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When Darkness Ends
Guardians of Eternity # 12
Guardians of Eternity # 12
By: Alexandra Ivy
Releasing May 26, 2015
The Guardians of Eternity are facing a final battle to save their world—but battles of the heart may be the most difficult to fight…
Cyn, the vampire clan chief of Ireland, is an unabashed hedonist whose beauty is surpassed only by his insatiable appetite for pleasure. It’s no wonder he’s furious when he’s transported from the magical land of the pureblooded feys to his desolate private lair—only to have his very existence thrown into a chaos that even he cannot charm his way out of…
Most women may be all but powerless against Cyn, but Fallon, a sharp-witted fairy princess, is less than beguiled by the silver-tongued vampire. She’s a serious soul with no time for the sort of games he plays—especially when they learn that someone is trying to close the veil that separates the dimensions. But seduction may prove the most powerful force of all, as attraction ignites between the unlikely pair even as worlds are colliding around them…
Fallon gasped when Siljar disappeared as swiftly as she’d appeared.
One second she was patting Cyn’s arm and the next . . . poof.
No smoke. No mirrors. No abracadabra.
Just there and then gone.
What was wrong with her?
She should have insisted that the powerful demon return her to her homeland. Even with Sariel’s interference she could have kept watch on the Commission. It wasn’t as if she’d ever let her father or fiancé interfere in her fascination with scrying before.
It was easy to tell herself that it was the shock of waking up in a strange cave with a dangerous vampire, swiftly followed by the appearance of an Oracle demanding her help in spying on the Commission, that had rattled her brain. How could any poor female think clearly under such circumstances?
But a part of her knew that she’d allowed herself to be steamrolled by the tiny Oracle quite simply because she didn’t want to go home.
She’d spent centuries trapped in the glorious palace her father had created. She’d been petted and pampered and . . .Trapped.
And worse, she’d known deep in her heart that she would never escape.
Not so long as her father considered the pure-blooded Chatri above the lesser fey.
So was it really surprising that she would be reluctant to give up this unexpected miracle even if it meant enduring the company of an obnoxious vampire?
It wasn’t like she had to actually work next to him.
He was a clan chief. His lair should be large enough for them never to cross paths, right?
As if to prove her point, Cyn was abruptly heading toward the far end of the cave, his face grim although he held the scroll with obvious care.
Far more care than he was willing to give her. Jackass. With a swift step, Fallon had moved to place herself directly in his path.
“Where are you going?”
He came to a grudging halt, his gaze narrowed. “To have a shower.”
“What about me?”
He shrugged. “Aren’t you supposed to be spying on the Oracles or something?”
Her fists clenched. She’d never hit anyone before, but now seemed a good time to start.
“Now look here, you big lug—”
“You have an obsessive fascination with my size.” He ran a slow, deliberate gaze down her tense body before leaning forward to whisper directly in her ear, “In case you’re interested, I’m large everywhere.”
The brush of his lips against her skin sent darts of white-hot excitement sizzling through her.
How was that possible?
She’d lived with the most beautiful men in the world. Her own fiancé, Magnus, was breathtaking. But never, ever had one of them made her so acutely aware of being a woman. As if Cyn had some magical ability to arouse her darkest, most intimate desires.
Jerking back, she sent him a glare. “Well, your head is certainly bloated.”
His gaze lingered on her mouth. “If you’re trying to charm me, it’s not working.”
She wouldn’t lick her lips. She wouldn’t.
Her tongue peeked out, swiping her lower lip with a provocative movement. Instantly Cyn’s eyes darkened with a scorching heat.
Fallon stiffened. What was wrong with her?
“I’m not trying to charm you,” she stubbornly denied.
Abruptly he’d stepped around her, clearly intending to leave her abandoned in the caves.
He sent an impatient glance over his shoulder. “Now what?”
“We’re obviously stuck with one another for now,” she said, pointing out the obvious.
“Do you have a point?”
Heathen. Barbarian. Hulking, gorgeous, pain in the ass.
She counted to ten.
“You could at least try to be civil.”
He folded his arms over his chest. “And what does ‘civil’ entail?”
“I obviously can’t stay in these caves.” She waved a dismissive hand toward the damp floor, shivering at the distinct chill in the air. “I’m assuming you have private rooms I could use. And I’ll need food. Oh . . .” She glanced down to the plain, too-short robe. “And clothes. Silk.”
Something dangerous lurked in the jade eyes. “Anything else, princess?”
“Nectar.” She used her most grating princess voice. She was a guest here, dammit, not a prisoner. It was time that Cyn fulfilled his duties as a host. “Preferably from my homeland.”
A stark, dangerous silence followed her daring command. The sort of silence that came before the strike of lightning.
Or a nuclear explosion.
Instead there was a flurry of movement as Cyn reached out to grasp her by the waist and with one smooth movement had her tossed over his shoulder.
Fallon gasped in shock. No man touched the royal princess. Not unless he wanted to be burned to a crisp by Sariel. And certainly they didn’t haul her around like she was a sack of potatoes.
“What are you doing?” she finally managed to choke out.
Leaving the cave, Cyn headed up a narrow set of stairs carved into the stone.
“Let’s get one thing straight, princess. This is my lair,” he growled.
She slammed her fist against his back only to wince in pain. Crap, the man felt as if he’d been chiseled from granite.
“I wouldn’t be so quick to boast about this shabby—”
Her furious insult came to an outraged halt as his large hand landed on her butt, giving the tender flesh a deliberate squeeze. Fallon’s breath tangled in her throat. She was livid. Of course she was. But more than that she was . . . oh dear God, was she aroused? Was the intimate touch of his hand turning her on?
Or maybe being in this world was screwing with her hormones. Yes. That was a much better answer.
Belatedly aware they were moving through a long hallway lined with heavy tapestries, she gave his back another punch.
“Put me down, you barbarian.”
“Berserker,” he snapped.
“Is that supposed to be better?” she ground out, wiggling in an effort to dislodge his hand that was causing tiny sparks of pleasure to race through her body. “I told you to put me down.”
Her wiggles were futile, but thankfully they’d reached a closed door and he was forced to release her butt to shove it open.
“My lair, my rules.”
They entered what appeared to be a large room with a woven carpet in shades of silver and violet.
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
“It means that I’m not your damned servant.” He crossed the floor, abruptly dropping her on a massive four-poster bed with a feather mattress. “So long as you’re beneath my roof you’ll treat me with respect.”
“Respect is earned, not commanded.”
“Actually I just did.” He planted his fists on his hips, using his powers to ignite the logs that were neatly stacked in the stone fireplace. “And you’d better pay attention.”
“Or I’ll return you to the caves and you can rot down there for all I care.”
Fallon glared into the forcefully handsome face, catching a glimpse of snowy white fangs. Sensibly she knew she should be afraid of him.
He was a lethal predator who had her completely at his mercy.
But she wasn’t afraid.
She was angry and frustrated and terrifyingly aware of the hard, male body barely concealed beneath the thin robe.
“I really dislike you,” she muttered, trying to tug the robe down her legs.
“The feeling is mutual.”
“I . . .” Fallon forgot what she was going to say as she belatedly noticed her surroundings. “Oh.”
Cyn was instantly wary. “Now what?”
She forgot her urge to slap his arrogant face as she slowly scanned the pale ash furniture that filled the room.
Beyond the canopied bed, there was a chest set beneath a large stained-glass window that was composed in shades of indigo and saffron and crimson with threads of gold. The arched masterpiece not only provided beauty, but filtered out any potential sunlight. Near the fireplace was a rocking chair that matched the large armoire near the door. And nearer the bed was a delicate washstand.
There was a definite medieval vibe, but it was the exquisite craftsmanship that captured Fallon’s attention.
With a soft sigh she shoved herself to her knees, reaching to skim her fingers over the delicate pattern that had been carved into the wooden posts of the bed.
Row after row of tiny flowers and woodland creatures flowed from the top of the post to the bottom, each one charmingly different in design. And the carvings were echoed on every piece of furniture, giving the room an ethereal beauty that tugged at her heart.
“It’s beautiful,” she breathed, feeling as if she were surrounded by a woodland glade despite the fact that the sun would never be allowed to stray beyond the window. “Really, really beautiful.”
Cyn made a strangled sound, as if pushed to the very edge.
“Bloody hell, you could drive a saint to drink,” he roared.
Ignoring the completely unfair accusation, she continued to stroke her fingers over the glossy wood.
“Where did you find the furnishings?”
“I made them.”
She sent him a startled glance. “You?”
“Why do you sound so surprised?”
Fallon frowned at the hint of defensiveness in his tone. Was he embarrassed to reveal his artistic talent?
“This is fey in design.”
“Oh.” He shrugged. “I was taken in by fairies while I was a foundling. Mika trained me to carve.”
Fallon couldn’t deny a stab of curiosity.
She’d watched this world enough to know it was extremely unusual for any demon to foster another species, let alone a fairy taking in a savage vampire.
It would be like a human adopting a full-grown lion.
But she wasn’t about to probe. Not when Cyn was already treating her as if she were some unwelcomed intruder who’d invaded his lair.
Like black mold.
“He must have been a master craftsman,” she instead murmured.
“Careful, princess. That was perilously close to a compliment,” he mocked.
Okay. That was it.
Turning her head, she stabbed him with a furious glare.
“Do you always have to be an ass?”
He abruptly grimaced, then without warning, he reached out to cup her cheek with his hand.
“No,” he said, his thumb brushing her lower lip.
Fallon stilled, sensing the electric tension that sizzled between them.
His lips twisted at the sudden uncertainty in her voice.
“We’re stuck together. At least for now,” he said, his gaze lowering to her mouth. Almost as if he was imagining how it would taste beneath his own. “We need a truce.”
Fallon shivered, the image of him tumbling her back onto the mattress and covering her with his hard body searing through her mind.
It was raw and primal and scary as hell.
You’re playing with fire, a voice whispered in the back of her mind. And you’re the one who’s going to get burned.
She covertly inched back on the mattress. He carried with him a force field that threatened to suck her in.
“It should be simple enough.” She managed to sound almost indifferent. Good for her.
His gaze remained locked on her lips. “Do you think so?”
“This is obviously a large lair. There’s truly no need to spend any time in each other’s company.”
Something that looked like . . . hurt . . . flared through his eyes before he abruptly dropped his hand and stepped back.
“Right,” he muttered, turning to head toward the door. “A perfect solution.”
“Wait.” Feeling ridiculously guilty, Fallon scrambled off the bed, her feet barely touching the floor as the door was being slammed shut.
With a shake of her head, she flopped back on the mattress, wondering why men had to be so . . . so impossible.
ALEXANDRA IVY graduated from Truman University with a degree in theatre before deciding she preferred to bring her characters to life on paper rather than stage. She currently lives in Missouri with her extraordinarily patient husband and teenage sons. To stay updated on Alexandra’s Guardian series or to chat with other readers, please visit her website at www.alexandraivy.com