Midnight's Master Page 30

Emily shoved to her feet and hurried to his side. "I'm all right, Colin. I don't need-"


He kicked the door closed. Hard enough to have her windows rattling. "You don't need this jerkoff giving you a hard time. I want you to stay away from Emily, got me, demon? We both know you're trouble and-"


Niol rose slowly to his feet and despite the fact that Colin's claws were out and his teeth were lengthening into fangs, the demon didn't look worried. "I'm not staying away from her."


A growl.


"I need her." His head tilted. "And I'd hate to have to hurt you, seeing as how I know Emily has become uncomfortably fond of you, but I need her. "


Colin sprang forward.


Emily grabbed his arm, pulling back at once. "Colin, let him talk." Something was happening here, something important.


Colin's body vibrated beneath her touch. "Fine." Barely human. "But if he pisses me off, I'm taking his head."


A real threat, that.


She turned to Niol. "Why me?"


"You can build the best mental shielding I've ever seen in my life." Admiring. "I need that talent."


Like a level-ten needed help keeping his mind secure from others. "Bullshit." Sometimes, Emily just had to call 'em like she saw 'em.


"A debt, doctor, remember?"


"You're not gettin' in Em's mind! You're not-"


Niol shook his head, interrupting Colin's snarl. "I don't want in her head. I want her to use her talent to get into the minds of demons-and to teach them to shield."


Her mouth was open, but Emily didn't know what to say. Demons had their own, instinctive shielding. It came with the psychic power. Why would-


"Sometimes what nature gives isn't enough," Niol said, as if reading her mind.


And the guy probably could.


He strode toward them. Stood toe-to-toe with Colin. "You're in my way, wolf."


Colin's jaw clenched, but after a moment, he stepped to the side.


Niol kept walking. Grabbed the doorknob and wrenched open the door, heading into her waiting room.


"Vanessa called you, didn't she?" Emily whispered. And the man had made amazing time. She craned her neck, watching Niol.


"Hell, yeah, she-"


Niol strode to the left. He stopped and bent toward a dark-haired man and a thin, pale teen.


Then he glanced back at her.


"Who are they?" Colin whispered.


Demons. She saw right through their glamour.


And now they were heading right toward her.


"Colin…give me a minute with them, okay?"


The fangs weren't showing now, but the wolf was in his eyes. "You sure?"


Niol answered. "Yes, she's sure."


Colin didn't move.


Emily smiled. "I'm sure." She didn't sense any kind of threat from them, but she did see desperation.


Niol led the other demons into her office. Emily followed at a slower pace, her mind whirling.


The teen sat on the edge of her couch, his hands clenched before him. The older demon-had to be his father, they looked just alike-stood by his shoulder, rocking nervously back and forth on his heels.


Niol didn't sit this time. "Tell me, Doctor Drake…"


Now he was being formal?


"Have you ever heard of a demon getting the Dark Touch?"


Her heart slammed into her ribs. The Dark Touch.


A demon with the Touch was cursed to only pick up the psychic touch of the evil in the world.


Killers, rapists-they all called to the dark demons.


They called and insanity and death followed.


"It first hits at puberty," Niol said. "When a demon's powers begin to develop."


She'd heard that.


"It gets worse as the demon ages. The voices get louder-"


The teen flinched. His eyes were down, boring a hole into the floor.


"Some drugs quiet 'em, for a time. Others just make them scream louder."


The father had his lips pressed together. His eyes stayed up, on her.


Help him. It was in the man's eyes.


She glanced at Niol. And in his.


A bead of sweat trickled down between her shoulder blades. She wouldn't give false hope. The kid would deserve better than that. "Niol, I'm not sure-"


"I am." Absolutely certain. "You can keep a level-ten demon out of your head, you can-"


"Myles was a level-nine," she told him. Niol should know that. He didn't make mistakes-


"I'm not." Black eyes held her. "And you can keep me out without even trying these days."


These days.


It had been a test. One long-ass test.


"Teach him how to block, Dr. Drake. Teach Ken how to keep the voices out and the darkness at bay."


The boy looked up, blinking.


Emily stared at him. His eyes…demon black, but familiar.


Because she'd seen that stark fear before. The wild horror that insanity was close.


She'd looked like that, years ago. Every time she'd glanced in a mirror, she'd seen the same thing.


A firm nod. "Right." She reached for her pad and motioned for the door. No audience was allowed. Niol knew the rules, of that she had no doubt. "Ken, my name is Emily Drake, and I-I'm going to help you." She would help him.


And the others she suspected Niol would be bringing her way.


Niol inclined his head and walked quietly toward the door.


When the door shut, Emily forgot him and turned her attention to Ken.


And the darkness around him. A darkness that was very different from that she sensed around Niol. Because this darkness, maybe she could fight it.


CHAPTER 16


Two car wrecks. A bank robbery. And a shooting in the suburbs.


It had really been one bitch of a day. Holly rolled her shoulders, more than ready to leave the station and head home.


Or to Niol's-because she needed to see him.


How bad was that?


A knock sounded on her door. Her new door. She'd demanded a new office and gotten one.


Granted, it was small and she knew it had been the storage closet until oh-about six hours ago, but she wouldn't complain.


Holly glanced up and found Mac standing in her doorway. "What's up?" She asked cautiously, half afraid the guy would send her out to cover another story.


Not tonight.


His eyes narrowed. "We need to talk, Storm."


Great.


She motioned to the one chair across from her desk. No room for more.


He shut the door and marched over.


He didn't take the seat. "How long you known about 'em?"


She blinked. The lines on Mac's face looked deeper tonight. His hair a bit grayer. "What are you talking about?" With Mac, it could be any-


"The damn fucking demons, Storm. How. Long?"


Her jaw dropped.


"It was that asshole who got torched in the alley, wasn't it?" He shot at her. "Always knew there was more to the case. Figured you had to know after that, especially when you hooked up with Niol." Mac shook his head. " Christ, Niol? Were you just looking for the toughest asshole you could find?"


In a way, yeah, she had been.


Holly considered her options, fast.


Okay, she didn't have many and Mac was glaring at her like-


"Knew Niol was a demon the first time I saw him."


How?


"Are…you a demon?" That would make sense, but-


"Hell, no." His shoulders stiffened. "Human. One hundred percent human."


She couldn't say the same. "Then how did you-"


"I saw my first demon back in 'Nam. He'd taken a hit, dead center in his chest." His chin lifted.


"Knew there wasn't anything I could do. I was a medic with piss little training and I was in a fucking jungle with gunfire all around me." He sucked in a breath. "Told the kid he wasn't alone, thought it would help him. Then he turned his head and looked at me-"


She knew where this was going. At a time like that, the glamour-


"His eyes were black. Never seen anything like it before." A pause. Thick. "But I sure as hell have since."


She didn't look away from him. Did he know her own secret?


"More people than you realize know about the demons." His hands were fisted. Big fists, now that she noticed them. "And not all humans are happy about the paranormals."


Not a newsflash.


The small office felt even, well, smaller. The desk separated them, but Mac's gaze seemed to bore into her.


"Some folks think demons should be wiped off the earth."


She'd always liked Mac and his no-nonsense attitude. Always thought he was smart. Tough as nails.


But, dammit, had that just been a threat? "Some folks don't understand this world we live in very well." Her voice was even. Impressive, that. "Demons aren't evil-"


"They're not all evil."


"Just like humans!" She fired back.


He nodded. "Thought that would be the case with you. Specially after I heard about your new boyfriend."


What in the hell was happening?


He leaned over her desk. Stabbed a finger toward her. "Stay on your guard, Storm. You might be safe, but Niol will always attract trouble."


Then he turned around and stalked out and Holly stared after him, still not sure…


Had Mac been threatening her, or trying to warn her?


The storm that had loomed since noon finally unleashed its pounding fury just as Holly ran for Niol's front door. She'd gone to him, headed straight for his house, when she'd finally slipped out of the station just after the last broadcast.


Her skin was soaked in seconds as she ran and-


"Holly."


Niol stood before her. Raindrops slid down his cheeks. His dark T-shirt clung to him, molding to his chest as the rain pounded against him.


He'd been waiting for me?


She stumbled to a halt, caught by his stare and the roar of thunder.


The rain was a cold touch on her skin. Stinging.


And Niol seemed just out of reach.


Then he moved toward her.


Maybe she should have called first. Maybe she was presuming one hell of a lot by showing up on his doorstep, but she'd-


Wanted him. "Niol, I-"


He kissed her. An openmouthed, knee-shaking kiss that screamed possession and lust the way the storm screamed its fury.


His hands locked on her hips. Slid down and caught the curve of her ass. He jerked her against him, right against the bulge of arousal that couldn't be hidden with the wet clothing.


The cold wasn't affecting him.


And it sure wasn't slowing her down any.


His mouth lifted and he stared at her, those secrets still in his eyes. "I was going to stay away."


What?


"Fucking can't."


His head bent and his mouth pressed against her neck. Oh, yes. She'd always loved it when-


The swirl of his tongue.


The faintest press of his teeth.


Her nails dug into his shoulders and her head tipped back. If the man wanted access…


Her thighs parted and he slid one muscled leg against her core. She rocked against him. Not enough.


Not nearly.


"If we don't get inside in the next thirty seconds…" Growled against her throat. Holly shivered.


"I'll take you here."


Tempting. She'd never made love in a rainstorm and it sounded wild and sexy and-


And her guards were out there somewhere. Waiting. Watching.


Her eyes opened, blinking against the raindrops. "In…side." Okay, yeah, that was her sounding all hoarse. Couldn't help it.


A nip of those teeth.


Heat pooled in her sex.


He grabbed her hand and ran with her toward the brightly lit house. Water splashed around them.


Thunder rumbled close by.


The thick wooden door opened just as they reached the steps. Handy trick, that.


Warmth hit her, battling against the chill she'd all but stopped feeling.


The door slammed.


She pushed wet hair out of her eyes. Jeez, she probably looked like hell. Serious drowned-rat syndrome while he-


He looked good wet. Hair dripping. Muscles flexing beneath the shirt that clung like a second skin.


Holly swallowed. Oh, damn.


Niol reached for her-


But Holly shook her head. "I'm taking you this time, demon."


He blinked.


She smiled and sank to her knees before him.


"Holly, you don't have to-"


Removing wet jeans was a very tricky business. "I want to." She wanted to taste him so badly that her mouth had gone dry.


The snap popped loose. The zipper hissed down.


His arousal sprang into her hands. Full and long and thick and-


And she wanted him.


Holly bent her head and took the tip of his erection into her mouth.


"Fuck."


Not now, but soon.


She licked him, learning his shape slowly, using her lips and her tongue to tease and take.


As he'd taken her.


A drop of his essence leaked out and she tasted him. Salty, but strangely sweet. He tasted different from a human-better.


She wanted more.


Another inch. Two. His length slid into her mouth as his hands sank into her hair.


"Love, that's good. So damn good. "


It was sure good for her. Holly's sex clenched as she took him. More, now, deeper.


His hold on her became harder and her mouth moved faster. Her cheeks pulled in as she took him. Her fingers dug into his ass– great ass-and her nipples ached as the need and lust tangled within her.


Her gaze lifted to his face. Flushed cheeks. Shining eyes.


"Dark," he whispered and she knew that her own eyes had changed. His jaw clenched.

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