Illusions paranormal sha.., p.10

Illusions: Paranormal Shapeshifter Romance (The Seekers Book 1), page 10

 

Illusions: Paranormal Shapeshifter Romance (The Seekers Book 1)
 


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  And finally he was between her legs again, getting down on his knees, his eyes taking her in through the leather mask as he cupped his entire mouth around her swollen sex, tasting her as she writhed under his touch.

  I had no idea, she said quietly, breaking her vow of silence for a moment as her head spun. I had no idea.

  The man’s fingers pulled at her, revealing her sweet, round bud to him, and delicately he nudged it with his tongue. And then they were inside her; two, then three fingers, pushing her open, sliding in and out as he watched her pelvis react, her back arching with her pleasure.

  She wanted him to speak; to tell her how he was feeling. But words were unnecessary, after all; if he felt what she did he was a happy man.

  Again he ate her, lips enveloping her bud as he sucked ever so delicately, fingers slipping out, massaging the shallow crevices which surrounded her petals. He pulled her open again, tongue fully extended so that as she leaned up, she could see him tending her with all the generosity she could imagine. This man wanted her to come for him. He wanted her to thrash under his touch, her pussy convulsing, readying itself for his thick, swollen shaft.

  His hands slipped along her torso as he licked, seeking her nipples which he pinched gently with his fingertips, thumbs slipping over their tips.

  “That feels so delicious,” she muttered softly. “I wish I could see your face. Hear your voice. Witness the identity of the man who’s going to…”

  She stopped then, knowing that it was wrong. She couldn’t know; she shouldn’t. Throwing her head back just as she’d seen Melina do, she cried out, surrendering to his mouth and hands, her hips thrusting forward as it happened.

  She came for him, crying out to the sky to let it continue, crying out to him to take her, to sheath himself inside her, to let her milk him of every ounce of strength inside his astounding body.

  And he did just that, plunging into her in one swift motion, easing slowly in and out as he leaned on one hand, watching her as he took her body, claiming it for a few moments as his.

  She leaned back, easing her way onto the mattress as she watched his body tense, his mouth set tightly. Like her, he was revelling in this sensation, and didn’t want it to end. When it did they would part, never to see one another again. And so he was holding off, keeping his pace slow so that each time he withdrew he was afforded the luxury of re-entering her; being welcomed into her tight, sweet warmth as it embraced his length.

  Under him, Serafina moved her hips in rhythm, pulling his shaft inside her, milking him with her body.

  For a moment she thought she saw him smile as he looked down at her face. Taken in by her as she was by him, by his beautiful body, his muscles which rippled with each thrust. Her fingers went to the delicate hair just above his cock, the tips lightly caressing him, feeling the tension in his muscles as he took her.

  And then it was his head that went back, a cry emerging as his hands gripped her thighs, nails digging in with his final thrust.

  When he came she felt the heat rise within her core, spreading throughout her body, a power filling her which she’d never imagined, as though his own blood, his strength, now coursed through her veins.

  And the man collapsed on top of her, her hands slipping over his back, her fingernails gently scoring his flesh in an attempt to mark him temporarily: her own, her…if only she knew his name.

  In the flickering torchlight she could see his muscular shoulders, their definition stunning, only marred by the odd freckle.

  But there was something else.

  A tattoo: a crest featuring two wolves and a dragon.

  Chapter 14

  The Ties That Bind

  When the Bonding was complete and the two had pulled apart at last, Rohan walked away as he’d promised. The mask remained on his face; he hadn’t spoken a word. All told, he’d behaved himself.

  He had, he supposed, broken certain rules: the Crones had told him that he was to penetrate Serafina, to come inside her, but they had said nothing more about the act itself. And so in pleasuring her with his tongue he was taking liberties. But no one had specifically said that he couldn’t do so.

  Normally, they’d said, the men who were selected were not among those who had met their partners. But this was a special exception. He was one of the good ones, of the Old Blood, and his powers would mingle with hers. He would help Serafina in ways that he didn’t expect, they’d said.

  One of the Crones, a woman named Guilana, had warned him not to allow himself to think of Serafina when all was done. That he must walk away, that she wouldn’t want a mate for life. And for a moment he’d hesitated because of it; the bond of a shifter can be great, and to let a woman go once a man had grown attached was all but impossible. Already he found her compelling, attractive, alluring. To be with her would be solidifying that bond.

  And even as he moved away, he felt it: the sting of withdrawal. He’d wanted to spend the night holding her, pressing her warm softness to him, protecting her from the pain that she would be suffering at the loss of her sister, the loss of her innocence.

  But it had been a simple physical connection, he told himself. Nothing more. She didn’t know him, care for him. She had used him for her own gain, as was the tradition of the Sisterhood. Other men managed this sort of—what was it called in the modern era? A one-night stand, that was it. Others did it frequently, so why couldn’t he?

  And so he made his way back towards the cabin in the forest, trying to mentally rinse away thoughts of her as he went. On the air, in the nearby woods, he caught the scent of something—someone—a man, he thought. A shifter. One of his own kind.

  How was that possible? He was the only man in the area, and the Crones had been very strict about allowing him to spend time near the village.

  But then it was gone, perhaps imagined. Rohan accused his mind of playing tricks on him in his confused state.

  For only a moment he considered returning to Dundurn, to his time. Walking away and forgetting his adventure, forgetting the beautiful woman with whom he’d just spent the most blissful hour of his life. The woman he’d taken for a few moments for his own, pleasured, embraced, kissed. How to forget such a glorious creature was beyond him.

  But her sister was still captive. And perhaps in staying nearby he could help her. In fact, it was his duty to do so. A noble man never left a woman in distress. Never. To do so was an act of cowardice. Circe was not like his sister, as far as he understood; she was young and weak, frail. She had no ability to turn into a fire drake if the situation called for it.

  So he eased himself into his hard bed when he’d made his way into the cabin, resolved to go in the morning and assess the Guild, their strengths, their weaknesses. He would take this project on as though they were at war, collecting information.

  As he lay, thoughts rotating through his mind like debris through a tornado, one stood out above the rest: Her scent was still on him: on his face, his body. And no doubt his on her.

  He wondered what she was thinking in that moment.

  * * *

  Sera lay on the Sisterhood’s Bonding mattress for some time before persuading herself to move.

  Her fingers trailed over her skin where he’d kissed her, where his hands had touched her, as she tried to imprint the memories of the sensation on her mind.

  She wasn’t meant to know that this was the stranger who was staying in the cabin surrounded by woods; the one who’d come to her door, the man she’d seen through Nyx’s eyes. But she did. What did this mean?

  He was a powerful man; that she could sense, and Hedy had said so as well. Strong, yes. But something in him was different from the people she’d known all her life. There was a magic about him, a sense that he knew a good deal more than he let on, like so many others in her life. In that sense he was much like her: secretive, careful not to reveal too much.

  But now his duty had been fulfilled. He had done what he was asked to and no doubt he would disappear forever.

&n
bsp; It’s for the best, she told herself. Her fate was not to be a housewife to some man who ran off to go hunt, or to go to war; she was a warrior herself, a protector and a rune keeper. She would soon come into all of her powers, and would rise through the ranks of the Sisterhood. A man would only distract her, confuse her with emotion.

  As he was doing now.

  She sat up at last, pulling the robe closed around her. Between her legs she felt him; their mingling heat, an ache still pulsing from her moment of desire, fulfilled for now.

  And then she stood, turning back towards the village. The women would be out in the morning to clean up the bed, but for now she would sleep indoors, under the protection of Hedy’s spells.

  If only Hedy could protect her from her own emotions.

  * * *

  Paxx watched the beautiful woman rise from her temporary bed, his mind occupied with the images of her coupling with the other man, the man that he knew was one of his kind: a shifter, and a strong one at that.

  He’d watched their sensual act with fascination, excited to see Serafina being pleasured, being taken gently, kindly, her own needs met before the man’s. And in his own body had been no real flicker of jealousy—only a desire to join them, to bond with her and to share her body as his kind did, offering the woman every earthly pleasure.

  Shifter males were odd in that way. It was in their blood to share a woman equally; such was their reverence for the fairer sex. And Sera was such a worthy woman; any man of his ilk would have wanted her.

  He turned back, all too aware that now was not the time to disturb her, to tell her about her sister being well and safe. He would have to do so another day.

  But meanwhile, she had bonded. She would be gaining power even as she walked back towards the village’s houses. By the following day, she would be capable of new magic, and her power would continue to grow. In all likelihood she would be no match for the Sorceress, but she would still be a threat.

  A loyal Guild member would have warned his colleagues.

  But he was not loyal. Not to them.

  Chapter 15

  Changing Shapes

  Hedy had left a note pinned to the front door of her house:

  Let yourself in.

  Sera supposed that the older woman wanted her to enjoy some peace and quiet after what might have been an unpleasant few hours—or, even more challenging to her mind and heart, very pleasant. Either way, she appreciated the solitude. But as she tried to open the door, she recalled that Hedy had left the house under her spell of protection. How was she to gain entry?

  Around her neck was a strap leading to the small leather bag in which Serafina kept her rune stones. She eased her hand in and removed one, slipping her thumb along its surface until it glowed with the symbol for entry, then placed it on the ground before the door.

  Then she closed her eyes and murmured a few words she’d learned years before, an opening spell.

  The door swung open inwards and Sera smiled. This was her first such act with the stones, and though they weren’t ideal in situations in which she’d be rushed, it was good to know that she was able to use the magic with such ease. It might be very helpful when the time came to free Circe. Already she felt her powers strengthening. The Bonding had done its job, in more ways than one.

  She wandered into the house, Nyx bounding along at her feet, and headed to the back bedroom where she was staying. The window overlooked the woods in the distance, and had the view not been interrupted by other houses she might have been able to see the field where she’d just given her body to the man Rohan, and he had given his to her.

  Who was he, and why had the Elders chosen him for her? Would she ever see him again? These were all questions that she knew she wasn’t supposed to ask, and yet it was impossible to help. She felt a detachment now; a loss. She’d wanted to keep him, to hold on as long as possible. And no length of time would have sufficed.

  Nyx climbed up onto the window sill and looked out, curious as to what was occupying her mind. He turned his face to her, staring inquisitively.

  “Already I’m distracted by the whole thing,” she said, stroking his head. “This is why men are bad news.”

  She turned and sat on the edge of the bed, focusing on two paintings on the wall; small landscapes that Hedy had no doubt painted. It was time to get to work.

  She closed her eyes, rearranging the paintings inside her imagination, shifting their very contents around so that one’s trees landed on the other’s mountaintop.

  Opening her eyes once again, she laughed. She’d succeeded, but poorly: a painted tree was now adhered to the wall beside the paintings, and one of them had been robbed of all but the grass. This was not her wheelhouse as rune stones were. But if she could improve her transmutation skills, they too might wind up quite useful one day. For now she would focus on her primary skill.

  Soon, with some work, she’d be able to rescue Circe. And then she’d deal with the Guild itself.

  * * *

  In the morning, Rohan awoke early, heading outside after breakfast to begin his mission: to have a closer look at the building where Circe was being held.

  He knew nothing of the Guild, of their whereabouts, and possessed none of the gifts that his sister Lily and her mates had for mind-reading. So he would have to find it the old-fashioned way: by searching, hunting with the eyes of an eagle.

  The great benefit to being a full-blown shape-changer was an ability to conceal one’s self in many guises. The day would begin in eagle form, but by the end of it he might occupy any number of creatures’ bodies.

  He only had the capacity to look like one specific human, however: himself, unfortunately—he’d always thought that the capacity to occupy someone else’s body would be nice, but somehow hadn’t made its way into his arsenal of skills.

  And so he shot off out of the treetops as a bald eagle, his eyes fixed on the distance. With each shift his body temporarily adopted the traits of the creature he inhabited, and now he felt as though he could see each individual leaf, blowing in the wind, each blade of grass shifting far below.

  Salem seemed a good place to begin the hunt for the Guild’s headquarters, and he made his way over the town, flying above the shingled rooftops, observing the dark wooden houses from the sky.

  In the modern day he’d visited the town of Salem while studying at a university in nearby Boston, and he’d noted the logo on the sides of the police cars: a witch riding a broom. The town had seemed to pride itself on the heritage which had led women and men alike to die, accused of feats far less impressive than turning into a bird as he’d just done. The place had its priorities a little skewed.

  It wasn’t until he’d reached the opposite side of the small town that Rohan saw something that encouraged him in his search: two large men wandering towards the woods, their eyes taking in anything and everything that moved.

  Rohan swooped down, landing on a wooden fencepost, hoping to hear a little of their conversation. Both men were young, broad-shouldered and each looked like a shifter, though what sort, he couldn’t yet tell by sight or scent. Perhaps these were the sort that he’d heard of: the ones who, like Lily’s mate Conor, had the blood of their kind somewhere in their ancestry, but who hadn’t yet discovered their déor, their powers.

  Rohan listened intently, and at first it seemed that they were speaking of the Guild itself.

  “There are quite a few who feel as we do,” the man with the lighter hair and blue eyes was saying. He seemed a little older than his colleague, though the two looked, and even smelled, similar. “Between you, me and the others, maybe we could take on the leaders.”

  “But if we fail, they’ll kill us, Paxx,” said the other, a brown-haired man. “You know they’d show no mercy. And remember—they’re far more powerful than we are. We need to wait until we’re their equals.”

  “It’s true that performing the Ritual would put us on an even playing field with Crow and Mace. But I’m not willing to subject
a woman to it for my own personal gain.”

  So that was it, thought Rohan. Some of the men were set against the Guild. Potential mutineers, which meant potential allies for him.

  “Anyhow, it may be an irrelevant point in the end. If they’re right, if the woman Serafina has gained her powers, they’re in for a battle. Though she won’t be any match for the Sorceress.”

  “We are in for a battle, you mean. Remember, we’ll be expected to fight, whether we’re truly on the Guild’s side or not.”

  As the men continued to walk, Rohan took off once again to follow their route from above, grateful that they weren’t yet full-fledged shifters who might be able to sniff him out.

  They headed up a narrow trailhead in the woods, ensconcing themselves deep inside thick rows of trees which led to a large building. It was all but invisible from the dirt road, and Rohan could finally see how they were capable of taking in prisoners and of holding them. The building was of stone, far enough from town that no one would have seen or heard anything that went on inside its walls. He wondered how many women were being held against their will within the giant structure, and how they were treated.

  He dove down, landing on the building’s slate roof and shifting into the form of a swallow, who would be less conspicuous, in order to flit about the building. As he did so he peeked in through the barred windows, searching for a young woman who looked like she might be related to Serafina.

  When the swallow arrived at one window he looked in. Before him a dark-haired woman sat on a low, chopped stump of wood. She was peaceful, calm, thoughtful, even. But as he landed, a raven interrupted her calm, crying out from inside the cell and alerting her to the swallow’s presence.

  This was her Familiar. Rohan knew it immediately. And there was no doubt that the young woman was Circe. Every bit as lovely as her sister, though younger; too young to be taken and offered up to men as a potential mate. The very idea, regardless of age, horrified Rohan.

 
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