** Continuation of November 7th, 2010 post. Please click here for Chapter 9.
Rae slammed the door behind him as he stormed in to the sitting room in search of something to let loose on. His eyes landed on the bottles lining the back of the bar and he lunged for them, uncaring what it was he picked up; he twisted off the cap and poured the contents of the bottle down his throat.
My Archeia. How can she be mine? She’s…oh fuck me…my mate.
A discreet cough behind him made Rae choke on the whisky that was burning its way down his throat and he turned to see his sister reading a book in one of the wing backed chairs by the French doors. Not bothering to put the bottle down, Rae crossed over and flung himself into the chair opposite hers.
“Everything alright? You don’t normally drink at, what time is it?” Remiele looked at the watch on her wrist and shot her brother a reproachful look. “Two thirty in the afternoon? Azrael, what in the world?”
Another slug of whisky found itself poured down his throat before he responded to his sister. “Did you know Ardeur is a Nephilim?”
Remiele put her book down and gave her brother a surprised look. “No. Why? Is the Angel of Death afraid of a tiny woman?” The tightness around his mouth and the way the muscle ticked in the side of his jaw told Remiele just how on edge her brother truly was and she relented on the teasing. “She really disturbed you that much, Rae?”
“Yeah, she did. I’ve never seen anything like the power she let loose in the kitchen a few minutes ago. It calls to me.” His eyes caught a flicker of movement outside and he twitched the curtains aside to see the subject of their discussion making her way across the lawn toward the stand of Sycamore trees. “That woman could give me a serious run for my money if it came to a battle of wills, Remi.”
She followed his gaze and watched the woman who sat under a tree and closed her eyes. Remi smiled as she recognized the lotus position and turned back to contemplate the foul mood her brother was letting fester. “She seems harmless enough, Rae. Look at her.”
Azrael turned his gaze back out to look at Ardeur who was meditating under the trees with a ring of tiny birds calmly watching the curious creature in their midst. He couldn’t resist a small smile at the ridiculousness of the image that was made even more hilarious by the appearance of a fuzzy brown bunny at the edge of the circle. It sat and watched Ardeur, both ears flopped down on either side of its head, completely at ease and unaware of the wicked power Rae knew was hiding beneath the pretty blond package that Ardeur presented. “Run you fools. Run.”
The peaceful scene in the garden was interrupted by a shrill shriek followed shortly by a football that landed squarely where the bunny had been seconds before. Christian and Valencia, one of the other residents of the Abbey, bolted across the lawn to retrieve the football and Rae watched his brother’s lover make introductions. He turned back to face his sister and rolled his eyes at the smirk on her face.
“Seems to me, you’re the only one bothered by Ardeur.” Remiele cocked an eyebrow at her brother and gave him an appraising once over. “One would think that an Angel and a Necromancer would get along famously. No?”
Rae downed another inch of liquid courage before handing the bottle to Remiele and rising from his chair. “You would think so. If only it were as simple as her being a necro – but she isn’t. She’s Nephilim…and a dark one at that.” And my Archeia. My mate.
Remiele watched him leave and when she didn’t see Rae’s tall form crossing the lawn she made the decision to go out and join the small group laughing in the shade.
Rae sat down in the heavy wooden chair behind his desk and dropped his head into his hands. He hadn’t dared tell his sister that what had truly bothered him was that his power recognized what Ardeur had let loose in the kitchen.
The darkness in her soul matched the piece of himself that Rae had lost twenty five years ago. He had given it to her so she could live, unaware of the damnation that his gift would rain down upon the unsuspecting baby. Without meaning to, he’d turned her into a lesser form of himself and the power that had been inherent in the child had transformed Ardeur into something that was beyond rare in the realm of all things angelic.
Everything that Celine had told him about the miserable life Ardeur had led came back to Azrael. “I should have known, should have sensed the power in her when I held her soul.”
He dropped his head down to the thick blotter on the desktop with a heavy thud as the guilt took over. “Stupid dumbass move.”
The animals scattering and the subtle quaking of the earth under me were my first indications that something or someone was approaching, and damn fast too. A female screech was the second signal and my senses kicked into gear seconds before the football hit the ground and bounced up to land squarely in the palm of my hand.
I opened my eyes calmly and smiled at Christian and a woman I hadn’t met yet when they approached. They were laughing and pushing at each other, clearly having fun. “Hey, Chris. Who’s your friend?”
The beautiful brunette in designer everything dropped down to the grass, she didn’t seem to care whether she got grass stains on her clothes or not, and held her hand out to me. “Valencia. You must be Ardeur. Chris has been telling me about you.”
Christian flopped down on the grass next to Valencia and propped his head on his hand. He reached out and plucked the football from my hand. “Nice catch. I told ye nothing beyond her name and that she is a cute package of yumminess.” He flicked the football up into the air and caught it neatly. “Where did ye learn to catch a ball like that? I don’t think even Val here could have caught that with her super skills.”
I closed my eyes to open myself a bit and catch the flavor of Valencia’s energy. My eyes popped open in surprise and looked over the darkly beautiful creature that was part vampire and part human. She met my gaze and flashed her fangs at me while making a goofy face that had me, and Christian, laughing.
“Nice to meet you, Val. Don’t believe anything the Fairy told you about me. Lies – all lies.”
A shadow that ended at a pair of blood red stilettos fell over our trio and we all looked up to see Remiele smiling down at us. “Can I join the party or is it by invitation only?”
Chris scooted to sit down and patted the grass between himself and Val invitingly. “Free for all. Sit, Lovie and join the fun.” Remiele kicked her shoes off causing Christian to shriek like a banshee at her treatment of them. “Ye can’t treat Louboutin’s like that, Remi. Have ye no respect woman?”
I couldn’t help but laugh at the eye rolls from both Remiele and Valencia at Christian who had retrieved the precious designer shoes and was cuddling them like small, red leather children to his broad chest. Remiele retrieved her shoes and gave Christian a nudge with the tip of one. “Weren’t you two going to play football in the orchard?”
Valencia took the hint for what it was and rose, hand held out to Chris. “Come on, Rainbow Brite. I think the headmistress wants to talk to the new girl.” Christian hopped up, agile as a cat, and the two of them ran off toward what I assumed was the orchard.
Remiele turned back and I could tell by the way her eyes narrowed slightly that she was assessing me while formulating her strategy. I sat calmly, and smiled back at her under the undulating shadows of the sycamore leaves.
“I hear you gave Rae a bit of a show in the kitchen earlier.” Ah, so there it was. It hadn’t taken long for that newsflash to make the rounds. “Can I ask why you did it?”
The second question was unexpected and it took me a second to reply. “He refused to take no for an answer and kept pushing at my shields. My demon was pushing at them as well from the inside and, when I lost control of them, my shields dropped.” Our two sets of eyes met and searched each other; her slate blue to my darker periwinkle. “I gave him fair warning and he refused to listen.” My lips quirked into a half smile while my mind I recalled the horror on Rae’s face. “He pushed, and got what he wanted. It’s not my fault he didn’t like what he saw.”
Blue black curls bounced with her nod of understanding. Her lips parted, as if to speak, and I watched for a moment, waiting to see what she would ask next. “Does the meditation you do help?”
A burst of laughter bubbled up and out before I could stop it getting passed my lips. The startled look on Remiele’s face didn’t help any and the laughter started anew. I tried, between bouts of giggling, to explain that I wasn’t meditating but was actually reciting every shielding spell I could recall.
“Your brother screwed with my shields and I was trying desperately to fix things before Chris and Val showed up and startled me.”
My mention of shielding spells caught her attention and we spent the next hour comparing knowledge of various spells each of us had tried and whether we had found them to work or if they were useless. “Where did you learn all of these things, Ardeur? You have a vast knowledge of things that I truly didn’t expect you to understand; especially for one as young as you are.”
“Here, and there.” I shrugged and stood, dusting the bits of grass and dirt from my legs. “When my parents realized what I was capable of they took over my education. Only instead of having to read children’s stories they had me reading spell books and learning all kinds of occult things that a child shouldn’t know about.” Remiele stood and I smiled up at her. “Call me Ardy, please?”
Remiele nodded and tilted her head toward the library. “Come inside. Let me show you my collection of books. There is one I think you might find of particular interest.”
I followed her inside and learned just how interesting and invaluable her book was to someone such as me – a necromancer, but more importantly, someone sharing a body with a chaos demon.
The shadow falling over the page I was reading later that evening didn’t startle me. I was used to the shadows moving around me after having spent years hidden inside of them. “Excuse me? Are you Ardeur?” The sweet, sultry voice that came from behind me did catch my attention enough for me to lower the book and turn to see who was standing over my right shoulder.
“Ooh, a succubus. Haven’t seen one of those in ages.”
Shade perked up when I looked over the tall redhead with the most amazing eyes I had ever seen. Shut up jackass. “Yep. Who are you?”
My senses were swirling with the energy that was rolling off the woman as she circled around from behind my chair and sat in the one across from me. She was dressed in a short blue body hugging dress that might have been silk, but I couldn’t be sure since I’d never paid much attention to what I’d worn during my captivity and since then my wardrobe had been mostly denim, leather and cotton. Her perfume tickled my nose with the subtle scent of flowers and something musky underneath. Every inch of her oozed seduction.
What is it with these people and their designer clothes? Does being immortal equal a good wardrobe? Shade laughed but kept whatever smart answer he had to himself and left me to deal with the succubus on my own.
“My name is Nevan. I suspect your demon has already told you what I am so I’ll spare you the explanation.” She crossed her legs at the ankles and leaned forward, her swirling blue-green eyes nearly mesmerizing me with their shifting colors. It wasn’t hard to understand how men fell under a succubus’ spell so easily. “Remiele tells me that you are quite the powerhouse under the pretty, innocent exterior. She said you’re strong enough to have frightened even Azrael and I find that quite intriguing.”
I pulled the silky crimson ribbon that served as a bookmark over and laid it between the pages I’d been reading before closing the book and putting it aside. The action served a dual purpose for me in that it not only allowed me to break my eyes away from hers but also held my place in the book. I’d found an interesting chapter and would most definitely be coming back to it later.
When I looked back up it was with eyes gone soulless black. “Don’t push at my shields. Rae learned the hard way and I’m really not in the mood for a second go round today. Just tell me what you want and then get the hell out.”
She started to laugh. The sound was like the tinkling of bells and it only served to piss me off more until I had enough and let go just enough to give her a taste of what was hiding beneath the china doll appearance. “Now that I see I’ve got your attention, let me repeat – what do you want?”
“Eleuaphon.” Nevan blushed at the blurted out word and took a deep shuddering breath to compose herself before continuing. “Remiele told me that you could help me raise the spirit of her brother Eleuaphon to settle a dispute between Tate and Rae. I came to ask if you would, please, raise him for us.”
I blinked at her for a minute while I processed what she’d just asked me to do. “You want me to channel the spirit of an angel?” I’d never done anything like that before; didn’t know if I even could. “What do you care if Tate and Rae are fighting? Unless,” I looked her over and grinned as something that Rae had said in the kitchen earlier clicked in to place. “You’re the one. The woman that broke Tate’s heart. Well fuck a duck. Isn’t that just priceless?”
Something I’d said must have tripped a nerve because the next thing I knew the succubus was off her chair, in my face and the swirling colors in her eyes had fixed to a solid blue that glowed eerily from her drop dead gorgeous face. “Yes. I am the one Rae blames for turning one brother against him and for the death of the other.” She took a moment to compose herself and continued, “We, Remiele and I, need you to raise Eleuaphon in order for this ridiculous vendetta of Azrael’s to be put to rest.”
“And how do you know I can do this? Angels are supposed to be all virtuous and good; clearly – I’m not.”
The succubus and I sat in the quiet of the library for a moment while we contemplated each other. Her darker, more seductive looks in stark contrast to my much lighter, innocent ones. “You truly believe you’re not good enough? Don’t you know what you are? What you can do?”
“Do you?” I watched her eyes widen when I let go of the hold on my shields. The scent of death overpowered my own sweet tangerine smell. Nevan gasped as the room began to darken, lights flickering and then going out until nothing was left to illuminate the room but the light from the windows. “Do you really think I’m good, at all?”
I watched Nevan’s hair lift from her back by hands unseen or felt by her. The curtains rustled yet there was no breeze in the room and a pillow whizzed between us to land against the French doors.
“You’ve let your demon convince you that what you can do is evil, and that’s not what it is, Ardeur.” Her voice was strong, unwavering. “Remiele sensed the good in you, the innocence and I can too. You are not what your demon has tried to make you believe. You are good enough and you’re damn well strong enough. I can feel it, see it.”
Shade, of course, took this moment to pipe up and begin his usual evil egg, spawn of Satan speech in my head. Unfortunately for him, I’d about had enough of that particular tirade a long time ago. I smiled at the succubus and, just to piss the demon off, agreed to raise the dead angel for her and Remiele.
“Give me a few days to prepare. I’ll let you know when I’m ready.”
“You stupid bitch. I’ll make you pay for that. Just you watch and see.”
My eyes closed as if doing so would block out the obscenities that Shadekar was hurling at me.
When I opened them, the succubus was gone and I was once again alone in the library. I’d have been willing to bet that no time had passed except for the fact that the light coming through the windows was that of early dawn and the clothes I was wearing were not the ones I’d had on when I sat down in the chair.
A chill ran down my spine as I stood and fled the library in search of my room and the clothes I hoped I’d find there. My bag had yet to surface and the few items of clothes I’d been able to borrow were precious. Without them I’d be forced to wear whatever Shade found to dress me in when he broke through my shields and took over running the show.
I breathed a sigh of relief when I found the shortened jeans from Valencia and the t-shirt Remiele had given me lying haphazardly across the bed. “Thank god.”
There was a knock on the door as I reached for the jeans and I turned to see Remiele standing in the doorway with an expression somewhere between shock and amusement on her face. “What on Earth are you wearing?”
“You don’t want to know. Can you gather everyone in the library at five? We’re raising your brother tonight.”
The expression on her beautiful face solidified into shock at my request. “Oh, um, okay. Everyone?”
I started to peel off the camisole that was barely covering my assets and turned my back to her. “Yep. I’ve got a few things I need to read up on but I’m pretty sure I’ve got down what needs to be done. Trust me, the more people that are there the better.” I pulled the scrap of black material over my head and looked at Remiele over my shoulder. “If you’ll excuse me – I need to get dressed.”
The sound of stilettos echoing down the hall told me she was gone and I hurried to change so that I could get back to the library and the book that had given me the key to getting rid of Shadekar for good.
“He’ll never agree to it. No one ever wanted to help you before so why start now?”
“Buzz off Shade.” It was going to be a long day.
This concludes the free preview of Possession is Nine Tenths – Ardeur. If you’ve enjoyed what has been posted so far and would like to continue reading, the entire book is available for purchase on Goodreads, Smashwords, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Sony eReader, Apple iBooks and Diesel eBook Store.
Copyright © 2010 Danielle Gavan
All rights reserved. This is a work of fiction. All names, characters, locations, and incidents are products of the author’s imagination, or have been used fictionally. Any resemblance to actual persons living or dead, locales, or events is entirely coincidental. No portion of this work may be transmitted or reproduced in any form, or by any means, without permission in writing from the author.