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Authors: Billi Jean

Tags: #Erotic Romance Fiction

Eternal Embrace (9 page)

BOOK: Eternal Embrace
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“Oh, man, you did not just—” Ranger started up, but he cut the black-haired Lykae off with a snarl.

“Ranger, give him some space, love.” Star tilted her blonde head at him, clearly reading more than he liked, because a small smirk lifted her pink lips enough to reveal her small fangs.

Bloody nosey vampires and Lykae
.

They made a good team though, the two of them. He’d have either at his back anytime, even if he hated to admit it to the big bastard.

Ranger glanced from him to Star then suddenly laughed. “Oh, how the fucking mighty fall, eh?” He settled himself against Torque’s desk, and didn’t have the decency to hide his grin when he rested an arm around Star’s slim waist with an all-too-smartass smile.

Jax fumed. Immortals were a nosey bunch. Obviously someone, most likely Torque, had let spill he had Joey. “Just—”

Torque got right in his face, clearly pissed and not up for the normal shit immortals gave one another. Not that he was either.

“Torque I don’t want to hear that you’ve been running your mouth about my life—”

“Like I have time for shit like that?” Torque growled. “We’re going to have to go in hot, and I hate that shit. Being prepared is essential,” Torque flashed him a worried frown. “And if your mind is on other things, we need to know. Is she good?” he murmured, quiet enough no one but Beauty would have heard him.

“She’s good,” he said lowering his voice for Torque’s ears alone. To everyone else, he said, “Save it, Torque, this isn’t my first brawl with the Dark Side, oh mighty one.”

Ranger barked a laugh. Jaxon agreed that Star Wars shit Joey spouted was classic.

“Damn, I love that movie. You know, the first Star Wars, before those new ones—” Ranger cut off with a soft
oof
Jaxon assumed was Star elbowing him.

“Save the teasing, Ranger,” she murmured.

“Aw, baby, he deserves it,” Ranger said sounding a lot like he was whining

Do I sound like that with Joey?
Heat stole up the back of Jaxon’s neck at the memory of how she’d rocked her slim leg against his dick until he’d come like a geyser in his jeans. Sure as shit, he probably looked just as sappy as Ranger did now, kissing Star on the neck.

Beauty snapped her fingers under his nose, and Jaxon backed up a step before he could stop himself.

“Damn, woman—”

“You need your head in the game. Torque needs you focused, because I am not dealing with him freaking out.”

“Sorry, Beauty. I’m good, everything is fine.” Damn, the woman was meaner than Torque at times. But she’d saved Joey, too, so he cut her some slack.

She had oddly dark green eyes, the colour of frosted jade, and used her steady stare to unnerve more immortals than the head of the Jade Coven, Sorcha. Beauty examined him now, and after a moment, she nodded her golden head. She wore a blade he’d not seen on her before, but the slim sword hilt rising above her shoulders looked right on her. She also appeared more at ease. She looked like she’d found her place in the world, which would be right beside Torque, Jax thought. She eased next to Torque’s bigger body, and watched Jaxon closely from the shelter of his arms. She’d doubted him before, he wondered suddenly if she did again.

“You’d best be,” she warned and tilted her head to give Torque’s pissed-off expression a once over. “Explain the game plan to him a bit more clearly, because I don’t like it. Maybe Jaxon can think of something we’ve missed, dear.”

“It’s too closed in. That’s the main problem. Tunnels and underground fighting can be deadly, Torque,” Star added.

Ranger pulled Star closer against his side and frowned thoughtfully. “It’s true. We learned that first-hand in the tunnels under the vamp house. They can be confusing. Worse, they can hide the enemy from you until they’re right on your ass. They know the layout, it’s their turf and we’re going in blind. This salt mine sounds just as fucking bad as the vamp house.”

“Look, the salt mines outside of Detroit are nothing like the salt mines you two were in,” Torque argued. “First of all, Hunter reports that this section of the mine is closed because it’s unstable, but it’s big, huge really, with expansive, straight tunnels that are lit with electricity,” Torque explained.

“How exactly is that good?” Jax demanded.

“Hunter checked and the humans shut it down, she believes, because the Death Stalkers were able to convince them it was unstable, but Michigan is not on a fault line, so—”

“She believes,” Jax repeated. Hunter was good, he’d give her that. The little witch could do things with electronics that boggled the mind, but would she know what was stable or not in a mine? “Does she know what she’s talking about?”

“She’s never stated anything but the truth to us. Has she ever given advice you found wrong?” Torque asked.

He studied Torque’s silver eyes and tense posture. His buddy looked better, more settled, but he was ramped to go. If Torque and Beauty were in on this, Jax was there as well. “Fine, let’s hit it. I guess that the Death Stalkers have a cell there, and she’s found out how many, where and how to hit it?”

“She sent word but we also received a report from a Lykae Viktor, a Russian, you remember him?” Ranger asked, his grin growing.

Jax did remember the guy, and the fact that he’d kicked Viktor’s ass last he’d seen him. Not without his own pain, but still, he’d knocked the shit out of the bigger man in a fight club. Maybe he’d fought dirty, but the ring had no rules. Viktor might not see it the same way though. “Yeah, I remember him lying on the mat, knocked the hell out. Is that the same wolf you’re talking about?”

“Would you two cool your jets, please?” Star asked when Ranger went to set her aside and come at him for dissing one of his pack.

What could he say? He rubbed the wolf pack the wrong way.

“Yeah, cut it out. Aren’t we on the same side?” Beauty demanded. “Torque?”

“Don’t look at me, Jax always gets the pack worked up.”

Maybe because the pack had been the ones to kill his parents. Not that the battle wasn’t both parties’ faults—too many grudges and wrongs to settle anywhere but a battlefield—but still, he fought the need to punch most wolves for their superior attitudes. Only a few were exempt from that, mostly younger wolves without the prejudices of the elders. Or Ranger.

“Then let’s hit it. Beauty will give you the locale so you land with us. Once we land, Star and Ranger will go in deeper. Find Viktor if you can, and near him, you’ll find Hunter. Beauty and I will stay with Jax and hopefully find the cells holding the prisoners. We’ll meet up with you at the centre. That’s where Hunter’s found the most activity and where we’ll hit them the hardest to free whoever they’ve got down there.”

“Or
whatever
, right?” Jax reminded him.

“Yeah, the wolf, tiger things, right?” Beauty murmured, looking worried.

He couldn’t blame her, he was too. The Death Stalkers’ move from enticing the young and stupid to their side to forcing the dark vows on humans and immortals didn’t sit well with him. The idea they had the power to enslave their victims and transform them into some kind of animal shot his worry up a hundred notches.

“Yeah, we just have to hope that those turned can still sense us, the good guys, from the bad, right?” he asked.

Ranger shot him a worried scowl, and circled his arms around his vampire mate. Star exhaled, looking seriously concerned. “We’ll deal with that when we are forced to, but Sammie indicated that the creatures Derrick freed were aware. We will have to hope the same holds true.”

“Right,” Torque clipped his jacket closed and adjusted his broadsword, squinting at them all. “Any questions?”

No one said a word. What was there left to ask? Another battle, another struggle against an evil that never ended. For what? For people who never understood the danger that lurked, waiting to pounce on them. Unexpectedly an image of Joey’s teasing smile rose in his mind. He firmed his grip on his sword hilt and nodded when Torque’s gaze lingered on him. There were a million reasons he fought, but Joey’s safety suddenly became paramount.

“Good. Let’s go. Beauty, give Jax the area so he can shift.”

Beauty nodded and reached out, touching his hand lightly, and immediately he got a picture of a white, high-ceilinged tunnel with a deep line of black running through what he assumed was a wall of roughly carved-out salt. In the centre, someone had tied a pink ribbon on a stake with, oddly enough, a picture of Pink, the hip rocker, on the wall above the wood.

“What’s with the rock star?” he asked.

“Hunter. She thought we’d need something exact or we’d land anywhere in the mines.” Beauty grinned and shrugged. “She likes her music, too.”

Torque shook his black hair out of his eyes. “Let’s go. You good?”

Jax nodded, focused his mind on the spot Hunter had chosen and landed in hell.

Fire hit his face, forcing him to shift to the left only to land in another burst of flame. The sleeve of his jacket caught fire and only died out when he shifted ten feet over. He landed on top of an enormous pile of salt rock and watched as below him, the Death Stalkers swarmed Beauty and Torque. Hunter called from across the pit, her voice sounding hoarse over the fray.

From beneath him, six men dressed in black T-shirts and black, salt-dusted jeans attacked Beauty and Torque, forcing them back against the wall and nearly getting their hands on Beauty before she could draw her blades.

Jax jumped down, landing next to the couple, taking a blow meant to take off Torque’s head. He sensed Beauty spelling something wicked, and the hairs on his arms lifted as the air grew charged. Two seconds later, the tunnel seemed to shudder and with an enormous blast of power, the walls and ceiling collapsed on him, dropping a ton of salt on his head.

Chapter Seven

The longer Joey paced the room Jaxon used as his bedroom-slash-library, the higher her fears rose. She’d run out of bagged blood. It was past the seven days Jaxon had told her to wait here, but the last two nights, she’d been too nervous to leave this sanctuary. But as the minutes ticked by, she slowly came to terms with the realisation that he wasn’t coming back.

Jaxon, the big jerk, had hurt her again. This time though, she choked on a sob, because she knew he’d not meant to leave her like this—but the pain in her chest made the truth of his loss all the more real.

He would have come back.

If he could have, he would have come back.

She gripped the table where he’d made love to her with such urgency that first night she’d learned she was a vampire. The tears burst free. Something had happened to him. Something bad and he was either hurt—or worse, gone forever.

She didn’t know where he was. She didn’t know who had called him or why. A mage. A salt mine. Nothing more. She didn’t know anything more. There were tons of mines in the States, and she had no idea how to find him.

Worse, he was wrong, she had no skills. She’d tried and tried and tried to get her clothes off with just thinking them off, and nothing
ever
happened. She’d looked vampires up on the internet and as far as she could tell, no one knew shit about what a vampire truly was. She could eat for one thing. And she could see herself in a mirror. What else did they have wrong?

Well, not the needing blood part. She craved blood, but not just blood, she craved Jaxon’s blood. His scent and the idea of tasting him like that made her weak with need. And lust. She wanted to do things to him, insanely hot things to him. Just thinking about him flooded her mind with ideas.

Will I get a chance to do half of those naughty things?

Could he really, truly be lost to me?

She hugged herself tightly and rocked a little, trying to ease the panic. Jaxon. What had he said? For her to leave. But could she? She needed blood, and she could find it in the hospital. Inside she was weak, shaky and so full of grief she could barely brush her tears off before they started again.

“Get it together. Go to the room, write a note. Maybe he’ll show up at your apartment.”

She tried to still the tears, but it took her a few minutes. Finally, when she could see again, she stared around his home, soaking in everything that was his. She couldn’t just walk away, could she?

If I’m not back in seven days, then things haven’t gone well.

His warnings came back to her and she stiffened her spine. He’d been so adamant. She had to do what he asked, even if it meant she couldn’t curl up in his bed and pretend he was next to her.

She could do this. She’d show him she had some courage. He’d come back. He was too stubborn and arrogant not to return.

A half laugh, half sob broke free and she covered her mouth with her trembling hand.

What if he’s hurt? Even now suffering and alone?

Stay focused. He wanted me safe. Get safe and he’ll come.

She started slowly, packing her small bag and adding two of his shirts, one T-shirt she remembered him wearing and one of his button-down shirts from his closet. She took a knife she found in there too, and brushed her fingers along his neatly folded clothing. He had to come back, that was all she was going to concentrate on to get through this.

She found the room again, tipped the painting and moulded her hand to the depression in the stone. Just like last time, the doorway slid into the wall and revealed the room beyond, but this time, the candles didn’t light. Still, she stepped in, her night vision so good she picked up a candle near the entrance and lit it with a silver lighter she found on his desk. A little dish of clove tobacco and papers for rolling cigarettes caught her eye, and the tears started again. She could see him, squinting at her as he lit his smoke, his eyes shards of blue above the puff of grey smoke.

“Damn it, Jaxon. How could you do this to me?” she demanded of the empty room. “Did you get hurt? Why couldn’t you tell me where you went!?”

No answers came to her in the empty room. She was more alone than ever. Sighing deeply, she set the note on his desk and anchored it with the lighter. She’d written the little note a dozen times and finally had signed it,
‘Love, Joey’
.

BOOK: Eternal Embrace
2.42Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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