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|Gideon(Nightwalkers #2) by Jacquelyn Frank|
“It is a good thing she is on our side, is it not?”
Noah started, turning to confront the Demon who had appeared at his back with flawless silence and concealment.
“Jacob! You just took ten years off my life,” Noah hissed.
“Only ten? I must be losing my touch.” Jacob looked from Noah to the last place Legna had been standing. He nodded his head in her former direction. “What was that all about?”
“I have no idea, but I am beginning to feel like I am the only one who does not know what the hell is happening in his own damn house.”
“Sorry state of affairs, seeing as how you are King and all,” Jacob said, his lips twitching with amusement as Noah glared at him. “That is only my opinion, though. Perhaps I will ask my troublemaking wife for hers.”
Noah had the grace to openly wince.
“You heard that, hmm?”
“And therefore… ” Jacob prompted.
“She heard it, too,” Noah concluded with comical pain. “Forgive me, Bella. I think I am just in a foul mood.”
“She says she will forgive you as soon as she needs a babysitter.”
“You know, I think you better go out there and enforce some of my laws before I begin to think of how many ways I can set your ass on fire,” the King said meanly, the glare of his gaze all business.
“I would, but I am in need of Gideon. Where is he?”
“How should I know?” Noah asked grumpily, moving to the fire and sinking down into the only thing in the room that wasn’t giving him grief: his favorite chair.
Jacob followed the King, a perplexed look on his face.
“Wait a minute, Noah, are you saying Gideon is not here? Was not here?”
“No. Why would he be? There is no Council meeting today. And in spite of—” Noah broke off, his eyes snapping up to Jacob’s. “Why did you think Gideon was here?”
“Because I know his scent. That and his presence are quite distinctive, as you are well aware.”
“Yes, I know,” Noah mused. “It’s funny, but I could have sworn I felt his energy myself not five seconds ago. Perhaps he was in the area. Legna did not mention he had been here when I asked her.” Noah settled back and shrugged. “Whatever the reason, it is probably not important.”
Jacob murmured a sound of agreement even though he didn’t look completely satisfied. “Well, I have to find him. I will visit with you later.”
“Jacob, is something wrong? Is Isabella okay?”
“Probably. She is not well today. It could be a normal thing for a human female, but since she is usually as resistant to common ailments now as we are, she is nervous. I figured Gideon could ease her mind.”
Noah missed the wince that crossed his friend’s face that would have given away the indignant argument flying through the Enforcer’s thoughts. Jacob’s female counterpart huffily took umbrage to his claims of exactly who it was that was nervous and who had insisted on seeking Gideon, because it certainly had not been her.
“Tell her I hope she feels better,” Noah said, his fondness for Bella quite clear in his tone. “Bear with her, old friend. She’s breaking new ground. It can be pretty frightening to play Eve for an entire race.”
“Do not worry. When it comes to my Bella, I would do anything to see to her happiness. That includes making others do anything to see to her happiness,” Jacob said. He meant the words, of course, but he was hoping they’d help soothe someone’s bristling pride.
“I’m sure Gideon is going to love that,” Noah laughed.
Jacob grinned, altering gravity so that he began to float up from the floor.
“If you see Gideon before I do, will you tell him to come to Bella?”
“Of course. Tell her I said to start behaving like a real Druid or I—” Noah was cut off by a sharp hand motion and a warning expression from the Enforcer. It came a little too late, however, if Jacob’s pained expression was anything to judge by.
“There goes your invitation for our wedding,” Jacob muttered. “And I think I am close behind you.”
“I would believe that if I were not the one who is supposed to perform it and if you were not the father of her otherwise illegitimate child,” Noah countered loudly, clearly talking to the person beyond his immediate perception.
“Ow! Damn it, Noah!” Jacob grumbled, rubbing his temples as Bella’s scream of frustration echoed through him. “Do remember I am the one who has to go home to her, would you?”
“Sorry, my friend,” Noah chuckled, not looking at all repentant. “Now get out of here, Enforcer. Find Gideon and tend to your beautiful and charming mate. Be sure to mention to her that I said she looks ravishing and that her pregnancy has made her shine like a precious jewel.”
“Noah, if you were not my King, I would kill you for this.”
“Yes, well, as your King I would have you arrested for treason just for saying that. Luckily for you, Jacob, you are the man who would arrest you, and the woman who also has the power to do so is sure to punish you far better than I can when you get home.”
“You are all heart, my liege,” Jacob said wryly.
“Thank you. Now leave, before I begin to expound on the disrespect that this mouthy little female of yours seems to have engendered amongst my formerly loyal subjects.”
Jacob clearly had a retort for that, but he wisely held it behind sparkling eyes. A moment later, he turned into a twisting whirl of dust, floating out of a high castle window and leaving Noah alone.
Bella stood up from the seat on the couch she had been commanded to remain in, rubbing her hands together anxiously as she paced the carpet. Joking and jibes aside, Jacob was trying to stay very close to her thoughts. Isabella would have been lying if she had said she wasn’t comforted by his presence, even if he was currently lecturing her about her persistent inability to obey his commands. In this instance, to remain seated and to try and relax.
“It’s just a headache and a little nausea, Jacob,” she said aloud to the empty room. “I don’t see why you feel the need to bother Gideon.”
Better safe than sorry, Bella. And I can tell you need to put your mind to ease. Despite your claims otherwise.
Well, I don’t know which makes me more nervous, feeling strange or watching you react to me feeling strange. If this is some sort of gas bubble or something, Gideon will massacre me. Correction, massacre us.
You feel how you feel, love. That is always allowed. I am going to be a while. Please sit down and rest?
Isabella nodded, and even though he couldn’t see her do so, he got the impression of her agreement. She released him from the forefront of her mind, curling up in a corner of the sofa, wearily settling her head until her lids began to droop.
Just as she began to fall asleep, there was a knock at the door.
Legna appeared just outside of Jacob and Isabella’s house, standing in front of the door. Bella was not expecting her today, so today she would use the courtesy of knocking. She made certain to reflect her well-mannered actions back at the male ghosting through her mind. Maybe now he would learn something about human protocol.
I would not count on it, Nelissuna.
Do you mind? I would like at least a little privacy while I talk to my friend.
Privacy is a human foible, Legna. You have been associating with the Druid too much and adopting her idiosyncrasies.
She is my friend. I love her dearly and owe her much. If you have a problem with that…
Do not threaten me, Legna. It is quite a waste of your time.
Are you going to remove yourself or not? she demanded.
Given a choice… not.
Very well, let me rephrase that… get out or I will put you out. And do not assume that I cannot or will not do so. Imprinting or no, I am a Mind Demon and I will figure out exactly how to do it. Also, I am still an individual despite this whole situation and I will have my freedoms.
I see. Well, if you intended to insist, I do not see why you bothered to ask me at all.
I did not ask. Well, not the first time. And the second one was just… oh, never mind! Are you always going to be this literal? Because let me tell you, it is a pain in the ass. And do not even think of saying anything else about Bella’s influence on me!
Perish the thought. Enjoy your visit, Nelissuna.
As simply as that, she felt him drift away from her mind. There was so much of him becoming a part of her, weaving into her very make-up, that she couldn’t be certain he was completely shut off from her thoughts. Was it even possible for Imprinted mates to block one another off from the inherent connection of their minds? Had it ever been tried? Had it ever been desired before? This was all still too new. It would take her some time to sort through everything she was feeling, not to mention what effect it would have on her abilities to be super-charged by the shared power of an Ancient of his caliber.
But there was a cunning part of Legna that was realizing open thoughts and silvery eyes were a very small price to pay for the power promising to come her way.
The mercenary sensation disturbed her with a shiver, but she shook it off and chose to ignore it. She wasn’t going to let any part of this intimidate her.
Legna lifted her hand and knocked for Isabella.
Jacob reached Gideon’s residence in record time, propelled to extraordinary speed by his concern for Isabella. He drifted into the manse through an open window, changing from dust to Demon with a quick twist of movement.
He glanced around the immediate room, scenting the strong presence of his prey of the moment. It had been many years since he had last been here, in the Ancient’s domain. He was surprised to realize how familiar the place still felt in spite of the fact that he still felt uneasy with the medic himself, unable to fully dismiss some of the negative feelings that had arisen between him and his former friend. But Isabella’s needs came well before his own, and Isabella needed Gideon.
The Enforcer turned at his name, having already sensed the Ancient’s arrival in the room.
“Gideon, I require some of your time.”
“Of course. Is something wrong with your mate?”
“I do not believe it is anything serious, but she has these bouts of nervousness and I think she makes herself ill from it. She will not often or openly admit it, but she worries a great deal and, I admit, her imagination, which is so brilliant, can also be a curse for her in such times. She requires your reassurance. No other medic will serve the purpose. She trusts you and no one else as far as the pregnancy is concerned.”
“Understandable. I have told her not to hesitate calling on me and I meant it. She is my highest priority.”
Jacob was silent for a moment, absorbing how that made him feel and reconciling it with everything else he felt toward the medic.
“Then I am grateful,” he said at last, inclining his head in brief respect to the Ancient.
“You are welcome to my help. Come, let us—”
The cry rang through Gideon’s mind so loudly and so suddenly that he winced sharply, jerking his head to the side, a hand going to his forehead in irresistible reflex as pain blossomed over his left eye, cheek, and neck. He was mildly aware of Jacob reacting with surprise to the inconceivable picture it must have made, but he turned his thoughts to the urgent priority of Legna’s call, come so soon after she’d ordered him away.
Is it Isabella? he asked, quickly reaching the conclusion from knowing where she was and the purpose of the Enforcer in front of him.
Yes. She is on the floor. Gideon, there is so much blood!
Gideon looked up at Jacob, and in that moment the Enforcer paled visibly beneath his natural tan. Apparently he had just become aware of Isabella’s distress as well.
“Sweet Destiny,” he whispered.
“Jacob, remain where you are,” the Ancient commanded.
“I will not!” He exploded in instant fury. “She is my wife, Gideon, and you do not command me!”
“Jacob, Legna is with Bella,” Gideon said firmly, “and she can teleport us both far faster than we could travel to her side by your means.”
“Legna?” Jacob scoffed. “She is not strong enough to carry us both so far.”
“Yes, she is. I beg you to trust me and stop arguing, as time is of the essence.”
That silenced the distraught Enforcer, forcing him to nod in agreement and draw back from the aggressive stance he had taken in Gideon’s space.
Legna, you can do this.
No! Not both at once! Not across such a distance!
Yes, you can. With me as part of you, you can do anything you set your mind to. Sweet, you are much stronger than you may ever realize. You always have been, even before I ever touched you. Destiny would not give me a weak companion.
She was silent and Gideon could feel her gathering her energy after turning her back on her doubting thoughts. Apparently, Bella’s condition was serious enough to compel her to try, and Gideon was overwhelmed with a sense of pride at how well she shouldered her responsibilities and how she accepted his word on faith… and a whole lot of hope.
Jacob watched the world squeeze together before him, the visual phenomenon that the teleporter experienced when sent by a Mind Demon to another place. It was as if Legna was folding the two points in space together until they touched, making the exchange from point A to point B seemingly as easy as taking a step forward.
The pressure change shot through the sinuses of the arriving males, disorienting them for all of a second.
Gideon’s first impulse was to look for his patient, but at the same time his new sensitivities for another woman demanded his attention. He felt the wave of nausea and faintness that rushed through Legna. He turned, finding her unerringly, and reached out to catch her in the nick of time, easing her to the floor in a gentle motion.