Drip Drop Teardrop Page 8

Rage shot her to her feet and she launched herself at him, pummelling his chest with her tiny fists. “You bastard!” she shrieked, not caring if she woke her aunt up. “You sick son-of-a-bitch!”

Brennus didn’t even flinch under the attack. He grabbed her wrists and thrust her away from him, holding tight. There was a ruthless quality in his eyes. Avery had the awful feeling this man, this Ankou, always got what he wanted. “If you come with me, if you choose me, if you love me…” he pleaded now, trying to draw her close. “…I get a gift, Avery. When I leave the Ankou, I get a gift for all the years I’ve honoured my obligation. I will use that gift to save Caroline. I’ll make it so you never existed and so that she never gets cancer. She’ll live a long happy life and she won’t remember you to miss you.”

A sob burst out from the pit of her chest. “You’re lying.”

“I’m not,” Brennus promised. “I never lie.”

“And if I don’t come with you for a week, you’ll come for her quicker?”

He nodded sharply.

“But I don’t have to stay with you for any longer?”

“Not if you think you don’t love me.”

Avery choked on her tears, glancing back to the doorway where her aunt slept. “What will happen to her? She needs someone to take care of her.”

“I’ll take care of it. We leave now, and she’ll wake up with a carer. When you get back she’ll never remember you’ve been gone.”

She stared at him dubiously.

“She’ll believe whatever I want her to believe, Avery.” His eyes had grown soft again. But she wasn’t fooled. There was darkness in him. He was ruthless, alien and strange, and she wanted nothing to do with him. Her mind knew that, even if her body didn’t.

But she wanted her aunt for a little while longer; she wasn’t ready to let go just yet.

“Fine. I’ll come with you.”

Brennus smiled in relief and, bizarrely, placed a hand out to her, his other arm reaching around her waist and drawing her close. “Will you dance with me, Avery?”

“W-what?” she stammered, completely dazed.

“I know how you love to dance.”

Tentatively Avery placed her hand in his and he drew her close, a rush of tingles exploding over her body at his close proximity. She hated herself and him for it. Slowly he began to dance with her, until he was moving them towards the fire escape. He bent down at the window and gracefully stepped out of it onto the escape, reaching a gentlemanly hand back in for her. Avery shuddered, throwing one last look over her shoulder, praying she could trust this dark being’s honour. With a deep breath she put a foot out of the window and suddenly the world whirl pooled around her, her skin feeling as if it were being sucked into a vacuum. She fell into Brennus’ arms just as the sensation began to disappear. She felt sick. She pushed against him and he steadied her, and when Avery glanced up her eyes widened. Pulling away from him, she took in the room, felt the soft carpet beneath her feet.

“Uhh… where are we?”

I’m Gonna Choose you ‘Cause

You Have No Choice

The room was huge. High ceilings, oversized fireplace, sofas, and armchairs. Everything was the height of luxury, expense and style; from the fabrics to the vases, to the flat screen television attached to one of the walls. Most breath-taking of all was the glass wall that looked out on to a wide balcony. Light flickered outside and Avery could just make out the dark sea of greenery for miles around the house. Jeez, it was an estate.

“Upstate,” Brennus finally answered her, seeming reluctant to let go of her arm. “My home.”

Avery turned in a slow circle, drinking it all in. “You guys must make good money.”

“I was considered wealthy in my mortal life. We’re allowed to keep our mortal state of being.”

She nodded carefully, afraid to look at him. Standing in these modern, beautiful surroundings he seemed almost human. And she didn’t want to forget that he wasn’t.

“I have questions,” she told him quietly, refusing to meet his eyes.

“Of course. That’s why you’re here. So we can get to know one another better.”

A morbid thought crossed her mind and she grimaced. “Who’s taking care of the dead while you’re here trying to schmooze me?”

Instead of answering Brennus gestured to one of the sofas near the fireplace. The flames flickered invitingly and Avery suddenly realised how cold she was in her pj bottoms and camisole. Tentatively she sat down near the edge of the sofa, the heat from the fire licking her skin deliciously, little goosebumps rising all over her skin. She watched curiously as Brennus walked over to a device on the wall near double doors. He pressed his finger to a touch screen and it made a buzzing sound.

“Sir?” a cultured accent asked softly.

Avery raised her eyebrow and Brennus smirked at her before speaking into the device. “Could we have a tea tray and some snacks sent up please, Ames?”

“Of course, sir.”

“Thank you.” Brennus pressed the touch screen again and then turned back to her.

Avery exhaled. “So how huge is this place?”

The annoying creature smirked at her again as he took a place across from her on the opposite sofa. “Which question shall I answer first?”

Trying to remember what the hell she’d asked first, Avery took a minute. Oh yeah, she slapped a hand to her head inwardly, the first, definitely the first. “Who’s taking care of the dead?”

At first she thought he wasn’t going to answer her. He just stared at her and she shifted uncomfortably. The longer he stared, the hotter she felt, a strange fluttery feeling in the pit of her stomach making her squirm. He was doing it deliberately.

Avery narrowed her eyes on him. “Well?”

“Apologies,” he replied in a low voice that made her tingle. “You’re just so beautiful.”

No one had ever told her she was beautiful before. And not like that. Josh had told her she was hot and a couple of guys had told her she was really cute. But not beautiful. And somehow she believed (or maybe she just wanted to believe) that this alien, damaged man in front of her actually meant it. Along with the warm fluffies she was getting, she was suddenly pissed off. “Yeah right,” she snapped. “You really gave me to time to dress for the occasion when you abducted me.”

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