Authors: Jessica Roe
Other Titles by Jessica Roe
Because of Him
THE GUARDIANS BOOK 2
2015 Jessica Roe
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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 trademarked 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.
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For those of you who read Undone,
And asked for more of Sacha
“Shut up! You were not a pirate, I don't believe you.” Gable laughed so hard her stomach ached as Pablo recounted stories from his past. She threw her legs over the arm of her chair, shaking her head in disbelief.
On the other side of his desk, Pablo leaned back and watched her with fond eyes, his body framed by the dark night sky and the bright city lights outside his large office window behind him. “It's true.” His smile shined with genuine warmth. “In the late fifteen century and early sixteenth. I was captain before I turned even thirty.” His easy expression faded. “It was aboard ship I met the wretched sea witch who cursed me with immortal life.”
She didn't like the turn in his mood; she wanted to see him happy again. “Did you have a pirate name?”
That brought the laughter back to his eyes. “A pirate name? You mean like Captain Hook?”
“Or Long John Silver.”
“No, I had no pirate name – that I was aware of. I was just Pablo. Or Captain Nunez.”
Gable sighed. “You never told me any of this before.”
“Things are different now,” he replied simply, lifting his shoulder in a very European one sided shrug.
She furrowed her brow, confused. “Different how?”
Looking at her sadly, he stood in silence and moved around the desk to stand before her. As always he looked like he could have stepped right out of the pages of a catalog. His clean, white shirt was without a single crease, his olive skin flawless, his black hair combed back smoothly and not a strand out of place.
He pulled her to her feet and embraced her, holding her to his chest with strong arms. But. . .something was missing. He was lacking any human warmth and his familiar spicy smell was noticeably absent. He was just. . .cold.
Pulling away, Gable gasped as he stumbled and held up a hand to his chest. A red spot appeared behind his fingers, blooming, spreading out across his shirt.
“No,” she whispered, staring down at her hands. They were soaked in blood. In
“How could you do this?” he begged. She looked up into his haunted eyes. “How could you do this to me?” And then his face began to twist, contort. It became lined, monstrous, and his eyes glowed a demonic red. “You betraying BITCH!”
Gable awoke with a start, sitting up and clutching her chest. Her heart pounded furiously beneath her fingers. It took her long, agonizing seconds to realize she was no longer dreaming, that Pablo was no longer with her. It took her a moment longer to remember where she even was. Terelle's silk sheets brushed against her skin, providing a small amount of comfort, and the moon glowed softly through a gap in the bedroom curtains. The antique clock on the bedside table read four am.
Next to her, a sleepy Terelle stirred and Gable felt an immediate pang of guilt. She'd been staying with Terelle for the two weeks it had been since Pablo's death, but because of Gable's nightmares, her poor fallen faerie friend wasn't getting much sleep.
“Go back to sleep,” Gable whispered. “Everything's fine.”
Terelle blinked, rubbing her eyes. She rolled over and sat up on her elbow. “Did you have another nightmare?” How was it fair that not a strand of her hair was out of place? When Gable slept, her dark hair became unruly and wild.
“Yeah.” She sighed and flopped back down onto the plush pillow.
“Who was it this time? Pablo or Sacha?”
As usual, the sound of her werewolf best friend's name sent waves of pain straight to her already aching heart. He'd been missing for a year and it was just. . .unbearable. Even worse was the fact that he'd been kidnapped by the man she'd once come to think of as a father. An evil immortal father, sure, but a father nonetheless. “Pablo,” she confirmed. “But. . .I don't know, this one felt kinda real. He told me things about his life he'd never told me before, and then he went all. . .demonic. Do you think it really could've been him?”
Terelle pursed her lips as she contemplated. “Well. . .he's most certainly in Hell, that I can say for sure. And we know that souls sent to Hell all end up as demons eventually.”
Gable rubbed her hands over her face and groaned. “How is he doing this?”
“Just remember that he can't really get to you, not physically.” She reached over and threaded her long fingers through Gable's, squeezing reassuringly. “He's in Hell and that's where he's staying. But he was powerful in life, and it only makes sense he'd be powerful in death also. It's possible he's found a way to reach out and connect with your mind. He was closer to you than anyone else, after all.”
“Oh God, I'm never sleeping again. He's like. . . What was that creepy ass film with the dude who killed all those people in their dreams?” Gable clicked her fingers triumphantly. “Freddy Krueger.”
“Come on! Freddy Krueger. Freddy Krueger!”
“Repeating his name over and over isn't going to make me recognize him.”
“Jeez, buy a TV or somethin'.”
Terelle pushed her newly acquired bangs out of her eyes. At night time, the rings of violet in her brown eyes seemed to glow. “
, try not to worry. Tomorrow we'll have Cadby break the connection and block him from ever entering your mind again. It shouldn't be too hard.”
Gable nodded, though the image of Pablo's nightmarish face had left her chilled to the bone and she didn't think she'd ever feel warm again. She'd done that to him. She'd sent him to Hell. It was all her fault. And though logically she knew it had needed to be done in order to save the world. . .her heart didn't seem to be getting the message.
And there was something she'd never admit to Terelle – never admit to anyone. She
him. She missed Pablo. She missed the way he'd taken care of her, the way she'd been able talk to him about so many things, and the way he'd shown her every inch of the world. He'd been an evil, murdering, kidnapping bastard, and she missed him.
She was so screwed up.
But even worse than the nightmares of Pablo covered in his own blood were those of Sacha, locked away in some unknown prison; alone, abandoned, lost. She both prayed for those nightmares just for a glimpse of him, yet dreaded them with all her heart.
It was way too early when Gable was next awoken from her (mercifully) dreamless sleep. Six am too early.
Moaning, she reached out for her horribly loud cell phone – seriously, was it always so loud? – and wondered which asshole could possibly be calling at such a crappy hour.
Ah, that asshole.
“Are you awake?” Walker demanded as soon as Gable reluctantly picked up, which was kind of a redundant question with her answering the phone and all.
She glanced over her shoulder but Terelle, always an early riser, was already gone. “No hello?” she asked Walker cheerfully. “No good morning? No how do you do?”
Walker sighed disdainfully. Man, that chick had a stick shoved so far up her ass it'd be wedged in there for life. “We're meeting up today. I was making sure you hadn't forgot.”
“Of course I didn't forget. I get to spend the whole day with you; the thought makes me all tingly and warm inside. Hey, maybe after we're done we could braid each others hair and swap BFF bracelets?”
“Are you even out of bed yet?”
“No. It's barely morning and I'm not insane.”
Walker snorted in dislike. “I seriously don't know why we have to work with you, you're unbearable.”
Yeah, Walker and Gable were never going to be friends. Or acquaintances. Or two people who could be in the same room without wanting to punch each other in the face.
Gable threw an arm over her tired eyes. “I object to this phone call on several levels. One, I don't like you. Two. . . Okay, there's only one level.”
“Just be ready in an hour.” And then the bitch hung up.
Nicky handed her a coffee in a to-go cup when he and his merry bunch of misfits picked her up outside Yarmac & Bogely's in a large, black Cadillac Escalade an hour later.
“Thanks,” she murmured gratefully. At least she thought she did – she was still half asleep.
He smiled charmingly at her, and if she'd been any other girl then that handsome Italian face would have melted her right on the spot, but she'd known him way too long and she knew all his tricks. So she rolled her eyes and looked away, ignoring the warmth in her chest – it wasn't like she was
“Don't spill it,” Charles warned from the front seat as he started up the car, sounding just like the stuffy English guy he was. “The car interior is a horror to clean. Just ask Nicky.”
“Hey,” he protested next to her. “You didn't
I couldn't eat chili dogs in here.”
“That's because I didn't think you'd get mustard everywhere like a child.”
Zay sniggered from the passenger seat. On Nicky's other side sat Walker, probably pouting. She was always pouting over something – usually Gable. The other two NYCGD Guardian Keepers – Gable didn't remember their names, but they were kind of nerdy – weren't with them.
She still couldn't quite believe she was working with these people, these. . .Guardians. Ugh. Protectors of humans and Outcasts, these guys took themselves
too seriously. But they were searching for the missing Outcasts Pablo had taken and so was she, and she'd figured she'd learn more with their help and resources. But it had been a fortnight and they were still no closer to finding them, or finding out the identity of Pablo's partner in the whole scheme. Most importantly, Gable was no closer to finding Sacha. Like it or not, the New York City Guardian Division were kind of her best hope, though it didn't mean she had to like them, or them her. However it
amusing watching a desperate Nicky trying to force them all to make nice.
The only real lead they had was Zebb and Uang, Pablo's two most trusted henchmen. They had been suspiciously absent from the big fight the night Gable had killed Pablo at his hotel, The Serpent, and they'd been missing ever since. Then there was Chase, Pablo's assistant, a sweet guy who'd been in way over his head. Gable just knew that Zebb and Uang had him. She shuddered to think what those two sadistic losers were doing to him.
“I still don't get why we have to be up this early,” Nicky grumbled. He slouched against her shoulder and yawned. She knew she should probably push him away – he was constantly finding ways to touch her, to be near her, and she didn't like to encourage him – but she was tired and sleepy and he smelled really good, like aftershave and morning air and pure
, so she let him lean.
“Because we have a lot of contacts to question today,” Charles answered huffily, like an annoyed parent. “Ours and Terelle's and Gable's. We've been over this already at least three times, Nicky. Do wake up and pay attention.”
Nicky just grunted in response, and less than a minute later, Gable heard him snore on her shoulder.
“Bloody nincompoop,” Charles muttered.
“What's a nincompoop?” she asked. “Is that English slang?”
“No,” Zay called back to her. “It's old guy slang.”
Their contacts turned out to be useless. Not one of them knew anything about the missing Outcasts, and they knew even less about where Zebb and Uang might be hiding.
It had been a long day, a
long day, and they had one last contact of Gable's to visit before calling it quits for the night.
“I don't know why we're bothering,” Walker commented unhelpfully. Spending an entire day with
her had been a whole new kind of torture, one they should bottle up and use on terrorists. It was a miracle Gable hadn't pulled a gun on her. Yet. “He'll probably be as useless as her.” It was a really good thing Nicky was sat between them.