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Chapter 6

Storm crossed to his walk-in closet, to his safe, depressed his thumb against the lock mechanism, heard the hiss of the pneumatics, and opened up the door. He shrugged out of his shoulder holster and stowed his gun inside, closed it, and engaged the locks. Effie’s house had some telling clues, that this threat was old, and still a problem. He tugged off his clothes, and dropped them in the hamper, really wanting a shower as his exhaustion deepened. He rolled his shoulders, and cracked his neck trying to ease the tension. He peered through the crack of the door into his bedroom, and saw Effie still asleep on his bed. “What hae ye gotten yourself into lass?”

After a moment, he crossed naked through his bathroom into the wet room, hit several buttons on the wall mounted control system, and waited for the twelve jets to cycle on, and steam to fill the enclosure. He stepped back and looked in the mirror over the two vanity sink, rubbing his whiskered chin. An old man stared back, one that was holding onto the tether of life with his fingernails. His eyes were dull with the burden of his curse whereas his body, everything else about him advertised a healthy twenty-eight year old. He flashed his reflection a cocky grin, and laughed, "Ye are a bloody fool." He left his whiskers for another day, and stepped into the steam. The water cascading down over his body felt good, relaxing the tension of the last few hours. The rhythm soon quieted his thoughts, and he closed his eyes.

Something tugged at his thoughts, and he replayed the night one frame at a time. Storm had pulled his Aston into the back parking lot, dousing the light overhead, and casting the car into shadows. Three shiny black Rovers stood two rows over, and he had recognized the men standing guard. Faces that haunted his nightmares, and more. He restarted his car, and moved the vehicle to another space, farther away. He waited as long as he could, watching the men before making for the concert hall. The lobby was partially empty as he showed his ticket to the usher, climbing the steps to his box. Several women and a lone man stood in the upper foyer talking on their cell phones. Isabel Lewis suddenly appeared, and Storm had ducked into a recess. He remembered that pale blond hair that fell about her shoulders, and receded further into the dark shadows, listening to the one-way conversation, waiting patiently. For a fraction of a second, her conversations stopped, her mouth had dropped into a frown as she rolled her lip under her teeth. Something was going on, something that had her watching every behavior of the people loitering in the lobby. She whipped around and retreated. Storm had breathed again, and stepped back out into the corridor, and continued to his seat. The guards below, Isabel, hinted that one of their family’s important members was in attendance. Isabel was his former Captain Wynne’s favorite eye candy for these events. And sure enough, the First Family sat in a box across from his own, one level up. All the fire power surrounding Duncan told him they weren’t taking any chances.

Storm reached for the shampoo as his mind mapped out the concert hall, filled every seat. Absently he washed placing every face and gender. Clarity struck hard and cold. Storm recreated that last memory of his family standing with the others as they applauded Effie's last composition. His eidetic memory recalled the entire crowd, and pinpointed one man, one action before all hell broke lose. The man had raised his hand and pointed his fingers at the stage as a man would raise a gun and aim. He was clearly threatening Effie, and she had fainted in fright. He tried to conjure up more detail, bald head, sallow skin, angular nose, and a trimmed goatee.

Storm hit the internal controls, and changed the cycles of the jet to rain and partial steam. He eased down on the recessed benched, and bent, cradling his head in his hand, letting the steam and water calm him even more. Images of the concert mixed with memories of eight years ago. That cold night, the chill in the air had bit into the skin and burned the throat with each breath. His mind could easily recall the stench of decaying garbage and sharp tang of urine marking the alleyway. Both sides in this feud were taking advantage of the uncertainty here in Scotland and on the continent. The key for the leuchd-crois was to run straight into the fray, eradicating their mortal enemy.

He folded his tall body into the arch of the seat, and rested his arms on his bent knees, studying the stained glass window set into the molding. Soft artificial light illuminated the panes of abstract design of colored glass. The kaleidoscope of pattern was the Isle of Skye, and his ancestral home. A tie to the past that kept him grounded, focused. He had made the window himself as a catharsis and reconciliation with his transgressions. Sins he would most assuredly pay for.

The faces of his former brothers emerged in his mind. Wynne, Akir, Alvar, Raven, Reiser, Daq, Ayr, Colin, and all the others that had lived and died by their Covenant. He cursed that age old promise, written in a different time for different purposes. The words were now used for and against his family, and now he was part of that problem. Why could he not just have died that night, or walked away and remained loyal to his kin, his friends?

Instead, an apparent flaw and weakness had been exploited. That night, instead of death, he had been stripped of all that he held dear, and reborn into a life of suffering. His name was banished from the rolls of the living, the Book of his Clan. The Seanachaidh Rolls.

An orphan from a young age, Storm had been shuffled from one cousin or kin after another, never having a true family. The leuchd-crois had been the first shot at having that which he always wanted, some place he could belong. And then Reid Macleod, their Athair, had stepped into his life.

One decision, one argument by Reid, their clan chief had flipped his world one hundred and eighty degrees. The perfect candidate to do the job. Become the double agent and infiltrate the enemy. Eight long fucking years of playing at someone he wasn't. His pride stolen; his honor crushed. Now he was more than just outcast. He was the bullseye on a wanted poster, a hollow shell of a man without honor or integrity.

Eight years the pariah of his family, outcast for trying to do the right thing. What if that one person that knew the truth died? No one had given him assurance that there was a backup plan. All of his information had been changed or conveniently erased. The humiliation of having to put on the act, to endure what had happened, still cut to the quick. Two of his close friends and brothers in arms had died that night. No one was suppose to die that night, no one, and they had lied to him.

A tribunal had been hastily called, and he was banished. He had had to stand before them in silence as they destroyed all that he had been, and forced to move away and disappear with a price on his head. The fact that he was innocent in all this gnawed at his gut, but he played an Oscar worthy part, and accepted all of it. A year later he was starting at the bottom in their enemy camp, and now was one of their most trusted fighters.

Fighting against those he loved. He was caught between two worlds, playing a part he detested. Over the years, he had been chewed up and spit out. Hell, he had watched from the sidelines and even cavorted in the death of his brothers. All for the cause. His soul was damned no matter what he did, and there was no saving grace. Redemption was not in his future after so much time had passed, and continued to move forward.

Then why had he come back? Oh, yeah, some crazy idea to make things right. A last desperate plan of hope to finally end his wretchedness and gain peace and quiet. He had tried every possible way to end his torment, and like the phoenix he had risen from the ashes and remained alive. And he knew why, he always knew why. The fact would rear its ugly head whenever he got some inkling to end his life or exercise some vain attempt to wrestle control, and spit in the face of reality. That reality was never too far, drawing him back. He was his family's last salvation.

Storm highly doubted they would forgive him or praise him for his efforts. More had died on his watch. They’d probably string him up, and leave his body rotting for a few years for all to see. He just wanted those familiar ties back. Ties to love, friendship and companionship. All that was his clan. Deep down, he knew it would be a battle, and one he might not win. He was never supposed to exist in the first place. A moment of indiscretion by his mother. He rubbed at his neck, feeling the three inch scar at the base of his neck. A souvenir of that night. He was an arrogant prick, an abject eejit. He turned off the taps, reached for his towel, and wrapped it around his waist.

His head lifted, his eyes looking beyond the glass doors of the shower of his bathroom door that led to his bedroom beyond. He could just spy Effie upon his king size bed, curled about the pillows and goose down comforter. Lust sparked his blood, and he very much wanted to know more of her. Not happening. The moment he had touched her, scooped her up from that stage had determined her fate. If his family occupied boxes, then so did several of his enemy occupy other seats. Where one would be, so would be the other. His movements would be reported to both sides, and he would have to get his story straight. And if he was found out, both of them would die. Collateral damage was nothing to Bertrand Louvella.

He could handle the Louvellas, but his family was another matter. Maybe if he could insinuate himself in their path one night, before things escalated out of hand, and he could control events. What of Effie then? He groaned, cursing again his stupidity. Storm’s path was set either way. Either side would extract a heavy price for going against the rules. The odds of success nil. He knew the truth, that his course was set for a journey to hell and back.

Effie awoke from an odd dream of desperately looking for a bathroom. Her mind was telling her she had to pee like a racehorse. She slipped out of bed and heard water running. So tall, dark and smell good had returned. She gritted her teeth, crossed her legs, and wondered if there was another bathroom, one unoccupied by that tall glass of water. Stop with the water metaphors Ef, this is not helping your current state. She opened the bedroom door and gasped. The place he called home was one massive Better Homes and Medieval. She shut the door not ready to deal with that yet, and looked at the only other door with a light. It had to be the bathroom. She steeled herself and hoped he had a shower curtain because she couldn't wait any longer. She eased the door open, and was about to call out when she walked into the bathroom of her dreams. "Someone could live in here. I could live in here."

She stepped over the threshold and ran her hand over a chaise lounge against a wall. That piece of furniture drew her eye inward to two vanity sinks, but not just any vanity sinks. "Now that is some serious face time." They were deep rectangular ceramic bowls embedded in dark wood with tall curved faucets. She touched the neck and wasn't surprised it started. She touched them again as her bladder protested. She didn't see the toilet but three doors, leading off a small hallway. One she could hear the shower and guessed was a shower. Another was into the closet that no doubt wrapped around into the master bedroom. The third had her heart melt, and revealed a simple ceramic throne of a toilet that never looked so appealing.

She slipped into the small enclosure and shut the door, relieved herself, and hesitated on flushing. Her flat and any place she had ever lived at possessed plumbing that robbed you of water pressure and hot water if you were under the shower head. Palm plant to head. If the man can have a bathroom like this he was bound to do it up right, and so she flushed and left the room. No scream or growl came from behind door number two. "And sounds like he can afford the water bill."

Effie turned down the rest of the hall, curious as any cat, and keened at the sight of a large claw footed tub raised on a small platform. Several dark wooden deck chairs and table, laden with amenities surrounded the tub. “I’ve died and gone to the Ritz.” She yearned to sink in that tub and soak away last nights’ nightmare. She sat down on the floor and just looked, admiring the tub. "One day Effie you will be able to have a bathroom like this."

"Would ye like to take a bath?"

Effie jumped to the moon and back. There he stood damp from his shower, towering over her like a Greek God, clad only in a towel. His razor cut black hair fell forward over his broad shoulders, and those eyes, she swore could break any glass with just with one glance. She swallowed, realizing just how close he was, and with just a towel wrapped around his waist, her mind dived right into the gutter without her prerequisite water wings. Her mind dove into X-rated land envisioning her hand reaching up, fingering the edge of the towel, and tugging it away from his hips. She was on her knees, her fingers stroking his manhood, feeling it swell beneath her touch. The tip of her tongue reaching out to taste him, take him into her mouth, and suckle gently as she occasionally looked up at the pleasurable sounds falling from his lips. The feel of his fingers curling into her hair…

"Lass, a bath?"

He was crouching down into her line of sight and speaking, but damn if she could understand his words as he filled her range of vision. Her fingers fisted in the tails of the shirt she wore to keep them from reaching out, and launching herself against his body. Her eyes were fixed one moment on those glacial green eyes, and the next on the fuller lower lip that cried out to be sucked. "Fuck me."

"Excuse me?” Heat curled down Storm’s back, and his manhood swelled. He shifted, hoping his towel hid his aroused state.

Effie shook her head, "Sorry, I swear like a sailor…What did you say?"

Storm grinned, inhaling deeply, realizing that Effie's distraction was all his fault. A beautiful blush crept up her neck. Her perfume wafted to him on the slight draft from the open window over the tub. She was aroused, her pupils swelling open, probably responsible for that faraway look in her eyes. And what eyes. Beautiful iris colored eyes that reeled you in and begged you to give everything you owned to keep them before you. "I asked lass if you would like to take a bath."

Effie's head turned back to the tub, and nodded. After a moment she turned back, and Storm’s heart stop at the obvious ache on her face, clearly wanting such an indulgence. He cleared his throat, a thousand questions ran through his mind. "Let me start the water and ah…get you a towel, a robe."

Then the sound of two stomach's rumbling in hunger filled the air. They both looked at each other, their lips pursing in amusement before their stomachs grumbled again, and they both laughed. The melodic sound of Effie’s laugh tightened his heart strings. Storm rubbed his neck. "While you enjoy your bath, I will see about something to eat."

Effie reached out to touch his arm as he stood, and her fingers brushed his calf. Her eyes were drawn to the tenting of the towel about his waist. Breathing wasn’t possible at that moment, her eyes frozen. She swore it wasn't her that caressed up that leg or coaxed him back down, till he was inches away from her face. She swore it was not her that caught up his chin, and drew him in closer for a kiss. That it wasn't her that was so brazen with a complete stranger, and kissed his mouth, coaxing his lips to part, for their tongues to duel, and sweep against the silken recesses within. It was definitely her that ended it too quickly, her voice husky with need. "I am sorry. I just wanted to say thank you."

That was one helluva way to say thank you. His lips still tingled from the kiss. He heard the ethereal laughter of his subconscious berating him for his weakness. He should have far better control. That look in her eyes was his undoing, that raw expectation of more. His fingers buried in her hair, and held her still, captured her lips, and kissed her hard. The intensity drove them to the tile floor, and Storm moaned at Effie's bold response. It was more than desperation. Raw natural urges. He reveled in them, savoring the feel of her beneath him. His hand slipped beneath her shirt, and skimmed along the soft flesh of her abdomen as their mouths played. He pulled back, realizing just how far he had gone without permission. The hook of her leg about his waist held him fast. He looked down into those purple-blue depths, and moaned as her fingers relieved him of his towel.

Storm sighed, his hand cupping the fullness of her naked breast at Effie's hand covered his ass. His finger slipped the fringes of the shirt upward, and drank in the sight of her rosy nipples. He should ask permission, should exact something from her to continue. Even ask for forgiveness. His mind registered just where he was, naturally settled between her legs, melding their bodies together, igniting his blood that made his manhood throb painfully.

His breath quickened with the thought of him gloved within her heat, and his hips arched against her apex, pulling a snarl from deep in his throat at the cotton barrier of her panties. He leaned down and closed his eyes as his lips captured a taught nipple and suckled her flesh. Effie bowed against him, and he fought to pull away, battling with the thought that every moment that he dallied with her emotions, played with her life, brought her closer to possible death. He pulled back, rose up, "I should stop."

Effie answered too quickly, "No, please. It's alright." The back of her hand caressed his whiskered chin, cupped his face. "I want this. Even if it is just one night.” She bit her lip to stop from pleading, but thought it lingered, implied on the air.

Storm smiled gently, kissed the valley between her breast, feeling her heartbeat against his lips. He closed his eyes, pushing all thoughts of his predicament from his mind. For one night, he would have his own life, control over this one simple act.

Effie frowned saw a flash of something in his green eyes. She swore they were even lighter than before. She wanted her dream, wanted more of his mouth on her flesh. If this was to be her last good memory before Andreas finally stole everything else, she wanted it.

She hardly registered the coolness of the tile beneath her as Storm divested her of her shirt. He branded her body with his touch. She could feel the evidence of his arousal moving against her, wanting inside her core and moaned as he left her, feeling the cool air settle about her body. She watched through hooded eyes as he knelt before her, his fingers hooking the fringes of her panties, sliding them down her legs and tossing them aside. She had a moment of fear and thought to crawl away from him. He must have seen it in her eyes, her face as his big hands darted out and gently coaxed her back. In an instant she was arching off the tile as his palms lifted her to his lips, and she felt his tongue invade her heat. She was at his mercy and just let go.

Storm’s consciousness shouted at him to stop before it was too late. Time was of the essence, get it over and be done. But his mind was over ruled by his want. Was his priorities shifting? After eight long years, the demarcation line between his point of reality, and his ultimate fate was blurred, melding together into the monster. He clung to the last vestiges of his soul by a precarious thread and yet, loving a woman had always gained him a measure of reprieve. One night stands had been the norm for so long, and he gave in to their intensity. It was different now, he realized he wanted more. He had always been denied by his family's laws, and those imposed by his enemy. Why should he not give in to this? He was parched for the simple company of a woman, one that wanted him.

Effie whimpered, trying to gain breath at the onslaught of his mouth. Her body rocked one way and then another on the floor as an orgasm threatened to topple her out of his hands. She tried to speak, tried to voice the question that was tugging at her lips. “Stop…stop, please…” Storm looked up; his own panting filled his ears, his eyes imploring her to let him continue. “I don’t know your name…please…” His arrogant grin stole her thought.


The way he said it, the way the r’s rolled off his tongue, and the warm longing in his eyes pitched her over the edge. Storm crawled up the length of her body, and wrapped Effie in his arms, spooning her against his own, pressing against her back. His hand parted her legs, and his arousal slid through her slick heat, found the entrance to her core, and buried deep into her throbbing core. Damn, she was tight, untried. Her head pressed back into his shoulder as a groan of pain escaped her lips.

He held still, pinching his eyes close, realizing what that sound meant, wanting to take care of her. He cursed under his breath. His arms tightened as his hips moved of their own volition. "I'm sorry lass. I canna."

Effie wrapped her arm about Storm’s, biting her lip against the pain of his intrusion. As her body stretched to accommodate his girth, she leaned forward over his strong arm, wanting to taste his flesh. That scent, that spicy scent that was drenched on his sheets was about her, teasing her, casting its spell. She dragged her teeth over the edge of his skin and nipped at the flesh of his arm. God, she wanted to bite him, eat every inch of his body to get at more of that scent. She wanted it to be marked on and in her skin permanently. Suddenly his arms were too confining and she moved, wanting that delicious friction to build in her muscles, find that release again. She moaned pressing back against him hard as the scent intensified with the building heat between them. His arms tightened, and his hips moved, pounding against her’s in a deep, erotic rhythm that quickened her heart. Her sharp scream of his name cracked the air as her orgasm fractured all thought, and tightened her body.

Storm wrapped his arm about her tightly, trying to stave off his own release as Effie moved back against him. He sunk his fingers into her hair, held her tight as his body let go. His one hand skimmed down over her abdomen and cupped her to him as his own need took over. He greedily pounded against her hips until that familiar constriction sparked through his body, and he exploded on a deep grunt of pain. He wasn’t prepared for her second orgasm as his own body shuddered. He held her close, inwardly cursing as he fought the urge to have her again. He couldn't help himself, and capitulated to his need.

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