a smile. Alec grinned and jogged over to the driver’s seat.
Magnus suggested some practice loops in the parking lot.
“You have to lift your left foot as you’re applying gas with the right foot,” he said. Alec looked at him.
“Oh no,” he said dryly. “I have to move both feet at the same time. How can I possibly handle such demands of my agility.” He turned back, applied the gas, and was rewarded with a high-pitched screech, like a banshee in a trap. Magnus smiled but did not say anything.
Soon enough, of course, Alec was maneuvering competently enough around the lot.
“Ready to take the show on the road?” Magnus asked.
Alec only answered with a smile as he peeled out of the lot. A whoop of delight and surprise escaped from his throat as the Maserati fishtailed on the narrow street. They turned onto a straightaway and Alec punched the acceleration.
“We’re going very fast,” said Shinyun. “Why are we going so fast?”
The low friendly growl of the little red convertible filled the air. Alec glanced over to see Magnus put on his sunglasses and rest his elbow on the door as he leaned over the side and smiled at the rush of the wind across his face.
Alec was glad to be able to give Magnus a break. Also, he hadn’t realized this kind of wild, dramatic driving was a thing available to him. When he thought of cars he thought of Manhattan: far too many vehicles, not nearly enough road, chugging slowly and unhappily through the veins of the city. There, being on foot was liberation. Here in the Tuscan countryside, though, this car was its own kind of liberation, a thrilling kind. He looked over at his unbearably handsome boyfriend, hair blown back and eyes closed behind his shades. Sometimes, his life was okay. He willfully ignored the grumpy warlock ride-along in the backseat.
For the next hour, they followed the Apennines through the heart of Tuscany. To their left were sunset-soaked golden fields spanning to the horizon, and to their right were rows of stone villas on hilltops overlooking a green vineyard sea. Cypress trees whispered in the wind.
It was black night by the time they reached what Magnus said was called the Chianti mountain range. Alec didn’t look. He felt pretty confident handling the Maserati by now, but managing a stick shift along the many sharp turns while driving near the edge of a cliff in the dark was an entirely separate and existentially threatening experience.
What made the situation even more harrowing was that the headlights only bought them a few dozen feet of visibility, so all they could see were a narrow stretch of road in front, the sheer face of the mountain, and the cliff edge that led to the open sky. Only one of those options was any good.
Alec managed to downshift correctly on the first few turns, but sweat stung his eyes.
“Are you all right?” Magnus asked.
“I’m great,” Alec said quickly.
He fought demons for a living. This was driving, a thing even mundanes did without any unusual talents or sense-enhancing runes. All he had to do was focus.
He was holding on to the steering wheel too tight, and he jerked the stick every time he had to shift around a hard turn.
Alec mistimed a particularly difficult bend that sent the car veering out of control. He tried to punch the accelerator and even out but ended up hitting the brake, sending them spinning down a steep decline.
The vista before them was not a welcome sight. It meant they were going right off a cliff.
Alec threw an arm up to shield Magnus, and Magnus grabbed his arm. Alec had felt this strange connected feeling once before, on a ship in troubled waters: Magnus reaching out for him, needing his strength. He turned his hand under Magnus’s hand and linked their fingers, feeling nothing but the warm strong impulse to reach back.
The car had just skidded off the road and dipped over the side when it came to a sudden stop, the two spinning front wheels touching nothing but air and soft blue magic. It hovered for a moment and then righted itself, and rolled back onto the narrow dirt path next to the road.
“I told you we were going too fast,” said Shinyun mildly from the backseat.
Alec held on fast to Magnus’s hand, his own clasped against Magnus’s chest. A warlock’s heart beat differently from a human’s. Magnus’s heartbeat was a reassurance in the dark. Alec already knew it well.
“It’s just a tiny little cliff,” said Magnus. “Nothing we can’t handle.”
Alec and Magnus got out of the car. Magnus threw his arms out wide as if he was going to embrace the night sky. Alec walked to the cliff’s edge and looked over, whistling at the long, sheer drop down to the ravine. He looked off to the side at a small dirt trail leading to a clearing jutting out from the cliff. He beckoned to Magnus. “It’s pretty dangerous driving at night. Maybe we should stay here.”
Magnus looked around. “Just . . . here?”
“Camping could be fun,” said Alec. “We can toast marshmallows. You’d need to summon supplies from somewhere, of course.” Shinyun had climbed out of the car and was coming over to join them. “Let me guess,” she said to Magnus in flat tones. “Darling, your idea of camping is when the hotel doesn’t have a minibar.” Magnus blinked at her.
“I beat you to that joke,” Shinyun informed him.
Magnus lifted his eyes to the night sky. Alec could see the silver curve of a crescent moon reflected in the gold of his eyes. It matched the sudden curve of Magnus’s smile.
“All right,” said Magnus. “Let’s have fun.”
Jag kan verkligen inte vänta på att få läsa ännu mera om och med dessa två.