Burning Skies Page 13

“Sure,” Havily said, but her heart rate rose.

Alison smiled then tilted her head as though she was nervous as well. “I need to ask you about your dreams.”

Havily blinked. More than once. She felt a wave of heat climb her cheeks. “My dreams?”

“Yes, but I can see that I’ve already embarrassed you and for that I’m so sorry.”

Havily laughed because she didn’t know where to begin except to wonder what had brought her to ask the question in the first place. “Why do you need to know about my dreams?”

At that, Alison looked away from her. Her shoulders sagged just a little, and she sighed. “I can’t explain exactly except that I know your dreams have great significance and I was asked to tend to them.”

“You’re to tend to my dreams? Madame Endelle wants you to tend to my dreams.”

Alison shook her head. “Not Her Supremeness, but more I can’t say. So let me ask you this: Have you been having unusual dreams lately?”

Havily laughed again but she didn’t know what to say. “Well, it turns out the dreams that I thought were dreams aren’t really dreams.”

Alison nodded and released a strange, knowing noise, “Ah. That actually sounds about right. Do you want to explain?”

There was something in Alison’s tone that once more set Havily at ease, and for some reason the whole story just poured out of her—the tale of the last four months, and of Marcus.

To Alison’s great credit, she listened intently and nodded her reassurance several times. She never once gasped or expressed disgust, despite the content of Havily’s admission. But then Alison had been a therapist on Mortal Earth and had probably heard everything, especially since the Commander had actually used Alison as his personal therapist for the entire year preceding Alison’s ascension. Now, there was a bizarre story.

When she finished her dream history, Alison sat back in her chair. “There can be no question that this is the breh-hedden.”

Havily nodded. “I completely agree.”

“And you’re certain these aren’t normal dreams or fantasies.”

Havily sighed. “I had physical proof this morning when I ‘returned’ from what I had thought was a dreaming experience. Trust me, the events of the past four months happened.”

When Alison fell silent, Havily asked, “What are you thinking?”

“I’m trying to connect the experience you had of your vision of Warrior Luken with those you had with Warrior Marcus. Do you believe there’s a connection? Or can you see a connection?”

“I don’t know exactly except in one aspect in particular. On both occasions I ended up in a place that darkened around the edges and blocked me from going into the place that was real. Does that make sense?”

“Not exactly.”

“So you haven’t experienced anything like this?”

“No. Not at all.” Alison was silent for a moment then said, “Well, I would just like to impress you with my belief that for some reason, this ability of yours to dream and yet have very real experiences is critical. Obviously, because of this ability you saved Warrior Luken’s life. So my suggestion to you is that you be careful of this power, treat it with great respect, and be on your guard.”

Havily nodded. “I will.” She then told her that both Warrior Luken and Medichi had been so concerned for her safety because of what they believed to be her emerging power that she now had a telepathic link with Medichi.

“I think that’s excellent. Something is going on here of great significance. I can feel it. I suspect you can as well.”

“You know, I’ve been so busy with the Festival that I haven’t stopped to think about anything else. But you said you had two things to discuss with me?”

Alison rose to her feet and rolled her eyes. “Endelle told me I was to yell at you until you agreed to go to Mortal Earth and persuade Warrior Marcus to come back to Second Earth and resume his duties as a Warrior of the Blood.”

At that Havily chuckled. “Does she even know Warrior Marcus?”

“I know. That’s what I thought. My impression of him is that he’s going to do what he damn well pleases and she can just, you know, stuff it.”

“Hello. Exactly.”

Alison laughed. “You know, the only thing I would recommend is that you go to Mortal Earth and talk to Marcus about what’s been going on between you two. I can sense how distressed you are, and I suspect these strange dreaming episodes will only continue unless you confront him. But I refuse to say more than that.” She straightened her shoulders and added in a sharp voice, “Well, then, now that I’ve yelled at you about Warrior Marcus, I can tell Madame Endelle that I have hereby discharged my duty.”

She smiled a conspiratorial smile and turned on her heel. She gave a little wave as she left the room.

Havily sat back in her tall executive chair and spun it around to look out at the expanse of desert to the east. The sun was high overhead, and there wasn’t a cloud anywhere—typical June weather. Beneath the glare of the sun, the desert had a washed-out appearance this time of year, as though the baking effects of the constant sunshine stripped all the plants of color.

The monsoon storms and rain would change all that in a month or so, green things up a little, help the desert plants to bloom once more before the arid fall and winter set in.

Second Earth was an amazing blend of nature left to its own devices and the creation of extraordinary gardens. Horticulture was greatly prized in the dimension of the vampire, a very strange juxtaposition. She smiled. Who would’ve thought—vampires and gardens? But then the strange mythos of the vampire on Mortal Earth did have a basis in the reality of Second Earth. Death vampires epitomized Dracula’s nature.

As Havily considered Alison’s suggestion, she knew in her bones that she was right. She did need to talk to Marcus, and not about returning as a Warrior of the Blood. She had at least two hours before her meeting with Colonel Seriffe. That ought to be sufficient time to set a few things straight with her would-be vampire lover.

* * *

At the same moment that Marcus heard the buzz of the intercom, he felt her presence.

Holy shit. Havily was in the building. He knew it, felt it, as though she stood right next to him.

On the back of that sensation, he experienced an overwhelming need to get to her immediately, to make certain she was safe.

He lifted an arm, the universal signal that he was about to dematerialize, then remembered where the hell he was. He was on Mortal Earth, so he lowered his arm and forced himself to calm the fuck down. He took deep breaths, a whole string of them, one after the other.

The intercom buzzed again. He went over to his desk, still tingling from the near-fold, then touched the button on his desk phone. “Yes, Jane.”

“Security has a Miss Morgan to see you. She does not have an appointment.”

“Thank you.” He paused, then spoke the words that would make history in his corporation. “I’ll go down myself.”

Jane didn’t respond. He smiled. He could just see her face in the next room, her large brown eyes popped wide. He’d never in the course of their twenty years together left his office for the purpose of meeting anyone in the lobby. Why the hell was he changing protocol for Havily?

So why was he?

He had two reasons. The second reason he ignored because it involved their lovemaking last night. The first reason was that his instinct to get to her and to protect her was so profound that if he’d had any doubts the breh-hedden still had hold of him, he didn’t anymore.

Finally, Jane said, “Very good, sir. I’ll tell security you’re on your way.”

He released the button.

As he moved toward the door, his brain fired off in a dozen different directions, reminding him of his immediate schedule. He had a meeting in fifteen minutes. Legal had sent contracts up to sign. One of his boards would be here in half an hour.


He passed by Jane’s desk, her fingers rat-a-tatting the keyboard, but her thoughts shot at him before he remembered to cast a mental shield.

Gorgeous. Why did I have to have the most gorgeous boss in the world and the man never ages but wow that new Tom Ford looks sculpted … positively sculpted to his wrestling shoulders. Speaking of wrestling, I’d like to wrestle his ass to the …

Marcus turned in the direction of his administrative assistant, who looked perfectly innocent as she typed away. She glanced up, her brown eyes wide. “Was there something you needed?”

He blinked. “Please cancel my next appointment and put the board off for another thirty minutes.”

“Right away, Mr. Amargi.”

He was known on Mortal Earth as Marcus Amargi, his last name chosen from the ancient Sumerian vocabulary. He hadn’t used a surname in thousands of years. Warrior Marcus had sufficed until two hundred years ago.

She shifted in the direction of her phone, punched a button, lifted the receiver, and began reworking his schedule. Having heard her thoughts reminded him that he’d have to make a change soon. He needed a younger executive assistant, because Jane was aging and he wasn’t. So, shit. She was the best assistant he’d ever had. She could finish his breaths. Of all the ways he’d been forced to deal with his immortality on Mortal Earth, this one proved the trickiest.

As the years passed, as all the mortals he dealt with in business aged and he didn’t, he had often had to dissolve entire corporations and create new ones to deflect the inevitable questions. In the end, one of his best strategies had proven to be the hiring of self-exiled ascenders, like himself. That way age never mattered and strategies became a group effort.

He headed to the elevators, and once he was on board he shored up his shields. He rode down to the ground floor of the building knowing he was making history, knowing that this one act, meeting a woman in the lobby, would be speculated upon for years to come.

He didn’t care.

What he cared about was if anyone had followed Havily to Mortal Earth or into the building and whether or not a war would erupt around her.

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