Alone, Deklan stood in his kitchen, his pain reverberating inside him in the quiet that had fallen after Lucy left.
He turned, went over to the sink, stared out the window above it into his yard and the woods beyond.
Now he knew why Lucy had taken it upon herself to risk her life killing demons. Guilt and pain were tireless tormentors - they’d certainly been haunting him since Tuk’s death.
At first those emotional demons had debilitated him, pushed him to drink. Alcohol had numbed him somewhat to their voices. Now? His loss, his pain, motivated him to action, to avenge Tuk - thanks to Blake steering him away from the bottle.
He frowned out the window, not really seeing what he was looking at, distracted by the image in his mind’s eye of Lucy as a little girl... alone, scared, her family gone, her world ripped apart.
He couldn’t imagine going through what she’d gone through, losing his family at such a young age. How had she gotten through it? And what had happened to her after that night?
If anything had happened to his parents when he’d been young, other members of their pack would have taken him in.
He assumed Lucy had ended up in foster care. Unless a relative had taken her in?
Reaching behind his neck, he grabbed his shirt, pulled it off over his head as he started toward his back door. Sleep wasn’t going to come anytime soon - his thoughts were too full of Tuk and Lucy. His wolf felt the need to be free, to run wild. So did he. Hopefully, another run would clear his head.
He toed off his boots, undid his jeans, shoved the denim down his legs and off, taking his underwear with them, peeled off his socks, left everything in a pile on the floor and headed outside. Bracing himself for the pain, he shifted, then bounded off his porch and toward the woods.
Animals quieted at the sound of his howl, but eventually rustled and skittered again.
Life went on in the face of pain.
Once she’d finished her set at After Hours, Lucy found a secluded spot and teleported to Deklan’s, dropped in on his front porch. This time, her knock was answered by the owner of the house.
He was in jeans and a navy blue hoodie.
He looked yummy with his jaw scruffy and his hair tousled like he’d run his fingers through it a few times.
Her mood lifted for the first time all day when he smiled at her.
“Hey.” he said.
She smiled back at him.
“Hey.” she echoed, stepping inside, joining him in the entrance way.
Now that she was face to face with Deklan, she was glad she was here. She hadn’t been looking forward to coming over tonight. She’d woken up exhausted, been bummed all day, after spending the night screaming and running in her dreams.
As a kid, she’d suffered from night terrors after the attack, woken the foster parents she’d been place with many a night with her screams. They’d been so kind - holding her while she cried... so patient - staying with her until she fell asleep.
As she’d settled into her new home, her new family, as the weeks and months had passed, she’d started having more good nights than bad.
It had been years now, since she’d had a night like last night. She’d forgotten how bad they were. Though sharing her story with Deklan had brought that pain to the surface, she was still glad she and Deklan had talked.
“Your friend here?” she asked, looking down the hallway into the kitchen for signs of Blake.
“No. Blake didn’t come over tonight.” he replied.
He started down the hall and she fell into step beside him.
“You want something to drink?” he asked as they entered the kitchen. “Water? Tea?”
A hot cup of tea sounded nice.
“Tea, please.” she replied, headed over to the dining table.
Deklan went right, stepped up to the counter on the far side of the island. While he got out cups and fixings for tea, she took off her jacket, hung it over a chair, leaving her in tonight’s gig outfit - a red, sleeveless, form-fitting blouse and black jeans.
“What kind of tea would you like?” he asked, turning to her.
“What do you have?” she counter-asked.
“Earl Grey, Peppermint, Chai, and Orange Pekoe.” he rhymed off.
“Peppermint please.” she requested and pulled her map out of her inside jacket pocket, unfolded it across the table.
“Milk?” he asked.
“Yes please, just a little.” she said.
He turned away, and she sat down. She got her pendulum out and started scrying, not waiting for him to join her.
The sound of water being poured into cups, followed by the clink of spoon against ceramic as tea was stirred, had her looking up a few minutes later. Deklan turned, a steaming cup in each hand, crossed the kitchen towards her.
“Thanks.” she said, as he set her cup down on the table to the side of her map.
He set down his own cup, pulled out a chair across from her and took a seat.
She continued scrying, left her tea to cool for a few minutes. The two of them watched her crystal spin and waited, hoping for a hit on Malek.
After scrying for several minutes, she reached for her cup, slurped a sip. Refreshing peppermint woke her taste buds, warmed her throat.
She continued scrying as she sipped at her tea.
She’d been scrying almost an hour when a worrisome thought occurred to her... what if Malek had magically blocked others from being able to locate him? A demon that had caused as much mayhem as he had, had countless enemies. How had he not been terminated yet?
She frowned as she considered the possibility, belatedly registered that Deklan had said something.
“Hmm?” she asked, flicking a glance up at him, lifting her brows.
“I asked if you’d like more tea.” he said.
“Oh, no. Thanks.” she replied, returned her gaze to her pendulum.
“Where were you just now?” he inquired.
“Hmm?” she asked, shifting her gaze back to him. “Just thinking.” she replied.
“About?” he asked.
She’d rather not be the bearer of bad news but, she supposed she should share her concern... they could be wasting time scrying for Malek... if he had found a way to block others from locating him.
“I was just thinking...” she started. “Maybe Malek found a way to shield himself from scrying.” she told him. “He’s made enough enemies and yet he’s still around.” she said, then tacked on, “We assume.”
Deklan ‘hmm’d’, frowned harder.
She didn’t want to kill his hope of finding Malek with scrying, hurried to mitigate the worry she’d burdened him with.
“We’ll track him down one way or another.” she assured him. “Maybe... say... if I don’t get a hit on him after a week,” she said, lifting her eyebrows. ” - we hit the streets. Track him down old school.” she suggested.
Deklan’s eyes started doing that blue-silver thing at her comment, and butterflies started to flutter their wings in her belly.
She didn’t know what it meant, but she loved when his eyes did that. It was so beautiful, so compelling.
Besides the colour change, the way he was looking at her changed, became more heated. Her lady parts took notice, responded accordingly, her attraction to him coming to the fore.
“We?” he asked, his voice a little husky.
His head tilted.
“We’ll track him down? We’ll hit the streets?” he asked with a lift of his brows.
As he spoke, his eyes lightened even more. She furrowed her brows at him. Yes, ‘we’. Why was he focused on the pronoun she’d used?
“You agreed to scry for me.” he murmured. “You don’t have to do more.”
She knew she didn’t have to... she wanted to.
She’d agreed to scry for him, because that’s what he’d asked of her, but that didn’t feel like enough. He’d saved her life. She could do more for him than act as GPS.
If she couldn’t find Malek through scrying, she’d help him find the demon in some other way. Aside from helping him find Malek, she had every intention of backing Deklan up when he exacted his revenge.
“I know. ” she replied and shrugged. “I’m offering.”
She returned her gaze to her pendulum.
“I’ll help you find him, and kill him.” she said. “If you want.” she added.
She wasn’t going to impose herself on him.
Deklan didn’t say anything.
She shifted her gaze back to him... and her breath caught at the look on his face.
Judging by that look, he not only wanted her help...
... he wanted her.
His eyes were more silver than blue, and bright with desire.
Her breath quickened. Her heart rate accelerated. Her skin became hyper aware, ready to amplify the slightest touch. The look he was giving her was that potent.
She’d been attracted to Deklan from the moment she’d laid eyes on him, even through her annoyance with him. She would have had to have been blind not to be.
Now that she knew him a little better, she was even more drawn to him.
She felt her body preparing to accept his body, her panties dampening, her core swelling, and she stiffened slightly. A possibility occurring to her.
Could he smell what he was doing to her right now? She must be giving off a whole heap of sex pheromones.
Wolves smelled that kind of thing, didn’t they?
When a sexy smile played with Deklan’s mouth, and his nostrils flared subtly, she had her answer.
Oh, yeah. Wolfy could smell how he was affecting her.
She was 28, had a healthy sex drive. She wasn’t shy or new to sex, had been with her share of men. She was always up front with the guys she got involved with. They were aware she wasn’t looking for anything serious and were okay with that. If they stopped being okay with that, and a couple had, she ended things between them.
But, she had a strong hunch that if she and Deklan were to get involved - even if only for one night - it wouldn’t be so easy to end things with him... it wouldn’t end up being only one night.
She blinked, broke eye contact, returned her gaze to her pendulum, the simple action taking more effort than it should have.
... best not get involved with Deklan.
She was being smart. Sensible.
She tried to focus on scrying, did her best to ignore Deklan’s gaze, which stayed on her. Her efforts were successful...
... for about a minute.
The pull was just too strong.
She looked up...
... locked eyes with him, the moment heavy with tension, the energy between them vibrating.
So what if getting involved was a bad idea? She couldn’t help wondering how good they would be together. She couldn’t deny she wanted his kiss.
His gaze dropped to her lips. He licked his own as he stared at hers.
Her own gaze lowered to his mouth. His bottom lip was a little fuller than the top. She bet he was a good kisser. Really wanted to confirm.
Slowly, she started leaning towards him... and was taken aback when she suddenly found herself staring, not into Deklan’s blue eyes, but at his hoodie.
She blinked, shifted her gaze up.
He was standing up, reaching across the table. He picked up her cup, grabbed his own, turned away.
Confused, she stared at his back as he walked over to the sink.
What had just happened? She’d obviously been giving him the green light... he’d obviously been interested... and he’d pulled away?
Her disappointment disappeared, like a bird shot out of the sky, a second later, when her pendulum flew to the map like a dart.
Apparently she’d been worried over nothing, her theory Malek may have found a way to block others from locating him had just been proven wrong.
They had a hit!
Deklan collected Lucy’s cup and his own, took them over to the sink. If he didn’t put more space between them, there was going to be no space between them. He wanted to kiss her so bad he could taste it, and he knew she was on the same page as him, the musky scent of her arousal flavoured the air, a heady aphrodisiac.
He’d been seconds away from having his mouth on hers, but somehow, he’d found the strength to turn away.
His wolf whined his disappointment.
He wasn’t happy either, but he couldn’t allow himself to be distracted until he’d avenged Tuk.
He reminded himself of his ‘To Do’ list. Find Malek. Kill Malek. Avenge Tuk. Only after he’d taken care of those things, could he move on with his life.
Bracing himself, he turned back to Lucy.
It took him a moment to register what he saw. Her pendulum was pinned to the map.
The desire swamping him was overcome by a different excitement.
Lucy had found Malek!
Guess the demon hadn’t found a way to block others from locating him.
He returned to the table, bent over the map even as Lucy stood, bent forward from her side of the table. Adrenaline pumped through his body, his wolf rumbled his excitement. Lucy’s crystal pointed at their state, at their city.
Lucy straightened up, grabbed her phone off the table where she’d set it.
“What are you doing?” he asked, straightening up as she typed something in and then swiped the screen, typed some more, swiped again.
She didn’t answer, just set the device on the table. She’d brought up the city on google maps and zoomed in on their city.
She started scrying again over her phone. Her crystal immediately pointed to a suburban neighbourhood in the north end. With her thumb and index finger, she zoomed in closer, scryed again. They had an intersection - Hyde and Jones. She zoomed in even closer.
Her pendulum pointed to a house.
Deklan’s guess? Someone living in that house was a witch and Malek was not there to make friends with them. He couldn’t think of any other reason for Malek to be where he was.
Lucy zoomed in to street level and swiped around until they were looking at the front of the house. It was a two story, with a covered porch and small front yard.
“Got him.” she said.
She met his gaze, broke out in a steely smile.
Goddamn, the urge to kiss her was even stronger. And if they got Malek tonight, he’d be able to do just that sooner rather than later.
He got in on the smiling.
“You ready?” she asked, tucking her phone away in her back pocket.
Was she kidding?
“Fuck, yeah.” he huffed.
Her smile widened. She came around the table to him, pulling her hair back as she did and securing it in a low ponytail.
“Give me your hand.” she requested, putting her hand out to take his.
He slipped his hand into hers.
“Hold tight.” she instructed.
He gripped her hand a little tighter - just in case she meant that literally - blinked, and found himself inside someone else’s house.
Damn! Teleporting was the way to travel. Even if he was a little disoriented, a little dizzy. He just needed a sec.
Lucy let go of his hand, got right to business, yelling at someone. That had him finding his footing faster, focusing on their sitch.
“Hey!” she yelled again, throwing her hands up toward a target, sending a blast of energy at someone.
As he’d expected, Malek was not making nice. He had a woman, a witch, on the floor, his claws around her neck, choking the life out of her even as he drained her powers from her.
Deklan could actually see the energy being sucked out of the woman. It had a blue-violet tint.
They were in the woman’s bedroom, the place a shambles, broken glass and debris everywhere. The witch had clearly put up a good fight before the scales had tipped in Malek’s favour.
Lucy threw her arms up again, her hands stretched toward Malek. Was she trying to freeze him? Move him? Whatever she was trying to do, unfortunately, didn’t seem to be happening.
Malek glared up at her, clearly not happy with the interruption.
Deklan’s wolf huffed his pleasure at ruining the asshole’s night.
Sorry, not sorry.
Seeing Malek again for the first time since Tuk’s death brought that night back crystal clear. His stomach churned with hate and anger and pain.
For once, he didn’t even feel his transformation. Suddenly, he was on all fours and charging.