“Arrggghhhhhhhhhhhhh!” she shrieked, the noise unreal and strange and curdled with blood. Her eyes bore into the leader of the soul eaters, willing his body away from Stefan’s.
And just like that the soul eater flew backwards, colliding harshly with their fireplace.
Stefan blinked in amazement before gathering himself. His sword swooped down, cutting through the leader’s neck and clanging against the brick fire surround with a shuddering ting.
Relief and grief won its war over her, and she let everything fade around her…
“Ms. Arcos?” one of the men queried.
Cosmina shook her mind clear of the memories, dismissing the men with a look and a flick of her wrist at the door. The door flew open and the men hurried out of it. With barely a glance, Cosmina used her telekinesis to shut and lock it.
It was a telekinesis she may never have known existed within her, psychic abilities that had come on leaps and bounds, weeks after she’d saved Stefan’s life.
Her torment over losing her family, over being tortured by her sister, fuelled her gifts, fuelled her need to incinerate every last soul eater on the planet. Her brethren had seen her fury as passion and strength, bestowing the responsibility of Bucharest Councilwoman on her. Her Neith were supposed to have been her family. Even Stefan, who had married a young Neith girl from Fundeni. Her heart squeezed at the thought. At the thought of Uncle Goda. They’d all turned their backs on her. They didn’t understand. They didn’t believe in their calling like she did.
But the people she surrounded herself with now did.
They were drawn to her power. Her passion.
And her promises.
Lost in the Fog
Despite her growing familiarity with Cyrus’ Weston estate, Eden was still a little overwhelmed by the home. It had been six weeks since they’d returned from Scotland and still she was using the servant’s staircases. They were smaller, darker, carpeted. The two main marble staircases at the front and west of the house were startling curving monstrosities, each with a plush Persian runner that Eden was afraid of getting the tiniest speck of dirt on. There were at least one hundred bedrooms in the vast estate, too many parlors and sitting rooms to count, a kitchen a top chef would weep at, and gardens that stretched for acres.
It was easy to feel swallowed up in the home so Eden stuck pretty much to hanging out in the training rooms, her bedroom, Noah’s bedroom and Val’s suite. She’d also gone for the occasional swim in the inside heated pool and had hung out in the bowling alley with Noah a few times. Cyrus’ home was crazy huge.
Having just left Val’s suite after a few hours of online shopping, Eden passed a maid and gave her a friendly nod. The maid bobbed her head but didn’t say a word. Most of the staff was still cagey with her. Every member of Cyrus’ household were Neith, no matter their job – cook, maid, gardener or security officer - they were all full-blooded mortal warriors. The Weston estate was Fort Knox secure. The first three weeks Eden had been locked up in it, going out of her mind as more and more intel came in of, not only soul eaters descending on Boston (Cyrus assumed it was The Tribunal still after them after what Teagan had tried to accomplish back in Michigan), but chattering in the underground of growing unease among the Neith.
Someone was starting a little uprising against the Ankh that was making Cyrus very nervous.
Frightened for her safety, her guardian had wanted them all to vacate the Weston estate and go into hiding but Eden had rationalized that the soul eaters would just keep hanging around Boston attacking innocent people while they waited for Eden to make an appearance. She had to be out there, fighting the evil soul suckers, rather than hiding in some dark corner letting humans die because of her.
Cyrus had come around after some gentle coaxing from Val, and for the last three weeks Eden had been allowed to take a turn patrolling. She’d made three kills. It was amazingly exhilarating and much better than retreat. This way she actually felt like she was doing something useful, rather than sitting there attracting danger and putting the people she cared about in the way of that danger.
Other than to hunt, however, she wasn’t allowed out.
Hence the online shopping.
Humming under her breath, Eden took the stairs two at a time, wondering if Noah would be up for a little training session. She felt wired for some reason. She hit the first floor landing and was strolling along the quiet hallway towards the next flight of stairs when a large hand wrapped tightly around her wrist, hauling her with amazing strength out of the corridor. Eden yelped as a door shut, plunging her into darkness. A familiar scent tickled her nose and she smacked at a strong bicep as a dim light clicked on. “You scared me.” She made to pull her hand back from its attack on her boyfriend, her eyes narrowed on his grinning face. Noah’s violet eyes gleamed down at her, his body pressed flushed to hers as he held her trapped in the small linen closet.
“Bringing back any memories?” he asked, leaning down to brush a teasing kiss against her lips.
She smirked, remembering the day he’d pulled her into the janitor’s closet at school months ago when she’d had no idea who he really was. “Things were a little different then,” she said calmly, not kissing him back, pretending she was completely unaffected by his nearness when her skin was flushed hot from his proximity.
Chuckling, Noah shook his head, his breath whispering across her skin as his lips hovered below her ear. “I guess. Back then I could only fantasize about doing this.” He pressed a soft kiss to her skin and Eden gasped, arching her neck as he trailed butterfly kisses down it, his strong hands grasping her hips and pulling her against him.
As usual, Eden grew quickly frustrated by his leisurely seduction, tugging his head back with both hands and fusing their mouths together. The fire ignited between them in seconds, hands roaming, tugging, pulling, lips struggling against one another, wet kisses, chasing tongues. As Eden slammed back against the shelving unit, towels toppling over onto the ground below them, she fought to hold on to some kind of rationale, to hold on to her determination to keep things easy and slow. She wasn’t doing a very good job. But Noah had that effect on her senses. He was so affectionate, constantly touching her, teasing her, pulling her in for surprise kisses, taking her mind off all the bad stuff, off of the fact that Tobe had yet to answer one of the many emails she’d sent, let alone forgive her, or that the baddest soul eaters ever were after her, not to mention a group of their own warriors. It was hard to remember all that when Noah tasted so good, when his rough hands were stroking the bottom of her spine, itching to slide lower.
He pulled back, his chest rising and falling rapidly, his eyes dark with heat. He brushed a finger over her mouth and Eden had to stop herself from biting the tip of it. “Let’s sneak back to my room,” he whispered hoarsely, his eyes full of promise.
Immediately Eden tensed, thinking about the third floor. Noah’s family had the entire third floor to themselves. It was their territory. It was Noah’s father, Alain’s, territory.
Despite her attempts to curb her tongue around Alain, the guy still totally hated her. She didn’t know what she’d done wrong exactly, except for, you know,
being born a soul eater. But she was Ankh now. And the dude still couldn’t get past her history. More to the point, he couldn’t get past that she was a magnet for trouble. He didn’t want Noah anywhere near the controversy. Noah’s mother, Emma, on the other hand was a sweetheart. She was so supportive and kind, and totally ecstatic to see her son so happy. Her positive attitude made Alain look like a bigger dick than he already was.
“I don’t know.” She shrugged, easing out of his grip. “We might see your dad.”
Snorting, Noah hooked his fingers through her belt loops, refusing to let her pull away from him. Her hips bumped against him and their eyes flashed. “What’s worse? The chance of coming across my dad if we try to sneak back to my room, or the chance of coming across Cyrus if we sneak back to your room?”
Well, there was that. Eden’s bedroom was literally two suites down from the Princeps’.
Alain or Cyrus?
Although Cyrus had been OK with her and Noah dating he was still kind of old-fashioned and had advised them both - together and alone - on a few occasions to take things slow. OK, maybe he had threatened rather than advised Noah.
While she mused over what was the lesser of two evils, Noah snorted. “I feel like a teenager again, sneaking around behind Mom and Dad’s back.”
A flicker of unease shot through her. “Does that bother you?” Although she would never admit it to him, Eden had fleeting moments of panic, fearing that Noah would suddenly realize he was way too cool and mature for her.
A huge grin split his face and Eden melted against him. “Are you kidding? It’s really hot.”