|My inspiration for Kyle|
~~~~LeavingThe sun hadn’t even cracked the dawn when
The far end of camp slowly filled with activity.
When she stumbled her way to the dock using only the perimeter camp lights, she found
already waiting for the boat
and the incoming patients. By the time she arrived, her aching muscles had
loosened up from the paralytic drug, but the flashbacks from the previous night’s
events continued haunting her. Dr.
“It is still early.” He patted the spot beside him on a large boulder. “Won’t you sit?”
“Won’t the boat be here soon?”
“Then I think I’ll just stand, thank you. I’ll stiffen up on the trip.”
“But where is
Won’t he be seeing you off?” Dr. Lachlan
The words brought back the painful visions, and they ripped at her heart as if they’d been the sharp claws she’d envisioned as Amyra’s hands. The recollection made her wince and when she glanced into
eyes, for some unknown reason, Dr. Salazar Shelby thought the man
already knew the answer to his own question. Dared she trust anyone under these
bizarre circumstances? The jungle compound felt like a living nightmare. Could
a brain explode from overload? Her head pounded. The pressure made her teeth
ache and her eyes hurt.
“No,” she said and paused. Meeting his questioning stare, she shrugged. “He had a long night. There’s no need.” Her casual attitude was all the indifference she could muster.
He knows, dammit. It didn’t matter. She refused to break. She wouldn’t crumble into a fit of despair in front of this strange man who seemed to get inside her head and read her emotions like USA Today.
Fortunately, the sound of the horn blared, and the boat rounded the bend at that exact moment. People began bustling about, saving her from
He stood, extending his hand and said, “Here is the boat now.” He took her hand and walked her in the direction of the gangway. “Have you made arrangements beyond the next village? If not, I could call ahead.”
“No, thank you. That won’t be necessary. I have a friend who will take care of my travel plans when I call him.”
“Give me his name and a phone number. While you are traveling upriver, I will call and tell your friend to start making arrangements for you. When you get to Senebrez, call him for the details and everything will be already under way.”
The plan had merit. The less time she spent waiting around down here in this environment, the better. “Thank you. That’s an excellent idea. The preparations will be quicker and simpler that way.”
She wrote down
information and handed it to him. As she did, she accidently touched Victor’s hand. A vibration traveled through her body
making her feel a little stronger. Shelby inhaled the damp
moist air and sensed the ache in her heart fade--not completely, but enough so
that breathing was not so difficult and her thoughts were less scattered. Even
the pain was more bearable.
After they formally shook hands, he helped her onboard and did that cute old fashioned bob with his head. She had quickly become fond of the curt bow and
despite the circumstances.
Once again he gave her that all knowing smile and winked. “Have a safe trip,
“Thank you, Vict...
Good-bye.” The time for familiarity was done. Dr. Salazar
Once on board, she didn’t look back, determined to stay strong for now. Time enough to shatter once she returned home.
He lifted his face from the mattress, waiting to confront
accusing eyes. When he returned, he’d imagined he’d been with her in his own
bed, but later, when he’d been able to focus, he’d seen her watching him, with
eyes wide open, from the far corner cot for the rest of the night. He was
confused. Images of Shelby naked beneath him
morphed into visions of Amyra and he immediately knew what she’d done. Shelby
The memories came back slowly, and with each memory
saw the pain and embarrassment felt etched on her
face. How would anyone deal with that kind of betrayal? He’d performed for
Amyra like a battery operated sex toy while Shelby watched--every
single disgusting thing. Shelby
Another vision formed.
|My vision of Amyra|
His fangs—Amyra’s—the blood exchange—and worse. The drugs caused him to lose control and his cat had surfaced within him. He’d actually given the bitch what she’d wanted all along. He’d fucked her. And he’d done it with the woman he loved watching his weakness.
He was naked, still erect, and covered with blood.
rolled over, allowing his feet to hang over the side of the bed as he looked
around. Neither woman was here now. would be well on her
way away from here. The jungle light meant Amyra already went to ground, and it
was well past time for Shelby ’s boat to have departed.
The clock on the table read nine-thirty. Shelby
She would be gone, and the idea had a piece of him breathing a sigh of relief. Amyra was sleeping and
was safe because, by the very actions that destroyed their relationship last
night, those same actions saved her life. He proved to Amyra that Shelby
meant nothing to him. Shelby
The love they shared was dead. He killed it. Witnessing his faithlessness with her own eyes was definitely the final thrust through her heart. One last regret burrowed within him—he wouldn’t ever get the chance to explain.
Who was he kidding? After what she witnessed, she was better off believing she’d hallucinated most of it. She’d seen the vampire feed from him and watched as he fed from her, too. He cursed.
It wasn’t as if there was a plausible explanation. Hardly. No sane person would accept. What did it matter? This was the only way to protect her from Amyra. By holding
at arm’s length, he was protecting her. If
the vampire imagined he still cared, the bitch would use his feelings against
him, and that would keep Shelby in mortal danger or
He never intended to involve her in this life. Leaving things as they were was the best way to end it. She’d have no misgivings about his honor. And...he’d make sure
Max would be there to help. Kyle knew his friend still loved ,
and he’d pick up the pieces and make it stick this time. Shelby
voice whispered outside the back of his tent and Kyle
He stood up and pulled on his shorts, whipping outside and around the tent. “
Julian, where the hell have you been? Get in here
before someone sees you.” He dragged the boy around the side of the canvas,
flipped open the flap, and shoved him inside. “That bitch will read their minds
and discover you’re here.”
“No one saw me.
says I must tell you that he saw the woman with the fire hair safely on board
the boat this morning. She is on her way home and you are not to worry. He sent
a man to watch over her. He says I am to take you to the men who have offered
to feed you.” Victor
How long ago had it been since the day the boy had tried to warn him about Amyra? Forever and not as long as it felt.
Julian, Amyra captured your brother and mother.” He
felt the need to explain. After all, the boy had warned him. “I had to—”
Julian, I’m sorry but there was no other way. I had
to give in to her.”
The boy lowered his eyes and shook his head. “No one can resist the dark one. We owe you a great debt. My family is safely out of here.”
“I found my father and the pack. For your great sacrifice, the villagers and my jaguar people have vowed to help you return home. You will escape the dark one, but we must avoid the rogues. You grow very weak again. Get dressed, and I will take you to the human villagers. We will hide you and feed you until you are strong enough to leave.”
“Show me the way, then return and tell
I need some advice.” Dr.
He’d held up his part of the bargain. Now it was Amyra’s turn to let him go.
The bug bites on
arms attested to the ineffectiveness of DEET and long sleeves against ravenous
Guatemalan mosquitoes. They were the result of the early morning boat trip into
the next village, followed by a two hour bus trip—open windows naturally, no
AC—to the closest city with an airstrip. That’s where Max
had arranged for her to board the private plane for the return trip.
She’d had exactly twenty minutes to clean up after the bus, before she boarded and they took off. After peering into the aged mirror and shocked by her appearance, she knew she’d need everyone of those minutes and more to get close to resembling a human.
Her eyes had been swollen—still were. She could barely see out of them, and they felt like she’d taken a few punches. As usual, her hair was wild, but she didn’t have access to a brush.
It’s a wonder people hadn’t avoided her on the bus. Then she remembered that the lady with the chicken had moved to the back.
Great. She even scared chicken toting passengers.
The hangover from the drug that bitch used on her pounded through her skull in spite of the pain meds she’d taken.
God help that woman, if she ever saw her again...
The small plane was due to land at a private airport outside
in the late afternoon. She had to hand it to Max,
he knew how to manage the shakers and movers in order to get her home. He
didn’t even sound surprised to receive her desperate collect phone call from a
hostel in that small town. He gave her instructions and made the arrangements
as if he were making a dinner date.
The single flight attendant on the four-seater must have thought she was a mess, in mourning or something, because she hovered over her the entire trip. She used a low whisper when she addressed
The woman brought her a cool cloth for her swollen eyes, and it also helped the pain in her head.
Somewhat. But when
asked, the angel of mercy also found calamine lotion packets in a first aid kit
for her bites, and then she topped off the flight with a sparkling wine.
Shortly before the plane landed,
finally felt capable of cleaning up in the miniscule bathroom. And by the time
they were ready to land, she was feeling better—not quite human, but almost.
The headache behind her eyes turned into mild pressure, and makeup hid some of
her flaws. All she could expect to achieve was presentable. Her hair, always wild in the best circumstances, was
still a rat’s nest. She’d misplaced her rubber bands, so all she could do was
brush it and hope for the best.
|What I think Shelby looks like|
The touchdown onto
US soil was smooth. Shelby
waited for the plane to roll to a stop then stood, gathered her belongings, and
smiled when flight attendant wished her a nice stay. The woman steadied her
when she wobbled a bit on the way down the steps.
She smiled. It was nice to have an advocate, a hero who was ready to fight for her honor even if it wouldn’t amount to much. Nothing helped her crushed heart.
The tears burned her eyes. When she reached the turnstile and passed through,
scooped her into his arms, moving her off to the side of the small room for
privacy. The moment she buried herself in his comfortable scent, she couldn’t
hold back the tears.
“You’re crying?” Surprise tinged his words.
spit out a few choice curses, and growled beneath his breath.
He was wide and tall, so his embrace engulfed all of her as if he could protect her from the outside world. His voice was low and tense when he muttered, “Shit,
Shelby. Am I gonna’ have to
She hiccupped and more sobs wracked her body as she blubbered all over his chest like the heartbroken fool she was. So much for her makeup.
“Remember when you broke your leg falling out of the peach tree?”
Crying wasn’t the greeting she intended to give him. Hell, she hardly ever cried. In fact, it pissed her off.
of all people, knew how bad things were to be to bring her to this low.
She nodded against his chest. It had been after one of his taunts when they were young teens.
“You didn’t cry then even when they set it. For the longest time I didn’t think you ever cried.”
He was right, but this was more than she could stand. She just couldn’t seem to stop, and while she unburdened herself, he murmured and stroked her back. The words were nothing she could understand, but his touch and his tone were consoling.
|My first vision of Max|
“I cried when I found out you were sleeping with
.” Amelia Devereaux
Yes, she did. At the time, he hadn’t realized how deeply she felt for him. And she had to be cautious with him, now. Even though she still loved him, she wouldn’t play with his feelings when she knew how he felt about her.
As he held her without words of admonition, not moving or saying anything, just being, she suddenly realized
Max was everything she needed.
And then she sobbed again, remembering she gave
Max up when he’d asked for a second chance. Maybe she
was the one who turned away from their relationship even before she met Kyle. Never-the-less she knew Max’s
feeling for her changed, deepened. He wanted commitment when it was too late--when
she was already infatuated with his friend and afraid of her feelings. Instead,
she ignored Max’s claims of
forever—once bitten and all—then pursued her own needs.
She’d chosen his best friend, the man who tossed her aside for some dark bitch in a jungle over a thousand miles away. How could she have been such a poor judge of character? How had
fooled her for so long? She sniffled.
“You ready to get out of here?”
Max’s voice sounded angry.
When she looked at him it matched his expression. His body was hard and tense as she moved back a small distance to get a better look at him.
nodded and sniffled, wiping her face with the back of her hand. He, being Max, handed her a handkerchief and picked up her bag.
A friggin’ cloth handkerchief? Embroidered initials and all. The gesture made her smile and want to cry all over again. Some things never changed. Thank God.
Without thinking she followed his lead as he moved her forward. Placing his big hand on the small of her back, she blew her nose and wiped her face while he escorted her from the building.
The hot humid air slapped her in the face, reminding her of the jungle she just escaped. For a moment she tensed. Then she smelled
Max’s familiar scent behind her and let out the
breath she’d been holding.
Good southern gent that he was, he held the car door for her, fastened her seatbelt, and tossed her bag into the backseat. She relaxed into the passenger seat of his Lexus as he turned the key. The AC blasted ice cold air and the radio was tuned to a ballgame.
“You mind? I was listening to the Braves on my way over here.”
“No, of course not. What’s the score and who’re they playing?”
“Yankees and they were up two when I got here.”
Good, she could relax. No sappy, “someone done somebody wrong” songs to wrench her broken heart.
She closed her eyes, and let
take care of her. “Thank you,” she mumbled.
“No thanks necessary between us, sweetheart.”
Read the previous chapters of Defeat The Darkness here at the Hearts of Darkness page
To Be Continued Next Week....
All rights reserved. No part of this may be copied or reproduced without the written permission of the author. Copyright 2012, Eliza March