Burning Skies Page 46

She leaned over and planted her elbows on her knees, her fists cradling her cheeks.

She had never seen anything so beautiful as the way Marcus kissed Havily while he made love to her. Their bodies glowed with tendrils of light, some pale green, others a golden brown, but all sparkling like diamonds. Yes, so beautiful. Marcus had to be in love with Havily but did he know it? Did she?

Her fingers were wet.

She glanced down then swiped her cheeks. She’d been weeping.

And why wouldn’t she be when she was so moved? Her heart ached at the sight of them together, connected at their hips, joined fully, for she had even seen him enter her.

But she really was a wicked woman to be watching.

Her conscience finally smote her and she drew out of the room, closing the mental window.

So all this time, that’s what had been happening to her. That’s why she’d been able to see all these warriors, especially Antony Medichi. For some strange, impossible reason, she had the ability to see these people, to see Warrior Medichi, to watch them all in the midst of their lives, while they ate, made war, made love.

She sat back and stared at the small sunroom across from the stairs. The view opened onto the front lawn. To the left was a pathway arched with vines and a lovely purple flower.

She didn’t know what to think of this world. If Havily was to be believed, then Parisa was Warrior Medichi’s breh. But that seemed so absurd. She was a librarian on Mortal Earth, and she really didn’t see how she could possibly fit into Medichi’s warrior lifestyle.

Beyond that, she didn’t want to be here, not really. She didn’t ask to have these powers, to be able to knock the Supreme High Administrator backward with what Alison told her was a hand-blast. She didn’t ask to have wings, or to have this freakish ability to spy on others without their knowing. It was so wrong.

She sighed heavily. She wanted to go home, pour herself a goblet of Cabernet Sauvignon, prepare a bubble bath in her soaking tub, put on Holst’s The Planets, sink to her neck, and get lost in the music for the next century.

She wasn’t built for this world or for a warrior who was as tall as an NBA player.

She covered her face with her hands because one particular image of Medichi zoomed through her mind—that moment when he had appeared in the doorway of the kitchen and dropped his towel to expose himself to her.

The tears ran faster now.

How could she explain how much she loved, loved, that he had done that for her—as though, on a very elemental level, he trusted her. But in the same way, she trusted him because she already knew him. After all, she’d been spying on him for over a year, and she knew that in the depths of his being he longed for the same things she did—to be touched, caressed, kissed, made love to.

But it wasn’t going to happen.

She wanted to go home, and as soon as Madame Endelle figured out how to make her safe on Mortal Earth, she was going back.

* * *

Havily lay on her back, still in bed, listening to the shower run.

She was sated, beyond sated, so well used she wondered if she would even be able to stand, never mind walk.

She looked at her wrists, wondering again how he had bound her but hoping it wouldn’t be the last time. She ran a finger over the place he’d taken her at her groin. A lump remained and she touched it gently. She closed her eyes, remembering.

What a session that had been.

Wow. Shivers ran over her shoulders.

She still couldn’t believe that Marcus had taken her the way he’d taken her—and so thoroughly. Then he’d kissed her and kissed her and with his mouth pinned to hers he’d given her round two, or was it three, or was it seven?

She chuckled. Then she sighed. What bliss.

But as she recalled what it had been like to have Marcus in her mind, her amusement dimmed. Something troubled her about that, something she couldn’t quite define. Except, what if he now had different expectations of her? What if he wanted more from her?

She tried to think back over the past day or two. Had she made it clear that she wasn’t interested in a long-term relationship with him—and not just because he would always be a deserter in her mind?

They hadn’t exactly had time to talk. Either they’d been engaged dealing with her work or protecting Parisa or they’d been in bed … busy.

Her thoughts traveled back to Eric’s funeral and how blasted she had felt, so deeply hurt that she vowed she would never go through that again. Grief was a powerful antidote to falling in love. Enough grief and why would anyone go through such terrible loss again?

It didn’t take long for other thoughts to arrive, ones from a hundred years ago when she had buried her family in four graves all within one single horrible week. The month had been April, and even now she could smell the hyacinths in bloom, that light powdery fragrance, the flowers that came up by bulb just outside her kitchen window.

She sat up, the pain of remembered loss pressing on her. She lifted her gaze to the bathroom. She heard Marcus humming and her heart hurt a little more.

She slid her legs over the side of the bed. She grabbed a robe and a change of clothes. There were several bathrooms in the villa, and without examining the why of it, she left the bedroom and went down the southern hall to yet another hub in the center of another group of rooms. In one of those, she found a bathroom and closed herself inside.

She turned the shower on, wrapped her hair in a towel, and when the water was warm, she stepped inside. She washed her arms, her shoulders, her breasts. Her hands traveled lower. She felt the faint bump on her groin again, then her hand went between her legs and she felt his seed. Marcus had left a lot of himself on her and inside her.

For some reason, the tears came, hot on her cheeks as she bent forward out of the spray. She didn’t even know why she was crying except that Marcus’s seed had reminded her of being married once, of having loved being married and content in the safety of her world until disease stripped her naked within a handful of days.

She had been hysterical that first night. During the painful days that followed, grief had stolen her heart utterly and completely

She marveled only at one thing, that eighty-five years later she had actually allowed Eric into her life. How and why was the mystery, except that somewhere in her mind she had thought maybe ascended life would be different and she had given herself permission to risk loving again. Then Eric had died and her heart had closed up once more.

Reminded of the depth of that loss, and the terrible losses before Eric, she knew one thing—she could never go through it again.

A few more minutes in the shower, as her tears lessened and finally ceased, she felt calmer, more at ease, more like her old self. Her heart felt safer, more secure.

She dressed in jeans, two tank tops, one white, the other black and off the shoulder. She folded her makeup from the other bathroom and made use of under-eye concealer. She tended to her makeup as she always did, blending the foundation carefully, applying the proper layers of eye shadow and liner. She got very close to the mirror and tweezed her brows. The routine of it further eased her heart.

When her hair was brushed, teased, combed, and shaped, when she had donned several rings, two sets of pierced earrings, and a simple silver chain necklace, when she was satisfied with her appearance, only then did she leave the unfamiliar room and head in the direction of the kitchen.

By the time she entered the foyer, two aromas reached her. One belonged to onions and garlic simmering in olive oil, and the other was a rich fennel scent. Her stomach rumbled at the first, but her heart seized at the second.


Somehow, she was going to have to get used to the call of the breh-hedden and not take it so damn seriously.

She straightened her shoulders. As she neared the kitchen, she called out, “What smells like heaven?”

Marcus sat on a bar stool on the nearer side of the dark soapstone island. He wore a fresh, white silk, short-sleeved shirt; slacks; shoes; and socks. This was casual Phoenix, but she had the impression that what he wore right now was about as casual as he would ever allow himself to get. But jeans would be a great look for him, jeans and maybe nothing else. Commando would add the finishing touch. Okay, she needed to stop these thoughts right now because they weren’t helping her to stay focused.

He turned toward her, a forkful of pasta near his mouth. The fork paused midair as he looked her up and down, his light brown eyes flaring. He licked his lips. “Parisa cooked.”

When another rush of fennel struck her, she ignored the way her heart rate climbed. She looked past him to Parisa, who stood on the opposite side of the kitchen island. “So I see. It smells wonderful.”

Parisa dished up a plate for Havily and dressed it with fresh basil and a squeeze of lemon. “I found the ingredients in the fridge. I made a lot because I know I was starved and I figured you both would be as well. I wasn’t sure about Warrior Medichi.”

Havily took up a stool next to Marcus and before she could warn him away, his hand was on her thigh. She looked down at it, uncertain what to do.

“Hey,” he murmured. And before she could stop him, he leaned close and kissed her, full on the lips. Ohhhhh … damn.

Havily drew back and looked at him, fear striking her heart like a well-swung mallet.

“What’s wrong?” he asked. But just as quickly as the concern entered his eyes, understanding followed, and the hand on her thigh slipped away.

She wanted it back.

No, she didn’t

Yes, she did.

She took a deep breath and concentrated on her pasta.

Parisa sat down beside her. “I’ve been meaning to ask, what is that mesh-like structure in the air above the villa?”

“You can see that?” Marcus asked, then whistled low.

“It’s called mist,” Havily said. “A powerful ascender can create it. Marcus can. Medichi. All the warriors, I think. I haven’t developed the ability yet but then essentially I’m very young in ascended terms. That you can see it is rather amazing; it indicates your level of power. It is the rare ascender who can actually see mist. Although I must say I’m not surprised by this ability since you’re not only a mortal with wings but you can also throw a hand-blast. Amazing.”

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