|Home > Jacquelyn Frank > Nightwalkers > Adam (Page 29)|
|Adam(Nightwalkers #6) by Jacquelyn Frank|
“Black magic,” he spat, the taste of it on his tongue as vile as the notion of it. It was the ultimate perversion. A Demon Summoning Demons. “It must be stopped,” he agreed. “I am only suggesting that the best way to do this is with a strength of numbers.”
“If we go back now for help, she will disappear again as she always does. This time there will be no trail. She will have time to do whatever it is she does to make certain of it. Adam, you have to believe me,” she said, stepping forward and reaching for his hand. She grasped his palm and fingers, squeezing with her wonderful strength of breed and the passion of her feelings. True, deep feelings. Feelings that had been inside her long before he had come along. “I am not as reckless as others may think I am. I am not doing this in the heat of the moment. I am doing this with the conviction of my beliefs. If I am wrong, if I die, then so be it. It will be worth it if I can hurt her enough to make a difference. To cut her legs out from under her so she can never get her footing again. I’ll die dragging her down with me the whole way. I know you believe in destiny. So feel me, feel my soul when I swear to you that this ... this is my special destiny. I was put on this earth, here and now, in this place and time, to destroy the Demon Ruth. Help me. Please help me to do that.”
The passion of her emotion moved him. He could feel it as it stung across her eyes and sinuses. She turned away a little, as if to hide her weakness, but she recalled how useless that was when he was so clearly entrenched in her thoughts and emotions. In fact, she wanted him to know just how genuine all of this was for her, so she embraced it. She let the tears fill her eyes.
“A cavern full of innocent Nightwalkers died because of the way she used me to get to them. My fault or her fault, wherever the blame lies, she has to answer for it. She has to answer for all of her crimes.”
“And so she will,” Adam said with a firm nod of assurance. He drew their joined hands up to his lips and pressed a kiss against her fingers. “You and I together. There is great power in this thing between us. It goes beyond shared thoughts and this magnificent lust. Together we will be a force to reckon with. I feel it in my soul. And we will start with your Demon bitch, eh?”
“You got that right!” she declared, letting out a whoop of joy. She leapt for the sky, flying fierce and free into the night.
Dawn was only a short time away. They were running out of time. Adam could tolerate a portion of daytime hours, but his Vampire mate could not. The sun would roast her like a chicken on a spit, slowly and painfully cooking her from the skin inward.
The thought propelled him off the ground and after her. He followed with as much haste as he could muster in spite of his limitations. He skipped after her, following cloud after cloud, jumping them like a frog jumps lily pads in a pond. Now that he had resolved himself to doing this thing once and for all, he felt almost euphoric. It took him several minutes to realize that euphoria was not entirely his own. It would take some time, this getting used to the presence of another in his mind and emotions. He had his own individual thoughts as he always had, but now her thoughts were inside him and also this strange sort of blending of the two that was growing stronger with every passing second. The Imprinting, he recognized, had already been occurring in earnest, but since she had taken his blood it had taken on a whole new and powerful dimension.
It was almost astounding to him, the idea that he had let a Vampire drink from him. Considering the world he had been living in when he had woken that evening ...
No one can accuse me of inflexibility ever again, he thought with amusement.
I agree. When I think of the look on Damien’s face ...
It should have been strange how easily they fell into communicating with one another through this powerful mental passageway, but it was as natural as breathing. Perhaps that was what made her fall silent, or perhaps it was her thoughts about Damien and all the baggage she had accumulated with him and his relationship with Syreena. Adam could see it all so clearly as it churned through her mind.
You were jealous of her, he noted carefully. He had long since realized she didn’t particularly care to be called out on her flaws. She much preferred to admit them in her own way and in her own time.
But to his surprise, she didn’t become angry and she didn’t shut him down immediately.
I think I was more afraid she would become so important to Damien that my relationship with him would fall completely by the wayside. And while there have been changes and I spend less one-on-one time with Damien, I have to admit he juggles us well. We are both important to him and he wishes to please us both, to keep us both happy.
Still, you are verbally abusive to the woman he loves, Adam noted.
Not as much as before, she tried to excuse herself. Time has begun to mellow me toward her.
Adam laughed. I wonder if she would agree with that assessment.
He felt the sheepishness that skimmed her thoughts. He realized then how much he had underestimated her. He comprehended how little he truly knew about her depths, her passions, and her flaws. But this connection between them was closing the gap rapidly, filling his mind with her in extraordinarily full dimensions. And with each dimension she seemed to grow more beautiful. The wind whipping through her hair, twisting it to and fro, made her look like a storming goddess, a powerful woman in charge of all the elements around her. In a way it was an amusing comparison since he was the only one in control of any elements. Yet cold hard facts had no place in his vision of her, although he had never seen her more clearly. Had never seen anyone so clearly.
“Easy there, Romeo. Don’t get carried away on a wave of romantic drivel,” she shouted to him.
That made him laugh. Perhaps he was romanticizing to some degree. It seemed he couldn’t help himself. Normally he was a creature who worked in logic and stone-cold truths, who clearly saw the line of the law and would not allow himself to see shades of gray. The fact that he had stars in his eyes as he looked at her could be construed as very amusing. His brother would never let him live it down.
At least, the Jacob he knew would have had fun with it. But now his brother was a stranger to him. And he had yet another brother whom he had not even met. His life was in a state of turmoil ... so how was it that he felt so calm and so incredibly centered?
Jasmine felt herself smiling as his thoughts ran almost musically through her head. As a telepath she was very comfortable walking through the thoughts of others, but her ability forced her to do the seeking. This connection with Adam was proving to be like a light that was left on all the time. It was a wonder Imprinted mates didn’t burn out after a while, what with trying to manage and catalogue the thoughts of two beings at once. But as Adam had noted, there was nothing innately stressful about what they were experiencing. It was just unusual. Alien. Yet quickly growing familiar.
She ought to have been more upset about this whole thing, his invasion of her space and mind, the severe alteration of her body and her soul.
She was not. She could not make herself be. Because it felt too much like coming to completion, becoming suddenly whole. Had someone asked her yesterday if her life was complete, she would have absently said yes, disregarding all the empty places she had covered up these past four hundred years, and others that had existed even before she had ever encountered Adam. But for the first time ...
For the first time.
For the first time her body was singing and her soul was in chorus with it. The mixture of their thoughts in her mind and the blood she had taken from him swirled into the choir of it.
Good God, she was on the verge of skipping through a field of daisies in a gauzy white dress with freaking flowers in her hair.
She laughed with him at the imagery. He didn’t understand the reference completely, but he could appreciate the absurdity of it nonetheless.
They both stopped laughing at the same moment, as if it had been planned, when each felt the overwhelming sense of wrongness that echoed in Adam’s blood. All of the Enforcer instincts that had been muted for some reason until that moment came screaming to life. Suddenly every cell in his body went off as though each was an individually screaming klaxon. The Water Demon shot to the ground as quickly as he could, his form shifting from mist to flesh like the whipping back of a curtain to reveal a magic trick. There was, however, no grace to it and no showmanship intended. He was driven down to a single knee as he tried to brace himself against something that was happening from the inside out.
And because it was stripping through him, it was stripping through her. Though certainly not as powerfully. Her advantage was her extensive familiarity with her enemy.
She quickly stood before him, taking his face in her hands and leaning his forehead against her solar plexus. She comforted him by running her hands through his hair and gave him a moment to compose himself.
“She’s very close. Within a mile,” she told him. “What you are feeling is no doubt the effects of some kind of spell intended to put off the Enforcer, using his own power against him. It was perhaps meant for Jacob, in case he came hunting her.”
“No doubt the components of it are attached to those things within us that make me and Jacob brothers as well as Enforcers,” he said tightly. “I fought many a necromancer in my time. I am familiar with their tricks. Although I confess, this is something altogether different. A Demon casting spells. It is as unnatural as one can possibly conceive of.”
“Yes. Very much so. As unnatural as Vampires killing in a feed or ...”
“Drinking the blood of Nightwalkers,” he finished for her when she trailed off. “But one taboo broken has led to nothing but pain and misery, while the other,” he said, looking up into her eyes, “has led to us. There is no such thing as good magic. And all I see in this connection with you is goodness.”
“I look forward to introducing you to Valera,” Jasmine said with lips turned up in amusement. “She is a natural-born Witch staying in the Vampire court at the moment with her Shadowdweller mate, Sagan. She is living proof that a human with magical inclinations can use magic in a good way. Holistic magics. Defensive magics. Well-intentioned magics. We have begun to call it white magic or sometimes clean magic. It is quite something to see.”
Adam sighed deeply, resting his head against her again for just a moment. Talking to her was easing the pain inside him, helping him get a handle on it, helping him to compartmentalize what was necessary to finish his hunt and what was not.
The world has changed so much, he thought wearily.
“Don’t let it overwhelm you now. You’ve barely scratched the surface of the changes you will see, and you cannot let despair take you over. And for every bad taste, I promise you there is an equally good one waiting for the curious touch of your tongue.”
Jasmine felt the mischievous quirk of the smile that touched his lips.
Her soothing hand in his hair quickly wrapped around a few locks and gave a hard tug.
“Ah! Vicious woman,” he cried, grabbing hold of her wrist as he surged up to his full height. “Give me some time to learn to censor my thoughts better before you start to punish me for them! I am unused to every stray idea being monitored. It takes a large measure of control to filter what goes through my mind from coming past my lips.”
“Oh, as a lifetime telepath, I am very aware of this,” she assured him. “I did not punish you for the thought, merely for having it in a situation where I could do nothing to take you up on it. I rather hate being put in the position of having to be responsible.”
“That is a merry lie,” he accused her. “Everything you do reeks of responsibility.”
She visibly winced.
“Ouch. You really know how to hurt a girl.”
“Confess,” he urged her. “I know you must see it as clearly as I do. You are the right hand of a powerful monarch. You are in charge of a multitude of subordinates who are not always used to being subordinate to others, never mind a Nightwalker of a different breed, and you dance attendance on the leaders of other nations. You might wish others to see you as being a long-legged sack of trouble, but I think you are failing miserably.”
“Mmm, well ...” She tilted her head back so she could look up into his eyes, their stunning green so incredibly pretty in the face of someone so incredibly male. “I bet no one else would ever dare say that to my face. That has to count for something. And the only reason you are getting away with it is because ... I’m in a mellow mood.”
“Admit it, you rather like me,” he needled her, cupping her jaw and tilting her face to his dropping lips.
“You’re not bad, as far as obnoxious, arrogant asses go,” she relented with a smirk.
“Bah!” He pushed her face aside, not bothering to hide the irrepressible grin she inspired. “Let us get this over with.”
“Acting with haste as usual, Jasmine?”
Jasmine tilted her head to look at the Vampire intruding on her private exchange with Adam. She had sensed Damien’s approach somewhere in the back of her mind, but had been more focused on Adam and his needs of the moment. She was not foolish enough to disregard Damien’s value in the encounter to come. She wanted a successful vengeance, not a private one. That was why she had been so eager to have Adam by her side. However, Damien was a much cooler head and knew the enemy far better than Adam did. She had played on Adam’s arrogance and confidence a little in order to recruit him to her way of thinking.
A trick I will not fall for twice, he thought admonish-ingly to her.
The grin she flashed at him was as unrepentant as the one she gave to Damien.
“That implies I had not put a great deal of thought into my actions. I assure you, Damien, I have done little else.” She raised a brow when she saw Syreena at Damien’s side as well as Valera the Witch and Sagan the former Shadowdweller penance priest. Sagan had given up his calling as one of the most powerful warrior priests to stand protectively at his mate’s side. He was a fighter of incomparable skill, and at present armed with the notoriously vicious khukuri blade he wielded so proficiently.