Summary: "She told me my eyes 'looked like emeralds in a bottomless sea and she just wanted to drown in them.' I sensed she wanted to drown, period."
When six foot five, dreamy-eyed Kai Williams looks into your eyes, he'll sense your soul's darkest desires. That's a serious liability as far as he's concerned. When he meets Cassandra Evans, he'll be faced with a choice - surrender his heart to love for once in his life or fall prey to the evil his old pal Cam Tyson has introduced to him, the seductively demonic Angela Myers. Angela wants him. Will her malevolent, evil magic be strong enough to overpower him or will he embrace his own incredible powers and defeat her, finding true love?
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“Find your allies.”
“What did you say?” I turn to glare at the wizened old woman casting her shadow over me. The sun’s directly behind her, making her look like her head’s on fire…or maybe her head is on fire. I squint. Can’t really tell.
“You heard me. Allies.”
“Could you move, please? You’re messing with my tan.” I roll onto my tummy, smoothing my red and orange towel before lowering my head, sighing with content. I’m lounging on a tropical isle somewhere. The sky’s unclouded, the water a beautiful, clear turquoise/aquamarine. I love the sea. Love everything about it. Adore the life it supports - dolphins, whales, fish, octopus - so many species. Cherish how it makes me feel to be in it, on it, around it. It’s an ever-dynamic state of liquid emotion, one day calm and soothing, the next day battering the shore with rage. A smile plays along the edges of my mouth - I’m kind of like the sea, when I think about it. Maybe I’m an ocean.
A scent of fragrant flowers, ocean tang, and turkey covered with mustard tickles my olfactory senses. I open one eye, reach out my hand, grab the remains of my sandwich, and fling it away. Seagulls immediately dive bomb for the treat, squawking and screeching.
“You have work to do.”
“Later, maybe,” I mumble through closed eyes. “I’m on vaycay.” I love the way the sun beats along my skin. We don’t get to do this much in Seattle, where I live. It’s heaven when I get to indulge in solar bliss.
“You’ll be sorry.”
“Yeah, yeah. You’re a nag, you know that?”
“And you’re a foolish woman who thinks she has life figured out. Find your allies. They’re out there.”
“What if I don’t want to? I’m a loner, remember? Only child. Too sensitive. A howling wolf in the sea of life, pursuing a quiet existence.” I open my eyes. Her feet are in my line of sight. Sturdy leather boots peek under a long, flowing skirts. “It’s hot outside, in case you hadn’t noticed. You might want to go for shorts next time.”
“This isn’t a joke, Ms. Manhattan.”
“Call me Cheerio. We’re friends now, right?”
“We’re nothing of the sort.”
“Then call me Chérie Abella Manhattan, Chér, whatever.” I close my eyes once more. A weird rustling, watery sound catches my curiosity. “What is that? Sounds like a bait ball in the sea. Must be feeding time for some species.” The sound grows closer.
“See for yourself. You’re the one with all the answers.”
I frown. It sounds like a million small fish, churning the surface of the water. My eyes pop open. I’m alone on a beach that stretches for miles. I scramble to sitting. “Hey! Where’d you go?” I crane my head in all directions, searching for the elderly message bearer - bliss interrupter, more like it. Gone. Nowhere in sight. Good riddance.
The sea has transformed into inky, frothy, obsidian liquid. Dark clouds bruise the sky, moving swiftly in my direction. I leap to my feet, grabbing the towel before it skitters away, pulling it around me. The gentle breeze tossing my short red hair a minute ago now blows with gale force. Sand stings my cheeks and eyes. The ocean churns, stirred by something black and horrid, fluttering just beneath the water line. What are those things? Ebony-colored demons? One of them breaks the surface and flies at me. I bat it away before it hits my face. The ta-ak’tiyani. My heart sinks. We’ve tangoed before, me and the ta. I thought we were done.
In the middle of the roiling chaos, a man’s head bursts through the murky pandemonium. “Help!” he yells. “Get these things off of me!”
I race to the water’s edge, leap into the Zodiac in which I arrived, fire up the outboard motor and navigate through the surf.
The guy’s head slips below the water.
“Wait! Wait for me! I’ll save you!” I zip along, bouncing over the tops of waves, crashing into the sea troughs, grateful when his head resurfaces. Almost by his side, I gun the engine.
The ta-ak’tiyani burst skyward. They loop around to dive bomb the man’s head as he wildly bats against them.
“Almost there!” I call. I slap the red-eyed demons surging toward my face, my free hand connecting with their small, hot, fleshy bodies, hurling them into oblivion. They make me sick.
I slow as I approach, cranking the motor to idle. I search the water for the man’s face. “Hey! Over here!”
He spins in my direction.
Our eyes lock and for an instance, both our mouths fall open. I don’t know what he sees, but the visual on my end is gorgeous. He’s got the most beautiful eyes I’ve ever seen. Green, gold and blue, and entire galaxy seems contained in those eyes. His hair is a multi-hued rainbow of brown, red, and blond tresses. Recognition stirs in my heart. “Do I know you?”
He shrugs. “Don’t think so. But what matters is…” His eyes glance toward the bat things, flying in formation, arcing to make their next attack. His arms freestyle, propelling him in my direction.
“I think I know you. You’re my…” One of the ta careens into my head, his claws tangling in my hair. “You little bastard,” I shriek, tugging him free, squishing him until he pops, spurting dark, sticky red blood on my wrist. “Gah!” I fling his body into the sea, reaching for the beautiful guy’s hand. I’ve almost got him…almost…
A ginormous, crater-like, gaping maw torpedoes from the sea causing me to fall backward against the floor of the raft, the Zodiac tossed like a toy. I lurch to my feet, clinging to the side of the boat. The man gives me one last golden-green look that burns my retinas, a horrid, heartbreaking snapshot of love lost, love never been. The huge, hollow mouth closes around the man’s body, before swiftly sinking into the deep. I scream, clawing at the goddamned ta, slugging their evil faces, batting their sickly, squishy…
“Babe…babe…sleepyhead…babe…wake up…wake up…ow!”
My eyes fly open to my life mate, Cameron Delaney Tyson, rubbing his jaw.
He cranks it from side to side. “Nope, don’t think it’s broken. Hell of a good morning greeting, babe. You clocked me a good one.”
“Oh, Cam, I’m so sorry. Did I hit you?” I hold up my smarting hand and suck my bright red knuckles. “Wow.”
“I’ll say. You seemed to be having a nightmare so I tried to wake you. You hauled back and popped me a good one.” He throws his legs over the side of the bed, opening and closing his jaw, still investigating the damage.
His Adonis-like back induces instant opiated arousal. Much better than a stupid dream. Sculpted and muscular, defined through his love of adventure sports – rock climbing, white-water and ocean kayaking, rafting, hiking, you name it – if it involves the great outdoors, Cam’s there. His jaw-length, dark-blond hair tousled from sleep, makes him look like sexy, freshly fucked yum. Or at least that’s what I want him to look like.
I reach out a finger and draw it along his spine.
“Trying to make me feel better, huh?”
“Uh huh,” I utter, my voice still full of drowse, but definitely interested in awakening.
Cam crawls back under the covers. “Care to share your nightmare? Let’s get that out of the way, and then I might let you kiss me and make up.” He winks. Lying on his side, he faces me, and sweeps my hair from my face with a warm palm. One finger traces the side of my cheek.
When it reaches my lips, I draw it in, sucking it.
Cam gives me a hypnotic, shimmery blue-eyed gaze and smiles. “Are you trying to get me aroused, you little vixen?”
“What do you think?” I ask, snaking my arms around his back.
“Dream first,” he responds with a kiss on my nose. “And then I’ll give you some of this.” He pushes his scrumptiously hard erection against my thigh.
“Mmm. No dream, let’s just sink into one another.”
“Dream first,” Cam insists. “Your dreams aren’t like most people’s. Your dreams portend the future and speak of the past like no Earth-bound creature I know.”
“That’s because I’m not an Earth-bound creature. I’m a Galaxy Dancer. I don’t like this dream.”
“Tell it anyway.”
“Since when did you become my therapist?”
“Not your therapist, babe, your Earth guy eternal.” He wiggles his ring encircled finger at me. “I didn’t let you put this on my finger so I get therapeutic rights. I have other rights in mind.”
The ring’s a half cat’s eye stone, a beautiful orb of opalescent golden amber, resplendent with a milky band of light. I flutter my finger at him in response. Mine sports the other half of the stone.
“I see your eyes, every time I look at that golden stone,” Cam murmurs. “They’re as beautiful as the Cat’s Eye Nebula.”
“That’s one of my favorite places.”
“I wish I could go there. If it’s a quarter as gorgeous as you are, I’ll be blown away.”
“Maybe you can someday. The star dreamling might want to go home for a visit.” I inch my lips close to his ear. “I’d love to take you there.”
He nuzzles my face with his nose, his mouth curved in a smile. Eyes closed, he says softly, “You still don’t get out of dream telling.”
I whisper in response. “Are you sure you don’t want to celebrate our commitment to one another?”
“The one we made months ago?”
“There’s still a lot to celebrate.”
“Spill, Chér. Dream first.” He takes my hand and places it along the long, throbbing heat between his legs. “My big friend here is waiting for you.”
“Your big friend?” I roll my eyes at him. “Okay, Earth guy eternal, I’ll share. It wasn’t particularly pleasant, though.”
“We can deal with all things, babe, pleasant or not.” He strokes a lazy hand along my side.
“All right then…here goes.” I share the dream, withholding the part about being flooded with love and longing for the drowning guy. I need more info on that bit before sharing. No sense in making Cam jealous. “Yeah, so it seems like the drowning man needed to be saved. You know my job is not to save people, right, Cam?”
“Right – you can’t absolve anyone of personal responsibility, including me. Even though you’re the ka’kriyayaga, the Soul of the Universe, you can’t take away free will. Blah, blah. Yes, I remember.” His eyes bore into mine. “More importantly, sounds like the ta are at war again. I thought you got them out of your system.” He traces the hollow in my neck with his fingertip, trailing warm kisses along my jaw. “I am not losing you to evil.”
I wave my hand, batting away his concern. “It seems like they’re at war with someone else. This is a conundrum. Our kind can’t interfere.” I brush my hand along his solid abdomen, fingering the dark trail of hairs leading to his...
“Keep going before I forget why I asked you to tell your dream,” he says quietly into my ear.
In response, my inner serpent of power and magic unwinds up my spine. “It’s hard to keep going.”
“It needs to be hard or we won’t be able to do it.” He chuckles, rocking against me. “Spill it before I come all over the sheets.”
“Okay, well, when I watched the drowning guy I was supposed to know something about him and do or say something to make a difference in his life. Only I don’t have a clue what.”
Cam nibbles my neck, one warm leg slung over both of mine, pushing his hard heat into my hip.
“And then…and then…” I forget everything except the feel of his lips on my neck and the solid reminder of his love for me seeking entry.
“Go on, babe. I’m listening.”
“And then you woke me up and here we are.”
“Here we are,” he repeats back to me, his sexy voice deep and laced with desire. “What do you think it means?” he asks, cupping my left breast in his palm. He fingers my nipple, pinching and rolling it.
I gasp, feeling small, sharp, delicious stabs of pain stirred into pleasured response. “I don’t know, but whatever it is, I’m not interested.” I coax his leg off of me and wrap my leg over his hip, the skin of my thigh brushing his hot cock and family jewels.
Cam sucks in his breath. “Are you done with the dream telling?”
“I could be.” I yield to his excitement, welcoming a mutual exploration of body parts. “We could continue the telling in a little while, I suppose.”
“Good call,” he says softly, stiff with excitement. “I’ll listen whenever you’re ready to finish.”
“I thought you wanted me to finish now.” I roll on top of his hips.
“We’re pressing the pause button on all that talk.” He reaches between his legs, positioning his erection at my silky opening. “God, I want you. I never get enough of you, you know that?”
“Much better than a dream telling,” I murmur. “Let’s go, love. Let’s ride the rapids. The ka’kriyayaga is awake and I’m ready for an energetic journey to bliss.”
“So having an Earth guy around to consort with isn’t such a bad thing, huh?”
“Not…” I slide my love-slicked core along his heat. “Bad…” My palms stroke his chest. “At all…”
A tap, tap, tap, like pebbles begin flung against glass, rattles against the second floor bedroom window. I groan, shouting, “Go away, Kayden!” Handfuls of rocks strike the window. I pull my pillow over Cam’s and my head and snuggle against him. Several more pebbles clatter against the glass.
“What does he want?” Cam says gruffly. “Is he jealous of all the time we’ve spent together lately?” He plucks the pillow off our heads and pitches it toward the window. “Beat it, Fabio,” he yells.
“At least he doesn’t just pop in the room. Imagine how disturbing that would be,” I say, my hands propped on Cam’s solid torso, one leg on each side of his warm hips. “He’s never, ever, entered this house.”
Cam’s erection quickly deflates like a balloon. I roll away from him and stomp to the window. Kayden, my beautifully ripped six foot four, man-like stallion of a celestial lover and co-Galaxy Dancer, stands under one of the elm trees.
I gaze out at the distant Puget Sound and snowcapped mountains illuminated in the morning light, before bringing my gaze to my cosmic lover. He grins up at me with one of his starlit smiles, wearing his usual costume of skin-tight black t-shirt and body conforming jeans. I call them his “Press and Peel” attire – they’re pressed to his skin and I usually want to peel them off him.
“Chère!” Kayden calls, in a booming voice.
I throw open the window sash and stick my head into the frosty morning air. “What?” I snap. “Can’t this wait?” His cascade of stardust-sprinkled, night-sky black hair grazes the top of his shoulders. “Why did you cut your beautiful hair?”
Cam curses and mutters, “Why did you cut your beautiful hair, dipshit?”
I turn and glare. This morning is not going the way I intended.
Kayden says “It’s time for a change, that’s all. It will grow. Not that you’d know anything about long hair in this incarnation.”
He’s right. As an aerobics instructor here on Earth, I keep my reddish-auburn hair short. “So, why can’t this wait?”
“I wish it could, chère. I would have enjoyed the communion.”
“Kayden!” I huff. “You participate in everything I do! You’re always here.” I tap my heart. “But our playground is out there.” I sweep my arm toward the heavens. “Earth belongs to Cam and me. What’s the big deal? Why can’t you get me after we’re through?” I really want to get back into bed with Cam. I swivel my head, feasting my eyes on what I left - rock solid, passionate pleasure.
Cam regards me with flinty eyes, his mouth a hard slash.
“Because I can’t,” Kayden calls. “Didn’t you get the message I just sent you in your dream?”
“Something about a drowning man and evil in hot pursuit? Some message.”
“That’s just the teaser. The real message followed.”
“Cam woke me from my screams.”
Kayden shakes his head, his mouth set in the same hard line as Cam’s. “The Neanderthal,” he mutters. “Did you have to go through with that commitment ceremony, chère? You could have just had visiting rights and stayed in the temple with me.”
“I love being in our beautiful temple in the ethers. But right now I’m here, with Cam.” I glance over my shoulder, a wave of longing filling my eyes. “Can’t this wait, Kayden?”
He holds up his palms. “I’m sorry. I’m afraid I’m going to have to take you away from your fun. This is important.”
“All right, let me get dressed first.”
“Sorry, chère, it’s a time sensitive matter.”
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