This idea here came from my friend Vicktor Alexander. I’m using it as a fun new way to tease Lor and Patty. And yes, it’s getting late on Thursday, but hey, I have a busy life! Either way, Thursday’s not over yet in my timezone, so I am not late.
Since most of my previously posted snippets (found at See Murphy Write) have featured Cass and Gideon, the MCs of The Sharpest Lives, this snippet here will feature a bit from the prologue of Book II in the Impartials and Immortals series, Night of the Hunter. (Blurb and book stats here.) Ready? Enjoy!
The abbey stood abandoned on the hill it had been built on, the once grand building now worn with time. However, inside it girls of all ages slept, exhausted by the physical training they’d gone through that day.
Emily Halloran was enjoying the sensation of being the only person in the abbey who was currently awake as she cautiously moved out into the cloister, the open area of the abbey where there was no roof to put a cap on the stars. Wrapped in her cozy flannel housecoat, with her thick chestnut hair spilling loose down her back, Emily stood with her arms crossed over herself for warmth and her head tilted back to look at the stars, a small smile on her face.
She was sixteen years old, and she’d been living with her great-grandmother or here at the abbey for as long as she could remember. The training they’d been put through in recent months made her think something was happening, something that even the stories of old hadn’t touched on.
As her mind drifted, the beat of hooves sounded in the distance, and abruptly she came back to herself, starting as she watched the gleaming black horse race up the hill and into the abbey until it stood inside the walls that had once been so sanctified and were regarded with reverence still.
The kelpie, she thought. Though he had come before to the abbey in horse form, never had he come within its walls. Her gran would have a fit if she knew.
And even though she’d been raised to mistrust all things Fae, some small part of her ached to go up to the beautiful animal, to stroke her hands over its hide. It was tall, at least seventeen hands, and elegant in form, with long legs, a well-formed head, an arched neck and perfect grace of movement. The soulless white eyes, however, were a clear indicator that this horse was not from any mortal world, as did the mane and tail that dripped water though the horse itself was perfectly dry.
“Uiscí capall,” the girl murmured, using the language of her ancestors without thinking. At the sound, the horse started, and all of a sudden she felt a brief pressure against the air as something else pushed outwards, forcing it to expand, and then it was a man before her, and he was stark naked.
Emily glanced down before she could help herself, then looked up again, embarrassed and fascinated all at once.
“You should be in bed, little Impartial,” Ryan growled as he stepped towards her. “Tisn’t safe for you to be involved with the creatures of the night.” He grinned menacingly, flicked a finger over her nose in the manner of a big brother.
From a big brother, the gesture might have been familiar, if annoying. But from him, it was patronizing, and it angered her. “Sure and you’re not in charge of everything, Ryan McLaughlin,” she complained. “I can be out and about at this hour if I choose to be.”
“And why are you?” he questioned idly, noting the way that she was trying very hard not to look anywhere except his face. Because he was in a terrific pisser of a mood, he stepped closer yet to her with every intention of making it all the more difficult. “Were you dreaming of a Fae lover, little Emily? A Fae prince who might take you into the Court, show you all the pleasure you might have there?” As her colour rose with indignance, he laughed shortly. “Trust me, lass, that’s not what you’d find there.”
“You’ve no idea what I was thinking,” she snapped heatedly, her stomach twisting with anger and something else she had no name for. “I was only wanting a bit of a walk, that’s all.”
“Going for walks alone is dangerous,” he warned, and now his voice was made all the more menacing by the soft, caressing tone he’d adopted. “You might encounter someone like me.”
Her chin came up. “And what are you going to do to me, hmm?”
His eyes, blacker than the night sky above, flashed. “Don’t be joking about such things,” he snapped in a taut voice. “You know what my kind is and what we do for survival.”
At that she angled her chin confidently. “You’ve hunted already tonight. I can smell it on you.”
He laughed, the sound soft—and dark enough to have goosebumps rising on her skin, even beneath the warmth of the robe. “My kind use yours for more than that, Impartial.”
“Oh, really?” she drawled. She was taking a risk, she knew she was, but oh, she just couldn’t seem to help herself, not when the man thought he could dictate her every move. The urge to shove back was instinctive. “Why don’t you show me, then, and I’ll worry for myself how much danger I’m in?”
A low noise came from him, and his hands went to her wrists, lifted them above her head. When had she backed herself into a wall? Emily wondered dizzily as the texture of cool, rough stone at her back registered in her mind.
“Be careful with your dares,” Ryan advised. “Someone might hear you say such a thing and do exactly what you suggest.”
“But not you?” she responded dryly, watching him as she licked her lips to moisten them before she spoke again. “Have you more control than that, Ryan?”
She had a moment to see his eyes heat again; then his mouth was on hers, and he was pressing her back to the wall, his hips grinding into hers, and she was being flooded by sensation, too many new things to handle at once. She tried to shake her head, to make some small noise of protest, but he only changed the angle of the kiss, fisting his hands in her hair and kissing her with enough force that she felt the blood vessels in her lips burst, felt her mouth begin to swell; and then she was forgetting the details and locking her arms around his neck, a low, throaty sound coming from somewhere deep inside her as she kissed him back just as hungrily as he was kissing her.
There was a heat in her now, starting at her core and spreading like a wildfire as his hands streaked over her sides, loosening the tie of the robe. His hands slipped inside, found skin, and Emily broke the kiss, a stunned, aroused gasp bursting from her lips. She whimpered when his hands slid higher, towards her breasts, then leaned forwards and sank her teeth into his shoulder.
Ryan jerked against her, then pulled himself free, disentangling himself from her, moving back quickly in horror. He stared at her for a moment, painfully aware of the disarray she was in, with her hair tousled and her robe just starting to slip open and give him a tempting glimpse of soft, creamy skin, and just as painfully aware of the state he was in, and without any clothing to cover it.
She’s only a girl, hissed the voice of reproach in his mind. He cleared his throat, and made sure to speak with no emotion whatsoever.
“No, Emily, I haven’t that much control, and there are others who won’t even try to stop themselves. So you’d best watch yourself.”
And just like that, he was shifting again, becoming the gleaming black horse. She watched as he turned and streaked away from her and out of the abbey, and when she heard the animal’s shrill whinny, she shuddered.
But whether it was fear or lingering desire, she couldn’t be sure.