Malcolm and Icelyn's Story (Uoria Mates V Book 4), page 1
Table of Contents
Table of Contents
WARNING: This eBook contains sexually explicit scenes and adult language. It may be considered offensive to some readers. This eBook is for sale to adults ONLY.
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Malcolm & Icelyn’s Story
Uoria Mates V | Book 4
Ruth Anne Scott
Thank you so much for your interest in this book and the Uoria Series as a whole. Uoria Mates launched my career as an author in 2015. Since then it’s been a multiple time bestseller and read by thousands of raving fans. I’m truly humbled by your support.
This is the fifth and final Uoria Mates Series and should be read in order. If you’re a first time reader please read the Uoria Series (now conveniently available in complete box sets) in the following order.
Uoria Mates I
Uoria Mates II
Uoria Mates III
A Uoria Christmas
Another Uoria Holiday
Uoria Mates IV
Buckle up and let’s go on this sci-fi romance adventure!
“Dreams and dedication are a powerful combination.” – William Longgood
The world was a blur of color and sound around Malcolm. No matter which direction he turned, he couldn’t focus on anything enough to bring sense to the shapes that were forming before his eyes. They seemed to appear out of the swirling, morphing blend of red and orange light and grow ever larger, never truly becoming solid. At just the moment when they seemed as though they had grown to the point that they couldn’t grow any further, stretched beyond the capacity of his vision and perception, the shapes would dissipate, the transient nature of the charcoal-colored images allowing them to fade into the colored light like smoke.
As haunting and untouchable as the images, the sounds around him were loud and pulsating, burrowing into his ears and cutting through his body. There were screams that reverberated through his mind and pleas for help that climbed his ribs and clawed into his heart. Malcolm fought against them. He didn’t want to hear any of it. There was nothing that he could do for those people. There was nothing that he could do to stop the screams and soothe whatever was happening to them. He squeezed his eyes closed, crushing his eyelids onto his cheekbones so hard he could see spots flashing in front of them. The longer that his eyes were closed, however, the more vulnerable he felt.
Malcolm opened his eyes again, turning his head sharply to one side, hoping to see something more than what he had been seeing in front of him. The blur of light and color there had shifted from the shades of sunset that had been before him to acidic green and blue. The shapes seemed to be coming closer to him now, and they remained in shape long enough that he was able to make out the form of figures. At first it seemed that there was an army of the wavering forms approaching him, threatening simply with their existence. The closer that they came, however, the more that they blended as they melted until it seemed that there was just one large being growing larger and nearer.
He couldn’t move. No matter how much he tried to will his legs to carry him somewhere else or even just to turn away so that he wasn’t facing the strange being, Malcolm couldn’t get away from the place where he stood. The sounds around him lost their piercing edge and became deeper so that they seemed to shake the ground beneath his feet and vibrate through his body, trembling his blood and tingling in waves across his skin. As the figure in front of him became more solid, he recognized it as a member of the Order, cloaked in their formal robes. It was the robes that the men had been wearing when he was down in the lair, hunting Ellora when she ran from the Panel. The thought was burned into his mind, another scar that he carried. He knew that he had saved her. Even before he had made the decision to turn his back on the Order that he had known and run from all that had mattered to him since the day that he was chosen for their ranks, he had known deep within him that he couldn’t let his sister fall into the hands of the Panel, and when Athan came down into the tunnels, he needed to be protected as well. He hadn’t known then what he was guarding, but now that he knew more, Malcolm was even more confident that the decision he made, and the one that he made following it to leave the Order and join Athan and Ellora, was right. Despite that, he couldn’t let go of what he knew had happened in that lair and the plans that the Panel had had for them. He had followed them. He had allowed them to control him and to force him into their service, even when everything that was in him told him that what was happening was wrong.
The more that Malcolm focused on the suffering that he had gone through and the suffering that he now knew that he had aided, the more that he felt himself pulling out of the dizzying world and back into reality. He knew now that it was a dream that was tormenting him. He almost felt like he was awake and could perceive his true surroundings, feeling the couch beneath him and feeling the cool air of Icelyn’s house swirling over his skin. Even though he knew that nothing that was happening in front of his eyes was real, he felt incapable of pulling himself completely out of it. The screaming returned, punctuating the lower, deeper voices and sounds, and he saw the massive figure rise up in front of him again. It approached and then burst, melting away as Icelyn appeared in the midst of the glowing blue and green light and the lingering smoke of the form.
Malcolm wanted to reach for her, he wanted to grasp her and find anchoring in her. Her beautiful face was calm and peaceful, seemingly unaware of anything else that was happening around them. There was a touch of a smile on her full lips and her crystalline eyes hadn’t moved from him. Malcolm tried to form her name, but his mouth felt dry and powdery, unable to speak. He fought to lift his hand toward her and finally saw his own fingers nearing her cheek. Just as they grazed her skin, Icelyn’s face melted away, replaced by the blood red mask of the Order.
Breath filled Malcolm’s lungs so suddenly that they hurt as he sat sharply upright and clutched at his chest, trying to rid himself of the feeling of the smoke closing in. He gasped, trying to breath, trying to calm himself, and looked around. Disoriented, it took a moment to reconcile what he had just been seeing with what he was seeing now. It was shadowy in the room, but not the intimidating shadows of his dream. Instead, these were the quiet, blanketing shadows of deep, still night. As his eyes grew accustomed to the light, he could see a figure in front of him. Within seconds he realized that it was Icelyn. He hesitated, not wanting to trust that it was truly her, afraid that if he even moved, she would melt away just as her image had in her dream.
Icelyn tilted h
Malcolm pulled himself up into a half-seated position and shook his head, trying to shake free of the foggy thoughts that were still swelling inside it and bring himself totally into reality.
“Are you alright?” Icelyn asked.
“I’m fine,” he said. “Just a nightmare.”
Icelyn nodded as if she understood all too well what it was like to be tortured in sleep. Malcolm took a breath and immediately was hit by the scent of something sweet. He looked toward the kitchen and saw an orange glow coming from within the oven.
“I couldn’t sleep,” Icelyn admitted. “I came out here to make something to eat.” She glanced over at the kitchen. “It actually should be just about ready.”
She walked over to the oven and leaned down, grabbing a cloth from the counter beside it to protect her hand from what was inside. A moment later she straightened and slipped a pan onto the top of the oven. The sweet smell became stronger and Malcolm could identify hints of different flavors inside of it. It was unlike anything that he had ever smelled before, but his mouth watered. Icelyn reached up into a cabinet and withdrew two plates. She placed a scoop of what was in the pan on each, took up two forks from a shallow dish on the counter, and turned back to him. Taking her position on the edge of the chair again, she offered one of the plates to him.
“Thank you,” he said. He looked down at the plate, evaluating what looked like thick, pale bread dotted with brown and covered with a crumbly layer. “What is this?”
Icelyn gave a soft laugh and Malcolm felt his heart swell unexpectedly. She had taken a bite of the food and smiled through chewing and swallowing it.
“It’s probably not the healthiest of things that I could make to eat in the middle of the night. It’s my favorite dessert. My mother used to make it when I was really little. I found the recipe for it a few years ago and I’ve been trying to master it ever since.”
Malcolm took a bite and felt his entire body react to the rich, spicy sweetness of the treat.
“Well, even if you haven’t mastered it,” he said. “That’s incredible.”
Icelyn took another bite and nodded.
“Thank you. I thought that you looked like you could use something comforting.”
Malcolm offered a weak smile, feeling a strange pain in his heart from the sentiment. He looked down at his plate and shifted the food around on it with his fork for a few moments before lifting his head and looking at her again.
“What did you mean when you said that you know who I am?” he asked.
Icelyn looked at him sharply and he couldn’t decipher if she was upset by the question or just unnerved that she would have to answer it.
“What?” she asked.
“When we were in the meeting hall. When you first came in there to get me. You said that it was alright that I didn’t know who you were because you know who I am, like I could trust you to give me shelter and protection while we’re still here because you know who I am. What did you mean by that? I mean, I know that Athan told you that I need help, but how much did he tell you?”
He hadn’t meant to be so abrupt with her. Their alliance was still so new, and he was still so uneasy about the interaction. He didn’t want to upset her, not just because he didn’t want her to withdraw her offer to help him and leave him vulnerable to the Order, but also because the feelings that were starting inside him were telling him that the last thing that he would want to do was hurt or upset her. While he was doing everything that he could to push those feelings away and not concentrate on them, Malcolm couldn’t help but feel them trying to control his thoughts and actions. He knew that Athan had to have given her some information about him or she wouldn’t have been so willing to bring him into her home to provide him protection. There was something about her, however, that told Malcolm that she knew more about him and this situation than others might think. She had asked no questions of him, but seemed fully committed to helping him, leaving Malcolm to wonder how much of his recent defection from the Order was really his choice, and how much had already been foreseen.
Icelyn stared at Malcolm, wishing that the answers to his questions would come into her mind. She didn’t know how to answer him so that it would make sense to him, and in truth she didn’t know much of what she was supposed to say to him. The reality was that she didn’t know for certain why Athan had chosen her to help him, and because she didn’t know how much Malcolm already knew about her or anything else that was happening, she didn’t know what she should tell him. The secretiveness that hung over the Order was strong all around them and Icelyn knew enough to know that breaking that secretiveness, even among those who should be trusted and believed, was something that could have dire unintended results.
Malcolm hadn’t asked her anything about herself and didn’t seem to know who she was. This was at once a good thing and a bad thing, and she was unsure of which direction she should lean in interpreting it. She wanted to do everything that she could to help Athan and the cause that he was supporting, but at the same time she still held within her a hesitancy that came from the years that she had lived and all that she had seen. She wished that she had had more time to talk to Athan about the situation before she had to go to the meeting hall to get Malcolm, but the older man had been insistent that they couldn’t wait for even a few moments. Any delay could mean Malcolm’s death and the compromise of everything that they had been fighting for already and were preparing for the fight ahead.
Icelyn knew that she needed to be cautious and give him enough information to assuage him without revealing too much. Biding her time and moving slowly would allow her to protect him while also guarding herself.
“I know that you are a part of the Order,” she answered.
Malcolm shook his head, leaning forward slightly to place his nearly-empty plate on the table in front of him. He sat back against the couch and looked at her with sadness in his eyes.
“I’m not a member of the Order,” he said.
“Of course, you are,” Icelyn argued.
“I used to be, but I’m not anymore. I defected to join Athan.”
He seemed both surprised that she knew about the Order and tempered by the heaviness of the reality of his situation. This was something serious and pressing, unimaginably difficult to anyone who wasn’t a part of the complex hierarchy and didn’t understand what it meant to be a part of it.
“Being a part of the Order is not an option. It is not a choice that is given to you for you to decide whether you are going to take it or not. You are born in the Order and you die in the Order. That is why they are so quick to destroy those who they feel have betrayed or threatened them beyond what can reasonably be punished. Even those at the top of the hierarchy know that there is nothing that they can do to remove someone from the Order once they have been made a part of it. If they no longer want someone involved in it, for whatever reason that they deem appropriate at the time, they cannot remove them and allow them to live. Their life has to end for their involvement in the Order to end.”
“What does that mean for me?” he asked. “And for Athan?”
“Are you regretting your decision?” Icelyn asked.
Malcolm’s eyes rose up from where he
“No,” he said. “I made that decision knowing exactly what I was doing. I don’t know now if I really considered all of the consequences that might come along with it or what might happen to me if it didn’t go the way that I planned, but that doesn’t make me regret it. I cannot be a part of them and what they are doing any longer. I can’t give of myself for something that I don’t understand and don’t believe. I know that I am in danger now and that I will be for the rest of my life, but I wouldn’t change my decision if I had the chance. I just now feel that I have no purpose, no position. If I am both a part of the Order and not, what does it make me?”
Icelyn shook her head at him, leaning slightly toward him to ensure that she had his full attention.
“You are still the Order. You and Athan are the true Order, the lingering remnants of what the Order has always been and was always meant to be. Your rebellion doesn’t mean that you are removed from the Order. Defecting doesn’t mean that either of you don’t believe in the things that the Order truly stands for. You are not rebelling against the Order. You are rebelling against corruption and defecting from what has fallen.”
“How do you know so much about the Order?” Malcolm asked.
Icelyn knew that it was a logical and expected question. At the core of the Order was the belief that you talked about it to no one. Though those who were married were given some forgiveness in sharing small bits of information with their wives, it was expected that members were to hold the truth and the details of the hierarchy close to themselves and give no one the opportunity to know the secrets that they carried. Icelyn was not married, which would lead Malcolm to wonder how she might not only know about the Order, but so much about it that Athan would choose her to help Malcolm. Despite the question being logical, Icelyn didn’t know what she was supposed to tell him or how much she should share. She didn’t feel completely comfortable with him. Not yet. Though Athan had asked her to help Malcolm and had reassured her that she could trust him, Icelyn hadn’t quite reached that point. She had learned all too much that trusting could be disastrous, especially when that trust was given too soon to someone who hadn’t earned it.
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