Authors: Jackie Ivie
Tags: #vampire short story, #vampire series, #vampire romance, #vampire assassin league
“Do I stutter?”
“You are about to go back in time, Thanos.”
“Not literally. We aren’t that good yet...although our technicians keep trying. I meant, I need you to cut off everything modern...except your generator. You may continue running it. For now.”
“According to our records, you got your tanks filled...oh. Looks like almost six months ago. You have enough for a few more weeks, maybe months?”
“Yes. But how far are we talking? What era?”
“Oh. I’m thinking seventeenth century should do it. Before global communications.”
“Everything. I don’t want any kind of signal coming from anywhere on that island until further notice. And try to keep smithy work within acceptable levels.”
“I understand mating can be a tricky business, Thanos. I’m going on hearsay, but I’ve been told it’s like a delicate dance, fraught with trauma. Tears. Rage. And sometimes it gets violent. Just don’t go taking out any frustration on metal...beyond your normal. The last thing we need right now is a geological team checking on that pseudo-volcano of yours.”
“Are you ever going to tell me why?” Thanos asked.
“Oh. Of course. Apparently, your mate and this big-mouthed archeology student are BFFs, Thanos.”
“Best Friends Forever,” Nigel inserted.
“Forever? How can humans say that?”
“Don’t try and figure out modern lingo now, Thanos. We’ve only got a bit more time, but we are to the worst of it now.”
“And that is?”
“Hunters are on site. They got to your mate’s BFF before we could. I’m already working to countermand that as well, but I don’t want another international incident. I have to go on supposition that this Lizbeth person is cooperating fully with them and work from there. That means your Darcy is not to contact her in any way, shape, or form. Not even smoke signals. Got it?”
“I do have one pertinent question for you, Thanos. If you would.”
“Why didn’t you just take both of them?”
“What am I supposed to do with two women?” Thanos asked.
“Oh no. No. He did
just say that. And I did
just hear it. And they call me wet behind the ears.”
Nigel sounded disgusted. Akron was chuckling. Thanos was frowning.
“Signing off now, Thanos. Good luck. Oh. And I suppose congratulations are in order as well. Nigel?”
And the line went dead.
She’d never felt better in her life.
Darcy rolled onto her back and stretched, her head smacking something hard. Oh. She’d forgotten. She wasn’t in some fantastic cloud of bedding. Oh no. Not her. She wasn’t that lucky. She was on the ‘vacation of a lifetime’, accompanying Lizbeth to an archeological site; complete with ancient villas, equally ancient men, and a cot that wasn’t remotely long enough for a good night’s sleep. Their cots had a bar across the top and bottom to hold the cross-pieces together. And just like everything else on this trip, the cot seemed designed with Lizbeth in mind. Not Darcy. Lizbeth fit the airline chairs and could even curl up to sleep. She had no trouble with the bus seats, or even the little speedboat that had brought them out here. The boat had an awning to block wind and rain and sea spray. Liz fit perfectly. Darcy could only fit if she slouched. And that had given her a really nice back ache.
Ah...to be just a few inches shorter! Or even five foot, like Lizbeth. She slept in perfect comfort, while Darcy’s ankles were slung atop the end bar, dangling her feet in midair. And if she didn’t watch it, her head would smack into the top bar.
Just like now.
Hitting her head on solid matter smarted slightly, but not enough to worry over. Darcy finished her stretch. Wow. She felt good. Like her entire body was aglow still from the aftermath of extreme sexual satiation. Sensual bliss. Carnal pleasure. Gratification on an inconceivable level. Double wow. That was the best dream she’d ever had. She’d never experienced such an erotic level. And that man! That Thanos fellow. Holy shit. He was the most gorgeous thing she’d ever seen. Or imagined. His hands and body were beyond any fantasy – on any level. Making love to him left her more than breathless. And what he could do with his tongue and mouth defied description. Darcy slid a tongue over her lips, tasting salt...no. It was more like...
Wait a minute.
Her hands splayed outward from her body, finding nothing but more cool, unbending, and slick surface. Darcy sat, as if she did sit-ups for hours on end every day. Without one bit of effort. Not one grunt. Nothing. That was odd. There was a lot of light coming through the ceiling area somewhere above her, but it wasn’t like the daylight through their tent walls. This was a more diffused glow, and it shed light down on what looked like light-colored marble columns amid bits of off-white, diaphanous draping.
Darcy shoved off the platform. She’d been atop what looked like a big slab of polished rock, and what felt like cool tiles were beneath the soles of her feet. If she was still in a dream state, it was unbelievable. And if she was awake, it was even more unbelievable. It just wasn’t possible.
Because vampires did not exist.
Darcy unfurled herself from yards of material, discovered nothing except a few bruises, gasped, and then wound the sheet-thing back around her, yanking one shoulder into a knot. She probably looked like an ancient Greek, but she knew how to tie a toga. She’d been to toga parties. It wasn’t hard. But everything in this room seemed that way. Hard. And cool to the touch. And aglow with yellow and pink tones from the light source overhead.
She padded across the floor, shoving drapes aside in her quest for a door, and finally found one with an ornately carved jamb, and an even more ornate top cornice piece. Damn. It was like she’d awakened in Mount Olympus or something. Maybe this was yet another dream.
And she could go with that.
The hall outside was rock-hewn, but smooth to the touch. And cool. And vaguely familiar. Darcy stood for a moment, debating. Should she go left or right? Toward the dark or to the light?
That’s it, Darcy. Choose already.
You want Hades or Olympus? There was the slightest humming sound coming through halls. She couldn’t tell from where it emanated. She concentrated to hear better, but the moment she did that, all kinds of sounds bombarded her. Worst of all was the sound of her pulse in each ear. Like a whoosh of sea wave or something. And it kept getting louder. Faster. Strident. She’d never had such acute hearing. She wasn’t at all sure she liked it.
Screw that. She didn’t need to ask. She detested it. And her vision was worse. Or better. Depended on her outlook. She had ultra vision, or something. She could practically make out each granule comprising the rock in the opposing wall.
She’d head toward the light on her right. Time enough to visit the Hades portion of her dream. Or nightmare. And if she was lucky, she’d find a stock of stiff
Or at the very least, a giant mug of really thick coffee. Darcy started walking, skimming the floor with little effort, passing niche after niche. Yep. They were just like she’d seen last night...or whenever she’d started on this trip off Planet Earth. The rock walls had recessed areas spaced about eight feet apart on alternating sides of the corridor. Each one contained a display of weaponry on a scale that would have Lizbeth salivating, just before she spewed useless facts. Each shield was unique and really eye-catching, as if an artist had designed and fashioned it. That wasn’t all. There were hammer-things, axes, all kinds of swords, and more than one alcove thing had a spear in it as well.
She finally reached the large, man-cave area: the place with the couches and lamps, and all kinds of fur rugs. And absolutely nothing looked out of place. She could’ve sworn they’d toppled one of his tables with their second round of lovemaking. And she was not blushing here!
Wait. Shouldn’t her bra be hanging from a lamp or something? And wouldn’t discarded clothing that included ripped panties be tossed about? There must be something to show that wild sex had happened with a man conjured from her fantasies.
Nope. Nothing looked out of place at all. Was any of this real?
Darcy crossed to the cabinet where he’d shoved all his magazines. Time to do a little sleuthing; check out Mister ‘Looks-Good-in-a-Skirt’ Thanos. Maybe he was a world-class playboy with all kinds of girlie mags. Or maybe a geek with computer skills. Or a true crime aficionado with a ton of whodunits. Or a survivalist. Or...
What the hell?
She’d opened the cabinet and got bombarded with the stacks of catalogs and magazines he’d shoved in. She let them fall to the floor, where they all settled, pages falling open from use. He’d also done a bit of marking on his pages.
. Looks like her host was into mechanics. Metallurgy. With a dash of alchemy on the side. Gears. Shafts. And there it was...all sorts of articles on shield design and weaponry through the ages. He’d checked through stuff like alloy comparison. Forge temperatures. Quenching procedures. Looks like she’d dreamed up a guy that was into all kinds of guy stuff.
No wonder he’d kept calling her an Amazon.
Darcy spent the next few minutes checking the room for any exit other than the way she’d come, ignoring how loud her breathing was in her own ears. She failed on both accounts. There was only the one corridor in and out of here. And nothing anywhere that looked like a kitchen. Another bit of oddity. She should be hungry by now. And she should be nearly demonic from lack of coffee. She checked her watch. Five. But was that AM or PM? Saturday? Or Sunday? And why hadn’t she gotten one of those watches like Liz wore? The ones that kept all kinds of info – like temperature. Date. Time zone.
Alternate universe data.
Oh, enough nonsense, Woman
She’d go with five AM. So...if that was true, it was too soon for a caffeine withdrawal fit. She might be feeling a bit of hunger pangs though. She hadn’t eaten much last night before Lizbeth decided a night excursion into the forbidden area of the dig site was warranted. And Darcy had spent a lot of energy in the interim making love with Thanos. If – of course – it had even happened.
Stop it, Darcy
. No more nonsense. There was reality in here somewhere, and she really needed to find it. And that meant she had to check out the dark side now. Great. She was going into Hades. Perhaps she should take a shield with her. Or a blade.
And this direction wasn’t as obvious as the other. The corridor kept branching into more of them. There was the oddest thudding sound coming from the depths of the place, too, while the humming only occasionally bothered her. At every juncture, she took the hall that seemed warmer, as well as lighter. A bit lighter. And...okay. It didn’t take long to get lost.
The air was now a bit hazy with smoke, too. But it was getting light enough to see it.
Excellent work, Darcy
. She was having the dream from hell and nothing seemed to change it. She even tried pinching herself. Yep. It hurt. And it didn’t awaken her. So, now what? She was in the midst of the labyrinth, and with her luck a Minotaur was going to be somewhere in here, too.
Where did that come from? Oh no. Was it possible she’d ingested ridiculous myths and useless facts from watching Lizbeth’s videos and reading her books? Maybe through osmosis? Oh. Great.
Just frickin’ great
The thudding had changed to a ringing type sound. And it was louder. It came over and over to add to the cacophony of sound already in her ears. It was also getting beyond warm. The stone at her fingertips felt hot, while she made each step gingerly until her toes acclimatized to the heat. And she knew she was getting close to the heat source. It was a lot brighter, while shadows flit about the rock walls, looking like demon-inspired fingers or something worse. This was a hell of a dream/nightmare, an unpaid excursion into madness, or a trip off the far side. And nothing worked at altering it. Darcy fully expected to see the real Hades, or maybe that three-headed dog thing, as she poked her head around each corner.
She had a fabulous imagination. Truly...fabulous. A blast of heat hit her face. Her jaw dropped. It was Thanos. He was sideways to her, putting all kinds of shadows into play with each movement. There was a fire behind him in a huge kiln-thing, making whooshing sounds as it ate up fuel. His arm was the origin of the banging sounds, for he was swinging one badass hammer, hitting again and again on what looked like a sword blade even to her untrained eye. And every muscle on that guy was defined and moving. He was wearing his little skirt thing again, but it wasn’t hiding much. She’d seen pretty much all of him last night. Wow. Again. It hadn’t been enough preparation. A jaw drop wasn’t sufficient. She could barely breathe.
Someone else was in charge of her feet, too. She was almost to him before he saw her. He jerked upward, lost his grip on the hammer, and he was probably lucky that it hit beside his foot and bounced away from an ankle, rather than maiming him.
The words came out in a breathless, sexy-voice she didn’t know she owned. That was another oddity. But she could go with it. After all, this was her fantasy, and she couldn’t seem to stop it. Might as well enjoy it as long as it lasted; worry over recriminations later. That should be in the rule listing for this kind of thing.
Because...look here. She’d definitely dreamt the perfect male into place. He was even taller than her. In this country? What a plus. And he was more than fit. Every bit of work-out time he spent in a gym was getting highlighted and sculpted by firelight. She could tell his eye color now. They were a nice, warm shade of brown. And he was worse than gorgeous.
Or was that better?
Either, way, it was true. There was no denying what was right before her. Especially since he had his eyes widened, his nostrils flared, and had pulled his head back just slightly. His chest looked to enlarge with what could be a huge breath, or a bit of masculine preening. But that couldn’t possibly be a flush touching the tops of his cheeks...could it?