On a side note, I've added a Table of Contents at the bottom with links to the other chapters if you haven't started at the beginning or you missed a week. I've edited the other blog posts to include the list as well.
Chapter Five - Mountain Magic
Asa 'Midnight' Cordova stared balefully after Xander and Zane. Anson, Prince, Cord and Raine followed as if Zane pulled them along by a string. Midnight's frown deepened as he contemplated skipping supper, but his stomach gave a loud grumble, reminding him that he hadn't eaten since breakfast.
Reluctant, he rose to his feet and crossed the floor to the entrance of combo space of the dining room and kitchen. The back wall was filled with large windows that looked out onto the shadowed patio that ran to the edge of tall fir trees. In the light of day, one could see a path leading down to the lake. After they had arrived, Prince had left them to explore the frigid water, returning naked, wet, and happy. The resulting fun after Prince had returned was the reason why he didn't eat lunch.
Around the kitchen island, Cord and Xander chatted with Zane while filling their plates. Prince came out of the wine cellar with a couple of bottles. Anson held Raine's back to his chest, Anson's hand rubbing soothing circles on Raine's stomach. Zane kept peeking at Raine and Anson. His expression curious, almost wistful especially when Cord and Xander touched intimately.
Damn Cord and his genetic compulsion to collect heroes. Midnight agreed with Raine, they didn't need to add another person to their family. The dynamic between the six of them was perfect. Sure, from time to time they had invited others into their bed, but they all had known the newcomers wouldn't last. Anson was the last one accepted into their family years ago. Other lovers who came afterward didn't stick.
Sometimes they attracted people who were curious about poly households. Some did not understand the dynamics or commitment involved, looking at the band's relationship as a free-for-all-fucking. Those individuals were quickly shuffled out the door. Midnight and his men had been together for too long to have the patience to teach people with such short sightedness. But there were others who didn't hold the obnoxious view and who his family was attracted to. Those lovers stayed longer but never really had the staying power nor the heart to love everyone in the family. Those eventually left after six months to a year when they realized they couldn't separate the one or two they loved from the whole.
Cord swore he wasn't looking to add another person to their relationship and everyone believed Cord except Raine and himself. The band did need Zane's help, but what they needed from Zane was getting tangled with what Cord, and now Xander, wanted. Midnight and Raine agreed that Cord's interest went beyond what he claimed. Midnight had even caught Cord staring at Zane's picture he'd snagged from Ella's phone.
He had considered calling Ella, demanding she reveal the game she played. Cord didn't have any interest in Zane Cortese until she meddled. But after careful consideration, he decided not to contact her. An oracle's words could ensnare as well as confuse. The situation the band had found themselves in was more than what they could presently handle. They didn't need to add the complications of prophecy to their lives. Anson, Xander, and Prince had listened to his and Raine's concerns, but they remained neutral until the met Zane themselves. They shouldn't have bothered trying to convince the group. Ella sharing Zane's picture with Cord had set into motion something Midnight didn't know if they could have stopped. Especially with how Cord had been mooning over the photograph and scouring the documents Cord's FBI cousin had sent him. Midnight needed to face the fact that Cord had completely ensnared before Zane even walked through the door.
Earlier, when Xander kissed Zane with such fervor, Midnight had a feeling all his family would cave to Cord's desires. Xander was usually the last person to accept anyone new into their circle. He was territorial and possessive. Being on the receiving end of Xander's nature was awesome. The outsiders who didn't handle Xander as if he was a feral wolf were caught off guard by his intense protectiveness and often times the encounter turned deadly. But in this case, Xander had been the first to draw Zane in. Not even Cord had welcomed Zane before Xander snagged him. In all the years he had known Xander, that had never happened, not even with the other members of the band. What did it mean?
"Midnight," Cord called, his deep voice a caress down Midnight's spine. "Make your plate and sit your ass down."
Out of pure stubbornness, Midnight stayed where he was until Raine took his hand. Anson herded both him and Raine to the island piled high with a feast that would tide them over the weekend… unless they expended a great amount of energy. Then the excess would be devoured within one night. Glancing at Zane where he sat in between Xander and Cord, he wondered if they would be expending that energy tonight. Prince sat at the head of the table, pouring wine for everyone. When Midnight finally joined them, he found himself sandwiched between Anson and Raine, directly across from Zane.
As Midnight shoveled food in his mouth, not really paying attention to the flavors, he covertly regarded Zane who seemed both flustered by the attention showered upon him by Cord and Xander but also hyperaware of everything that went on around him.
Zane was not what Midnight expected. The two pictures Cord had were different from the man who sat before him. The sketch from the FBI had him dressed to the nines, straight backed with cold blue eyes over an unsmiling mouth. The close-cropped beard and mustache were gone in Ella's picture, but the eyes had changed to a remorseless brown. His shoulder-length wiry hair had been cut short, the changes making him appear plain and forgettable in Ella's photo. Seeing him in person, however… Midnight couldn't put his finger on it. On the street, he might have passed Zane without a second glance if not for his sixth sense. Zane might look harmless, but something told Midnight that it was a façade, spurring him to look deeper.
Zane glance up and caught Midnight staring, and Midnight couldn't drag his eyes away. He was aware of Zane's every breath, could hear the slow beat of Zane's heart. He knew intimately the scent of every man in the room except Zane's. He purposely sought it out again, not to read Zane's intension, but to parse out what it was about Zane that drew Cord and Xander so strongly.
The scent was amazing; something he couldn't describe nor had he come across it before. His body responded on a primal level, his pulse beat like drums in his ears, and his dick thickening with his rising desire. He clamped his teeth down on a growl, shoving his seat from the table. Mother mountain! What was Zane doing to him?
Automatically, Midnight reached out to the stark, craggy cliffs surrounding the valley that reminded him so much of the place he'd once called him in Columbia. He easily sensed their slow pulsing power and when he called, they heeded his beckoning, lending him their immense power. The old, primal earth slipped over his fingers and flowed into his being. For the briefest of seconds that first touch rocked him with the sense of home.
Shaking off the sensation, he used the power to probe Zane. As soon as Midnight touched Zane using the mountain's energy, Zane's head cocked to the side, brows drawing together as if he sensed something. Midnight was sure Zane used some hoodoo to sexually snare him, but he found… nothing. Zane was completely human and not using any foreign or natural energy to capture Midnight's attention. How could that be? Midnight had sensed something flowing between him and Zane.
He still did.
"Midnight?" Prince inquired, obviously sensing Midnight's manipulation of the energy. Prince's elegant fingers were white-knuckled around his wine glass.
He was about to reassure Prince when Zane wordlessly leaped from his chair and across the table. Everyone shouted in alarm, but Zane's bellow drowned them out. "Everyone down!"
Zane crashed into Midnight, the chair back slamming into the floor, jostling Midnight but not stealing his breath. Everything slowed down to a crawl as Midnight's adrenaline spiked. Anson and Raine fell on the floor next to them, eyes wide with no small amount of fear. But Midnight's gaze kept returning to Zane as he covered Midnight, the sound of breaking glass was background noise. Midnight couldn't help himself, he slid his arms around Zane's waist. Their faces were so close that if Midnight lifted he could seal their lips together, taste Zane for himself. Zane cupped Midnight's face with one hand and Midnight jolted, eyes locked on Zane's waiting to see what Zane would do. After a pause, Zane frowned and broke eye contact, rising to his knees. He pulled at Midnight's shirt as if searching for something and Midnight didn't stop him, breath coming faster. Straddling Midnight's chest, Zane withdrew the gun from the small of his back, pointing the weapon toward the bank of windows behind Cord's chair. The sight of the heavy black gun shook the fog from Midnight's mind and he blinked hard as he shoved down the rampant desire the was wholly out of place.
"Midnight, are you injured?" Prince, the only of them not hugging the floor, stood scowling in the same direction Zane pointed his gun. Still holding onto the mountain magic, Midnight could see the invisible shield encasing Prince, Zane could not.
"You are making yourself a target," Zane snapped.
"Let them try," Prince snarled, a lilt entering Prince's voice that hinted at rough seas and Gaelic coasts. Later Midnight knew Prince would be upset at the slip but at the moment he was too lost to his anger to notice.
"Your funeral," Zane mumbled before moving off Midnight.
Midnight wanted to stop Zane from leaving but he wasn't sure if the desire was a lingering side effect of the lust-haze or if he was truly concerned for Zane's welfare. So he remained silent and watched Zane approach the set of French doors that led to the back patio. The motion sensors flicked on the outdoor light before Zane reached the exit. The sudden illumination caused Zane to plant his back to the wall next to the glass doors, the muzzle of the gun pointing at the floor.
Prince stormed across the room to where a tall potted plant sat in the corner. From behind it he withdrew a sword that sang with latent power. Snarling in a long dead language, Prince jerked open the doors. Zane took one long look at Prince's sword and didn't hide his incredulous expression. Midnight was surprised when Zane still followed Prince into the night.
"Holy shit!" Anson crawled to the wall behind Midnight. He craned his head to see what had upset Anson.
Midnight's blood ran cold. Protruding from the wall behind Midnight's chair was a neat circle of bone darts the size of his index finger. In the exact center was an empty hole. Anson frantically dug at the area, pulling away the drywall until the stud underneath was exposed. There, buried in the blond wood, was a dark gray slug.
Raine made a low noise. When Midnight glanced at him, Raine wasn't staring at the wall but toward the open doors. Then Midnight smelled them, too.
"Where the fuck did El Chupacabra come from?" Midnight asked, rolling to his feet. "Shit, Zane's out there and has no idea what he is up against."
The loud crack of a gun firing shattered the night's stillness. A heartbeat later another shot sounded.
"He knows now," Raine said, his expression grim before retrieving another sword that was hidden in the pantry. "They will need help. I scent more than one."
Table of Contents
Chapter One - Retirement
Chapter Two - Normal is not supposed to be this hard
Chapter Three - Caught
Chapter Four - Crimson Comet
Chapter Five - Mountain Magic
Chapter Six - One man's nightmare is another's hero
Thank you for stopping by and reading!!