I shouldn’t trust him. He’s connected to Ambrose. He’s FRIENDS with Ambrose. For all I know, he could be Ambrose’s co-worker with his own long list of people he’s tortured and mutilated and changed. Only a fool would put his trust in someone like that.
I am not a fool. Ambrose beat and broke the foolishness out of me long ago. I’m not going to hand off my trust to the first red-eyed creep I meet.
He sighed softly as Raven held him closer. But…
The way he’s holding me.
The way he’s carrying me.
I don’t know if I can or should trust him. Things can change too suddenly and too fast. Betrayal can happen faster than one can blink.
Ambrose came to the front door and unlocked it for Raven. The two men had a quick and easy conversation that Greg didn’t bother listening to. Ambrose held the door open.
Greg leaned his head against Raven’s shoulder as the red-eyed vampire carried him into the house. But I feel safe in his arms.
Time alone will tell if I am a fool to feel this way.
Nostalgia swept over Raven as he carried the injured man up the stairs. This was not the first man he’d carried into his house. There had been others.
But not Navarre, Pete, or Clay. They had found their own separate ways to him. But it didn’t matter how they had entered his life. Raven had taken them all in without hesitation. He had protected them.
He had protected all of them, until that last day.
Raven reached the top landing and headed to Robin’s room. He could have put Greg in Ambrose’s old room. But he was pretty sure that Greg would not welcome being surrounded by Ambrose’s scent. It would very likely give the injured man nightmares.
Raven managed to pull back the blankets on Robin’s bed. He laid him down. “This is a temporary situation until Robin returns. Then, I will need to relocate you to Ambrose’s room. I apologize in advance for any discomfort that may cause.”
If Greg heard him at all, he didn’t bother showing it. He stayed asleep.
He carefully pulled the blanket up to Greg’s shoulders. “I will bring you something to eat after I see my guests off.” He smoothed the blanket. “Sleep well, sir.”
“I still can’t believe that you and Raven were at Mark Caten’s.” Ambrose said to Sammy. “How did Raven talk you into it?”
Sammy smiled a calm, neutral smile. “Very easily. Raven told me he believed that Caten had imprisoned Robin. So, of course, I had to do something. Both you and I know what it’s like to be imprisoned by him. I couldn’t turn Raven down.”
Lee bumped her nostrils against Sammy’s back. Can we leave now, Sammy? We have only so many hours left before we meet your elder. I don’t want to spend all of those hours standing here and talking.
Lee lowered her head to the ground.
It took a lot of scrambling and near falling, but Sammy managed to climb up to the top of her head. He looked down at Barbara and Ambrose. Even with Lee resting her chin flat on the ground, Sammy still towered high above the newlyweds. “Have fun on your honeymoon!”
Ambrose wrapped his arm around Barbara’s waist. She looked up at her husband with blatant love. “We will.” she said. He smiled before kissing her.
Sammy walked down Lee’s neck to the kaavamachae, a shallow concavity between her shoulder blades. It was where her baby would have curled up during flight while its wings were still immature. The baby’s soft claws would have held on tight to the specialized fur scales lining the concavity.
He sat and gently stroked the fur scales. They will never know a newborn’s grip.
He bowed his head. Kittens and puppies romping in a sunny field. Brilliant blue skies. Rainbows. Tanzanites. Malachite. Jars filled with lapis lazuli. Oceans that seem to touch the sky.
Lee craned her head towards him. Samer? Are you okay?
He looked up at her. “Yes. Let’s become skye.”
Her clear amber eyes did not look convinced by his ‘Yes’. But she didn’t argue it. Hold on tight.
He dug his fingers into the soft scales. “I’m ready.”
She straightened her neck and flew up into the sky.