Authors: Kathrine Emrick
Tags: #Romance, #Paranormal, #Science Fiction & Fantasy, #Fantasy, #Paranormal & Urban, #90 Minutes (44-64 Pages)
"Yes milady!" Gwenna saluted smartly before hugging her sister again, "I'll make sure she's there even if I have to drag her kicking and screaming from her books."
Dera went running down the steps shrugging on her coat as she did so; the weather was still fine, but it was nearing dusk now and the air was getting chilly. She'd soon need to be wearing her gloves and scarf at this rate she thought absently. She quickly got in her car and waved to Gwenna as she shot out of the car park on her way home.
Dera was driving along the winding roads towards Carog mentally cataloging what she had to do when she got home. Darn it, she'd spent far too long at Gwenna's, it was going to be another late night with an early morning start again. She sighed to herself as she impatiently pushed some errant strands of hair behind her ear; she really was going to have to take on an assistant or something. It was good that she was getting so busy, but it also meant she didn't have much time to relax. Gwenna and Eira had been at her for months to take someone on; she'd have to start seriously considering it.
She was lost in thought as she turned her small fiesta car into the small road which led to the isolated cottage where she lived. She didn't see the tall figure move suddenly in front of her car until it was too late. She pushed hard on her brake but she heard a sickening thump as whoever it was disappeared from view under her front bumper. "Oh no! What have I done?" She muttered to herself in horror.
Jumping out of the car she quickly went running round to the front to see who she'd managed to run over. A tall well-built male figure with dark curly hair lay there unmoving in the darkening twilight. That hair looked familiar! She ran over to him anxiously.
"Please don't be dead. Please don't be dead." she pleaded over and over again as she knelt down frantically chanting a healing spell under her breath. There was a groan from the figure lying on the ground.
"Oh thank God, you're not dead!"
"What did you hit me with? Felt like a bloody tank." The voice was seductive and sexy as hell, even in these circumstances Dera felt a shiver go through her.
"My car, it's only a fiesta, it's not that big. Why were you standing there?" She was gabbling now in relief.
"It sure felt like a tank."
"Here let me help you up." She grabbed the man's arm and tried to help him to his feet but he was huge. Finally, he placed a hand on the front of her car and used it as a lever to pull himself up.
When he lifted his head up to look at her, she felt shock go through her body as her mouth fell open. She didn't believe there was anyone else with such a pair of eyes walking around; not with that body. Even with the blood oozing down his face from the nasty cut on his forehead, he was still devilishly handsome.
"I-I know you!" She whispered, having no idea why she was whispering at all. Hawk gazed down into the cornflower blue eyes of the petite woman standing next to him; she was even more breathtakingly beautiful up close. She smelled lightly of lavender and he suddenly realized her body was pressed up against his. His member must have noticed it too because it started to swell uncomfortably.
"You're the woman from the market." He said slowly. "I feel like I know you. Why do you look so familiar?"
Dera stared at the stranger mesmerized; she'd seen plenty of good looking sexy men in her life and she'd been hit on by plenty of them, but there was something about this one man that made her insides melt. She shook herself mentally; what was wrong with her? The poor man looked to be quite badly injured and here she was having lascivious thoughts about him. She shook her head, suddenly impatient with herself, "Here I'd better take you to the hospital."
"No don't. I'll be fine, I just need to sit a spell." He mumbled.
He suddenly swayed and she quickly caught hold of him again. She looked at her tiny Fiesta; he could fit inside, but just barely. She glanced at the road that led to her house, it was slightly uphill and still a distance away; there was no way they'd be able to make it to the cottage, with him leaning on her. Well, that decided it. "The Fiesta it is." She said with determination.
"What? You surely don't expect me to fit into that mouse trap!"
She pursed her lips and counted to ten. "Do you see any other way to get you up there?" She used her free arm to gesture to the tree lined road that led to her cottage.
He sighed and wisely remained silent though she felt his body tense. She gently led him to the passenger side of the car and pulled open the door. He folded himself into the seat, wincing as his head hit the door. Finally, he was sitting all hunched up with a scowl on his face. Dera hid a smile and ran around to the other side of the car.
After she began to move she glanced at him briefly, "So care to tell me what you were doing hiding behind the hedge back there?" He mumbled something which she failed to hear. "Sorry, I didn't catch that." She was turning into the front of her cottage now.
"I was taking a stroll."
She couldn't help herself, she snorted. "Right. In the middle of nowhere, with not another house in sight. Surely you can do better?" She parked the car and jumped out before he could answer, going round to help him out of the car. "Alright, steady now. And for goodness sake don't fall over or you'll squash me."
"Are you always this unpleasant to people you hit with your car?"
"Hey, you're the one who stepped out in front of my car. If you hope to see the other side of my door you'd better behave yourself."
Hawk shook his head trying to clear the fuzziness from his brain. She was tougher than he had thought when he'd caught sight of her in the market. She'd been sweet then. Right now her scolding was just giving him a headache, though that might have come when he'd hit his head against that damnable car. He felt wetness on his forehead and brought his hand up to inspect it; his hand came away covered with thick, dark red blood. The deep gash there was starting to make itself felt.
They stepped into the cottage and Hawk sighed in appreciation as she flicked on lights illuminating the coziness of her home. They had walked into a spacious hallway furnished with occasional tables and lamps. There were a number of closed doors leading from either side and she guided him to the door furthest away which led into a delightful kitchen complete with an old fashioned Aga stove and a huge scrubbed wooden table.
He swayed slightly and cursed beneath his breath. Dammit he hated not having his powers. He hadn't been able to gauge his fall properly and he'd injured himself far more than he meant to. His wrist was hurting as well; it felt as though it was sprained quite badly, he hoped she was as good a healer as she seemed to be and that she could help him, otherwise he'd gone through all this for nothing.
It had seemed a good idea at the time. Loiter about around her home until she came back (it had been easy enough to find her address) and trip and fall or something in her presence. She was a healer so he knew she wouldn't abandon him. He'd get into her home and seduce her into helping him. An easy plan or so he'd surmised. As she guided him into a comfortable chair he couldn't help the low moan that slipped out. "Oh my head hurts, and be careful of my wrist!"
"For heaven's sakes you're a man. Why do you have to be such a baby?" Hawk blinked. That wasn't exactly oozing sympathy for his woes. What had happened to the gentle healer he'd seen in the market that morning? He turned his head slightly and looked at her to find she was staring at him impatiently. "You're not being very nice."
"Yes well, what do you expect from me when a Fae is conveniently knocked down by my car?" She must have seen the surprise on his face because she made a sound of impatience. "As soon as I touched you I knew who you were. Why else would I bring you, a complete stranger to my home instead of taking you to the nearest hospital?" She placed a hand on her slim waist. "What I want to know is just what you think you're playing at?"
She'd taken the wind out of his sails but he'd be damned if he let her see it. She was already sounding irritatingly like the only woman who struck fear into him and he couldn't even bare to think of that now. "I don't understand." He said with a blank face.
"You don't understand?" She mimicked. "Why are you in this realm and without any powers? What is going on and you'd better not try lying to me. I can smell a liar a mile away. Why have you come through the gate? It's not permitted."
Hawk stared at the tiny woman who was doing her best to stare him down. There was something oddly familiar about her but he knew he'd never seen her before today. As he studied her, he wondered how to answer her questions. Her Fae blood was much stronger than he'd thought and that was a good thing. But she also appeared to have an uncanny grasp of the way things worked on the other side of the veil and that was very unsettling. "What do you know about the recent happenings on the other side?" He asked carefully.
"Oh no, I'm the one asking the questions here." Then before he could reply she sighed, "Let's wait for questions and answers until we get you cleaned up and sorted, but I'm telling you I want answers and they'd better be truthful."
With that Dera marched to the Aga, her heart beating wildly in her ribcage. Even with that ugly gash on his head, she was still reacting strongly to the man. He was just too gorgeous for his own good, she thought crossly. The Aga had a few embers in it so she blew on them, and added some coals. She quickly chanted a fire spell for good measure and nodded with satisfaction when they blew more brightly. It was not her fault she was being hard on the man, it was the only way she could deal with the overwhelming attraction she felt for him. She could feel the lust burning through her body like the embers in the Aga and it was unlike anything she'd ever experienced. She took a deep breath and turned to find him staring at her, probably trying to figure her out.
She turned an icy stare on him and placed both hands on her hips. "Alright, what did you do to my grandmother? Why did Isolde strip you of your powers?"
You could have heard a pin drop in the room. Hawk felt his body go rigid with shock and for the first time in his life, he felt blindsided. What the hell was going on? He felt rage course through him and shook his head fiercely. He immediately felt like his skull was on fire and the rage instantly evaporated.
Dera swiftly came over to him, concern etched in her face. For the first time, she looked like the sweet woman he'd glimpsed in the market. "Here let me look at that." She went over to a cupboard and took out her first aid box and setting it down quickly she opened it up.
Hawk blinked in surprise. It looked just like any other first aid box, filled with band aids and bandages. He caught a small smile on her face. "What did you expect to find in there?" she asked, her voice tinged with amusement. "Dead toad's blood?" He felt his face fill with color and couldn't believe he was blushing. He was 350 years old by mortal standards; he never blushed, dammit! But there was something about this woman that reduced him to a blithering idiot. Must be the injuries addling his brain, he decided. Instead he shrugged lightly, "I've no idea." He admitted with a sheepish grin.
Dera felt her tummy flip at his smile and concentrated on cleaning the gash on his forehead, muttering a healing spell as she did so. Hawk could feel the pain start to decrease immediately and he breathed a sigh of relief. "I sprained my wrist as well." He held his left arm up for her inspection. She held it tight and chanted her healing spell again and the pain started to dissipate in his wrist.
He looked down at her hands on his hand and felt the attraction that had been simmering suddenly blaze. He held himself still and was thankful for the roomy trousers he wore, which hid the effect her touch was having on him. Her hands stilled and he heard her catch her breath before she quickly let go and began to pack up her first aid box.
"You should be okay now." She said without looking at him. "You don't have any other injuries, if you'd been mortal I'd have insisted you have stitches to your forehead but your Fae blood will help it heal just fine. You'll ache a bit for the rest of the night but by morning you'll be nearly healed." She returned the box to its former position and turned towards the Aga. "I'm going to make us both some Chamomile tea and after that I want answers, oh and as I said earlier, I can tell lies a mile off so don't even bother going there."
Hawk just gazed at her silently. He would need some answers of his own too, he thought bitterly. Like what he was doing stranded in Isolde's granddaughter's house without his powers. A granddaughter he hadn't even known existed; that had been a shock.
A few minutes later they were both sipping their tea with appreciation. Dera had sweetened it with Mr. Davis's honey and added one of her healing concoctions to Hawk's. He was now starting to feel more like himself.
"Okay Buster, who are you and what are you doing here in Carog?"
Hawk studied her over the rim of his cup. "What do you know about what's happening in our world?"
Dera frowned, "I need to know who you are first before I start talking about the Fae world."
"I'm Hawk, Isolde, your grandmother, discovered I'd been travelling through the gate and exiled me here, stripping me of all my powers." He could not keep the bitterness out of his voice. He still remembered the blistering cold of the Welsh mountains and how he'd been unable to summon warmth; a spell that even a child could do. "It's taken me two days to find you."
"Why would you want to find me?" Dera asked in surprise.
"I found this in my pocket." He pulled a folded slip of paper from inside an old battered wallet and handed it to her.
She looked at the message in bewilderment and then again at Hawk. "Find Dera Lloyd from Carog," She read. She was quiet for a moment, "You said my grandmother exiled you."
He just nodded, he hated going through the whole horrible episode. "But why would she send you to find me?"
He was beginning to wonder if she was suffering from exhaustion; it was late and she'd been at the market all day so it was perfectly understandable. "She did not send me to find you," he enunciated carefully; "I found that note in my pocket." She rolled her eyes at him, "That's my grandmother's handwriting. Hawk what exactly is going on?"