Home > Torn (Demon Kissed #3)(22)

Torn (Demon Kissed #3)(22)
Author: H.M. Ward

"Al, this is the best page to use. We already know what's on it, what the thing in the drawing is called, and the person who told me that was Eric. It will give us something to gauge his translation against. If we use another page, we don't know what's on that either, and we have no idea about anything on it at all - this page, we at least know it's about my necklace." She wrinkled her nose at me, ready to shoot off more words when I cut her off, "Al, it's not totally stupid. Collin and I can trap him. He'll read the page and we'll..."

She raised an eyebrow at me, "You'll what? Let him go? Ivy, Eric's a Valefar now. He'll kill you if he has the chance. You can't trust anything he says. That's why this whole shindig is ridiculous!" She slammed her hands on the old table, causing it to shake as she stood. "This is an unnecessary risk that don't need to be taken, not when you know what you know." Her gaze cut to Collin, and then back to me.

I opened my mouth to argue with her more, but she swished an arm at me and hobbled away irate. She knew about what Lorren said. I'd thought about the angel since then. I wondered why Al didn't tell Collin that there was an angel we could talk to, but I wasn't going to bring him up. That would be completely stupid. Looking over at Collin, worried he'd sense my thoughts, I saw he was still busily trying to decode the page. He had several pages of notes, but nothing that was usable. He glanced up at me and smiled before returning to his work. How could I tell him that I needed my soul back? And oh yeah, by the way - I'm taking yours too. Collin fought to get that tiny scrap of himself back. It was astounding that he spilt his tiny piece of rancid soul to save me, but he did. Collin was...I pressed my eyes closed, unable to even consider telling him that remedy. No. There had to be another way. And there was. And this was it. My plan to trap Eric had to work. Period.


Collin and Al worked on the page, but got nowhere. While they were busy with that, I sat in the study thinking of how to lure Eric out and trap him. He was playing dirty, from what Collin told me. Using his blood when he kidnapped me last time was dangerous for him and me. Collin acted like he didn't understand why Eric did it at all. At least that's what it seemed like at the time. When I asked him about it, I had to twist his arm pretty hard to get him to talk. For some reason speaking of Valefar blood and dark magic worried him. I could feel fear growing inside of him, and it brushed the bond as he was unable to control it at times. 

It may have been insane to go looking for Eric. I could admit to that. After all, he had the opportunity to kill me twice now. And both times, he chose not to. I didn't think it was because he forgave me. I wasn't stupid, but there was some hesitation within him. I could sense it. I was counting on that tiny spark of uncertainty to make my plan work. Eric would speak to me. He had to. My plan had to work. There were no more choices, and as long as I was in this weakened state, Kreturus could attack and I'd go down without a fight. This was the only way.

Night fell and when the time came to set the trap for Eric, I revealed my plans to Collin and Al. Al sat there, not saying much, but didn't argue with me any longer. She thought I was taking an unnecessary risk, but I wasn't. I couldn't sacrifice Collin like that. And I knew that I had to be careful with Eric. I didn't bind him when I had the chance. It was mostly because I thought he was dead, but given the chance to bind him now, I would still decline. Something inside of me told me that binding Eric was a mistake, even if it put me in danger. Tonight, Eric would come looking for me, and he'd find me. Collin and Al had Celestial Silver chains that we'd use to trap him and keep him from effonating away.

My plan was fairly simple. Eric wanted me for his own sadistic reasons. We needed someplace where I'd be out in the open alone, but still somewhere that it seemed like the encounter was an accident. We'd make Eric think he caught me. Then, when he tried to take me, Collin and Al would chain him. The old nun assured me she could move fast enough to keep him from leaving with me. And Collin seconded that opinion. This was the part of my plan that was hard for me. I had to believe that they'd get to me fast enough and that if something did go wrong, that they could fix it before Eric snatched me. I thought the plan was simple enough. Al muttered it was too simple, but that was the point. If it looked like we were just out and about, Eric wouldn't suspect an ambush. And even if Eric used his blood and tried to do the same thing as before, we'd have him. There was no way he could escape with me this time.

We put the plan into effect. I left the church building, unshrouded by shadows so that there was nothing masking my scent. Eric would find me faster that way, but so would other Valefar. It was increasingly rare for me to walk around without being shrouded. The shadows were like a cloak shielding me from those who'd drink my soul. But the shadows' presence left a chill deep within me that wasn't warmed in their absence. It had grown permanent, so that I was always cold. I wondered if that was the poison amplifying the shadows' effects, but there was no way to know.

Leaving the safety of the church, Collin helped me into his car and we drove to the diner - the one I had met Eric at so long ago. The diner shimmered. It was a silvery beacon in the middle of the dark night. As Collin slid into the booth, I slid in opposite him. He was agitated that he agreed to go through with this. I could feel it wafting off of him. Instead of being offended, I placed my hand over his until he looked up into my eyes.

I smiled softly at him, and whispered, "I love you."

His anger faded as he took my hand in his. "I love you, too. But I don't know if I can do this, Ivy. I can't stand the thought of something happening to you." Collin rubbed his fingers gently against the back of my hand while he spoke softly. "What if he's more powerful than we thought? He already showed that he's mastered some of the vilest magic that we're capable of. What if he's not the same for some reason? Ivy..." his voice trailed off and he shook his head.

I interrupted, "But he is the same. He's a Valefar. You know everything about Valefar. You know their strengths and their limits. You commanded the ones in this area for a long time. I'd think that this would be predictable for you. But I can see on your face, you think it's not."

He shook his head, "Never think anyone is predictable - especially him." We were intentionally not using Eric's name so we wouldn't tip him off. If someone overheard our conversation, it could easily sound like we were talking about Kreturus or another Valefar. Collin's back straightened as he accepted I was going through with this no matter what. Both of his hands gripped mine, "Remember, if something goes wrong...you know what to do. I'll heal you." The plan was if anything - anything at all - went wrong, I was supposed to effonate back to St. Bart's. Collin would follow me there, and already had the coal and milk mixture ready.

He tilted his head, looking into my eyes. "Okay?"

I smiled at him. I'd made up most of this plan. He and Al tweaked it where it had weaknesses so that Eric couldn't carry me off. I nodded, "I can do it. No problem. And later tonight, we'll have enough of that translated that we can figure out how to fix this whole mess." My hand rested on my chest near the site of the sapphire serum. Collin's eyes lingered there for a moment before coming back up to my face.

The conversation shifted, and we continued to talk and laugh like nothing in the world could possibly be wrong. I only hoped that Eric was still following me. I knew he'd take the chance to catch me alone, and that he'd do it at the most opportune time for him. After we ordered, I took my cue and smiled at Collin. My heart was racing in my chest. I kissed his cheek and said, "Be back in a second," knowing that this was it. Eric would show up as soon as I was out of sight. As I walked away, I mouthed over my shoulder, I love you. Collin needed reassurance, but Al couldn't sit out here with him. She was already in place, waiting.

My boots clicked on the checkerboard tiles, as I walked to the back of the diner to the ladies room. I passed an old guy holding a cup of steaming coffee in his enormous hands. He nodded as I passed, and returned his gaze to his newspaper. He had no idea what was about to happen. He'd sit out here and drink his coffee while a depraved Valefar was a stone's throw away. My heart began to crawl up into my throat with each step. Every time I passed another booth, my throat grew tighter and tighter. The last people that I walked past were a young couple with shiny new wedding bands. They were sitting on the same side of the booth with their heads tilted together, whispering, and laughing softly. They were lost in bliss, unaware of the terrible things that were about to go down around them.

Before I pushed the door open to walk in, I looked back at Collin. His thought brushed my mind, You don't have to do this. We'll find another way.

I answered back, There is no other way. I can do this. I promise. Just come when I call you.

With that, I pushed the door open and disappeared inside. Bare bulbs hung over a huge mirror and illuminated the room. The bathroom was fairly clean for such a busy restaurant. I looked around. The room had a large grated window that was closed and two red stalls. No one was here. Good. Pressing my eyes closed, I stood in front of the mirror. I placed my hands gently on the cold counter, and breathed deeply.

The metallic scrape was so faint that I almost didn't hear it. The back of my neck prickled and I could sense he was behind me, but I didn't look up. When Eric leaned forward, closer to me, his breath touched the back of my neck, and I startled and spun around. A wicked smile spread across his lips.

"Remember me?" he asked pressing me against the counter the second I turned toward him, using his body to trap me. I leaned back, arching my back over the countertop, unable to get away from him.

Momentarily stunned, I froze. For some reason, seeing him like this was worse than anything else that'd happened to me. Loosing those two seconds, the two seconds that I stood there motionless caused my plan to crumble. I was supposed to call to Collin using the bond. He was near enough to hear me. Al was somewhere nearby, waiting to pounce. As soon as I head the metallic click of the bathroom door locking, I should have called Collin. But I didn't. Something inside me froze, as if it broke and no longer had any desire to continue on with our plan.

Eric's legs pressed me into the counter as he leaned closer. The back of the Formica countertop bit into my thighs through my jeans, but I couldn't move. Closing his eyes, he inhaled deeply. Eric's eyes had been gold seconds ago, but now I doubted that they stayed that way. His body was so tense that all his muscles were flexed as he tried his best to control himself. Desire wafted off of him, raw and bold. I expected him to be incoherent with blood red eyes, but when he pulled away, I was surprised to see his irises shift back to gold with a flicker. What was that? Did he learn to control his lust?

All these things seemed like they were taking place in a vat of Jell-O. My words, my breath, everything seemed to take longer and last longer than I thought possible, as if they were inexplicably suspended in air and moving slower than physics allowed. Later, I'd find out that everything happened in a matter of terrifying seconds.

"Eric," I breathed with my heart racing in my chest. He looked down at me, and my breath caught in my throat. His eyes were so golden that I couldn't look away. They were beautiful. Suddenly, I had the sinking feeling that I was no longer in control of the situation. I tried to call out to Collin with my mind, but couldn't. I couldn't do anything, but stare at Eric with open-mouthed desire. What was happening? Why couldn't I think? Why couldn't I move? I tried to break my gaze from his beautiful eyes, but I couldn't. That was when I heard something slam into the door. A burst of heat erupted to my right, and Al materialized from someplace unseen, but I didn't care. I stood there, transfixed, staring at Eric.

Hot Series
» Unfinished Hero series
» Colorado Mountain series
» Chaos series
» The Sinclairs series
» The Young Elites series
» Billionaires and Bridesmaids series
» Just One Day series
» Sinners on Tour series
» Manwhore series
» This Man series
Most Popular
» A Thousand Letters
» Wasted Words
» My Not So Perfect Life
» Caraval (Caraval #1)
» The Sun Is Also a Star
» Everything, Everything
» Devil in Spring (The Ravenels #3)
» Marrying Winterborne (The Ravenels #2)