Burning Skies Page 14

He remained outwardly cool, unmoving, unflinching. But his wing-locks thrummed, his fangs pounded in his gums, and he prepared to make a shitload of mist if necessary. He kept flexing his fingers in case he needed to draw his sword from his locked weapons locker on Bainbridge Island. Or a gun. Vampires were allowed to use guns on Mortal Earth.


* * *

Havily stood near the security desk. Now that she was here, doubts of varying sorts pummeled her mind. Why had she come? Dear Creator, why had she come? Would he be angry that she was here? Would she take one look at him and forget all that she needed to say to him?

Alison had been right to nudge her in the direction of this visit. It was long overdue; this nightly dreaming nonsense had to stop. In particular, Marcus needed to stop coming to her and seducing her, or whatever it was he was doing.

Also … she had a few things she wanted to say to him about his service as a Warrior of the Blood.

For all these reasons, she was nervous when normally she wouldn’t have been, even though she was fully aware that nearly everyone in the lobby was staring at her.

But then again, she’d come armed wearing her favorite Ralph Lauren. She had her hair in a tight professional twist. She wore serious closed-toed heels, which put her at six-two, taller no doubt than most of the women in the building.

Slung over her shoulder was a Marc Jacobs, her favorite.

She wore simple pearl studs and a Rolex watch, the latter her only real splurge of the last few years.

Glancing around, she approved of the building. Good security. She suspected that billions in transactions, floor upon floor, passed through these walls.

Whatever she thought of Warrior Marcus, she had to admit she liked the general feel of the place. The decor was high-end but there were a great many plants all around the lobby, indicating that the owner spent money on the working environment as well as the financial future of his empire.

Oh, great. She hadn’t wanted to approve of anything about him, but right off the bat she did.

She blinked.


Her heart rate started to climb.

Warrior Marcus had not even come into view, but his scent preceded him. She closed her eyes and weaved on her feet. Whatever her nightly encounters with him had been, the actual presence of his smell, the real deal, sent line drives straight up her thighs.

As usual, the well of her body clenched and she reached for the edge of the security desk to support her buckling knees.

“Havily.” The word shot across the space between what she knew was the warrior she’d been avoiding for four months and her tender ears. His voice, speaking her name, forced her lips apart. She had no words as she turned in his direction, just myriad sensations that ignited a familiar fire.

Her gaze found him and drifted over his dark brown hair, which was no longer corporate short and straight but long to his chin and curling at the ends. He’s letting his hair grow, his warrior hair. Otherwise, he was as she remembered him, his beautiful olive skin, his fierce expression, and his dark brows that were perpetually slashed over light brown eyes. He wore a tailored suit, although tailored seemed like an inadequate word to describe what she saw. He remained immobile as her gaze traveled in a slow, lethargic drift down his massive warrior body, clothed in fine-pressed black wool with a narrow pinstripe.

Again she approved and she didn’t want to.

She reminded herself that despite his accomplishments and his excellent wardrobe, whatever he was in this world had cost lives on Second Earth. He should have been battling; instead he had made a lot of money and bought suits and hired security personnel. She knew without having to be told that he owned the whole damn building.

Even though she was drawn to him like cream to strawberries, and wanted to get a fold straight back to Second Earth … like now … she moved forward and extended her hand. “Hello, Marcus.” How strange it felt not to address him more formally as Warrior Marcus.

She watched his shoulders rise as he drew in a breath and took her hand in his. His clasp was warm and strong, the pads of his fingers fleshy, but she already knew that since she’d felt him in her dreams.

The reminder of what they had shared brought a warm flush to her cheeks. She drew her hand out of his. “I’ve come on behalf of … certain parties of interest to you.” She could hardly say Madame Supreme High Administrator of Second Earth in front of a dozen inquisitive sets of Mortal Earth ears.

He nodded. “Won’t you come up?”

“Yes, of course.”

He guided her to the elevators, his hand never far from the small of her back. She had a strong sense that if an attack came, he would pull her against him with one hand and with the other draw a weapon.

That she was the object of such protective instincts sent ripples of pleasure through her abdomen. Again, her body clenched even when she didn’t want it to. She wished just this once, while in his presence, she could calm the hell down.

As the elevator doors closed and they were the only ones in it, she heard him grunt strangely, a sound followed by a very faint grinding. Teeth upon teeth?

A moment later the small space flooded with a cloud of fennel. She listed sideways, falling against the wall of the elevator. Worse followed when he clamped his arm around her waist to support her.

She gave a squeak and pushed his hand away. She took a step forward trying to create distance, a hopeless venture inside the stainless-steel box.

“Are you all right?” he asked, his voice low, husky, one resonant seductive thrall.

“Please don’t touch me again, Warrior.”

He backed away. In the shiny metal that surrounded the elevator buttons, she saw that he had moved into the far corner and stared at her from beneath hooded eyes. More fennel wafted around her.

Oh, God. Coming to Seattle was a serious mistake.

The wheel came from the land of Sumer as did the first vampire, Luchianne.

—From Treatise on Ascension, by Philippe Reynard

Chapter 5

Marcus had never suffered in quite this way before. When he knew, when he had sensed that Havily was in the building, his building, the building he owned, he had experienced desire, confusion, urgency. He had not thought much beyond his need to make sure she was safe and that his building remained secure.

However, the moment he saw her, the moment he smelled her, the molecules in his body had realigned and sent every instinct in the direction of his groin and his need to bond with her. That absurd imperative had swamped him, screaming at him to get inside her, to release his seed into her, to take her blood, to penetrate her mind, all at the same time, to make her his, now and forever.

He knew she watched him from the reflection of the chrome plate around the elevator buttons, but did she have any idea how her honeysuckle scent now filled the shared space and worked his cock into a state of hard readiness?

He had a couch in his office. Hell, he had two. Fuck that. He had a glass desk the size of a small barge. He’d clear it with a sweep of his arm and throw her on her back. He’d …

He closed his eyes, flared his nostrils, and dragged her scent into his nose. One stroke, he’d come. Fucking breh-hedden.

“Why the hell are you here?” left his throat in a hoarse mess.

“We … we have matters to discuss. You know we do and I want this … thing between us settled once and for all.”

And exactly how did she plan to do that? The image of her on her back and him on top made the only kind of sense.

When the doors opened he moved up behind her. He knew he crowded her but he couldn’t help it. His protective instinct was firing off missiles. He had his arm around her waist as he moved to the door to his suite.

He opened the door for her. He barely saw Jane as he ushered Havily into his office. He barked over his shoulder to his assistant, “We’re not to be disturbed. For any reason.”

“Yes, sir. Of course, sir,” returned in a sharp stunned whisper.

He shut the door and wasn’t surprised when Havily hurried past his desk to the opposite corner of the office near the windows. He watched her shoulders rise and fall rapidly.

Goddamn the breh-hedden. They were both held in a tight grip. Worse, the dreams had revealed exactly what she looked like naked, and that’s all he saw as he looked her up and down. He’d cupped her ass in his hands. She may be wearing a tailored navy wool suit, but he knew what her breasts looked like, felt like.

His scrutiny stopped at tailored and wool. She’d come from Phoenix in late June where it was hotter than Hades right now. So she must have dressed for … Seattle.

Something about that made him smile, a little smugly perhaps. “Did you have a nice trip?” he asked, shocked again at the hoarse quality of his voice.

“Would you stop that,” she cried as she turned back to him.

“Stop what?”

“This whole room smells like a licorice factory.”

Ah, yes, the one defining quality of the breh-hedden, the giving of specific scents, male and female, meant only for the other, detected only by the other. She was, for him, the other.

“All I’m smelling is honeysuckle, Havily. When I’m around you, that’s all I smell. Fucking honeysuckle. Clouds of honeysuckle. A rain forest of honeysuckle.”

She shook her head and frowned. “You mean you don’t smell this sharp fennel scent?” She waved an arm about to encompass the room.

“No, not at all. Just you.”

He crossed the room to stand near the window. He looked down at the view below, as he often did, but drew no closer to her than six feet. Less separation and he’d take her in his arms, he’d kiss her, he’d force himself on her as he’d tried to do that last night at Endelle’s palace. Given her scent, she’d probably succumb, so shit.

He turned slowly to watch her. She faced the window now as well and was beautiful in profile, her nose a lovely curve, her lips parted. Her hair was an exquisite auburn; her complexion, a delicate cream enhanced with peach blush over her cheekbones. Her eyes were a light green like translucent jade. So beautiful. Once more, his groin responded. Okay, so maybe looking at her wasn’t a good idea, either. “So, again, why have you come?”

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