When Darkness Ends(Guardians of Eternity,book 12)(88) by Alexandra Ivy
Ignoring the pleasure that continued to shiver through her, Tonya went onto her tiptoes so they were nose to nose.
“I’d like to see you try.”
He gave a low growl, reclaiming her lips in a kiss that made her forget her aching head, their damp surroundings, and the fact they’d nearly been exploded into a thousand tiny pieces.
There was no telling how long they would have remained lost in one another if someone hadn’t loudly cleared their throat, making Tonya abruptly pull away.
Glancing over Magnus’s shoulder, she discovered Levet standing near the circle of stones.
“You can kissy-face later,” the gargoyle chided. “The druids need you.”
Magnus muttered a low curse before he grudgingly released his hold on Tonya.
“Someday I’m going to kill that gargoyle.”
Levet gave a flick of his wings. “If only I had a euro for every time I have heard that.”
Cyn wasn’t happy as he watched as Styx and Viper silently faded into the early-evening darkness before he turned and headed toward the bluff overlooking the Mississippi River.
It had been less than an hour since Fallon had created a portal so they could travel to Chicago.
No surprise that Styx had been waiting for their arrival along with Viper and Dante. But when Cyn had been prepared to insist that Fallon remain in the safety of the Anasso’s lair while they travel to the caverns where the Oracles were gathered, the aggravating princess had neatly outwitted him by insisting her brief meeting with Siljar meant that she could use her as an anchor to open a portal.
He’d forbidden her to come, of course.
A total waste of time.
Not only had Fallon ignored him, but Styx had refused to listen to reason. Instead he’d agreed with Fallon, firmly overriding Cyn’s protest.
At least the aggravating bastard had drawn the line at letting Fallon go charging into the caves in search of the magic-user, he wryly acknowledged. That was something.
Stepping through the tight cluster of trees, he found Fallon waiting for him exactly where he’d left her. A wry smile touched his lips. It would be nice to think she’d stayed there because he’d asked her to, but the truth was that she was standing at the edge of her portal to keep it open.
There was a very real possibility they would need a quick getaway and she was there to provide it.
He halted at her side, pulling free the large sword he’d strapped to his back before leaving his lair.
“What’s happening?” Fallon demanded, her beautiful face pale but set in lines of grim determination.
His heart twisted. The prehistoric male inside him wanted to treat Fallon as a pampered Chatri princess that needed to be protected against the world. But he wasn’t entirely stupid. This female had been denied the right to discover exactly who she was and what she was capable of accomplishing for far too long.
He couldn’t deny her the right to prove her worth.
He turned so he could keep his gaze locked on the small farmhouse that appeared harmless enough. No one passing by would realize that beneath it was a complex layer of caves that were currently home to the most powerful demons in the world.
“Styx and Viper are more familiar with the caves,” he said. “They’re going to track down the druid. Once they’ve found him they’ll contact me.”
He nodded toward the pathway that ran parallel to the river.
“He’s going to scout for any unseen enemies.”
“And you?” she pressed.
He shrugged. “I’m going to protect our fastest means of escape if things go to hell.”
He barely heard her soft sigh. “You mean you’ve been put on babysitting duty.”
“No.” He shook his head, his senses on full alert. Everything was eerily still. Understandable, of course. Humans and wildlife might not be aware of the pulses of power that throbbed in the air, but their sixth sense would urge them to leave the area. And no demon was foolish enough to willingly linger so near the Commission. Just because they happened to be the leaders of the demon world didn’t make them nice guys. Hell, just the opposite. Which made it easy to keep watch. If anything moved, he intended to kill it. “If Styx believed my place was in the caves, that’s where I would be,” he assured her. “They hope to locate the druid without alerting him to their presence, so the fewer people with them the better.”
Sensing her continued tension, he turned to study her strained features.
“This is where I belong.” His brows snapped together as she gave a violent shiver. “You’re cold.”
“No.” Her hands ran up and down her arms in a convulsive motion. “It’s—”
He knew immediately what was wrong.
“You sense something?”
“Magic,” she whispered.
He grimaced. Of course it had to be magic. It couldn’t be a hellhound. Or even a troll. Anything he could use his big sword to kill.
She licked her lips. “No. This is demon magic.”
The faint sound of a twig snapping had him turning toward the trees to their left.
“Something’s coming,” he growled, catching the faint scent of lava. A Manasa . . . fire demon. “Fallon, return to Styx’s lair,” he snapped.
She turned, as if preparing to retreat, but before she could disappear into the portal she gave a pained cry and collapsed to the ground.
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