When Darkness Ends(Guardians of Eternity,book 12)(15) by Alexandra Ivy
But the second she stepped into the room, any assumption that she was a dainty, submissive creature was blown all to hell.
Even with ten feet between them, Cyn could feel the unnerving pulse of her power beat against him.
That power combined with her brilliant intelligence would have made her a formidable clan chief, but Lise had refused to enter the battles of Durotriges. She claimed that her off-the-charts IQ prevented her from doing something so stupid as to become the leader of a bunch of barely civilized demons with authority issues. Cyn suspected her decision had more to do with a mysterious male from her past than any fear of commitment to a clan.
He never pressed for details. He wasn’t about to lose the best lieutenant he’d ever had.
Halting in the center of the Turkish carpet that covered the stone floor, Lise allowed her gaze to take a slow survey of his large form.
It wasn’t sexual. It was a well-trained warrior judging whether or not Cyn’s return was some sort of trick that would put the clan at risk.
When she was at last convinced he wasn’t an illusion, or shape-shifter who’d assumed the identity of her clan chief, and that his mind didn’t appear to be compromised, she took another step forward, an almost smile touching her lips.
“So. You live.”
He flicked a brow upward. “Don’t get all choked up.”
She shrugged. “I knew you would return.”
“I doubt the rest of the clan shared your confidence,” he said, abruptly realizing his mind was only partially on his companion while the majority of his attention was focused on the startling acute sense of Fallon two floors above him. Bloody hell, had the female cast some fey spell on him? With a grim effort, he tried to slam the door on his unwelcome connection to the princess. “Did you have any challenges?” he demanded.
Lise’s smile widened, giving a glimpse of her sharp fangs. “Oddly enough most of the clan think that I’m—”
“Scary as hell?” he completed in dry tones.
“Intimidating,” she corrected. “Where have you been?”
There was a startled silence before Lise narrowed her gaze. “Is that a joke?”
“Actually it’s a long story.” He gave a shake of his head. He didn’t want to discuss the fact he’d been magically transported out of the Chatri palace and caught in some dimensional limbo for weeks. He was still weirded out by the whole thing. “For now all you need to know is that no one can realize that I have returned.”
A rare hint of surprise touched Lise’s usually inscrutable face.
“Is there a particular reason why?”
“A request by an Oracle.”
Lise grimaced. “A wise vampire tries to avoid the attention of the Commission.”
No shit. Unfortunately Cyn hadn’t been given an option.
“Too late,” he muttered. “I’m just hoping to survive the next few days.”
“What can I do to help?”
And that was what made Lise the perfect second-in-command.
No unnecessary dramatics. No annoying questions he obviously didn’t want to answer. Just a request to know how she could assist.
“I will need you to continue with my clan duties.”
“No problem.” She studied his carefully guarded expression, clearly sensing that he was hiding something from her. “Anything else?”
“I’ll need food.”
Lise nodded. “I’ll bring fresh blood tomorrow night.”
“And fairy food,” he commanded.
A startled blink. “Fairy food?”
Cyn ignored her response. “Nectar and the usual berries and nuts. And female clothing.” He waved a hand toward his companion. “Slender like you, but a few inches taller.”
Lise nodded, accustomed to Cyn’s habit of filling his home with unexpected guests.
“Just one fairy?”
Once again he realized that he’d unconsciously reached out with his senses to lock on Fallon, a low hum of awareness vibrating through his body.
“Trust me, that’s one more than I wanted to bring,” he muttered.
Lise’s power whipped through the room, forming a coating of ice on the overhead chandelier, at the edge of frustration in Cyn’s tone.
“Do you want me to get rid of her?”
“No.” His power rose to match Lise’s, an unspoken warning that his guest was not to be harmed. “She’s here at the command of the Oracle.”
Lise ratcheted down her rare ability to create ice as a weapon, studying Cyn as if he’d given away more than he intended.
“The mystery deepens,” she murmured, her nose abruptly flaring as she tilted back her head to test the air. “What is that smell?” She shivered. “Delicious.”
Cyn had already caught the unmistakable scent of champagne, his blood heating with a dangerous anticipation.
“My unwelcome houseguest,” he muttered, glancing toward the bank of security monitors that were discreetly attached to the wall in a shallow alcove above the desk.
Lise moved to stand at his side, her brows lifting at the sight of the female Chatri who was floating with elegant grace down the sweeping staircase.
“Unwelcome? She’s beautiful.”
Cyn snapped his teeth together.
No, not beautiful. Fallon was exquisite.
A walking work of art.
A lethal temptation that threatened to drive him over the edge.
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