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|Jacob(Nightwalkers #1) by Jacquelyn Frank|
Its cry of pain was male and short lived. He reached up and grabbed her by the hair, yanking her so hard by it that she did a complete 180 on the heel of her foot. She was falling back, off balance, into her foe, even as a queer blue light suddenly erupted into the room, highlighting the raised hand it was coming from as he reached for her throat. “Demon bitch!” he hissed at her, coughing for her satisfaction from her last strike.
The blue bolt of magic that shot from his fingertips lanced through her with shocking pain, causing her entire body to convulse, every hair on her standing at attention from the electrical charge.
“His name! Tell me his name!” He had released her hair, his arm locking around her throat and choking her as he sent another bolt of energy through her body. She seized for a long minute before he cut the bolt off from her and let her fall slack in his grasp. “Give me his name, or I will kill you.”
“Never,” she croaked, without even knowing why she should be protecting Jacob’s name from this monster. All she knew was that if she didn’t break free soon, she was going to pass out from lack of oxygen or he was going to fry her from the inside out.
He loosened his hold so he could draw a knife from his sleeve and hold it to her throat. “Feel that, demon whore?” He pressed the blade into her flesh. “It’s made of iron. I assure you, it has all the spells necessary to cut your head from your shoulders.”
That’s when Isabella finally absorbed the fact that he thought she was a Demon. She suddenly saw an advantage to it, screaming out as if the iron was causing her pain.
“Yeah, that’s right. Hurts, doesn’t it? Now give me his name or I’ll kill you! Then after I kill you, I’ll kill your lover. Look!”
He jerked her around so she could see Jacob lying on the floor. He even caused the room to brighten with his magic so she could see the blood pooling around Jacob’s body. The vast emptiness of thought from him terrified her far more than the sight of his blood. Panic welled up in a distant corner of her mind, her heart aching in response, but she angrily pushed it all aside and focused.
“I bet you’re wondering how I took him out so easy. Well, you’ll find out if you don’t open that mouth of yours and give me his name!”
“His name… ” she croaked.
“Yes, tell me,” he said eagerly.
“Bond. James Bond.”
Isabella slammed her head back, crashing into his face with her skull. She saw brilliant stars at the impact, but still she grabbed the hand with the knife in it and bit him as hard as she could. He shrieked, but she locked her jaw until the knife dropped from his fingers. Then she whirled around and sent her knee up into his groin with every last ounce of her newfound strength. He fell to the floor with another screech, writhing in pain, cupping his abused privates. Isabella tossed her hair back and glared down at her victim.
“Have a nice sex change, you son of a bitch.”
With that, she swung out her foot and kicked him in the head. He lost consciousness with a little whimper, his head snapping and then lolling back in her direction. She nudged him hard with her toe in his pained parts, knowing it would take impossible control for him to fake unconsciousness under the circumstances.
Satisfied, she dropped to Jacob’s side, oblivious to the fact that she was kneeling in his blood. She searched in the dim light for the wound it was coming from. At first all she found was the blood in his mouth, apparently from biting his tongue after striking his head on the dresser during his fall. It wasn’t until she turned him over that she discovered a deep gash in his shoulder and the back of his head. They were in line with one another, so whatever he had been hit with had been long as well as sharp. Probably another cursed blade of some kind. Probably made of iron.
Isabella began to feel the tight grip of fear locking around her chest. She remembered from her reading that iron in the hands of a necromancer could kill a Demon. The vital, magnificent being who had been making such incredible love to her only a short while ago could very well be dying in her arms.
“Oh, please,” she prayed on a sob, “please let Legna hear me!”
LEGNA! Her mind screamed the Demon empath’s name, the pain of her heart howling behind it. LEGNA! HELP ME!
Legna jolted in her seat, making Noah look up from the chessboard between them. Her face drained of color and Noah knew instantly something was exceedingly wrong.
Noah lurched to his feet, coming around the table and drawing Legna up.
“She’s terrified… Jacob. Something terrible has happened to Jacob. She needs us.”
Isabella was sobbing by the time Noah and Legna materialized dramatically in the middle of the room. Noah’s first act was to toss a ball of fire up at the ceiling, letting it hang harmlessly suspended as it cast light on the scene. Legna went directly to Isabella’s side, crying out softly when she saw Jacob and all of the blood spreading around. Noah immediately noticed the other male lying unconscious on the floor. The smell of the necromancer struck Noah physically, turning his stomach with its malevolent stench.
“Legna,” he commanded, “call Elijah.” Then he looked at Jacob, his lips pressing into a grim line. “And Gideon.”
Legna gasped, looking up at her brother in shock.
“Surely there is another medic, Noah. Gideon despises Jacob.”
“There is none older, wiser, and more skilled than Gideon. Call him.”
“He will not answer.”
“He will. Call him. Obey me now.”
Legna swallowed and moved away from the others, finding a distant spot so she could concentrate on her task. Noah knelt beside Isabella, who was rocking slightly in her grief, her small hands pressing to the wounds on Jacob’s body in an attempt to stem the flow of blood.
“How did this happen?”
“I don’t know,” she hiccupped. “He didn’t even sense the necromancer. I did, but he didn’t. I don’t understand. Jacob can sense anything.”
“That is one of many questions, Isabella. Right now we are going to focus on getting Jacob a medic and then taking that monster into custody. I promise you, I will not rest until I have answers.”
“He kept asking for Jacob’s name,” she murmured numbly. “Why? Why would he want his name?”
“I will explain later,” Noah promised. He lifted his head as a violent breeze rushed into the room, swirled, and connected into Elijah. The warrior took a quick glance around and shot Noah a look.
“Elijah,” Noah warned, holding up his hand. “Just take the necromancer safely away from here.”
Elijah nodded and with a flick of his wrist, he and the necromancer vanished into a rushing gust of wind. No sooner had Elijah left than a Demon Isabella had never seen before appeared in the burst of smoke and sulfur created whenever Legna departed and arrived.
Isabella’s eyes widened when she saw the silver-haired male for the first time. The thick, shoulder-length hair was belied by the features of a male no more than forty and a vital physique to boot. She realized that this was the one called Gideon, and she also sensed that he was far older than the others in the room. It was in his carriage and the way he looked around at the chaos of the room with serene, cool eyes. Those eerie eyes matched his silver hair perfectly. Even if she had not heard Noah say so, she would have known he had tremendous power. He reeked of it.
His eyes trained on her, his pupils contracting slightly.
“Oh, for Pete’s sake,” Isabella snapped, having had her fill of Demons making that distinction as if she carried some kind of plague. “Yes, it’s human. It’s also going to get pissed off if it doesn’t get some help for Jacob damn quick!”
“From New York,” Gideon noted, his eyes flicking over Jacob’s inert form. “He has been struck with an iron blade. Ensorcelled. Until the spell is removed, it will leave the wound open and bleeding. Your attempts to stanch the bleeding with your hands are useless.”
“Noah,” Isabella said quietly, her words hissing out from between clenched teeth. “Tell this jackass that if he doesn’t heal Jacob ASAP I’m going to kick his holier-than-thou ass all over the continent.”
A silver brow lifted in curiosity.
“She is rather irreverent for a Druid,” Gideon remarked.
Noah’s head snapped up, his eyes widening in obvious shock.
“You know she is a Druid? How can you tell?”
“Quite easily, I assure you.” Gideon forestalled the enraged woman’s next verbal threat with a raised hand and knelt beside the Enforcer. “It is better he is not conscious. I do not imagine he would enjoy knowing it is I who will heal him.”
“He holds no ill will toward you, Gideon,” Noah said quietly. “In fact, your self-exile has weighed heavily on him.”
Gideon didn’t respond. He touched Jacob’s pale face in a caress that could almost be considered affectionate. The Ancient’s eyes closed and he released a long exhalation of breath. Isabella gasped when the wound beneath her hand began to knit together. She made a small sound of relief, mixed with a sob.
“He needs blood. Noah, come.”
Noah moved to kneel beside Gideon without hesitation. He extended his arm, and Gideon grasped his forearm just above the wrist with one hand, his other reaching for a similar hold on Jacob’s left arm. Color suddenly flared into Jacob’s complexion, even as it drained slightly from Noah’s. Isabella was aware she was witnessing some kind of transfusion, one without needles or threat of outside contamination. It was incredible, and she was grateful beyond words when Jacob finally stirred.
“The scar will remain forever. That I cannot heal,” Gideon admitted regretfully.
“It doesn’t matter,” Isabella whispered, stroking Jacob’s hair and face tenderly. He groaned softly, and she bent to press her lips to his. “Jacob. Jacob… ” she whispered, kissing his mouth again and again.
Gideon cast a pregnant glance at Noah but didn’t speak aloud at the incredible irony of the Enforcer having a human female touching and kissing him with obvious intimacy and affection.
“He will not wake just now. He needs to rest.” Gideon passed a hand over Jacob, who promptly relaxed and began to sleep. “I suggest you take him somewhere safe. If one necromancer can find him here, it is likely that another can as well.”
“I will bring him to my home,” Noah assured the medic.
“Another? You mean there are more than just the one?” Isabella demanded. “I thought it was only one necromancer.”
“It is never only one. However, you… you are a singular curiosity. A human and Druid hybrid.” He reached as if to touch her and was rewarded with a flash of movement that found his wrist caught and twisted in her hold. He didn’t react with pain, however, just that lifted brow of curiosity. In an equally swift motion, he broke her hold and caught her wrist.
Isabella gasped as white light rocketed up her arm and through her body.
“The necromancer tried to electrocute you, yet you survived,” Gideon murmured. “You heal rapidly. Your blood is most peculiar and—” Gideon stopped speaking and for the first time his expression registered clear surprise. “You are not mortal.”
“Gideon… ” Noah warned.
Gideon looked at Noah sharply. “You knew,” he said directly.
“He what?” Isabella spluttered. “He knew no such thing! There is no such thing. I’m human and therefore mortal. You got your wires crossed or something, pal.”
“That is impossible,” Gideon said simply. Isabella had a sudden urge to slap him. She settled for jerking her wrist out of his hold.
“Noah, take us out of here,” Isabella begged. “I want Jacob safe. Now.”
“Of course. There will be time to talk when Jacob is stronger.”
With that statement, Noah leaned over to touch Isabella and Jacob, and the three of them disappeared into a column of smoke that promptly slipped out of the room.
Gideon rose up to his full height, watching their progress as they faded into the night. He then turned his diamondlike eyes until they narrowed on the female Demon who had remained so still and quiet that she had gone unremembered. An interesting feat, considering the remarkable presence of the beauty.
“You have grown strong, Legna,” he remarked quietly.
“In only a decade? I am sure it has not made much of a difference.”
“To teleport me from such a great distance took respectful skill and strength. You well know it.”
“Thank you. I shall have to remember to feel weak and fluttery inside now that you complimented me.”
Gideon narrowed his eyes coldly on her. “You sound like that acerbic little human. It does not become you.”
“I sound like myself,” Legna countered, her irritation crackling through his thoughts as the emotion overflowed her control. “Or have you forgotten that I am far too immature for your tastes?”
“I never said such a thing.”
“You did. You said I was too young to even begin to understand you.” She lifted her chin, so lost in her wounded pride that she spoke before she thought. “At least I was never so immature that Jacob had to punish me for stalking a human.”
Gideon’s spine went extremely straight, his eyes glittering with warning as she hit home on the still-raw wound. “Maturity had nothing to do with that, and you well know it. It is below you to be so petty, Magdelegna.”