Burning Skies Page 73

Kerrick put his hand on Marcus’s shoulder. “You don’t have to explain anything to me ever. What you said to me, believe me, I said worse things to myself.”

“I shouldn’t have.”

“It doesn’t matter. Living is what matters.”

Marcus nodded. “Then we’re okay?”


Marcus nodded again. “Good. That’s good.”

He looked behind him, to the west, in the direction of the White Tank Mountains. He turned back to Kerrick. “I have things to take care of.”

At that Kerrick smiled; he even chuckled. “Yeah. You do. I’d offer some advice but … wouldn’t do any good.”

Marcus nodded. “Probably not.” Then he laughed as well. “Shit, the breh-hedden. I thought it was a myth.”

“It’s one helluva ride, though,” Kerrick said.

The conversation was about to fall into the foot-shuffling stage, so he straightened his shoulders. “Later, Kerrick.”

“Later, my brother.”

Marcus nodded, lifted his hand, and dematerialized. As he landed in the foyer of Medichi’s villa, he put a hand to his chest. Shit he hurt. It was a good kind of hurt, but still, he hurt.

He took a couple of deep breaths, which helped. But what helped more was hearing the laughter of two women in the distance, coming from the direction of the kitchen.

Havily’s scent, her beautiful honeysuckle reached him at the same time. He closed his eyes and breathed in. As long as he lived he vowed the smell of that flower would forever remind him of the feeling of coming home. Because that’s what he felt like right now, as though he was coming home.

He found the women in the dining room, both perched at the top of ladders that were situated at opposite ends of the long formal dining table. They taped twisted red streamers to the fifteen-foot-high ceiling.

“What’s going on?” he asked. “Are we having a party or something?”

Havily turned and looked at him. She gave a cry, let her end of the streamer drop, and literally dove from the height of the ladder into his arms. He smiled and caught her easily enough, but said, “You sure trust me. What if I’d stepped back a few inches?”

“You’d never do that.” Her lips were on his and her very sweet honeysuckle tongue was suddenly in his mouth. Oh, shit, she felt good, but if she kept this up he’d have to excuse them both and take her straight to their bedroom.

He pulled back and smiled at her. “Wait,” he said. He’d added a little resonance so that her peachy-red brows lifted.

“You sure?” she asked. She waggled her brows, growled, and a wave of honeysuckle shrank the fine tailoring of his pants.

He took more deep breaths, nodded, then lowered her to her feet. He glanced up at Parisa, who now sat on the top step of her ladder working not to look at them. “How are you doing, Parisa?” he asked.

She glanced down at him and smiled. “Really good, thank you.” She glanced at Havily. “We’ve been flying.”

Havily turned back to him, her arms still around his neck. “You should see her,” she cried. “She can do a front flip then float down to land on her feet. I couldn’t even do that for the entire first year. She has amazing flight capabilities. She could perform in the spectacle circuits, if she wanted.”

Marcus thought he might suggest to Havily that she keep that particular idea to herself. He knew how the breh-hedden affected him, and the sheer logistics that would be involved trying to protect his woman during a spectacle performance made his head spin. He didn’t think Medichi needed those images right now.

He kept his counsel and instead smiled up at Parisa. “Flying’s great. So, this looks like a party. What are we celebrating?”

“Zach’s birthday.”

“That’s terrific but Parisa, why are you suddenly frowning?”

Parisa sighed. “Because Endelle’s coming to the party.”

“No shit. Well, that has to be a first.”

“Hey,” Havily said. “I invited her. Besides, her bark is worse than her bite.”

“This from you?” Marcus cried.

She shrugged. “We’ve kind of made up, at least for now.”

Marcus could only laugh but he took the opportunity to kiss her again … briefly. “And how are you doing?”

“Perfect,” she said. She looked and sounded as though she meant it. “I had a long talk with Endelle and we got a lot of things settled. So yeah, I’m good.”

He nodded. “Okay, that’s fine, but what I want to know is if you have any dizziness, any ill effects from the forge.”

She shook her head. “Really, I’m okay. No dizziness. I’m just so glad you’re home.”

“Me, too. So what time is the party?”

Havily glanced at her watch. “In half an hour. The warriors won’t be going out till seven or so, which means we get them here until then.”

Marcus saw movement in the kitchen; then Medichi appeared in the doorway. His expression was tight around the eyes as he glanced first at Parisa. He looked her over from head to foot then said, “You okay up there? Is the ladder steady? You want me to finish up?”

Parisa’s expression also grew very tight, her lips pinched. “I’m fine. Really. You have nothing to be concerned about.”

The tension in the air stretched to just this side of breaking.

Marcus looked back at Medichi. The vampire was in hell, 100 percent flaming hell. Oh, he looked normal, but Marcus knew exactly where he was at right now—the need to be close, to have his arms around his woman, but no possible right to get within fifty feet of her.

“We need to get changed,” Havily said. “How about you men finish this last streamer.” She held her hand out in Parisa’s direction.

So that’s the way it was. Havily had placed herself between the couple, probably on Parisa’s request.

Marcus sent, Was this Parisa’s idea? You playing go-between?

Havily didn’t look at him as she returned, Antony’s. He’s in agony on many fronts and Endelle put him on guardian duty … indefinitely.


Exactly. No one knows what do with Parisa and she’s lost here.

Parisa climbed down the ladder.

“Ready?” Havily asked as Parisa slid off the table.

“Ready. Are you going to wear the new dress you bought?”


Marcus watched Havily leave the room. It took considerable willpower not to follow after her. Her honeysuckle tugged at his soul. He had so much to say to her. Everything seemed settled but he knew he walked a fine line here and she seemed somehow different to him, as though she’d made a decision or two herself.

Maybe words would help but he hoped, he hoped, that what he’d brought her from Vancouver Island would show her the intention of his heart. The real question kicked his anxiety up a couple of notches—would she go for it, all of it? Because that’s what he needed from her now, everything, the whole damn enchilada. For him, from this point forward, it was all or nothing.

He turned to Medichi, who had moved to stand next to him, so that he, too, could watch the women, arm in arm, head to their respective rooms. His eyes blazed, and his body gave off heat in waves.

Marcus laughed. “Need a cold shower?”

“The waters would have to be arctic to calm this down. Jesus H. Christ.” In a voice that sounded ruined, he added, “She won’t even talk to me. I mean talk, as in talk.”

Marcus slapped him on the shoulder, “I feel you, brother.”

* * *

Havily dressed slowly, but her mind whirled.

Marcus seemed so different, and he stopped the kiss. He stopped the kiss. Usually he initiated, then complained if she even so much as tapped the brakes.

She had expected him to take her straight to the bedroom and get her good and naked. Instead, he’d basically told her to back off. Had the fierce driving need of the breh-hedden lessened in him? Did he no longer want her as desperately as she wanted him, needed him, craved him?

Her body melted into a weak puddle as she thought of just how much she craved him. His absence for the last three days had been like fire on her skin and in her belly. She had picked up her iPhone to call him, oh, about a hundred times. But she was the one who had told him to go, even though she hadn’t wanted him to. He said he would return and he had, but he seemed so different now and she just didn’t understand. Although he did shed enough fennel to set her heart on fire, but maybe for him that no longer mattered.

Oh. God.

Well, maybe her dress would help. She had bought it yesterday because he hadn’t called her and she intended to wear it for him to remind him she had certain assets he valued. The V of the dress was low, very low, and gave full expression to her cleavage, which she knew he enjoyed … a lot.

The length was short as well and she’d bought stilettos, five inches tall, which would put her almost at eye level with her man when he kissed her. She would be able to slide her arms around his neck and hook him hard, hold him plastered against her mouth … she groaned at the thought.

If that was even what he wanted anymore …

* * *

Marcus stood outside the door of the bedroom he shared with Havily. He didn’t know whether to knock or walk in, but when a wave of honeysuckle punched at him through the narrow spaces between the door and the frame, he took a step back.

Damn, that scent got to him, as it had from the first, tingling in his nose then working like lightning down his chest and abdomen to strike straight into his groin. This was his woman, his mate, his breh. He needed her, wanted her, craved her.

But they had some stuff to get settled. So instead of joining her in their shared bedroom, he turned away from the door and went south to the next wing. He folded a Tom Ford suit from his Bainbridge house then he took a shower, a goddamn, ball-and-dick-shrinking shower until even his teeth were chattering.

But if all went as planned, he’d suit up in flight gear this very night, rejoin the Warriors of the Blood, and begin his new life battling death vampires.

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