For your listening pleasure this post: http://blip.fm/~104ukz
Shawn vanished from my left in an instant as I glared at the bastard holding a tainted knife to Thalia’s throat. Her skin turned red wherever the blade touched and Thalia hissed in response. My vision would be red in a moment.
“Let. Her. Go.” My fists clenched as my body trembled with rage and the urge to rip Roberts’ head off.
He smiled again, one that twisted up only one side of his mouth and made him look more evil than any vamp I’d ever met, including the monster I’d just left.
“I think not.” His eyes darted to the right and he took a step in that direction, taking Thalia with him. “I could just take this one until he gives me the witch.”
Something snapped inside my mind and a ruby shade slid over my eyes. Movements around me slowed to a hum, becoming sharp and crisp images, allowing me to capture every detail.
Thalia’s fingers drifted to the arm over her chest. Then, faster than human eyes could have fathomed, her left hand grabbed the blade and she pushed it forward with the aid of her right hand. She bent over, lengthening her body, pushing that cute ass into Roberts and stretching her arms out in front of her.
My breath caught in my throat at the surprise. I remembered the night I showed her that move. A smile teased the corner of my mouth as the ruby tint faded. I’d spent so much time worrying about Shawn lately I’d forgotten that I’d taught my girl a few tricks … likely because those training sessions usually ended with sex. Damn good sex.
Thalia wrenched the blade away and threw her right elbow into Roberts’ side twice before slamming his face. Bone cracked and he stumbled backwards and fell to the ground. She flipped the knife into the air and caught the handle with her reddened hand. Then she cocked her head to the side and smiled at me, her purple lips splitting into a wide, breathtaking grin. Her eyes darted to her left before she looked at me again. I nodded. We both vanished a few streets over before Roberts could stand.
Thalia’s fine now, I told my twin through our mind link. Nico okay?
Yeah, she’s fine. I’m taking her to my place. I’ll talk to you later.
Okay, FYI, I’ve got the knife with that shit on it. Maybe Nico can study it later.
No prob. Oh wait, Nico wants to see Thalia for her wounds. Meet me at the place in Ahwatukee.
I looked at my girl. “Nico wants to see your neck and hand.”
She nodded silently and shoved the knife in her belt. Then she looked at her hand as she held it open, palm up between us. “It hurts like a bitch.” She wasn’t talking about the already healing cuts from the blade.
“Yeah, Rhenium. Nasty stuff.” I looked closer. “Wait, it’s not healing as fast as it should.”
“It burns,” she said.
“And without going to see Nico, it’ll continue to burn. C’mon, let’s go.” I grabbed her other hand and we ported over to Shawn’s condo. We had to land in front of the door because he had protections up. We all used them, if we’re smart and had the ability. The protection was like a shield. Kind of sucked for those vamps without the magic. I’m not even sure what they did to protect themselves without their masters around. The masters all had the magic and protected the covens.
I raised a hand to the solid black door and knocked, getting only one hit in before Shawn opened it. He ushered us inside.
“She’ll be out in a minute,” he said. “She wanted to dress first and clean up a bit.”
“No problem,” I replied and walked Thalia over to the kitchen table. “Like what you’ve done with the place.” Shawn had very precise taste when it came to furnishings. Everything was simplified, clean and crisp. Straight edges, shining chrome, silver on black all sitting on teak hardwood floors. Looked like he purchased all of it at Ikea or something.
“Thanks.” He moved into the kitchen and pulled a glass from the cabinet, then filled it with water from the filtered tap. “Here, she might need this.”
I took the glass from him and placed it in front of Thalia.
“Nico’s okay, right?” I raised a brow and stared at him, throwing the other question without words or thought.
He grimaced and snapped his head side to side in a motion too quick and short for Thalia to catch.
Nico wasn’t okay; she was afraid of him. I wondered what happened after they disappeared.
“I’m seriously sorry, brother,” I said softly. “I thought she knew. I mean, how could she not with all your damn wounds?”
He shrugged. “Fuck if I know, but it doesn’t matter now.”
“Want me to talk to her?” Thalia’s voice rose up behind me. The girl’s smarter than anyone realized half the time.
Shawn peered around me to see her. “Don’t think it’d help, sweetie. She knows me well enough. If that won’t help, nothing will.”
I stepped out of his line of vision to Thalia so we could all see one another. “You two will figure it out. She loves you. Always has.”
He nodded slowly and looked at the floor. Then he spun to his right. “I’ll see what’s keeping her.”
When he disappeared around the corner and down the hall, I turned to Thalia and smiled. “I’d forgotten I’d shown you those moves.”
“Yeah, me too for a minute there,” she replied with a small giggle.
The giggle mixed with the images of watching her get herself out of that situation and I realized I’d never been more turned on by this woman. She could fucking protect herself. It wouldn’t stop me from trying to keep her safe, but maybe I could relax a little. Ever since her death, I’d been way over-protective. We’d even gotten in a few arguments about it, especially recently.
I blinked and Thalia stood in front of me, her right hand sliding down my chest, running over my belt and—
“Whoa, not here, babe!” I grabbed her hand, pulling it away from me.
Her half-closed eyes looked up at me with a seduction that melted me to the core as the corners of her mouth turned up. “Soon?”
I swallowed hard. “Oh yeah.” My breath became heavy, my mouth moist at the thought of tasting her. “Especially after watching what you did to that asshole.”
She giggled again.
Footsteps headed toward the kitchen—two sets: one soft, one heavy. Thalia moved to my side as they came around the corner.
Shawn waved his hand in front of him. “Oh for fuck’s sake. Do you two ever stop fucking?”
I had to laugh. “Well, not really.”
“Figures,” he grumbled and spun a chair around to sit down on it backwards. “Can we keep it over the sink, please, if she needs your blood?”
Nico nodded and moved to the sink after inspecting Thalia’s hand. She withdrew a knife from the butcher’s block along the way and beckoned my girl with a nod of her head. Thalia stepped around me and followed her.
Why was she being so damn quiet? I looked at Shawn. What the hell happened when you vanished?
Bullshit. Tell me.
I don’t have to tell you shit.
Maybe I can help, asshole.
He growled low. She’s fucking afraid of me, okay? As soon as I got her here, she ran into the goddamn bathroom and locked herself in. I had to practically beg her to see Thalia. I knew your girl wouldn’t be able to heal herself from that shit. I’ve had it inside me. Shit fucking burns.
Jesus, Shawn. I stared at him in disbelief of the culmination of what he’d just said. Then I came back to the present and left the past behind. I can talk to her.
No. He shook his head once in each direction. She needs to work through it on her own.
But Shawn . . .
His head moved swiftly back and forth again. It ended the conversation because even I knew not to press it with my brother.
The sweet aroma of blood filled the air in the tight space of the kitchen, and it nearly knocked me over. “Holy shit, that scent—”
“Like fucking chocolate, huh?” Shawn said softly.
I nodded and turned toward the girls. Nico had slit her arm and let the blood drip onto Thalia’s hand. Then she told Thalia to rub it around the entire hand as she smeared her own fingers with her blood and covered the wound on Thalia’s neck. Once my girl finished with that, Nico raised her arm to Thalia’s lips.
“Drink,” she said. “It’ll heal from the inside as well.”
Shawn stared hard as Thalia drank from Nico, his hands gripping the back of the chair in a white-knuckled death grip. I waited for the wood to give under the pressure, but it didn’t.
“Can you close this for me, please?” Nico asked Thalia.
As Thalia leaned forward again, her tongue dipping out to lick the wound closed, the chair snapped and curses flew through the breakfast nook. I arched a brow at my twin and he stormed off, leaving the back of the chair in pieces.
I cleared my throat. “We should probably go.”
Nico’s eyes pleaded with me to stay or take her with us. Fuck.
“Look, Nico,” I whispered. “He’s not going to hurt you. He’d never do that.”
Her lower lip quivered. “You’re sure?”
I nodded and ceased speaking because I could hear Shawn’s footsteps nearing us once again. “Thank you so much for helping Thalia. We really appreciate it.” I paused, remembering that she charges for this kind of shit. “So, uh, what do we owe you?”
Thalia’s brow dipped in confusion.
“She’s a healer,” I said. “And she gets paid to do that.”
“Oh,” she replied. “I didn’t realize that was you.” She smiled. “Thank you.”
Nico shook her head. “No charge. You were injured helping me.”
“Are you sure?” I asked, taking a step forward. “Because I can pay—”
“I’m positive,” she said, waving a hand at me as I reached for my wallet. “Please.”
I looked at Thalia, who looked like she didn’t want to leave Nico alone with Shawn. “We need to go.” Finally, she nodded, knowing I was right about what needed to transpire between them.
All I’m going to say is I’ll be damned if I wanted to be in that house when it happened.