Black Spring Page 77

My heart surged in hope and happiness. “So we’re both free of you, then?”

“Yes,” Lucifer said. “You have gotten what you always wanted.”

“And because Daharan is putting his grace into Maddy’s child, he’ll watch over him; isn’t that right?” Beezle said.

“Yes,” Puck said, looking amused at Lucifer’s bitterness. “Your Adam will be protected by Daharan always. So the three of us would essentially be picking a fight with Daharan if we tried to threaten or manipulate you as we have done in the past.”

“We’re free,” I said. The word echoed in my head. Free, free, free.

The glow in the air receded. Adam kicked his little legs from side to side as Daharan kissed his cheek and then handed him back to me. Daharan seemed larger somehow, more dragon-like, but still not scary to me. I’d never really been frightened of him. I’d always known, in my heart, that Daharan would be good to me.

“I will watch over you, and him, always,” he said. “Now I must take these three wayward children home.”

Lucifer appeared sullen. Alerian was calm and collected, as always. And Puck’s eyes danced with delight, almost as if he looked forward to the coming conflict.

“You needn’t worry about the supernatural camp,” Daharan said. “I have been to see the mayor and wielded my influence. His decree is being reversed as we speak, and everyone who was arrested is being returned to their homes.”

“Thanks,” I said. At least I didn’t have that crisis to deal with. Of course, changing people’s attitudes toward what was different from them was another problem. Maybe Jack could finally be useful on that front and spread some good propaganda for the preternatural among us.

“And now, Madeline, I bid you farewell,” Daharan said. “Do not fear for the future of your child.”

“Thank you,” I said again, and before our eyes he transformed into the dragon I’d first met.

He scooped up his three brothers in his claws, and disappeared into the sky.


“Well, that was an unusual ending to things,” Beezle said later. “You weren’t required to destroy a single piece of property.”

J.B. and Jack had returned to their homes. Jude and Samiel were downstairs in the spare apartment, moving Samiel’s things from Chloe’s place. My heart still hurt when I thought of Chloe, and the horrible way she’d been killed. It got me thinking that a lot of bad things had happened in this house, and maybe it was time for a change.

“Maybe we should buy a new house,” I said to Nathaniel. He was sitting in a chair by the fire, the baby in his lap, his eyes drowsy. I was across from them, watching. My heart had never been so full of love.

Beezle snorted. “First of all, you have no money.”

“I have this house. I could sell it.”

“Yeah, I wonder what the resale value is on a hundred-year-old house that’s been the site of two murders and assorted supernatural phenomena?” he said. “What you would get for this place wouldn’t pay for a brick on a new condo.”

“I have money,” Nathaniel said quietly.

“What was that?” Beezle said, his hand at his ear.

“I have money,” he repeated. “Lots of money, as a matter of fact. My father is wealthy and so am I.”

Beezle looked outraged. “And you let Maddy act like a poor mouse all this time?”

“Nathaniel’s always paid his fair share,” I said. “He even paid me rent when he lived in the downstairs apartment. But I didn’t know you were rich.”

He shifted in his seat, looking embarrassed. “I thought you would not like it if you knew. Your pride might have kept you from accepting my help if necessary.”

“It probably would have,” I admitted. “But if you’re going to be Adam’s dad, then I guess we’d better talk about these things.”

“Am I going to be his father?” he asked carefully, his eyes bright now, and no longer drowsy.

I took a deep breath. It was now or never. Beezle flew out of the room, muttering something about not wanting to get caught between two clueless people.

“Yes,” I said. “Because I love you. I want you to stay. I want you to stay with me, with us, to be a family. Maybe we won’t have a white picket fence and all that, but it will be ours. And Lucifer can’t harm us anymore. I can finally think of the future for the first time in my life.”

He closed his eyes for a moment, then looked at me again. “I have waited a long time to hear you say those words. You have made me very happy, Madeline.”

Nathaniel rose, and crossed to me, and placed the baby in my arms. Then he bent to kiss me, and there was heat and promise there that had never been before. He had been so careful of me since I’d returned from that other planet, since he thought I had died there. In many ways he’d been a very chaste lover, but now he was telling me that was going to change, and soon.

He pulled away, resting his forehead against mine. “You need not worry that I will press my affections just now. The gargoyle has informed me that it is not healthy for a woman to engage in relations so soon after childbirth.”

I choked, torn between laughter and annoyance. “I don’t know which is worse—that Beezle knows about such a thing or that he discussed it with you.”

“He apparently has been reading a child-care book. He has many ‘helpful’ things to tell us,” Nathaniel said, and smiled.

Prev Next
Romance | Vampires | Fantasy | Billionaire | Werewolves | Zombies