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Authors: Charlotte Boyett-Compo

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BOOK: Spring Wind [Seasonal Winds Book 1]
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had been trailing him the day before had done so without

detection, but that had been far from the truth. The Modartha

had been aware of every step his trackers had made. He also

knew Doyle had been one of the men trailing him and that

Doyle wanted him dead.

"No more than I want you dead, you treasonous viper,"

Van muttered as he kicked at the boot of one of the dead

men.

He could feel her eyes on him and glanced up at her

building. She was standing at her living area window with the

drape pushed aside. He hoped she hadn't seen him

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by Charlotte Boyett-Compo

dispatching the men who'd been sent after him but he also

knew it might well be her who helped do the autopsies on the

men.

She held his stare for a moment then left the drape fall

back into place, cutting her off from his view.

It was more personal now, he thought as he struck out for

the street where he had parked his turbo-powered

motorcycle. Doyle wanted Bailey and that just made the

hackles rise on Van's back. Throwing a long leg over the seat,

he turned on the bike and revved it up, disregarding the early

hour and the pedestrians who covered their ears with their

hands. He heeled the kick-stand up, gave the machine gas,

and peeled out of the parking spot as the meat wagon arrived

to clean up the mess he left behind.

* * * *

Bailey looked down at the two bodies passing on the

gurneys and knew they were the ones who had met their

ends at the hands of her Modartha. That she could think of

him in that way surprised her.

"Witnesses said they jumped him outside your building and

he dispatched them without breaking a sweat," Striker said.

"I gotta ask, Bailes..."

"Don't," she said, knowing he wanted to find out why the

Modartha was at her complex.

Striker shrugged, holding up his hands. "Okay. I'm

copasetic."

For the rest of the day, she did her job and at the end of

the shift, she turned to find her supervisor, Ian Dougherty,

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by Charlotte Boyett-Compo

standing in the doorway. He motioned her to follow him.

Wondering what she'd done now to incur Dougherty's

displeasure, she took off her leather apron and followed him

down the corridor to his office.

"Shut the door," he ordered before seating himself in the

chair behind his desk.

Bailey eased the door closed then turned to face him.

Dougherty was a misanthrope. He much preferred the dead to

the living, for the dead did not cause him grief. He especially

didn't like women and thought they had no place in the

forensic science field.

"I understand congratulations are in order," Dougherty

said though an expression of such an emotion did not reach

his black eyes.

"He was here?" she asked, a muscle flexing in her jaw.

Dougherty leaned back in his chair. "One of his men came

by with the news. The colonel was otherwise occupied. If you

will clean out your locker, we can finalize your employment. I

will, of course, have your last pay credits forwarded to your

banking institution."

It wasn't that she liked her job all that much. It was simply

a way to make money and it was better than the other jobs

her uncle had acquired for her over the years. She knew she

would never have to work another day in her life if that was

what she wanted. Modartha pay scales were off the radar.

"That will be fine. I'll come back tomorrow with a box to

get my stuff," she managed to say and stood up. She realized

that Dougherty was acting uncharacteristically polite to her.

Normally, he would be growling at her. The perks of which

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by Charlotte Boyett-Compo

Byrne spoke were already manifesting themselves. "Is that

all?"

Dougherty nodded. "You've been a good employee and

your work will be missed," he told her, unable to look up at

her now.

"Thank you, Supervisor Dougherty," she said and left his

office. As she shut the door, she felt a giddy elation she

thought might well be freedom. It was so foreign, she had a

hard time adjusting to it.

Doyle was waiting outside the building for her again and

Bailey came to a stop, staring at him with fear. She looked

around—expecting the Modartha to step out of the

lengthening shadows of the nearby building.

"I need to talk to you, Bailey," Doyle said.

"You shouldn't be here," she said and hurried down the

ramp way.

"It won't take long," the Resistance leader said.

"Just like it won't take you long to die."

Bailey jumped and snapped her head around. Her eyes

widened for the Modartha was standing directly behind Doyle

and there was murderous rage in the man's silvery glare.

Doyle spun around, his hand going to the dagger at his

hip. He slashed out with the blade but the Modartha stepped

back casually and a lethal smile formed on his lips. He drew

his own weapon from the black leather sheath strapped to his

thigh and for the first time Bailey realized Van Byrne was lefthanded.

"You want to play, Doyle," Van said, giving the Resistance

leader a come-on gesture with index and middle fingers of his

45

Spring Wind [Seasonal Winds Book 1]

by Charlotte Boyett-Compo

right hand. "Let's do it." He crouched and when Doyle sprang

at him again, the Modartha blocked the jab then Byrne's

blade flashed, slicing a long line across Doyle's tan shirt and

drawing blood.

Bailey had backed up against the wall as she watched the

two men fighting. It was obvious from the start who would

win the duel. Van moved gracefully, easily, and he parried the

wild, undisciplined sweeps Doyle sent his way with offhand

skill. As the men circled one another—looking for an

opening—she became aware of people having stopped to

watch the fight. The public transportation bus had stopped at

the curb and its riders were pressed against the large

windows. On the morgue's loading ramp, employees were

gathered. Two Portal Police cruisers had arrived and the

drivers were standing together with their arms crossed.

Doyle leapt toward his opponent and the Modartha stepped

out of the way, bringing the edge of his right hand down hard

on Doyle's wrist. Doyle's web fell out of his numb hand and

before he could go after it, the Modartha had backhanded him

viciously across the face. Stumbling, Doyle went down hard,

skidding on the pavement,and a collective gasp rang out from

the watchers. Before the Resistance leader could scramble to

his feet, his opponent whirled around behind him, reached

down to grab a handful of Doyle's sandy brown hair and then

drew Doyle's head back, obsidian blade placed at the

defeated man's throat.

"No!" Bailey shouted. She rushed forward. "Milord, please,

don't!"

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Spring Wind [Seasonal Winds Book 1]

by Charlotte Boyett-Compo

Van turned his head slowly to look at her. She could see

the bloodlust on his hard face. He growled at her with his lips

peeled back from his teeth. His hand tightened in Doyle's

hair.

"Please?" she beseeched him, hand out in pleading.

The Modartha hesitated. He glanced down at his opponent

then back up at Bailey. He was barely breathing hard but

Doyle was dragging harsh gulps of air into his lungs.

Bailey ventured a step closer. "Please," she said softly.

With a snarl of disgust, Van released his grip on Doyle's

hair and stepped back. He nodded at the Portal Police who

rushed forward to arrest the Resistance leader. Taking hold of

Doyle's arms, they dragged him toward one of the cruisers.

The other policeman began ordering the onlookers to be

about their business.

"There's nothing else to see," the Portal Policeman

snapped. "Move on."

The transportation bus released its brakes and slowly

pulled away from the curb. The morgue's evening employees

went back inside the forbidding building. Pedestrians who had

stopped scurried away, not even bothering to glance behind

them.

Watching Doyle being shoved into the back of a cruiser,

Bailey knew the man was as good as dead. The Slándáil

Phoiblí would issue his death warrant and before the week

was out, Kona Doyle would be hanged in the Central Plaza.

She saw him looking at her with hopelessness from the

cruiser's window as it drove away.

47

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by Charlotte Boyett-Compo

"It's a full moon tonight," he said as he re-sheathed his

blade. "I won't come to you again until the danger has

passed."

"I understand," she said and wondered why she ached to

sweep the dark hair back from his forehead. By rights, she

should be fearful of him but she realized her unease was

slowly evaporating.

"I would like the Joining to be the seventeenth of this

month, at midnight, of course." For the first time, he looked

at her with just a trace of uncertainty. "Is that all right with

you?"

She nodded. "I've no problem with that, Milord."

"Van," he said a little too quickly.

"Van," she said and looked down at the pavement.

He cleared his throat. "Attendants?" he queried and when

she lifted her head, he shrugged. "Guests?"

"My uncle and my co-worker Nate Striker," she said. "I

would like them to be there."

"Striker?" he repeated with his eyes narrowed. "The halfman?"

"Striker, my friend," she corrected, chin raised.

His lips twitched. "Will he be your maid-of-honor, then?"

Bailey started to protest his insult, but realized he was

teasing her and that surprised her. She saw glints of humor in

his silver eyes. A faint smile pulled at her mouth. "He will be

my only attendant," she stated. "My uncle will give me away.

Who will be your best man?"

He thought about that for a moment. "My little brother

Patrick."

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Spring Wind [Seasonal Winds Book 1]

by Charlotte Boyett-Compo

"All right," she agreed.

"That was easy to settle," he said, blowing out a breath.

"Did you think it wouldn't be?" she countered.

"I really didn't know what to think," he replied. "This is all

new to me."

"Just as it's new to me," she said.

"Then we'll learn together," he prophesied. He reached

down and took her hand. "My bike is around the corner. I'll

give you a lift home."

She didn't protest that she wanted to walk, even though

she did. She'd seen him riding hell-out on his motorcycle and

wasn't that keen on climbing aboard the dangerous looking

machine. When she saw it up close, she was even less

inclined to want to take a ride on the powerful thing.

"I don't know," she said without thinking.

"I'll go slowly," he said.

"Can it
go
slow?" she countered as he helped her to sit on

the steel gray motorcycle.

"It's like me and doesn't like to, but when needed, it can

go very slow," he said in a husky voice that sent shivers into

her lower body. He put his leg over the tank then took his

seat. "Put your arms around me, wench."

"Bailey," she automatically corrected and slid her arms

around his lean waist.

"I rather like calling you wench," he said as he turned on

the potent machine nestled between his long legs.

"I'd rather you didn't," she said.

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He shrugged and leaned back so their bodies were pressed

closer together. He released the clutch and the engine shot

away from the curb like a rocket.

"Van!" she shouted, burying her cheek against his back

and squeezing her eyes shut. "That's not slow!"

She felt the rumble of his laughter coming from his back

rather than heard it. She listened as the machine went

through its gears then when it was at what she reasoned

must be its cruising speed she felt his left hand cover hers

where they rested on his belly. He caressed her fingers gently

for a moment then returned his hand as he banked the bike

around a corner.

There was power between her legs that she could feel and

it was doing strange things to her body. With her cheek

pressed to her Modartha's back, she could think of him in no

other way now, she could sense the coiled power of him. His

back was strong and as he breathed, she could feel the ridged

muscles of his belly. The two stimuli were playing havoc with

her libido.

She eased back from him so she could see where they

were. He disdained the use of a helmet and his dark hair

fluttered in the wind, a few strands flying back to tickle her

cheek as she leaned her chin on his shoulder. They were only

a few hundred yards from her apartment complex and she

sighed, wishing the ride could last longer. Almost as though

BOOK: Spring Wind [Seasonal Winds Book 1]
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