Valentine (NSFW)

For your listening pleasure, a little love song: tinysong.com/q9hP

This is likely NSFW ‘cause I say shit like ‘fuck’, ‘cock’, and all manner of swearing . . . you know, the norm for me, only better. *grins* Hey, if you haven’t figured out by now that my posts aren’t safe for work, it’s your own damn fault.

A grin split my lips and I flashed fang at the woman I loved. “There you are. Fuck, woman, you had me scared for a minute there.”

She cocked a thin brow. “You, scared? That’s laughable.”

Just hearing the sarcasm drip from those lips had my cock twitching in my jeans. Her voice always sent a current of the shivers through me—the good kind.

“I know, right?” My arms slipped around her and I pulled her closer to me, eyebrows jumping. “Wanna play predator and prey?”

She trailed a finger down the side of my face as her head tilted. “Is that what you were talking about with the running?”

“Yes and no,” I said. “If you ran scared, it wouldn’t have been a game.” A flash of fear hit her eyes. “You should know that shit anyway.”

She smiled. “Yeah, I do, but that dude kind of fucked me up.” She rubbed her neck where Cianán bit her. “It’s like I can still feel his fangs in me, Shawn.” Her voice quivered a bit, the fear still lingering. A nice healthy dose of it hit my nose.

“Really?” My brow dipped. Okay, this was not cool and shouldn’t be happening. “So where do dhampyr go when they need fixin’?”

She snorted. “Well, cowboy, they get themselves all fixed up on their own.”

“How?” I’d been curious about this for some time now. I’d had an idea she was dhampyr, but didn’t know if she needed blood or not—at least, not until a recent visit—because she never took it from me. During that visit, I’d smelled and tasted the blood on her lips. It pretty much connected the dots.

She traced a line down my neck, over the large vein pulsing with immortal undead life and likely her blood. “You’ve already given me some.”

“Do you need more?” My cock pressed against the fly of my jeans, begging to come out and play.

She grinned and nodded.

Oh, it was so on . . . I let go of her and she slid off my lap. “Then I suggest you run.”

With a sly grin, Nico got to her feet and bolted around the corner. I counted one . . . two . . . three’s a good number . . . and jumped up. I ran down the hall, following her giggles around corners, through passageways and rooms. My loft wasn’t small by any means. It’s the one good investment I’d made recently.

It’s her fault. She’s got me thinkin’ all responsibly and shit now. Fuck.

Halfway down the hall, I removed my Roy Rogers and socks. I needed the stealth with this woman. She had vamp hearing. Yeah, I could just port, but where was the fun in that? I came around the last corner and drew in her scent, which mixed with the damn air freshener, throwing me off a bit. I crept into the room, ears perked and listening to any sound not associated with the settling of the foundation or the heat that just kicked on. Very faint breathing, in the corner, behind the door . . .

I jumped back and swung the door shut.

Nico screamed and ran to her right, across the room, but she didn’t get halfway before I snatched her up.

“Gotcha,” I said and threw her over my shoulder. I slapped her ass as she struggled and laughed. “You’re terrible at this game, ya know. We’ll need to practice.”

“Sorry, I’m not used to running from vampyres,” she said.

“Yeah, I know,” I replied as I carried her down the hall. “You’re used to running them through with your sword. That doesn’t kill them, you know.”

“I know,” she said and pinched my ass. “It makes them think before fucking with me, though.”

I jumped a little. “Hey, watch that.” A grin split my lips and my hand slid up her thigh, running around the back to the inner thigh.

She jerked. “Shawn!”

“What?”I said all innocent-like. I stopped in the hallway and looked around. It was like a fork in the road, essentially. “Where should I go? The bedroom?” I turned so Nico could look down the hall. “The rec room? Nah, we just came from that direction.” I turned again. “Or the patio on the roof?”

“Not the roof, unless you want the whole neighborhood to hear me,” she said.

“Patio, it is,” I replied and turned around to head in that direction.

“Shawn, no, it’s too cold outside right now.”

“I’ll warm you up,” I said and reached for the doorknob.

She kicked the door shut right as I opened it. “No!”

“C’mon, Nico, stop fuckin’ around,” I said and went for the knob again.

She pushed herself upright and slid through my arm, dropping to the floor. “I am not going outside!” A low growl came from her and she pushed me back.

My right brow cocked a second before I pinned her against the frosted glass door, grabbing her wrists and holding them above her head against the door. “How ‘bout right here, then?” She hissed and I pulled back to look at her. “You got fangs? Let me see.”

Her upper lip pulled back to expose little fangs.

“Aw, ain’t those cute?” I said.

Nico wriggled a hand free and slapped me. “Shut up. At least I can control mine.”

That, she could because I didn’t even know she had them until now. I chuckled. “Just teasin’ ya, babe, but hey, if you wanna get rough, I’m game.” I grinned. “Go on, hit me again.”

“You’re such a freak,” she said.

“Tell you what, I’ll let you go and you can run again . . . and hopefully do a better damn job of it this time.” I winked.

“Why would you need to let me go?” She pushed herself away from the door and slammed into me with her right shoulder. Then she pulled her other wrist free as I went down, and she jumped over me and ran down the hall.

I lay on the floor, laughing. “Well, shit.” Sly little minx, that one was. “Ready or not, here I come!”

I vaporized and appeared in front of her. She ran right into me, and I wrapped my arms around her and picked her up. “Ha! Gotcha again.”

“That’s cheating,” she said and slapped my chest.

I vanished with her to the bedroom. “We’ll start in here.”

Nico broke away from me, but when she backed up, her legs hit the edge of the bed and she went tumbling back onto the mattress.

I pulled my T-shirt up over my head as I laughed. “Well, that’s one way of climbing into bed.”

She licked her lips as she stared at my chest.

I leaned forward and grabbed her pant leg, tugging twice lightly before her fingers went to the button and zipper on her jeans. Once undone, I yanked her pants off as she slid back further on the bed. I climbed forward, over and between her legs. My head dropped low at her navel, and I took the hem of her T-shirt into my mouth and tugged with a growl.

She giggled and fell back.

Bitch was going to make me do all the work. Ah, fuck it, it was Valentine’s Day, right?

I slid my hands up her sides, catching her shirt between thumbs and fingers, and pulled the cotton tee off. I braced myself above her with one arm, and my other hand slipped behind her head and I pulled her up for a kiss. Her left leg slid up and anchored on my hip, and I pressed my groin against her. A soft moan filtered into my mouth. I nipped at her lower lip and made a trail of kisses and licks and nips down her neck. My hand slipped beneath her and unclasped the black lace bra, and I pulled it off and tossed it behind me.

Nico’s nipples were perfect. Dark pink, not too big or small, but I could seriously hang her bra on one of them. I loved that. My tongue flitted around one, drawing a gasp from her when I bit down and sucked.

Her back arched and my hand grabbed her side before gliding to her hip and working her lacey boy shorts off. I slid off the bed, pulling her with me until my knees hit the floor. My lips graced her inner thigh as I propped her legs right where I wanted them before my tongue flicked her clit.

She gasped and shuddered.

I grinned and slid my tongue along her pussy, savoring the way she tasted. Even that had sweetness to it, just like her blood, and man did I have a sweet tooth.

Nico writhed on the bed as I worked to bring her pleasure, my thumb placing just the right amount of pressure on her clit while my tongue plunged into her. My cock was so fucking hard by then that I damn near stopped what I was doing and dropped my pants. But I needed to do this for her, and I’d fucked up enough lately.

She moaned and clutched the bedspread. Then she looked me right in the fucking eye, which would be a huge turn-on for me if she was blowing me, so I had to wonder if it was the same for her.

Her back arched hardcore and I grabbed her hips tightly, burying my face in her so I could finish, until she screamed my name so loud I wished we’d been on the damn patio. Guess that answered my question.

I slowly climbed up, lifted her and carried her further back on the bed, and had to unlock her legs from around me so I could get my pants off.

“Just give me a minute, babe.” I hopped off the bed and dropped them, then crawled across the bed to my beautiful naked Nico. “Where do you want to bite me?” I grinned.

She held a finger to her lips while trying to decide. It was so damn cute. “I think the neck. I love your neck.”

I lay back and turned my head to the side. “I’m all yours, beautiful.”

“And when I’m finished drinking from you?”

I grinned. “If you leave me some energy, I’m gonna fuck you all night.”

She giggled. “Tell me what I want to hear, Shawn.”

I looked her in the eye. “Happy Valentine’s Day, Nico. I fucking love you.”

“I love you too, Shawn.” Nico leaned over me, and when I turned my head again, she bit into my neck.

Holy. Fuck. That felt fucking awesome!

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Angel’s Wings

For your listening pleasure this post: tinysong.com/gqDx or http://blip.fm/~11t226

*ahem* This might not be safe for work, if you’re reading from there. Just warning you. *grins* Also, that’s a damn good song.

Thalia turned to me once we returned to our house. “I really don’t like leaving her there when she’s so scared . . .”

I knew why she didn’t want to finish the sentence. It would imply that my twin would harm the woman he loved. I figured if Shawn could say those words to Nico—words he hadn’t said in years—it was pretty much a done deal that he’d never harm a hair on the girl’s head.

“She’ll be fine,” I replied. “She’s had a rough go of it the past twenty-four hours. He won’t hurt her.”

Thalia stared at me, her lips pinching at one corner of her mouth just like they always did when she wasn’t sure about something.

“Trust me,” I said, trying to reassure her that Nico was safer with him than anywhere else in the world now. And damn, how true that was. I was still reeling from the dhampyr revelation.

She sighed. “If you’re sure.”

“I am.” I felt the tension between Shawn and Nico, and decided to help just a little, since my brother had a damn temper from hell. Once the calm washed over me, I opened my eyes to find Thalia staring at me. “What?”

“What did you just do?” She stepped closer to me, her fingers sliding along the hem of my T-shirt, sending chills over my body when her skin touched mine.

“They’re fine now,” I said with a wink. My hand slipped behind her neck and I pulled her to me. Her lips grazed mine and I grinned. “I believe we have something to finish.”

She linked her arms around my neck and hopped up, locking her legs around my waist as she kissed me, one of her fangs piercing my lower lip. I grabbed her ass and slammed her against the wall. She moaned in my mouth and I pressed against her. My lips trailed down her long neck as hands slipped under her short skirt and ripped her panties off. She gasped, digging her nails into my back.

“Shirt,” I said in a low growl.

She unlocked her legs and dropped her feet to the floor before yanking my shirt up over my head. Then she slid down the wall and took my belt buckle in hand.  Seconds later, she had my erection in her hand, delicately stroking as she flicked her tongue against the tip before taking me into her mouth.

I hissed. “Watch the fangs.” I moaned as the piercing on her tongue rolled along the underside of my cock, and I braced myself against the wall.

Social Distortion started playing from my back pocket, but I did my best to ignore it. I figured if it was important, they could fucking call back.

Thalia didn’t hesitate a second and had the muscles in my back bunching in preparation for my release. My cock twitched as she moved her soft lips up and down, her tongue moving in ways I didn’t think were possible. Another moan escaped me as she explored me with her hands; one stroked my shaft in time with her lips and tongue, the other hand fondled my balls—a place not enough women paid enough attention to, in my opinion.

The phone rang again. “Fuck.”

Thalia pulled back. “Do you want me to stop so you can answer that?”

I looked down at her, the devilish grin on her face and the sparkle in her eye telling me she didn’t want to stop. “Fuck no!”

She giggled, and then she took me into her mouth again. I pressed my forehead against the wall, groaning with pleasure. The pressure of my release built as my hips moved forward and back, Thalia’s soft full lips wrapping around my cock, her tongue massaging me. I shuddered and opened my eyes to look down. I found her staring up at me. It got me every goddamn time and I came hard, muscles tightening all over.

Once I caught my breath, I licked my lips in anticipation of tasting my beauty.

And my fucking phone went off again. “Jesus fuck.”

I felt her hand slip into my back pocket and she slid back up the wall and handed it to me.

“Answer the goddamn thing so we can fuck in peace and quiet.” She smirked as she ducked under my arm before sauntering down the hallway to our bedroom.

I chuckled and shook my head as I watched that ass sway. “I love you,” I said and hit ‘send’ on my phone as she waved a hand at me before vanishing through the doorway. “What?”

It was Danny. “Dude, what the fuck? You don’t answer your phone anymore?”

I cleared my throat. “I was busy. What do you want?”

“Cabale just took out Daniella,” he said.

“Whoa, really?” I replied. “When did that happen?” Daniella was of Cearbhall’s line, so I wouldn’t have seen it in my mind. Of course, Cearbhall’s master was Cianán, so I was kind of surprised I didn’t even catch a glimpse of it. I mean, some of us saw Kenneth’s death.

“About two hours ago,” he said. “Kylie saw it. Still trying to figure out how she sees anything, but whatever. We wouldn’t have known otherwise.”

“Shit, Daniella was the last of Cearbhall’s line,” I said.

“I know.” The sound of fingers tapping away at a keyboard came over the line. “You do realize that they’re working their way through Cianán’s line, right?”

“Kenneth and Daniella weren’t directly from Cianán, though.”

“No, but Cearbhall was and he was part of the first coven of nine,” Danny said.

“So what’s that mean? Is Grant next?” I chuckled. “Shit, I’d like to see them try to take him out. Have you seen him lately? Fucker’s huge now.”

“Yeah, I know,” he said. “Must be the Dasul coming out in him. I’m trying to narrow it all down and figure out who they’ll go after next. I know you and Shawn aren’t part of the original coven, but you’re damn close, so watch your backs.”

“Will do,” I said.

“I think Lorelei was the only one left of the original nine, and now that she’s gone, they’re coming after the second coven.”

“That’s Grant’s era, I believe,” I said. “Shawn and I weren’t until the nineties.”

“No matter, they’re getting closer to you guys,” he said.

“Already had a run-in with Roberts tonight,” I said. “He tried to take Thalia.” I looked down the hall. “Hey, see how many you can get together for a raid on their little compound. Shawn knows where it’s located and wants to attack soon.”

“How soon?”

“Like later tonight, I believe,” I said. “Hell, I’d even opt for morning or afternoon just to throw them off, ya know?”

“I’ll see who I can get for a day shift,” Danny replied. “You know some of them still freak about the sun.”

“That’s because they’re ignorant.” I heard Thalia softly call my name from the bedroom, a low seductive voice that had me erect instantly. “Look, I gotta go. Text me when you get a crew together.”

“No prob,” he said. “Say hi to Thalia for me. Later.”

I hung up, tossed my phone on the sofa, and jogged down the hall. I found Thalia lying across the bed on her stomach all pin-up girl style in the skimpiest damn red lingerie I’d ever seen. My brow arched and I quickly closed my gaping mouth.

“That’s new,” I said with a grin and walked into the room.

Her ruby lips parted into a smile, the red streaks in her hair now matching once again. They were purple just a bit ago. I still hadn’t figured out how she was able to change like that, but guessed it had something to do with the molecular shit Shawn and I experienced on certain levels . . . and maybe Kylie transferred some of her power to Thalia when she helped me changed her. I mean, she could change her clothes in an instant too. Even Shawn and I couldn’t do that.

“I picked it just for tonight,” she said softly. “I also picked up something else.” Thalia lifted her hand and dangled a pair of handcuffs from her fingers.

“Oh shit,” I said as I stepped up to the edge of the bed. “Are those for you or me?”

Eyelashes batted. “Why not both?”

I leaned over, snatched them from her hand, and then slapped a cuff around one of her wrists. “You, me, dinner tomorrow night. Wherever you want to go.”

She grinned. “I thought I was dinner.”

God, I love this woman. Happy fucking Valentine’s Day to me!

Cherry Bomb

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?

Nothing.

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.

Fine.

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.

Walk

For this post’s listening pleasure: http://blip.fm/~zw3st

I phased into the darkness of Nico’s kitchen, and surprised two slayers who happened to be standing on either side of the sink discussing the finer details of slayerdom. When they turned their shocked faces to me, I grinned.

“Hello boys.” They each took a dagger to the heart and dropped to the floor before either could radio for help. Not long thereafter, Trent appeared in the kitchen with Nico amidst the bodies as I cleaned my blades. He looked down at them, then back up to me and grimaced. I shrugged. “I surprised them.”

Yeah, that didn’t make him happy at all. He just shook his head and stepped over one of them.

“Go on, Nico,” he said. “Gather whatever you’ll need. You won’t be able to return, but you’ll need to make it light.”

I decided to step into that, since she was my girl. “I can come back for things if you need them.”

She looked from Trent to me, eyes a bit glazed over. “So, do I pack a case or just change? How much can you guys carry when you do that disappearing thing?”

“A backpack will be fine for now,” I replied. “Need help?”

She shook her head slowly, still in a bit of shock, I think. “No. No, I’m fine. I can do it.” Her eyes flicked to the bodies on the floor and then quickly back to me, widening a little in the split second they met my eyes. Great. My girl’s showing fear of me. This could be a bad thing.

I watched her walk out of the kitchen and down the hall. When my eyes fell on Trent, he stood glaring at me with his arms crossed over his chest. “What?”

He pointed to the bodies with a wave of his hand. “Did you have to kill them?”

I took a step forward, getting in his face, and pointed down at them. “These are the fuckers who killed Seth! What the fuck do you think?”

“Jesus, Shawn, she doesn’t need that shit right now,” he said. “Not after coming face to face with Cianán.” He spun around. “Where the fuck is Thalia?”

“How the fuck should I know? She’s your girl,” I snapped, but then went completely rigid. “Oh Jesus, Trent.” He scrambled for the front door, but I stopped him. “Not so fast, big brother. We don’t know what’s on the other side of that yet.”

He tried to get past me, but I was a goddamn rock. “Trent,” I whispered, just in case. “Just let me scout. You go check on Nico, since she seems to be afraid of me now.”

He stared at me, anger in his eyes. Fear. Then he blinked. “Shit, I wonder why,” he mumbled, but with full sarcasm.

“You know what? Fuck you,” I snapped, still whispering. He spun back in the midst of his turn, throwing his fist back and damn near hitting my face. I leaned back, but felt the wind as his hand passed. Then I locked my hand over his, twisted, and dropped him to his knees. The growl left my throat low and deep. “We don’t have time for this.”

“Fuck you,” he shouted.

Nico screamed a second after I heard the distinct sound of glass breaking. I picked Trent up by the throat and slammed him against the wall before running down the hallway. I pulled my knives again as I came up on her bedroom door, listening carefully to the sounds inside. Nico backed into my view. I had about three seconds before she saw me and gave away my position in her panicked state. One … a foot not belonging to Nico hit the floor as he took a step forward. Two … a click on a weapon, telling me exactly where he was. I jumped and flung a blade around the corner, hitting him in the center of his forehead. Nico screamed again. I was at her side with my hand over her mouth in two steps. “Shhh.” I looked down at her ever-widening eyes. “I’m going to remove my hand, and you’re not going to scream anymore. Right?” She nodded. “Good.” I did what I said and she remained quiet with exception to her elevated heart rate and rapid breathing. “Pack a bag quick.” I walked over to the man on the floor and pulled my blade from his head. I looked back at Nico and she just stood there staring at me. “Hurry, we need to find Thalia!”

Which brought my thoughts back to my twin. “Shit.” I ran down the hall to find the front door wide open and Trent fighting two slayers on the lawn. “Jesus. Fuck. Goddamn it.” I looked back down the hall. “Nico, fucking HURRY!” I couldn’t have her out of my sight for more than a second. Not with this many slayers around who obviously wanted her so bad. She bolted down the hall toward me, strapping the pack on her back, still wearing the fucking robe. Girl hadn’t even remembered to change … or thought better of it, considering the circumstances. I slipped an arm around her and vanished to the rooftop a couple of streets over. Once I set her down, I tipped her chin up. “I’ll be right back. Stay down low and don’t make a sound.” She nodded, and I stepped away and returned to Trent’s side in the midst of his fight.

I took out one slayer with a blade. Another with a gunshot. Trent was at my back. He hadn’t even turned when I appeared. Just knew I was there because he stopped covering his back immediately. We worked well together, flowing in a rhythm suited to twins who have both been trained to kill. As much of a geek as Trent was, the military had trained him to do the exact same thing I did for a living. He didn’t like it much, but he never forgot the moves. Training for us was like this. Testing, the same. They’d tested us together and separately. Of course, that shit was when we were human. Now, it was so much better with the vamp powers added to the mix.

Where is she? Have you seen her? I asked as I pulled a katana off my back and slit the approaching slayer’s throat. Several more appeared in his place.

No, but she’s around here, he said quickly in my head. I can feel her.

My eyes swept the area. Jesus, where are they all coming from? They’re like cockroaches.

I heard Trent’s katana open flesh. He’d always preferred the katana. I don’t know, but we need to find Thalia and get the fuck out of here. Nico safe?

She’s fine. On a rooftop several yards away. I cut across a slayer’s chest and grinned.

Trent’s voice drifted through my mind. You eat a heart in front of Nico and she’ll flip the fuck out, jackass.

Fuck. Asshole.

Hey, you’re the one who likes that shit, not me. I heard, and saw from the corner of my eye, a slayer lose his head as the katana blade sliced through flesh and bone. The entire time we fought, Trent attempted to scent Thalia out.

Haven’t fed from her in a while, have you? I asked through the link … where I discovered a block. A major one. What the fuck is that?

What’s what? And no, but I’m fixing that the moment I get her back. He spun sideways, kicked out his leg and connected with a slayer at one end while his blade impaled another on the opposite side. I knew this because I did the same thing at the same time. Must’ve looked like a goddamn ballet or something.

That fucking block in your head. What’re you hiding? Maybe there was more to what I’d picked up on earlier.

Shut the fuck up and fight.

Oh yeah, he was hiding something. We’ll discuss this later. “Fuck this.” I pulled my Kimber 1911 and started picking the slayers off quickly. They scattered like the roaches they were.

Trent slapped me on the back of the head. “What the fuck was that? What if they have Thalia in one of their vehicles?”

I holstered the gun. “Well, then you’re fucked because they’ve got some shit mixed in with the paint on their cars now and it fucking burns like a mother …”

“You are such a prick,” he said, punched me in the shoulder, and ran across the lawn. “Thalia!”

Yeah, he was right. I knew it. But I wouldn’t let them get away with his girl. The itch started in my chest and my sense of smell heightened. It was stronger than even my vamp sense of smell. My nostrils flared as I pulled in the surrounding scents. Jasmine hit my nose, but in oil form and not just the flowers on the vine across the street. Gotcha.

I took a step and vanished to her scent, and I came face to face with that mother fucker Roberts.

“Evening … Shawn, is it? Or am I speaking to Trent?”

“You’re a very stupid fucking man,” I said.

“Ah, Shawn. A pleasure to finally meet the legend.” He held a blade to Thalia’s throat.

“You do realize she’s a vamp, right?” I stared at him, watching his movements closely. Before long, Trent rounded the corner and was nearly at my side before I stopped him from passing me.

“I do, and this blade has a nice layer of Rhenium coated over it,” he said with a sadistic smile. Mother fucker.

Trent gasped as the metal burned Thalia’s skin. Then his body stiffened and his eyes turned to steel. “I’ll fucking kill you.”

“How about we make a deal?” Roberts said.

“Sure,” I replied. “Turn her over and we won’t kill any more of your men.”

“That’s not the deal I was looking for,” he said.

“Too bad,” Trent replied. “It’s the only one on the table.”

Roberts shook his head. “Sorry, that’s just not going to work for me. I want the witch back.”

“I don’t think so,” I growled and took a step forward. “I’d suggest you lower that blade and walk away now if you want to live.” Which won’t be long once the girls are safe.

“I could just have my men take her from the rooftop,” Roberts said. “It’s not like she can vanish the way you two do.” He grinned again. I wanted to kill him. I also wanted to go back to Nico to make sure she was okay.

Trent?

Fuck. Go. He knew I’d do the same for him.

I vanished without a single movement.

And Nico was right where I left her, safe and sound.

Then I heard Thalia scream.

Tear You Apart

I returned to Nico’s kitchen. Turning on the lights wasn’t an option, not that I needed the light to see. Whoever took her might be outside waiting for me or someone to arrive, since Nico’s the only vamp healer in existence. I hoped the slayers didn’t know that little tidbit of info about her, but the fuckers were super stealth and secretive, so who the hell knew what they knew. My brow arched and I stopped in the midst of searching for evidence of her disappearance after sensing evil nearby. Maybe I could do a little interrogating of my own, and if it was The Cabale who took her, take out a little revenge for Seth while I was at it. The thought turned up the corners of my mouth. Evil always begat evil, and I was fucking evil incarnate these days, especially when it came to my girl. I took a step to the right, vanishing from the kitchen in a step. It’s a pretty cool trick.

I appeared two streets over, on top of one of few two-story houses in the neighborhood. There was a two-story right in front of Nico’s house, but I had to be sure no one was occupying its rooftop before porting there. Once I saw it was clear, I jumped from one rooftop to the next in an invisible displacement of molecules until I settled down behind the adobe-style home’s rooftop border that was like a two-foot high block fence around the edges. My nose drew in the scents of the area, picking up the cedar burning in someone’s fireplace, a loose dog that hadn’t had a bath in a while, several cats, the remnants of Italian cooking—garlic, man I loved that shit—and there, close by, the smell of warm exhaust from a car that had been sitting for only a little while.

I carefully peered over the edge of the rooftop wall and looked down on a black sedan that sat in front of the house next to Nico’s. Not very stealth, are you? My eyes focused on the car, seeing only two inside, both in the front seat, none in the back. I imagined myself phasing into the backseat (that’s kind of how it worked), but I jerked to a stop on the rooftop. What the …? I tried again, but still couldn’t phase into the vehicle.

What are you doing? said the voice in my mind. My twin. He must have been able to sense my frustration. We were weird like that.

Someone kidnapped Nico. I’m on a hunt. I focused on the car again and still, nothing. What the fuck, man? Why can’t I phase into this car?

Seriously? Trent said. Shit, man, be careful. It could be Cabale.

That’s what I’m thinking, I replied as I looked around the rooftop.

Why would they take her? And how would they even know about her?

Fuck if I know, man, I said. They just better not hurt her or I’ll slaughter the whole lot of them.

Do you need help? Trent asked.

Nah, there’s only two of them, I replied. Start searching for Trystan. I’ll be there when I’m done.

You got it.

I picked up a pebble and looked over the side once more, then tossed the pebble over, hitting the roof of the car. I waited to see what the men would do. Nothing. I tried again. They stayed in the car.

“Assholes. You aren’t going to make this easy.” I’d contemplated the next thought carefully, weighing my options. Time was a big factor here because I didn’t know where they’d taken Nico or what they’d do to her. I’d figured out that she’d been gone a little over an hour, long enough for me to visit Trent and Cianán. I also figured she might be safe because she wasn’t a vamp. At least, not full vamp. She didn’t think I knew that, though. I had to hope the Cabale didn’t discover her secret. I needed to know where she was now, and as I said, these guys were super secretive. “Okay, fine, we’re doing this the hard way,” I mumbled and stood up.

I landed on the car’s hood hard enough to dent the metal, and I leaned forward, hissing at the two men inside, my fangs jutting down, lacking that clicky noise the vamps had on that Sookie-whatever show. Fangs don’t click, folks. The slayers jumped from their vehicle, weapons drawn. I flipped backwards and landed on the asphalt, knowing they wouldn’t fire in the open neighborhood, and then I vanished to the front door. Their eyes found me beneath the porch light and I beckoned them with a finger. One took aim and I phased before the man could get the shot off. I really didn’t want to damage Nico’s house, but I had no place else to perform this little scenario, so I waited for them to enter.

They came in one by one, slowly scanning the dark house, entirely too close together, each sweeping with their eyes and weapons. I appeared between them, grabbed them by their shirts, and slammed them together. Next, I grabbed their guns in their daze and disarmed them before they could blink. Then I knocked them both out cold and dragged them into Nico’s office. I would need some of the tools she used from time to time for this special operation.

It would make taking a heart out easier, anyway.

The Cabale slayer opened his eyes to find me waving a very sharp object slowly in front of his face. He pulled his eyes away from it to focus on my odd-colored eyes—one blue, one green. I smiled, fangs showing themselves, as he scowled before fear briefly touched his eyes. My rep must be getting around the slayer communities. Cool.

“The woman who lives here,” I said. “I want to know where she is.”

The slayer attempted to move his arms, but the ropes held him tight to the table. He remained silent, only staring at me. I trailed the serrated knife lightly along the side of the slayer’s face, down his jaw line, over his jugular, and down his chest, stopping over his heart. The slayer swallowed.

My eyes flicked up to view the other one I’d caught, sitting tied to a chair and forced to watch what I was about to do. If this one didn’t talk, the other might after watching his comrade die.

“I want to know who took her and where they’ve taken her,” I said in a soft voice. “If I don’t get what I want, I’ll be eating your heart very soon.”  The knife circled around the slayer’s heart, floating right over his chest. I waited about ten seconds before plunging the knife in, eliciting one hell of a scream from the slayer. I quickly stuffed a rag in his mouth and shook my head at my own stupidity for not thinking of that first. Apparently, Nico’s kidnapping threw me off my game a little. If I hadn’t had the training I did, I’d probably have lost my damn mind at the disappearance of my mate.

My head tilted to the side a bit. “Normally, I’d use my hand, but I thought this might be more fun.”

The slayer bucked against the ropes, his head shifting rapidly from side to side, but I continued cutting. When I hit bone, I just cut the flesh over it and moved on, upward. Finally, I growled and tossed the knife aside, nearly hitting the other one with it before it embedded in the wall next to his head.

“I never was a patient man.” My fingertips sharpened to claws and I drove my hand into the slayer’s chest. He bucked up against the ropes, back making its best effort to leave the table. The other’s eyes grew wide as I ripped the heart out, snapping veins and arteries. Blood spattered over the slayer’s body, a few specks hitting my face, and I bit into the heart and winked at the remaining slayer.

The heart was the purest form of nutrients for vamps, since it was the source of the blood. Ages ago, it was a part of sacrifices all over the world—the Aztecs, the Maya, the Celts. Hell, I’d bet even Lorelei would remember the sacrifices in Gaul … if she was still alive, that is.

“You care to talk, or would you like to meet the same fate as your friend?” I asked the remaining slayer, blood dripping from my chin.

He shook his head. “They’ll kill me if I talk.”

I moved swiftly and was in his face before he could blink. “I’ll kill you if you don’t talk. I’m still hungry.” My tongue ran over my teeth and I licked my lips as I drew in his scent. “You smell mighty tasty, fucker.” The closer my face came, the further back the slayer moved his head until he couldn’t move it back any more. “Where. Is. She?”

His mouth opened, closed, opened, closed. My head tilted and I growled. Finally, “Sh … sh … she’s at the compound.”

My head tilted the opposite direction. “Which is where?”

“Not far,” he said. “About ten minutes from here.”

I grinned, flashing fang. “You’re taking me there.” I leaned forward to unbind the slayer from the chair, but left his hands tied and yanked the knife from the wall. He stood as I pulled him to his feet and then pushed him forward. “Walk.”

The slayer stumbled forward, toward the front of Nico’s house, and outside to his waiting car. When I touched the vehicle, I yanked my hand back as though I’d been burned.

“What the fuck?” I glared at him.

“There’s a protection on the paint,” he said. “It keeps vamps like you with the transporting ability out of our cars.”

I had to respect that … just a little. “Magic or mineral?”

“Don’t really know,” he said. “They don’t tell guys like me.”

“Just the muscle, eh?” He nodded, but I was definitely curious about what they’d done to their cars because Nico had been researching certain minerals recently to see what the effects were on us. “So, can I at least get inside the damn car?”

“Shouldn’t be a problem if you don’t touch the paint,” he replied.

“Right, then there’s probably something in there to fry me,” I said. Fuck that. I kicked the door, grabbed him by the arm, and yanked him over to Nico’s SUV. After pushing him into the passenger seat, I walked around to climb into the driver’s seat. I had to retrieve her keys from the house quickly, and then I started the truck and looked at the slayer.

“One false move and I rip out your throat,” The slayer nodded and offered directions as I put the car in gear and drove off.

If Nico were even the slightest bit injured, they’d all pay for it. What I did to that slayer inside her house would be fucking child’s play compared to what I’d do to this compound.

Pushit

[tweetmeme=”Trent_II” source=”tinyurl.com”]

As soon as Shawn ported over to Ireland, I left for the MacNessa household to speak with them regarding Seth and the Cabale. They wouldn’t be exactly thrilled to see me, but better me than my twin, whom Grant wanted to rip to shreds much like I did Rayven not so long ago. It’s only because Shawn was the one to bring Cianán back. I suppose Kylie being in danger could have had something to do with it, but if you ask me, that woman can take care of herself most of the time when it comes to Cianán. I’d like to say Cianán would never let anything happen to her and that she’s too important to him, partly because of what Seth mentioned in the note on the game. Cianán thought Kylie was his key to god-like immortality, as if vampyre immortality wasn’t good enough. He wanted control over, not just humans and the earth. The truth is, though, that Cianán plunged a sword through Kylie’s heart after the first sacrifice when she was still only human. It nearly killed her and we discovered later that she’d ingested one small drop of Grant’s blood the week prior, thereby going through the slowest transformation I’d ever witnessed, and it was the vampyre side of her that fought to live until Mahlon could fully transform her to Dasul. We’ve all been trying to figure out why Kylie agreed to help Cianán the second time. I’ve heard it had to do with Shawn and me, but I can’t be sure. Out of courtesy, I materialized on the doorstep, the bright Arizona sun on my back warming me, and rang the bell. A moment later, it swung open to reveal a tall woman with emerald eyes and long auburn hair. “Trent!” She bounced forward and her long arms wrapped around my shoulders.

“Hi Kylie,” I said, returning the hug and surprised by her reaction. I’ll admit I’d had a huge crush on her for about a year, until Thalia became my mate. The woman is just fucking beautiful in so many ways—body and soul. Not sure how else to explain that.

“I assume you’re here about Seth?” Her head tilted to the side and I had to question why she wasn’t chastising me for the whole Cianán incident a few weeks back. She frowned suddenly and ran a hand down my arm. “It’s okay, Trent. I understand his influence on you.” I looked at the ground until she raised my chin. “Stop feeling as though it’s entirely your fault. It’s not.”

I cracked a smile. Yep, this was one of the reasons I’d crushed hard. “Thanks.” I peered past her and inside. “Is Grant around?”

“Yes, he is,” she answered and took my hand. “Come in so we can discuss the recent events.”

I let her lead me inside. Grant stepped out of the kitchen wearing an apron (I won’t say what color it was because he’d fucking kill me), his long black hair pulled back in a ponytail. I blinked. I think he’d grown since the last time I’d seen him. Was that possible?

His eyes narrowed for a second before he realized I wasn’t my twin. “Trent.” He nodded briefly and pulled the apron off, tossing it over a chair in the breakfast nook. “What are you doing here?”

“Seeing what’s being done about Seth’s death,” I replied.

Kylie stepped around me and stood next to her husband. “We’re looking into it to see if we can find the location. We know who it was, just not where.”

I nodded and stared at their feet. “I kinda figured you’d do that. Cool.”

Kylie stepped forward and touched my arm. “Trent, are you okay?”

When I looked up, the flecks of gold in her green eyes sparkled. “Yeah, I’m cool. Just a little shaken by this shit, y’know?”

Her hand squeezed my forearm before she let it drop away and stepped back. “I know you two were close, Trent. I’m so very sorry.”

I just nodded my head a few times and looked around their place. It’s damn nice, I had to admit. Spanish adobe-style inside and out. Kylie had interesting tastes too. She tended to mix her and Grant’s Celtic heritage with the Spanish shit.

Just as I started to open my mouth and ask about the journal Seth told us about, Shawn appeared next to me. It all happened in a blur after that.

Grant’s eyes flashed with anger the second Shawn materialized, and he roared as he lunged for my twin, picking him up by the neck and slamming him against the wall. “Where. Is. He?” Grant growled.

“Grant, stop it,” Kylie said. She slid a hand over Grant’s shoulder and stepped around him. “Put him down.”

“Hey, Kylie,” my idiot twin brother choked out. Grant let him go and he dropped to the floor, ending in a crouch before he stood up and rubbed his neck. If he was smart, he’d keep his trap shut.

Kylie smiled at him. Grant growled again for some reason, and if Kylie hadn’t stepped between them, I had a feeling my twin would have been against the wall once more with those large strong fingers around his throat. My guess was that Shawn had particular thoughts about Grant’s wife, which we’ve shared on occasion. The thoughts, that was. Neither of us would ever have Kylie.

“Look, I just came to talk to Trent,” Shawn said and rubbed his neck again. “I don’t want to cause any trouble or get into it with you.”

Kylie stepped forward and ran her delicate fingers down the side of his face. “Something’s different about you, Shawn. What have you been up to?” The woman had uncanny abilities now that she was Dasul. It made me wonder what she was picking up on with Shawn.

“Huh? Nothing,” he replied and shook his head.

She giggled as her smile spread wide. “Right, okay.”

I stood to the side, knowing better than to interfere, but that didn’t mean I couldn’t comment. “That was a stupid move.”

Shawn shrugged. “If it wasn’t important, I wouldn’t have shown up.”

Grant snorted. “What the hell do you want? It’s not enough you brought that bastard back?”

Shawn cocked a brow at him. “Excuse me, but I think yourwife helped with that one by bringing him back to flesh first.” I just shook my head at Shawn’s stupidity.

Grant growled again and tried to push past Kylie, but she wouldn’t let him by. She was probably the only one who could stop him. “Grant, he’s right, I gave Cianán life again. He only gave him unlife.”

“He’s more powerful when he’s undead,” Grant snapped and pointed at Shawn. “And he fucking knew that.”

Shawn’s arms snapped out to the sides in a dramatic Jesus Christ pose. “So, what do you want from me, Grant? Huh? My head? Fucking take it. I’m sick of this shit.” I rolled my eyes. He was always such a fucking rock star. He bowed his head in a manner for Grant to decapitate him. Grant didn’t travel far without his sword anymore.

Kylie slapped the back of Shawn’s head as he looked at the floor, and I stifled my laughter. “Stop being so dramatic.”

Grant didn’t contain his chuckle. “Alright Shawn, talk to your twin.” He pulled Kylie away from us and they wandered off to their kitchen.

Shawn raised his head and looked around their house, and he whistled long and slow. “Damn nice place they have here.”

I sighed and shook my head. “What was so important?”

Shawn walked to me and leaned over, keeping his voice as quiet as possible. “We have to find Trystan.”

Oh, right, he’d gone to see Cianán. My head turned as I looked at him, my blue eye meeting his green directly. “You can’t be serious. How in the hell are we supposed to do that?”

Shawn shrugged and we discussed Trystan’s mortal state for a bit before we decided on the starting location in our search for the woman who used to be a sorceress.

Shawn then slapped a hand against his forehead. “Fuck.”

“What’s wrong?”

He growled low. “Nico. I’m supposed to go see her tonight.”

“You just saw her,” I said.

“Yeah, but I need to go back,” Shawn replied. “Go see if you can find any others to help. I think they’re in Italy. Watch out for Dana.”

“Hell, I saw that,” I said. “Stupid Gino.”

“He never was that bright,” Shawn replied. “I’ll meet you at the circle. Oh, and see if Grant or Kylie knows anything about that journal.”

I nodded and Shawn vanished. Kylie came out of the kitchen and walked down the hall before I heard Grant’s voice. “You want something to drink, Trent?”

“Nah, I’m good,” I replied and walked over to the table in the breakfast nook.

“Looking for Trystan, huh?” Grant said, and when I looked up at him, his right brow arched.

I nodded and looked away quickly. “Yeah, I guess.”

“She’ll be difficult to find.” Grant stood in front of the stove and stirred a pot. Whatever he was cooking smelled delicious.

My brow creased. “Why’s that?”

“Not all of her magic is gone,” Grant said. He brought the spoon up for a taste, blew on the red sauce, and then took the sample into his mouth.

“But I thought you—”

He shook his head before I could get half the sentence out. “Not all of it, no. I’m not that powerful. Only Azbogah has that ability.” The spoon lowered back to the pot and submerged within the sea of red. “There are still remnants of her powers available to her, if she discovers them. They’re hidden deep within her now.”

I stood slack-jawed as Kylie came around the corner. She held something familiar in her hands.

“Were you going to ask about this?” She held the object up. The name Siobhán Brigit O’Ruairc graced its worn leather cover. My jaw dropped open again.

“How’d you know that?” I pointed at the journal. “Where’d you get that anyway?”

“She’s my ancestor,” Kylie replied. “And Grant’s first love.”

Grant grumbled near the stove. I guess he didn’t like being reminded of her. With what Shawn told me, I could see why.

“Yeah, I was going to ask about it,” I said and stepped closer. “Is there any way I can take a look at it?”

“Why?” she asked and pulled it back. “There’s obviously a reason. Does it involve … him?” Kylie never said Cianán’s name anymore. In truth, she didn’t even care to mention him at all.

“Not in the way you might think,” I answered honestly. “I swear it to you.”

She stared at me for a bit. I felt her mental fingers probing my mind for the information, so I just let her find it because it’d be less painful for me. Shawn didn’t realize Grant and Kylie could read our minds regardless of how hard we blocked everyone out.

Grant spoke up. “Trent, has your brother developed the shifting ability recently?”

That startled me out of the trance Kylie had nearly put me in. Damn Dasul liked to thrall you now and then, and you didn’t have to be only human for it to happen. “What shifting ability?”

Kylie’s brow arched. “You don’t know?” She turned to Grant. “How can he not know?”

Grant shrugged. “Apparently Shawn’s keeping secrets from his twin.”

“What secrets?” I asked.

Kylie stood in front of me, seeming to contemplate her words before speaking. “What’s happened recently with him, Trent? Anything in particular that would cause a change in him?”

I shook my head, but stopped suddenly, recalling his skirmish with the skinwalker. “Oh shit.” My wide eyes met Kylie’s. “Did he take on that fucker’s power?”

She shrugged. “I sense something different in him, so it’s possible.” Her head tilted back to Grant. “He senses an animal.”

When I looked at Grant, he nodded. I blinked rapidly. Shit. I needed to talk to Nico, since she treated him after that whole mess. “Is it bad?”

“I don’t know yet,” Kylie replied, and I could see the uncertainty in her eyes. She wasn’t lying to me. She never had. She held the journal out to me. “Whatever it is, protect it from him. Keep it hidden. I trust you, Trent, but don’t let it near your brother, either. I mean it.”

My shaking hand took the journal and I stared at its ancient leather cover, my fingers tracing over the name.

“Why can’t you keep it, babe?” Grant said as he stepped up behind her, a worried look spreading across his face, aging his immortal features.

“It’s not for me to protect,” she replied and took his hand in hers. Then she gazed into my eyes. “Trent is its keeper. It’s been waiting for him.”

My eyelids fluttered. Shit.

Schism

Trent sort of wrote about the death of our friend Seth in his last post. If you’d like to know what exactly happened, you can read it here. That’s the writer’s writerly blog and she put it up for some fucking blogfest of death. Sick bitch, using Seth’s death for that shit.

Anyway, this is sort of what happened next…well, Trent’s post is in between these two things.

I brushed dark ringlets away from Nico’s face while she slept. She looked so peaceful during this time, not angry with me, which she tended to get quite often. I did love her, but I wasn’t about to say it to her because then she’d want everything else that went with those three big words. I sure as hell wasn’t ready for that yet.
I heard my phone vibrate on the floor, still in my jeans’ pocket, and I carefully crawled over Nico to snatch them up and pull the phone out. It was a text message from Trent about Seth. I saw the event as it happened, but I was a bit preoccupied with a mission at the time. I sighed and whipped out a quick message to my twin, then leaned over and kissed Nico’s cheek before climbing out of bed to dress. Nico moaned and turned to the side.
“Leaving so soon?” her soft voice floated across the bed.
My eyes flicked to meet hers in their half open state, looking quite seductive, which made me want to crawl right back into bed. “Yeah, I have to get over to Trent’s house.” I buttoned my jeans, and then quickly added, “Something bad has happened.”
“How bad?” she asked as she sat up, one arm supporting her body while the other held the sheet to her chest.
“Death,” I replied.
“Anything I can do?”
I eyed her and tilted my head to the side. “Not unless you can reattach a vampyre’s head.”
She shook her head. “Who was it?”
“Seth,” I said and sat down on the edge of the bed to pull my boots on.
I felt her come up behind me, and she rested her chin on my shoulder as her right arm wrapped around me. “I’m sorry, Shawn.”
I shrugged. “Shit happens.” My head turned to the side. “You watch your back, you hear me?”
“Why don’t you watch it for me?” she said and kissed my bare shoulder.
I chuckled. “I’ll be back later tonight.”
“Don’t forget my money,” she said and sat back as I turned to her.
My hand glided along the side of her face. “Of course, Nico. Once the ki … job I did is confirmed, I’ll have plenty of money.” I grinned. “You like motorcycles?”
Her brow arched. “Why, are you buying one?”
“Was thinking about it,” I replied.
“That could be fun,” she said.
“Cool,” I said and kissed the tip of her nose before standing up. “Did I leave any shirts here? I don’t want to wear that one I showed up in.”
She nodded. “Check the second drawer of my dresser.”
I pulled the drawer open and found a few of my shirts. “Damn, I’m surprised you didn’t throw these out … or burn them.” I plucked a black t-shirt out and pulled it on over my head.
“I knew you’d be back,” she said with a laugh.
I stepped up to the edge of the bed. “You did, huh? I’ll have to try harder to keep you in the dark.”
Nico rose to her knees in front of me, the sheet falling away. “I’d like to see you try that.”
My eyes took in every detail of her naked curvy body, and I grinned. “You’re distracting me.” Nico’s body was a perfect hourglass … 36 – 24 – 36, my favorite numbers.
She smiled. “That’s a good thing. You don’t distract easily.”
I laughed. “How true that is.” I leaned forward, kissing her while slipping my arms around her waist, holding that perfect nakedness against me. “I promise I’ll come back tonight.”
“Don’t make promises you can’t keep, Shawn.” She batted long eyelashes at me, so I knew she only teased, but at the same time, she was dead serious.
“Oh, I’m going to keep this one,” I said. “But I have to go now.” I kissed her again, and then turned to leave the bedroom with an unfathomable reluctance to retrieve my weapons. Once I had them back in place, I heard Nico in the kitchen. I looked up, through the doorway, and decided against going out there. Just leave, man. You already said goodbye. But something gnawed at me, telling me I shouldn’t leave yet. I passed the feeling off as a side effect from the odd bullet. Speaking of which … I leaned over the table and plucked it from the bowl, and then pocketed it before vanishing to Trent’s house, where I interrupted his memorial video game.

I was about to phase with Trent to go see Grant after we discovered that little journal message in the game, when a voice drifted through my mind.
“SHAWN!”
Okay, it was more of a shout.
Thousands of miles away, I stood at Trent’s side and jerked when I heard my name screamed in the distance. “Fuck.” What do you need?
I need you to come to me NOW! Cianán replied through the mind link.
On my way, I said. “Shit.” I turned to Trent. “Hey, I have to go to Ireland again first. Wanna come with?”
Trent glared at me. “Fuck no!”
“Chicken,” I replied and vanished to Cianán’s newest castle, which was similar to his last one on the cliffs. This particular one was in a different province of Ireland, but there were still cliffs. Cianán really liked that shit for some reason. I supposed it gave him the option to throw people over them when they pissed him off, which was something I wasn’t about to do—piss Cianán off, that is. I had no problem with throwing someone over the side of a cliff. In fact, I can think of a few people I’d love to throw over that bitch.
I appeared in the hall outside Cianán’s room and knocked on the door.
“Enter,” Cianán said.
I swallowed, prepared myself for the view with a deep breath (although there really isn’t much you can do to prepare for that shit) and turned the knob. The door creaked open in typical cliché castle right out of fucking Bram Stoker’s Dracula fashion, and I controlled the shiver that wanted to race up my goddamn spine. I stepped inside the dimly lit room, eyes immediately focusing on the blood-covered bed. “Whoa, um, I’ll have someone clean that up for you.”
“It matters not,” Cianán replied from the dark corner near the bureau. My eyes flicked over to see the shadow standing there, eyes glowing red. I’m waiting for bats to start flying around the fucking room now.
“I could hire some servants,” I suggested.
Cianán scoffed and hissed at me, and quickly drew up his long-fingered hand, aiming toward the bed. A shower of red sparks brightened the room, and when I looked to the bed again, it was clean and made.
I nodded. “Okay then. Are you in need of more blood?”
“No, I do not require blood at this time,” he replied. “I wish to know why—” He stepped forward so that I could see his face in the light. “—I look like this.” It was then I noticed the mirror in pieces all over the dresser and floor.
I wasn’t frightened by many things—shit, I was just in Hell recently and that place was full of nightmares—but seeing Cianán’s blood-red eyes watch me intently from his leathery pale greenish face reminded me of Nosferatu, and that fucker was just plain creepy looking. His once long blonde hair was now only a stringy white mess of tangles and missing from the top of his head. His ears were all pointy too, making him look like a cross between elf and goblin. I’d heard stories, about how not all vampyres became beautiful upon their transformation, how some took on the more grotesque look, but I’d never seen anything like that which stood before me.
I shook my head. “I don’t know why you look this way, my lord.”
Cianán growled and turned quickly, heading for the window. “How am I to go out in the world looking like this?”
I smirked and shoved my hands in my front jeans’ pockets. “Well, it’d certainly give the effect you wished to create before.”
“You do not amuse me, Shawn,” he snarled.
“Sorry, but really, your power has grown over the last year,” I replied. “Just think of what you could do with it, and with looking like this.” I stepped forward. “You wished to create chaos and terror. I think that with this look, you’ll achieve such an effect.”
Cianán smiled and turned from his view of the ocean to pierce me with his eyes. “And this is the reason I chose you, my child, for you are the only one who sees that which I envision.”
I bowed my head. “Of course.”
Cianán straightened to his full height, which was much taller than before, towering over my frame. “Where is your brother? Why has he not come to see me?”
“He has been quite busy, my lord,” I replied. “The Cabale are … killing us. Locations have had to change. Seth was recently killed, and Kenneth of Cearbhall’s line.”
Cianán cocked a brow. “Seth?” He struggled with his memory, trying to recall the vampyre. “Was he one of mine?”
“Yes,” I replied. “The technical genius? The one who tried to teach you how to use a computer?”
“Ah, yes. Curious thing, that is,” he said with a nod. “He is dead?” I nodded. “Why did I not see it?”
My brow arched. “Perhaps because I changed you. He would no longer be linked to you directly.”
Cianán smirked. I knew what he was thinking. That’d make me his master. He obviously didn’t think I realized this, so I just let him believe whatever the hell he wanted for the time being, but he hadn’t yet noticed I wasn’t calling him Master. “How many do you have now?”
“Any that I have created are long dead,” I replied. “Most have been killed by The Cabale or other slayers. The last by Trent.”
“Rayven, correct?” Cianán asked.
“Yes,” I said, surprised by his memory of it. “Tore her to pieces a few weeks ago, the night I returned you.”
Cianán drew in a breath, likely catching the scent of ocean air. All I could smell was fish. There’s a reason I lived in the fucking desert. “She served her purpose. You did well.”
“Thank you,” I replied with a small bow of my head.
As though a memory drifted through his mind, Cianán closed his eyes and inhaled deeply once more. “Tell me what has happened to Kylie.”
Ah, of course. I’d been waiting for that one. “I don’t really know other than she’s with Grant in Phoenix,” I said. “I haven’t seen her since that night.” Which was true.
Cianán’s body tensed, but he gave a short nod. “I see. What about Trystan? Have you seen her?”
“No one has,” I replied. “She seems to have disappeared.”
“Disappeared?” he asked with an arched brow. “Well, she does tend to do that. I do hope she was not taken back to Hell, but if this is the case, I shall have to return there to retrieve her.”
I hoped he wouldn’t ask me to go with him into Hell. I hated that fucking place, although it was amusing to see the imps torture Rayven.
Cianán scratched his neck with long fingers as he stared out the window once again. “I am curious what it would take to return me to my former self, to rid of this look. Perhaps Lorelei could help. What do you think, Shawn?”
“She died that night,” I replied. “Moroc killed both her and Mahlon.”
“Is there anyone left?” Cianán snapped.
I stepped back as the monster took a step toward me. “Just Grant and Kylie, and a few others besides Trent and me.”
“I need Trystan,” Cianán growled. “Find her.”
“Yes, of course,” I said and quickly vanished back to Trent’s home before he made any other requests. Trent wasn’t there. Then I remembered where we were about to go before Cianán yelled for me. I found Trent in my mind and ported to his side.
Grant’s eyes flashed with anger the second I appeared, and he roared as he lunged for me. He picked me up by the neck and slammed me against the wall. “Where. Is. He?”
“Grant, stop it,” a female’s voice drifted around the bulky fucker. I swear, I think he’d grown in size since he became Dasul. I saw a hand slide over Grant’s shoulder and she stepped around him, a vision of grace and beauty with her emerald eyes and long auburn hair. Ooh, it got longer. “Put him down.”
Thank God. “Hey, Kylie,” I choked out. Grant let go and I fell to the floor.
She smiled sweetly as always, which just sent blood rushing to places it shouldn’t be going with her because Grant already wanted me dead. Grant growled and probably would have pushed me up against the wall again if Kylie hadn’t stepped between us. It’s the only indication I had that he might have known my thoughts regarding his beautiful wife.
“Look, I just came to talk to Trent,” I said and rubbed my neck. “I don’t want to cause any trouble or get into it with you.”
Kylie stepped forward and ran her delicate fingers down the side of my face. “Something’s different about you, Shawn. What have you been up to?”
“Huh? Nothing,” I replied and shook my head.
A grin split her lips and she giggled. “Right, okay.”
Trent stood to the side, helpless when it came to these two. “That was a stupid move.”
I shrugged. “If it wasn’t important, I wouldn’t have shown up.”
Grant snorted. “What the hell do you want? It’s not enough you brought that bastard back?”
I cocked a brow at him. “Excuse me, but I think your wife helped with that one by bringing him back to flesh first.”
Grant growled again and tried to push past Kylie, but she wasn’t letting him. “Grant, he’s right, I gave Cianán life again. He only gave him unlife.”
“He’s more powerful when he’s undead,” Grant snapped. “And he fucking knew that.”
My arms snapped out to the sides. “So, what do you want from me, Grant? Huh? My head? Fucking take it. I’m sick of this shit.” I bowed my head in a manner for him to take it easily with his sword, which I knew was close by. Grant didn’t travel far without his sword anymore.
Kylie slapped the back of my head. “Stop being so dramatic.”
Grant chuckled. “Alright Shawn, talk to your twin.” He pulled Kylie away from me and they wandered off to their kitchen.
I looked around, realizing I was in their house now, and whistled. “Damn nice place they have here.”
Trent sighed. “What was so important?”
I walked over to my brother and leaned into him, keeping my voice as quiet as possible. “We have to find Trystan.”
Trent’s head turned as he eyed me, his blue eye meeting my green directly. “You can’t be serious. How in the hell are we supposed to do that?”
I shrugged. “Well, she’s human now, isn’t she? Grant took her magic from her, right? Shouldn’t be too difficult.”
“Yeah, she’s human, and yes, Grant took her magic,” Trent said. “I’m sure that explains why she up and disappeared completely.”
“Well, Cianán wants her and we need to find her,” I stated. “Believe me, we don’t want him pissed off right now.”
“Oh, just fucking great,” Trent said and slapped his hands against his jeans as his hands dropped to his sides. “Where do we start? She was last seen at Mahlon’s and I’m not going anywhere near that house with The Cabale watching it.”
I sighed heavily. “Where would a Druid sorceress be?”
“Obviously in a forest,” Trent replied. “Let’s start with Ireland, since that’s their homeland.”
“Yeah, okay,” I said and slapped a hand against my forehead. “Fuck.”
“What’s wrong?” Trent asked as he stood up.
I growled. “Nico. I’m supposed to go see her tonight.”
“You just saw her,” Trent said.
“Yeah, but I need to go back,” I replied. “Go see if you can find any others to help. I think they’re in Italy. Watch out for Dana.”
“Hell, I saw that,” Trent said. “Stupid Gino.”
“He never was that bright,” I replied. “I’ll meet you at the circle. Oh, and see if Grant or Kylie knows anything about that journal.”
Trent nodded and I vanished to Nico’s home. I walked into the kitchen for some water before I returned to her bedroom where she was likely fast asleep after drinking her tea. Only, I stopped cold when I saw her favorite mug in pieces on the tile floor. My senses kicked in and I started scanning the house from where I stood in the darkness, listening for heartbeats, sniffing the air for the scent of other humans, eyes penetrating the shadows. Nothing. Not even Nico. I ran back to her bedroom just to check anyway. She wasn’t there. Anger surged through me like I’d never felt before.
“Fuck,” I snapped and began searching the house for anything that would tell me what happened to her or who took her. Whoever it was, I was going to rip them to pieces for taking my mate from me, even if it was a trap.
Yeah, I can’t believe I said that either.