Burning Skies Page 18

“Warrior Medichi summoned me, and I’ll always come when the warriors need me.” Alison was very composed. That was one thing about the woman Endelle could count on, composure. She had a boatload of that, thank you, God.

Her gaze dipped once more to the clasp of the woman’s hands. The knuckles were tight and bleached through the skin. Something was going on. Oh, fuck.

She reached out to read her but Alison had shields, fucking powerful shields … and, again, thank you, God. In the past four months the newly arrived ascender had learned to protect her thoughts, and though it had taken some time for Endelle to get used to this reality—that she couldn’t enter Alison’s head at will—she had come to feel immense gratitude that at least one vampire in her realm could keep her goddamn thoughts to herself.

“So why did Medichi summon you and where the fuck is he?”

“With Havily. There was an attack at her condo. He didn’t want to leave her. I said I would consult with you.”

Endelle got that feeling, the one that felt like an enormous spider doing a break dance down her spine. A second impression followed, of that pansy-ass freak, Commander Greaves, and his sticky hands all over one of her execs. Why, was the question. What the hell did he want with such an underperformer as Havily Morgan?

She drew in a deep breath, then another. She sat back in her chair. She wiped her mouth with the back of her hand. More important, why did she have to slobber when she slept?

Alison wore jeans and a long light green T-shirt. Sandals. June was hot in Phoenix, even at midnight. Her hair was pulled back in a ponytail. Damn, the woman was beautiful even without makeup: high cheekbones, light blue eyes rimmed with gold. No wonder Kerrick had fallen so hard for the powerful ascender, recently anointed Guardian of Ascension.

She always saw the future in this woman. Change. Hope.

But had anything really changed? Yeah, for the worse. The war was rolling along and one of her warriors was in an emergency clinic recovering from burns, goddamn fucking burns.

And now this.

So the Commander had either attacked Morgan or sent someone after her. Terrific.

Endelle closed her eyes then reached out. She sent her thoughts in Havily’s direction, hunting, searching. It didn’t take long. The woman’s emotions were a shriek through the universe.

Havily sat in complete silence on her sofa in her living room even though tears streaked down her cheeks. Medichi knelt in front of her, his long fingers resting on her shoulder. No sex there, just profound compassion. So who the hell had attacked her?

She had to work hard to push past Havily’s shields, but after about a minute she broke through. She replayed the recent event. She knew the attacker well, a vampire by the name of Crace, Eldon Crace, the current High Administrator of Chicago Two, allied with Greaves.

But damn, Crace was warrior-sized, a big motherfucker now, the muscles across his back enhanced by the fact that he was shirtless, one holy-hell range of meat. Christ, he was almost as big as Luken. He never used to be this big, which meant only one thing: death vampire, a condition confirmed by his now extremely pale complexion and the fact that he’d grown much prettier since the last time she’d seen him.

Four months ago he had been a well-built, handsome administrator with a beautiful polished wife, Julianna. He had also been Greaves’s favorite.

She knew Greaves had a policy of turning his subjects, encouraging them to partake of dying blood, then providing an antidote to keep the outward signs of the addiction from manifesting. Looked like Crace enjoyed the experience too much and had failed to make use of the mitigating serum.

Taking in his size and his new nature, Endelle knew one truth right now—if Medichi hadn’t shown up when he did, Havily would be dead.

She searched a little more through Havily’s mind and found the telepathic link between the warrior and Morgan. Jesus. Who the hell had come up with that and why? A little more searching revealed another truth, that Luken and Medichi had become concerned about Havily because of her recent vision of Luken, which had in turn saved Luken’s life.

Sudden anxiety whipped Endelle’s wing-locks into a mounting state, as though the sight of this newly created death vampire had jolted all of her self-preservation instincts to action. Within seconds she withdrew from Havily’s mind and rose to her feet. Her wing-locks itched, a familiar sensation when shit went down.

She breathed in, felt the muscles of her back flex and twitch. The wet lubricant shed from her wing-locks and with another deep breath, she let her wings fly from her body, a swift ease of movement that lifted her onto her toes and felt like heaven. She always had this sudden sensation of tears and of joy when her wings emerged, fluffed and formed, feathers attached to an intricate mesh-like superstructure all at the same time, one fucking miracle of ascended power.

From thought to thought her wings changed color. They began as red then shifted to purple, to blue. The ability to change wing color was a Third ability and for Endelle usually reflected her emotional state.

She felt the accompanying hit of both adrenaline and dopamine, her brows rising in response. Only sex was better than this.

Alison had remained by the doorway, giving Endelle plenty of room to pace. “What the fuck is this powerful vampire doing with Havily Morgan?” She plunged both hands through her hair at her temples, gliding them all the way through her long black locks as she half walked, half flew the length of the room, twirling at the plate-glass windows, the tips of her feathers, red again, brushing against the cool, air-conditioned double-paned glass.

She loped the opposite direction, flying, touching down, walk, fly, repeat. She could feel Alison’s empathy searching the airstreams, the intent focus of her therapist’s mind, her desire to understand, her constant willingness to help, to be of use, to serve, to soothe, to ease. Kerrick must be in heaven with this woman.

And now a huge vampire had gone after Havily, which meant that Greaves had sent him, which in turn meant that he’d had some kind of Seer information that had prompted the attack, which also meant that Havily was worth something to him, that the future streams had coughed up a lot of information about her.

Rage boiled now, full-on vision-altering, hand-trembling rage as her thoughts pivoted toward the east, toward the Superstition Mountains and her useless fucking Seers Fortress. The one element she had relied on in past centuries for direction had been systematically stripped from her, and all because of rulings by COPASS.

The Committee to Oversee the Process of Ascension to Second Society had caved to Greaves’s pressure over the years. Bottom line? No one could enter the Superstition Seers Fortress without permission from its High Administrator, and—surprise, surprise—the High Administrator never allowed Endelle admittance. She was fucking blind because of it.

The result? Critical information from the future streams, information she had always relied on to keep her administration moving forward, had been reduced to a frog’s stream of piss.


Which led her straight back to the conundrum of Havily Morgan. There could be only one reason why Morgan had been attacked—the future streams had revealed something of value about her.

She turned to Alison. “Do you think it’s possible that Morgan has emerging powers?”

Alison nodded. “I do. She saved a warrior’s life last night, the most physically powerful warrior in your arsenal, so yeah, I think she has emerging powers.”

Endelle stared at her and nodded. “It’s just that I’ve always been so disappointed in her. And now … shit … to have one of Greaves’s most powerful minions after her just seems bizarre. Well … I suppose I have to assign a guardian now … which means—” She laughed suddenly and slapped her hand on her thigh. “Well, I’ll be damned. There’s a silver lining after all and Marcus is sooo not gonna like what I have to tell him. Oh, this is awesome! Just too awesome!”

* * *

At seven in the morning Marcus stepped out of the shower and nearly fell on his ass. He grabbed the stone half wall and caught his balance. “What the fuck are you doing here … again? And couldn’t you have at least waited until I was dressed? What the fuck!”

Endelle looked smug as she leaned her ass against the sink counter. She wore red leather pants, black stilettos, and some kind of light-colored animal fur halter. Her gaze, as usual, settled on his groin. Her brows rose and she huffed a sigh. She folded her arms over her chest.

“Oh, for Christ’s sake.” He grabbed a towel and covered himself. “You already have my answer. Not coming back.”

“You might just change your tune once you hear what I have to say.”

“There isn’t anything you could say that would—”

She cut him off. “Havily was attacked last night. Big motherfucker took her vein right here.” She tilted her head and tapped two fingers over the left side of her neck. “Folded straight into her town house, death vampire by the name of Crace. He’s also the High Administrator of the Chicago Territory aligned with Greaves. Crace brought four of his buddies with him supposedly to enjoy a snack as well. Hey, but don’t worry. Medichi got there in time. Her nightgown was still in one piece and the only blood spilled was what came from her neck.”

At first he didn’t get the sensation that came over him, but his nostrils flared, his wing-locks thrummed, and sweat broke out over his entire body.

Endelle waxed on. “Havily said he had shoulders like Luken’s. And Marcus, you’re not gonna like this, but I think he meant to drink her dead. I think he brought the pretty-boys to feast.”

Time stopped. He could no longer see. For some reason his mind dove into the past, to that moment when he had seen Havily for the first time in the Cave, where the Warriors of the Blood hung out after battle. He’d been seated on that piece-of-shit, torn-up leather couch smelling her scent, her sweet honeysuckle, and his body had reacted like he’d been doing lines of Viagra.

The warriors had been grouped around Havily and parted suddenly to reveal her like a moment on a Broadway stage. The heavens had all but parted to reveal a choir of angels singing the “Hallelujah” chorus. His groin sure had. He’d gone from mildly hard to steel with a dedicated throb.

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