The witch clawed at the air, screaming.

A black cat brushed Caratacus’s leg. Linly fell to the floor, convulsing. The witch’s pie would kill the man—and the others—if Caratacus weren’t able to intervene. And that required the witch’s death.

And yet… He swung a look about and found that cat had jumped onto the top of a lab table, tail whipping angrily as it hissed at the screaming witch. Had she been able to speak the spell that had unbound her from the hag? Without knowing, Caratacus, was not willing to risk Mirabelle’s life by ending the witch’s existence.

He gripped the athame. If plunged through the witch’s chest, she would die. And she wouldn’t see him coming toward her because she couldn’t smell him now.

Linly had stopped moving, save for one twitching leg. Surely, the earl was in the same condition along with so many other manor residents.

He didn’t have time! And he was not willing to allow so many to die when he could save them.

“But Mirabelle…” His heart lurched in his chest. “I don’t want to lose you.” They had only just begun something wonderful. Together.

The cat meowed and slashed the air with its forepaw. What was she trying to tell him?

The sulfur scent started to settle. The air at head level was freshening. He had to act now. Caratacus approached the witch, who fought madly with her inability to see and smell—but apparently, she could hear. His approach settled her to a wicked stillness. Head bowed, arms out as if a gunfighter awaiting the draw, an evil smile curled into her green cheek.

“Come at me, fool,” she called.

“Caratacus, I am unbound!” Mirabelle called.

That was all he needed to know. He lunged for the witch, who managed to dodge just as the athame would have penetrated skin and bone. Instead, it slid down her sleeve and Caratacus landed on the floor. Rolling away and up into a stand, he turned in time to dodge a green fireball blazing toward him.

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