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Authors: penelope fletcher

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BOOK: Demon Dark
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Sighing, I toyed with the ends of my hair and watched his approach, taking in all the details I never got bored of seeing and tagging gleefully as my own.

 

Long and lean through the torso his shape had an earthy and animalistic elegance. Shadows folded over hard muscle, hugging the delineated curves in broad strokes as the glow of the fire gave a warm tone to his smooth skin.

 

Accompanied with a sinking feeling, I experienced the familiar dart of panic I suffered during one of my realizations of how attractive he was & a feeling I would never admit to him, because he would react badly.

 

When the heavy glamour concealing my fairy nature had dropped, and I beheld my own true form for the first time, I had come close to feeling his equal in beauty. Dark to his light and a warm allure to his icy majesty & it worked. I would never be as beautiful, but I could stand beside him with pride, and that had made me absurdly happy. After all, my skin glowed, like most fairies with magical ability. My ear tips were slender, and elongated to points that peeked through my hair. Yes, my hair looked like a bird s nest, but I d dare anybody to deal with half the things I d been through and manage the thick locks I had piled ontop of my head. My wings were smaller than his and sheerer. You couldn t see through Breandan s membrane, and the hexagonal segments glistened rather than shimmered. The marked difference was that my wings were gold, not a whitish blue-silver, but a rich color that matched my eyes. Seeing my fairy form had been scary, at first, especially my fanglike teeth and the tail, my god, the tail, but I was pretty much used to it now, and preferred to leave my glamour off then go to the trouble of muting my nature and pulling it on, which wasn t the case before.

 

But now &. Ugh.

 

My beauty had never been the obvious kind, so I wasn t vain nor did I put much time into looking good, but now I feared it was nonexistent, hidden behind scars and edginess. Someone who jumped at their own shadow wasn t attractive, and I wouldn t try to make myself better by thinking my nerves were alluring in any way.

 

I blushed as I remembered I had joined with my fairy in the most intimate and primal of ways that he had clutched me to him, and murmured love words in my ear as he ripped my clothes off.

 

That had been after the Sect Clerics had captured and tortured me with iron. My self-esteem in tatters, Breandan had assured me that he still saw me as beautiful even as I tried to convince myself of my ugliness.

 

Breandan was too captivating a form to be real, and so beautiful inside it was difficult to comprehend.

 

Mine.

 

He was mine.

 

I let possessiveness wash over me, not caring that Daphne snickered when I fidgeted. The rapid pound of my heart, and the rush of blood to my face was not unnoticed by her senses.

 

As he strode over, he ran his eyes up and down me. Seeing nothing wrong, he grunted, dropping a pile of muddied vegetables and a branch speared with fish into a heap by the fire. He turned away to settle himself on a small stump about five paces away. That distance may as well have been fifty paces the intensity in the air between us was palpable.

 

Seeing the food, I became aware of the pressing dietary needs of one of our party.

Daphne, how long can you go without feeding?

 

Oh.

She flushed a faint darkening of her waxy cheeks. The added colour made her look ill.

I m fine. Thanks. I ll need a little human blood in a few nights, but I ll worry about that then.

 

I wondered if where she d be getting that human blood from warranted discussion since there was no way it would be alright for her to start biting Clerics we may come across. They were troublesome enough without adding more venom and hatred into the mix.

 

Looking to Breandan to share my concern, I felt a pang of hurt when he looked away.

 

Daphne cleared her throat.

I m going to cover our tracks. I ll be back.

She stood up and sent a sharp look Breandan s way before sliding into the darkness, using the gloomy night as a cloak.

CHAPTER THREE

Rubbing my hands on my knees, I d opened my mouth about five times yet still not said a word. It was pathetic. The more I tried to make sense of my apology the more absurd and self-absorbed it sounded. And that was in my head. Imagining what it would sound like aloud was maddening because there was no way in hell I was going to seem so idiotic in his eyes.

 

Consequently, I was scuppered, because what on earth did I say to break the ice?

 

Or was I over thinking everything?

 

My courage was hiding somewhere around my ankles with about as much strength as a spider s webbing.

 

I looked longingly in the direction Daphne had walked, staring, but not seeing. Damn her for leaving. He was killing me with the silence, and he knew it.

 

I hated that Breandan and I had so much unsaid between us, and constantly faced issues that got in the way of getting closer. I was new to the relationship thing, and I struggled to deduce what was needed when I messed up or when I had to explain myself. Admittedly, a worrying majority of our problems were caused by me, but never on purpose. Some of my actions had been utterly thoughtless and selfish. What was the word Alec had used to describe me &? Ah, flaky. Harsh but fair? Gods. Thinking on it, if Breandan had kissed someone else, and developed the connection Tomas and I had, I would ve hunted the girl down and be wearing her eyeballs for earrings, just saying. The thought of my fairy meeting someone in the future who might turn him from me ripped my insides to splinters of ice that cut into all my other organs. It was seriously painful, and that was just the thought of it.

 

Well, regardless, in this case I had been true to him. I had told Tomas plain as the day I didn t want to go with him, and so, I didn t need to justify anything to Breandan. God s sake, I was the victim here. If he thought for one second, just one, that he was going to guilt me into confessing the disaster we had just avoided was my fault, he could &.

 

Talk,

I blurted, gasping since the word was wrenched from the bottom of my soul so vehemently.

Please, Breandan.

 

No,

he hissed, jaw clenching.

I don t want to hear it. I don t want to hear you defend him.

 

I swallowed hard, sensing his anger was at a low simmer. If I pushed too hard, it might boil over.

 

It wasn t fair! This wasn t my fault, and he had to see that.

 

I wasn t going to &.

My tongue-tied and flapped about in my mouth halting a lie I couldn t finish. I was fully tied by magics, bound only to speak the truth.

Say-so,

I muttered.

We ll sit here in a horrible, stubborn and uncomfortable silence then. Thank you for finding food.

 

He grunted.

We need water.

 

I reached out with my senses and found a lake not too far. It was probably the same place he d gotten the fish. I shrugged. Standing slowly, I was pleased when my head didn t spin, and my legs were strong under me.

I can get it.

My hands were empty. I wiggled my fingers as I looked around our camp seeing nothing but dirt, leaves and rocks.

Ah, do you have a flask or something?

 

Breandan peered at me like I was simple. He sighed and crooked his finger in a come hither motion.

 

Walking over to him, I wondered how I was supposed to look in this situation. Contrite? What I felt was irritated and grumpy, but not so much at him. Well, maybe a little at him, but more because he had seen me at my worst.

 

Was he mad at me?

 

Digging the toe of my boot into the mud, I faked a yawn, and slanted a look down to find Breandan staring at me with an amused expression.

 

He caught my hand and tugged me down beside him.

 

Touching my cheek, he smoothed his hand over my jaw. He touched the scars on my neck, and I shuddered, remembering how they had been burned and sliced into my skin.

 

We didn t have the chance to talk about these,

he said quietly.

I have so much to say, but it never seems the right time, and when we are alone there is something between us that needs fixing before we can talk on other things.

His brows plunged.

It s irritating.

 

I smiled, knowing what he meant.

We re alone now,

I ventured.

But I don t want to talk about what happened. I can t, too horrible, and it would just hurt us both.

 

Lips thinning, he saw the haunted look in my eyes and nodded once.

I m proud you escaped, but I swear I was coming for you. In the end, I couldn t control myself. The closer we came to Temple, the more I needed to touch you. It was hard to breathe. The others thought I was mad, the pull of the bond distracting me until I couldn t function.

He shook his head, shaking off the memory.

It was intense.

 

I let out a shaky breath,

I know you were coming for me, but, I had to leave. When Ro came for me, I wasn t myself, you saw what being trapped in the Cage with Cleric Tu did to me. I can never be trapped like that again.

 

Breandan stilled my flapping hands and rubbed them between his own.

You won t, please be calm.

He decided to change the subject.

When the vampire returns we must leave quickly. She can only travel at night, and we need to get as far away as possible. We re fortunate it s winter and the nights are longer.

His hands rested over my heart.

Rae, are you alright?

 

I looked down at out hands, unsure of what he meant since he could see I wasn t wounded.

Um, yes?

 

He chuckled. It sounded strained.

Do you feel whole in your heart and mind? Is there darkness inside you that lingers?

 

My face smoothed, and I understood what he meant. When Tomas and I had the blood tie, his darkness joined us together. It was how I sensed him, dreamed of him.

It left. I never held onto it.

I placed my hands over his.

I never planned to.

 

Can you forgive me?

 

Startled at the desperate plea, I made a small noise of astonishment, a hybrid cry that blended a squeal with a gasp.

 

Breandan looked so scared his face was bleached of colour to bone white.

 

Had he asked me before I d spoken to Daphne I may have well laid into him about how wrong he was, and how badly what he d done to Tomas hurt me. But! Daphne had made me see he didn t have much of a choice. Tomas had committed crimes Breandan had felt he needed to atone for.

 

The vampire had also taken me into an enemy stronghold against my wishes. He d fed on me.

 

No,

I rejected, knowing his apology shouldn t be given.

There s nothing to forgive.

 

I was so worried,

he whispered.

I stood there, waiting as the others debated the best way to travel back to the Wyld, and suddenly you were gone. It felt like my heart had been ripped out and dragged along the ground. When you reappeared the connection was faint but enough. When I could not feel anything more than a vague sense of disorientation, I knew what happened.

 

Did you tell the others?

I asked.

 

No. They would have slowed me down.

He looked away.

I needed to be alone, I needed to do this alone. If Conall had known he would have fought me, and to subdue him would take more force and time than I was willing to give.

 

He won t be happy when we see him again.

 

There are other things that press on your Elder s mind, don t fret.

His hands slid to my hips and tugged me forward. I straddled him and wrapped my arms around his waist below the base of his lower wing pinion.

I didn t want to have to wait for a plan to be discussed. I needed to act.

 

I didn t know if you would come for me,

I confessed.

When I did come to my senses, the compulsion made it difficult for me to feel through the bond, and the way Tomas spoke about us & he made doubt if you knew I never meant to leave.

 

I felt your confusion before you disappeared. I knew, I ll always know.

Breandan rubbed me soothingly.

It s over now. He ll never have you.

 

I should have listened to you. You warned it was dangerous.

 

This is not your fault.

 

A sob rose in my throat and my eyes burned. I could cry with Breandan, he made me feel safe enough to do so.

Oh gods, it really was. I shouldn t have gone with him alone.

I shook my head.

All my decisions concerning him were terrible.

 

Yes they were, but my decisions regarding you have little reason to them. It is the way of things.

He stroked my hair and fiddled with the ends, brushing them against my shoulder.

Like when I finally held you at Temple,

his tone was light, but when shudders racked his body, I knew he relived the bone deep relief and crazed passion that had exploded between us from a touch after such a lengthy separation.

 

Now that was dangerous,

I said and held him tighter.

I thought my body would burn into ashes, I couldn t think or breathe. Nobody told me ecstasy was such a short step away from pain.

 

I would think few people have experienced it to know.

 

Nudging my head up, he cupped my face and rubbed his nose along my jaw. He pressed a kiss to my throat and nuzzled the skin below my ear. I sighed when his lips passed over my racing pulse.

I admit it pleases me greatly to be tied to you in such a way.

BOOK: Demon Dark
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