Runes: The Immortal Series Book 1
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by Em Petrova
Category: Erotica/Menage Erotica/Fantasy
Description: When immortals Will Cochran and Evangeline Mayer are thrown together by a phenomenon known as The Calling, they breech the barriers of a conventional relationship. By sharing their blood and bodies, their minds and souls are also entwined. But Evangeline has been yanked from the arms of her mortal love, Sean Livingston, and the echo of his touch never leaves her. When she's kidnapped by a sadistic immortal seeking revenge for the loss of his own mate, Sean is summoned as a means to torture her. Their reunion both titillates and torments her new mate, Will. He and Sean make a pact to share the woman they both love, and find new desires arising in the arms of each other.
eBook Publisher: Red Sage Publishing/Red Sage Presents, 2010 2010
eBookwise Release Date: January 2012
1 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [218 KB]
Reading time: 135-189 min.
Runes: Chapter One
When Will Cochran backed away from the woman on the bathroom floor, they were both bleeding. She was not fully conscious, but he had to escape before she recognized him. He grabbed a hand towel from the sink, clutched it to his bleeding forearm, then moved toward the door.
She would be all right. It might take a few hours for the drugs to wear off, but eventually she would awaken to a new existence.
Before he disappeared through the doorway, and from her life, he allowed himself a final glance. Sprawled on the white floor tile, she looked waifish and vulnerable. She wore a black off-the-shoulder top, and a dark violet miniskirt that matched the purple streak on the front of her pixie-short black hair. The blood had stopped flowing from the wound on her neck, and as he watched, the blue-black lines of runes, and dainty stars climbed the bare flesh of her shoulder, up her throat, curling around her ear, and ending in a spattering of stars across her temple. The immortal tattoo.
The scent of her was still fresh in his nostrils. That soft whiff of vanilla and sandalwood had tormented him on more than one occasion. The sight of her pale, naked thighs had his teeth clenching against his need.
His fingers bit into the door jamb. He was torn between standing guard over her defenseless form, and returning to her sister who waited for him downstairs. With a grunt, he turned from the scene and hurried down the steps of the small Chicago home.
His girlfriend, Jessa Mayer, stood by the door. At his appearance, she offered him a glowing smile. She was petite and dark-haired as well, but not punked out or pierced like her younger sister, Evangeline. She held their winter coats in her arms, eager to get to the club where her friends expected them.
"Find the bathroom okay?" she asked, passing Will his jacket.
"Yes," he responded, trying not to sound dazed. "I found it all right." He caught her elbow and steered her out the door, away from the house, away from her sister, who would wake to find herself glowing with immortal life. What the hell had he been thinking?
The darkness embraced him, setting him apart from the young woman at his elbow. His mind was far removed from her ceaseless chatter. It was still locked in the gripping terror of the bathroom scene.
Will tucked Jessa securely in his rental car, and circled to the driver's side. He paused with his hand on the handle, staring at the upper floor of her home. His lungs burned for more oxygen even as he inhaled huge amounts of the wintry air.
A tap on the window made him jerk, and he jumped in beside Jessa. Finally, on the way to the nightclub where they'd met two months ago, she began talking of her upcoming holiday break from college classes, and asked if he would return to Chicago to spend it with her.
Will steered the car into a parking spot before the busy club, then cut the engine. The keys swayed in the ignition, jangling lightly. The slash on his arm burned like hell.
He turned to her. "Jessa," he said, holding her small hand. "I won't be returning for the holidays. I won't be returning to Chicago at all."
Her brown eyes blinked in the darkness. "What?" she whispered.
He mentally cringed at the pain in her voice."I've had a great time with you these past months, but I feel it's best if I... move on," he told her gently. God, he hated this part of dating mortals.
"What? W. . .why? Is it something I did?"
"No, Jessa. Not you." The old it's-not-you-it's-me line was not remotely adequate in this case. How to tell her, though, that she was dating an immortal man? One who had just stumbled across her drug-overdosed sister in the bathroom, shared his blood with her, and made her immortal too? It was best to cut ties.
"Whatever it is, Will, we can work it out," Jessa pleaded. "We've been really good together."
"Jessa, I'm sorry." He cupped her face and kissed the wrinkle between her dark eyebrows. She cried, and he felt like the shit he was. What right did he have to consort with mortal girls? How many attached females had he left over the years?
At first, the attraction and connection he'd felt to Jessa had been remarkable. He'd flown between Vermont and Chicago dozens of times in the months they'd been dating just to feel her soft body pressed to his. He'd thought it could last forever. Until he set eyes on her baby sister.
Jessa yanked away, her anger flaring as it always did after the initial devastation. "Fine, Will. I'm sorry I got involved with you if you had no intention of having a serious relationship. Just leave me here. I'll find my way home." She opened the door and thrust one shapely leg through it.
He caught her wrist. "Jessa, I am sorry."
"Whatever," she shot back, then stalked away.
Will rested his head against the steering wheel, replaying the night's events. He'd made a new immortal. He wondered if she'd awakened from her drug-induced stupor yet? For a mad moment, he considered returning to the Mayer home to check, but sense won out, and he shifted the car into drive and returned to his hotel and his solitary life.
Landing in Vermont, he shouldered his leather carry-on, and pushed through the exit into the frigid landscape. The air in his nose froze instantly, and he drew a deep breath into his lungs, reveling in the scent of freshly fallen snow. As he crossed the parking lot, he scuffed his feet through the powder with hopes of hitting the ski slopes.
After several minutes of de-icing his vehicle, he climbed inside and closed the door. Alone. He sat, listening to the drone of the engine, and the ticking of the windshield wipers. He was in his home state, but he'd left part of himself in Chicago, in the veins of Evangeline Mayer. If he concentrated hard, he could nearly feel her.
He'd lost his mind this time.
The entire flight he'd spent contemplating his single status, knowing little could be done to remedy it. An immortal couldn't randomly hook up with a human or another immortal without sacrificing his heart.
Amongst immortals there was a phenomenon known as 'The Calling,' which linked an immortal with his immortal mate. The female 'Called' to the male mentally, and he would be set on an exhilarating path leading him to her. Will was close friends with two couples so united, and knew firsthand the difference between the love of a bonded couple, and his fleeting relationships with humans.
Girl after girl littered his past, strings of sexy legs, round buttocks and bouncy breasts. Affairs with blonds, brunettes, and even a fling with an artsy, sumptuous redhead after he'd purchased one of her oil paintings at an exhibit. They all filled him with remorse. He realized he was searching for the powerful connection gained only by bonding with another immortal.
As his headlights speared the inky darkness, he saw not the snowflakes assaulting the windshield, but the miniature stars dotting Evangeline Mayer's temple. His vehicle's tires crunched over the snowy roads toward home, and Will thought longingly of his cozy suite within his friends' mansion.
For decades, he'd been roommates with several immortals ranging from centuries-old Dante, who'd manned the helm of one of the ships bringing Europeans to the new world, to the newest addition to their group, Gracie, who'd been 'Made' only three weeks ago.
Gracie Donovan had suffered a head trauma and been given a second chance at life. Though she'd been only thirteen years old when she'd been 'Made', she'd rapidly reached her physical immortal age. But her mind did not possess the education of an adult woman, so Will had stepped up to the challenge and accepted her as his pupil. Tomorrow they'd begin their lessons.
As he steered the vehicle up the long, meandering drive, he saw the mansion was aglow. Excitement gathered in his chest. He stomped on the gas, roaring up the last two hundred feet to his parking spot.
Inside, he hoped to find the immortal friend who'd 'Made' Gracie on that fateful afternoon three weeks ago. Since the moment he'd shared his blood with the dying girl on the bathroom floor, he'd itched with a bone-deep need to confide in another Maker.
Will climbed the marble steps to the front door, feeling strangely detached. His steps were muffled by snow and the pressing darkness. His ears were ringing, his muscles suddenly lethargic. The heel of his hand pushed against the thick mahogany door, and he collapsed to his knees in the brightly lit entry hall. The glare of a thousand crystals on the massive chandelier dizzied him, creating spots behind his closed eyelids.
"Will!" cried the familiar voice of Lillian, Gracie's Maker.
She gathered him to her slender form, filling his head with the lavender perfume that was her signature scent. Her cool fingers cradled his cheeks."What on earth happened?" she cried, clutching his head to her waist, sinking her fingers into his thick auburn hair.
"She's 'Called' me," he choked, and his tears began to fall.