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Voodoo kiss, p.10
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       Voodoo Kiss, p.10

           Jayde Scott
 
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  Gael and I had known each other for a while. We had been friends ever since I visited my father to spend Christmas with him and his family in New York. Theo and I had been ice-skating in Central Park when Gael and his brother, Derrick, bumped into us. We had a great day and decided to meet again. And we did, almost every day for the entire vacation, until Theo died. While I wasn't in love with him, I trusted him and knew he would never betray that trust. Most of all, I felt safe with him. He never treated me badly, he always tried to help me and make me feel better about myself and my music. He was always there for me. I could hear my heart screaming, protesting, becoming hysterical. It couldn't be Gael. Maybe he was just a victim. For all I knew he could have received the scarf from someone else who claimed it'd keep me safe. Knowing Gael, he fell right into that trap because he cared so much about my wellbeing.

  I brushed a hand over my face as I listened to my mind's arguments. Why did he take me to see a fortuneteller? Why had he been so irritated recently? I turned to Thrain. "Do you think I could make a call?" He shook his head. "A text?" I winced at the thought of breaking up with Gael via SMS. He deserved better than that.

  "Not happening. It could be traced. But you can send an email if you want to."

  "That can be traced as well," I said.

  "Luckily, I know a thing or two about computers." He jumped up and reached down to help me. The way his hand wrapped around my fingers felt natural as though it had always belonged there. Barefoot, I let him lead me downstairs to an old-fashioned library with huge black couchs and bookshelves leading up to the ceiling. Cass, Aidan and Amber were gathered around a fireplace where flames leapt at two logs. Their conversation stopped the moment we entered and all eyes turned on us.

  "I think I'm having a déjà vu, only now I'm not the mortal feeling completely out of place. Funny how life can turn out," Amber said. Under the harsh light, I caught a glimpse of tiny lines around her eyes, something I hadn't noticed about the others, and for the first time the thought that she might've been mortal once entered my mind.

  "We need to use the computer," Thrain said.

  "Is it safe?" Aidan asked.

  "I'll make it safe," Thrain replied. His grim expression betrayed his willingness to challenge anyone who dared defy his wishes. I squeezed his hand, only now realizing he was still holding me tight. I wondered what the others would make of it.

  Amber shrugged and pointed at a notebook on the table in front of her. It was already switched on. "Help yourself. Just don't mess this up." She stood and left the room with a smiling Aidan following suit. Cass trailed behind but not before shooting us a doubtful look.

  Thrain started typing on the sleek, black device. I peered over his shoulder as he closed the last browser window and caught the title 'Voodoo and South American practices of black magic'. Black magic—that didn't sound like something I ever wanted to try.

  "Ready," Thrain said, pushing the notebook toward me. "You can send your email from here. Do not navigate away from his site. I'll wait outside."

  I shook my head. "No, don't. I want you here. Just turn away."

  "As you wish." He turned his back on me, so I began typing. By the time I finished the paragraph my back was slick with sweat. For some reason, I felt as though I had just sealed my fate forever and signed over my soul. Whatever flicker of hope I had felt inside me was now gone, blown out like a candle. I didn't even know what I had been hoping for, only that once I pressed the send button, it would be gone. My index finger hovering over the key, I took a deep breath and pressed it. When it was done, I turned to Thrain with a smile, feeling guilty but not enough to stop myself from placing a soft kiss on his cheek.

  He raised his hand to touch the spot. "What was that for?"

  "Just so." I shrugged and got up, eager to return to the solitude of my room. I had defied my mother's wishes of marrying a rich guy. I had done the exact opposite of what everyone expected of me. How could I possibly tell him that for the first time in months I felt free? Lost but free. And it was so worth it because I was ready for something new. I was ready for him because I was about to fall in love—with a demon.

  Chapter 13 - Thrain

  The way Sofia's hips swayed, she almost looked as though she was dancing her way out of the library. She looked so sexy in her tight jeans, I had a hard time keeping my gaze focused above her waist. I hoped her sudden change in mood could be attributed to my presence and the fact that she had just placed a kiss on my cheek, but my teenage-like hope was laughable. At my age, I was way past receiving kisses on the cheek from my love interests. Usually, they moved a lot faster than that, and yet I appreciated the fact that Sofia wasn't throwing herself at me the way others did. It made the whole experience more interesting.

  A few minutes after Sofia left, the others returned. Cass's gaze fell on me and stayed there. The question mark on her face wasn't exactly discreet. I raised my brows. "What?"

  "You share a bond with her."

  It wasn't a question but a statement, and it didn't even take me by surprise. I had been interested in women before, but not to the extent of just wanting to be near her, smell her, touch her hand, and hold her near for the rest of our lives. "How would you know?"

  "We're not stupid." Amber slumped down next to me and waved a hand in my face. "All this staring at each other and not being able to stay away even though your job's done, I've seen it before." With Aidan. If anyone knew what the bond felt like, it was Aidan and Amber. I shot him a quizzical look only to receive a very meaningful grin and a slap on my shoulder.

  "Congratulations. You've just won a ticket to lifelong manipulation and headaches," Aidan said. Amber's eyes shot daggers as she slapped the back of his head. He rubbed it, grinning. "What? It's true. If that girl's only half as feisty as you are—"

  "Don't even think about saying it, or you'll be spending the night in a nice place called garden. I've heard that bench's really comfortable." Amber turned toward me, her temper mellowing down a little.

  "I don't know what sort of game you're playing but Sofia needs to keep a clear head. So, back off," Cass said.

  "Who said I'm the one pursuing her?"

  "Come on. I might be way younger than you, but I'm not stupid." She rolled her eyes. The childish action gave her an innocent flair, but the dark rims were already there, signaling she'd have to leave very soon.

  "Trust me, Cass. Stupid is the last word I'd use to describe you."

  Her freckled face lit up, and for a moment she seemed to be the same carefree girl I had learned to love like a sister. But an instant later, the frown lines across her usually smooth forehead returned and I knew she was about to lose it again. The short temper wasn't her fault. The reaper inside her was demanding death, causing her body to suffer immense pain until she gave in.

  Time to change the subject. I shot Aidan an imploring look. He clicked his tongue. I inclined my head and pointed at Cass.

  "Sleeping Beauty's been gone forever," Amber said, following my line of vision.

  "It's called being a vampire. It's not Clare's fault she has to rest during the day. You'd be sleeping too if it weren't for me helping this lot steal that Shadow book," Cass said through gritted teeth. "Come to think of it, that wasn't my brightest idea, was it? That darn book got us all in trouble. Without it, Dallas would still be alive." She started marching up and down, her hands wringing in front of her. Pearls of sweat had gathered on her brows.

  I groaned and slumped deeper into the couch. The curse was taking its toll on her. Soon the reaping periods would grow longer and longer, with very little time being her true fallen angel nature in between. One day she wouldn't turn back, and then she'd be lost to us forever. The knowledge had been lingering at the back of my mind ever since she turned the very first time, but seeing her like this, an empty and angry shell of her usual bubbly self, made me doubt the success of this mission.

  "It's time to go," Cass said. Her voice came so low I thought she was about to faint like Sofia. I ju
mped up to catch her before she hit the floor, but she pushed me back, sending me tumbling against the wall. Aidan held out his hand to help me up. I grabbed it and let him pull me up.

  "I'm sorry. I didn't mean to," Cass muttered.

  "Don't be," I whispered. She shot me a pained look the moment she disappeared.

  "She'll be gone for a long time," Amber said. I nodded, unwilling to elaborate on her unspoken question. "The period's are getting longer, aren't they?" She let out a sigh and turned toward the window, as though speaking to herself. "You know I wasn't keen on the idea of her dating my brother. And when I heard about them wanting to get married, I thought she must have a reason for wanting to tie the knot after knowing him for only a few days."

  Aidan walked over and grabbed her in a tight hug. "Don't, Amber. You're only torturing yourself."

  She shook her head. "Please, let me finish. I need to say this."

  "You don't owe anyone an explanation." I sat down on the couch, far away from her so she wouldn't catch the expression on my face. Truth be told, I hadn't been keen on the idea of Cass getting hitched either, and particularly not to a mortal. I had thought it was just a game she played, just a wicked plan to get her out of Hell and the future her father had envisioned for her. Now I knew I had been wrong. Whatever Dallas and Cass shared, it was the real deal. Apparently, Amber had finally come to realize it too.

  "I owe it to myself," Amber said.

  My vision blurred and for a moment I thought I saw Sofia's half-naked shape tossing and turning in bed. She had pushed the blanket aside. Her nightshirt had rode up her long, pale legs. I swallowed hard as I tried to hold on to the image before my eyes. Sofia jumping out of bed. She was wearing an oversized shirt that I assumed belonged to Clare who was the tallest of them. I half expected her to slip out of it and change into the clothes she'd been wearing all day but instead she squeezed into a knitted, black sweater that reached down to her knees, wrapping a cord around her waist, and padded barefoot out the door. The vision broke. I blinked several times, unsure whether I had actually seen Sofia or imagined here. An instant later, the door opened and she walked in, silent like a ghost, her feet barely making any sound on the rug. I stared at her attire, my gaze settled on her shapely legs that peered from beneath the black sweater. She shot me a timid smile as she sat down next to me, tucking her legs under her and pulling the knitwear over her knees.

  "We're all blaming ourselves for what happened, but do you really think things would've taken a different turn if you were more accepting of their relationship?" Aidan asked.

  Amber didn't seem to notice Sofia as she tore herself away from Aidan's embrace. Her gaze focused on the woods outside the window and she shook her head lightly. "Maybe, but that's not the point. You don't understand. She was here for me when I stumbled into this world and I repaid her by judging her for who she is. I thought she was just bored and Dallas was her toy, which made me angry. This whole connection thing—I went through it. I almost died for it. I should've understood how little saying she had in choosing her mate. It happened to be my brother. So what? I should've understood. Now he's dead."

  "Do you think that's a coincidence?" I asked.

  "What?" Her attention snapped to me.

  "That one always dies."

  She shrugged. "How would I know? We have two examples. That's not exactly years of research data."

  "I'll come back later," Sofia mouthed next to me. I shook my head, signaling her to stay. My own guilt flared up as Amber continued.

  "I think he knew she was lying to him and yet he stayed. If I supported them maybe he'll still be alive, and she wouldn't have turned into this thing that gorges on suffering and death. I was so preoccupied with my own self-pity, I didn't see how hard I was making it for everyone else."

  Sofia rubbed her hand over her face. I could sense how uncomfortable she was, so I leaned over to squeeze her hand.

  "Sorry you had to hear my rant. It wasn't my intention to ruin your day." Smiling apologetically, Amber walked out the door with Aidan following her. I turned to Sofia slowly, my own apology already lingering on my lips.

  "She's gone through a lot," I said.

  Sofia nodded. "The bond she described, is that what we have?"

  Her question took me by surprise. I dwelled on it for a moment until it occurred to me that, even though I had been born into this world, Sofia was the one with the knowledge. She was the incarnation of a very powerful soul, a soul that might just hold the key to her own destiny and wisdom.

  "I can sense you when you're not here," Sofia continued slowly. "I felt your emotions, and I can somehow feel your touch even though we haven't—"

  "Me too." Meeting her gaze, I inched closer and wrapped my arms around her. My nostrils picked up her scent: a mixture of lavender, honey and something much sweeter. I inhaled deeply until it reached my very core. When I looked up again, her expression was soft, dreamy. "There's only one way to find out." I pushed my index finger under her chin and lowered my lips onto hers, savoring her taste slowly at first, then with more vigor. She reminded me of gingerbread and sweet wine, of grapes ripened under the Tuscany sun. My hand wandered around her neck to draw her closer to me until I could feel her chest crushed against mine. Her heartbeat raced as fast as mine, they were beating almost in tune. The air crackled around us, charged with electricity. She parted her lips, as though to welcome more. But this was all I wanted to take from her—for now.

  With hesitation, I peeled her away from me and pressed my forehead against hers. "I've been wanting to do this ever since I saw you at that club in NY."

  Her laughter sounded more like a moan. "You did?"

  My finger traced the contour of her chin, down her throat to the collarbone hidden underneath her sweater. "I think we have the answer to your question. Maybe Amber's right and the danger that seemed to come with their connection was just a coincidence, but I'm not taking chances." I lifted her chin until our eyes locked. "From now on, you're staying beside me at all times."

  "I'd rather trust your instinct than mine because, as it seems, last time mine let me down big time." Smiling, she raised her lips to mine and I grabbed them in a sweet kiss, more than happy to oblige.

  Chapter 14

  Soul mates are said to be two souls destined to be together, programmed to recognize each other across time and space. I didn't know whether that was the truth, but I was inclined to believe it. I wasn't naïve to assume just because Thrain and I were attracted to one another, everything would always turn out well, but I would give it a chance in spite of our differences in character and background. Where I came from fate played a more important role than choice. We didn't believe in choice, only in that what's meant for you will reach you in time, and if you embrace it with your arms wide open it might just stay with you forever and bless you with more happiness than you could ever envision.

  Thrain was fate. I knew it. I had recognized it during our kiss. When our lips locked, a floating sensation washed over me, like I was diving in sparkling blue water with the soft rays of light caressing my skin. And then the tingling began like a tiny spark between us. That tiny spark became a silver thread shimmering in a million shades as it wrapped around us and drew us closer. In that instant I knew I had found the one to complete me. But I also knew Thrain's fear was justified. The others had been oblivious to it, but I could feel the darkness around that bond, feeding from it, trying to draw us into a direction that would decide over our future. I doubted I could change that direction, but I vowed to myself I would rethink every step twice before making a decision.

  I snuggled against him and let my thoughts draw me in. Thrain must've misinterpreted my sudden silence though because he leaned back and pulled me closer, mumbling something like, "We can take it slowly if you want."

  "I'd like that." The steady beat of his heart and the silence of the night drew me to a place of love and comfort. Eventually, I closed my eyes and gave in to the need to sleep, and for the first time
in weeks that unnerving darkness didn't descend upon me.

  ***

  I didn't know how long I had been sleeping when the noise of cawing woke me up. I sat up groggily and squinted against the unnatural brightness of the ceiling light, wishing I could tell whoever was causing this much noise to shut up and let me catch some more snooze. My hair caught in something. "Ouch," I yelled out.

  "Stand still," Thrain said. I stopped stirring as I watched him from the corner of my eye as he unwrapped a strand of hair from around the button of his shirt, then smiled. "Sorry."

  "Thanks." I got up and peered out the window at the darkness stretching over the woods and mountains in the distance. My gaze searched the unnerving bird and found it perched on the windowsill. It was staring at Thrain as though unsure whether to trust his intentions.

  "That bird's been watching me for hours," Thrain said, coming up behind me and grabbing me in a tight hug. My hands brushed his naked arms, soaking up the warmth of his skin. Not for the first time I wondered whether his unnatural heat was a demon thing.

  "It's been following me for weeks," I said.

  "A stalking bird?" Thrain laughed softly. "Now that's the kind of stalking I like."

  My heart almost stopped at the thought of him with another woman. "Been stalked by many?"

  "I was just kidding."

  "Right." I nodded, feeling silly for my sudden outburst of jealousy. It wasn't like me. I wasn't usually the possessive type.

  "What do you think it wants?" Thrain asked.

  I shrugged. "My first guess was to warn me, but I'm not so sure now. It seems to know me."

  "Maybe you should talk to it."

 
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