Living Nightmare

Page 13


“Go, Madoc. I’m tired of making you squirm. Just leave.”
He’d hurt her feelings. He could hear it in her voice. He wanted to be sorry, and maybe part of him was, but the smarter part knew that if she hated him, she’d be a lot safer, so he walked out without bothering to offer an apology.
The farther away from her he got, the better off they’d both be.
Then why the hell wasn’t he walking to his truck? Why was he headed back to his suite, where he planned to stay until he knew she was well guarded?
Leaving her body? Was she nuts?
A grim laugh rumbled in his chest. Of course she was nuts. That was the whole problem. She wasn’t sane enough to leave alone, and she wasn’t sane enough to stay away from him.
Clearly, he was crazy, too, because somewhere deep down, a part of him thought he could actually help her rather than just make things worse. If that didn’t make him certifiable, he didn’t know what would.
As exhausted as Nika was, she couldn’t sleep. The pull of the monsters on her mind was weaker during the day, but there were a few Synestryn presences inside her that were strong enough to make themselves known even while the sun burned overhead. Usually, they didn’t bother her, but she could feel one rousing from its sleep, poking at her, tentatively looking for weaknesses.
She tried to shut it out, put up her barriers, and sleep, but every time she closed her eyes, she saw the twisting, malignant darkness growing inside Madoc.
It hadn’t been there the last time she saw him—at least not like this. Something was wrong and he was hiding it, even from her.
It was killing him.
She wasn’t going to get any rest until she figured out what it was, and she really needed her rest if she was going to find Tori. The farther away she was from someone, the harder it became to find them as well as find her way back to her body. She didn’t want to locate her sister only to find that she couldn’t get back into her body and do anything with the information.
Besides, she worried that if she didn’t make it back, her body would slip away and she’d be left to roam around, unseen and insubstantial, for eternity. The thought scared her almost as much as having her mind ripped apart by demons again.
Nika’s grasp on reality was stronger now than it had been since the attack. She wasn’t going to do anything to mess that up. Sleep was mandatory, and she knew the one person who could hold the Synestryn at bay long enough for her to get it.
She pulled her weary body from the bed, went to Madoc’s quarters, and knocked on the door.
“Go away,” came his gruff reply.
“Let me in.”
“Not gonna happen. Go home.”
Nika tried the door. It was locked, but she guessed that Nick or someone else was watching through the security cameras that covered every inch of the hallways. She went to the nearest one, looked into it, and said, “Open Madoc’s door.”
She had no idea if anyone heard or saw her, but when she got back to the door and saw the light turn green, she knew someone up there was watching.
The door opened two inches before Madoc’s hand slammed against it and pushed it closed again. The light turned red.
“I’m going to kill Nicholas,” growled Madoc.
“I need to see you.”
Silence greeted her.
“Fine,” she yelled through the door. “I’ll just sit out here until you decide to let me in.”
She heard something heavy being moved across the floor, then thud against the door. No more unlocked doors for her.
The rejection stung, but that was just too bad. Time to get over it already. She’d wait as long as it took. He had to come out sometime.
Nika put her back to the door and slid down to sit against it. The chilly air surrounded her, sliding easily through her thin cotton nightgown. She wished she’d thought to throw some clothes on before she came here, or at least a robe. Chances were that if she left now, Madoc would escape, jump in his truck, and it would be another seven months before she saw him again.
She feared that by that time, whatever it was that was growing inside him would consume him and there’d be nothing left of her Madoc.
Her Madoc. Nika snorted at that. He was no more hers than the moon was. She could enjoy being in its presence, but it was too far away to touch, always distant and cold.
At least when she was this close to him, she felt safe.
Fatigue pulled at her until she gave in and lay down, curled up in front of his door. If he left, she’d wake, and in the meantime, his presence nearby would guard her dreams and fight any Synestryn that dared to invade her mind while she slept.
Nika haunted him.
Madoc could not get her out of his mind. Part of him wanted to cradle her and hold her close, protecting her from the world’s evils, but the rest of him wanted her writhing on his cock, screaming out her pleasure while he pounded into her.
He had no idea why he couldn’t get her out of his mind—why one crazy woman had the ability to tie him up so completely, knotting his insides until the space between taking her and protecting her seemed too small a thing to care about.
Madoc lay on his bed, his erection rising from his naked body, throbbing in time with his pulse. He wrapped his fingers around himself as he imagined Nika sliding down his body, taking his cock in her mouth. Her white hair slid forward, tickling his thighs, while her big blue eyes stared up at him as she sucked him.
His phone rang, jerking him from his fantasy.
“What?” he snarled into the receiver.
“Nika’s asleep outside your door,” said Nicholas.
“Don’t care.” It was a huge lie, but one he was going to stand by.
“You need to let her in or take her back to her suite. You can’t leave her lying out there with strangers who want to paw at her roaming the halls.”
“Not interested. Do it yourself.”
Nicholas’s voice rose in irritation. “Anyone could come by.”
“You can keep an eye out for her. It’s not my job.”
“You need to deal with her. Clearly, she has some reason to be hanging outside your door.”
“She’s crazy. No help for it.”
“Damn it, Madoc! She’s not even dressed. She’s wearing a nightgown, all curled up like she’s freezing.”
“Get her a blanket.”
“Don’t you think that if I could touch her, I’d be out there already, taking care of her?”
The picture Nicholas painted made a protective rage swell up inside him, but he knew that if he opened that door, Nika was going to be the one to regret it. No one seemed to understand that like he did.
Of course, his cock thought opening the door was a great idea. She was all sleepy and vulnerable. He could lay her down on his bed and bury himself inside her before she even had time to wake up. If he covered her mouth, he could muffle the screams.
She might even like it. She sure as hell kept throwing herself at him enough to make him think she was asking for it.
Something in that logic was flawed, but with Nicholas’s voice buzzing in his ear and Nika right outside his door, he didn’t have enough mental space to figure out what it was.
Silence filled the line, like Nicholas was waiting for a response.
Pretend you have honor. The reminder rang inside Madoc’s head.
A man with honor would not be thinking about fucking a crazy chick’s brains out. He’d open the door, take Nika home, and tuck her safely into her own bed.
She’ll just come back, a dark voice whispered inside him. Why bother?
Impatience rang in Nicholas’s tone. “One of those foreigners is going to pass by and think he can touch her. Don’t you think she’s already blistered enough?”
“Call Joseph.” If Madoc opened that door, he was going to bring her inside and hurt her a hell of a lot more than a few blisters could.
“Screw it. I’ll do it myself.”
“Good choice.”
“You know, you’re probably right. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen any action. My cameras are pretty good, and I’d bet my favorite gaming PC that she’s not wearing panties. I’ll check and give you the juicy details later.” The line went dead.
Rage poured into his system, making his head pound. Nika was his, damn it. No fucking way was Madoc going to let Nicholas get anywhere near her.
He dropped the phone and was off his bed before it hit the ground. He jerked the sheet from the bed, wrapped it around his hips, and shoved the kitchen table away from the door. It toppled over, hitting a wall hard enough to leave a dent in the drywall.
Madoc opened the door and saw Nika curled up in a tight ball. The racket he’d made getting to her hadn’t even made her stir.
Something in the general vicinity of his chest broke open and bled as he looked at her. It was torture being so close to her, knowing it was wrong, knowing what he wanted to do.
But who else was there to take care of her? Her sister was gone. None of the other Theronai could touch her but him, and none of the humans here was strong enough to be entrusted with her care.
He was her only option, and as shitty as that was for her, they were stuck with each other. At least until the right Theronai came along. And he would. Madoc had to believe that as much as he dreaded it.
He picked her up, enjoying the weight of her in his arms, the feel of her against his bare chest. He would have liked it better if she’d been naked, but even with the barrier of cloth between them, the contact seemed to calm something raging inside him even as it tempted him to let his lust take the wheel.
Madoc kicked the front door shut behind him, laid her in his bed, covered her up to her chin, and left the room, shutting the door behind him. He knew that if he looked back, he’d climb right in that bed with her and find out firsthand whether she was wearing panties.
Pain hammered at his bones, and he knew that if he didn’t do something to stop it, his body would fly apart. Mere flesh could not house so much pain. Every step he took away from her made it worse, so he didn’t go far—just outside the bedroom door.
He unsheathed his sword, set it on the floor, and knelt beside it. Years of meditation allowed him to slide into that space where time became nothing and his body faded, along with the pain and lust that threatened to drive him mad. It would all be there, waiting for him when he was done, but until then, he would occupy this gray, meaningless place to keep Nika safe from himself.
Grace plastered a bright smile on her face and walked into Torr’s suite. “How are you doing today?” she asked, trying to sound like her usual cheerful self.
“Better now that you’re here,” said Torr. The words were more slurred today than before, though whether that was because she was later than normal or because he was worse, she couldn’t be sure.
He lay on a hospital bed in his living room. The standard furniture that had been shoved to the walls rather than removed was now gone. Grace had no idea who’d done it, but it made Torr’s condition seem somehow worse. Instead of hoping that they’d find a cure and the bed would no longer be necessary, it seemed that now people were giving up on him, accepting that this was going to be the way things were for the rest of his long, long life. He’d given up on himself months ago. Maybe he didn’t like the hopeful reminder.