Burning Skies Page 3

Lately, however, when she would return from being in this dream-fantasy, she would fall on her face and sob her heart out. That the fantasy left her sexually frustrated was half the difficulty. The other half belonged to the cravings that had gripped her heart, her body, her veins for the past four months. She was in a constant state of torment and had been from the moment she had met Warrior Marcus.

Once the tears ceased, however, the real frustration began, because it was Warrior Marcus’s scent that lingered on her body. For hours afterward, as she tossed on her bed, she would smell his rich erotic fennel scent and her body would tremble. Cravings for him came in waves and she couldn’t make them stop. The breh-hedden had her cornered and trapped with nowhere to go but to wait for the dawn and for her next workday to begin all over again.

Would to God that she had never met him.

So she sat on the edge of her bed, exhausted, in need of rest but knowing that the night would play out as all the others and once more she would be deprived of rest.

She closed her eyes. She wrapped her arms around her chest. Surely she could choose differently this night. Surely just once she could avoid seeking him out in her dreams, holding his sex deep inside her, waking up frightened and unfulfilled then falling away from him to return to her bedroom.

She hated this ritual yet she craved and couldn’t seem to stop it.

Something needed to change, but what?

As she finally climbed between the sheets, she vowed that she would alter the future, no matter what it took. There had to be some way to stop the dreaming.

With a commitment made, she closed her eyes and began drifting toward sleep. She mentally sent out the affirmation, I will change this.

She released a heavy sigh.

I will change this.

At last, sleep came.

* * *

Tend to Havily’s dreams.

Alison Wells awoke uncertain what had disturbed her sleep. She was alone in bed, her usual state since her warrior, Kerrick, was out battling, and would be through the night, not returning until dawn. She wore one of his black T-shirts and lifted the hem, pulling it up to her nose. She smiled. The shirt smelled like Kerrick, the warm scent of cardamom-and-man combined, the telltale scent being the most remarkable aspect of the breh-hedden. According to Kerrick, she smelled of lavender, while from the first moment she had met him, his spicy cardamom had filled her with the deepest cravings.

She craved even now, but she’d have to wait until dawn to find the relief she needed when Kerrick finally tumbled into bed.

During her ascension four months ago, she’d endured three of the most frightening, challenging days of her life when she’d left Mortal Earth to ascend to Second Earth. The process had been extraordinary; she’d answered her call to ascension by demonstrating power at one of the dimensional Borderlands, she’d battled death vampires to stay alive, she’d fought the fierce and powerful General Leto in an arena battle and won. When the three-day period drew to a close, she underwent a ceremony at Madame Endelle’s palace. Endelle had imbued her with the relative immortality of Second Earth and with the vampire traits of fangs.

But what had awakened her?

Tend to Havily’s dreams.

The familiar voice spoke inside her head, a masculine voice, which belonged to a Sixth Earth ascender known simply as James. From the time of her ascension some four months ago, James had communicated telepathically with her several times. She couldn’t explain why, but she had developed a fondness for the vampire, sensing in his presence great warmth of spirit and certainly a desire to help Madame Endelle and the war effort.

James had become her occasional guide as she moved through her new duties on Second Earth. Originally, Alison thought Endelle was to contact James, but he had made it clear that for now Alison was to be the go-between, the one he used to offer what limited help he could to Endelle’s faction.

She closed her eyes and concentrated. What’s up, James? she sent.

Haven’t got much time, he responded. You need to keep tabs on Havily, stick close for the next few days and encourage her in her dreams, which are not dreams, and do what you can to give her a push in Warrior Marcus’s direction. Do you understand?

Sort of, she sent. Now, why couldn’t James speak in less cryptic sentences? Dreams that aren’t really dreams?

She heard a soft masculine chuckle inside her head. Now, what would the fun be in that, he sent, which also meant he had read her thoughts.

Alison was so new to the world of dimensions, yet so heavily burdened with responsibility, that she couldn’t quite find the same humor in the situation. James, I wish I could laugh about this as you do, but do you have any idea how badly the war is going for Madame Endelle? How close Commander Greaves is to world domination?

A long pause followed. Yes, he murmured. I do, which is why I’m here.

You’re from Sixth Earth and have all this power, she sent, so why don’t you just fold your ass to our world and take care of business?

She heard James sigh before he sent, My dear, you don’t know how tempting that would be, but it simply isn’t allowed, it isn’t the way life is meant to unfold. If higher powers solved the problems, then mortals and ascenders alike would just sleep away their existence. We’re meant to strive, to grow strong, to overcome. It is the way of the world, immortal and mortal alike.

Must you give me a reasonable answer?

He chuckled again, a soft breeze-like sound that made her feel homesick for something she didn’t understand. She had been living on Second Earth for such a short time, but these four months had been the happiest, most fulfilling of her life.

He sent, Just tend to Havily’s dreams.

Dreams that aren’t really dreams?

Precisely. Then he was gone.

Avoidance springs a trap.

—Collected Proverbs, Beatrice of Fourth

Chapter 2

Havily awoke screaming because in this dream, that wasn’t a dream, the sky was on fire all around her. She sat in her nightgown on the hard desert ground, except that she wasn’t in the desert. Blackness rimmed where she sat, though the sky above was lit up with giant grotesque flames in strange shades of pink mixed with blue and green, like something at a spectacle. And Warrior Luken flailed in the air, his wings on fire. On fire!

“Luken!” she screamed.

She rose to her feet and turned in a circle. She recognized the Superstitions, one of the entry points to Mortal Earth, one of the places the Warriors of the Blood battled death vampires.

Her heart pounded in her chest. She didn’t understand what was happening. Was she really seeing Luken? His cries ripped through the air.

Once more she screamed. “Luken!” She reached her hands toward him. She tried to move in his direction but couldn’t. The space that enclosed her, while protecting her from the flames, also prevented her from reaching the warrior.

His back arched and suddenly he fell twenty feet to earth. She heard the terrible thud, saw him roll and writhe in the dirt.

She had to do something, but she wasn’t effective in this strange nowhere space. So she closed her eyes, relaxed her body, and swished out of the desert-that-wasn’t-a-desert. She opened her eyes. She now stood beside her bed.

She grabbed her iPhone from her nightstand and with shaking fingers called Central. Jeannie would know what to do. Jeannie had worked at Central Command on Second Earth for decades, as long as Havily had ascended, which meant probably longer. The woman served the Warriors of the Blood, routing calls from their leader, Thorne, keeping all the lines of communication open warrior-to-warrior. If anyone could help in this situation, Jeannie could.

“Central. How can I help?”

“Jeannie,” she cried. “This is Havily. I’ve just had some kind of … vision. I think Luken’s at the Superstitions and he’s been burned. His wings have been burned. There was some kind of fire in the sky. Can you get someone out there? Maybe I’m wrong, but … can you get someone out there?”

“I’ll get Thorne on the com. Stay close.” How calm she sounded—but then Jeannie had no doubt seen and heard it all.

Havily kept her iPhone pressed to her ear. Her chest grew damp and she brushed the annoying sensation away only to realize tears were falling onto her breasts.

She knew, she knew, Warrior Luken had been hurt, maybe killed. The minutes passed and more tears fell.

At last, Jeannie came back on the line. “Sorry it took so long, Havily. Thorne folded to Luken and it was exactly as you described but he couldn’t get back to me until just now. When he arrived on the scene, a squad of death vampires showed up. He took care of them, of course, but Luken … oh, God … Luken’s in bad shape. Thorne wants to know how you knew.”

Havily shook her head as though Jeannie could see her. “I don’t know. It was some kind of dream or vision or something but I watched him fall from the sky.”

“Thorne will want to patch in, so, hold on a little longer. Okay?”

“Of course.”

Havily choked on a sob. At least Thorne was with him. He was the leader of the warriors. He was also very powerful; if anyone could get Luken through this, it was Thorne.

Jesus … Luken. Havily had a fondness for all of the Warriors of the Blood, but Luken had been her own personal Guardian of Ascension. He’d been assigned to protect her when she entered her rite of ascension all those decades ago. He was good and kind and had a huge heart to match his huge warrior body. Havily knew he had a thing for her, and though she maintained a platonic relationship with him, she was fully aware of Luken’s affection, even his love, for her.

Thorne’s gravel voice hit her ear. “So you had a vision?”

“Yes. Something like that. I’m … I’m not really sure. I think I’d just fallen asleep.”

“Hold on.”

Havily waited a little more, then Jeannie came back on. “Thorne wants you to come to the Superstitions because he knows you mean a lot to Luken, but he said only to come if you think you can handle it. It’s pretty bad out there. Horace is on the way, too, but he said Luken could really use your support. I can do the fold from here. Just let me know if you think you’re up to it.”

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