When Darkness Ends(Guardians of Eternity,book 12)(74) by Alexandra Ivy
“Did you think I was helpless?” she demanded.
He gave a rueful shake of his head. It was far too easy to forget she was a royal fey with the sort of powers that made most demons tremble with fear.
Now his gaze ran over her glorious beauty, his heart filling with a tidal wave of pride that was only marred by the lingering terror at how close he’d come to losing her.
“There’s a vast difference between helpless and frying a demon to a crispy critter,” he dryly informed her.
“Maybe next time you’ll think twice before trying to tell me what to do.” She sniffed, trying to hide the fact she was shaking like a leaf.
His foolish, dangerously brave mate.
Moving forward, he wrapped her slender body in his arms, pressing his cheek against the top of her head as he absorbed the intoxicating scent of vintage champagne.
“Highly unlikely,” he warned her with a rueful smile.
Intelligent enough to realize she’d be wasting her breath to argue, Fallon instead tilted back her head, her hand lifting to run her fingers down the braid that framed his face.
He grimaced as she struggled for the word.
“Terrifying,” he suggested, knowing he must have looked like a brutal savage during the battle with the troll. Nothing at all like the pampered warriors she was used to.
She shook her head, absently wrapping his narrow braid around her finger.
“Splendid,” she gently corrected.
Braced for her disgust, Cyn closed his eyes as relief raced through him.
He didn’t understand why fate would offer a barely civilized berserker this elegant, exquisitely sophisticated fairy as his potential mate. But he intended to make sure he devoted his life to earning her love.
“I like splendid,” he said in rough tones.
She released his braid to lightly touch the large bump on his forehead.
“But I prefer not to see it again,” she murmured.
“I’ll keep that in mind,” he assured her, frowning as she gave a violent shiver. “You’re freezing.”
She shrugged. “I don’t want to waste my energy keeping myself warm.”
“That is my duty.”
With one smooth motion, Cyn swept Fallon off her feet and moved to the distant corner of the cave. Then, with a muffled groan at the pain from his shattered ribs, he sat on the floor with the princess cradled in his lap.
As much as he wanted to take her far away from the stench and gore, they both needed to rest.
Holding her tight in his arms, he concentrated on warming the air around them.
He didn’t have the same talent as Fallon, but he could maintain the heat for a short period of time.
“How do you do that?”
“I’m a vampire of many talents.” He pressed his lips to the top of her head. “Rest, princess, I’ve got you.”
They sat in silence for a long time, both simply happy to have survived.
Cyn leaned his back against the wall of the cave, marveling at how perfect the slender princess fit against him. It wasn’t just the feminine curves that were molded to his chest, although they were right up at the top of the list. Or the feel of her breath as it brushed his throat. Or even the satin hair that tickled his jaw.
It was the pure beauty of her soul as it settled against his.
Cyn allowed the peace to ease away the last of his fury, relieved to feel his bones begin to mend. He couldn’t sense any predators near, but considering his luck lately, he intended to be ready for . . . hell, anything.
Time drifted past, then at last, Fallon tilted back her head to reveal the color had returned to her cheeks.
“You said that you smelled something familiar before we were attacked,” she reminded him.
Lost in the fantasy of the pleasure he intended to share with this female the minute they returned to his lair, Cyn forced himself to recall his shock when the portal had opened.
“Aye,” he said. “Druids.”
She blinked in surprise. “Do you think they’re involved?”
Cyn hesitated. As a vampire he had little contact with the druids. They tended to be shy and reclusive, preferring to devote themselves to their studies. They did, however, often reach out to the fey to assist them with their efforts to repair the earth from the endless damage caused by modern technology.
His foster parents occasionally traveled to consult with the elders, even inviting them to visit their small cottage.
Which was how he recognized their scent.
“They’re human magic-users, some of them dangerously powerful,” he said. “And my foster parents were going to speak with them shortly before they disappeared. That makes them obvious suspects.”
Her brow furrowed. “If they were so obvious then why didn’t you mention them before?”
“Because they’ve been devoted to peace for centuries,” he answered. “So far as I know they’ve never used their magic as an offensive weapon.”
“Would they have the magic to gain control of the Commission?”
Cyn frankly didn’t know. The elders might possess powerful magic for humans, but did they have the strength to compel the Oracles?
“Perhaps,” he hesitantly said. “If they were doing it in layers as we suspect.”
She stiffened in his arms, her eyes widening. “Wait. I seem to remember my father saying that he’d had to forbid the druids from performing certain spells.”
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