Burning Skies Page 2

“A little import shop on Central Two. They come from Mortal Earth. Someone’s raising cardinals in Tucson. Don’t worry. It’s organic. The feathers are collected after the birds are slaughtered.”

“You’re a walking PETA nightmare.”

“You gone vegan on me, or what?”

“No. I still eat steak.”

She looked him up and down. “I know what you mean. Still prefer meat myself.”

He rolled his eyes, swung the towel around his hips, and strolled into his bedroom. Apparently he wasn’t getting rid of the bitch until Labor Day … maybe. And here it was only June.

“Spill it, Endelle. I have meetings this evening until ten.”

He heard her sigh as he worked his way through his sock drawer. He glanced at her and frowned a little. Sighing wasn’t high on Endelle’s list. He straightened up. “You worried about hurting my feelings?”

“No. It’s just one more fucking thing I can’t control. So here it is. I’ve been getting this feeling lately that something’s going on with Morgan, something big. And … I’m worried. I know you’ve been seeing her, somehow, though I haven’t got the how of it figured out yet, but just be careful, would you? And if something out of the ordinary happens, be prepared.”

“You never liked her.”

She jerked her arms at him, her fingers spread cat-like, then shouted, “What the fuck does that have to do with anything? The truth is, I never gave a shit about Havily Morgan one way or the other except that she’s been just one big fucking disappointment from the day she ascended. You wouldn’t know about that because you’ve been here tickling your balls for the last two centuries, but her rite of ascension was a BFD with no payoff. The future streams were all lit up about her, that she needed protection, lots of it, that she would make this huge contribution to the war.

“So of course I gave her Luken as her Guardian of Ascension. I’m rubbing my hands together thinking now we’ve got something, now we’ll see some real shit. Then she ascends and all she’s got are some super-powerful mental shields that make it hard to get into her head. That’s it. Shields. What the fuck good are shields to the war effort?”

He couldn’t help but smile. She probably wasn’t even aware that she was now standing on the arms of the leather club chair near the window.

She looked down at her stilettos. “Shit. I just punched holes in your chair. Ooooh. I feel sooo bad.”

He wagged his head back and forth then moved to the side of his bed. With a pair of socks in one hand and the towel snug around his waist, he sat down. “You’re too impatient,” he said. “You always were. Some powers emerge over time. Look at Kerrick. He can fold now, right? He had all that power but until he completed the breh-hedden with Alison, he couldn’t fold. Now he can. I couldn’t fucking levitate for the first thousand years. Havily’s only a hundred years on Second Earth. Give her time.”

Thoughts of the breh-hedden stopped his mind for a moment. He still couldn’t believe that the breh-hedden had actually touched his life. For centuries this extreme form of ritual mate-bonding between Warriors of the Blood and powerful women was believed to be nothing more than a myth. Then it had hit Warrior Kerrick when his breh, Alison Wells, began her rite of ascension four months ago. Shortly after, Marcus had been struck down as well.

“Listen up, asshole,” Endelle cried, “because you may have just made both my points. First, I don’t think she’s got time because I have this sinking pit of a feeling in my chest about her. Do you hear me?”

He stared at her, the hair on the nape of his neck rising, but he said, “You’re screeching like a bad off-Broadway actress. Why the drama?”

She narrowed her eyes. “And my second point, asshole, is that I think Havily needs you to get her where she needs to go. She’s holding back. Big time. I think she’s more powerful than she knows, but she can’t let go. You could help with that. You’ve got a lot of vampire years under your belt.” She smiled. “By the way, that float-and-mount you did, watching your wings come while you just hung midair, that was some powerful shit.”

Whatever, he sent. He tossed the pair of socks into the air then caught them. He did this again and again.

“Not coming back,” he stated. Maybe if he said it often enough, she’d take the hint. “But … I will watch out for Havily.” He couldn’t help that. It was in his nature and, yeah, the breh-hedden had struck hard four months ago when he’d been back on Second Earth to help out for a few days. It had started with catching the scent of honeysuckle and ended with a kiss that almost turned into full-on sex—in less than a minute. Jesus, when he thought of what he’d almost done to Havily that last night and what she’d almost let him do … Christ.

None of it mattered, though. Havily lived on Second Earth. He lived on Mortal Earth.

Except at night. She came to him in his dreams—that weren’t dreams—every night.

Endelle sighed. Again. “Whatever, asshole. But if something happens to her because you can’t be bothered, then that shit’s on your head.” She lifted her hand and was gone. Finally.

He sat with the towel around his hips, his socks once more in his hand, his feet flat on the floor.

Endelle was right. Something was going on with Havily, because from the first night that he’d folded back to Mortal Earth, she’d been coming to him while he slept. And as much as he wanted to believe it was just a dream or some kind of weird-ass ascended fantasy, she was real. She was also really naked.

He would wake up with her either balanced on his hips or in the act of impaling herself on his rigid cock. She just wasn’t aware of what she was doing, at least not initially, because she appeared to be caught in a dream.

The trouble was—and his conscience beat the shit out of him for this—he couldn’t seem to bring himself to stop this nightly ritual or whatever the hell it was. Partly because he couldn’t quite make sense of what was happening between them or even where they were … exactly. His bed remained the same, but the room faded to a line of very dark shadows all around the edge as though he were someplace other than his house on Bainbridge.

When it had first happened, he really had believed he’d been caught up in some kind of freak-shit preternatural dreamscape so he’d helped himself to the experience, savoring her body. Unfortunately, his enthusiasm as he grabbed her forced her to awaken, and she fled, dematerializing from his arms. So it had been real, but not real, a dream, but not a dream. All he knew was that his skin carried her honeysuckle scent until he showered the next morning. The experience was real, even though he couldn’t explain how it was real.

So help him God, he hadn’t turned her away once, but he should have.

God help him, he should have.

* * *

Havily Morgan craved and she despised herself for it.

She sat on the side of her bed, the sheet and comforter drawn back. She wore a soft cream negligee, and boy did she need her sleep. Her mind and body were exhausted from another day of service to Madame Endelle. The woman put the b in bitch as well as the i and the t and whatever.

She leaned forward slightly, releasing a heavy sigh. But it wasn’t Endelle that weighed her heart down now, that spiraled her daytime exhaustion into a dark cavern of despair. No, it was Warrior Marcus and her complete inability even in her dreams to stay away from him.

She stared out the window, which overlooked her small patio and a good portion of Camelback Mountain. The hillside was nothing but a black monolith this late at night, a dark presence of ancient volcanic rock burnished by the desert sun, dotted with prickly pear and scattered oily creosote shrubs. Lizards lived back there. Scorpions. Rabbits. Coyotes.

She’d like to crawl among the rocks and maybe disappear. Maybe then she’d get a good night’s rest.

She turned and put her hand on the sheets, smoothing the wrinkles out of the black silk. She’d purchased the sheets a week after the dreams began because they were the same sheets that were on the bed, the ones in the dreams, the dreams where she encountered Warrior Marcus—every night.

A sigh caught her again. The chances she would find a good night’s sleep in this bed were slim-to-good-luck-with-that.

Ever since she’d met Warrior Marcus, she’d been stuck in an in-between place, neither here nor there. She was Marcus’s lover, but she wasn’t his lover; what happened between them was real but it wasn’t real.

She just didn’t understand what was going on and worse, she didn’t know how to stop what happened between them every night. Worse and worse, it was always the same. She would fall asleep and somehow in her dreams she would strip out of her nightgown, search for him and find him and be with him.

He would by lying in bed on black silk sheets and very much asleep. She would draw the covers back and he would be naked. She always looked at him, a long lingering look down the length of his powerful warrior body as though she couldn’t get enough of the sight of him.

She would engage with him in a very sensual way. She would put her nose to his body and take in his extremely erotic scent, a blend of earthy grasses and licorice, like fennel. Arousal would seep into her until the vein at her neck throbbed. She would then let her fantasy take flight and she would mount him. At some point he would awaken, or perhaps he never was asleep, she just didn’t know. His desire for her took many forms, the answering buck of his hips, the way his arms would skate up and down hers, the way he lunged for her throat with his fangs.

But as she drew close to that sweet place of ecstasy, she would always, always, always wake up to absolute horror at what she was doing. She had come to believe that he was doing this to her, that somehow, being the powerful vampire he was, he was summoning her to his bed and seducing her in her dreams.

For that she despised him almost as much as she despised herself for going to him every night.

What followed was also the same. She would draw away from him and out of the dream-like state in a strange swishing glide that would return her to her bed, on her knees staring at the wall above her headboard. Being returned to her bed made her think the experience had to be real yet she just didn’t know the how of it.

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