Authors: Shannon Dermott
Tags: #Juvenile Fiction
With a gasp, I awoke and rose like the living dead. I choked on the air in my lungs. The nightmare of Flynn dying clawed at my throat with a scream caught in its grasp. The light of the day still streamed in my window and a quick check of the clock let me know that I’d only slept an hour.
Unable to stop my feet, I was up and out of bed. Then, I headed down the hall. Tears were threatening again and I prayed I wouldn’t run into my mother. She treated me like cracked glass but her cautious care shattered me every time. No one but Maggie knew what I was going through. Even Luke didn’t know, because how could I tell him everything? There was no way I could tell him the last three words Flynn had uttered to me.
My hand curled around the doorknob with white knuckles. It took a long time, me staring at the wood of the door,
before I pushed it open.
The door eased open without a whisper of sound. Light filtered through the windows bathing his still form with light.
With the door closed behind me with care, I crawled into the bed and stretched myself next to him. His splayed arm left a gap for me to curl my body into his. The gentle movements of his chest, the soft breath at my neck, only confirmed that he was sleeping. Tears threatened with every movement so I just listened to him inhale and exhale softly.
His breathing changed just before his arm came around me. Tilting up my head, I saw his eyes were still closed. I let out a relieved sigh, knowing I hadn’t awakened him.
I couldn’t have predicted what happened next even if I’d tried. Before my next thought, I was underneath him. The quickness of the action shocked me. My eyes trained to his, which were still closed. He appeared to be dreaming with me in the cast. My leading role included bare naked skin because his hand was under my shirt and moving up fast. His leg was in between mine, making space for his other one. I opened my mouth to say something to wake him, but his mouth descended on mine. His tongue searched for my tonsils. Only a gasp escaped me before I had a moment of clarity to shift my arm and place my hands on his bare chest. Only a bandage stopped my entire palm from touching his heated skin. When his hand skimmed just below my braless chest, my reason came back to me. I shoved. Flynn’s eyes popped open even before he landed on the bed beside me.
My labored breathing was a confession that he’d affected me. My cheeks flamed as the air from our movements reminded me that my shirt was pushed up well past respectable limits. Taking the hem, I tugged hard to cover my exposed skin to my thighs.
“Mercy,” Flynn finally said, hoarse and sultry. Turning to meet his gaze, I saw shock before it all dissolved into anger. “What the fuck are you doing here?”
Okay, I hadn’t been expecting that. “I–” I tried to say.
“You need to leave,” he demanded.
“But,” I sputtered. The tears that had threatened before spilled from my eyes and I felt even more foolish. What I wanted to say was ‘
Aren’t we friends
I was worried about you.
I’m scared after what happened.
’ Instead, as I scooted off the mattress onto my feet in shame, I uttered, “You said you loved me.” My words were whispers.
In a rush of sudden movement, my body was pressed to the wall. He looked down on me with menace in his eyes. With a free hand, I wiped the remnants of stray tears and lifted my chin. I’d come in friendship and if he didn’t accept it, then it was his loss.
Glowering at me, he said in a cold voice, “I thought I was dying. I didn’t mean it.”
Pain lanced my chest. A feeling of betrayal grew there. I wouldn’t argue the point. I wouldn’t ask why in death, he would he choose to lie about something like that. “You’re such a jerk,” I lashed out.
“Yeah, you’re a tease.” His face was less than an inch from mine. The hand that cupped my chin and stroked my cheek belied his words. There was tenderness there. But his other hand went to my thigh and it was my body’s turn to betray me. Heat from the warmth of his hand on my bare thigh turned me into a puddle of lust.
Slapping one hand away from my leg and then the other from my face while I still held reason, I said, “I am not a tease. You’re misinterpreting my actions. You nearly died for me. But don’t think anything has changed between us. Your tenacity will always lead you to a dead end. You’re vulgarity is a laughable defensive mechanism. I came because I care not because I want you.”
Amusement filled his expression but it was the cold sort. “You may lie to yourself, but you can’t lie to me.”
“Whatever,” I said, trying to push him away. But he was an unmovable force that repelled my attempt to put space between us.
As if to prove he was in control, he stepped into me. He put a hand on my waist and the other on the wall next to my head. Leaning in, his intention was clear; he was going to kiss me. This was the moment where I should turn my face. Yet I didn’t.
Brushing past my lips, his mouth was at my ear. “Luke is my best friend.” There was a small pause as if to punctuate that statement. “He saved my sorry ass again. And I won’t have you coming in here trying to tempt me.”
My jaw dropped. I had so not come in here to have sex with him. Yet, I could still taste him on my tongue from the kiss on the bed. The burn of his hand still lingered on my body. The pulse of him had been pressed against me sending shouts of excitement all over me.
My brain was fogged in a haze of him. His next words jolted me to the present. “You need to leave and don’t come in my room dressed like that unless you want me act like the demon I am. Go back to your virginal room and stay the hell out of mine,” he chided.
With a shove, he pushed himself off the wall. When he took a step away from me, for a second I missed barricade of heated flesh that had held me in place. With a closed mouth and narrowed eyes, I walked the plank of shame. I didn’t even slam the door as I left. It would only make his day to know he’d pissed me off.
Through the door, I heard him say quietly, “One, four, three,” but I had no idea what that meant. What I did know was that he’d kicked me out. No jokes and no two hundred dollars for passing go.
Besides earning his scorn, I’d noticed his bandage was stained red by the time I’d left. His man handling of me caused him to bleed and I had no idea why. He should have been healed by now.
Still standing in the empty hallway outside his door, I looked at the rug that ran down the middle. I couldn’t stay here, so I willed my feet forward. My current course would lead me to my room at the end. The other option was the stars. They weren’t too far from me and would lead me further away from the stupid mistake I’d made.
Looking down at what little I wore, I knew he was right. It had been dumb for me to go to him dressed as I had been. But I’d left without a thought except the need to remind myself he was still alive. I headed in my ‘virginal’ bedroom. My teeth ground together. I wanted to curse him and the day he was born. I wanted to tell him what a fool I’d been for thinking he had a heart. Instead, I let the last of my tears fall because they would be the last. No more crying over Flynn McCallister. No way, no how.
With the back of my hand, I swiped at my face hard and rubbed at the stains of my stupidity until they were gone. Looking in the mirror, my cheeks, eyes and nose were red. It looked like I had a cold or yeah, like I’d been crying.
Thinking about how I’d shut my door with a resounding thwack, I hoped my mother didn’t come in for one of her “chats.” We’ve had a lot of them lately. I wasn’t in the mood for any ‘Julie-isms.’ She had her time to share and yet she’d kept me in the dark. And now, everything was like a tangled necklace with no reasonable way to undo it.
My hand went to my throat to finger the puffy heart on the necklace that Luke gave me. I missed him and needed him now.
The silence was suffocating instead of calming. For the past couple of weeks, I’d been a wreck. Flynn was obviously not one hundred percent. Luke and Nina may have saved his sorry life, but they weren’t able to fix him, not completely. He’d been like a baby bird unable to fly out of the nest. A hospital was not an option because how could we explain his injuries? And much to his disdain, he hadn’t been able to “feed” either. Therefore, his healing was slow. After seeing him now, I realized it had been even slower than I’d thought.
His inability to feed gave me more answers to what it was like to be a Cambion. I’d learned that Incubi had an ability that Succubi did not. And poor Flynn had to resort to those other means to survive. Breaking headline news: an Incubus was able to step into the dreams of others and feed through that tether. It was something I should have known that I didn’t. And Flynn wasn’t a happy camper about that option. Based on his mood today, he was taking out some of his frustrations on me. David wore his “father pants” and wasn’t giving in to Flynn for once. He wouldn’t let him out of the house because of the demon hunter problem. He feared that in Flynn’s weakened state he wouldn’t survive a surprise attack.
Missing school and not having sex were making the resident bad boy more than grumpy. Okay, maybe not the former but certainly the latter—not being able to screw everything that walked. I felt like an idiot feeling sorry for him. And I may have blown the stupid SAT test for the licentious bastard.
Face planting on my pillow, I screamed my frustrations about my life, my decisions and my circumstance. The muffled expletives didn’t help me feel any better. I was confused about everything. If only I could forget. And why did I care? Flynn was right about another thing: Luke. I loved Luke with all my heart and he didn’t deserve to share my heart with someone else. So why couldn’t I expunge Flynn, the idiot from my head?
My phone, on vibrate, skimmed across my nightstand like it was alive. I heard it tip over the edge and fall onto the floor where it continued to buzz in that weird insect like way. It stopped but I didn’t move. My curiosity wasn’t enough to get me to pick up my phone. I figured anyone important enough could get me. They would know Flynn or my mom’s number. Otherwise, it could wait.
My resolve crumpled when I thought of Maggie. She’d been nothing but a great a friend and I’d barely passed in that area lately. I rolled and bungee tossed myself without a cord off the side of the bed. I landed on my butt, my body tucked in itself in a way that was Olympic worthy. My fingers combed through the carpet at a crawls pace to reach the hateful device. Just when my fingers curled around it, it whistled in my hand. I dropped it, startled by the message alert.
Shaking my head, I gathered my wits. I was just stretching to reach it when a pair of feet appeared before me. My gaze traveled from the worn black combat boots, to legs that looked strong, to a skirt. I nearly shook my head, because the hairy legs didn’t look feminine. So I puzzled past the pleated skirt that was low on this guy’s waist, to a white shirt plastered to a well-toned muscled chest. Then I looked at his face. Yes, the face and I knew that guy who wore the smirk. Running a hand through his thick black hair, he grinned at me knowing I’d appreciate the view. A couple of steps forward and I’d been able to look up his skirt. Or was that called kilt?
“Stop drooling,” he said. His Scottish brogue came through loud and clear. He’d made sure of that.
“In your dreams,” I scoffed, leaning back on my bed. My neck was cranked back to look up at him. He stood with legs slightly spread, arms folded, and muscles tense. I’m no floozy, but it was really hard not to notice just how well-made he was. Satan’s second in command didn’t create an ugly boy. No, he gifted Sebastian with a dollop of sugar, gobs of spice, and all things that made him really nice to look at.
The corner of his mouth tilted up. “Your eyes say an all too different tune.”
I covered my eyes and mentally checked to ensure that the demon that lived within me hadn’t taken control. I was still in control though. He laughed as if he knew what I was thinking. “Just go,” I spat, annoyed with myself and all the darn boys around me. I felt like a fool, wondering if my human hormones were on overdrive.
My phone decided to get in on the conversation and buzzed, as though the tension between Sebastian and I had caused it to crackle. I spotted it dead center under the skirt that created the ring of shadow that surrounded it. Lifting a brow as if to challenge me, I moved forward bending my body to reach for the phone. Once it was in hand, Sebastian said, “Blue looks good on you.”
That is when I felt the air on my back. My shirt had ridden up to reveal my blue underwear as I leaned forward towards Sebastian to reach my phone with my chest pressed to the floor. Groaning, I turned my head up to spear him with my laser beam eyes, and instead I got a view up the skirt. And I found out Sebastian was a ‘true Scotsman’. Sitting up quickly at my faux pas, my head somehow caught the hem of the skirt and I was locked for a second like a ghost in plaid between his legs.
Reaching up with my eyes closed, I snatched the offending fabric from the back of my head, and pushed back to get to my feet. Chuckling, Sebastian got a thrill out of my blushing cheeks. His eyes took in the only material that covered me.
“Ye bonnie lass,” he grinned. “You could have looked.”
Groaning, I pointed. “Get out of my room.”
“Aye, you should know Luke wanted me to bring you to him.” His words thick with brogue stilled me. Luke needed me. I needed to see him. Somehow, I felt like my hormones and my demon were all out of whack because I didn’t get to see a lot of him these days. Shaking his head, he said, “You should have left him well enough alone. Now—” He didn’t have to finish. I knew. I’d damned Luke.
Stepping into my comfort zone, he sniffed the air and said, “Flynn.” I stepped back, maybe out of guilt. I wasn’t sure. But I didn’t like his tone. His fathomless blue eyes settled on my like a missile guidance system. The cold steel stare was empty of anything good. “It’s just who you are. What do ye call it? Chemistry. But not in a lover’s way. Maybe it’s biology. Aye, that’s it. It will never work.”
“What are you talking about?” I said trying to step aside, but was pushed back to sit on my bed. He hadn’t given an inch to me since he showed up. I pulled down on my shirt, trying to hide my thighs and resisted the urge to look at him head on, as his crotch was all but in my face.
Unable to resist the pull, I again looked up to him like a small child, head craned back. “He likes who he is, Kayla. He’s okay being an incubus. You don’t want to be a succubus. He will never stop taking his willing prey. You, however, are a contradiction in your purity for what you are.” By the end his words lost his heavy accent. He was back to speaking more American English with only the barest hint of Scottish accent.
“What am I?” I said, through gritted teeth. And honestly, I wanted to know. He was right. I was a virgin succubus, an oxymoron, because I didn’t need to feed to survive. So what the hell was I?
He opened his mouth. Then he seemed to stop himself. When he barked a laugh, I raised my arms and pushed at his thighs seeking relief from his impressive presence. Like a boulder, he didn’t budge.
Instead, his hands captured my wrist and tumbled us on the bed. My phone had fallen from my grasp, landing softly on the bed. His mouth was in between my mouth and my ear. His skirt, kilt, whatever you want to call it, had ridden up.
Wiggling might not have been the best idea, however, I needed out from under him. “When will you stop fighting me? If you actually thought things through, you would see that I’ve been the one keeping you alive. Me. And my patience is wearing thin. I have not pressed you like the others. I haven’t called your demon and you know she responds to me. Yet, I’ve never taken advantage. And still you look at me this way.”
Rolling my head to the side, I tried to hide my embarrassment from the truth in his words. “I don’t know what you want from me.” Okay, maybe that was a partial lie, but it felt like the right thing to say. “Just take me to Luke,” I said weakly, knowing he held all the advantage.
Using his demon powers beyond my understanding, we were suddenly standing, his arms securely around me. The disorientation of being sucked out of one existence and into another was upon me. When the world wind of color coalesced, I was standing in a library with nothing but my skivvies to cover me.