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Cracked Open: book 3

By Madison DiMercurio All Rights Reserved ©

Fantasy / Romance

Blurb

Kaia is the nymph of the earth, and her garden is what she loves most - besides her sisters. She has longed for a mate, but can't think about that when Kallan becomes comatose. While trying to save her sister, Kaia finds herself needing to be saved from herself. But Kaia's past is what keeps her from her future. Will he be able to open her up? Ciro is a tree spirit, living on the border of Paxton. One night he finds himself in bed with a mysterious nymph. When she can't seem to stay away, Ciro makes his move. As their connection grows, Ciro realizes his family disease is catching up with him faster than expected. Will the couple be able to survive Ciro's grim illness or will they no longer have their promised forever?

One

Kaia

“Kaia.” It was a thankful breath coming through the trees behind me, and I didn’t have to turn to know who it was.

“Hello sister,” I responded, my hands still in the dirt of my garden.

She came to stand behind me, observing the work I’d been doing for the past hour. “It’s looking good,” Kallan said, and it sounded like she needed an invitation to sit with me.

Placing the roots of a group of wild Tall Bellflowers in the hole I’ve earthed with my finger, I looked up over my shoulder. Kallan stood there looking distant for a moment, and I knew there was something harping at her mind. I gave her just enough of a look that told her she was being ridiculous.

Kallan sighed and came around to kneel four feet away ñ on the other side of my garden. “I needed to think.” She said before I had to ask.

“And why do you find yourself at my garden?” I asked, firmly pushing the dirt around the flowers, giving them a new home.

“Because I like the quiet.” Simple, but we both knew that was only half the answer.

Digging another hole, I felt the dirt go between my skin and nails. Thankful that the chore hid my shaky hands, I exhaled slowly trying to release the sexual need.

Because I'm a Nymph, feeding off anything sexual, my whole body has been wound tight with the urge to have sex. My skin feels like it's being pulled tight over my bone and my nerves are bouncing of the walls of my skin. I'm at the point of pouncing on some unexpected weak human wandering the woods honestly.

I gardened for a while, knowing Kallan needed the time to think, and when she did speak I listened, giving life to the wilting flowers.

“I’ve been having dreams.” She sounded confused and I looked up to confirm that emotion. Kallan’s slender brows were pulled down and she had a crease between her eyes. It made her look all the more feminine and beautiful.

I sat up resting my soil-dyed hands on my bare thighs. Kallan needed my full attention. Just moments ago she had been watching my hands work in the soil, and now she just looked at the rows of flowers, thinking.

“I can’t make sense of these dreams. It’s all emotion, and not all mine.” I couldn’t tell her what I wanted to say, because something within the trees distracted my thought process.

“Kallan, did you hear that?”

Momentarily changing topics, which happened more than often, I rose to my feet when I saw Kallan shake her head. The sound I heard, it sounded like a tree was moaning, crying out.

I looked over to Kallan and she looked up at me with the answer in her eyes. She could wait. Kallan knew I needed to help a tree or listen to its troubles.

Stalking away with a hop in my step, wanting to find the lonesome tree quickly, I left Kallan behind. As I entered the forest, I noticed all the trees were so very still. Awareness was a vibrant emotion that bounced around. The feeling was strong enough that I had no need to place a hand on one of my tree friends.

Looking into the many branches above me, it was like they pointed me in the direction of the distressed tree. I walked with silence and soon found the tree that had touched only my mind, calling out for help.

The maple tree was one of the more knowledgeable, older in its years, and as I studied it I found the leaves had wilted. Filled with sorrow and passion, I gave the tree a gentle touch. It responded.

I knew what I had to do, but I felt the need to ask the wise tree in front of me. Pushing a questioning emotion towards it, I asked if it wanted to live a longer life. Its leaves trembled slightly in response, a reaction I only could have understood and noticed.

Taking a deep breath and getting ready for the knowledge it was about to send, I took the energy it needed to fall into a calm death.

Minutes later I was filled with a tree’s knowledge, hundreds of years long, and the sadness of having to lose a good friend. I walked back to my garden and a waiting sister, absently feeling my muscles shake once again with a sexual need that I couldn’t find the time to feed.

Kallan sat with a calm look across her face and I understood in the next moment, as I came upon her, that she must have used her ability to call on the water. I knelt down into the position I was in three minutes ago, and went to place my hands in the soil again. I found after something so traumatic the earth’s smooth caress was what always brought me back ñ away from an earthquake of emotion.

I felt the dampness of the soil and looked up, emotions now contained. “You gave them a drink.” It wasn’t a question, because I had the proof, and we both knew she did it.

“I think they missed you and needed some substance,” Kallan said gently.

Looking into her knowledgeable, swirling blue eyes, I understood that she needed an outlet that nothing but the water could give her.

Sitting back now and finding a new source of release, my fingers tangled within the toughs of grass, coarse against my skin, I watched my sister. Kallan looked up from a garden that was growing and brightening within each second we sat there, and she shocked me at the look she gave.

“Kaia,” Kallan spoke but didn’t finish.

I knew she was waiting for me to encourage her on with my own response. “Yes, Sister?”

She looked at me with a stronger look, knowing the intimate name I only ever saved for her. She has my respect in all ways of life. Kallan was the one to mother us to adulthood, when Kenna was pushed out of our family, and we followed. A family that was never quite considered one...or I didn’t consider it a family.

Kallan was also the one who never backed off when I shut down to the most extreme. She’s kept pumping the emotion out of me when I wanted to become a cold soulless rock. Kallan was all of our anchors in one way or another, and ever since Kenna and Camira found their mates, we’ve glued ourselves to each other like you wouldn’t believe.

My sister moved around the garden to sit next to me, placing her hand over mine. “A death?”

For a moment I let her see the heart break that had pierced my chest open and leaned my head on her shoulder. Only for a moment. That’s all I ever gave, whether it was a long or a short moment, my sisters only got a moments time of my emotional heart. Then I lifted my head and my heart was cold again. A cold ice of my own making that I didn’t know how to break.

Kallan picked my hand up from the grass and cradled it within her two tender ones. It was as close to a mother’s touch as I’ve gotten in a long time. It felt good and needed deep down. Soon the rocky edges in me began to smooth over by the rush of waterfall-like emotion Kallan was giving off.

Then my hand shook, like my muscles were earlier, and her hands were like a vise grip around mine. Everything froze for a moment as Kallan tried to sense the shake in my hand again. When it happened, Kallan gave me a very hard look, and if the river were close by it would have threatened to over flow.

“Kaia, why haven’t you given yourself the pleasure you need?” it was a question filled with demand, and something I shouldn’t ignore. A mother’s command and a sister’s worry.

But I did ignore it and the effect was a ripple of anger kissing the air around us. The wind blew and I found another subject immediately. “So how’s Camira doing?”

“Why don’t you go ask her?” It was a hardened question, filled with the remnants of a subject ignored.

“You know why.” And she did. Kallan knew that Camira and I had a sisterly relationship, but it was a difficult one. It didn't have the friendship that glued her and Kenna together. It was a relationship that felt distant, and was distant. But every time the wind blew somewhere inside me I knew it was Camira and it was enough. Enough to know she still sees me. But it should have never been enough, and ever since Camira’s run in with the Nedra prison and then finding her mate, I've felt like I’ve needed to give her space. Space that was completely and totally unnecessary. I knew I was always welcome, but I never opened myself enough to give her that feeling of sisterly bond.

Being pulled back into the conversation, I heard Kallan say, with authority, “Well, I’m putting some things on your to-do list for today.”

I waited, knowing what they were and needing them to be said aloud.

“I want you to go meet Dagon and talk to Camira -”

“Dagon?” the name sounded familiar, but I couldn’t place it. That’s horrible, I thought, just...horrible. I’m pretty sure I’ve met him a long while back.

Kallan sighed sharply, frustrated beyond belief and proving her point all in one. “Dagon. Her mate, obviously, and the Horned One who saved Kenna and Calder’s behinds that night they went to the club.” Then as if she almost forgot, Kallan quickly added, “he’s not part of the Horned Ones anymore.”

I nodded and let her continue down the very short list of things I needed to do.

“Okay and lastly, if you don’t get your butt down to Paxton by midday, I’ll get Kenna to help me drag you there.” Almost as a second thought she finished, “we may even find you the partner you need.”

My mouth fell open uncharacteristically, and Kallan pulled one of the slyest of smiles I’ve ever seen.

“Fine.” I said, deep down thankful that I had someone tell me what I needed. It was one of those feelings where you have to tell someone you’re doing something so you’ll do it. And if Kallan hadn’t just told me to go see Camira, who knows how long that would have taken.


That morning, around three, I went to a club called Dirty Little Thing. I had no idea why Kallan had to boss me around. The music hummed through my veins as I walked in, taking in the scent of sweat and sex. I immediately headed for the dance floor.

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