Authors: Erin Kellison
NIGHT’S DEEP HUSH
Dreaming turns dangerous...
Malcolm Rook and Jordan Lane are on the run from powerful forces that seek their deaths. But they are discovered by someone from Rook's dark past. Under no circumstances will Rook allow this criminal to learn how talented Jordan is in the world Darkside. Instead, Rook succumbs so that she has a chance to survive.
Rook has been abducted and Jordan assumes the worst. She's fallen for him and will do anything to get him back. Alone on the streets, she concocts a plan that will take her into the black market of dreams to find help. An unlikely ally comes to her aid, and together they search and fight...one for love, the other for vengeance.
Night's Deep Hush
is the fourth installment in the Reveler serial, a hot paranormal romance set in a world where shared dreaming is a new pop culture phenomenon that allows people to indulge their wildest fantasies. But there are also unknown dangers Darkside, nightmares slowly infiltrating not only dreams, but the waking world as well.
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NIGHT’S DEEP HUSH
Copyright © 2014 by Erin Kellison
Cover design by Micro Application Solutions, LLC
Published in the United States of America
First electronic publication: May 2014 by Fire Flower Publishing, LLC
Table of Contents
Jordan skimmed her fingertips down Malcolm’s bare chest to his stomach, tickling his sensitive skin. The quick flash of his finely toned abdomen and his low, masculine chuckle was exactly what she’d craved. The man’s body was a perfect machine, just now idling between one show of force and the next. And there was always a “next,” which made this whole strange adventure an exercise of intense highs of fear and ecstasy, and these mellow lows replete with boneless bliss.
His fingers laced into her hair. “How are you holding up?”
She raised her face to him. He had such pretty brown eyes, so dark they were almost black. A two-day scruff grew on his face, making an already handsome man look ruggedly dangerous, too. She used the pad of her thumb to play with the stubble on his chin. “I’m worried about Maisie. She acts tough, but she is a softy inside.”
Malcolm tried to bite her thumb but missed. “Coll won’t let anything happen to her.”
Malcolm meant Steve Coll, the Chimera who’d been recruiting Maisie when everything went to hell. The same Steve who was not quite all the way human. Who was, in fact, of the same breed as the evil Didier Lambert. “He’s part nightmare. How can that be good?”
“It bothers me, too,” Malcolm said. “But I’ve known Coll a long time. And now that I know
he’s different, he makes more sense to me, not less.”
Jordan scoffed. Nothing made sense.
“As screwed up as this whole situation is,” Malcolm continued, “I’d rather have him on our side, at my back, than anyone else.”
Maisie was head over heels about the man, but Steve Coll was so quiet and composed by nature that Jordan couldn’t figure out what was going on inside his head. She didn’t like question marks where her sister was concerned. Why did Maisie attract the quiet, scary ones? “I’m still going to worry.”
“I know you are.” Malcolm lifted her up his body a few inches so they could talk nose to nose. “But I was asking how
were holding up.”
Jordan was restless. “I wish we had a plan already, but at least we’re trying to make one.” They were meeting later that night Darkside with everyone to confirm a few points, see if another Chimera marshal, Harlen Fawkes, was going to help them or not. “Otherwise, I’m good. Hanging in.”
was a gross understatement. She felt more alive than she ever had. She was terrified and exhilarated to the point of exhaustion. Not since her mother’s death had she cared about anything so much, had she felt like something
—this task, this man, this Rêve. This wasn’t the slow, daily work and rent of her life before. This was important.
“I’m sorry you don’t get to paint.” There was real regret in his voice.
“I’m sketching more now than I have in the past six years.” She couldn’t stop, and her favorite subject was the man pressed up against her. Hot, brooding, erotic Malcolm whose gaze was always following her, and when she dared to meet it, she found his own hungry hope in its depths.
She knew this was the infatuation period of a relationship—everything new, the sex mind-blowingly incredible. And she knew sooner or later the sparks would float up to the sky or fizzle, leaving just him and her. The question was whether or not, without this early brain-fog of constant attraction, they’d be even better together. For now, it was all dreams.
His hold on her tightened, albeit with one of his hands finding the curve of her ass. “I’ll get us another loft with good light when this is over.”
He was looking ahead, too. The happiness was almost too much to keep the smile from her face. Her skin was smiling, though, every inch warm. “A fixer-upper,” she added. Like the last loft. She wanted to see
in the space, this rough and once-lost man putting up drywall. The fantasy was so sweet it was almost painful.
She hadn’t dreamed like this in so long. “Where will it be?”
“I don’t care.” His arms tightened around her again slightly, as if he already had what was important.
Her eyes prickled with tears, so she buried her face in his neck to hide them. Her body knew him in the waking world, and her soul kept tangling with his Darkside. Yes, she’d give up everything to feel like this. To try to make him happy, to find the keys to all the locks that kept him guarded, and piece by piece open him up to let the light in.
They only needed time, and on the run, they had plenty of it.
Malcolm Rook was just putting on his boots when a
in his awareness blackened his vision for a second. He double—no,
—blinked and shook his head to clear the residual fuzz that followed it. Then a cold sweat broke out on his skin. The pop was familiar, though it had been years. It was a signal—not quite a mental push but more like a flick to the skull.
Chuck had found him. Of all people, it would be Chuck.
“You okay?” Jordan adjusted the knit beanie on her head. She’d already put on her jacket to go out in the cold. Her brown hair was back in a ponytail. Face clear. Eyes narrow, reading him.
Rook had known that someone would find him eventually, tapping as he was into the old network. Staying under the radar—no credit, moving invisibly, leaving no trail—cost something, but it wasn’t a currency recognized by any bank.
“I’m good.” But his mind raced. He preferred if Jordan wasn’t present for the first meeting with Chuck, not until he’d had a chance to gauge the tone, the welcome. See what Chuck would demand for the protection of his silence. “But, um…” How to get her to go without her being suspicious? Never mind. She was too damn smart. She’d be suspicious regardless. “Do you mind going to pick up the food on your own?”
He’d kept her close since they’d fled Las Vegas and what they’d discovered there, always looking over their shoulders for the long reach of Chimera and the corruption associated within it.
Jordan lifted a brow. “You feeling all right?”
“Dizzy.” He was fine now, but that had been the truth thirty seconds ago.
She smiled sly and sexy. “Tired you out, did I?”
Screw Chuck and the food.
“Come here and we’ll see.”
“Nope.” She laughed. “I just got dressed, and I want lo mein.” She peeled a twenty from their dwindling wad of cash. “You rest up. I’ll get the grub, and then maybe”—her voice went mock husky—“after I’ve taken your temperature…” She waggled her eyebrows.
She had to be just as fatigued from keeping out of sight as he was, but she was putting on a good face, keeping her sense of humor. She’d gone from a respectable life with a steady job to the reckless life of a reveler, someone who came alive Darkside, in the dreamwaters of sleep. Her aptitude for crossing dreamscapes made her rare; in fact, he’d been the one to recruit her into Chimera, the legal entity in the US responsible for policing shared dreaming. ’Course that was before he’d known Chimera was corrupt.
They’d had to run, and the trouble behind them wouldn’t relent until they were dead, or worse. Yes, there was worse than dead. Jordan’s sister Maisie had barely escaped it.
“Grub and an
? We’ll be late meeting Coll and your sister.” Coll had recruited troublesome Maisie, and the two of them had fled, as well, also hunted by Chimera. But every night the four of them met Darkside.
“A few minutes won’t kill them.” Jordan’s voice dropped down to a purr. “And it might just save your life.”
If he had to be running again after all these years, it was damn easy with her around. “Be careful. Don’t talk to strangers.”
She opened the door to the studio apartment where they were staying. “I’m a big girl, Mal. I can handle takeout.”
Yes, she could. She seemed a calm and contained person, but he was learning—at his peril—that she was a force to be reckoned with. Soon he’d have to keep up with
She didn’t like to
when she could
. She stirred him up, rocked him deep. The darkness couldn’t reach him when she was nearby.
The door shut behind her, and Rook glanced around the ten-by-ten space. Jordan was a tidy person, so their few belongings were folded or tucked out of sight, and the dishes next to the hot plate were on their shelf. Rook put his tablet on hibernate and slipped it in its sleeve then shoved it under the pillow. He grabbed the wad of cash and stuck it in one of Jordan’s gloves.
They were borrowing the apartment from a friend of a friend of a friend. But someone in that chain must have told Chuck where he could find them. Rook glanced out the window. Chuck knew how to hide himself, too, but Jordan’s leaving would be signal enough that Rook wanted him in and out before she got back.
Sure enough, not a minute later, there was a tap at the door.
“It’s open,” Rook said as he took one of the only two chairs in the place.
Chuck entered. He was leaner than he used to be, his black hair had receded some, but otherwise he had that same quiet, disarming presence that made people overlook him almost anywhere.
Someone else might’ve stood, said welcome, held out a hand, but Rook remained seated. They had history, and he knew better than to play games, even polite ones, with Charles Langer.
Chuck’s eyeballs swiveled to take in the place—mattress on the floor, backpacks neatly lined beside it, ready to go at a moment’s notice.
“When I heard you were back, I had to come see it for myself.”
meant, back in the life of an illegal Rêve trafficker. And Rook wasn’t, not really, though the thought had occurred to him that if he and Jordan were to survive this, some compromises would have to be made, especially if they did one day hope to get a permanent place of their own. With their skills Darkside, they should begin thinking about how they could monetize them without Chimera knowing. Not so long ago, Rook had been a marshal within Chimera. His job had been to track down lawbreakers and identify them for prosecution in the waking world.