Saturday, October 11, 2008

Pentacles of Magick: The Revealing by Eliza Gayle

The guard pushed Jessie into her cell far harder than he needed to, and her head slammed into the far wall. Beyond the point of physical pain, anger bubbled instead. She had to find a way out. She had the will, she just needed a plan.

Hours later, she had no ideas and she just wanted to rest for a while. She didn’t know how long she had, but she decided her only chance of escape would be when they came to get her. In that case, she needed to rest.

Click. Click. Click.

Still huddled on the floor in the corner, Jessie realized someone was at the door of her cell trying to get in. The fuzz of sleep slipped away as she realized this was it. It was too dark to see for sure, but the man standing there wasn’t her normal guard and he wasn’t opening the door with his keys.

“Jessie, is that you?” His deep male voice did not belong to any of the guards she was used to, yet there was something familiar about it.

“Yes,” she whispered.

“Jake sent me. We have to hurry.”

Her heart soared for her brother. She knew he wouldn’t leave her to die here. The door swung open and he reached his arm inside, waving for her to hurry up.

“Grab my hand, let’s go.”

She eagerly grasped his hand, willing her body to move her up and out of this hell hole.

In the light of the doorway, he turned back to say something to her and froze. His hand fell away from hers. “Is this some kind of fucking joke?”

She knew then, and raised her head to the all too familiar piercing blue eyes and wavy black hair. “Oh, shit. Noah…”

The breath stole from her lungs as the memories crashed down around her, threatening to debilitate her. Electricity stuttered through her system as her magick attempted to rise to the surface before sputtering to a halt. No magick, not now. Jessie took an unsteady step on weak and wobbly legs. She could do this, just take one step at a time.

“What the hell has he done to you?” Noah grabbed her around the waist, pulling her close to his strong, solid body. Her cold skin soaked up his heat with little regard to the fact that touching him was detrimental to her mental health. His gruff voice sounded like barely controlled rage, a beast rising to the surface. A feeling she could well identify with.

“Have…to…go…now. Not much time.” She looked into his eyes, trying to communicate their need to hurry.

“I would agree. This place is crawling with idiots and users, all itching to impress their boss. I prefer to get us both out of here undetected. No one has to die tonight.”

Weak but determined, Jessie followed Noah’s lead away from her cell, down a back corridor that wasn’t familiar. “Are you sure you know where you’re going?”

He threw her a quick glance over his shoulder, his eyebrows raised and a smirk across his face. It was one of Noah’s famous “don’t be stupid” looks. The man could always cut someone down or put them in their place with a dark look or a single word. Instinctively she bristled against his typical alpha male behavior, wishing she were strong enough at the moment to show him what she thought of that.

No way could she fight him now as he tucked her tight against him, lending her his strength and a little of that magick that she got from him every time he touched her. The at-odds combination of his dark and light halves swirled inside her, searching for her beast. But this time was different than the past. The beast didn’t move—she’d repeatedly had her magick raped from her, each time leaving her less than the last time. She couldn’t help but worry that he’d gone too far, if it was already too late for her. Was she living on borrowed time?

“There’s some pretty tough security up ahead that you’re going to have to walk through alone, can you handle it, Jessie?” Her spine stiffened against him at the question. Any other day she would likely have been insulted and kicked his ass just for suggesting it, and he damn well knew it. She looked up at him and, sure enough, the amusement was there plain as day. He was enjoying this way too much.

“To get out of this place, I can do just about anything.” She gritted her teeth in determination. They continued through the tunnel that sloped downward, giving her the illusion of going further underneath the compound instead of up and out to where freedom waited. “Where are all the guards, Noah? This place is usually crawling with them. And why are we traveling deeper inside the mansion?”

“This is the path of least resistance, and your brother and mine are running a little special interference for us.”

“Jake is here?” Panic rose in her, sharp and swift, like a vice squeezing her body and making it difficult to breathe. “Oh no, Noah, he can’t be here. Scott will kill him. Tell him to go now, he has to leave before it’s too late.”

“Jessie, stop. Calm down. Breathe, baby, slow and deep. He isn’t here on the property. Denn’s earth magick is pretty powerful stuff, and he can accomplish a hell of a lot from a safe distance.” He grabbed her chin and gently pulled her head to look at him. “Look at me, Jessie. Breathe, damn it. Despite whatever hard feelings one or both of us might be harboring from our past doesn’t matter right now. I gave my word to Jake that I would get you out of here safe and sound. So, do as I tell you and follow my plan, and everything will be fine.”

She did breathe. Short shallow breaths. She would be of no use if she couldn’t keep her wits about her. Escape had to be the top priority.

“Jessie, look at me.”

She tilted her head to meet his cool, cobalt blue gaze with fire burning deep inside. If she didn’t watch herself she could get lost in those sexy eyes of his, and that would be a very bad thing.

“There is an infrared laser grid up ahead, lying between us and the exit out of here. We can use some magick to disable parts of it, but if we take down the whole thing everyone will know we are here and will be waiting outside for us. So it’s this or the front door. Your choice, darlin’.”

“I’ll take door number one.” She smirked as she turned back toward the corridor and headed in the direction they’d been traveling.

“Oh uh—”

She turned the corner and ground to a halt. There on the dirty floor, with his hands bound and mouth taped up, laid her guard. The same guard who had treated her like shit for weeks. She bent down slowly so that her mouth was not far from his ear when she whispered. “You should be afraid. Very afraid.”