Macrieve, p.40
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       MacRieve, p.40
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         Part #14 of Immortals After Dark series by Kresley Cole
Page 40


  "Im signaling for a tee-oh. " Her voice was throaty from her screams of pleasure.

  Hed been insatiable, taking her repeatedly, determined to satisfy her in every way. Theyd both been so much stronger that at one point, he had indeed worried about Conall.

  Their new home had proved as enduring as time.

  "Perhaps when you reach my age, you will no peak so early. " He tucked her hair behind her wee ear, marveling at his female. Adorable and sexy, all at once. "Ill grant you a reprieve. But know that its reluctant and verra temporary. "

  "Good. " She was dreamily running the pads of her fingers over his chest.

  Hed sought peace with her, and hed found it. Will felt right with the world for the first time. He could recognize that feeling just by virtue of how long hed felt wrong.

  Chloe had given him this. Hed conquered and claimed. And, gods, so had she.

  "I still cant believe you kept your beast on the leash. "

  He shrugged modestly, though he was damn proud of himself. "Youll only see it on the night of the full moon, if thats your wish. "

  "Can it hear me?"

  "Aye. " He let it stir. "Try now. "

  She cupped his face, gazing into his eyes. "You were so good tonight. In one months time Ill have the sweetest treats for you. "

  Putting the beast to bed, Will said, "And what treats are those? A Lykaes curiosity is a powerful thing. "

  "I know," she murmured with a coy grin, even as her lids were growing heavier. "Youll have to wait to see, MacRieve. "

  He curled a finger under her chin. "Will. "


  "I want you to call me Will. "

  His name on her lips and a smile on her face, she fell asleep, with him still inside her.

  Chapter Fifty

  Youre deft at this," MacRieve told her as they practiced attacks and parries with swords.

  For the last four days, hed been training her to use various weapons, so she could protect herself. Though hed had to admit, "Youre so strong, you could probably just crush your opponents. "

  Chloe had never in her life felt so powerful-or so connected to another being. If she thought shed been energized from sex before, shed seen nothing. Evidently, now that her big Scot was in love with her and they were mated both ways, he was providing only the highest-grade energy. If she were still playing sports, his stuff would be banned.

  And MacRieve-or rather, Will-was stronger than hed ever been. She was trying to remember to call him Will, but it would take a while.

  He thrust his sword with a quick jab.

  She easily deflected it. "Sword-fighting is just like soccer. Read opponent, adjust tactic, misdirect. I am going to be so bad-ass at this. "

  He scratched his head with one hand while he twirled his sword with the other. "You kind of already are. "

  "So are there any Lore competitions I could enter?" Today wouldve been check-in for the Olympics training camp. And even though a fascinating new life was opening up for her, she still missed aspects of her old one.

  "Theres one competition. We old ones like to call it survival. "

  She laughed. "Smart-ass. "

  He grinned. "Doona worry. If youve got a skill in the Lore, there will be someone around to test you. Especially during an Accession. But then, I have a feeling youll enjoy war. Its like sports, though sudden death actually means death. " He subtly telegraphed to the left, then struck to the right.

  She blocked and misdirected with a two-handed strike upward-only to change it midair to a one-handed sweep.

  MacRieve barely blocked it, raising his brows again. "You vow youve never held a blade in your hands?"

  "Its in my blood, remember?" With a saucy grin, she brushed off one shoulder, then the other. "Raw talent. Rookie phenom. At least I wont embarrass myself with the new sword-fighting fam. "

  Hed relayed all that had occurred in the Ubus Realm. Shed been amazed by the developments, convinced, as he was, that everything had been fated.

  That littlest hope-spark? Now an inferno, never to be extinguished.

  The morning after the full moon, shed wanted to let her new kin know that she was okay, but thered been no need. Theyd found a note from Nieve affixed to the front door:

  Judging by the shock waves originating from Conall Keep throughout the night, we assume youve made a complete recovery-and that Uilleam MacRieve, Lord of Conall, is indeed your fated mate. Please do us the honor of joining us for our Cider Fair. . . .

  The fair was this weekend, and MacRieve had readily agreed to take her: "They healed my mate. For that, Ill even be civil to Nieve. "

  In truth, she was a little embarrassed to see them again. By now everyone in that realm would know shed been hauled off by a ravenous werewolf for Richter-scale sex under the full moon. That was probably scandalous, even to the Ubus.

  She shrugged. Oh, well, Ill be sure to wear red.

  Only a few things marred her honeymoon with MacRieve. One was his unrelenting remorse over the way hed treated her. She made sure to jank him continually for all his misconceptions, which seemed to ease his guilt.

  Yesterday hed drawn her close, saying against her hair, "I canna get enough of you, Chloe. Gods help me, I know I never will. "

  "Im sure its just my strew-oh, wait . . . "

  Hed nipped her neck, making her squeal with laughter.

  Her confusion over her father was another source of worry. When she and MacRieve talked late into the night, theyd discussed his childhood and Ruelle, his parents-and her dad.

  By clinging to some tenuous belief in his goodness, was she being loyal-or willfully blind? MacRieve had been grievously harmed by him. Immortals all over the Lore had. Her relatives believed Preston Webb had killed Chloes own mother. Yet she didnt feel right passing judgment until shed heard his side of the story.

  Which might never happen.

  For MacRieves part, hed relinquished his urge for vengeance, explaining, "I canna kill my mates sire. Im too much in his debt. Without him, no Chloe. "

  Now MacRieve said, "I doona understand why Munro has no rung me back. "

  Another worry. He couldnt get in touch with his brother.

  MacRieve had left his first message for Munro the day after the full moon. She remembered him placing his phone on the bathroom counter just before theyd taken their first shower together.

  She shivered to recall that shower. MacRieve had knelt before her, placing a hand over her belly. "When youre ready, Im goin tae put a babe in here. " His hand had been so hot, even in the water. "Mayhap even twins. " Hed gazed up at her, his eyes flickering. "Honor me so?"

  Breathless, shed only been able to nod.

  "Tha gradh agam ort, Chloe. I love you. And Im about tae show you how much. " Then hed leisurely-lovingly-washed her from head to toe, still learning her body. When shed done the same to him, one thing led to another.

  By the time hed finally released her to get dressed, the water had grown cold and shed been grinning ear to ear like shed just medaled. Since then, they always shared showers. As hed repeated, "We like to conserve water around here. "

  And so it went with them.

  "Has Munro ever gone this long without calling?" she asked.

  "Since telephones were invented, Munro has never no returned my calls. I worry. " In a gruffer tone, he said, "Feels strange to be apart from him again. "

  She couldnt imagine how it must feel to be separated from ones twin, wondering if he was safe and well. "Lets give it to the end of the day. If no one at the compound has seen him, then well return to Louisiana. "

  He lowered his sword. "Youd miss the fair with your family?"

  "Munros my family too," she said, making MacRieves brows draw tight with feeling. "Why dont you go try him again? Ill chill for a bit. "

  He nodded. "Doona leave the immediate grounds, no?" After giving her a sweet kiss, he jogged off.

  Alone, she strolled through the courtyard, tre
ading upon cobblestones where countless MacRieves had walked, long before Will was born.

  God, this place was so beautiful. Over these four days, hed drilled into her head that this was her home. "Conall belongs to you as much as to me. Youre Chloe MacRieve, lady of this keep. " She could invite whomever she wanted, could decorate it however she chose.

  She wouldnt touch a thing, already found it perfect. Finally, she lived in a home with character. No McMansion here!

  She and MacRieve had even talked about reviving the area, bringing in more sheep, inviting clan members to resettle in the old village of Conall.

  As she walked, she ran her fingertips along the cool stone wall. She could feel the history here, and it grounded her. No longer did she feel like her world had been upended. Shed landed on her feet.

  Here. With MacRieve.

  Maybe the lads could come and stay for the summer? She missed them. But then, she might be seeing them directly. Shed meant what shed said earlier: she and MacRieve would be on a plane tonight if he didnt hear from his brother-

  "Chlo . . . "

  She whirled around at the strange voice. Standing not ten feet from her was the same towering, cloaked demon that had been in her fathers study.

  "You!" She raised her sword. "What do you want from me?" She didnt expect a real answer; last time, itd barely been able to speak.

  It surprised her by saying, "You dont recognize me?" Its words were still rough, though much clearer than before. It stepped closer.

  Recalling this creatures strength, she choked up on her sword. "Should I?" Chloe was first and foremost a fighter. But she wasnt above calling on her ally. She drew a breath to scream a heads-up for MacRieve-

  The creature pulled its hood past its horns.

  Her scream died on her lips. Her sword hand went limp, the blade clattering to the ground. "Dad?" It was him, but hed been altered.

  When shed seen him before, hed been obscured in shadow; now every feature was sharp in glaring daylight.

  He had unnaturally pale and flawless skin, ageless. Tapered fangs had replaced his teeth. Matte-black horns rose from his head like an old-timey devil drawing. His irises were so dark, they brought to mind the bottom of an abyss.

  Yet he was arresting, with the air all Loreans seemed to possess. "Dad? Wh-what happened to you?" She rushed up to him, tentatively touching his face. "You were the one in our house? Why didnt you talk to me?"

  With a claw-tipped hand, he brushed a curl of hair from her face. "I was trying to ask if you were still mortal, but Id only recently been transformed. Ive had to relearn how to speak, how to move, how to think. "

  "Transformed into what? You need to explain this before I freak the hell out. " And before MacRieve scents you. She lowered her hand, reminded of what her dad had done to the male she loved. "Start spilling. "

  A hint of Dads old smile rose. "I see you havent changed-even with your own transformation. "

  She bit out, "Talk. "

  He inclined his head. "I was being hunted by one of the most fearsome vampires in the Lore, Lothaire the Enemy of Old. I knew sooner or later he would find my hideout. But I was prepared. Just before he drained me to death, I popped a capsule full of blended immortal blood. Though he did kill me, I was resurrected. "

  "As what?"

  "The blood contained a mix of several creatures. My powers will be endless, once theyve all manifested. "

  She crossed to the courtyards low wall, sinking down on it. "Why didnt you warn me about the Lore and what I might be? Why didnt you tell me about the Order?"

  "I thought I could keep you separate from all this. God, I wanted that! Your life was uncomplicated, so focused. I never wanted to take that away from you. "

  "You couldve told me what I was turning into before you left. You gave me zero explanation. Just left me an encyclopedia-of creatures you hated. "

  "That night I was . . . dumbfounded. " He sat beside her. "Your blood had tested out as human, again and again for twenty-four years. Even our most advanced arrays picked up nothing. "

  "I was so alone, and you just disappeared for weeks," she said, hating how weak she sounded.

  "I forced myself not to contact you, fearing that would put you in Lothaires crosshairs-a place you never want to be. Only after Id turned did I come home for you, but you disappeared that night. "

  "Yeah, the witches found me. "

  Irritation flickered over his uncanny face. "I was betrayed by a former ally. "

  "Wonder what that feels like. "

  He reached for her, but she drew back.

  "Chlo, please-"

  "Did you do all the things Ive heard? Torturing Loreans, killing them in front of their children?"

  He let his hand drop. "I did what any general at war would do to his enemy. I did whatever it took. "

  Admitting it so easily? Even . . . proudly? The fears about her dad that shed barely allowed herself to entertain all came crashing down on her.

  "I believed those creatures were subhuman, which meant they needed to be destroyed. "

  Though she felt even more stunned, she forced herself to her feet. "And now what? Youve switched teams? Youre a detrus now. "

  "Precisely. We in the Order knew we would need stronger soldiers to defeat immortals. To fight the monsters, we would have to become them. So I headed a project designed to blend Lorean blood for human use. When my death was imminent, I decided to test it on myself. " He scrubbed a palm over one horn. "The transition has been . . . challenging. "

  She could tell this. His fangs had cut his lips. Blood trickled from the corner of his mouth, but he didnt seem to notice.

  "With each day that I come into my powers, Ive recognized that immortals will always prevail. Youve felt the strength-you must understand that humans have no chance against us. "

  "Who the hell is fighting against humans?"

  "A war is inevitable, and Ive been on the wrong side. "

  She sensed a growing tension inside him, as if his veneer of calm was fracturing.

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