THIS TIME (The Grace Allen Series Book Three Paranormal Romance)

BOOK: THIS TIME (The Grace Allen Series Book Three Paranormal Romance)
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This Time

 

Alisha Basso

 

This Time

Published by Alisha Basso

Copyright © 2013 by Alisha Basso

All
rights reserved.

 

All
rights reserved. Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved
above,  no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or
introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form, or by any
means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise) without
prior written permission of both the copyright owner and the above publisher of
this book.

This
is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, brands, media and incidents
are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used
fictitiously.  The author acknowledges the trademark status and trademark
owners of various products referenced in this work of fiction, which have been
used without permission.  The publication/use of these trademarks is not
authorized, associated with, or sponsored by the trademark owners.

Proudly Published in the United States of America

by

Alisha Basso

 

 Cover Art: Ronnell D. Porter,
Ronnelldporter.wix/design

Editing: 
Neeley Bratcher, neeleybratcherediting.com

 

 

 

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

 

***

 

I would like to thank Melissa Cosgrove, her
invaluable support and kindness made this story all that it could be. Her ideas
helped make the good, better and the bad, bad ass. I love you forever my sweet
Cousin.  Kathy Rodriguez, sorry I took you out of the story, you are no longer
a trashy waitress left to die in an alley… I think you will live in the last
installment instead. Thanks for your help, and I love you! And to Cathy Owens.
You are an amazing woman who gave me many wonderful ideas! Thanks for catching
the small stuff. And last and never least a huge thank you goes to Helen
Godbey. You are one of my dearest friends, even though I have never seen you in
person. Thank you for simply everything.

 

 

DEDICATION

 

***

To my
family, sorry for ignoring you and acting like an angry bear while I struggled
to finish. I love you all so very much! 

To
Stevie Yohey, thank you, sweet-pea, for letting me use your name. I hope you
enjoy the story, I love you kid.

PROLOGUE

 

Lucian

 

Everything
I did was for her and now…

So much
blood.

Oh,
God, What have I done?

“Lucian!”
Jamie screamed. “Focus, damn it!” Jamie’s skin was pale. Beads of sweat had
formed across her forehead. “Fuck,” she bawled, “all that blood.”

She leaned
back on her heels, her eyes huge. She made a gurgling sound and pressed her
hand over her mouth. Sweat dripped down the side of her face as her eyes met
mine.

She
swayed.

“Whoa
there, James,” I reached out, “breathe, don’t get sick.”

I’m
gonna be sick
.

My hands
trembled as saliva flooded my mouth. I swallowed and looked past Jamie.

Grace’s
skin had turned gray.

God! It
has only been a few seconds
.

I braced
my hands on the sides of my face, holding in my screams. Fuck, her head looked
wrong. Her silvery blood soaked into the cheap carpeting.

“We have
to move her,” Jamie’s voice gurgled through her sobs, pulling me out of my
thoughts.

This is
all my fault
.

“We can’t
move her.” Panic burned through my blood. “I don’t think, I fucking don’t
know!”

She was
slipping away, I could feel it.
My hands shook as I reached toward her,
I had to check and see how badly she was hurt. I ran my hand down, feeling her
head gently. My hand touched something soft and my fingers slid into a warm and
wet gap. I jerked my hand back, breathing hard. Her skull had shattered. I bent
forward and noticed a large chunk of bone lying in a tangle of her hair.

I felt
dizzy and forced myself to take in a slow breath. My lungs squeezed, shaking my
breath.

“Call
Seth. He can help.”

“Does it
look like I need his fucking help?” I lashed out, without thinking. Jamie
flinched back, her gaze startled. She had no idea what I’d done. No one did. I
looked at my hands. Fisting them, I closed my eyes.

“I’m
sorry.” I sucked in another slow breath. Wiping my hands on my jeans, I sighed.
“I know a spell. I can move her without touching her, James. But we have to
stop the bleeding.”

“Why’d you
do it, Lucian?” Her gaze accused me, filled me with shame. I felt small and
stupid. Fucking pride.

Pride
and jealousy.
Why the fuck else do I do anything?

This was a
new low. The
lowest
.

Shaking my
head, I looked at my hands again. “We need to get her mended.” I stood and
reached for my shirt. Pulling it over my head, I let out a breath. “Alright, go
get Seth. I need to make a call.” 

The door
slammed before I could turn. I moved toward my small potion case. Reaching
inside, I pulled out a tiny vile. A few drops into a sink filled with water was
all I’d need.

The liquid
swirled and spun, forming an image. Then he was there.

“Hello, my
friend!” Gavyn’s cheerful voice rang out from the water. “I never expected to
hear from you so soon.”

“Gavyn,” I
nodded solemnly as his eyes focused on mine. His face registered surprise. The
evidence of my deceit could never be hidden. What I had done to come to
this
would always be glaring out at the world.

Her
blood
.

I had
taken it to make myself something more. Something
better
. Now, I had
taken it again. Spilled it with my arrogance and stupidity. A rush of shame
almost brought me to my knees, and I braced my hands on the sink.

Frowning,
Gavyn glowered. “I see you have made some problems for yourself,” he gently
scolded.

I closed
my eyes and shook my head slowly. “There’s too much to say.” I looked at his
image swirling in the liquid. “But this isn’t about me. Please come now, Grace
is hurt,
badly
.”

My gut
twisted as Gavyn’s face flashed in the water and then instantly, he was by my
side. His ability to travel to our world so suddenly was completely beyond my
understanding and I moved back, allowing him to rush to Grace’s side.

She looked
so frail. He drew her up, his hands working quickly as he struggled to repair
her shattered skull. I watched through tears as his hands turned silver with
blood.

“What did
this?” Gavyn ground out and I went to my knees beside him.

“I did,” I
replied, tears flowing freely as I lifted my chin. “I didn’t know it was her! God,
I hit her with too much magic. It was a mistake.” I watched his hands glow as
he worked, “Please, tell me she can be healed?” I begged.

“This is
severe,” he frowned. “It seems her head was initially just cracked.” He lifted the
small, marble doorstop that I used to hold the door open when it got too hot. “This
seems to fit the hole I feel here,” he moved his fingers and I clenched my
teeth. “Then, it appears the magic you sent into her used that small fissure to
escape,” he continued, frowning as the blood drained from my face. “Thankfully,”
Gavyn rested his hand on my shoulder, his fingers sparkled wet and silver, “she
is blessed with Madea blood. She should heal.”

Steps
thundered close. We both looked up as the door to the garage apartment slammed
into the wall.

Seth.

Ah,
Shit
.

He was the
monster he always hid from her. His face twisted with fury. His hair was long
and wild. I watched as the mirrors he called eyes scanned the room, searching
for her. When he found her, I stood, bracing myself, as his rage-filled scream
pierced my ears.

 Lights
flashed in front of my eyes as his fist connected with my jaw.

Jesus! What
the fuck do you eat?
I wanted to scream as my jaw clicked, slightly unhinged.

“You
stupid, son of a bitch!” his unnaturally loud voice echoed throughout my skull.
“You idiot!
You selfish, fucking, fool!”
He pushed me hard and I
staggered, struggling to stay upright. “You had no right to
take
from
her!”

Holding my
jaw, I shook my head trying to focus my eyes. Seth frowned, then stepped back,
his eyes huge, he moved his jaw from side to side, looking startled.

I fisted
my hands. Rage overwhelmed me at his arrogance. I knew he thought he owned her.
This whole Madea thing was his ace in the hole but she had chosen me. The
bastard used my humanity against me. He had to fucking ruin it.

“Yeah, get
your digs in, but remember you’re the one who always took. You took more from
her than I ever would or ever will. You could have killed her with the things
you’ve put her through!” I shouted.

He
sneered, his lip curling to reveal his hideous fangs. “She lays dying on your
floor you arrogant prick!” He shoved his finger in my face. “And Grace is my
judge, not you! My past does not make your present forgivable. Besides, you
mewling child, the lass feeds
me
freely, yet
you
slink about
stealing scraps!” he spat, raising his fists again.

I flinched
back. He was right. About everything. I lowered my fists. “This isn’t helping
her to heal.” My voice shook as I strained to calm my racing blood. I wanted so
badly to lash out. To beat him down to nothing. I
hated
him. He held her
heart as much as I did.
Perhaps more
.

“I’m
sorry, friends,” Gavyn’s voice broke through our tirade, “she must be moved.”
He stood, Grace cradled in his arms. Her head was wrapped in thick fabric, her
color still a deathly gray.

Feeling
like the ass that I was, I frowned. “Please, let me.” I closed my eyes and
began chanting the spell that would send her instantly to my bedroom. There,
she could heal.

She
disappeared and Seth spun, baring his teeth. I held out my hands before he
could lunge.

“I sent
her to my bed with a simple spell. She needs to rest.” I looked at Gavyn then
slid my eyes to Seth once more. “You’re all welcome to stay.”

“I dinnae
require a fucking invitation from you.” Seth’s shoulders rose and fell with his
angry breaths.
His almost imperceptible accent was getting
thicker and thicker as his anger grew.
I had to admit that he had every right to
be furious with me. I was actually surprised that I was still alive. I let out
a slow breath. Perhaps death was best. But he was no more my judge than I was
his. My sentence would come, and I knew whatever Grace decided to do would be
the end. When that day came, I would try to accept.

She needed
more people around her. I looked at Seth and Gavyn. Jamie was her friend but
she needed more souls by her side. People she loved.

“I think
we should contact Ann. She needs to be here for Grace.” I folded my hands
behind my back, following Gavyn and Seth as we all filed down the stairs to the
driveway.

“I shall
take care of that, my friend,” Gavyn offered as he reached the bottom stair. He
turned and looked at me. He offered a small smile but I knew he thought I was
an irresponsible idiot.

I
completely agree.

“Can you
think of anyone else we should contact?” I asked, my boots crunching in the
gravel and dirt as I moved to catch up. Seth ignored me as he rushed to my
room. My head was swimming in a sea of guilt. I had no idea what I could do to
help. I felt panic well inside my head and slowed my steps. Closing my eyes, I
tried counting backward from one hundred,
anything
to ease my mind.

“You look
as if you are suffering from a bad breakfast,” came a familiar purr from beside
us.  The squeak of his leather jacket, and the puff of charred cologne that
followed as he moved caused the bile to rise in my throat.

I opened
my eyes, suddenly filled with fury. Nothing was worse than Grace’s injury,
except for her trying to heal with the Devil by her side. 

“Lucifer,”
I ground out through my teeth, causing everyone to freeze in their tracks.

“Very
good, my boy,” he bent forward, his nose close to mine. I held my breath as he
examined my face. “Yes, you seem all better. How are you feeling, by the way?”
He arched a perfectly groomed brow and I scowled.

He was no
normal man, no matter how he primped and polished, I sensed his blood. This
thing
was unnatural. Black and oozing evil. He wore a pretty mask, all the better to
hide his taint.

 But not
from me.  

“Thanks to
Grace, I’m just fine now.” I snapped. “What’s it to you?” I fisted my hands.

“Oh,
please, die where you stand,” he smiled and rubbed his hands together. “Now,
where’s the pretty patient?” He smiled again, a great flash of bright, white
teeth. I grimaced as he moved toward the house. His steps were light and
playful, as if this were the best thing that could’ve happened.

Oh dear
Lord, what have I done?

BOOK: THIS TIME (The Grace Allen Series Book Three Paranormal Romance)
11.29Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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