When Darkness Falls


Page 45









But had it been a strange reality? Real in fact, or in her mind? Had she seen winged cherubs reaching out for her? Angels that appeared to fly ... ?


Trust me!


She suddenly heard his voice in her mind.


The words were as powerful as if they'd been spoken aloud.


She opened the door to the passenger's seat. She looked in at Maggie.


"You'll be all right," Maggie assured her.


"And why is that?"


"He loves you," Maggie said simply, then reached across the car to grab the door handle and shut the door. She revved the car and drove away.


Darkness and shadows were everywhere. Jade stepped into the cemetery.


This way.


She followed the voice.


Deeper and deeper into shadow, darkness, and the land of the dead.


Chapter Fifteen


Tonight she knew that she wasn't dreaming. She walked through paths of stone, over patches of grass, pieces of life and green trying to break through the inanimate and the dead. She passed a huge winged gargoyle, a handsome family mausoleum, then another and another. A great tomb to Shriners, a small monument in Latin, dedicated to Italians. Deeper, deeper into the graveyard.


And then she saw him. He stood in front of a simple, majestic tomb that was handsomely carved, guarded by winged lions on either side of heavy doors. The doors were decorated with stained-glass windows, with scenes depicting St. George slaying the dragon, and Lazarus rising. He wore black, blending with the night, coming from the night. His shirt was a casual long-sleeved polo, his pants were pressed denim, and the tailored cut of his jacket seemed to emphasize both his size and his sleekness. He didn't move; he waited for her, perched upon the small wall where one of the lions sat.


She stood some distance from him, staring at him.


"So you've come," he said.


She lifted her hands in the air. "You summoned, didn't you?" He studied her, then shook his head. "No, I didn't. You're here of your own free will."


"Why am I here?" she whispered.


"I wanted you to see where I live-or don't live."


He rose, walking toward her. She wanted to run away, because she didn't want to believe. But more, far more, she wanted to be with him.


"Come. I'll show you." He stood in front of her and reached out a hand to her. Slowly she took it.


The night seemed darker instantly. She felt the electricity in his hand. It was like a jolt sweeping through her.


He led her to the steps. Her conscious mind rebelled. He was going to drag her in, lock her in with the dead. She couldn't begin to imagine the corpses here. The temperatures skyrocketed by day. The aboveground tombs were customarily given a year and a day-within that time, a body encased in a coffin and stone would disintegrate as if burned; one occupant's bones and remains could be pushed to the rear to fall through to a holding area, so that a second body could be put in. She didn't know what happened in the mausoleums. Surely they were cooler. Coffins were kept cooler, bodies remained ...


It was a mausoleum. She balked.


He opened one of the doors with its stunning stained-glass window. One wall was enclosed by coffins.


There was an altar in the middle of the room, another stained-glass window above that: Christ rising from the dead. There was a single coffin on either side of the wall.


She read the name DeVeau on the altar.


"Relatives?" she whispered.


He shook his head, smiling. "There's not a soul buried here. There is earth from Scotland in all of these, nothing more. Except for that coffin-clothing. I try to keep up with the styles, you know." She looked at him, then walked across the room, wondering if she was going to make an idiot out of herself, trying to lift the lid on a coffin that might have been sealed shut for ages.


The coffin opened. He hadn't lied. It was filled with clothing.


"And the other?" she asked weakly.


"I don't have to sleep here," he told her, coming to her, lifting her chin. He must have felt the way her heart was thundering. She could hear it The pounding seemed to make the entire place pulse. It was as if she could even feel her own blood pulsing through her. "I come back when I'm exhausted, weak. When I'm injured and need strength. I do need native soil, and it is with me always, everywhere I go." She was alone with him here. He claimed to be a vampire. Wasn't he tempted?


"Yes," he said softly. She knew she hadn't spoken aloud.


"How do you not-"


"Free will," he told her.


"Can we leave now?" she whispered.


He held her face between his hands, studying her eyes. Night was almost fully upon them. She could see nothing in the tomb. She knew that he could see her.


"We?"


"Yes. If you don't have to stay here, could we go to my house?" He nodded gravely. "For a while. Then I want to get back to the hospital. Though we don't have to worry right now. Sean will bring your sister in tomorrow with the first light."


"Can Sean's friends really protect Liz and Rick?"


"More than anyone else."


"Do they believe-"


"They know enough not to deny what works," he said briefly. "But neither is under attack right now."


"How can you-"


"I would feel it"


"Of course," she murmured.


They walked from the cemetery. No mist rose that night The gargoyles and angels stayed upon their perches and stared out at the darkness with blank eyes. On the street, he hailed a taxi.


At her place, she walked in, waited for him to enter, and closed the door. She had barely done so when she was in his arms. His kiss was wild, a raging fever, a hunger, wet, so demanding. His mouth barely touched her, and she felt weak, wanting him. But she clung to his shoulders, drawing away.


"I am not-"


"You are everything." His fingers thread through her hair.


"Lucian, I am not someone you once knew!" she whispered. "I am just me, Jade, Jade MacGregor, and


..."


He held her from him. "I want you very much, Miss Jade MacGregor." She touched his cheek with her knuckle, studying his eyes. His jacket fell by the wayside, and he touched her in return, his fingers upon the buttons of her blouse, one by one, his knuckles brushing her flesh where it was bared and starting pools of sensation everywhere they touched, sensation that spread out like the ripple of waves in a pool. She cupped his cheek with her hand, loving the structure of his face, the way his eyes fell on hers. Her blouse slipped from her shoulder and fell to the floor, and he turned her, releasing the strap on her bra. He lifted her hair. She felt first the warm, sensual sweep of his breath against her nape, and then his kiss, liquid, hot, the dampness then touched by the swirl of air around them, and that as arousing as all else. His kiss trailed down the length of her spine; his hands then fell to the waistband of her jeans, circled it, found the zipper in front, pulled it down. He stroked low and lower on her abdomen, pushing down on her jeans. She groaned as the pressure of his touch brought a new throbbing into her existence. She turned into his arms, stepping from panties and jeans, feeling the hard length of his body, so very hot against her own. She met his eyes again, and kissed him, and the kiss seemed to touch her everywhere, and everywhere she was liquid and weak, and when he picked her up, she had never wanted anything more in the world.


He was at home in her bedroom, the perfect lover, arrogant and tender, knowing where and when to touch, eliciting, arousing, giving, never hesitating, always demanding more. She marveled at the feel of his flesh, the pulse of muscle beneath her fingertips, the leanness of his hips, the hardness of his size. She didn't want any more questions that night; she didn't want to think, to feel ... or to fear.


"Are we safe-from them?"


"I don't think they'll make such a direct assault," he told her.


"But-"


"I can feel them when they move," he told her.


She closed her eyes. Could that be true? She could feel nothing but him, and she wanted nothing more....


He rose over her, entered her, became part of her. He was a fire, and the fire burned, and in those moments she believed in magic.


* * *


"Get him, get him! Be careful, not Jade-him!" From somewhere in her sleep, she could hear people.


The voice sounded like Renate's.


"Will this do it? Are you certain?"


Danny?


"Yeah, we don't want to just piss off a vampire, Renate."


That was Matt.


Jade awoke, amazed at the whispers she was hearing, thinking at first that she dreamed them. Her eyes flew open.


She would have screamed were she not so stunned.


The very first light of dawn was just beginning to creep into her room. Enough so that she could see.


Renate, Danny, and Matt were aligned around her bed, big sticks in their hands, staring down at her.


"He's not here!" Renate cried.


Sticks.


Stakes!


Jade flew up, clutching the covers to her chest, looking desperately at her side.


Renate had spoken the truth. Lucian wasn't there. She stared at the trio circling her bed. "What the hell are you three doing here!" she exclaimed.


Renate sat at the end of her bed, sighing softly. "We've missed him. I told you we waited too late."


"Renate!" Jade said with a warning edge.


"Jade, dear, you're sleeping with a vampire."


Matt was flushing. "Look, I'm, uh, really sorry, Jade. Renate insisted that we come."


"I wouldn't have come if it hadn't been for the picture in the book," Danny said.


"We're going to help you kill him," Renate said.


"You're going to have to be a hell of a lot more prepared than that if you're going to kill a vampire." Jade gasped. Lucian had returned. Up, showered, dressed, his dark hair smoothed back, his tailored shirt impeccable, he leaned against the door frame, his arms crossed over his chest, his ebony eyes filled with amusement.






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