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Authors: Trina M. Lee

Tags: #Science Fiction & Fantasy, #Fantasy, #Paranormal & Urban

Forget About Midnight (9 page)

BOOK: Forget About Midnight
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“Stop beating yourself up,” Kale admonished as we drove to the cemetery where we were to meet Jez. “You did good. You didn’t kill him.”

“Only because you were there.” I slumped in my seat, resting my forehead against the cool glass of the passenger window. “It feels like something is missing. How the hell do you keep from killing the willing victims at the Kiss?”

We rolled to a stop at a red light, and Kale slid a glance my way. “It ain’t easy. As I’m sure you’ve noticed, I’m not always in control, especially these days. It helps to let yourself go once in a while. I try not to do it in the club if I can help it.”

“I don’t know if I can do this. I’m not supposed to be hunting them, Kale. I’m supposed to be helping.” Lost. Again I felt so damn lost.

“You’ll find yourself again,” he said, mouth set in a firm line of determination. “I promise.”

A bitter laugh fell from my lips. With grim amusement I was reminded of something I’d done. “You know, I asked Shaz and Kylarai to kill me if I ended up this way. If that happens, if I can’t handle this, then Willow’s sacrifice for me will have been for nothing.”

The light turned green, and Kale floored it. The Camaro’s engine roared as the car surged forward with a squeal of tires.

“Shaz is not going to kill you. He’s a strong wolf with a mean right hook, but he doesn’t have it in him to do that. And don’t even worry about letting Willow down. You’ve done a lot of good. Do you have any idea how many people you saved just by throwing a wrench in Shya’s plans?”

All I heard was right hook. My jaw dropped. “Did Shaz hit you too?”

“He took a shot. Said he owed me one. Can’t really argue with that.” Kale shrugged it off with a chuckle.

I was still staring at him in dismay when we reached the cemetery. I tried to put it out of my mind and instead focus on Jez. Seeing her would be good for me.

We crossed through the graveyard, stepping between headstones and ducking overhanging branches. The dizzying scent of shifter drew me straight to Jez. It was a delicious aroma with a spicy musk I’d never noticed before.

For a moment I doubted myself. Maybe I wasn’t ready for this.
Suck it up, bitch
, I reprimanded myself.

When I pushed through a patch of trees and found her standing there with a nervous smile, I forgot about everything but how happy I was to reconnect with my dear friend after several days of hell.

Jez’s face lit up at the sight of me though I could see her watchful feline gaze taking in every inch of me, lingering on my face.

“Damn, Lex, it’s so good to see you,” she gushed, taking a few steps forward. Absolutely fearless, she grabbed me in a hug and squeezed. “I’ve been worried about you.”

I hesitated for just a moment before hugging her back. At such close proximity her scent was even stronger but now tainted with cigarette smoke. However, I was also able to pick out the drugs moving through her system, faint but there. If anyone should be worried, it should be me. Jez wasn’t staying clean because Kale and I were too busy terrorizing the city when we should be taking care of her.

“I’m fine, Jezzy. Really. It’s just going to take some time for me to get my shit together. How are you?”

I stepped back and gave her a studious once over. With her golden ponytail and leggy frame draped in yoga wear, she looked like the Jez I knew and loved. But something was off. It wasn’t just the narcotics. It was the darkness inside her. I could feel it now without even trying. I glanced at Kale to see if he was aware of it, but he gave no indication.

“Been better. Been worse too. It’s all good. God, I’ve missed you.” She hugged me again before turning to punch Kale in the arm. It was hard enough to jostle him, and he gifted her with a scowl. “Would it kill you guys to come hang out or something? Just because I don’t want to run amok with you doesn’t mean you have to shut me out.”

“I wasn’t trying to shut you out,” I said. “It’s been a tough week. The last thing I wanted was to risk hurting you.”

“So?” She shrugged and crossed her arms. “Do you want to hurt me?”

Her question gave me pause. Did I want to? I wasn’t sure. The longer I stood there considering it, the more certain I was that I didn’t want to taste Jez’s blood. Breathing it in, letting it reach inside me to where the bloodlust lay, it did nothing.

It wasn’t just the drugs. It was the fact that there was nothing human about Jez. Her mother was a shifter, but her father was a demon. That’s where the darkness within her came from, a darkness I had yet to tell her about. I’d tasted the blood of a fallen angel, and it had thrown me on my ass. No part of me wanted to taste the blood of a demon’s offspring.

I loved Jez. She was like a sister to me. It came as a great relief that I didn’t want her.

“No,” I said, feeling shitty about what I had yet to share with her. “I don’t. Your blood… it smells different. It doesn’t call to me that way.”

She frowned, managing to look completely offended. “What the hell does that mean? Do I smell nasty to you?” Her gaze darted to Kale, and she said something to him about how he’d enjoyed a taste of her, but I was barely listening.

My senses burned as a cold storm exploded to life inside me. A jolt of panic followed. Arys. He was here. I could feel him.

I took a few steps back, casting a frantic glance around. “Jez, what did you do?”

She pursed her lips and raised both brows, clearly searching for a response. It didn’t matter though because Arys was moving fast.

Before I could decide to run, he was there, stepping into sight and stopping dead in his tracks when his gaze landed on me. I stood there in stunned silence.

“Arys.” His name was a whisper on my lips.

He stood there looking both pained and relieved. With his shock of bedroom-messy, black hair and deep-blue eyes the color of stormy seas, Arys was as gorgeous as ever.

My stomach clenched as the power rose up inside me in response to his presence. It felt like finding that missing puzzle piece long after accepting that it was lost. Like finding the missing link in a vital connection. The part of me that was his exploded with delight. It drove me forward and with a sob lodged in my throat, I hurled myself into his arms.

Chapter Seven

A spark lit up the night around us as our power united, two frenzied energies finding one another again. Arys’s embrace was solid. He held me like he would never let me go. He buried his face in my hair, and I felt him shaking with emotion.

Wanting to give us privacy, Jez grabbed hold of Kale and dragged him away. I sensed his reluctance, and I hated myself for dragging him deeper into my mess.

“You make me fucking crazy, you know that?” Arys said before kissing me with a burning passion that I happily basked in.

I kissed him back with everything I had, every broken and shattered part of me. The joy and the sorrow mingled in a dance of despair that left me feeling like a volcano about to erupt. Emotion drove me as I aggressively devoured him. With a surge of deep-rooted rage, I pulled away and let my hand fly, smacking him with a viciousness that surprised me.

“That’s for killing me,” I all but shouted. Then I slapped him again, snapping his head from one side to the other. “And that’s for enjoying it so damn much.”

Arys took my violence like he took every part of me, with ease. He looked like he’d been expecting it. “I suppose that’s fair. But you know I had to do it. Hell, you demanded it.”

“I know that. But did you have to enjoy it so fucking much? I felt the way you loved it. You got off on it.” It hurt. Just being there with him, knowing what he’d felt as he had drained my life away. It wasn’t fair of me to punish Arys for being who he was. Somehow I was still shocked at the depths of his enjoyment at killing me. Perhaps it was naïve, but I had thought part of him might suffer. He had wanted it though and loved every second.

Not willing to let me out of reach, Arys pulled me back into his embrace. Plunging a hand into my blonde locks, he said sadly, “I’ve been worried sick about you, Alexa. Being apart is hurting you more than it’s helping.”

The walls I’d tried to build over the last week had crumbled to dust at the sight of him. Dejected and morose, I mumbled into his shirt, “Is that why you came? To stop me from acting like a vampire? That’s a bit hypocritical coming from you, Arys.”

“No, of course not. I came to stop you from doing things now that you will regret for several lifetimes over.”

His words penetrated deep, bringing forth some of the self-loathing I’d buried. Tears filled my eyes, dark crimson drops that would never be crystal clear again. “It’s too late for that.”

Arys stiffened. He glared in the direction Kale and Jez had gone, and I knew he wanted to go after Kale. It brought out the defensive side of me that was deeply protective of Kale.

I fixed him with a deadly stare of my own. “No. None of this is his fault. He kept it from being worse than it was those first few nights.”

With a hand on each side of my face, Arys forced me to peer into his enchanting gaze. He searched me, seeking something in my eyes. I wanted to ask him if he found whatever it was he was looking for but decided I didn’t really want to know.

“You don’t belong with him, my love,” he said softly. “And as much as you think you need him, you know it’s true.”

Grasping his hand, I pressed a kiss to his fingertips. It killed me that he couldn’t understand what I was going through. The twin flame conflict never got easier. It got harder. So much harder.

“I don’t know who I am anymore, Arys. You are so entangled in every part of me. It’s like there is no distinction between us anymore. I do belong with you. I know it. But I need to still be me. I’m trying to do that.”

“And that’s why you’re losing your mind, my beautiful wolf. I know what you’re going through. And I know that if we’re not careful, we’re going to end up like Lilah and Salem and who knows how many others?” There was a pleading glint in his eyes as he tried to bridge the gap between us.

I nodded, watching with dismay as he wrapped my hair around a finger. I stared at the blonde strands, hating them, hating that they represented a different me. I didn’t know that person anymore. “I know. You’re right. I just need some time.”

With a bold and familiar manner, he touched me. Running his hand down my neck, my side, to my waist and back up, it was like he couldn’t believe I was really there.

“You don’t have a lot of time to find yourself right now. The FPA is all over you. They’re launching a hunt for you. Tonight. Briggs is issuing a capture order. There will be agents scouring the city for you, Alexa.” Worry creased his brow. Arys didn’t give the FPA a lot of thought. Clearly, he’d been talking to my sister to have this kind of info.

“Because of Sylvia. Figures. That bitch had it coming.” I wasn’t afraid of the FPA. I probably should have been, but Agent Briggs had fucked with me one time too many. If he wanted a war, he would get one.

“I don’t care about that,” Arys insisted. His energy exuded his growing frustration. “All I want is for you to get some control over yourself and to stay out of the FPA lockup. Briggs is up to something. Something bad. You don’t want to go inside that building as a vampire. Trust me.”

I hated it when he was right. He was though. Briggs wasn’t entirely harmless. I saw what he did to Kale. Briggs had him driven damn near insane, and Kale still hadn’t come back from that.

“I’ll handle the FPA,” I said. “I always do.”

Arys shook his dark head, ready to fight me on this. “No, you always did. But now you’re public enemy number one. Briggs isn’t going to take it easy on you this time. Please, come home with me.”

His kiss was a gentle brush of lips on mine. Just like I always had, I fell under his spell. Being a vampire did nothing to change that. In some ways, it made Arys’s allure stronger. I was part of him, and I felt it in every speck of my being. But I wasn’t ready to accept that the one who killed me was inescapable. Never had I been so damn confused.

I cursed inwardly as a few tears broke free and streaked down my cheeks. “I can’t. Not yet.”

“Alexa, please. The longer you drag this out, the worse it gets for both of us. You know that.” The desperation in Arys’s plea cut like a knife in my gut.

“Yes, I do know that! But forcing me to do something before I’m ready isn’t going to help!”

My shout rang throughout the cemetery. It brought Kale back with a fury that scared me. He pulled free of Jez’s tight grip and shoved Arys and I apart.

“Back the fuck off, Arys. Nobody is forcing Alexa to do anything against her will.” Kale shoved Arys up against a nearby headstone, and the two of them glared daggers into one another.

“Oh, is that so?” Arys taunted, wearing a nasty grin. “Try telling that to the FPA. Remember your time in lockup well, my friend? Because that’s what Briggs has planned for Alexa. He’s coming for her. Think you’ve got what it takes to keep her safe?”

I growled in frustration. “I don’t need anyone to keep me safe, you damn Neanderthals. I’m not afraid of Briggs.” Did these fools really think so little of me that they needed to fight over my safety as if I were helpless?

Arys shoved Kale back, his entire body brimming with pent up violence. “Briggs isn’t what I’m worried about. It’s what’s going to happen to you when that place gets inside your head. You can’t even keep your shit together now.” To Kale, he spat, “No thanks to you.”

I grabbed hold of Kale in an attempt to keep them apart, but he jerked free of me, his anger guiding his actions. “You have no fucking idea what it’s been like. Keep your accusations to yourself. I’m the one cleaning up your mess.”

Arys stood ready for a fight, which did nothing to untie the knot forming in my stomach. “Is that how you see her? As my mess? Well, I’m not the one teaching her how to be a cold-blooded killer, am I?”

“No, you just made her one.”

“Guys, come on. You’re acting like jackasses.” Jez spoke up with a huff. She looked back and forth between the two of them and shook her head in derision.

Much to my surprise Arys backed down first. Hands up in a show of neutrality, he got in a blow by saying, “When you take her to bed, it’s me that she thinks of. But you already know that, don’t you?”

BOOK: Forget About Midnight
12.7Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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