Burning Skies Page 27

She was a feast for the eyes and he devoured. Her gaze slid down his change of clothes as well and her expression flared. He had on a short-sleeved blue silk shirt and tailored slacks. He noted her approval. “I folded some things from home,” he explained, essentially his Tom Ford collection. Given his profession, he wore jeans only on Bainbridge, the place no one visited, his sanctuary. Here? No jeans. “I’m planning on staying with you until we get your security situation figured out.”

She nodded. “And I need you to be here. I know I’m not safe. And … you look really nice. What am I smelling? I mean the fragrance you’re wearing.”

He smiled. He couldn’t help it. “Grey Vetiver. Tom Ford.”

She responded with a smile; then her nostrils flared. “Would you knock it off with the fennel? Oh.” He heard the vibration as she reached into her pant pocket. “Excuse me. It’s her.” She straightened her shoulders. “Yes, Madame Endelle.” Her gaze was fixed on Marcus, the color on her cheeks heightened. “Of course. At once.”

Havily stared at the phone and grimaced. “You know, she could have at least given us a lift. Now I have to call Jeannie.”

“What’s going on?”

“You’d better cancel dinner.”

He lifted a brow. He wanted an answer first. He crossed his arms over his chest. “And where are we going that we can’t simply fold to the location?”

She gave him a look. “Fine. That was Endelle. She wants us to come to the palace, as in now, but I have no idea why and the last thing I was going to do was ask for an explanation.”

Marcus smiled. “Smart move.”

“Yeah, well I’ve learned a thing or two working in close proximity to her over the past few months. My new office is just down the hall from hers. Believe me, on the best day, it’s no picnic.”

“You work on the same floor?” He smiled. “You’re a woman of courage.”

“Are you mocking me?”

“Hell, no. You forget, I’ve known the woman for a few millennia. In all that time she hasn’t changed much.”

He drew his phone from his pocket and hit redial. He canceled their dinner order. He shoved his phone back into his pocket. “So how do we do this?”

She still held her iPhone. After touching the screen, she lifted it to her ear. “Hey, Jeannie, it’s Havily. No, I’m fine, everything’s fine. It’s just that Marcus and I have been called to the palace and we need a lift.” Jeannie said something that made Havily laugh. “Well, I intended to suggest it to her since there’s no way I can bypass the security around the palace, but you know how patient she is. So, can you do this for us?” As she spoke, she extended her hand to Marcus. He took it, thinking this was a very natural thing to do with her, like they’d known each other forever, like he could read her mind, like he trusted her and she trusted him.

He mentally calculated exactly how much time they’d actually spent together and didn’t come up with much, a handful of hours, really, and yet …

“We’re ready.”

The vibration lasted a couple of seconds, a whisper of time through nether-space.

The next moment he stood in an all-too-familiar rotunda, the same rotunda where he had last seen Havily right after the attack on the palace. The memory flooded his mind. So, shit.

“Oh, my God,” she whispered. She released his hand then turned in a circle. She was remembering as well since a roll of honeysuckle hit him in his gut. Yep, she was remembering.

She turned away from him and faced the wall, the one where he had pinned her, had her skirts up around her waist and was ready to take her, his mouth glued to hers, when Luken had intervened. Now that he thought about it, Medichi had been there as well, yanking him away from her, and Jean-Pierre had held Havily back.

Marcus had been crazed, completely out of his mind. He had been convinced she was in danger and he had to get to her, to save her, which was ridiculous. The only person she needed saving from was him.

He drew close though she faced away from him. He wanted to touch her but he held back. “I never apologized for my behavior that night. Havily, I’m so sorry for what I did. I was not myself.” A profound understatement.

She drew in a quick breath but she didn’t move away from him. He took a risk and put his hands on her arms. She gasped then took a deep breath through her nose. He thought he heard a moan but he wasn’t sure.

“I always worried that I’d frightened you,” he said, leaning close, dragging her sweet scent into his nose. “I hated what I’d done, what I’d been about to do to you. I worried that I’d ruined you, made you fear men after that.”

“No,” she whispered. “Not at all.” Her voice trembled. “I wasn’t frightened. I was … overcome. I wanted you as well. Whatever you were feeling, I felt it, too.”

“I was completely out of my mind, lost, so hungry.” The last word slid into a growl. He moved her hair away from her neck then planted his lips on her scented skin and suckled. He felt her knees dip but he caught her around the waist, kept her from falling. A heavy groan fled her throat.

As though it had happened yesterday and not several months ago, he felt the call all over again, the wildness in his spirit. He turned her to face him and as he had that night, he pressed his thigh between her legs and started pushing her backward once more toward the wall. She slung her arms around his neck and let him push her. Her green eyes flared and glimmered. Desire for her so muddied his head that he forgot where he was, why he was even here. All he cared about was getting her flat against the wall and finishing what they had started that night.

“I wanted you.” The words rushed from his throat.

“I would have let you take me.” Every word breathless.

At last, the wall was behind her. He moved in, pressing his body against hers, letting the wall forge their connection. He arched his hips to make sure she knew how hard he was for her, how completely worked up he was.

“Marcus,” she whispered. “Oh, God. I want you all over again, just like that night.”

She couldn’t have spoken sweeter words. He lifted her shirt and had just worked the clasp loose at the waistband of her pants when he felt a powerful force behind him.

The words, when spoken, carried a swipe of sarcasm. “Oh, goody,” Endelle’s voice intruded, “a show. At least I get rewarded for having my meditations disturbed. No, please. Don’t release her now, Warrior. You’ll leave her in pain.”

He turned to face away from Endelle. He wondered exactly how long it would take for his arousal to settle down. Right now it felt like it would need, oh, about a century. However, he kept an arm protectively around Havily’s waist. She put her hand on his arm. She was breathing hard.

“I do beg your pardon, Madame Endelle,” Havily said quickly.

Marcus glanced over his shoulder at Her Supremeness. She wore a long purple linen gown, something she put on when she did her darkening work.

“Well, this whole thing must be a bitch for you, Morgan. But if I were you, I’d complete the goddamn breh-hedden and put my man out of his misery. Though why you deserve to take a Warrior of the Blood to your bed, the hell if I know.”

Those cutting words, spoken to his woman, had a cooling effect on Marcus’s aroused state. Slowly, he turned around, and at the same time he stepped in front of Havily. “If you’re wise, you won’t talk to her like that, not anymore. You have a bitch’s mouth, Endelle. From a sheer executive point of view, demeaning those who work for you is a perfect way to undermine your entire organization. You can never get the best from your people when you treat them like dirt. Bottom line, I want an apology.” He might have been okay with this speech if he hadn’t uttered the last four words. Endelle didn’t serve as Supreme High Administrator, she ruled. Her commands were to be obeyed and her power was so great that to challenge her in this way was an act of stupidity.

However, right now, he didn’t care. Havily deserved better because she was loyal and long-suffering. But the deeper truth was much simpler—everyone deserved to be treated decently.

Endelle lifted a brow. She crossed her arms over her chest. She folded a tall-back, throne-like chair into the room and sat down. “So you want an apology,” she said, her tone clipped. “Well, unfortunately, Warrior Marcus, if I can even call you that anymore, you’ll be waiting a long time for it, but be my guest. Fucking wait.”

Marcus drew in a breath. His protectiveness was in high gear, but the hell if he would let anyone talk to Havily that way. “Then I’ll take her back to Mortal Earth with me right now until you get this situation figured out. She doesn’t need to listen to this kind of shit from you or anyone. I’ve known you a long time, Endelle, and I admire the hell out of you, but this needs to stop. Belittling your subjects won’t fly with me.”

She huffed a sigh. “Jesus H. Christ, who put the clamshell up your butt.” She narrowed her eyes. “It’s the fucking breh-hedden, isn’t it? I have to say this is some crazy-ass shit. Very well. No more talking to Morgan like she’s a flea’s knob.”

At that, some of the stiffness left his shoulders and he dropped back to stand beside Havily. She was staring at him, and he turned to meet her gaze. Her green eyes glittered in the dim rotunda light. “Thank you,” she murmured. “That was … gentlemanly.”

He was taken aback. Had she just approved of something he’d done? For whatever reason, her approval did him in. He felt the growl forming in his throat as he turned toward her, but she caught his elbow and gave him a jerk in Madame Endelle’s direction. “Hold that thought,” she whispered. To Her Supremeness she said, “So, exactly why did you bring us here?”

Endelle rose from her throne and scowled. “Thorne came to see me just a few minutes ago. His sister delivered a Seer’s prophecy from the Creator’s Convent, you know that shithole in Prescott. Apparently, the prophecy indicates that there’s a mortal-with-wings, a female, and that we have to find her, as in right now, because if Greaves gets ahold of her he’ll be able to start Armageddon, and no I don’t know how or why.”

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