Authors: Shea MacLeod
Tags: #Teen Paranormal
Kissed by Ice
Sunwalker Saga, Book Five
Copyright © 2014 Shéa MacLeod
Published 2014 by Sunwalker Press, Clackamas, OR, USA
All Rights Reserved
Cover art: Amanda Kelsey of Razzle Dazzle Designs
Editor: Theo Fenraven
Proof Reading: Jenx Byron
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This book is a work of fiction. People, places, events, and situations are the product of the author's imagination. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or historical events, is purely coincidental.
A big THANK YOU to Bonne, Ed, and Xtine who read one form of this story or another and gave me their honest (and sometimes brutal) feedback. If it wasn't for you, this book wouldn't be half as good.
A thanks to my super awesome cover artist, editor, and proof reader who put their hearts and souls into their work. You guys are awesome!
And, of course, a super big thank you to my family and friends, who put up with my foibles and fripperies on a semi-daily basis. Without your love and support, I'd have never gotten this far.
This book is dedicated to those who give their lives every day to protect us from the monsters. Thank you just doesn't seem like enough.
I'd just stepped out of the shower in my Paris hotel room when my laptop chimed. Someone was trying to Skype me. I quickly threw on my robe and wrapped my hair in a towel before answering the call.
"Eddie!" I smiled as his face appeared on my screen. The connection was a little iffy, the picture and sound freezing and jumping around. "How are you? Aren't you on that steampunk cruise in the Caribbean?" Eddie Mulligan, my friend and the owner of a new age shop in Portland, was a steampunk enthusiast. I hadn't expected to hear from him while he was on his cruise.
"Yes, in the Bahamas. Morgan, listen carefully. I…" The image froze for a second. "… danger. Discovered…" It froze again, this time for longer. I uselessly thumped the side of my screen as if it might help.
"Eddie? Are you there?"
"Need…help. Come quickly…dead."
"What? Eddie? Oh my gods, what's happening?"
There was a bit more jumping around of the screen, and then it zoomed in on one of Eddie's bespectacled eyes. "Hurry, Morgan. If you don't, we're all dead."
With that, the connection dropped entirely. No matter what I tried, I couldn't get him back.
I stared at the blank screen before giving myself a mental kick in the pants. I had to get to the Bahamas as fast as I could. I started running around the room, grabbing my things and throwing them randomly in my suitcase.
Airport. I needed to get to the airport. I could use the private plane Jack and I had taken to France. What island? I needed to find out where the ship was and fly to the nearest island. But what cruise line had Eddie taken?
Jack. I needed Jack.
I dashed out my door and down the hall to pound on his door. "Jack. Jack! Are you in there?" There was no answer. "Dammit."
I ran back to my room and grabbed my phone. I noticed I had a voicemail, but I didn't take the time to listen. I needed to find out where Eddie was. Before I could dial, it rang. I frowned, not recognizing the number. I did recognize the country code, though. It was someone in the UK.
"Morgan? This is Drago."
"Drago, hi. Listen…"
"I need you to come to Scotland as quickly as possible."
"I can't." I tossed a boot into my suitcase, then pulled it back out when I realized I'd need to wear it. "I have to catch a flight…"
"Yes, you do. To Edinburgh as fast as you can." I heard the urgency in his voice, and my blood ran cold.
"What's wrong, Drago?"
"What is it? What's wrong with Inigo?" I gripped the phone so tightly I could hear the plastic cracking in protest.
"Just come, Morgan. Quickly."
"What's wrong with Inigo?" I practically yelled into the phone. Drago didn't hear me. He'd already hung up, leaving me about five seconds from a full-blown panic attack.
Screaming just about every cuss word I knew, I continued throwing random items in my suitcase. I knew I was freaking out, but I didn't know what to do about it. Eddie was somewhere in the Bahamas dying or something. The love of my life was lying in a death coma in the Highlands of Scotland from which he may or may not ever emerge. I needed to be in two places at once, and my so-called Sunwalker guardian, Jack, was nowhere to be found. I let out another shriek of frustration as I slammed my bag closed and zipped it shut. What the hell was I going to do?
Deep breath, Morgan. Deep breath. I forced myself to think somewhat logically. Kabita, my best friend and boss at the so-called private investigation firm where we both worked (it was in reality a front for our true activities: hunting vampires, demons, and other things that went bump in the night.), was still back in Portland, and she was a hell of a lot closer to the Bahamas than I was, so I dialed her number.
"Do you know what time this is?" She sounded like death warmed over. Kabita was no more a morning person than I was. According to my calculations, it was about four a.m. back in Portland.
"You need to get to the Bahamas."
A moment of silence. "Good morning to you, too, Morgan."
"Eddie's on that damned steampunk cruise, and he called me. Something about people dying. He needed me to come urgently."
"So I need to come why?"
"Because," I said as I grabbed my bag and headed downstairs to get a taxi, "I have to go to Scotland."
Another beat of silence. "Inigo."
"I don't know," I admitted. "All Drago would say was to come. He hung up before I could get anything else out of him." And for that I was seriously going to read him the riot act. I mentally sent the dragon king a few choice mental curses.
"What about Jack? Can't he go?"
"I can't find him. He disappeared a few hours ago and he's not answering his phone. Besides, you're closer. I have a feeling this thing with Eddie is time sensitive." Understatement of the year.
There was a beat of silence. "I'm on my way."
"I don't know what cruise line he's on."
"I'll figure it out."
I knew I could count on her. Outside the hotel I hailed a cab and spent the entire cab ride on the phone with the airline. An insane amount of money later, I was in possession of an e-ticket for a flight to Edinburgh. An hour later I was through security and found myself strapped into the world's tiniest seat on the world's smallest airplane.
I closed my eyes as another air pocket sent the tiny plane-let plummeting toward the earth before it bounced back into place. The arm rests dug into my hips and my lower back already hurt from the odd curvature of the seat backs. I muttered a few choice words under my breath. If I ever got my hands on Jackson Keel again, I was going to kill him. Granted, he'd just come back to life—the immortal bastard—but it would still hurt like hell. He deserved it, the big jerk. Making me fly commercial. When I got my hands on him….
I shifted uneasily in the narrow seat. There was so little padding, it was only marginally better than sitting on a cheap metal folding chair. My butt was going numb. Scratch that. My butt had gone numb thirty minutes ago, and it was starting to ache where I'd busted my coccyx during a Hunt over a year ago. Damn vampire had jumped out of nowhere and sent me flying flat on my ass.
If Jack hadn't vanished from our Paris hotel, I'd be on a private plane right now. One with cushy seats and no need to explain my suitcase full of weapons. As it was, I'd had to leave everything behind at the hotel, along with a hefty tip so they wouldn't do something like call the police or try to sell my knives on eBay. Thanks to Jack I was not only freaked out, but weaponless, devoid of cash, and airsick.
I fidgeted with my cell phone, anxious to email Kabita. I wanted to check if she'd landed in Miami yet even though I knew she was still in midair. There was no point in calling. And besides, the plane-let didn't have that nifty mid-air Wi-Fi the big planes had these days. Stupid cheap-ass airline.
I tried to entertain myself with all the ways I was going to throttle Jack when I found him, but all I could focus on was the Skype call from Eddie, followed by the phone call from Drago. Had I made the right choice?
The tiny aircraft hit another air pocket, sending my stomach soaring into my throat. I swallowed back the bile and started calculating the various ways to kill a vampire. Anything to distract myself from the thought of heaving up my last meal. Hey, whatever works, right?
The minute the plane touched down in Edinburgh, I was out of my seat and collecting my bags. Fortunately I hadn't brought anything that needed to be checked. Customs was slow, but pretty much a breeze, and soon I was headed through the terminal toward the taxi stand.
"Morgan? Morgan Bailey?"
I turned toward the voice, surprised to hear someone call my name. He was tall. Probably six foot four or so, and built like those big-ass guys who throw trees around at the Highland Games. His hair was red, and his skin was that warm golden brown studded with freckles that some redheads are lucky enough to have. His eyes, like mine, were green, but where mine were kind of a cool ocean green with a bit of gray, his were the warmer mossy green of the forest.
He held out one very large hand. "Finn Campbell," he said, giving my hand a good, hearty shake. I caught a whiff of campfires and vanilla. "Drago sent me."
Of course. He was dragon kin, but not related to Drago and Inigo. Men of their line had a hint of chocolate to their natural scent. "Hi. Nice to meet you."
He took my bag and ushered me toward a black Mercedes with an almost courtly air. It was very old school, but it was likely Finn himself was old school. After all, dragons lived for centuries. He may not look a day over thirty, but he could have been around when the first European settlers set foot in the Americas.
"What's going on with Inigo?" I asked once we were inside his car. "Is he all right?"
Finn gave me an apologetic look. "I'm sorry. There is nothing I can say."
That was a weird way to phrase it. "Nothing you
say? Or nothing you
"I've got my orders."
I quite possibly said something rude. He ignored me.
"You might as well get comfortable," Finn said, unperturbed. "We've got a four-hour drive ahead of us."
"Can't you just fly?" I asked. "It would be a hell of a lot faster." I'd flown with Inigo before when he was in dragon form. It was a little on the chilly side, but crazy fast.
Finn shot me a sideways look. "Can you imagine the reaction if the locals saw a dragon flying around in broad daylight?" His heavy burr was tinged with amusement.