Dark skye, p.4
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       Dark Skye, p.4
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         Part #15 of Immortals After Dark series by Kresley Cole
Chapter 3

  Free of the tunnel! Thronos sucked in breaths of fresh air as he ascended. At last, they’d emerged from smoke and offal to clean rain and gusting ocean breezes. Struggling to ignore the agony flying always brought him, he outlined his plan. Focus: survival, escape, then revenge. On the other side of the island, he had the means to leave this place, but reaching that distant coast wouldn’t be easy, not with so many bloodthirsty foes in play. There were winged Volar demons who would attack in the air as a pack. Sorceri could wield their powers from the ground. Even in this rain, fire demons could launch their flames, grenades that seared flesh away like acid. The mortals of the Order would likely send ground reinforcements—or air strikes. Now Thronos would have to elude any threat, yet already his wings screamed with pain—both old and new. His bones grated on each other like cogs with no notches, the muscles knotted around the joints. He avoided flying whenever possible, but saw no way around it; the ground was a free-for-all. All across the landscape, Vertas allies lay beheaded or wounded. Cerunnos slithered after fey; vampires took down members of the good demonarchies. The Pravus were wiping them all out. Just as they had the mortals. For all his life, Thronos had been a sword for right. But not tonight. No matter how badly he craved to fight alongside his allies, he wouldn’t jeopardize his catch. It struck him again: By the gods, I have her. He adjusted his grip, inhaling sharply from the feel of her against him. He hadn’t held her since they’d been innocent children. Despite his excruciating pain, his thoughts were anything but innocent. Most of her curvaceous figure was on display in her shameless Sorceri garb. Aside from her gauntlets, she wore only a metal breastplate and a minuscule skirt configured of mesh and strips of leather. When he’d dragged her through the tunnel, it’d ridden up to reveal a shockingly small black thong and the flawless curves of her ass. . . . Now the molded cups of her breastplate pressed against him. Her waist and hips were so damned womanly, eliciting lust. This was the body he should have been enjoying for the last five hundred years. The body that should have given him offspring ten times over. Wrath welling. “Take me down!” she suddenly screeched. “You want down? I should open my arms—let you feel what it’s like to plummet!” As I learned from you. “D-don’t drop me!” She was shaking against him. Her claws dug in deeper, tiny hooks in his flesh. More pain to put with the rest of it. “Is that your plan? To torture me before you kill me?” Kill her? “If I wanted you dead, you would be so. ” She lifted her head from his chest. Her rain-dampened face was drawn, her plump bottom lip quivering. Amidst her panic, she seemed to be taking his measure, determining whether he was telling the truth. “But torture’s still on the table?” “Perhaps. ” When he sensed an air current and abruptly dipped to catch it, she cried, “Take me to the ground, or I’ll vomit!” Thronos knew she would stop at nothing to get free. But to act as if she would be sick? She used to love it when he took her into the air, would laugh with delight. He’d flown with her often, back when he’d been addicted to the sound of her laughter. “I can’t take this height, Thronos! I swear to gold. ” They were only a few hundred feet in the air. Yet her vow to gold gave him pause. She would consider it as sacred as a vow made to the Lore. “Oh, gods. ” A second later, she heaved, throwing up a concoction of gruel, water, and dirt on his shirt. A growl sounded from his chest; hers heaved once more. If his arms hadn’t been full, Thronos would have pinched his brow in disbelief. Not only did his fated, eternal mate have no wings, she now suffered from a fear of heights. Yet another way the wicked sorceress was all wrong for him. In addition to the fact that she despised him as much as he despised her, Melanthe was a light-skirted liar and thief who’d proved malicious to the bone. But she hadn’t always been that way. He remembered her as a sensitive girl—though already mischievous. He spotted a grassy plateau, high above the ocean. No creatures in sight. He descended, landing without particular care. When he released Melanthe, her right leg stepped left, then her left leg stepped right. He predicted her fall and readily allowed it. When she landed on her knees, she heaved again. Exhaling with impatience, he used the time to wipe away her sick from his shirt and check himself for ghoul wounds. No marks. From her spot on the ground, Melanthe said, “I thought Vrekeners were supposed to keep the Lore hush-hush from humans. If so, bang-up job you’re doing!” Since memory, Vrekeners had been tasked with stamping out evil in the Lore—and with hiding its existence, punishing anyone who threatened the immortals’ secret. Yet all the while, this human enclave had kept its acquisitive gaze on Loreans. Getting captured by them had been as easy as Thronos had expected. Melanthe eyed him. “If all the good immortals still have their collars, why don’t you?” “The better question: How could you possibly have retained yours?”
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