Home > Demon Kissed (Demon Kissed #1)(11)

Demon Kissed (Demon Kissed #1)(11)
Author: H.M. Ward

“There is no way that I’m the one causing that!” I desperately wanted him to be wrong. It couldn’t be me. There was no way. Jumping to my feet, the desire to run away flooded me. Heart racing, I started to walk away quickly down the hall, but Collin was right behind me.

“Ivy, wait,” he said following me. But I couldn’t stop. I felt my body shaking, terrified of his words—of him. His steps hastened behind me, and then he whirled in front of me so fast that I jerked back. Suddenly, Collin stood in front of me ready to pin me to the locker if I moved. I turned my face away from him, refusing to look him in the eye, hoping that he wouldn’t touch me. My heart hammered against my ribs, making it impossible to ignore my fear. “Ivy,” he breathed the words inches from my turned face, “I didn’t think you were such a coward.”

I bristled. My face snapped up, and I looked up at him. “What?”

His expression was full of pity. “I would have never said anything, if I knew you’d run. Out of the two of us, I thought you’d handle this better.” He stepped back, breaking our gaze, and gestured for me to leave. Stunned, I stood there, unable to move. Cowardly wasn’t something I wanted to be. His opinion bruised my ego, and made it impossible to flee. I said nothing, not knowing what to do.

Collin said, “I know this is weird. But it’s there. And I don’t want to lose you over it. Last night… ” he paused, turning from me. My eyes lifted, looking at his back. His hands desperately clung to his head. He wasn’t handling this well either. Somehow, that gave me courage when I had none.

Taking a step, I walked up behind him, reaching for his shoulder. Before I touched him, he spun around, almost knocking into me. His vivid blue eyes locked with mine. Uncertainty grabbed me, choking my throat. Swallowing hard, I asked, “That’s why you ran? Last night. You were afraid? Of me?” My heart pounded as I watched my words melt into him.

Collin looked away, unsure. His arms folded, as he looked at the floor. His dark hair swept across his eyes. After a moment he nodded, saying, “See for yourself.”

“I did. I was there. Remember? I saw, but I don’t know what happened. Why did you run?” My body trembled, and I fought to stop shaking. The idea of this terrified me, and acting like it was real, made it worse.

Stepping toward me, he said, “No, you can see for yourself.” He reached for my hands, taking them in his own. His body tensed with contact, sharply taking in air. He lifted my hands to his face, and released his grip. Standing in front of me, his sapphire eyes were intense, watching. My hands rested gently on his face, as I slid my fingers down to his cheeks, adjusting my reach to his height. His warm skin was smooth, but that feeling was sucked away before I had time to think about it. An icy hot jolt shot through me, and then faded into the bizarre nak*d-in-the-snow sensation that made me squirm. My heart raced inside my chest. I was losing my nerve.

His voice was soft, “Look at me Ivy. Look into my eyes, and don’t look away. Let it happen this time. I’ll show you why I ran. You can see it.” My hands shook, as they touched his skin. I gazed up into his eyes—terrified. It wasn’t the same terror as being attacked, knowing my life was at stake. It was something more carnal, more intimate than I’d ever shared with anyone. It was total exposure of soul and self, with nowhere to hide. I hated it.

My heart raced wildly, until the onslaught of sensations subsided. Drawing in a long breath, the bond shifted. It made me feel like I was Collin. I could hear and feel his thoughts. His whims. His dreams. All of it. It was floating around me, inside me, brushing against my consciousness. His defenses of charm and wit flew by, as I fell deeper into his mind. Secret thoughts flew past, as I saw the things he guised from the rest of world. Then I found myself settling into his memory from a few moments ago. I felt the pure joy he felt when he had knocked me on my butt. Collin’s chest rose and fell, as he breathed slowly—his blue gaze intense. He stood stone still, watching me, allowing the invasion into his mind. I looked at him, eyes unseeing, sensing his memories through my touch. They had his voice, and his perception of reality.

Then, I saw last night, but from his eyes. He heard my voice in his mind, as he sat laughing with friends. Then my crushing sadness washed over him. He was flooded with raw emotion that was too painful to ignore. He battled it, but it was consuming him. The wave of remorse, anger, and fear that washed over me as I sat crying on the stone floor of the old church, consumed him. My anguish became his anguish. Unable to ignore it another second, he was suddenly running toward me. I felt his feet pounding the ground, as his heart heaved. He ran, not knowing where I was. Everything happened so quickly. The version of the memory I saw wasn’t in real time. It flew by like a TiVoed commercial that no one wanted to watch.

Suddenly, he found me alone in the dust. The old church surrounded him, dropping into his memory like a blanket, coming slowly into focus. The change of pace jarred me, as the sensation of my brokenness surged through him in full force. It was more intense than before. He loomed in a dark corner, watching me, unable to move. Remaining hidden by shadows, he thought he was safe. Unseen. He watched my back, as I breathed deeply with my damp shirt clinging to my skin. My ponytail flopped over my shoulder, as I slumped forward. The emotions he felt flooding from me were filling him in unrelenting waves, and caused his body to tense. His sentiments were too tangled to read, but as he watched me I knew that he was torn.

Suddenly, the memory scattered like tiny grains of sand blown away by the wind. My contact with his skin broke, as my fingertips touched his collar. I rested my hands on his shoulders for a second, breathing heavily, before dropping my arms and stepped back. A cold wash of panic rinsed over me, as I accepted the truth.

It was real. Oh God. I could feel everything he felt, see what he saw, and it was more vivid than being there, watching it myself. It was like I was inside of him, experiencing it with him. I nervously chewed my lip. Thoughts flew like drunken bats, crashing incoherently through my mind.

Heart pounding, eyes wide, I asked, “Did you read my mind, too?”

He shook his head, with his eyes downcast. “No. Not really. It seems to go one way, for the most part.”

I released the breath that I didn’t realize I was holding, looking at his face. Sapphire eyes watched me, before Collin broke the gaze. He possessed a melancholy nature that I was too shaken to notice. I’d seen it in his mind. No I felt it in his mind. It weighed on him, baiting him, making him reckless. Collin’s arms folded over his chest, as his hair slid into his face. He pushed it back, eyes darting between me, and the floor.

Swallowing hard, I thought about him doing the mind speed-read to me. The idea made it feel like someone poured ice down my back. I closed my eyes slowly, not knowing what to think, too afraid to move.

His voice broke the silence, “That’s why I couldn’t kiss you.”

Shock washed over me, overriding my fear. I looked straight at him. That was the last thing I expected him to say. “What?”

His eyes were so blue, and his expression was tormented as he spoke. “Ivy, your emotions flood through me when we aren’t even touching. A slight caress from you, something I would barely notice from other girls, is so intense that… ,” his words trailed off. “I don’t know what’ll happen—with a kiss.” He shook his head, almost ashamed of what he’d said.

An odd sensation snaked through my body. I wanted to consider what it was, and tell him it was okay. But it wasn’t. I had a deadly secret. He’d see it, Hell, he’d feel it if we kissed. He’d learn what I was, and about the Martis. If he stuck around after seeing that, there was no way he’d stay knowing about the prophecy. I was damned, destined to destroy everyone.

Looking down, I heard myself agreeing with him. “You don’t have to explain. You’re right.”

Silence filled the air until I couldn’t take it anymore. Emotions swirled relentlessly inside my chest, filling me with regret. My voice was weak, “I’ll see you around, I guess.” Careful not to look him in the eye, I turned and started walking away. No voice called after me. No footfalls came running up behind me. My stomach sank in the deafening silence, realizing that my fear came true. I lost him.


Cold air blasted me in the face, as I pushed open the metal door, and headed across the parking lot. My steps smacked into the pavement fast and hard. It was such a stupid mistake. Why couldn’t I leave things alone? I cut through the empty alley, as my feet carried me past the blaring horns and noise on the street. My brain sorted through jumbled emotions. I could think about it later. Eric was waiting for me at the diner. I sucked in cold air, and let the chill flood my body. A crisp burst of wind tore through my hair, peeling my jacket open. Clutching my coat tighter, I leaned into the biting gust.

When the breeze died, I looked up. My dark hair was tangled across my eyes—and I saw him. Pulse racing; I stopped dead in my tracks. Jake was staring at me through the blur of traffic across the busy street. He leaned against a storefront—watching me. My heart jumped into my throat. Startled by a car horn, I glanced away, and that was all it took. Jake disappeared.

Frantically, my eyes raked the street looking for him, but he was gone. That was it. Knowing I couldn’t risk staying still for another second, I ran until I reached the end of the block. The silver beacon stood on the corner. Big neon letters said DINER. It was circa 1950 on the outside, complete with shiny silver siding. The interior was more modern, but still had a counter with bright red stools and gleaming chrome legs.

I jumped through the door, looking for Eric. He sat at a table in the back corner. I slid into the booth opposite him, utterly freaked. An overhead lamp just missed crashing into my skull. Eyes wide, I said, “I saw him.”

A waiter slapped down two glasses of water. Condensation beaded on the clear glass, and ran down the sides.

“Where?” Eric asked.

“When I came out of the school. He was across the street. I saw him between the cars, but he disappeared.” I felt my face falter. “I didn’t see where he went.” Panic was rising in my throat.

Eric’s amber eyes narrowed. “So, he’s still alive. I tracked him, and found where he lived, but he was gone. There was no way to tell if he survived the night he attacked you.”

I shook my head, rubbing my hands up and down my arms. “What do we do?”

“Hey, it’s okay. There are a few places where Valefar can’t attack. One is a church—holy ground. The other, as weird as it sounds, is your home.” Eric leaned back.

“My house? Why? Is that like, some weird vampire thing? Do I have to invite him in or something?” I wanted to lay my head on the table. Instead I slumped forward, holding my head between my hands.

Eric smiled slightly, “No, it’s a magic thing. You have a parent—someone who loves you. It’s a natural ward against demon magic. They can’t enter your house, because your mom lives there, too. That’s why I kept telling you to stay home. It sounds weird, but it’s true.” He sipped some water, and then said, “Now, the best way to catch him is to wait for him to take another shot at you.”

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