rogue shifter 06 - torn apart

Table of Contents

TORN APART

Rogues Shifter Series Book 6

BY GAYLE PARNESS

Copyright 2013 Gayle Parness

 

For Rudy, my incredible brother who always has my back, for Emily, my newest/oldest friend, and for all my other readers who've chosen to join me on this journey. Thank you.

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

CHAPTER ONE

CHAPTER TWO

CHAPTER THREE

CHAPTER FOUR

CHAPTER FIVE

CHAPTER SIX

CHAPTER SEVEN

CHAPTER EIGHT

CHAPTER NINE

CHAPTER TEN

CHAPTER ELEVEN

CHAPTER TWELVE

CHAPTER THIRTEEN

CHAPTER FOURTEEN

CHAPTER FIFTEEN

CHAPTER SIXTEEN

CHAPTER SEVENTEEN

CHAPTER EIGHTEEN

CHAPTER NINETEEN

CHAPTER TWENTY

CHAPTER TWENTY-ONE

CHAPTER TWENTY-TWO

CHAPTER TWENTY-THREE

CHAPTER TWENTY-FOUR

CHAPTER TWENTY-FIVE

CHAPTER TWENTY-SIX

CHAPTER TWENTY-SEVEN

CHAPTER TWENTY-EIGHT

CHAPTER TWENTY-NINE

CHAPTER THIRTY

CHAPTER THIRTY-ONE

PRONUNCIATIONS

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

OTHER BOOKS BY GAYLE PARNESS

 

CHAPTER ONE

For the third morning in a row, the loud chattering of two squirrels in the middle of a drawn out territorial dispute wrenched me out of a pleasant dream. The little vermin, programmed by their DNA to rise along with the sun, had no neighborly regard for my going to sleep less than four hours ago. I mean they were cute and all, but c'mon, Rocky, go duke it out somewhere else for a change.

Although it was way past dawn, my bedroom was in total darkness, an easy-to-live-with result of wanting to sleep in the same bed as my vampire lifemate, Garrett. This was totally not a hardship as far as I was concerned, since the obvious benefits outweighed the occasional stubbed toe or banged knee.

Feeling mischievous, I rolled over on my side so I could face him, deciding not to torture my pupils by turning on the light. Hoping not to poke him in the eye, I stretched out my hand until my fingertips brushed across his forehead then down along his hairline. Secure that I knew the terrain from that point, I ran a gentle hand over the line of his jaw, brushing light fingertips across his scrumptious lips.

He wouldn't wake up unless I contacted him mind to mind, or shook him vigorously. My two hundred thirty-nine year old lover rested every day from a little past dawn until mid afternoon, his body going into a kind of hibernation mode that cooled him to around 85°. That temperature sounds pretty warm, but believe me, with my body pumped up to 99°, it's an awful lot like cuddling with someone who's just come inside on a frosty cold day.

I pushed myself onto my elbows and kissed him hard on the lips, feeling impish and maybe even a little naughty, since he couldn't defend himself against my amorous assault. Not that he would've complained. Vampire libidos were strong, plus he had French ancestry—a delicious combination in my opinion.

 

Last night, after our son Charlie had fallen asleep, we'd spent some time cuddling on the couch, watching a movie with Sasha and Heinrich and discussing future jobs for the Rogues, Inc. team to tackle. Garrett had a few requests on his desk from supernatural groups who needed our help, some as far away as Montana, but he hadn't marked any of them as urgent. It was apparent that our reputation for taking down supernatural bad guys and finding missing people was growing, and Garrett was beaming with pride.

Sash and Rick had left around two, heading off to a local club and leaving us alone except for our sleeping son and his fae guard.

Garrett took advantage of the situation, twisting his body then pushing me down on the couch and leaning over me. Silver sparkles danced in his blue eyes as he spoke in his most seductive tone. "What shall we do with the rest of the night, Mrs. Cuvier?"

I sighed, pretending to be bored by the question. "Nothing comes to mind. You pick." We liked to play our little games.

"You may be sorry you said that. I have all kinds of interesting ideas." He allowed his fangs to graze my neck, drawing two thin lines of blood, then used his tongue to taste and then heal the tiny scratches. Warmth flooded my skin, encouraging him to take in a deep breath of my scent. His grin was full of heat and mischief.

I attempted to hold onto my bored tone. "I'm difficult to impress, Mr. Cuvier. It'll take some work on your part." I ran a finger over the sensuous lips that were expert at driving me crazy.

"Oh, Mrs. Cuvier, it's never a good idea to taunt a vampire. I'll have you begging me for mercy later tonight." His lips skimmed mine, a seductive invitation better than any words.

"Promises, promises." We smiled against each other's mouths.

In the space of a heartbeat, he'd jumped off the couch and pulled me into his arms, both of us laughing and enjoying our little charade. A moment later we were in the shower, and he was kissing me the way he knew would bring my body alive. That was when I knew I'd be begging for mercy
several
times that night.

 

I giggled at the memory, enjoying the fact that this morning my handsome mate was at
my
mercy. Of course I'd never considered using a sharpie marker on his beautiful body while he rested or the godawful orangey red lipstick I'd bought a year ago and then never applied to my lips. No, I was proud to say that even though I was still college-aged, I was above those kinds of "sophmoronic" games.

I
did
enjoy snuggling up against him while he rested, pretending that I was sending him erotic dreams. He'd told me several times that vampires rarely dreamed, but I didn't let that discourage me. I wiggled closer to his body, my back to his front, then lifted his relaxed arm, draping it over my waist. I yanked the puffy down comforter up so his cooler body wouldn't chill my warmer one, then took in a very deep breath of my favorite scent and closed my eyes. Now where did my dream leave off? I think Garrett was just about to kiss me...

This time it was the rapid beating of tiny wings that woke me up.

"I'm sorry to wake you, lady, but Charlie needs you."

"Sinlae, I can't see you. Can you light up for me, please?"

"Of course. I have forgotten." She began to glow with a pinkish wash of color, her transparent teal wings iridescent in the small circle of her light. Sinlae was seelie fae, a pixie, or demi-fey as she liked to be called. She and her three male consorts lived in a specially adapted tree on our property and had pledged by blood to guard Charlie and keep him from harm. These days, she tended to act the role of his nanny and I was grateful for her help.

"Did he eat breakfast?"

"Yes, he ate very well. Lord Liam made his favorite: scrambled eggs and pancakes." She smiled, her aura growing even brighter as her mood improved.

"That's good.
Really
good." I breathed a huge sigh of relief.

Beginning just before his first birthday, Charlie's health had deteriorated. Every two months he'd experienced body aches bad enough to keep him awake at night, as well as a high fever which led to terrible chills which lasted for a few days at a time. Liam and I, both of us healers, had tried everything we could think of during his attacks, but nothing we did could stave off the next bout of illness.

During a rare visit, Isaiah, my demonic trainer, told me that it was caused by Charlie's body trying to come to terms with the differences in his inherited bloodlines. If this was true, then fae and demon DNA had warred against each other for control for four days every six to eight weeks in a battle that left his tiny body ravaged, weak, unable to sleep and barely able to keep down food.

Sometimes he'd cried for hours at a time, obviously in pain. Children's pain medication was useless, so we'd held him and fed him as much as he could stomach, then put him in a warm bath and massaged his muscles. Sometimes he still cried. In the end, we'd brought him into bed with us, where Garrett would soothe him by singing sweet ballads in French, while I rubbed my baby's trembling back and kissed his tears away. Finally, our tiny man would drift off to sleep, exhausted and spent. We'd take him back to his room and tuck him in, then sit nearby, our hands woven together in support. Often we would spend another hour simply watching him breathe.

After leaving him in the hands of one of his fae guards, Garrett and I would collapse into bed, wrapped around each other in a feeble attempt to renew our own energies, knowing that the next day might bring new tears and more pain and that somehow we'd have to find the strength to get through it. When Garrett rested, there were times when it was Liam's or Ethan's or even Rob's shoulder that I found myself leaning against. So many of our friends had shared in our distress, all of them feeling just as helpless as we did.

After searching through ancient tomes in his realm, Isaiah seemed certain that it was Charlie's healer blood, inherited from me, that stabilized his energies and kept him alive after each bout. I had another suspicion, which I kept to myself. On the mornings when our son woke up feeling well again, there was a scent in his room that reminded me of a deserted beach and a conversation with...someone, the details always eluding me. No one else noticed the scent, not even Liam, so I never spoke of it, not wanting to do anything to keep my baby's guardian angel from returning.

After four days of painful illness, he would recover enough to enjoy six or seven relatively normal weeks. I say relative because there were aftereffects. He hadn't grown at the normal rate for a child his age and he'd had trouble eating anything but the simplest of foods. Fortunately, his brain continued to develop normally, fueling a curiosity about the world that couldn't be quashed no matter what shape his body was in.

Charlie liked to play outdoors but he tired quickly, so mostly we played board games and read to him. When he began to sound out words, he read to us. Liam and Farrell sometimes spoke to him in Fae, while Garrett would often speak to him in French and he picked up both languages very quickly. I stuck with English, and made sure that all my friends did too. Learning other languages was great, but English would always be his native tongue.

So it was only in this past year that he'd begun to grow and develop into a healthy young boy, spurting up physically at an incredible rate, his young mind capable of much more than a typical almost-five-year-old, (his term) No more
almost
. Today he turned five and we were thrilled that he hadn't been ill for ten months. We were beginning to breathe normally for the first time since his initial attack.

"Where is he?" I sat up on the edge of the bed and slid my feet into my flip flops, suddenly feeling anxious to see my little male.

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