Excerpt: Lost in Shadow – Chapter 13

Chapter 13

Dinner was noisy, chaotic, and delicious. Emily couldn’t remember when she’d felt this carefree, after all Colin had told her, she needed to take her mind off thinking about curses for one night. Captain Robert’s crew dined in the adjoining room, and she could hear the ribald jokes, stories becoming larger than life, growing exponentially with the amount of rum they consumed.

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“Your crew—are they like you?” She thought they were human, but unless she noticed no one else could see them, she couldn’t tell if they were ghosts or not.

Chuckling, Robert answered, “No, they’re all human. My crew died long ago, God rest their souls. None stayed behind. They all went on to find their peace.”

Wrinkling her nose in concentration, she went on, “So how did you find these men?”

Robert looked at Colin, “Your lass is curious as a cat isn’t she?”

“Aye, she keeps things interestin.” Colin winked at her.

“I hired boys from the families who had perished and so on. The men you see are descended from my first crew. ‘Twas the least I could do to help the families who were left behind. All I hire know I’m ‘different,’ though every now and again I forget to make myself visible and scare the hell out of one of my men.” Robert smirked at her and Colin broke out in laughter.

The crew ate in shifts. Robert had modern engines but preferred the old ways, said the rhythm and pace felt more natural to him than the humming of engines. He liked the sounds of the ocean, waves hitting the bow, gulls calling, the rigging creaking with the motion of the ship, the occasional whale sighting, and the dance of everyone knowing their job, working together as a team.

The Captain’s dining room was beautiful, decorated in rich shades of burgundy, navy, green, and gold. Sumptuous silk curtains framed the windows, silk pillows adorned each dining chair, the chairs and table made out of rich mahogany with gorgeous carved legs. There was even a china cabinet in the room. The table was set with heavy linens; silver polished to a mirror finish, beautiful fine crystal and of course the china. She adored china, collected it, used it all the time, even to serve pizza on; after all, why save it only for special occasions? Pizza Tuesday could be just as special as Thanksgiving dinner. She never understood why people saved beautiful things, only to use them rarely, if ever. Not as if anyone would look back and say oh, I shouldn’t have used that china so much. Surrounding yourself with beautiful things made the world a nicer place which it sorely needed.

The meal was delicious, the wine like velvet on the tongue and the conversation fascinating. Colin kept her glass full, making sure she had whatever she wanted. Seated between the two men, she felt safe and secure. Stealing glances at Colin, he took her breath away—so strong, lethal, and sexy—it should be against the law to have that kind of sex appeal. Discreetly fanning her face, she dragged her thoughts from the warrior beside her to the table; she had to know, “Robert, how does the china cabinet and table stay in place when there’s a storm?”

“Good question lass, back in the day, not only were storms an issue but battles as well, so the heavy items are bolted to the walls and floor. Used to be six or seven sets of china packed away in the ship’s hold so if we encountered a bad storm or ran into battle with the bloody English, we’d have more. What’s a meal without fine china, crystal, and sterling silver?” He cocked an eyebrow at her.

Biting her bottom lip, she thought about it. It made sense, something they should think about in earthquake-prone places like California. Though her grandmother would have a conniption putting screws through her precious antiques to bolt them to the floors and walls; being a fine southern lady, she’d never live on the wild West Coast anyway.

“The china, is it Haviland? It looks like a pattern my friend Kat has. Hers is almost two hundred years old. It’s in excellent condition but yours looks new.”

“Good eye lass, I traded black pearls from the South Seas for it from Mr. Haviland himself, ‘tis been in storage for a time.” Leaning back in his chair, Robert settled in to tell the story while Colin poured another glass of wine and rolled his eyes.

“He had recently gone into business, set up a fine factory in Limoges, France, and wanted to give his pretty, young wife a lovely bauble. I was sailing from France back to Scotland with a hold full of goods when he approached me. He was a brave man to enter the pubs lining the docks in Marseilles. They were a rough place then. We came to an accord and made the trade, both happy with the outcome.”

The table was cleared, dessert brought in. Rich, gooey, chocolate cake with chocolate ganache on top, Emily was in hog heaven. She groaned in ecstasy tasting the rich confection.

Reaching over, Colin wiped a tiny drop of chocolate from the corner of Emily’s lip—she stilled, watching him as he deliberately took his finger and sucked the chocolate off. She swore she could feel it down to her core, insides molten, like the center of the cake.

Laughter brought her attention back to Robert.

“Me thinks you two should get a room—right—you have a room, why don’t ye go there and get naked?”

Colin glared, “Shut your mouth before I shut it for you.”

Before things could get out of hand, Emily jumped in. “Tell me how you met Robert.”

“Aye, Colin, tell the lass, ‘tis a fine story. I saved his head from the chopping block numerous times.”

Raking a murderous glare over Robert, Colin told her, “He’s so full of shite, I saved his arse from the English too many times to count. Will you shut the hell up and let me tell the damn tale.”

As the dessert dishes were cleared, wine replaced by cognac, Emily was tipsy. Sated from dinner and drink, warm and sleepy from the gentle rocking of the ship.

“You see Emily, it was verra long ago, my usual Captain had gone down with his ship in a fierce storm, I’d heard of the infamous ‘Black Bart’ and decided to introduce myself.”

Robert broke in, “Aye, we met in a broth…er, in a…well, in a bawdy house. I was finishin’ with Lola when I heard a scuffle outside.”

“Seriously, you are such a woman; I thought I was the one telling the story—let me tell it already. If you tell it, we’ll still be sitting here when the dawn comes. It gets longer every time he tells it.” Colin cut his eyes to Robert. “Don’t give me the poor, wounded me look. I’ve plans for the rest of the evening, and they sure as hell don’t involve you, mate.” Emily giggled, heat flared in her stomach at Colin’s words. Looking at him, her face hot, “Please continue. I want to hear the story.”

“Getting back to the tale then…there was a scuffle, the English had taken a couple of my lads, as they shouted for me, I came out the door as did Robert. We managed to free the men and escape from the blasted English. Couldn’t have them knowing I was the smuggler. After a few too many drinks I hired Robert to transport my merchandise from that day forward. Course, you had to mix up Captains so the English would be kept guessing, but we ran into each other over the years until we both ended up in the one-star accommodations of Edinburgh Castle, bound for the gallows.”

Opening her mouth to ask Colin a question, she was cut off when he grabbed her hand, excusing them from the table. “I can see the wheels turning in your head. Thought we’d have a walk after dinner, enjoy the sea air.”

Colin practically dragged her from the dining room to the deck. The open air carried a salty tang she could taste. The smell reminded her of him.

“You didn’t want me to start asking questions, did you?” She playfully hit his uninjured arm, allowing him to escort her around the deck.

One of the crew members was playing a violin, a haunting melody, as if in homage to the full moon overhead. Stopping to lean against the railing, he asked her why she was in Scotland.

“When we were trapped in the tunnel, you told me you and your friend Kat came to Scotland to ‘get away,’ what did you mean? Did something happen that caused you flee the country?” Colin asked in a light tone.

Staring up at the night sky filled with stars, the moon hanging heavy, almost touching the water, she thought about how to answer him. Releasing a pent-up sigh, she began, “Well, I was in a relationship with a man named Charlie. What I didn’t realize until it was too late was he liked to keep secrets. One of his secrets was another woman; his cheating is what caused the accident. I ended up in the hospital.”

* * *

“Accident? Hospital? What happened to you lass?” He growled, jealousy roaring to life…if that bastard had hurt her, he’d tear him apart.

Not looking at him, she continued, “We were driving, he was sexting with her, lost control, and hit a tree. The car rolled on its side into the stream…” her voice trailed off. Giving her a minute, he wrapped his arms around her.

“’Tis okay lass, tell me the rest.”

“They told me I died. I was lost for eight minutes. They’d given up…as they were leaving the room to tell my brother and Kat, I came to screaming.” She was rigid in his arms as if worried what he might think.

“It must have been a terrifying experience.” Trying to ease her suffering, the strain of the memory making her tense, he stroked her hair, tucking the errant strands behind her ear.

“Did you know the stars are made out of tears?”

Turning in his arms, inches separating them, she looked through him, into his very soul with those knowing gray eyes.

“Tell me.”

“’Tis said each and every star we see in the night sky, was formed from a tear, a tear made from broken hearts and broken promises. An ancient god and goddess, deeply in love, were ripped from each other, destined to be apart throughout eternity…the tears from Luna’s broken heart created the stars in the night sky. She became the moon; Solus the sun, passing each other for a brief moment in time each morning and evening. This is why sunrise and sunset are so beautiful, the tragic lovers, yearning to be together again, knowing it can never be, fill the sky with the colors of their love for each other.

“What a heartbreakingly beautiful story. I’ve never heard it before, so much better than thinking the moon, sun, and stars are distant planets…though sadder.”

Quiet, lost in their thoughts, listening as the violin wove a spell of enchantment on the night air; neither spoke.

“What, no more questions? I haven’t heard you this quiet since we met in the Vaults.”

“It’s so much to absorb, the curse, Shadow Walkers, Day Walkers, immortality; not to mention, I’m not sure what I have to do to help you. It’s exhausting thinking about it.”

“Maybe you’re to help me find that bastard Captain Rawlins Huntington. Then stay out of the way while I kill him. Hamish betrayed me…not only with my fiancée but to the captain, which also cost me my crew—men who depended on me to protect and provide for them and their families. He knew I kept the whisky in the Vaults, watched to learn when and how I moved it so he could turn me in, allowing the good captain to find me. My own brother conspired with the English while Rawlins left me chained to a wall so I couldn’t defend myself against Hamish. He let him kill me.” Colin told her, very matter-of-factly; what did it matter now, ancient fucking history, that bridge was burnt and long gone.

“I can’t imagine how much the betrayal by your brother and fiancée must have hurt. Betrayal…”

He waved her off, not wanting to go there, “It’s the past, more importantly, how are you holding up, processing your new reality? Knowing there really are things out there that go bump in the night?”

Emily pulled a button from her pocket and handed to him. Puzzled he looked at her.

“It must have come off in the Vaults,” she told him. “It’s how I knew you weren’t a ghost, of course, I didn’t really know what you were, other than some crazy re-enactor, which made me determined to find you and give you a piece of my mind for scaring the living daylights out of me. When I saw the painting, the shirt you had on, well, it was the same button.”

“Aye, it was painted the morning I was arrested.”

She wrapped her arms around him, holding him tight, resting her head against his chest. If she only knew…he was damaged, had kept every emotion locked away deep inside for so long—trembled at the thought of letting her in.

Ice cold. Her skin was so cold. He hadn’t noticed the temperature dropping, was too engrossed in her. “Let’s get you inside, out of the cold.” Taking her hand, he twined his fingers through hers, leading her down the stairs to their room.

“Do you want a drink before bed? Um, before we go to sleep I mean,” she was breathless.

Seeing her standing there, riveted to the floor, watching him, his nostrils flared, catching her scent as he stalked towards her. This woman captivated him. Inexplicably he was drawn to her, a base need he couldn’t put a name to. Reaching out, he caressed her hair. Want…need…desire, filled him, threatening to spill over. Tentatively, she reached up, caressed his jaw, her fingers soft against his stubble, the sensation heading straight to his groin. A simple touch of her hand was all it took, in that moment he wanted to crawl into her skin; mark her for all time.

“Damn the whisky,” he choked out.

The room crackled with electricity, a dim silvery light filling every corner and crevice as he dipped his mouth to hers. The clock on the mantle stopped ticking, he felt her breath hitch—before she could take her next breath, he kissed her with savage need.

Taking her into his arms, she moaned against his mouth, holding him tight, losing herself within their kiss. His muscles twitched under her caress, he growled, an ancient predator ready to devour her. Hands moving to his hair, she played with his braids, twining her fingers through them, pressing her chest into him.

“I’ve never wanted any man like this.”

He lifted her up, settling her against his hips, his desire for her evident, his erection pressing against her core. The contact was electrifying. As he licked his way from her earlobe down her neck, she moaned, deep in her throat. The feel of her, wrapping her legs tighter around his waist, he could hold her forever.

Hands cupping her ass, stroking circles with his thumbs, he felt her breath as she panted against his cheek.

Her fingers traced his jaw causing him to flinch as she followed the hideous scar, tracing the jagged line. When he tried to move her hand away, she stopped him. “Don’t. It’s part of you. I think it’s beautiful.” His woman was daft to think the scar ‘beautiful.’ Letting her explore his face, he fumbled, reaching for the dagger. With the rip of fabric, he sliced through the linen pants—she shivered in the cold air as their bodies separated enough for him to pull the fabric from her body, falling to the floor in a heap, useless rags.

“Damned tie was stuck.”

Her giggle turned to a gasp, as he grasped her thighs, stroking, palming her arse, the cool breeze blowing in through the window raising goose bumps across bare skin.

“Your skin feels like silk,” he rasped, reverently sliding his palms over her skin. Struggling to be closer to him, she reached out, pulling at his shirt. Raising his arms up, he pulled it over his head so she could run her hands over his chest. He was filled with a raw hunger. It had been centuries, hell maybe never since he wanted a woman as he wanted her. Being a Shadow Walker meant never letting anyone get close; he didn’t trust women, wouldn’t wake up next to one, only letting them take their pleasure from his body, feeling nothing as they came and went over the years. Something about Emily was different from the rest.

Startled, he realized, he wanted to wake up, see her next to him, watch the morning light play over her face, make her laugh—gods, he loved her clear, innocent laugh. He couldn’t love her, no way he would cut open his heart. Not ever again after the gut-wrenching betrayal of Abigail, but…he felt something, feelings he couldn’t explain or put a name to—if he couldn’t love her, he could give her passion. She was a warrior in her own right, overcoming her fear, standing up to him; he imagined how fierce a lover she would be.

The beast within howled, demanding he take her. Giving in to desire, he crushed her lips, invading her mouth, exploring every inch. Skimming his hands across her back, down to her ass, he marveled at what a tight, gorgeous arse it was, couldn’t wait to nip it with his teeth, lick each mound down to the crease where ass met thigh.

Feeling her clench her thighs tighter around him, the beast rumbled, ready to take her as he carried her to the bed, laying her down on the sheets, not breaking contact, skin to skin, scents intermingling as the silvery air grew brighter around them, a low hum reverberated around the room, seeming to come from nowhere, everywhere, as he ground into her, feeling her wetness against his thigh.

“Kiss me harder.” She ran her hands up his thighs, under his kilt, digging her nails into his ass. Pulling at his kilt, trying to remove the barrier between their skin, she huffed, “Damnit, I can’t get it undone.”

Chuckling, he shifted; breaking contact with her body as he quickly removed the kilt, throwing it to the floor. Purring in satisfaction, she raked her nails down his back. His cock jerked against her. Running his hands over every inch of her body—wasn’t enough—the rough fabric of her shirt, impeding them from full skin to skin contact, he hissed in protest at the fabric in the way, hearing her gasp as he took the shirt in his hands, ripping it down the front, buttons popping. She was exquisite. Gazing at her, body translucent in the light, he thought he could see inside her, every thought, doubt, and dream swirling around in her head. Hand darting out, she reached for the sheet.

“No, you enchant me, skin so smooth and soft, don’t cover up, let me see all of you,” he rasped. Awed by this goddess beneath him, he bent his head as if in prayer, before kissing her shoulders, trailing kisses down her arm, licking that tender part of skin under her arm.

His fingers caressed her breast, rolling her nipple between his thumb and finger as it puckered and hardened for him.

“You smell like the ocean.” She kissed his bicep then licked it. “Taste like it too.” He felt her skin growing warm, the air in the room heating up as they explored each other. Running his hand down her breast, over her ribs, he traced circles on her stomach. So soft. He wanted to sink his teeth into her, devour her. His back arched when she caressed him, cupping his balls, gently rolling them in her hands, lightly brushing his cock as it jerked in response to her touch. Running her palm over the head, he moaned when she touched the drop of moisture there, putting her finger to her mouth to taste him. Her hand was custom made for him, he quivered, thinking no one who came before her meant anything. This was something new. The fates had made her for him. Trailing her fingertips along his muscles, tracing each one, she stopped at his injured arm.

“I don’t want to hurt you—your arm is still injured, your ribs need to heal.”

“There is no pain, only pleasure.” He leaned down to kiss her but she stopped him with her palm on his chest.

“How can you not feel any pain? I bruised a rib once, and it was weeks before I could breathe without wincing.”

“Lass, I don’t allow myself to feel pain, pain gets you killed, I don’t have time for it.” Not to bloody mention if he didn’t keep those emotions locked away tight, he’d curl up in a ball in the corner crying for his mommy; those memories carried the power to cut him down.

Wanting to lose himself in her, he leaned down capturing a nipple in his mouth, cutting off her reply as he licked and suckled the nipple, feeling it tighten as she arched beneath him, her fingers tangled in his hair.

He slid his palm slowly down the length of her body, stroking her curves and softness, marveling at how amazing her body was, he reached what he was seeking, his fingers stroking her, teasing her. She shifted, wordlessly trying to tell him what she craved when he started grinding his palm against her bud, fingers delving inside her, pumping in and out while his palm kept pulsing against her. Hips thrusting up to meet his hand, she brought her knees up, spreading them wide, giving him full access to her while she fisted the sheet in her hand, twisting it tighter and tighter as her body responded to his touch. His other hand continued to roll her nipple between his fingers as she cried out. Pressure was building inside her, her skin flushed from the heated air as she rocked against his hand.

Enthralled, he moved closer to her, filled with wonder at the sight. Catching her scent, he almost came on the spot

Her knees slammed together. “What’s wrong? Why did you stop?”

“Wrong? Not a single bloody thing. My god, you’re so beautiful…smell so delicious, so wet and ready for me, I need to taste ye.” Dipping his head, he licked her, lapping, over and over, flicking his tongue against her as she writhed in the bed. The tension eased out of her as her head fell back and her knees opened wider, allowing him the access he craved. Sweeping his tongue from side to side, he took her deeper into his mouth, hearing her keen with need. Circling her nub, he latched on; sucking to a rhythm only he could hear, playing her body like a fine instrument. Flicking his tongue, she arched, fisting the sheets. Scraping his teeth gently across her mound, he grabbed her thighs, locking her against his mouth.

Penetrating her with his tongue, she rocked hard against him.

“Oh, please don’t stop, I’m almost there…” Arching off the bed, Emily exploded as her orgasm rocked her, a second more intense orgasm followed as he lapped and licked every drop, rubbing his whiskers against her sensitive sex, wringing one last orgasm out of her as she finished against his mouth.

Peaches, she not only smelled like them, she tasted like them. Forever, he’d bite into the juicy fruit and think of her.

His control shattered, couldn’t wait another second as he thrust into her, filling her to the hilt. She bent her knees deeper to take him in. He belonged inside her. Pleasure unlike anything he’d ever experienced filled him. Thrusting in and out, deeper and deeper, he looked down at Emily, the bliss on her face, almost causing him to spill. “By the gods, you steal my very breath.”

Grabbing her ankles and lifting them onto his shoulders to allow him to penetrate her more deeply, he groaned. She was so hot, and wet, and tight, gripping him with each thrust, her thighs shook. He increased the tempo and slid in harder and deeper while reaching his hand back to her…pressing his finger against her cleft, tapping, tapping, tapping. Emily was staring at something, he glanced down at his arms, seeing the hair standing straight up. Their hair was floating in the breeze—before he could make sense of what he was seeing, he felt her tumble over the edge of the cliff, muscles clenching around his cock as she screamed, “Colin.”

“Mine.” He growled, following her over the cliff, his entire body trembling in ecstasy.

* * *

Withdrawing from her, taking her in his arms, Emily’s body screamed in protest at the broken contact. Worshipped…it was the only way to explain what Colin did to her. She felt boneless, laying there in his arms while he played with her hair, winding it through his fingers.

Panic rolled over her…she couldn’t do this, couldn’t let someone get this close, she hardly knew anything about him, and what she did know would send any sane woman running away fast. The sting of betrayal curled around her brain, sending hateful tendrils to her heart—he will betray you, like Charlie betrayed you. Hating the mean, inner critic, she shook her head, willing it to go away.

She’d been tearing down her walls ever since he’d told her of his own betrayals, the pain evident in his voice, the wounds deep, lashing out when he felt vulnerable, she could understand those feelings, respect them. Telling the voice in her head to beat it, she made a decision…to try. Try and trust this warrior, try to let him in, try not to push him away. Believing in following her heart, she wanted this strong, damaged man with every fiber of her being. Let the chips fall where they may, she needed Colin, couldn’t imagine being without him. She would only think about now, living in the moment, not worrying about tomorrow or going back to Charleston and leaving Colin, she’d worry about it another day…but not tonight…tonight she would feel.

She snuggled closer to him. Would never get enough of his scent—who would have thought the smell of leather and the tang of the ocean could smell so sexy?

Colin had his eyes closed, breathing deeply. She hoped they hadn’t made his injuries worse. He traced lazy circles on her body, she shivered, his touch sending tingles through her.

Something niggled at her memory…

“Our hair was standing on end, like before lighting strikes…come to think of it, why does the air look silver and feel so warm?” she asked puzzlement filling her voice.

“’Tis part of being a Shadow Walker…I told ye we’re all made of energy? Well, during sex, we release energy, it manifests as heat and electricity—‘tis why our hair stood on end. The silver light is part of our makeup; we serve Thorne who bears allegiance to the Moon goddess so we have silver light or when we are killed, silver dust. The Day Walkers, serving Dayne, who is allied with the Sun god, have golden light and dust. Look how the silver sparkles on your skin.”

Wiping a finger down her arm, she was puzzled; her skin sparkled as if she’d put some sort of shimmery lotion on it but the dust didn’t come off.

“It won’t come off. Will I walk around all the time sparkling?”

Grinning, he told her, “No, it will fade away in a few hours. It happens sometimes during sex. All walkers have to be careful when having sex so we don’t steal your energy.”

“What do you mean, like some kind of siphoning off or alien suction tube stuff?” Wrinkling her nose in thought, she waited for an answer.

“You have no idea how bloody sexy you are when your wrinkle your nose or bite your lip when you’re thinking,” he growled at her, leaning in to kiss her.

Stunned. Never wanted any man like this, not even Charlie. She was a desperate pool of liquid need as his touch ignited her.

Breaking off the kiss, he fondled her breast. “No aliens. Day Walkers steal a human’s energy which ages them instantly or they keep going and kill the human—it is forbidden to do either but they prey upon the innocent and think the prize is worth it…it makes them stronger, taking in energy. When we recharge, it doesn’t make us any stronger—you have to kill another Walker, then you take their energy and become stronger. The lowlife’s cheat by stealing from humans…”

Emily interrupted him, holding a hand up in the air, in the universal stop gesture.

“Hold on, stop the presses—AGE THEM? My god, if that got out, it would strike terror in every woman in the world. We fight every day to look young…my mother drilled it into me when I was in high school. This could cause a worldwide panic. No, I think women all over would take up arms to kill the Day Walkers for daring to age them and undo all that hard work. Think about it, an army of angry women, you could rule the world.” She snickered, then sobered as she realized, fudge, they wouldn’t be able to see them to fight them unless like her they’d been to the other side and back. Oh well, nice idea.

She relaxed, putting Day Walkers out of her mind, thinking of the mind-blowing sex they’d had, she sighed, snuggling closer into Colin’s side, leaning up, softly kissing his temple.

He wasn’t moving; did she do something wrong?

“Are you OK?” Stroking his cheek, Colin seemed surprised by her affection. Her heart broke…had he been without a kind word or touch for so long?

“Fine, not used to spending this much time with someone—‘tis nice.”

Emily swung her leg over him, getting closer, running her hand over his chest, lost in a dreamlike state. Faster than she could blink, Colin lifted her up on top of him, impaling her with his heavy, thick cock.

“You’re ready again, so soon?”

“Oh darlin’, I’ve only just started, there are so many ways I’m going to make you come tonight, you won’t be able to walk in the morning.”

He proceeded to prove it to her over the next several hours as they made love in the bed, on the floor and up against the wall, the silk wall coverings sensuously sliding up and down against her back. He was amazing. She’d only been with a few guys—was a late bloomer; none came close to what he made her feel. What was the silly expression she’d always rolled her eyes when she heard it?…oh yeah, a hard man is good to find. It was oh so true, though he was also a good man, even if he lived by his own set of rules, not society’s laws.

Lowering her from the wall, where she’d had another blistering orgasm, he picked her up, gently carrying her back to bed as he dipped a washcloth in the wash basin and proceeded to clean her off. Emily thought she should be mortified at this intimate act—instead she felt contentment. She didn’t know what scared her more: how quickly she was falling for Colin, knowing at this point she’d get hurt—badly—if things didn’t work out, or the thought she’d have to leave him, go back home, an entire ocean away from him, in less than a week. After all, she had a job, friends, a life back in Charleston, while he battled Day Walkers here in Scotland protecting humanity—it wasn’t like he could ask for a transfer.

“Um Colin? We didn’t use protection…I’m not on anything…” her voice trailed away.

“Emily lass, we don’t have any diseases, part of the perks of being immortal. We could wade through pits of plague victims and never catch a thing; not even the sniffles. I can’t get you with child, no Walker can procreate.” Children. What would it be like to have a child with Colin?

Pouring them both a cognac, Colin climbed into bed next to Emily, pulling the sheets around them. He asked about her life in America.

“My parents were killed in a boating accident when I was a sophomore in college. My brother is great, he’s not home often. He’s a professional fisherman so he’s always out on the water somewhere. I miss them…some days more than others. They always knew the right thing to say in any situation. Holidays are the worst, it’s when I feel lonely.” He was so easy to talk to, Emily found herself telling him about Kat and Fred, her stressful job and her hometown, all trivial things.

“What traditions do you miss about the holidays? You said Thanksgiving was a favorite.” Wanting to know all about Colin, she started to ask him about his childhood when she looked over and saw him fast asleep. Smiling, she curled up to him, yawning once before falling into a deep sleep.

Still half asleep, she struck out, trying to wake from her nightmare.

“Oof.” He rubbed his stomach.

“What? Sorry. I…it was…a bad dream.”

Gathering her in his arms, Colin held her close, whispering to her, calming her as she came fully awake. Dim early morning light filtered in through the window, doing nothing to dispel the gloom.

“Tell me what ye were dreaming of.”

Still sobbing, Emily accepted the glass of water from Colin. It was so realistic, the dream brought everything back.

“I dreamt of the accident, except this time instead of being trapped in the stream, the car caught on fire. I couldn’t get out. It was burning and while I screamed out for help, Charlie stood there and laughed…I was burning. Was such a realistic dream.” She shook, holding on to Colin as tight as she could.

“’Twas a nightmare, it’s all right, I’m here and I won’t let anything happen to you. Breathe easy, try and go back to sleep, I’ll watch over you and keep the nightmares away.” He stroked her hair, holding her close as she drifted back to sleep. The woman appeared out of the ocean, dolphins jumping and swimming around her as a beam of sunlight illuminated her long silver sparkling hair, it looked as if fashioned from silver and diamonds. Emily recognized her…the goddess Terya. She felt peace being in her presence. “Child, you have found your path. Keep strong for there are many obstacles ahead. You will be tested…if you fail, not only will you be destined to be alone for all eternity, but you will be responsible for dooming another soul to the in-between, and the world will be pushed one step closer to the abyss of eternal darkness.” The goddess started to fade away.

“Wait, don’t go, I have so many questions.”

“Trust your heart, be willing to try again.”

With that cryptic advice, Terya was gone.

Enjoyed this taste of the Shadow Walker world? You can find the book at all eBook retailers, a paperback version is available at Amazon and the audiobook version is  available at:  iTunes  |  Audible  |  Amazon.

Available at:  Amazon  |  Amazon UK  |  Apple/iBooks  |  Barnes & Noble  |  Kobo  |  Smashwords  |  Google Play  |  All Romance eBooks  |

There are five books total in this series, with the final chapter coming in June. Embraced by Shadow, Monroe’s story.

I appreciate each and every fan. Big mega thank you for supporting and taking a chance on me. I love hearing from you!

hugs,

Cynthia

 

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