Ice Warrior: (Dark Warrior Alliance Book 13), page 12
“Are you always this possessive?” she asked. She hadn’t seen this side of Bhric, but that didn’t mean this wasn’t part of who he was.
“Nay, not until you. I’ve never had a mate before and never cared what females did, or who they did it with. Sex isna taboo in my realm like it is with humans,” he explained.
“That’s twice now that you mentioned the realm. Where is this realm and how do we get there?” Somehow she didn’t imagine they were hopping on an airplane.
“I live in the Dark Warrior compound called Zeum, and we’re driving there. ‘Tis along Lake Washington, near Wolf Bay.”
She gaped at the vampire when he mentioned the location. “The realm is here in Seattle?”
“Aye. Supernaturals live among the humans on earth, but we keep separate from your kind as much as possible. We doona want humans to know of our existence. Our society is called the Tehrex Realm. And, there are other worlds, as well, like the dragon realm of Khoth,” he shared with her.
“This is too much. I was joking about going to another planet, and now you’re telling me it’s possible,” Alex said, rubbing her temples against the building pressure behind her right eye.
“Doona worry aboot a thing. Well, I take that back. My sister might be pissed off when she sees me, so doona stand too close. I doona want you hurt on accident,” Bhric muttered.
“Why? What’s going to happen?” she asked.
Alex was suddenly having second thoughts. There was no telling what she was about to encounter. Bhric was the first vampire she’d met, and she couldn’t assume they were all friendly like him.
“Let’s just say Bre has a temper. Whatever you do, doona panic and run if she starts tossing fireballs. I will make sure they never reach you,” he promised as he formed an icicle in his palm.
That didn’t ease her worry in the slightest. What she had experienced with Bhric’s ice was sensual and erotic, but the idea of someone tossing flames around didn’t seem like anything she wanted to be a part of. Taking several deep breaths, Alex told herself that Bhric would protect her from harm. He had to, right? She’d saved him from dying, so surely he wouldn’t let anything happen to her.
Several minutes later, the car turned down a driveway, and Alex admired the lush landscaping. The paved path was lined with dozens of lights on both sides and had countless trees, shrubs and flowers dotting the area.
They stopped at enormous iron gates, and Bhric reached out the window to punch in a code on the keypad attached to a metal post. The gate opened, and Alex craned her neck this way and that, taking in the twenty-foot stone walls.
As they continued down the long driveway, the enormous home came into view. Impressive, Alex thought. It was grey stone and stucco, with massive columns flanking the entrance and numerous windows. The other buildings on the property were large, as well. She noted that until they drove through the iron gates, she hadn’t seen anything but a wooded forest.
“Why didn’t I see this when we were outside the property?”
“We doona want anyone to know our location, so the sorcerers that live here put cloaking and protection spells around Zeum. To humans, and other supernaturals, it’s nothing but trees along Wolf Bay,” he informed her.
Alex nodded. Made sense to her. Pasha mentioned them being royalty. They’d need protection. Before she could think more about that, she got a better view of the house. It was the size of a large hotel. The entrance to the home was a pair of beautiful, black, double-doors. Intricate symbols were carved into the surface, but before she could determine what they were, the doors flew open, and a dozen people rushed outside.
“Bhric! Is that really you?” shouted a female with curly brown hair.
A forbidding-looking man hurried behind her. His piercing Sapphire-blue eyes frightened Alex until she noticed tears filled them when he caught sight of Bhric.
Everyone called out to the vampire beside her, each talking over the other about how they thought he was dead. Bhric sat behind the wheel of her tiny Cruz and stared at them as he shut off the engine.
“Och, I doona know if I can face them,” he whispered so low she almost didn’t hear him.
When he met her gaze, Alex saw the plea hidden in his depths. He needed her now more than when he was dying on her table.
Bhric wasn’t sure if he could face his family. He felt the outpouring of emotion. The grief surrounding the compound was tangible, but he could feel their relief at seeing him. Not only had they believed he was dead for the past week, but Bhric recalled how angry they were about his drinking.
Elsie openly cried while Orlando clung to his mate as the collective emotions of the group bombarded the empath.
“It’s going to be okay. I’ll be right beside you,” Alex assured him and squeezed his hand.
He nodded and took several deep breaths before climbing out of the car. Two females rushed to his side and threw their arms around him. Elsie fiercely clung to him, and Illianna wrapped her arms around his waist. Bhric immediately calmed from the angel’s presence and returned her embrace. Izzy was standing by Elsie, hugging his leg. He spotted Mack nearby, holding Kyran’s hand. Her tear-stained cheeks had Bhric swallowing against the raw emotion clogging his throat.
“Fuck, brathair,” Kyran rasped before he reached his side and tugged him out of the female’s grasp. Izzy refused to let go of his leg. “I thought we lost you, arsehole. Doona ever do that again.”
“I know, and I’m sorry,” Bhric mumbled.
He felt Alex step up beside him and sensed her discomfort. He released his brother then reached for her hand as Zander approached. Bhric bent down and lifted Izzy into his arms where she kissed his cheek then laid her head on his shoulder.
He couldn’t believe how big she was. He’d only been gone a week, but it seemed she’d matured several years.
Bhric was home, and it was incredible, but his feelings were all over the fucking place.
It felt like a decade since he’d seen everyone. He wasn’t the same male as before. He wanted to drown in the love he felt from his family, while at the same time, he wanted to go back to Alex’s home and be alone with her.
“Goddess. Bre was right. I didn’t believe her and didn’t look for you. Fuck, I’m so verra sorry,” Zander confessed with a shake of his head.
Bhric saw the recrimination written on his brother’s face and knew he was beating himself up for failing him.
“‘Tis no’ your fault, brathair. I’m just glad to be home. Where is Bre?” he asked.
Zander rubbed the back of his neck and glanced at the open doors. Bhric could feel his sister’s anger, relief, and confusion seeping from the house. It wasn’t a good sign that she wasn’t out there with everyone else. Surely, she couldn’t stay mad at him forever, he reasoned.
“Let’s go inside,” Zander encouraged, ignoring Bhric’s question.
Bracing himself for Breslin’s wrath, Bhric led Alex inside and watched her head swivel around as she took in her surroundings. He tried to see his home from her perspective. She preferred modern décor, and he wondered what she thought of the traditional furniture in Zeum.
Bhric hadn’t paid much attention to the luxury of their home. The brown, marble flooring in the entryway, and rich wood covering the walls was exquisite. The chandelier was a bit extravagant, he thought. He’d become accustomed to Alex’s smaller, but comfortable setup.
Bhric’s gaze stopped on the female from his visions. His twin. She was standing on the main staircase, hands on her hips, as she glared at him with amber eyes that matched his. He set Izzy on her feet, and she went running to Zander’s arms.
“I never forgot you, puithar,” Bhric called out as he lifted his hand. “You were the only thing I remembered. You and Izzy, that is.”
“I’m glad I could bring you comfort since you couldna be bothered to call me and let me know you were alive, arsehole,” she snarled and threw a fireball at him.
“I thought you said you could stop those,” A
He quickly sent a burst of ice through his veins, and the flames quickly turned to smoke and disappeared.
“I can, but she needed that,” Bhric replied before he rushed to Breslin and pulled her into his arms.
Breslin buried her head against his chest, and Bhric held her tight as she broke down and cried.
A bridge reformed in Bhric’s mind, reconnecting him to Breslin and her emotions. He was touched to realize she didn’t give up on him, and never would.
He imagined she gave Zander hell daily about searching for him. When Breslin set her mind to something, she was relentless. She was the reason Dark Warriors lived as a family in compounds throughout the world. Many had balked at her idea of residing together, but Breslin was insistent, convinced it would unite them into an epic force. She was right.
“My absence wasna intentional, puithar. I would’ve called if I knew the number,” Bhric murmured in Breslin’s ear.
She wiped her face and pulled away, glaring at him. “What do you mean if you remembered the number? What, did you suddenly develop amnesia?” his twin scoffed, and her amber eyes blazed with anger.
“Aye. That is exactly what happened. I didna know my own name, or anything, for that matter. Alex has been calling me Ice-Man,” he shared as he reached out for Alex’s hand.
Bhric sensed Alex’s trepidation and understood her wariness. In the past hour since discovering his identity, she was thrown into his realm where it was commonplace for his sister to throw fireballs at his chest. She had to fear what could come next.
“Vampires don’t get amnesia, brathair. We heal too quickly for that. Why didna you call? Were you that mad aboot our fight?” Breslin asked. Bhric hated the quiver in her voice and the uncertainty in her gaze.
“He’s telling the truth,” Alex added, joining the conversation.
No one had ever come to Bhric’s defense before. He was one of the Vampire Princes and didn’t need protection, but it was a refreshing change. He was used to his family coming down on him. Admittedly, most times he deserved it.
“And, who might you be?” Breslin snarled, earning a growl from Bhric.
“Alex is my mate and the female that saved my life, so watch your tone,” Bhric warned. He ignored the gasps from the group and wrapped his arm around Alex who moved closer to his side.
Elsie broke the silence when she murmured, “Congratulations. It’s a pleasure to meet you, Alex. I speak for all of us when I say we are grateful the Goddess sent you to save our Bhric.”
Zander stepped forward with Izzy in his arms. “Aye. Congrats, brathair. I think we all have many questions, so let’s take this to the media room where we can sit and relax,” Zander urged. “The others will join us when they return. Rhys and Gerrick are patrolling, as are Cade and Caell.”
Bhric nodded, and his grip tightened on Alex as they followed Breslin down the hall. Rhett slapped his shoulder as he passed the male. Alex suddenly grabbed Bhric’s bicep and plastered herself to his side. He wasn’t complaining about the closeness, but when he glanced down, he noticed her gaping at Rhett.
It was easy for Bhric to forget Rhett’s odd appearance. Supernaturals came in many forms, but he rarely gave it a second thought. The fire demon had long brown hair with luminescent skin that emitted a soft glow, but it was his orange eyes that set him apart. The male’s aura screamed danger to a human.
Rhett mentioned more than once that humans had called him a freak during his walkabout. It was one of the reasons he’d returned to Zeum earlier than expected. It was an annoyance for Rhett to wear contacts and makeup to try and hide his differences.
“It’s damn good to have you back. Your sister was a wreck without you. That bond you share is a magical thing. She insisted she felt you. That you were trapped somewhere and alive,” Rhett told him.
“She was the only thing I remembered at first,” Bhric acknowledged. “I hope you didn’t add to her torment, bro.”
“How could you even say that? You know my presence brings the females utter satisfaction,” Rhett teased.
“You are a sadist, demon. Bre is going to skin you alive if you keep it up,” Bhric informed his friend. “This is my mate Alex. Alex, this is my good friend, Rhett.”
“Nice to meet you,” she murmured with a dip of her head.
“The pleasure is all mine,” Rhett replied as he kissed the back of Alex’s hand.
Bhric didn’t miss the glare Breslin sent Rhett’s way. He could see things hadn’t changed between the two of them. His twin still loathed the fire demon.
“Get your paws off my mate,” Bhric growled.
“Untwist your panties, bro. I know how the mating compulsion works for your kind. I mean nothing by it,” Rhett said.
Bhric nodded, knowing he was right. The compulsion made him jealous and possessive. They hadn’t completed the mating, and it would only worsen. His brand was a painful and constant reminder of his need to claim his mate.
They entered the media room and Bhric introduced the rest of the group to Alex. Once that was out of the way, Bhric crossed to a love seat and tried to pull Alex into his lap, but she squirmed out of his hold, and settled next to him. He didn’t like their distance, but it was comforting to be surrounded by his friends and family. Returning home had never been so sweet. It surprised him to realize how much he took for granted. The foremost being those he loved.
“It is good to have you home, Bhric,” Orlando stated as he and his mate, Ember, played with their son, Brantley, on the floor.
Again, when Bhric looked to the stripling, he was shocked at his growth. It dawned on him that the reason for Izzy’s and Brantley’s growth wasn’t his short time away. It was because of his drunken stupor. He was drowning and hadn’t realized it. Bhric sent a silent thank you to the Goddess for taking his memories. He’d been missing out on life and didn’t know it.
“What exactly happened? We found your signet ring on a burned vampire corpse at a crash scene involving your motorcycle,” Orlando asked and grabbed Bhric’s attention.
Bhric stopped and thought about what had happened that night. He glanced at Alex and met her gaze. She squeezed his knee in support as he concentrated on that evening.
“I was at a human bar, and a douchebag vampire approached me and started shit. He attacked me as I was leaving. Motherfucker shoved a blade under my chin, and it was lights out for me.”
“An ambulance brought him to the hospital where I work,” Alex added. “He had lost a lot of blood and had a wound that went deep into his brain. I didn’t think he was going to survive. And then, I saw his fangs.”
Bhric put his arm around her shoulders and pulled her to his side. “And because of fate, Alex put her life and career on the line, and took me to her home,” Bhric added.
“Well, I wouldn’t say it was fate. I just didn’t want you to become an experiment and tortured,” Alex objected.
Mack scoffed and waved her hand in the air. “Sounds exactly like fate to me.”
“Why do you say that?” Alex asked.
Bhric wanted to laugh. His mate continued to deny that Fate brought them together, but it was shoved in her face at every turn.
“Isn’t it obvious? You, Ms. Doctor who took an oath to do no harm, snuck what you believed was a dying man out of a medical facility and took him home. And, I’m going to assume you erased all record of him, as well. You went to an awful lot of lengths to hide him when he meant absolutely nothing to you. What else do you call that? Or, is this something you do for all your patients?” Mack challenged.
Bhric couldn’t stop the smile when he read Mack’s charcoal gray t-shirt that said, Shhh…No One Cares. Kyran’s spiky-haired mate was a feisty female that took no shit and was known for her snarky t-shirts.
“Only the ones that look like him,” Alex said and winked at him. “I don’t know what drove me to act. Bhric keeps saying it’s fa
“That calls for a celebration. Who wants a drink?” Rhett called out as he headed to the bar in the corner.
“Sounds good to me,” Rhys answered as he, Gerrick, Cade, and Caell entered the room. “Damn, bro. You’re a sight for sore eyes. Glad you’re back from the dead. I was prepared to go and grab you from my father’s domain,” Rhys said as he pulled him into a fierce embrace.
“Fucking Rhys,” the room erupted simultaneously, and Bhric laughed. It wouldn’t be a typical evening if he didn’t hear the comment at least once.
Rhys shrugged off the response, and headed to his mate. The shameless cambion pulled his angel into his arms and kissed her passionately.
“She has wings,” Alex gasped, unable to believe what she was seeing. First, the group of unbelievably hot guys joined them, and then they’d all cursed the man who’d welcomed Bhric home, and now, that same man was unabashedly kissing a beautiful woman who sprouted massive golden wings. Alex thought she was shocked to learn Bhric was a vampire, but his world was beyond anything she imaged.
“Aye. That’s Illianna. She’s an angel and mated to Rhys, a fellow Dark Warrior,” Bhric replied and proceeded with more introductions.
Alex would never keep all the names straight, and she found it incomprehensible that the large group lived together under one roof. Alex lived alone and had for several years. Her home was always quiet, sometimes even deafeningly, but would she like living with so many strangers? She didn’t think she would.
“Sorry,” Illianna interjected. The melodic tone of the angel’s voice instantly lightened Alex’s heart, and she wanted the woman to talk more. A smile spread across Alex’s lips, and joy spread through her heart. “I always lose control when Rhys touches me.”
“Your usual, Bhric?” Rhett asked as he held up a bottle of scotch. Alex stiffened at the sight of the alcohol.
BRENDA TRIM SERIES:
Other author's books:
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