A Fall of Secrets(A Shade of Vampire,Book 15)(2) by Bella Forrest
Caleb backed away from the water. “That’s hot.”
I frowned, looking back at the taps. It barely felt warm to me. “Sorry,” I muttered, adjusting the shower to its former temperature.
Caleb moved behind me again, positioning himself beneath the water, and ran his palms down my arms. “Your body’s changed. You barely notice heat.”
“Hmm… I guess. Speaking of heat, do you think the dragons have left already?”
“I assume so,” he replied. “They said they’d leave after they’d finished meeting with your parents.”
Once we’d finished, we stepped out of the shower, dried off and got dressed.
“Let’s go see my parents,” I said.
Exiting the cabin, I breathed deeply as the fresh mountain air whipped past my face. Something was very different about our surroundings. Dotted about the mountainside were dozens more cabins than there had been when Caleb and I had first retreated into our own. And they were larger than the regular cabins constructed for the witches. As we began to make our way down the mountainside, I spotted Micah and Kira seated on the steps of a cabin about fifty feet away from our own. They were staring out at the view of the ocean, their arms around each other.
“Micah!” I called.
Micah beamed as we hurried over to them. I still wasn’t sure whether the wolf had sensed me eavesdropping when he’d finally professed his love for Kira on the beach, so I tried to look surprised to see them both together.
“So, you two are a couple now?”
Micah’s cheeks reddened as he nodded, looking down affectionately at Kira.
“Congratulations,” Caleb said, even as he cast me an amused sideways glance.
“And now we are neighbors.” I frowned, confused as I took in all the extra mountain cabins. “I thought the werewolves were going to be housed up in the trees along with the vampires?”
“That was the plan,” Micah said, “but we soon realized that it’s going to be much more practical to house us in cabins. When we’re in our wolf forms, even ascending in an elevator can be inconvenient.” He looked down at his now human hands. “It’s hard to push buttons with paws.”
“Do you know if the witches have finished with construction around the rest of the island?” I asked.
Micah shrugged. “I think these cabins were one of the first projects they worked on. But Kira and I haven’t had a chance to roam around the island much in the past few hours. We’ve been…resting.”
“Okay,” I said. “Well, we’re going to visit my parents now. We’ll see you around.”
We bade them goodbye before continuing down the mountain. Caleb motioned to pick me up as soon as we reached the bottom, but I clutched his hands and stopped him.
“I want to see if I can match your speed,” I said.
Caleb looked at me in confusion. I realized then that he hadn’t witnessed my speed since my fire powers came on.
“I noticed it soon after I discovered I was able to wield fire,” I said, taking a step back from him, casting my eyes toward the entrance to the woods. “My speed has increased. A lot. I’m just not sure how much exactly.” I narrowed my eyes on him in challenge. “So, vampire, race me?”
I didn’t wait for an answer before launching into a sprint across the field. I’d guessed Caleb would overtake me in a matter of seconds. He did. But he didn’t outpace me as much as I’d expected. I was still nowhere near as fast as him, but as he reached the finish line, I was only about twelve feet behind him. Not bad going against a runner like Caleb Achilles.
He stopped at the entrance to the forest, and turned around, watching as I ran the last few feet toward him. He raised a brow.
“I’m impressed,” he said.
When I pulled to a stop, I wasn’t even panting. It was a bizarre feeling. I had often fantasized about running this fast as a child. I recalled in my early childhood years being fascinated watching the vampires whizz effortlessly through the trees. Ben and I used to attempt to match them—attempts that ended up with more bumps and bruises than we could count.
Fire-wielder. Speed runner. I can live with this.
“It looks like you won’t have to carry me around as much now,” I said.
Caleb looked almost disappointed.
“What’s wrong?” I asked.
He shook his head, smiling. “It’s nothing… I suppose I’m just old-fashioned. I’ve come to enjoy carrying you around.”
I couldn’t help but giggle. “You can still carry me around if you want, Caleb.” I wrapped my arms around his midriff and drew him in for a kiss.
He slipped his right arm beneath my knees, his left arm wrapping around my waist as he picked me up and carried me against him. He brushed his lips against my forehead and I held on tight, preparing myself for him to begin lurching forward through the forest. The truth was, although I could run fast myself now, I loved this old-fashioned side of Caleb. It was endearing and romantic.
It wasn’t long before we reached the foot of my parents’ tree. Caleb didn’t bother waiting for the elevator. With one giant leap, he hurtled us both upward toward the canopy of leaves. I was gasping for breath as we finally landed on the veranda. He set me down on my feet and we walked toward the front door. I knocked.
I knocked again. Still no answer.
I wondered if they were perhaps sleeping. I walked along the wooden floorboards toward the kitchen window, which was ajar. I should have remembered to keep a spare key.