Home > A City of Lies (A Shade of Vampire #55)(4)

A City of Lies (A Shade of Vampire #55)(4)
Author: Bella Forrest

I could go over and over all the steps that had brought us to this point, but I wasn’t able to identify the exact moment in which I had fallen so hard for Heron. The only certainty was that I had fallen for him, and had no idea how to deal with it… or get out of it. This is such a sweet mess…

Reality started to kick in, ever so slowly. As much as I wanted to, I couldn’t stay like this forever. I needed to put some distance between us so that I could find the courage to tell Heron everything I had told him the night before… again. After a couple of deep breaths, I moved to get out of bed.

But Heron wasn’t ready to let me go yet. He groaned and tightened his hold on me, his arms around my ribcage and his hands resting on my hips, as if I were a stuffed toy. Nevertheless, I felt like a very lucky toy. Damn it, I sure know how to get myself into trouble.

His head moved, his lips inching closer to my ear, to the point where I could feel his hot breath warming the side of my neck. Five more minutes of that, and I was surely going to melt. Heron was the flame I just couldn’t stay away from. And he didn’t seem unhappy about that.

“Thank you for letting me sleep here last night,” Heron whispered.

My entire body hummed, every inch of me resonating with his voice. It was simply mind blowing, the extent to which my being reacted to him. I nodded slowly, unable to speak. We stayed like that for a while. It felt as though time had stopped. We were fully conscious, aware of each other, our bodies so close and our hearts beating in unison. Why would I ever want to get away from this?

His grip tightened, his hands moving slowly and his fingers digging into my flesh. Liquid fire flowed through my veins. My breath hitched, and he reacted, exhaling sharply. I had a feeling that things were about to get a lot more intense, the air thickening around us. I didn’t know what to do—the only thing I knew was that I didn’t want any of this to stop.

My pulse was racing out of control, and I wondered what would happen if I turned around and just kissed him. My head moved, as if taking executive action on that very thought. Our eyes met, and I nearly lost myself in the twin pools of jade as they seared into me. The tension was almost unbearable, with just an inch between our lips.

I held my breath, hoping that he would do something—that he would read my mind, somehow, and that he would find the courage I seemed to lack. His gaze darkened, temporarily settling on my lips before he pulled himself back and got out of bed.

I blinked several times, unable to wrap my head around the sudden change in the atmosphere. It felt cold now. He looked away and walked over to the door.

“Let’s meet downstairs in fifteen minutes,” he murmured. “I think we have a long day ahead of us.”

Without another word, he left. As soon as I was on my own, everything came crashing down, like a building collapsing in on itself. I broke into a cold sweat, and sat up, rubbing my eyes and trying to figure out what had just happened.

Had I done something? More specifically, had I done something wrong?

What had made Heron distance himself so quickly, when nearly seconds earlier we had almost kissed? It made me think that maybe it was better that he hadn’t heard me the night before. Perhaps I was better off keeping my feelings to myself, no matter how intense they were getting. He didn’t seem interested in following through on whatever this was between us. Or worse, maybe he was afraid. That didn’t work out in my favor either, because I had a hard time grasping my own emotions where he was concerned. I certainly wasn’t ready to deal with any insecurity coming from him.

At the same time, however, that sudden change in his behavior did warrant a conversation. On one hand, the attraction between us was undeniable at this point. What was still unclear was how we felt about each other, beyond the physical chemistry. His sudden withdrawal made me think that he wasn’t as serious about this as I was.

But then again, he didn’t know how serious I was… about this.

Yeah… you need to talk to him.






(Daughter of Jeramiah & Pippa)



The clock hadn’t struck nine when we all met in the infirmary. Heron and Avril stood idly next to each other, occasionally stealing glances but exchanging not a single word, while we waited for Patrik. Fiona had been kind enough to take care of breakfast, bringing in several flasks of blood, along with some pastries and coffee, the latter mostly for Patrik.

Something had happened between Heron and Avril, but I couldn’t put my finger on it just yet. The awkwardness, however, seemed relatively familiar. As soon as I saw Patrik come in and actively avoid looking at me, the familiarity of said awkwardness became more evident. He’d been just as evasive earlier this morning, as well as last night.

I had a feeling that whatever Avril and Heron were going through, it involved unexpected closeness—the signs were all there, in every sideways glance, in every accidental brush of their hands, and particularly in the rapid heartbeats that were so uncharacteristic of us.

“I’ve been thinking,” Patrik said as he munched on one of the pastries. He gulped down some coffee. “While we’re waiting for Harper and the others to come back from the Valley of Screams, we are better off doing some more research about the Imen, while Scarlett and I look for the ingredients I need, to attempt a disruption of the asteroid belt.”

“Well, GASP isn’t here yet… Not sure when they’re coming, or if they’re coming.” Fiona sighed. “And this further reinforces my, and I guess our suspicion that there is definitely something happening on or around Neraka. Whatever it is, it isn’t just preventing us from communicating with our people back home or leaving. I think it’s also stopping others from coming in.”

“We have until midnight to get as much done about this as we can,” Patrik replied, “before Jax and his team come back or, worse, we have to go after them. That gives us a whole day to try and figure out as much as possible. Scarlett and I will go to the Spring Fair. It’s a big market day spreading across an entire city level, where they bring in the first of this season’s foods. I’ve learned it’s where I can find certain herbs and powders that I’ll need to perform a tentative spell aimed at disrupting the asteroid belt. It’s a high possibility that the asteroids, which we all know are rumored to have a certain influence on the planet’s concealment, can be dispersed with a powerful pulse. It would be like breaking the cycle, disrupting its effect. The only thing is that I’ll need your energy to perform this, as it’s part of the Druids’ dark arts.”

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