Eternity Embraced

Page 5

Cedric didn't miss a beat.

"The Aegis will hunt you to the ends of the earth.

We can protect you.

You know I'm right."

He was, but once he was free, Kaden would kill Cedric, which would draw the wrath of Cedric's entire clan.

It was a trade-off Kaden was willing to live with.

He'd survive as long as he could, inflicting damage and racking up vampire casualties until he could no longer fight.

Until either Cedric's clan or The Aegis took him down.

Kaden swung his gaze back around to the bastard, nailing him with every ounce of hatred he could muster.

"The Aegis won't hunt me specifically.

They'll assume I'm dead."

Cedric laughed.

"We allowed one of the captured slayers to witness you killing the girl.

Then we released him.

I doubt it will be long before The Aegis issues an order of execution with your name on it."


Kaden's death would be a priority by sunrise.

"You son of a bitch."

Through the narrow window, Kaden saw the light of victory in Cedric's pale eyes.


Are you willing to work with us?

I've tenderized a few slayers, and now they're just waiting to be eaten."

That shouldn't have made Kaden's mouth water, and the fact that it did pissed him off even more.

"Yes," Cedric purred.

"I can sense your hunger."

The crisp clang of the sliding lock vibrated the air in a concussion wave.

Kaden tensed up so hard he was nearly shaking with the desire to leap through the doorway and tear the other vampire apart.

Stay calm, stay calm... He kept himself in check as the door creaked open.

Wisely, Cedric stood back, well away from Kaden as he stalked through the doorway without so much as glancing at Andrea.

His combat boots, socks, and shirt lay in a pile where they'd been left after the vamps had stripped him to prepare for his torture, and Kaden went to them without permission.

Cedric watched, a creepy, satisfied smile on his gaunt face, as Kaden tugged on the long-sleeved turtleneck and boots.

His weapons had been taken away at some point, but his captors had missed the razor-thin obsidian blade Guardians lovingly called the "demon-biter," that Kaden had hidden in his boot.

The weapon was treated with holy water, which lost most of its effectiveness once dried, but the black stone reacted with the residue, leaving behind a caustic bite when activated by the blood of an evil entity.

Covertly palming the weapon, he swung around to Cedric.

"Where are the humans?"

Cedric gestured to one of the tunnel entrances.

"That way."

Again, the guy wasn't stupid, and he waited until Kaden moved toward the tunnel before falling into step behind him.

They'd only gone twenty feet when Cedric plowed into Kaden, struck from behind by Andrea.

Kaden crunched into the wall, the impact bringing dust and stone down around him.

Cedric wheeled around, Andrea's stake impaled in his shoulder.

Roaring in fury, Cedric lunged at Andrea.

Kaden's heart no longer beat, but it lurched with terror as Cedric's fingers closed around her throat.


Two weeks of torture and five years of self-loathing fueled Kaden's strength, and he attacked, a whirlwind of unrestrained vengeance.

A veil of red sliced down over his vision as he caught the other vampire with an arm looped around his neck.

In a smooth sweep, Kaden slashed Cedric's throat with the demon-biter, savoring the hiss of the holy water as it reacted with the vampire's blood.

Andrea, in a coordinated move that reminded him of what a great team they made, plucked the stake from Cedric's shoulder and plunged it into his chest.

A godawful squeal rose from Cedric's body.

The air around them heated and shimmered, and then the vampire flamed to ash.

While the dust still swirled, Kaden swept Andrea into his arms.

"Thank God," she murmured against his chest.

"We're not done yet."

He smoothed his hand down her spine, loving the way her muscles rippled under his palm.

He wished they were anywhere but here so he could spend time touching her the way he wanted to.

The way she deserved.

"We've got to save the Guardians."

She nodded and pulled back, leaving him with an aching chest full of regret.

Silently, they gathered what weapons they could from the dungeon and headed down the tunnel Cedric had indicated.

It was dark, the walls seeping moisture from cracks in the rough stone, but his vampire vision allowed him to see as well as if it had been noon on a clear day.

He might not like the fact that he was a vampire, but he had to admit that the enhanced peepers were a nice upgrade.

Sounds drifted from the far end of the tunnel.



Some whimpers.

The sound of fists striking flesh.

Kaden crept into the shadows at the entrance to a large chamber.

Inside, two vampires circled three male Guardians who were sitting in the middle of the floor, bound and gagged.

Every once in a while, a vampire would kick or punch one of them, and while Kaden watched, the female vamp leaned over and licked the blood dripping down one of the Guardian's cheeks.

Kaden signaled to Andrea, and on the finger count of three, they went in.

He took down the male vamp before the guy knew what had hit him.

Even as his vampire flamed, Andrea's joined the fireworks show.

"That wasn't so bad.

We kicked ass." She holstered her stake with her trademark sexy, confident shove home.

Oh, yeah, he definitely appreciated a hot chick who knew how to handle wood.

Pun intended.

But now wasn't the time to admire her warrior skills, or the way her full lips quirked in a satisfied smile, or the satin wisps of hair that curled around her flushed cheeks.


Not the time.

He casually adjusted his erection with the heel of his hand, because clearly, his dick was not listening to the whole, not the time, thing.

"No, not bad," he acknowledged through clenched teeth.

"But there are at least thirty vamps in Cedric's clan.

They could show up at any moment."

He knelt beside Zach, one of the newer Guardians in the North Portland Aegis cell, and sliced through his ropes as Andrea did the same for brothers Trey and Matthew.

The moment the three were released, they closed ranks, all glaring murder at Kaden.

"Vampire," Trey spat.

"You let yourself be turned."

Their weapons lay in a pile in the corner, and Matthew snagged a handful of stakes.

Kaden didn't bother to stop him, but Andrea put herself between the Guardians and him.

"Stop it."

She jammed her fists on her hips, looking all fierce and cute.

"He just saved your lives."

Zach shot her an incredulous stare.


He's a vampire.

He probably saved us from the others so he could eat us himself."

Kaden couldn't blame them for their skepticism.

He'd have been singing the same tune not long ago.

"I don't want to eat you."

He stepped away from them and the exit, because what he'd said wasn't entirely true.

He'd like to eat them just for being a**holes.

"You need to go before the rest of the clan gets here."

He grasped Andrea's arm and turned her into him.

"You too."


We stay and fight."

"That'll be suicide," Matthew broke in.

"It was a trap.

Probably set by Kaden."

Again, he couldn't blame Matthew for his line of thinking, but at this point, Andrea's safety was his prime concern.

He wasn't going to let these guys put her in jeopardy because they were too blinded by training to see the truth.

Kaden swung around, baring his teeth and giving them an up-close and personal reminder of why they shouldn't f**k with him.?

"Get. Out," he said, with a calm he didn't feel.

"I could kick your asses before, and you can't even begin to imagine what I can do to you now."

Matthew turned crimson with fury, Trey went wide-eyed with surprise, and Zach paled so fast Kaden thought he'd pass out.

Once again, Andrea put herself between Kaden and the three Guardians.

It was a sweet gesture, but unnecessary.

Kaden hadn't been kidding about being able to kick their asses.

"Go," she said firmly.

"Wait outside the chamber.

Give me two minutes."

She must have delivered her command with a side order of glare that dared them to argue, because they didn't.

They filed out the doorway, but not without muttering obscenities under their breath at Kaden.

When they were gone, she turned to him, but he didn't give her a chance to speak.

"You need to go too, Andrea."

Hurt blanketed her expression.

"Not without you."

"I can't go back, and you know it."

"You're going to get killed if you stay and fight."

"And I'm going to get killed if I go back to The Aegis.

I'd rather go down swinging."

He couldn't bear the sadness in her eyes or the sudden, cavernous emptiness in his chest.

Without thinking, he palmed the back of her neck and brought her in close.

He dipped his head, and the moment their lips touched, he poured everything he felt for her into his kiss.

He just hoped she didn't feel his regrets, especially the big one, the one that had foolishly kept him from committing himself fully to her.

Then there was the other regret, the one in which he'd told her there would be a later.

Chapter Seven

The kiss was goodbye.

Andrea knew it to her very soul, and she felt it in a shiver over her entire body.

Eyes stinging, she jerked away from Kaden, but she clung to his hand desperately, even when he tried to extricate himself from her death grip.

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