Burning Skies Page 79

At first, all she felt was a tightening, everywhere, as though each sensation she experienced had been given a hard shove. She felt Marcus deep inside her, then she realized she was also feeling what he was feeling, the sensation of his powerful male muscles pushing into her and the feeling of her very wet sheath dragging against his cock.

Feeling his pleasure intensified her own and she clenched.

I can feel what you’re feeling, he sent. Oh, God!

Same here. So … arousing.

Shit, yes. He groaned as he pulled on her vein. Havily, I can’t last much longer.

Me, neither. Just … let go.

The orgasm when it streaked through her was doubled in intensity because she could feel his orgasm as well, pleasure stacked on pleasure. She gasped, releasing his wrist. She cried out. She wrapped her legs around his buttocks. His release kept coming and she cried out all over again at the pleasure she felt because it was his pleasure, his groans, her groans, his thrusts, her thrusts … and she loved it. He released her vein and arched back, his beautiful warrior body on display for her as he cried out again and again. His muscles looked pumped … everywhere.

By the time he had released the last of his seed she was panting hard and he was gasping for air. He looked down at her and met her gaze. “That was incredible.”

She nodded, laughing and clutching air.

“We’re one,” he said, his words a quiet hush in the bedroom.

She nodded. She tried to understand what she was feeling. His hips had slowed and she was still inside his mind and … he was inside hers. She felt his blood in her body, warming her, swirling through her veins, like tendrils. His lips were parted and she saw her blood on his mouth. He planted his hands on either side of her shoulders.

She had the sense something was coming but she couldn’t imagine what.

She waited.

He waited.

The sensation when it struck was like having a bolt of lightning pass through the chest. Havily’s body arched as Marcus arched away from her.

Power flooded the space between them, arcing from chest to chest. The physical connection was profound, a bond forged that felt like steel connecting them.

A second later Havily lifted her hand and planted it on his shoulder. “Come with me,” she said, her resonance split into a dozen vibrations.

He nodded, sweeping his arm around her waist.

She took him in a rush into the darkening, not to remain still but to move at light speed. Side by side they flew, without wings, through nether-space, neither of them clothed. A second passed—Crace’s empty forge. Another second—Endelle in her secret meditation chamber. Another second—Thorne battling death vampires alongside Luken at the Superstitions. Another second—Leto in the war room as he surreptitiously deleted files. Another second and they overlooked the High Administrator of Brazil wearing rubies on her fingers and a blank expression on her face while the Commander serviced her and took her vein. Another second—the Eiffel Tower … then the ruins of the Parthenon … the Nile … the Great Barrier Reef … Mount Kilimanjaro, back to the Grand Canyon, then the deep rain forest of the Olympic Peninsula, then back to Bainbridge Island.

Havily thought the thought and they were back in bed together and he was on top of her again.

“Jesus,” he murmured. “That was amazing.”

She released a deep breath. “Is it because we’re together, you and me?”

“I think so. I’m not sure.” He glanced down at his chest. “I feel something between us, here.” He leaned on his left elbow and rubbed his free hand over his heart. He then shifted his hand to her chest. “And here. Do you feel it?”

“Like we’re connected. It feels almost physical.” She couldn’t help the smile. “Like binding tendrils of euphoria.”

He nodded. “Yes, binding tendrils of euphoria.”

She nodded but her smile dimmed. “The bastard enthralls the High Administrators.”

“We have work to do.”

She dipped her chin then slipped her arms around his neck. “But right now, we have love to make. Yes?”

He growled low and also dipped his chin. “Your blood strengthens me. I may just keep you up all night.”

“You forget. I’ve had your blood as well, so if that’s a promise you’re making, I can take it.”

He chuckled, kissed her on the lips, and once more moved inside her.

* * *

A week after the Ambassadors Festival, Rith Do’onwa moved down the main hallway of his home in Burma outside of Mandalay, Second Earth. This was one of the homes he owned, but perhaps his favorite. It was a British Colonial replica constructed of the finest mahogany and modeled on the British homes from the 1800s, Mortal Earth.

Three women kept his home in perfect condition, three Burmese slaves he’d had for a very long time, centuries in fact. They were well trained, as they should be after so many decades of obedient service.

When he reached the first bedroom, the largest of all the bedrooms, he paused in the doorway. He felt a familiar rush of pleasure, a kind of dizzy euphoria that he’d first experienced a year ago when he’d come across the mortal-with-wings in the future streams.

In recent weeks, he had seen her here, in this very room, in this massive four-poster bed, tucked beneath lavender silk sheets and a coverlet of silk in a patchwork of elegant jewel tones. Of course, he’d purchased everything in this chamber because of what he’d seen in the future streams, including the antique Burmese Buddha, a lovely bronze piece settled on a small table to the right of the bed.

She would find peace in seeing the Buddha.

Rith smiled.

He could hardly wait to bring her here, to keep her here. His master would have need of her, though in exactly what way had been unclear to him in the future streams. But the why of the situation did not matter to Rith, only that he fulfilled his role in the Commander’s magnificent destiny.

He believed in the Oriental state of mind, in patience and in getting all the pawns lined up before making a move.

The death of High Administrator Crace had simplified his future—but then he’d already foreseen Crace’s death.

Rith knew things that he was pretty sure even Greaves didn’t know. He knew things because he was able to ride the future streams, to pluck phenomenal amounts of critical information from those glorious ribbons of light, usually far in advance of most Seers around the world. He had therefore already seen that Crace would die in his forge, even though the details of his death had been unclear at the time. He’d also foreseen that Havily Morgan would complete the breh-hedden with Warrior Marcus and upon that completion would weld a bond of power that put her beyond his reach or even Greaves’s. From that point in time, no matter where the woman was, her warrior guardian could get to her. No tricks, just a massive amount of newly created preternatural power.

Rith left the prepared bedroom and went to his little sanctuary off his formal study. In his meditation chamber, a room only nine feet square, sat a single piece of furniture, a chaise-longue covered in soft dark blue velvet. He closed and locked the door. He stretched out on the well-cushioned chaise, folded his hands over his abdomen, and closed his eyes. He took a deep breath and employed a form of deep relaxation that permitted him to enter the streams of rainbow-hued light. From those streams he could map the future.

Havily Morgan’s stream of light had always been powerful, but it shone now with a soft green aura. Beautiful. If she hadn’t been the enemy, he would have reveled in the sight. The ribbon expanded and the vision came. Rith saw her in a future stream, flying above White Lake, her hand linked with Guardian Alison Wells. Above them, as they flew, the portal to Third Earth began to open, just a little. He knew of this prophecy, that Alison Wells would open the dimensional gateway to Third Earth even though none of the Seers’ reports spoke of it. But then he was no ordinary Seer. He made a mental note of the vision, filing it away for later use.

For now, he sought another ribbon of light, one that was gold and amethyst in color. The ribbon belonging to the mortal-with-wings, the one the Seers all over the world had assigned great value to, the one belonging to Parisa Lovejoy.

Yes, ascendiate Lovejoy was now the key, and Rith would do what he must to define the exact point in time at which he would take possession of the woman and lay her at Greaves’s feet. She was the real prize since she had a gift, an unparalleled power that would tip the war in the Commander’s direction. She was a preternatural voyeur, but that wasn’t the power that interested him. Her real value lay in the composition and meaning of her royle wings, even though he still didn’t understand how the possession of such wings constituted a power that could be used for Greaves’s war effort. However, he was a man of faith and he believed that all would be made known to him in due course. For now he began putting his plans in place to secure her.

Rith was a simple man. He had but one overriding need, to be of use to his master. From the moment he had partaken of dying blood, he had belonged heart and soul to Darian Greaves. He could not explain the phenomenon; nor did he care the cause or the reason. He was a man who accepted his lot.

He had always had one thing in common with Crace. Rith, like Crace, wanted to be seated at the right hand of God when Greaves finally brought his plans into the fullness of time and won two worlds. He wanted to be there not because of a need to rule, nor for a need for power, but because he lived for Greaves, to serve him, to please him, to be near him. His was a love that transcended gender, transcended levels of power, transcended all rational thought. He had been born to serve, he had chosen his master, and he would do everything in his power to see a light of approval in the Commander’s beautiful ascended eye.

When he released Parisa’s ribbon of light, he searched for the dark blue ribbon he had been familiar with from the day of his ascension so many centuries ago. The ribbon was his.

He entered the stream of light and to his surprise found an image that swelled his heart. He was donning a uniform that belonged to Second Earth Merry Ascenders, a household cleaning service. How quaint. In this vision, he rode in a van belonging to the cleaning service. The van stopped a few yards away from a gas station near the I-10 and Litchfield Road, Second Earth, a Mobil Oil station. The driver of the van made a call to Central. A moment later an archway appeared and beyond Rith could see an olive grove and a long drive set with terra-cotta cement-formed pavers.

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