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|Jacob(Nightwalkers #1) by Jacquelyn Frank|
“You honor me, Noah. We accept wholeheartedly,” Jacob said.
“I got that impression,” Noah chuckled. “So, Isabella, you have two days to plan a wedding.” He paused to yawn, and he saw Bella go suddenly rigid in Jacob’s arms.
“More importantly,” she said bitterly, “I have two days to learn how to keep from making my guests pass out.”
“Well,” Noah responded easily, “it seems that the effect is limited to those standing very close to you, at the moment. So I would imagine you need to worry more about keeping your groom conscious.”
“Come, little flower, let us seek Elijah out. I wish for him to attend the wedding as well.”
“Not yet.” She stayed him with a hand on his chest. “I have one other apology to make.”
She reached to kiss his cheek lightly, then broke from his hold and headed up the stairs, turning at the landing to head for Legna’s room.
Isabella and Jacob walked down the street, passing under the window where they had first met. She stopped, looking up at the window she had tumbled out of, landing in the arms of her future.
“I hope my sister is home. She didn’t answer the phone, but it’s not like her to be out so late.”
“Maybe she is getting lucky,” Jacob teased, running a hand over the swell of her bottom as he pulled her close to his body.
“Come. Let us get this invitation over with so I can be alone with you,” he murmured invitingly, nuzzling her neck with his lips.
Isabella giggled, swatting his hands away from her body.
She was laughing uncontrollably by the time she got her key in the door and burst into the apartment. She was so full of energy and joy that she didn’t wait for Jacob to come in before she dashed madly for her sister’s bedroom.
“Hey, sleepyhead! It’s 2 a.m. Time to get up!” she announced, leaping onto her sister’s bed and bouncing on it enthusiastically. Corrine groaned softly but didn’t seem to have any intention of being woken by Isabella. “I’m home! Wake up!” Isabella bounced and jiggled the mattress incessantly, knowing Corrine would have to surrender to wakefulness eventually. She grabbed away the pillow settled over her sister’s head and whacked her on the butt with it.
“Corr, come on.” Isabella frowned, reaching to push back the masses of auburn covering her sister’s face.
Jacob jolted when Isabella screamed from the back of the apartment. He rushed to her side in a heartbeat, finding her dragging at the woman he presumed was her sister, pulling her torso into her arms.
“Jacob, she’s ill! I can’t wake her!”
Jacob hurried around his mate, easing her sister between his calmer hands, turning her over and laying her in the cradle of both of their arms. The bushel of red hair concealing her face tumbled aside, revealing a gray complexion, dark-circled eyes, and a face that Jacob had the strange sensation he’d seen before.
“You know her?” Isabella asked in shock, reading the faint recognition in his thoughts.
“Yes. I do not know how, but I have seen her before. Recently.”
“Jacob”—Isabella was practically hyperventilating with her distress—“Jacob, there’s only one reason why you come into contact with humans at this time of year!”
Jacob sucked in a harsh breath as his memory opened up with chilling recollection. “No! Damn it! No!” His rage was shuddering so violently through his body that Bella could feel the bed shaking.
Jacob grabbed Bella’s sister up and dragged her away from her, striding across the room. Bella rose up in hurt and distress.
“Give her back to me!” she cried, holding her arms out, sobbing. “Give her back!”
“I cannot. You must stay far away, Bella.”
“She’s my sister!” Bella scrambled over the bed, launching at Jacob’s back when he turned to lower Corrine to the ground. He released her, lurching up to catch Bella’s violent, headlong flight with the only power he had, the power of his strong body and sharp words.
The command was roared in her face, shocking her into stillness between his grasping hands. At once she felt the vibration shuddering through the building, settling as her awareness of it settled her emotions down. Jacob began to walk her backward out of the room. The farther from her sister that they went, the more she and the building began to tremble again. Jacob drew her close the moment they were outside of the room, pressing fierce lips to her forehead, murmuring soothing sounds and facts to her on a soft breath.
“Listen, little flower, listen.” He picked up her head between his hands, tilting eyes of wild violet up to his. “She is alive. She is extremely weak, and the labor of her breathing is hard.”
“I need to be in there. Please!” She pressed urgently against him, leaning toward the room where her sister lay helplessly on the floor.
“No! You need to calm down and you need to trust me.” Again he forced her to look at him. “If you go into that room while she is so weak, Bella, you will only be a liability.”
“How can you say that? I’m her sister!”
“Yes!” he shouted back. “Your family! Who met my family! Kane, Bella. Kane was the Demon who was seeking your sister this past week.” He paused to close his eyes, kicking himself for missing something so obvious.
“Who?” she asked dumbly.
“Kane. My youngest brother. The night I met you, I had to hunt him and enforce him after he tried to enthrall a pretty redheaded woman. Your sister was that redhead.”
“My sister… Kane… oh God, Jacob… she’s my sister. She’s a Druid.”
“So it would seem,” he said tightly. “And, damn it, I let him touch her to prove to myself… ” He shook his head. “However brief her contact with Kane, it was clearly enough. She is drained, starving to death.”
The understanding seemed to weaken Isabella. Her knees collapsed and Jacob was forced to scoop her up and carry her to the couch by the window.
“Why won’t you bring me to her?” Bella wept piteously. “Why are you doing this?”
“Shh… ” he soothed as the floor and building lurched around him. Little objects floated off their surfaces, and he hoped the effect was limited to this apartment or that a lot of people were very asleep. “My sweet love,” he whispered against her ear. “Look around this room. Tell me why I cannot let you go to her.”
It made her focus on something other than her pain, and Jacob was able to settle them into the couch. He could tell when she began to comprehend. One thing after another landed back on its home territory, some safely, some shattering from the impact if they were too delicate. Comprehension didn’t ease her pain, though. She was lanced through with it, shaking with it and crying her heart out.
“I can’t go in there,” she gasped tearfully, the sound tearing at his heart and soul, “because I will steal her power. I will kill her. Oh God! Jacob, what if I—”
“No, no, no, no, no,” he murmured quickly. “I can hear her breathing, I can feel her life. Some of my abilities are purely physical, little love, and you cannot steal them.”
“You have to go to her,” she said desperately, pushing at him, trying to force him to leave her. “Don’t leave her alone like that! Jacob, I’m begging you!”
“Bella, listen!” The entire room crashed with sound as heavier objects were raised and let go. “Focus! If you keep this up, New York will end up in the ocean, killing you, me, and your sister!” It was harsh, but he had to appeal to her logic. He’d never seen her so much a slave to her emotions.
Except when she made love with him.
“Look at me!” he commanded her, grasping her head and making her look. “I need my power back, Bella, and I know you have it in you to give it to me. I need to call Gideon to us. It will take too long if I just try to replenish my energy, and it would never be enough to reach across oceans and continents in time to help Corrine.” He took a breath, looking at her tear-streaked face and the huge eyes welling with new ones. “I know you can do this, little love. Remember when we made love earlier?” He kissed away tears gently, felt her nodding. “I felt you hold back. I felt your fear that if you released, you would blow up half of England.”
Her hands reached to hug him close, her forehead falling on his shoulder.
“I refused to let you do that.” He rubbed whispering lips against her ear. “But you said it yourself. The Earth did not move. Remember?”
“Yes,” she said, nodding against his shoulder.
“Where did it go, little flower?”
She lifted her head after hesitation. “What do you mean?”
“I mean it just like I said it. While you continued to live and love, what did you do with my power? I know it was not in me. You pretty much were robbing me of everything in that moment,” he teased ever so softly.
“Jacob,” she chided, her face going hot.
“You stole it, little thief, and socked it away inside you. I know you remember where it is, too. If you remember to that moment of hesitation, just before I touched that sweet spot that excites you so much… ” He brushed a thumb over her flushing cheek. “You made a conscious decision to block that power off so you could safely feel pleasure, Bella. Where is it, love? That place you keep it locked away. Look inside yourself.”
She closed her eyes and he could feel her thinking, searching for what he was speaking of. He’d softened her and cajoled her with talk of lovemaking, drawing her out of her pain of the moment so she could focus.
In the next instant Jacob was blown back off the couch, landing hard on the wood floor and sliding a good three feet over its slick surface. He felt the resurgence of his power like the impact of a bomb. He struggled to pick himself up, motioning her off when she scrambled to help, concern and shock in her eyes.
“That teaches me not to pay attention,” he groaned wryly. “I am fine. Better than fine. Phew!” He shook his head as surges and rushes flowed through him. She was a storehouse. As his body had struggled to bring him back to power hour after hour, she had kept siphoning it away and storing it. That was when he realized he was very lucky she hadn’t blown him up by returning it. As it was, he could hardly focus. It was actually an erotic sensation, so much life and energy seething through him, all of it imbued with her presence and her scent because it had lived deep inside of her for so long.
Isabella watched with fascination as Jacob staggered under the weight of his returned power. She’d be damned if she knew how she’d done it, but she had. Still, she could already feel it inside her again, feeling so much like him, hot and earthy, spilling into her like thousands of kernels of grain… slowly… then more rapidly, the door to the silo still open and she with no way to close it down. Jacob flashed his dark eyes at her, and she could feel the eroticism of what he was feeling through his mind. She could see his eyes sparking with facets of indigo, felt every muscle in his body clenching and hardening with power as it overflowed him. She watched him, how magnificent he was, as he reached out his arms to touch the natural energy of the world around him. She watched his eyes slide closed with a sensual drift of his lashes.
He expelled power, sending his urgent summons to those who needed to come to them.
Kane lifted his head, feeling his brother’s presence in his mind, feeling his power and familiarity. He didn’t want to answer the summons, so he ignored it. He hadn’t been able to face Jacob since that terrible night, and with his punishment still impending, he didn’t think he could. Anyway, he was under house arrest, he thought bitterly, glaring at the Elder Mind Demon he’d once called Siddah. He was pissed and didn’t care who knew it.
“You are behaving like a child,” Abram scolded him, turning the page of the human magazine he was reading called Cosmopolitan. “Answer the summons.”
“What do you care?” Kane stormed, pacing the rooms of his living area with frustration. “I’m a damned criminal. What could Jacob possibly need from me? To sit and watch now that he’s found his woman? Imprinted, no less! I know! I can be their best man. I’ll stand there jealously hating my own brother. More so after I’m punished, for all the good punishment will do! I cannot get that woman out of my head, and her face is burned in my memory. I can feel her skin on my hand. I ache from head to toe with need for a beautiful creature who is… is… ”
“Human,” Abram provided gently, his face full of compassionate understanding.
“Sweet Destiny, why doesn’t he get this over with already? Let the punishment drive her out of my brain. I deserve it.”
“Kane… ” Abram sat up, dropping his feet to the floor as he reached out to sense the repeated summons, this one smacking into them both with obliterating force. Abram grabbed his ringing head as the wave passed. He’d only sensed it through Kane, who had gotten the brunt of it.
Kane was flat on his back, his head drumming with pain.
“Whoa.” Kane sat up and shook his brain back into place. “Jeez, all he had to do was say it was important,” Kane said dryly.
“I believe he just did. I never knew your connection to him was that powerful, Kane. Well done.”
“You think I had anything to do with that? No. No, that was all Jacob.” That gave Kane pause. “Cool,” he chuckled. “Glad I didn’t put up a fight,” he said irreverently, joking about the enforcing incident for the first time since it had happened.