“I took great
effort to see you.” His tone hinted the act made him deserving. “You sleep;
I’ll keep watch. And my vow of yesterday stands. I won’t molest you.”
annoyance, her pulse danced a country jig. Whatever efforts he took on her
behalf were of questionable nature, not romantic. She made a rude noise in case
he held any such illusions.
“Keep watch for
what? No one besides you could reach my window and my door’s bolted.”
Lydon laced his
hands behind his head, his lips twitching as though fighting a smile. “Then
I’ll watch you. Like before.”
over her in a rushing tide. She leapt up. “You watched me sleep? Not skulked
around in my bedroom to attack me?” She groaned, imagining him watching her
drool, snore, or grind her teeth.
He laughed, low
and warm. “You’re so lovely when you dream, Lils. An angel.” He patted the
empty spot beside him.
body, defenseless against him, obeyed. The red, silken comforter hissed beneath
her knees while she climbed onto the opposite side of the giant bed. The lone
lamp by the bed cast a mystical glow over Lydon, catching golden highlights in
his light hair, the silver shards in his eyes. “Watching people sleep is
“Not people, just you. Besides, I am
Definitely not creepy. Kalila settled into a
cross-legged position and fixed him with a no-nonsense look. “Since it seems
you have nothing better to do than lie there like a sloth, be useful and fess
up. Why am I being treated as some freaking porcelain doll in a glass case? How
can my nightmares benefit the V’alkara? Can the V’alkara really take my dreams
away? None of you seem sick—and no, mental doesn’t count—so what’s wrong? And
when will you take us home?”
one black boot. What she thought might be disapproval flickered in his eyes. “I
won’t waste our alone time answering inquiries. I have other plans.”
hard. Maybe she’d misjudged him. Maybe he was so confident in his assassin
abilities—and her helplessness—he felt sneakiness was unnecessary.
He sat up in a
blink of an eye, moving with inhuman speed. One large hand was planted next to
her knee. His breath fanned her chin. The scent of the outdoors and a tinge of
smoke drifted from his clothes. His voice whispered spider-soft.
“Do you care to
know what other less attractive names some call me?” The world seemed to shrink
to Lydon and the force of his gaze. “Angel of Ruin. Living Nightmare. Scourge.”
His eyes gleamed, darkened. “As you might guess from such monikers, peace in my
life is rare. I’ll relish any fragments of it I happen to stumble across for as
long as possible.”
trailed her cheek to cup her chin. In the span of a heartbeat, his face
changed. From beautiful man to skeletal beast then back to beautiful man. A
chill coiled around her soul, deep and cold as a winter storm. Who—what—was this guy?
“Do you feel it
heartbeat rumbled in her ears, kicked at her throat. Her fingers jerked with a
fierce need to touch him. Instead, she fisted the blanket. Admit nothing to the enemy. Yet the urge to nestle her cheek into
his palm and purr grappled with reason. She had to take control before she did
About the Author:
CJ blames her love for reading and all things Medieval on her father, who plied her often with fantasy novels ranging from Sir Lloyd Alexander to Piers Anthony. Her love for romance, however, lies completely at the feet of her best friend Michelle, who dared to give her a romance novel for her birthday. She smiled, politely said thank you, and tossed it in the corner, where it gathered dust. In a moment of desperation, when only the revolting romance remained in her almost-always toppling stack of awaiting books, she sucked it up and read the romance. Doomed.
She started writing fantasy and paranormal romance for the cathartic experience, decided she liked it, and after two overlong, horribly written novels joined RWA and the Fantasy, Futuristic & Paranormal special interest chapter. Best classes and critique groups ever. Double doomed. Now, writing is a necessity, not just a hobby.
In her spare time, when she’s not writing or reading or actually working, CJ might be found in the dojang (4th Dan Black Belt, baby), rooting on the Mariners (who will some day win the World Series), working out (P90X, anyone?), gardening (a little dirt never hurt anyone), or playing Music of the Night on the piano (without mask or cape). She lives in Oregon with her fabulous husband and daughter. Not to mention her minions, a herd of cats.
WONDERFULLY WICKED is CJ’s Burright’s first novel.