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|Shadowed(Dark Protectors #6) by Rebecca Zanetti|
She protested and moved to sit up.
A hard slap to her butt halted her motion.
“Hold still.” He rubbed the abused area.
Fire and need crashed right to her sex, which throbbed. She tried to slide her knees beneath her to get some leverage.
The second slap echoed around the room.
She cried out, sensations bombarding her.
“I said to hold still.” He bent down and bit her left buttock, right above the marking.
An orgasm bore down on her, and only the third slap to her butt kept ecstasy at bay. She shifted against the bedspread, her body on fire.
He licked up her spine, his cock brushing her thighs. Rolling her to her side, her rear to him, he lifted her thigh and plunged inside her with one hard stroke.
She gasped and pressed back against him.
The sensations were more erotic than she could’ve dreamed. He slid his arm under her waist and flattened his palm against her chest. He pushed down as he thrust up, the powerful muscles in his chest shifting against her shoulder blades.
Going on instinct, she dug her fingernails into his thigh.
He stilled. Tension spiraled through the room. The second his control snapped, freedom rushed through her.
He plunged out and back in, thrusting with incredible strength. Holding her tight, he pounded harder, until her entire body flared into exquisite need.
Sharp fangs embedded in her neck, and she exploded.
She cried out his name, her eyes sightless on the far wall, her fingers clutching the sheets. Waves roared through her. His hold tightened as he came.
Slowly, the fangs retracted and he withdrew. Turning her over, he covered her. He tangled his fingers in her hair and placed a soft kiss on her nose. “Everything will work out, Bren. Trust me.”
An hour after christening the bed with Jase, Brenna sat on her new chair gazing at the three people currently trying to blow her mind to bits. Moira, Dage, and Jase all sat on the sofa, sending powerful vibes her way. “This isn’t fun, and I’m tired.”
Moira rolled her eyes. “It’s not supposed to be fun, and you can sleep later. Now, we’re going to hit you with power again, and I want you to block it completely.”
“But I don’t want to block the power from the comet, I want to use it.” She eyed Jase. “I can feel vibrations from you. I mean, when you send out power, I can actually sense it. Can everybody, or is it just me since we’ve mated?”
Jase shrugged. “Dunno.”
Dage glanced at his brother. “I can sense power, but I can’t feel it.”
Brenna could sense tension between the brothers. At some point, they were going to explode if they didn’t talk it out. “Maybe you two should spend some time figuring it out.”
“We’re fine.” Jase kept his focus on her. “Block, Brenna.”
So he was back to bossy Jase again. While she wanted to tell him to stuff it, she really needed to practice in order to harness the power from the comet and the solstice. “Fine.”
They’d practiced for hours, and now she could decipher the individual energies. Moira’s was fiery and feminine, a hard hit with an aftershock. The king’s was smooth and deadly, yet ruthlessly contained. He didn’t want to harm her.
Jase’s was the most interesting in that his energy came in bursts of controlled power, with masculinity and passion throughout. She hoped the passion came from the fact that they’d mated. If he could throw power, maybe he could control the elements again soon.
She imagined great shields of steel rising between her and the three immortals.
“Nicely done,” Jase murmured, pride filling his eyes.
“Excellent,” Moira agreed, her shoulders relaxing.
“Good enough.” Dage stood and assisted Moira up. “The power from the comet will be different from our individual power, so only Jase can train you on that. You can block Moira and me, but you can’t take our power in. It’s impossible. Jase is a different story, but good luck with him.”
Brenna frowned. “I don’t understand.”
“You can take my power into your system,” Jase said quietly. “The same way we should someday be able to use each other’s gifts.” He stood and escorted Dage and Moira to the door. “Thanks for the help.”
They nodded and left quietly after Dage leaned down and murmured something to Jase. Jase shut the door and leaned back against it.
Brenna stretched her legs onto an ottoman. “You and your brother need to have a heart-to-heart before one of you explodes.”
“Something to think about another day.” Strong and graceful, Jase prowled toward her, sitting on the ottoman and placing her feet on his lap.
“What did Dage whisper to you?” she asked.
“Nothing.” Jase’s eyes veiled. The tension in his neck said otherwise.
He exhaled. “The demons have doubled the bounty on your head, and changed it to dead or alive. They just want you taken down.”
Fear and anger crashed into her stomach. “Because of the solstice?”
“No.” His jaw snapped shut. “Because of me.”
She slowly nodded. “They won’t get me.”
“I know.” He flipped off her shoes and ran nimble fingers along her arch. “Now, I’m going to send power your way, and I want you to draw it in.”
She bit back a moan at the wondrous foot massage. “I’m confused. You can send power my way, but you can’t control the elements? How is that possible?”
He stilled, gaze raking her. His eyebrows slashed down. “Your ankle hurts.”
She started. “Um, yeah. I twisted it earlier when we were moving furniture.” A dull ache continued to pound through her tissues. Then she tilted her head. “You can feel that pain? I mean, since we mated?”
“Yes.” Gingerly, he swept his hand along her injury. The pain instantly disappeared.
“No way.” Brenna leaned forward and poked her ankle. “You took away the injury.”
“Mates can do that usually.” His grin showed relief and charm. “Dage always takes away Emma’s headaches.”
“Oh.” Now Kane’s plan for Brenna to mutate the virus somehow made more sense. “So, if I can weaken the virus, maybe vampires can remove the virus from their mate’s chromosomes.”
“Exactly.” Jase’s breath caught. “We hoped something like that would work on your illness, too. I have an idea—try to center yourself.”
“All right.” Digging deep, she forced calmness through her body. A tingling glide of power poured through her blood, inside her veins, roaring among her tissues. Her lungs expanded, and her brain relaxed. “Oh God.” Her eyes opened wide.
Jase blew out air, his hold tightening. “I think I felt it.”
Tears filled Brenna’s eyes. A song sang through her body—a song of healing and ultimate health. “I felt that . . . like you took a little of the poison.” The mating had worked, and maybe someday he’d be able to completely expel the poison from her system. “Is it in your blood?”
He nodded and closed his eyes. The sense of vampire healing vibrated off of him in waves. Several minutes later, he relaxed and opened his eyes. A smug grin lifted his lips. “I know I was only able to take a tiny bit, but I got it. There’s hope.”
Gratitude slashed through her along with love. “Thank you.” There really weren’t any other words.
“Of course. Soon I’ll be able to mess with the elements again. Just think what a power couple we’ll be.” Good nature filled his eyes. “I hate to push you further, but we need to train. Let’s see what you can do now.”
“Okay.” Brenna centered herself. “Send energy my way, and I’ll see if I can draw it in.”
He grinned and soon a warmth slid along her skin. She drew the heat in, her lungs expanding. Going on a whim, she focused on the air molecules around them. Droplets instantly fell to the floor.
She gasped in surprise. “I changed the elements with your power.” Her grin even felt happy.
He smiled back. “That’s amazing. If you can do it, maybe I can, too.” He eyed the droplets on the floor and concentrated.
He sighed. “Well, it might take more time. But I think I’ll get it.” Then he shoved heat her way mentally. “Take the warmth and try to cool it off. Imagine ice cascading around the heat.”
She nodded. The power from the comet would most likely be hot. Concentrating, she tried to imagine ice around the mental heat sent by Jase. The heat slowly cooled. She sighed and leaned back, her hands trembling. Damn, enough for the night.
“Good.” Jase rubbed her other arch. “You’re getting too tired, and I don’t want to overload you.” A knock sounded on the door, and Jase turned, his body stiffening. “Come in.”
Janie Kayrs opened the door, her eyes huge in a pale face. “I’m sorry to bother you.”
Jase’s shoulders went back. “You had a vision, Jane?”
“Yes.” Her gaze flicked to Brenna and back. “It was hazy and surreal, but I saw the demons take Brenna. Somewhere dark and in the earth.” Janie blanched. “I’m so sorry, but I really wanted to warn you.”
The handsome vampire who’d rubbed Brenna’s feet disappeared to leave a stone-cold killer in his place. “Thanks for letting us know.”
“Of course.” Janie paused, her hands clasped together. “The witches have a book based on the Prophecies of Arias, right?”
Brenna lifted her chin, her mind spinning. “If we do, that’d be top secret. How do you know about it?”
Janie nodded, her eyes darkening. “I had another vision about the book—it’s full of prophecies regarding the current war. I need that book, Brenna.”
Brenna kept her expression neutral. It was treason for her to talk about the hidden library owned by the Coven Nine. “I don’t know about any such book, but if I did, and if you wanted to see it, I’d contact my people to determine if it were possible.”
“Thank you,” Janie murmured. “Sorry again about the frightening vision.”
The poor woman didn’t have a choice with the visions, now did she? Brenna forced a smile. “It’s better to have the information, and I appreciate your letting us know. Get some sleep, Jane.” The woman rarely seemed to rest.
Jase waited until his niece had nodded and shut the door behind her before focusing on Brenna. “We need to up your security.”
Wait a minute. She was a witch just coming back into her powers. “No, I—”
“Don’t argue with me.” He reached down and pulled her up. “It’s late, we’ve trained enough tonight, and we’re getting some sleep. Tomorrow we’ll fight about security and safety.”
Brenna stumbled along with him toward bed, her ears ringing. How in the heck could she get through to him when he went cold like this? She shivered, hugging herself. Sometimes she didn’t know him at all.
Jase kicked the sheet off his legs and struggled to force the dream into nothingness. He’d wanted to leave Brenna in bed and go for a run, but she’d asked him to stay. Feeling like an ass for the way he’d shut her out earlier, he’d stayed in bed. He’d slid into the dream he most hated within an hour.
Underground again, he found himself in the cell formed of rock and earth. A small window up above let in meager light, and dripping water echoed in a cadence guaranteed to drive him crazy.
He glanced down at his wounded, gaunt body. Burns and cuts marred every exposed inch of skin. Heated blood coursed from his ears, nose, and eyes from the most recent mental attack.
The rock wall morphed into a face. Long, sober, it was a familiar face. “You need to kill him,” the face said. “Kill them both.”
Jase coughed up blood, shock weighing down his limbs. The face talked. “Suri and Melco will die. I promise.”
The face spit out rocks. “No. It has to happen now. Their plans will destroy the world, not just you. Before the solstice . . . make it happen. The young prophet’s vision is true . . . they’ll kill your Brenna. They will take your witch, and they’ll kill your family. Trust me. It’s now or . . . it’s hell forever.”
Did he say solstice? Jase tried to shove to his feet and stumbled against the wall. “This isn’t real.” Digging deep, he forced himself to wake up.
His heart pounded, and his sweat soaked the sheets. Brenna lay on her side next to him, sleeping quietly. The moonlight caressed her smooth skin. In sleep, she looked so young and at peace.
Careful not to wake her, he slid from the bed and buried his head in his hands. The dream was another mind-fuck, but the sense of urgency wouldn’t leave him. Nothing was going to happen before the solstice, but it was time to end this. Janie’s visions were never wrong. If he didn’t kill the demon leaders, they’d kill Brenna.
He stood and slipped into the closet to don jeans and a shirt. Grabbing his boots, he crept out of the room, grabbed supplies, and left the house. A quick jog took him to a back entrance to the main lodge. Thank God the tunnels in the underground headquarters weren’t fully repaired yet, or the prisoner would be too far down to reach.
But aboveground? The demon was fair game.
One guard manned the control room. “Hi, Chalton,” Jase said, smoothing his face into calm lines. “I came to see the demon.”
Chalton wore his customary frown. “Dage wanted the guy on ice until the morning.” He reached for a phone.
Jase was on him before he could dial. Tucking his arm under Chalton’s neck, he slowly tightened the hold until Chalton flopped like a fish, shooting elbows back. “Sorry about this,” Jase muttered. He would’ve never gotten close enough had Chalton not trusted him. “Really sorry.”