Updated: Jan 18
Storm and Fury
by Jennifer L Armentrout
Published by Inkyard Press
Book 1 in The Harbinger series
Eighteen-year-old Trinity Marrow may be going blind, but she can see and communicate with ghosts and spirits. Her unique gift is part of a secret so dangerous that she’s been in hiding for years in an isolated compound fiercely guarded by Wardens—gargoyle shape-shifters who protect humankind from demons. If the demons discover the truth about Trinity, they’ll devour her, flesh and bone, to enhance their own powers.
When Wardens from another clan arrive with disturbing reports that something out there is killing both demons and Wardens, Trinity’s safe world implodes. Not the least because one of the outsiders is the most annoying and fascinating person she’s ever met. Zayne has secrets of his own that will upend her world yet again—but working together becomes imperative once demons breach the compound and Trinity’s secret comes to light. To save her family and maybe the world, she’ll have to put her trust in Zayne. But all bets are off as a supernatural war is unleashed…
RATED: 14+ CATEGORY: MOOD:
Foul language #YoungAdult Exciting
Steamy moments #Supernatural Emotional
Storm and Fury by Jennifer L Armentrout is the first book in the Harbinger series, and is a spin-off of The Dark Elements series ... which I didn't know when I bought Storm and Fury. GAH! Starting Dark Elements today, but not reading it didn't hinder this story in the least. Storm and Fury is centered around Trinity, an eighteen year old girl with the weight of the world on her shoulders, hiding out in a community of her adopted family, Wardens, who happen to be Gargoyles. When her secret is found out, and someone she loves is in danger, nothing will stop her from saving him; not her failing eyesight, or her limited experience in the world. She teams up with Zayne, a warden that she has felt pulled to from the moment she saw him to help her navigate the world beyond the walls of her community.
This is a hard book to review and not try to give anything away. So it's going to be short. Honestly, I wasn't sure if I was going to like this book. I am obsessed with the LUX/Origin series, which is why I was drawn to Jennifer : Armentrout's other books. Gargoyles. I have never red anything with gargoyles in it. Never thought I would. I am so happy I got past that though, and gave this book a chance. I loved it. I finished all 512 pages in 12 hours loved it.
Awesome and unique story-line....Check.
Kick ass female protagonist...........Check.
Hot, pain in the ass love interest...Check.
Steamy and emotional scenes........Check.
It. Is. Awesome. It's clear Jennifer Armentrout has a gift for writing great chemistry between characters. Not just romantic pairs (although she does write epic dialogues between love interests.) No, she has a way of writing very distinct, defined chemistry between friends, family, and enemies. She is also great at featuring unstoppable, bad ass females. Case in point, Trinity. She lives with so many unknowns in her life, and yeah, she hates it sometimes. She also does what she needs to do. Zayne is all kinda of sweet and funny. A part of me is unhappy I started with this book, and not the Dark Elements series, because it's going to be hard reading him being interested in Layne. Roth is a fun read though in this book, so I think I can expect some laughs when I do read the series. NOT reading the Dark Elements series though, really puts you in Trinity's shoes, which I appreciated.
Storm and Fury was a fantastic read. The only fault I could find with it, was that I predicted who Trin's showdown at the end of the book would be with ... but everything else was a surprise ... especially the bond between Zayne and Trinity being explained (I was suspecting another reason for it), and what Trinity did to ultimately save Zayne. It ended perfectly, with just enough questions and loose ends to lead into the next book. Click below to pick up a copy today. If you like young adult, the supernatural genre, and romance, you will love this book
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Trinity: "Oh God, you have a tail. You all have tails. I'm going to vomit."
Misha: "Can you hold off on that?"
Trinity: "Not promises."
I leaped to the side and spun to shove the dagger into the chest of another Raver. A hot spray of gunky demon blood splattered my chest.
Trinity: "Oh, man, now I'm going to have to shower."
Misha: "God, you're whiny."
Zayne: "I didn't grab you."
Trinity: "You were right behind me. Can you let me go?"
Zayne: "I don't know. Are you going to try to hot me again? Kick me?"
Trinity: "Not if you don't try to grab me again."
Zayne: "I'm willing to wager that there isn't one thing ordinary about you."
Zayne: "Now, was that so hard to admit?"
Trinity: "Yes. It hurt me. Deep inside. I may never recover."
Zayne: "You're ... frustrating."
Trinity: "Well, you're judgmental. Guess which is worse?"
Zayne: "What's your name?"
Zayne: "What is your name?"
Trinity: "It's Mindya Business."
Zayne: "That's exceedingly ... lame."
Trinity: "I thought it was pretty clever."
Zayne: "We obviously have two very different ideas of what makes something clever. You do realize I'm going to find out sooner or later?"
Trinity: "Well, I guess you're just going to have to wait for later. Peace out."
I flipped him the middle finger, sure he could see it with his Warden eyes, and then I spun around, prepared to flounce from his sight -
Misha: "Trinity Lynn Marrow! I swear to Jesus, girl, when I get my hands on you..."
Drawing up short, I closed my eyes.
Zayne: "I'll admit I didn't expect to find out that soon."
Trinity: "I don't know you. But I don't like you."
Zayne: "That's not very nice."
Zayne: "You guys really aren't friendly here, are you?"
Trinity: "Like I said, we don't get a lot of visitors."
Zayne: "I can tell."
Trinity: "I'm going to take the high road and ignore that."
Zayne: "But going low sounds a lot more fun."
I stared at him
Trinity: "You're dead. You don't need a bathroom."
Peanut met my stare
Peanut: "You don't know me. You don't know my life, my wants or needs."
Trinity: "Oh my God, Peanut. Seriously."
Trinity: "Please tell me you were not peeping on him."
Peanut: "It was an accident! I was going into my room -"
Trinity: "It's not your room."
Peanut: "And he was coming out of the shower, in just a towel, and I was shocked. Shocked, I tell you. So he started getting dressed, and I was like hold me closer, tiny dancer, this is not the America I was promised, but it is the afterlife I'm here for."
Trinity: "I don't even know where to start with that."
Misha: "Did I just walk through that ghost?"
Piecing back together behind Misha, Peanut crossed his arms.
Peanut: "How rude!"
Misha: "That is so freaky and makes me so uncomfortable."
Peanut: "How do you think I feel? You were literally inside my body. Inside every part pf me. Every. Part."
I wrinkled my nose
Misha: "What is he saying?"
Trinity: "You do not want to know. He's here because he's m ad that our visitors are taking over 'his' bedrooms, and I tried to explain to him that since he's dead he doesn't need a bedroom, but he's not getting it."
Peanut: "You dismiss my feelings. I'm going to go see if Zayne is getting undressed again. Tootles!"
My mouth dropped open
Misha: "Is her still in here?"
Trinity: "No. He's currently being a pervert."
His nose wrinkled
Misha: "You're right, I really don't want to know."
Trinity: "How much trouble am I in?"
Thierry: "How much do you think you're in?"
Lifting my hands, I spaced them about a foot apart
Trinity: "That much?"
Thierry: "Not quite sure what that represents, but last night I briefly considered locking your doors and windows."
Trinity: "I'm a special snowflake, unique and beautiful."
Misha: "You're something."
Trinity: "Tell her she looks pretty today and actually listen to her when she talks."
Misha: "Shut up."
Trinity: "And don't stare at her -"
Misha: "I know how to act around a girl."
Trinity: "Do you?"
He looked like he was a second from throttling me, so I laughed.
I narrowed my eyes
Trinity: "You could've said hi instead of watching me in silence."
Zayne: "Well, the last time I tried to alert you to my presence, you tried to kill me."
My brows lifted
Trinity: "I did not try to kill you."
Zayne: "Not how it felt from my perspective."
Trinity: "Then your perspective leans toward the over-dramatic."
Zayne: "You're going to apologize?"
Trinity: "Now I feel like I shouldn't, because you're irritating me again."
Zayne: "Have you heard about the raids on other communities?"
Trinity: "Yes, but Thierry doesn't know I've heard that."
Zayne: "Snooping behind curtains again?"
Trinity: "More like standing outside closed doors."
Zayne: "You do that a lot?"
Trinity: "Enough to know better."
Zayne: "Have you seen a demon?"
Trinity: "Yes. Have you?"
Zayne laughed then, and it was a real one. Deep. Throaty. Sexy as holy Hell.
Zayne: "You're kind of a smart ass."
Trinity: "Guilty as charged."
Trinity: "If you saw me on the streets, you wouldn't look twice in my direction."
Zayne: "That's not true. I always look twice or maybe even three times at a pretty girl."
Trinity: "Your curiosity is going to lead to one epic letdown."
Zayne: "Why do you think that?"
Trinity: "Because I'm not very interesting."
Zayne: "That is probably the least correct thing I've heard all day."
Clay: "Are you going to kick me out a window again?"
Trinity: "No. I'm going to kick you into the fire put if you don't back up."
Clay: "Yeah. I'd like to see you try."
Trinity: "Really? Because I'm happy to oblige."
Zayne: "I wouldn't hurt you."
Warmth crept into my cheeks
Trinity: "No, you wouldn't, because I wouldn't let you."
That half grin appeared, but it didn't reach his gaze
Zayne: "I wouldn't think you would."
Trinity: "Are you ... flirting with me?"
He bit down on his lower lip, dragging his teeth over the fleshy pink skin as he eyed me through thick lashes.
Zayne: "I'd never think of doing such a thing."
I had no idea if he was being honest or not. Wardens didn't flirt with anyone other than other Wardens. Well, with the exception of Clay, but look how that had turned out.
But what if he was flirting with me? What if he found me ... attractive? Yearning blossomed inside me. Like a flower seeking sun and water, it spread its roots deep. What if he wanted to kiss me?
I needed to slow my roll. I was seriously getting carried away. My cheeks heated as I focused on the statues.
Zayne: "What are you thinking about?"
My eyes widened as my gaze shot back to his. There was no way he knew what my t thoughts were. If he did, I would legit wither away and die right here.
That grin of his grew
Zayne: "Your face is as red as a ripe tomato right now."
And I could feel it growing redder by the second
Zayne: "I imagine whatever is going through your head is something I'd thoroughly enjoy hearing about."
The flutter in my chest took flight.
Trinity: "I'm not thinking about anything."
Trinity: "I'm sorry."
Thierry: "What did I tell you before?"
Trinity: "I don't know. You've told me a lot."
Thierry's chuckle was hoarse.
Thierry: "I'll ask you again later, the time you apologize for what you cannot help."
Zayne: "So you'd prefer me to have left you there?"
Trinity: "It beats you bitching about me bleeding on you."
Zayne: "You're so ... annoying."
I glared back at him.
Trinity: "I hope I stained your clothes."
His lips twitched as the cool eyes warmed
Zayne: "Confident that's been accomplished."
I opened my eyes, because if he was going to disrobe, I was going to be just like Peanut. No shame. If I died from blood loss, at least I'd die getting to look at whatever was underneath that shirt.
I was a horrible person.
Trinity: "You seem like someone who likes needles."
Zayne: "Because I'm a pain in the ass?"
My laugh ended in a sharp gasp as the needle stung my arm
Trinity: "You said it, not me."
Zayne: "You want to hear something strange?"
I swallowed as I felt the warmth flood my chest.
Zayne leaned in, and when he spoke, his voice was low
Zayne: "I feel like ... like we've met before. I felt that way the first t ime we spoke, but we haven't. I would've remembered."
My heart rate sluggishly picked up, because I ... I'd felt that same way, too.
Trinity: "Same. That's weird, isn't it?"
Trinity: "It is."
Gasping, I shrank back into bed away from Peanut
Trinity: "Oh my God, don't ever do that again."
Peanut: "Do what?"
Trinity: "That! Hover over me while I sleep."
Peanut: "I do it all the time."
My eyes widened.
Peanut: "Sorry. Forget I said that."
Zayne: "You know, you're the first person outside of those who were there that I've talked to about my father."
A winsome smile appeared as he shook his head
Zayne: "Surprises me."
Trinity: "Why? I'm easy to talk to."
Trinity: "Seriously. It's another one of my attributes."
Zayne: "I'll have to remember that."
Zayne: "I'm starting to feel a little violated over here."
Trinity: "Huh? What?"
Fresh from a shower, his wet hair was slicked back from his face.
Zayne: "You're staring at me."
Warmth flared even hotter in my cheeks. I was just as bad as Peanut.
Trinity: "No, I'm not."
Zayne: "You're staring at me like you've never seen a guy before."
Trinity: "I am not! And I've seen guys - lots of them."
One eyebrow rose perfectly.
Zayne: "So you see a lot of naked guys?"
Trinity: "No, that's not what I meant."
Zayne: "That's what you implied."
Trinity: "By the way, there's a ghost sitting on your dresser."
I smiled evilly when I saw the blood drain from his face.
Trinity: "His name is Peanut, and he's taken quite a liking to you. Have fun with that!"
Trinity: "Speed and intelligence will always prevail over strength and weight. Shouldn't you know that?"
His jaw hardened as he glared down at me
Zayne: "I have a feeling you just insulted my intelligence."
Zayne: "You really think you can take me?"
Trinity: "I don't think anything. I know."
Trinity: "Are you sure you've had years of training?"
Several strands of hair had fallen free, brushing h is cheeks as he faced me
Zayne: "Are you sure you've just had a few training sessions?"
Trinity: "Guess what?"
I darted under his swing and hit t he floor, planting my palms on the mat as I kicked out, taking his legs out from underneath him.
Trinity: "I lied."
Zayne: "I can see that."
Trinity: "Admit it. I'm better than you."
Expelling harshly, he jumped onto t he balls of his feet.
Zayne: "I'm not admitting that yet, princess."
Trinity: "Princess? I'm not a princess."
Zayne: "You're something."
He smirked, and then flew into a butterfly kick I almost didn't see in time.
I met him with a wild laugh. Blow after blow, we went after each other. In the beginning, when I first went at him, he was holding back, but with each punch and kick I got through his defenses, he stopped messing around.
Zayne blocked a series of kicks and jabs that would have knocked a human on their ass. He kept up with the moves easily.
Zayne: "Come on, Trinity, can you do better than this? I'm getting bored."
The way his mouth curled my name sent a shiver down my spine and a flush to my skin. I hated it.
Sneering, I spun on my heel and turned into a roundhouse kick that knocked both of his stupid legs out from underneath him. He went down hard onto his back, grunting. Panting, I stalked over to where he prone.
Trinity: "You bored now, douche nozzle?"
Zayne: "Speech and intelligence will get you far. But speed, intelligence and strength always wins in the end."
Trinity: "I hate both of you."
Misha: "We're not the one running around randomly kissing guys."
Trinity: "I'm not, either!"
Jada: "Look, this is not the same thing as with Clay. She didn't kick Zayne through a window afterward."
I opened my mouth, then snapped it shut.
Trinity: "Well, I kind of kicked him several times before the kiss."
Misha's brows lifted
Misha: "Why are you so violent?"
I raised my hands, then dropped them
Trinity: "I need serious help."
Misha nodded somberly.
Misha: "I know what you want. You want to be wanted, and there's nothing wrong with that, Trin. Not at all."
Zayne: "I cannot fathom why anyone would disappear on you."
Zayne: "It's a beautiful night. Clear skies and all the stars."
Trinity: "It is."
Zayne: "And you ... you look like a goddess, Trinity. Beautiful."
Trinity: "About yesterday. I'm ... I'm sorry for the way I behaved."
Zayne: "Which part of your behavior re you apologizing for?
Trinity: "Well, there are probably multiple aspects of my behavior yesterday that I could apologize for."
Zayne: "Like goading me into fighting you?"
Pressing my lips together, I nodded.
Trinity: "Yes, that, but -"
Zayne: "Or suggesting that I wasn't trained well enough?"
Trinity: "I don't think I suggested that."
Zayne: "Oh, I think you did."
Trinity: "Okay, so maybe I did, but I was apologizing for -"
Zayne: "Calling me a douche nozzle?"
I had called him that
Zayne: "Or are you apologizing for lying about having minimal training?"
I started to frown
Zayne: "Oh, wait. Are you apologizing for refusing t o admit defeat when I won?"
Trinity: "Are you done yet?"
Zayne: "I don't know. Have I forgotten anything?"
Trinity: "Yes. The one thing I was actually going to apologize for."
Zayne: "Which was?"
Trinity: "For kissing you."
Zayne: "That's the one thing you don't need to apologize for."
Zayne: "It happened."
Trinity: "It happened? You're making it sound like I slipped and my mouth fell on yours."
Zayne laughed, and it was a real one, nice and deep.
Trinity: "It's not funny."
Zayne: "The way you just described it was pretty funny."
Trinity: "Glad you think so."
Trinity: "Why do you always have to sound so logical?"
Misha: "Because you're always so illogical."
Misha: "You going to listen to me for once and go into the house?"
Trinity: "And let you have all the fun of killing demons alone? Ha. No."
Misha: "There's something wrong with you, something terribly wrong."
Trinity: "That was gross."
Misha: "You didn't just have your hand inside her."
Trinity: "Well, I'm smart enough to let the blades do their job."
Misha: "More like you need blades because you don't have these bad mamajamas."
Misha wiggled his bloodstained fingers at me.
Zayne: "I know you're trained and you can h old your own. And I'm sorry for what has happened to Misha. We will look for him. I promise you that. But we don't have the resources to babysit you while you run around DC looking for him."
Trinity: "Babysit me? Are you serious?"
Peanut: "Oh, no. Boy is about to get a smackdown."
Dez: "I don't think he meant to say it the way it came across."
Zayne: "Actually, I did mean it that way."
Trinity: "I didn't ask your opinion."
Zayne: "I'm freely giving it to you."
Dez: "While Zayne could have phrased that much better, he is right. We have a significant issue at home and without reinforcements -"
Trinity: "Without reinforcements, you and I both know you won't be going out of your way to look for Misha, and there's a good chance this demon will take him to DC. You all said you'd seen him there. You have a problem, and I can help you better than any Warden can."
Thierry: "Trinity. Don't -"
Trinity: "I have no choice. I will not stand by and let something happen to Misha when I can do something about it."
Peanut: "Oh, no ... Oh, no, Trinnie, what are you gonna do?"
I was going to show them exactly how I could help them. Thierry saw it written on my face as I took a step back. He lifted his hands as if he could stop me.
Thierry: "Your father -"
Trinity: "I don't care what he thinks. You can't stop me, Thierry. Neither can he. I'm eighteen and there is no law that supersedes the fact that I'm an adult. I love you - I love both of you, but I have to do something."
Then I let the grace take over.
"What in the hell...?"
Trinity: "More like the opposite."
Trinity: "I can help you defeat whatever thing is killing Wardens. This sword can cut down a fully shifted Warden within a heartbeat, leaving nothing behind. The same for a demon - any demon."
I lifted the sword, bringing it near my chest, causing both Wardens to flinch. I turned my head to where Zayne stood.
Trinity: "So, as you can see, I do not need a babysitter. You all need me."
Nicolai: "You're a nephilim."
Trinity: "I prefer to be called Trueborn. Nephilim is so ... outdated."
Zayne: "They can sense it and it will tell them she's half-angel? Hell. They wouldn't be able to stop themselves from coming after her. She's the closest thing to Heaven that they'd ever get to."
Trinity: "Yeah, and they tend to get a wee but nom-nom."
Peanut: "If you're leaving, I'm going with you. Don't even try to argue with me. You know it's pointless. I;ll just follow you, anyway, and haunt you. You know I will."
Trinity: "I don't want you to treat me differently now that you know what I am."
Zayne laughed softly under his breath
Zayne: "I'm not sure I can do that."
Zayne: "Because I know what you are, Trinity."
Zayne laughed again
Zayne: "So? Were you taking it easy on me the day in the training room?"
Pleased by the question, I didn't even try to fight my grin. I was too tired to.
Trinity: "Actually, no. You're really good, but I'm just..."
Trinity: "Don't let it get you down too much. Even Misha - Even he can't get the best of me."
Zayne: "You okay?"
Peanut giggled creepily
Trinity: "Yeah, I'm ... still out of it a little."
Zayne stopped, his gaze flickering from me to the suitcase.
Zayne: "Is it the ghost?"
Zayne: "Do I want to know?"
Zayne: "We don't know if the demon that took Misha knows that you are, but if that demon does, he's going to be looking for you."
Trinity: "Good. That makes my job so much easier, because this time, I will use my grace."
Zayne: "You're not leaving this place without m, and if you attempt it, I'll know."
Trinity: "I'm a prisoner now?"
Zayne: "You're a guest who will use common sense. So you can feel like a prisoner or you can feel like a well-rested guest. Either way, I'm sleeping, because I'm going to need some sleep before we do what we're going to do this evening."
Trinity: "And what is that? Do each other's hair and try out face masks/"
Zayne: "Oh, will you braid my hair for me?"
Zayne: "You are tired. Just rest for a couple of hours."
Trinity: "Do I look that bad?"
Zayne: "No. You look perfect."
I opened my eyes, and my gaze was snared by his. Something darkly possessive flickered across his face before he dropped his hand and took a step back.
Trinity: "Okay. So, we sleep and then...?"
Zayne: "I know a person, and I can't believe I'm even considering this, but if anyone knows where Bael could be, it'll be him. He should be around by this evening. He doesn't exactly keep a normal schedule."
Trinity: "Who is he? Another Warden?"
Zayne: "No. He's not a Warden. He's probably the biggest pain in my ass that has ever existed. Which means you'll probably get along with him."
Trinity: "You're a strange Warden."
Zayne: "And you're just ... strange."
Roth: "Where did you find her? In a church or something?"
Zayne: "No. I didn't find her in a church. What kind of question is that?"
Roth: "Okay. Well, wherever you found her, you need to put here back, Stony."
Roth: "I'm not a toy. Or an inanimate object to be picked up and put back."
Trinity: "Are you really sure they're good guys?"
Zayne shot Roth a look of warning
Zayne: "They are. You can trust me. And you can trust them."
Trinity: "I don't know about that. They're looking at me like they want to eat me."
Zayne: "Hopefully they'll stop doing that. Like right now."
Trinity: "I'm ... I'm not going to hurt you guys. I mean, I don't want to."
I looked at Zayne unsettled by all this.
One side of his lips kicked up
Roth: "But you can. There are only two things in this world that even I don't want to come face-to-face with. Neither of them are a Warden."
Roth: "And one of them is a Trueborn."
Trinity: "What's the second thing?"
Roth's smile was like smoke as he stared back at me, causing me to shiver.
Zayne: "She has no reason to hurt you all. So, let's not give her one, because if you know anything about a Trueborn, you know I'm not going to be able to stop her if you tick her off."
Roth: "I like when you need me, Stony."
Zayne: "God, I hate you."
Roth: "Hey! That's the first time you used my name."
Zayne rolled his eyes
Layla: "A Warden attacked you?"
Layla: "And what happened to this Warden?"
Trinity: "He's dead. I killed him."
Roth: "Good girl."
Roth tilted his head
Roth: "What do you think will happen if Bael gets his hands on you?"
Trinity: "I know exactly what will happen. I will kill him."
His jaw hardened as he continued to stare at me and then he rocked back. He turned to look over his shoulder.
Roth: "See what you can find out about Bael."
Cayman: "Of course."
Cayman turned back to Zayne and me
Cayman: "Always good seeing you."
Then he looked at me
Cayman: "You scare me."
Roth: I'm like the A-Team."
Zayne: "Yeah, if A stood for asshole."
I leaned over, socking him in the arm.
Zayne: "Ouch. What was that for?"
Trinity: "That was for not telling me that we were going to see the freaking Crown Prince of Hell."
I punched his arm again. Leaning away from me, he rubbed his arm.
Zayne: "What was that for?"
Trinity: "That was for being a dick to Layla."
I cocked back my arm one more time.
Zayne's hand shot out, catching my fist
Zayne: "Hitting isn't nice."
Trinity: "It's naked. Like really naked."
Zayne: "I can see that."
Trinity: "Like I can't unsee this, Zayne. It's really supernaked. I can't focus. Oh my God. Everything is just dangling out there for the world to see."
Zayne: "Would you stop pointing it out, please and thank you?"
Trinity: "But why is it naked? Is there no clothing in Hell?"
Zayne: "Maybe it wanted to impress you?"
Trinity: "I'm going to puke."
Zayne: "Try not to do it on me."
Jada: "Wait! Real quick, how are things with Zayne?"
Trinity: "Fine. I guess. I mean, we haven't tried to kill each other yet."
Zayne: "It's not fine. Your back looks like a worn-out punching bag."
Trinity: "Nice description."
Zayne: "I need you undressed from the waist up."
Trinity: "What? Usually a guy tells me I'm pretty before he demands that I take my shirt off."
He shot me a bland look.
Zayne: "Is that all it takes for you to take your shirt off? You're very pretty, Trinity."
Trinity: "That's not all that it takes, thank you very much, and you didn't even sound like you meant that."
Zayne: "Oh, I meant it."
Roth: "So weird."
He tipped forward.
Roth: "I still want to touch you."
My eyes widened
Trinity: "You're an odd, creepy demon prince."
Cayman: "Well, you still creep me out."
Roth leaned farther toward me, one hand sliding across the table.
Zayne: "No touching."
The demon prince pouted as he pulled his hand back.
Roth: "That's no fun."
Cayman: "Don't you two look supercozy and cute."
Zayne: "Do we?"
Roth: "You do. I like it. A lot."
Zayne: "I'm so glad to hear that, as I've been waiting on bated breath for your thoughts and feelings."
Roth: "Did I ask for your advice on what to worry or be afraid of?"
Zayne: "No, but it sure as Hell sounds like you need it."
Busying myself, I took a bite of my crab cake and almost moaned in pleasure. It was amazing. Mostly meat seasoned with Old Bay. I took another bite, close to shoving my whole face into the cake, while Zayne and Roth eye-screwed one another.
Cayman: "Get used to it, Trinity."
Trinity: "Used to what?"
Cayman: "Them arguing and trying to out-snark one another. Some people find it tiresome, but I find it wildly entertaining. I'm just waiting for the moment when their passionate arguing turns into passionate lovemaking."
Roth: "Do Trueborns like to kill indiscriminately?"
Trinity: "At the moment? Yes."
Zayne chuckled under his breath while Roth grinned and leaned forward.
Roth: "I like you."
Roth: "I thought you trusted me?"
Zayne: "I trust you, but I don't trust you to make wise life choices."
Trinity: "You just have to promise me that you're not going to try to ... eat me or something."
Roth: "Now, that might be asking too much."
Trinity: "You're kind of bloodthirsty."
Roth: "I've learned to be."
Trinity: "She wanted to be trained just in case something happened. She was strong like that, didn't want anyone to take care of her while she say around like a frail flower."
Zayne: "Sounds an awful lot like her daughter."
Trinity: "I have questions."
Zayne: "There isn't a single part of me that is surprised."
Trinity: "You're good-looking. You're funny and charming when you're not being annoying."
Zayne: "Thanks. I think."
Trinity: "I think you'll grow on him."
Trinity: "Yeah, you've grown on me. Despite the fact that you're sometimes a jerk."
Trinity: "Are you okay?"
Zayne: "Just because we are told something is right doesn't mean it is."
Trinity: "I'm guessing the sky is full of stars?"
Zayne: "It is, but the only ones that matter are the ones you see."
Zayne: "What are you going to do if it does get worse?"
Trinity: "Maybe I'll get myself a seeing-eye gargoyle."
Zayne: "I can be that for you."
Trinity: "Uh, yeah, I feel like you'd grow very bored of that."
Zayne: "I don't think so. I don't think .... there's ever a boring second around you."
Zayne: "You ... You...."
Clutching at his shoulders, I was breathless and it had nothing to do with the jump and everything to do with how close we were.
Zayne: "You're maddening."
My eyes widened as I stared up at him. I wasn't even sure if he was aware of what he was doing. He was furious. That much was clear, but there was something heavier and thicker riding that anger.
Zayne: "You're out of your mind."
One hand slid down from my waist, over my hip, down to my thigh. His hand clenched, the sharp claws snagging the thin fabric of the leggings.
Zayne: "You're utterly reckless and completely impulsive. If you do something like that again..."
Trinity: "What? What are you going to do?"
His words were hot against my neck, causing all my muscles to tense. My fingers touched the edges of his hair.
Trinity: "You need to give me a little more detail on that. Because I'm a hundred percent going to do that again."
Zayne: "I'm going to need to get a leash for you."
He shifted his body and my entire body seemed to jerk against the unexpected hardness between his hips. Oh God. My heart was pounding as heat pooled.
Trinity: "If you got a leash for me, I'd choke you with it."
His husky chuckle burned my lips
Zayne: "You would."
Zayne: "The second you kissed me in the training rooms, I knew you were going to be trouble."
Trinity: "Is that why you ran from me?"
Zayne: "I'm not running from you now. It seems I'm running after you now."
Then the barest brush of his lips against mine caused my entire body to arch. My lips parted, giving him access, and I felt the wicked tip of one fang against my lip. I shuddered against Zayne, and he made this deep, throaty groan that was nearly my undoing.
Zayne: "We shouldn't..."
He trailed off, dragging that sharp fang across my lower lip."
Zayne: "We shouldn't be doing this."
He laughed, low and soft against my lips
Zayne: "Why? Besides the fact this complicates things?"
Trinity: "I like complications."
Zayne: "Why doesn't that surprise me?"
His forehead rested on mine
Trinity: "I'm kind of surprised an imp got an upper hand on you."
Zayne: "Thanks for pointing that out."
Trinity: "I'm just saying."
Zayne: "I was kind of distracted."
Trinity: "Not my fault."
Zayne: "I'm going to say it was partially both our faults."
Trinity: "Just how distracted were you?"
Zayne: "I think you could ... feel just how distracted I was."
Hand stilling, I looked up at him.
Trinity: "Yeah, I could."
The centers of his cheeks flushed a faint pink.
Zayne: "Well, there's your answer."
A slow grin tugged at my lips
Trinity: "You're blushing."
His eyes closed.
Zayne: "You know, most people wouldn't point that out."
Trinity: "I'm not most people."
Zayne: "I've noticed."
A smirk appeared
Zayne: "Haven't figured out if that's a good or bad thing yet."
Zayne: "You know what you asked me earlier?"
His hands left my wrists and slid up my forearms
Zayne: "About why I didn't come to you tonight?"
My heart rate sped up as I nodded
Zayne: "I couldn't, because I didn't think I could lie beside you after what happened on that rooftop."
His voice was deeper, thicker, as his hands gripped my upper arms. He lifted me with ease, sitting me on the edge of the vanity.
Zayne: "And not touch you."
Trinity: "What ... what if I wanted you to touch me?"
Zayne: "We make a good team -"
Trinity: "We really do. We make a damn good team."
Zayne: "Which is why this would be a bad idea."
Trinity: "I think that makes it a damn good idea."
His laugh was strained
Zayne: "Of course you would, but it's more than that."
Trinity: "I'm not your father -"
Zayne: "Jesus, I'd hope not."
Something else lingered at the the fringes of my thoughts, a sense of familiarity with him, of many moving pieces finally clicking into place.
It just felt right.
Zayne felt right.
Zayne: "Have you thought about this? Us? Wondering what it would be like?"
Trinity: "Yes. I have."
I whispered, spreading my legs, cradling his body.
His remaining hand slid up the flair of my hip, up my stomach. He stopped just below my breasts, his thumb brushing over the swell. My breath caught as his kisses reached the corner of my mouth again. I turns my head slightly. Our lips brushed.
Zayne: "You don't have to worry about this going too far."
Trinity: "I'm not. Are you?"
Zayne: "Do you want me to stop?"
Trinity: "No. Not at all. Not even remotely."
Zayne: "The best thing I've heard all year."
Trinity: "This seems very un-Warden-like."
The hand at my hip tightened.
Zayne: "You'd be shocked by all the un-Warden-like things going through my head right now."
Trinity: "Then show me."
Trinity: "Peanut! Don't you even think about it!"
Jada: "What is he doing?"
Trinity: "Being a freaking creep."
Peanut: "I also can't believe what you two were doing last night."
My eyes widened as I lowered my voice.
Trinity: "Were you creeping on us?"
Peanut: "No. Come on. That would be gross. But there was literally nowhere for me to go in this place where I couldn't hear you two."
Oh my God.
Peanut: "I think you like him."
Peanut: "I think you really like him."
Trinity: "Shut up."
Peanut: "I think you like him a lot."
Zayne let me get about a step away and then he caught my hand and pulled me back. My breath caught. Before I could guess what he was doing, he lowered his head and whispered, "Be safe."
Then I felt his lips on my temple, and my eyes briefly squeezed shut. It was a sweet, quick kiss, but it meant something to me. When I opened my eyes and pulled back, I saw the warmth in his pale eyes. I thought that maybe it might mean something to him, too.
Roth: "Bambi, this is Trinity. She's a friend."
My eyes widened
Roth: "And what do we do to friends? We don't eat them, Bambi."
Trinity: "Not responsible? That's like setting fire to a bush and walking away from it and then that fire spreads to an apartment building and takes out the whole thing. You didn't intend for it to happen, but you're still responsible. What did you think he was going to do with such an enchantment? Use it to convince a group of humans to do charity work?"
Roth snorted. The witch's grip tightened on the wineglass.
Roth: "I'm growing bored with this conversation, Faye. Did your coven have contact with Bael?"
Faye: "You do realize how much this could blow back on us if it gets out we were divulging ... others' activities?"
Roth: "And you do realize I don't give a flying crap about what blows back on you? You should be more worried about getting on my bad side."
Faye: "Well, of course, but -"
Roth: "But what you don't realize is that you really do not want to get on her bad side."
I lifted a hand, wiggling my fingers.
Roth: "Answer the damn question."
Faye: "Something is here and we want no part of it. But I have a feeling you'll find out what that something is sooner rather than later."
Trinity: "Well, that's creepy and not remotely helpful, but thanks."
Zayne: "Jesus. Why even ask me what I feel or think when he seems to have laid all my business out for you?"
Trinity: "Oh, yeah, like you've been entirely forthcoming with information any time I asked you about Layla. You failed to mention last night, when you were listing all the reasons why we shouldn't do what we did, that the most important one was the you were still in love with someone you can't have."
Zayne: "I didn't realize you and I were going that deep."
My head swiveled in his direction. My lips parted on a sharp inhale that went nowhere as that burning sting returned, sharper than before. The know in my throat was back, and suddenly I was so uncomfortable in this seat, in my skin, that I wanted to be far away from here. Anywhere. On the street. By the river. In a den of hungry demons. Anywhere. My shoulders tensed as I slowly pulled my gaze from him.
Zayne: "Shit. Trin, I didn't mean for it to sound like that. I didn't -"
Trinity: "Can we just not talk right now?"
Zayne: "No, we need to talk. I'm in a ... I'm in a weird space right now. I wasn't expecting her to be here tonight and ... and all that shit that comes with her. I wasn't expecting Roth to gossip like a damn old lady. I wasn't expecting last night -"
Trinity: "Yeah, well, neither was I, Zayne. I wasn't expecting to like someone who is in love with someone else. And I really don't want to talk about this anymore."
Zayne: "You don't understand."
Trinity: "You're right. I've never been in love with someone. So yeah, I don't understand."
Zayne: "With everything going on, the last thing I wanted as for you to get hurt."
God. Why did those words make me feel worse?
Trinity: "I'm not hurt. I ... I don't know what I was thinking last night. It's not like I thought you were madly in love with me or something. I mean, I figure I annoy you too much for that, anyway, but I didn't know there was someone else."
Zayne: "There isn't someone else."
Trinity: "There isn't? You may not be with Layla, but you're in love with her, and that means there's someone else you'd rather be with and that means I'm ... I'm second best. I'm -"
Zayne: "You are not second best, Trin."
Zayne sighed, and my heart squeezed.
Zayne: "I know this is hurting you. Shit. Hearing you say this is killing me."
Trinity: "Really? How exactly is it killing you, Zayne?"
Zayne: "Because I do care about you. Because last night was -"
Trinity: "A mistake?"
Zayne: "No. It wasn't a mistake to me. Was it to you?"
A huge part of me wanted to say that it was, to lash out, but all I could do was shake my head as I stared down at my hands, wondering how I got here.
Trinity: "Did you...?"
Trinity: "Did you want to do that with me last night or were you thinking of her?"
His eyes widened
Zayne: "Jesus, is that a serious question?"
Trinity: "The first time I kissed you, you launched yourself off me like a rocket, and any other time we've gotten close, you've pulled away. It wasn't like you jumped my bones last night. I had to ... I had to convince you."
I whispered, stomach twisting as I realized that was true and I couldn't look at him.
Trinity: "You listed all these reasons and I -"
Zayne: "You didn't have to convince me. What I feel for Layla - what I've felt for her had nothing to do with last night. At all. What we shared was damn near perfect."
I felt the couch shift when he sat next to me. I jerked when I felt his fingers under my chin
Zayne: "Sorry. There isn't a fucking moment of last night that I regret."
Zayne: "I thought .... I thought I did. Hell. For the last seven months, I thought I would only ever really want to be with her, and that was how I felt until you laid my ass out in the training room. I wanted you then. Right there, on the damn mats. You have no idea how much restraint I had to use to not ... I don't even think I ever wanted her like that. It was like a damn punch to the gut. It shocked me. That's why I jumped off you. I've never felt such a ... raw reaction to someone. I ... I don't know what I'm doing when it comes to you. When I'm with you, I don't think about her, and I sure as Hell don't see her. I see only you. I just don't know what that means. All I do know is that I never meant to hurt you."
I believed him.
Tears crowded the back of my throat as I nodded. I did believe him, and somehow that made me want to let go and cry. I looked away, having no idea where that left me - left us.
No, that was a lie.
I did know.
Zayne: "I like you, Trin, and I care about you. I do, and I know it means something. And I do want you. Hell, I'm coming out of my skin from wanting you, and I feel like I'm ... Like I'm drawn to you. It's the craziest thing. Like I know where you are in the room without looking. When I told you back in the Potomac compound that I felt like I knew you, I wasn't full of shit then. I do feel like that, and I ... I can't explain that."
There was a but lingering between us.
Zayne liked me. He cared for me. He wanted me. But he'd been burned. Badly. There was a fortress around him that didn't just have to do with Layla, but also with his father and his own reckoning with his clan's responsibilities. He didn't know what he really needed.
I might not know what it was like to be in love or to love someone like he had, but I thought ...
I thought you knew if you really liked someone, that if there was a potential for that, even if you didn't know a person for weeks, months or years, you just knew. And if you knew you really liked someone, you'd reach out and seize it. You'd chase after it.
And I knew that I really liked him, and I knew that even as messed up as things were right now, if he felt the same way, I'd reach out and seize it. I'd chase after it.
But I was pretty sure that, even with everything he's said, he wasn't going to go down that road with me. He wasn't seizing or chasing anything. He wasn't ready.
Trinity: "It's okay."
I forced a smile even though this didn't feel okay. It felt horrible.
Zayne's fingers splayed across my cheek, and my eyes drifted shut
My smile started to wobble, and I knew it was time for me to get some space. Everything had to be okay. I needed his help. He was going to need mine, and me crying wasn't going to make things okay or any less awkward.
His thumb slid over my chin, just below my lip, causing me to suck in a shallow breath. I felt that gentle sweep all the way to the tips of my toes.
Zayne: "Are things really okay?"
I nodded,, opening my eyes
Trinity: "Yeah, I understand.
Doubt clouded those beautiful eyes of his, but he smiled as he dipped his chin, pressing his lips to the center of my forehead. The kiss was like the one earlier in the garage, sweet and gentle, and completely devastating.
My stupid, stupid heart skipped a happy little beat, and if my hear was right in front of me, I would've punched it.
Trinity: "I...I don't - I can't see a lot."
Up ahead, Zayne stopped and turned to me. A second later, he was right beside me. Without saying a word, he took my hand, and I flushed.
Zayne: "It's, like, rocky - the ground. Plus, there's a lot of fallen trees and branches."
I whispered, a little embarrassed and a little grateful
Trinity: "Okay. Normally it's not this hard. Back home, I can run the woods like nothing, because I'm familiar with the landscape. I'm sorry -"
Zayne: "Don't apologize. It's no big deal."
Trinity: "You have to hold my hand."
Zayne: "I don't have to. I want to. And remember, I told you I would be your seeing-eye gargoyle whenever you needed me."
Shaking my head, I laughed.
Trinity: "Well, you're doing a really good job at it now."
Zayne: "Oh, I plan on excelling at it."
Roth: "You can feel them? And know it's not us you're sensing?"
Trinity: "I feel you two, but this is more ... intense."
Roth inclined his head toward me, and I'd swear he pouted.
Roth: "I don't feel intense?"
Zayne: "Wow, Roth. Sensitive, aren't you?"
Zayne: "The witch told you about the senator. Is there a chance she would've given the senator or Bael a heads-up?"
Roth: "If she did, she's not only a stupid witch, she'll be a dead witch."
Zayne: "Find Misha and get out of here."
Trinity: "Not without you."
Zayne gripped my shoulder, pulling me toward him as he lowered his head so I was at eye level with fierce, pale blue eyes.
Zayne: "You find Misha and get the Hell out of here. I'll find you. Wherever you go, I will find you."
All right, then. If she wanted a bitch fight, she was going to get one.
Trinity: "You really don't want to do this, honey."
Demon: "I'll eat you alive, bitch."
Trinity: 'As charming as that sounds, you're not my type."
Misha: "You're exhausted. You used your grace. You should've stayed down."
Trinity: "And you should know better than that."
Misha: "So be it."
Zayne: "I'm sorry. I'm so sorry."
I shook my head, wanting to touch him more but afraid of hurting him.
Trinity: "What are you sorry for? You -"
Zayne: "Misha. I'm so sorry."
If I thought my heart was capable of shattering even more, I was wrong. It cracked wide open as I blinked back tears
I whispered, gently brushing the hair back from his face.
Trinity: "Don't apologize for him.:
Zayne: "I know ... I know how much he ... means to you and you ... you shouldn't have had to do that."
His face blurred as I fought back tears
Trinity: "Thank you..."
My voice broke
Zayne: "He ... he hurt you."
Trinity: "I'll be okay ... Do you think you can get up? Or do you think you can at least shift?"
Zayne: "I ... I don't think so."
Trinity: "I'm not going to let you die, Zayne. You annoy me too much for me to let you die."
A huffing, pained laugh came from him.
Zayne: "That doesn't ... make any sense."
Trinity: "It makes complete sense. You need to shift."
Zayne: "You ... you need to go before more ... demons show up. You're bleeding all over. I smell it. Ice cream."
Trinity: "I'm not leaving you, Zayne. I need you to concentrate and shift. If not, you - you're going to die a virgin, Zayne. Do you want to die a virgin?"
He laughed and it ended on a choking sound that sent my heart plummeting.
Zayne: I cannot believe you just said that."
Michael: "Do you, Warden, accept this bond, forsaking all others and all duties, to become her Protector until death breaks this bond?"
My breath caught.
Zayne: "Yes. Yes, I will become her Protector."
Panic blossomed. This was happening too fast.
Trinity: "Zayne -"
Michael: " Then it shall be done."
Michael: "Rise up. For what has begun a millennium ago is now at the door. The Harbinger has arrived. The end is upon us. Stop it, or all mankind is lost."
Zayne cleared his throat
Zayne: "I left when I..."
My shoulders slumped
Trinity: "When you felt me?"
Trinity: "This bond thing is going to be really ... inconvenient."
Zayne: "Not at this moment. You needed me, and I needed to be here."
Zayne: "We got this, Trin. We only have to stop the end of the world with little to know direction."
Trinity: "No big deal."
He chuckled and my lips curved up at the sound and the feel
Zayne: "None at all."
Zayne: "I know we have an apocalypse and all to stop, but I've been thinking about something you said."
Trinity: "God only knows what that is."
He chuckled again, and I smiled, knowing he probably could see it
Zayne: "You said you liked being on the roofs of building, because it was close to the stars and the closest you could get to flying. You also said flying was the one thing you were jealous of."
Trinity: "I did say that."
Zayne: "Do you want to fly?"
Trinity: "Are you suggesting what I think you're suggesting?"
Zayne: "You want to see the stars?"
I nodded emphatically, knowing what he meant, and when he took my hand, I folded my fingers over his like I had the day I'd left the community. I felt him begin to shift, his skin hardening under mine.
Zayne: "Then hold on tight, Trin. I'm going to get us as close as we can go."