Torrent could never recall ever being as angry as he had been after regaining consciousness from his match with Gabriel. It had been an ambush. Someone was out to kill him. Why? He couldn’t think of one reason at the moment. He was not the type to leave it go at that. He was going to track the assassin down then he would make him pay for his actions, but not until he found out who was behind the actual attack. He was under no delusions of thinking he hadn’t attracted enemies in the over four thousand years of his life. His position as grand champion to the Dark King alone would have made him enemies. What he did and had had done outside of his job description would have guaranteed him more. He was not about to start making apologies for what or who he was. He was Torrent, Grand Champion Mage Warrior of the High Elven Kingdom, and he was a law unto himself.
Making his way to an area that was out of the sight of others, Torrent spread his arms out and summoned a spell so he could follow the trail of the one who had used the rock to hit him. He hoped that whoever had thrown it had not had time to wash off the residue from the stone, because water would nullify the trail. If that had happened he would have to use a connection to another item that person had carried. The rock could still be used as a conduit, but the spell would be harder to follow. Those were all the possibilities he had to go by. Actually he had been rather surprised that Gabriel had not been standing there holding the guilty person in irons for him when he woke. That was another thing for him to consider.
Why had Gabriel let the one responsible for his injury go? Why had there been no effort made to chase down the aggressor? He shook his head and winced. The injury was still tender and he almost growled at Gabriel’s cavalier attitude towards the whole incident. Worse had been the fact that he had been rattled enough not to address any of those issues at the time himself. He decided that after speaking with the one who had thrown the rock, he was going to have a little “chat” with Gabriel. There were matters to settle there as well, he decided. He was going to leave no questions unanswered.
He snarled in disgust by what he considered his shortcomings. He turned his attention back to business as the tentacles of his spell returned. He would do something about the matter now, for his spell had reaped results. He would see where that path led him, and the guilty party had better have some very interesting and convincing reasons why his actions shouldn’t cost him his life.
Breaking into a run Torrent followed the thread to its source. It wasn’t long before he found himself standing outside of Gabriel’s home. The females were alone in there, and they were unprotected. Gabriel’s pregnant Life Mate came to mind immediately and he wondered if perhaps the assassin had missed his mark. What if Gabriel had been the target? What if the assassin now sought easier, more vulnerable prey? He was sure that Gabriel in his role of High Lord General was apt to have made just as many enemies as he had. It was not in his character to leave a pregnant female vulnerable to attack.
Torrent slipped through the front door of the dwelling and surprised Eden with his unheralded entry. When she opened her mouth to say something he put a finger to his lips to indicate silence. She closed her mouth and cocked her head slightly to the side and raised her eyebrows, as if to enquire about his intentions and reasons. He just shook his head and kept following the thread he had created with his spell through the house. The trail led him to a closed door. He could hear muffled sounds of speech coming from the room beyond.
Listening closer he realized that he was not hearing the sound of conversation, but a kind of chanting. He put a hand on the door nob and Eden hissed quietly at him from behind.
“I wouldn’t go in there if I were you.”
He shot her a scowl and whispered back. “Where is Tam?”
“With her birds. Why are we whispering?” Eden was thoroughly confused.
She cocked her head at him and he hissed back.
“Danger. You should not be here in your condition.”
“What danger? There is no danger here. I would know.” This time Eden spoke aloud and she sounded irritated. There was; however, no breaking through Torrent’s mindset.
As Eden spoke Torrent opened the door to the room and slipped through the opening and almost collided with an almost naked female Elf. Both froze where they stood and stared at the other for a few moments. Torrent allowed his eyes to stray to finish following the thread, to a well-used sling.
“Is that yours?” He asked.
“Of course,” Serenity confirmed then, looking at the bump on Torrent’s forehead, she tsked and closed the distance between them as she raised her hands to form a healing spell. Torrent immediately stepped back as if afraid she might hurt him with her touch. It had no halting effect on her at all.
“I am not going to hurt you. I am just going to heal the bump. I bet that stings pretty good. I didn’t realize that you were just playing with Gabriel at the time I hit you with that tiny stone. But you must realize, he is my nephew, and I couldn’t just stand by and let you hurt him.” Serenity seemed to ramble.
“That poor defenseless nephew of yours has been taking care of himself for hundreds of years already. He hardy needed your intersession.” Torrent growled back.
Torrent felt he had to say something, it was either that or he was going to do something really stupid, like wrap his arms around her to give her a kiss. He didn’t want to admit it, but he was drowning in those beautiful silver blue Elven eyes. He had not expected to walk into the room and find his Life Mate, not that he was about to complain.
“Oh I know that, but sometimes I just act without thinking. I keep remembering him as no more than just a tiny toddler, not even quite out of his nappies yet. He was such a sweet little boy, so adventurous, and always with a big smile for his aunt.”
Now there was a picture Torrent was sure Gabriel would not want flashed about. He gave a small wince as she healed his bump and she tsked at him anew.
“Typical male, you are such a baby.”
Baby? He almost growled. He was the Grand Champion for crying out loud. He watched as she walked nonchalantly over to the edge of the streaming, lemon scented, pool of water, and ran a foot through the liquid to check on the temperature. She raised her hands up to gather thick luscious reams of silken curls into her hands and secure them onto her head. She then looked over her shoulder and frowned at him.
“You going to stand there all day with your mouth hanging open? You going to join me in my bath, or are you going to leave the room, like a good little boy?” Serenity enquired, as she tried to get the Elf to leave. Her sarcasm seemed lost on the male as he stood starring at her with the strangest look on his face. If she wouldn’t have known better she could have sworn someone had knocked him on the side of the head with a sword, or something equally unforgiving.
“I have been told there is little that is good about me.” Torrent shot back as he leaned back to rest a shoulder against the frame of the closed door, and crossed his arms in front of his chest. He was curious to see just how far she was willing to go. Serenity’s words and actions had snapped his attention back from wherever his mind has slipped, and had brought him back to the present.
A lopsided grin crossed Torrent’s face as he closely watched the most gorgeous dark haired Elven female he had ever seen poised before him. She was wearing nothing more than a towel and a frown. She was a saucy one too, his favorite type. Join her in her bath indeed he thought. He wondered what she would do if he started to disrobe to do just that. It was tempting, just to get a reaction from her.
Their eyes met, and locked for a moment, almost as if in challenge. She smiled, raised her hands to the knot on the front of the portion of the towel she had wound around her, and undid it. Spreading the towel out so that the material hid her from his view, she held it between them as their eyes clashed again. Then she turned to face the pool, dropped the towel, and dove into the water in one clean quick dive.
WHAT! Torrent suddenly stood straight. His mouth opened in shock, his eyes widened, and a smile crossed his face. She had not actually done what he thought she had? But she had! He saw it! He was not hallucinating. His eyes were perfectly good, and he knew what he had seen. Though not near enough of it.
If that wasn’t an invitation to play, Torrent didn’t know one, which he was sure he did. His smile widened, and his boots flew as he pulled them off on his way to the edge of the pool. She had asked if he was going to join her, well, why not? She was somewhere in amongst those bubbles surrounded by delightfully warm scented water. He didn’t mind smelling like lemons for a good reason. And this was a very good reason.
With a few flicks of his hands and an upward movement of his arms Torrent pulled the tunic he was wearing off. He fumbled with the laces on his trousers, and barely escaped knotting them. He would have spelled his clothing off, but with the scenery before him, he couldn’t remember the words. He quickly pulled his pants down, and bent over to pull a leg free. Serenity shot up out of the water, grabbed him by the lengths of hair that hung down on either side of his face, and flipped him into the air. He went flying into the pool.
Torrent hit the water with a huge splash, sending water and soap in all directions. He thrashed about as he untangled himself from his remaining clothing, and fought for air as he swam up to the surface. She was waiting for him to come up for oxygen.
Standing on the side of the pool, once more dressed in her towel, Serenity frowned at Torrent. Her eyes snapped her indignation and she shook a finger at him, making him feel like an Elven child, which he most definitely was not.
“You had that, and more, coming. Intruding on a bath you had no right coming in to witness in the first place. Your mother either did not train you well, or you never stopped being a naughty boy and she would be mortified by your lack of manners.” Serenity chastised him. “You really should be ashamed of yourself.”
“You invited me.” Torrent defended his actions from his position in the pool. He treaded water as he finished freeing himself from his drenched pants.
“You wish.” Serenity tossed back with a sneer, adding: “I hope you enjoy your bath, and you might was well wash these while you are at it,” she tossed him the remainder of his clothing, boots and all, that he had been wearing. “They are filthy.”
“Don’t you dare,” Torrent shot out a warning as he watched his clothing hit the surface of the water and sink within moments of landing. He turned narrowed eyes onto Serenity and she had the audacity to grin at him.
“You are in so much trouble.” Torrent informed her as she turned her back on him.
“Enjoy your trip home. It was most interesting making your acquaintance.” Serenity replied as she headed for the door.
“Turning your back on me is another big mistake.” Torrent snarled from behind Serenity as he wrapped a well-muscled arm about her waist and pulled her back against himself. “You are begging for trouble. Well you have found it. You are messing with the wrong Elven warrior.”
“You let go of me right now or you will be so sorry.” Serenity warned him, she could hardly believe how fast he had moved. She had barely taken a few steps in the time he had taken to get out of the pool and cross the room.
“Such a scary little Elven maiden.” He mocked her. “So what are you going to do? Bite me? Scratch me? Rub your delectable little body against me? I am willing to play.” He taunted as he turned her around in his arms to face him.
Ice blue eyes clashed with brilliant green as they met in a battle of wills and Torrent grinned in cocky amusement. She was glorious in her fury. Full of fire and spit, and she hissed at him as he pulled her closer, pressing a full erection against the softness of her abdomen. Damn but she was an Elven warrior’s dream.
His Life Mate was a beautiful little Elven maiden with lush curves all in the right places and a face to rival the beauty of a summer day.
“How dare you!” Serenity hissed as she felt his body against hers and the reaction of hers to his obvious arousal. She had never, in her two thousand years, ever felt her body respond in such a fashion. Her stomach muscles tightened. Her pulse quickened. Her breasts felt as if they were straining towards him. Her breathing became shallow, and she felt her womb clench, as she grew suddenly damp in the most embarrassing fashion.
“I will dare much more if you wish.” Torrent again taunted with a grin and as his eyes fell to full red lips already parted as if waiting for his kiss. He was more than just a little willing to comply.
“In your dreams,” came her breathy remark as his lips descended over hers to silence her with his kiss.
Serenity had been kissed before, in fact she had been kissed many times, by males who knew how to make a maiden’s toes curl. Nothing had ever made her feel like this. He consumed her, fueling a fire that burned with a frightening intensity.
“In our dreams.” Torrent corrected her as he released her lips to nibble and lick over her jaw to her ear. His hands kneaded velvety shoulders in their quest for the feel of soft skin, and she made a light mewling sound, which caused him to purr. “We could light up the sky with our passion.”
Serenity fought hard to gather her shattered wits. She pulled out of his arms, only to have him wrap his hands about her upper arms to pull her back. His effort proved futile as she gave a throaty growl, and her knee connected hard with his already over sensitized groin.
Torrent felt all the oxygen leave his body and he dropped to the ground to curl into a fetal position. Serenity’s action was not something he had expected and he had made no move to protect himself. He had been totally at her mercy, and she had shown him none.
Mere moments later a knock on the door heralded the arrival of Eden and Gabriel. It was the only warning they gave before entering the room. Eden looked at the suffering Elf on the floor and Serenity’s flushed face, and a look of horror spread across her face as she turned to Gabriel.
Gabriel was doing his best to prevent himself from bursting into laughter. He was not quite sure how Serenity had done it, but his aunt had just felled one of the greatest, meanest Elves in the nine kingdoms. Serenity opened her mouth as if she was about to explain it all and he held up a hand to stop her.
“Some things we are better off not knowing Serenity. Let’s just leave it at that, shall we?”
Marious hadn’t stayed behind when Gabriel had received his summons from Eden and he was more than just a little curious to know what was going on. He chanced a peek around the corner into the room and his eyes widened as he took in the condition of the room and its occupants.
Torrent was curled naked on the floor, and his clothing floated in a pool of lemon-scented water. Their aunt Serenity was tightly wrapped in a towel wearing a look of indignant guilt on her face. Gabriel was trying very hard not to burst into laughter, and was in danger of failing. Eden looked as if she couldn’t believe what she was seeing, while daring Gabriel to give in to the laughter.
Marious couldn’t help himself. Controlling his laughter was more than he could manage. He burst into great loud peels of laughter. They looked at him as if he had lost his mind, except for Torrent. Torrent tossed him a dark look, filled with promises of pain for the future.
Marious sauntered into the room as he continued to chuckle and bowed before the mortified Serenity.
“Our new Grand Champion. Serenity. All hail to her prowess.” Marious crowed.
“Uhm, pup,” Gabriel grinned as he warned Marious. “Might I suggest that you leave before you look like our new guest?”
Marious tossed Gabriel a wide grin and replied. “I guess, all things considered, that might be a plan.” He then snickered as he left. Torrent’s strangled sounds of retribution followed in his wake.
After Marious left, Serenity knelt beside Torrent with an apology, though it didn’t sound much like one to him. “I am really sorry you made me do that. My brothers explained such an action was the only way for someone like me to defend myself. I have never really had to use that form of defense before, at least not often. Does it really hurt that bad? Would you like me to heal it?”
Gabriel developed a sudden cough and Eden made a slight choking noise before heading for the other room, almost at a run. Torrent curled himself up a little tighter and snarled painfully. “I think I would rather live with the pain at the moment.”
As much as Torrent relished the idea of having Serenity’s hands on him, he almost feared what might happen if she did.
“I guess, all things considered, you might prefer to have Gabriel heal you rather than a female. I understand, and I will leave you to his care.”
Serenity stood only to hear Torrent croak out her name. “Serenity, we are not finished. Not by a long shot.”
Serenity gave a heavy sigh as she looked at Gabriel and replied. “I was afraid of that. Violence is never the answer.” She then left.
With a wide grin Gabriel closed the door behind his retreating aunt and turned to Torrent.
“Anything I can do to … help?”
“You can look for my left nut, I think it flew out of my nostril and across the room earlier.” Torrent’s words sounded as if they were painfully torn from him.
Gabriel could no longer hold it back. He sat on the floor of the room, threw his head back and howled with laughter. When he could get himself back under control again, he rubbed his hands together until they glowed a bright blue. He knew it wasn’t going to be much as his healing powers were very weak, but they were enough to handle Torrent’s problem.
Torrent looked suspiciously at him and croaked. “You would never do a fellow Elf an irreversible injury would you?”
“And cheat my aunt of the right to some day have her own children? I don’t think so.” Gabriel replied.
“So you know do you?” Torrent winced as Gabriel allowed the healing spell to take effect and run its course.
“Well I am not sure about how this happened, though I can hazard a wild guess, but I do know how to identify an Elven male who has just met his Life Mate.” Gabriel teased.
“That is what I was afraid of,” Torrent replied, as he sat up, then asked. “You wouldn’t have anything dry I could borrow that would fit decently would you?”
The two Elves looked at each other and grinned. A moment later they both burst into laughter.