|Home > Yasmine Galenorn > Sisters of the Moon > Priestess Dreaming (Page 14)|
|Priestess Dreaming(Sisters of the Moon #16) by Yasmine Galenorn|
* * *
Shower number two and I was once again clean of sweat and cum and smelling like sweet vanilla. I leisurely dressed. Smoky and Morio had gone downstairs to help with dinner, after a quick rinse off, and I lingered by the bed, smelling the sex that wafted off our sheets. I felt thoroughly wrung out, satiated, and my tears for Trillian had dried in the release of orgasm.
As I stripped the sheet off the bed and deftly replaced it with a clean one—we didn’t change them every time but it had been four days, and with our sex play, we definitely changed the sheets frequently—I glanced out the window. Six P.M. and the clouds were thick. It was snowing just lightly enough to skiff against the ground. We only had a few inches, and chances are it would change to rain over the next week and melt away, but right now the yard looked calm and peaceful in its blanket of white.
I pushed the window up, leaning my arms on the sill as the chill night air hit me full force. It was icy and cold, and tiny snowflakes landed on the arm of my robe, but I didn’t care. I inhaled deeply, then slowly exhaled, clearing my body and mind with the crystalline air. As it rushed through the room, I felt calm and peaceful in a way I hadn’t for a long time. There was something about winter nights that called me to slow down, to pause and rest for a moment.
From our window, we could see the roof of Iris’s house, and the warm lights coming from within. It hit me that we still needed to decorate. Our usual tradition had been trashed by Vanzir and Roz’s well-meaning stunt.
Brushing my hair back into a ponytail, I decided that we were going to fix that little matter. And we were going to fix it before I had to set out in search of the Merlin tomorrow. I was still in my robe, so I hurried to finish the bed, then I quickly fastened my bra and slipped into a pair of bikinis. I crossed to my closet and pulled out my black spidersilk skirt and a warm V-neck sweater in vivid plum. Once I was dressed, I tied up my kitten heel leather granny boots, and bounded downstairs.
Smoky was in the kitchen, along with Delilah, Nerissa, and Menolly. I kissed Menolly good evening—or good morning, depending on how you looked at it—and then sauntered over to Smoky.
“Love, I want something.” I leaned down and planted a kiss on his nose.
He glanced over at Delilah. “Should I be scared, do you think?”
She laughed. “I probably would be.”
“Oh shush, you two. I want us to head down to Birchwater Pond and find a beautiful tree for Yule. We’re going to chop it down and bring it back and decorate tonight, because I’ll be damned if I traipse off to the realm of the Elder Fae without leaving a pretty, sparkly, home waiting for me to return to.” I wrapped my arms around Smoky. “You have no choice, you know that.”
He laughed, patting my hand and placing a kiss on my cheek. “I never do. But don’t you think we should go buy a tree instead? The trees on our land are too beautiful to cut.”
I frowned. He had a point. The trees in the lot had been bred and grown for this—they hadn’t lived their lives free range, so to speak. “Fine, we’ll go to a tree lot, but either way, we’re heading out. Delilah and Menolly, you’re coming too. We’re a family, and we’re going to pick out a tree as a family.”
The look on Delilah’s face made it all worth it. Our Kitten loved trees and ornaments—sometimes too much—and she had counted on me to make the Winter Solstice shine ever since Mother had died. Father certainly hadn’t gone out of his way to help.
She jumped up and grabbed her coat. “Should I go get Iris and Bruce? They may want to come with us and get a tree, too.”
“Sure. Is Chase home yet?” I glanced over at Nerissa, who wrinkled her nose and nodded.
“Yes, and he sure had plenty to say about that little incident downtown today. He was not amused.” She leaned over Menolly’s shoulder to plant a big, fat kiss on my sister’s cheek. They made one hell of a cute couple, and so clearly loved each other. I was grateful she’d come along to show Menolly that, yes, she, too, could have love, even though she was a vampire. Even though she’d lost everything else.
“Hey, it wasn’t our fault. Blame the damned pixies. Blame Vanzir and Roz—”
“Blame Vanzir and Roz for what?” Vanzir meandered into the room.
“The pixie attack. By the way, before I have to leave tomorrow, I want you to show me where you found that witch. I want to get a good look at her and figure out if I ever met her and just forgot, or if she’s lying.” Sometimes, things were random. Sometimes, things didn’t link up, and I’d learned the hard way not to make assumptions.
“Sure thing. Hey, Camille, can I ask you something in private?”
“Why do you want to talk to my wife privately?” Smoky grumbled, but Vanzir let out a snort and waved off his protest.
“Calm yourself, you big lizard. I’m not going to cop a feel or anything.” With that, Vanzir caught my eye and motioned me into the living room. Once we were there, he lowered his voice. “I didn’t want to say anything in front of them, but I thought you might want to know. Aeval summoned me to Talamh Lonrach Oll. I’m to go there tomorrow night, right after you leave. She told me that she might have a job for me to do. I have no clue what she’s talking about, but I thought I’d just run that little fact by you. So if anybody tells you I’ve been out there, that’s why.”
I nodded, thinking on the fly. So much had happened. I knew that the Fae Queens were doing something with Vanzir but had very little clue what—they hadn’t taken me into their confidence, and it wasn’t my place to ask.
“Okay . . . thanks for telling me. I have no idea what’s going on, either.” As we headed back into the kitchen, a dozen possible reasons sprang up in my thoughts but I brushed them away. Life was hard enough without borrowing trouble, and every single scenario I envisioned did just that.
By seven thirty, we’d found our tree and were fastening it onto the roof of Morio’s SUV. Smoky, Morio, Delilah, and I had scoured three tree lots to find the perfect one. Bruce and Iris had also tagged along, though they had brought Bruce’s limo and now there was a tree being tied to the top of their car, too. As Morio and Smoky finished lashing the trees to the roofs, my phone rang.
I glanced at it, grimacing. Chase. Normally I was happy to talk to the dude but I couldn’t help but wonder just what the hell was going down now. If it was another pixie fight, I was going to strip the wings of every one of the little buggers. Hoping to hell it wasn’t anything earthshaking, I answered.
“What’s up?” My phone-side manner wasn’t exactly up to par lately. I’d taken one too many bad news calls.
“Hanna wants to know if you can stop and pick up some sugar before you come home. And baking cocoa. She’s out.” He laughed, his voice easy and far more relaxed than it had been that morning. “You think I was calling with more pixie action?”
Feeling vaguely guilty, I let out a long breath and closed my eyes for a moment. “Something like that. Tell her sure, we’ll do that. Chase, how are you doing? We’ve had so little time to sit and talk lately.”
He snorted, but I could tell he was laughing, not being sarcastic. “Little heart-to-heart, huh?” Sobering, he continued. “Honestly? All my attention has been focused on Astrid and my job. When I’m at work, I feel like I should be here with her. When I’m home, I feel like I should be at work. I’ve never been so torn in my life. And I’m worried about Sharah, and what’s happening over in Otherworld. I wish I could see her—it’s been a month, and she hasn’t seen Astrid once in that time. I know they’ve got her penned in, but honestly, I worry that my baby girl won’t know her mother at all.”
I scowled. Chase was right to be worried, and the way things were going, I wasn’t sure exactly when Sharah would be able to get away. While the sentient storm was either off to other parts or had been dissipated—which, I wasn’t sure—the fact was they were now dealing with the aftermath. The attacking goblin hordes had been driven off for the time being, but the danger was far from over, and they hadn’t even begun to clean up after the havoc wreaked on the city of Elqaneve and the entire kingdom of Kelvashan. The dead were more numerous than the living. The Elfin race had been decimated and their lands torched by the fires of war.
“I’ll ask Trenyth what he can do next time I talk to him via the Whispering Mirror.” I wasn’t hopeful, but it was the least I could promise.
Chase let out a soft sound. “Thanks. I don’t expect anything—I know what’s going on over there. I’ve heard enough about it from you and Delilah . . . but I appreciate the effort. Meanwhile, I’m damned grateful Iris and Bruce invited me into their home. It’s odd, living in somebody else’s house, but it’s best for both Astrid and me at this point. I know she’s loved and taken care of when I’m out, and I can be there to help out Iris and Bruce when need be. Speaking of which, I’d like to get them something to show my appreciation. I haven’t picked up their Yule gift yet. What do you think Iris would like?”
I groaned. I hated it when people asked me what other people wanted. I seemed to be the go-to font of information, though I’d never set myself up as a purveyor of knowledge.
“I don’t know but I’ll see what I can find out. Okay, signing off. We’ve got the trees and we’ll stop by the store for Hanna on the way home.” I said good-bye and hung up.
Before we got back in our cars, I pulled Iris off to the side. I wasn’t going to bother with pu**yfooting around. “Hey, Chase wants to know what you’d like for Yule. He wants to buy you something special so no blenders or anything mundane like that, unless it’s über cool.” I grinned at her.
“Does he now? Well, then.” She frowned. “I’d tell him not to bother but I know he feels like he’s imposing, even though he isn’t. All right, tell him you found out that I’d really love a print of the aurora borealis—something spectacular.”
I started to ask why she didn’t just pick one out she liked, but stopped myself. Bruce could afford to give Iris anything she wanted. He was a leprechaun, from a very wealthy family. But she was thinking of Chase, of something that would make him feel good to give her—something that wouldn’t cost him a fortune. Iris liked nice things, but she wasn’t focused on accumulating stuff.
“I’ll tell him. That sounds beautiful.” I leaned down to brush her cheek with a kiss. “He sure appreciates your help.”
She grinned. “Astrid is a little doll. I’ve got this fantasy going that she and my Maria and Ukkonen will grow up to be best friends. I wonder what Astrid will be like—she’s half-elf, half-human. And, if the council in Elqaneve pulls their heads out of their butts, she’ll be heir to the throne.”
I stared at her. That thought hadn’t even occurred to me, but Iris was right. Provided that Sharah could change the laws, her daughter would one day inherit the throne of Elqaneve. But the elves would never allow a half-breed to sit at their helm. Even with Trenyth’s help, that wasn’t likely to happen. You could only push tradition so far before it pushed back. Which meant that Sharah would be expected to produce a full-blood heir. Which meant she and Chase faced rocky times ahead. I hoped that hadn’t run through his mind yet. He needed that worry like he needed another hole in his head.
“I just hope they change their minds about it,” I murmured.
Iris nodded. “Let’s not borrow trouble. I haven’t said a word to Chase about it and don’t you either.”
“Trust me, I’m not planning on it.” And with that, we got back in our cars and headed for home. Along the way, I asked Morio to stop at the Save-and-Go and ran in to buy a big bag of sugar and a couple boxes of baking cocoa. With the holiday season, I didn’t bother with the small size—Hanna and Iris were in full cookie-baking-mode, and with the amount of sweets and breads they were making, you’d think we were expecting an army for Yule. But then again, given how many people belonged to our extended family, and how many friends we had drop over, they knew what they were doing. Plus, we had the upcoming holiday party at the Supe Community Action Council on the calendar. And we were down for refreshment duty.
When we arrived home, Hanna was beaming as we handed her the groceries. An excited shout from the living room caught my attention and I scooted in there pronto. Delilah was clapping her hands and I looked around, amazed by the transformation in less than two hours.
While we’d been out buying the tree, Menolly, Shade, and Vanzir had begun decorating. All the ornaments were out and sorted. The garland and lights were up in both the living room and parlor. And as soon as the men brought in the tree, they began making quick work of setting it up, guywires and all. We always anchored our trees to the ceiling since Delilah had a propensity, in kitten form, for climbing the branches. The tree nearly reached the ceiling and made our rather bedraggled living room look beautiful.
“We thought we’d get a start on things.” Menolly gave us a fangy grin.
I wrapped my arm around Smoky’s waist as we gazed at the soft glow of the lights wrapped around the garland.
Smoky winked at her. “Menolly, you’re a good sister-in-law. Why don’t you girls decorate the tree while Vanzir, Morio, and I tackle the lights outside?” His crinkling eyes smiled as he leaned down and kissed me on the forehead. “We’ll get them up tonight, no worries.”
“Thank you, love.” I kissed him back, softly. “Maybe you could run down and set up Iris’s tree for her first?”