Dark Knight Chapter 1
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Read an excerpt of Holly Roberd’s Dark Knight paranormal Romance. A Five Orders Short Story.
“We’re not going, Diana,” Gregory rumbled. The low timber of his words vibrated through my bones and slid down my body, warming my core. “She’s not going.”
Steam still twirled off my cup of tea as I unfolded my legs from where they were curled under me on the rocking chair. I set my book aside on the wooden end table Gregory had crafted. He’d come in from tending the greenhouse, and I could see he had worked himself up into a frenzy over the matter again.
I crossed the distance of our small living room to him. Wrapping my arms around his neck, I played with the curled ends of his hair. I inhaled his masculine scent, which mingled with the morning coffee he’d had.
“Darling, we’ve talked about this,” I said. “We need to be normal. We need Emma to be normal. This is what normal people do.” The light filtered in through our cabin’s windows behind Gregory’s frame, and I still couldn’t help but swoon looking up into his handsome face, even when a glower darkened his brow. His beard both added to the darkness of his scowl as well as the attractiveness of his features.
“If you are so intent on being normal, then why do you insist on believing Emma needs to know about where we come from, and who she is?”
I pulled away, the oval rainbow rug scratching at my feet with stiff fibers. I’d found it at something called a flea market. On the small tropical island where I’d been raised by the Order of Spiritus, there were no flea markets, no Halloweens, and there certainly weren’t any delicious, coffee-kissable husbands.
“That’s a completely different matter,” I said, waving my hand at him as I walked back to my book. I adjusted the thick flannel wrap around my shoulders and took a deep, calming breath, hoping he’d drop the subject.
His eyes stalled on the thick volume I held, a wonderful novel entitled Jane Eyre. A stab of guilt went through me. “One day you’ll read books thicker than this,” I said, giving him an encouraging smile. Gregory came from the Order of Luxis and was a Chevalier, a Knight of the Light. They never deemed it necessary to teach him to read. His only focus was to fight creatures of darkness.
He shook his head as if divesting himself of some unpleasant thought before meeting my eyes again. “Diana, we are safe. Neither of our Orders will ever find us. Don’t you believe me?”
I clutched the book in my hands as a wave of anxiety swept through me. “You can’t know that. We need to prepare her.” The charm on my necklace was suddenly heavy against my breast, and I wished to take it off. But I didn’t. I would never.
His voice dropped as he came up behind me and wrapped his hands around my shoulders. “Have you had a vision?”
I shook my head and covered one of his hands with mine, reveling in the warmth of his strong body through my thin grey dress. I cleared my suddenly tight throat. “No, I still haven’t had any since leaving the Spiritus.” Not since the ambrosia had cleared from my system.
Gregory had stayed with me day and night while I’d detoxed from the opiate that helped facilitate visions. My Order thought they could keep me drugged and locked up from the man I loved. They were foolish to believe anything less than hellfire could keep me from the man who was my world.
I still carried guilt about being dead weight while we were on the run those first several weeks. Gregory had to figure out everything—from where we would stay to what we would eat, while I was utterly useless. Fear nipped at our heels no matter where we went until we’d gone almost a year without either of our Orders catching up. Even after I’d become pregnant, we kept on the move, but lingering longer in each place. We’d finally settled down in this cozy cabin and neither of us brought up the subject of relocating again. I certainly wouldn’t be the one to suggest it. I was tired in my bones, and I loved the tall pine trees that guarded our home like silent sentries.
My heart dropped in my chest at the thought of having to move again.
As if sensing my unease, Gregory turned me around, and lowered his face for a deep, searching kiss. His fingers burrowed up into my thick blonde hair, sending shivers down my spine. The wrap fell from my shoulders into the crooks of my arms.
“Stop that,” I said, trying to resist the smile that threatened to break through. “I’m not changing my mind. We eventually need to tell Emma what she is and where she comes from.”
A sly, devious smile slid onto my husband’s face as he backed me up against the wall. Pressing into me, he ground his hips and my traitorous body instantly responded. “I can be rather persuasive, don’t you think?” His voice grumbled in his chest, vibrating against mine.
Those practiced lips beckoned me to lose myself in his kiss and the fire in his brown eyes. His tall hard body pressed against mine, pushing my breasts up as my wrap dropped to the floor. Gregory’s beard scraped against my collarbone as he pressed hot hungry lips against my neck. My breath came in quick short pants. I realized at some point he had pinned my hands above my body, and I squirmed against him, trying to remember what we were discussing moments ago.
My head was fuzzy and my mouth suddenly watered, as my body begged for more. His hot breath puffed against my ear like a caress, his beard still scraping against my neck as he said, “Give me a chance to argue my case.”
I was losing my case and that simply wouldn’t do. I rolled my body up against Gregory’s and a guttural sound emanated from his throat, sending ripples of anticipation through my body. I managed to latch onto his ear, sucking on his lobe and tracing the shell of his ear in just the right way. He rocked against me with more excitement. I may have been the one with my hands pinned, but he was the one losing control.
“You love candy,” I whispered huskily in his ear, feeling his hardness press against me. “And I think if you’d relax a little, you could have a lot of fun.”
He pulled back some and his expression of wanton lust and hunger took my breath away. His eyes were dark and full of power and thunder. He may not possess his powers, but he was still a powerful man with a raw masculine energy that was boundless.
“What kind of fun?” he asked, his voice low and hoarse.
Everything in me stilled as the answer came from me bodily, loud and clear. I wanted him to take me right there against the wall. This wasn’t even about the argument anymore. This was what I needed.
“Mama,” a tiny voice excitedly cried out from the kitchen.
Nothing cooled the loins faster than my daughter, I’d learned. Good thing I loved her more than life itself. Gregory dropped my hands and stepped back just before little Emma tottled in from the next room.
Gregory’s eyebrows dropped lower than the corners of his lips as he looked from his two-year-old daughter and back to me. “That is low, Diana.”
I suppressed my smile as Emma excitedly spun around and jumped up and down in her little fat pumpkin costume. Her fair blonde hair stuck out all over her head. Since the moment I saw her sweet brown eyes, that she’d gotten from her father, I had been instantly in love with my baby. But watching her plump cheeks pinch up with utter joy as she did her little pumpkin dance, my heart melted into a puddle.
“Emma,” I cried in joy as I ran to my baby, “Where is my Emma? All I see is a dancing pumpkin.”
She began to dance harder, her face becoming one of stern consternation. I danced beside her, waving my arms in the air with abandon. Gregory had folded his arms and continued to frown, though his eyes gave away a spark of amusement as he watched his daughter rock out.
“And I suppose she got this on herself?” he asked, gesturing to the costume, his voice losing its gruffness despite his frown.
I continued to dance next to Emma to a song only we could hear. “Perhaps I helped her into it while you were in the greenhouse. She didn’t want to take it off, so we’ve been dancing pumpkins all morning.”
Unable to help himself anymore, Gregory crossed the living room to sweep his tiny pumpkin up into his large arms so he could swing Emma around. As she squealed in delight, his face broke into a grin.
When he stopped, she threw her little pudgy arms around his neck. “Imma punkin,” she exclaimed happily.
Gregory glared at me over her tiny shoulder. “This isn’t over.” He patted the poofy pumpkin outfit against her back.
I leaned over Emma to kiss my husband and said, “Think of it this way, she can’t possibly eat all the candy on her own.”
Gregory’s eyes widened. My husband and I had never known the pleasure of sweets until three years ago and neither of us were yet over the divine indulgences civilians concocted in their kitchens. I’d made a point to get a cookbook and learn how to make as many sweets as possible. It amazed me how Gregory still maintained the warrior physique of a Chevalier with the amount of pie I’d seen him consume in one sitting.
I went back to grab my wrap from the floor to ward off the autumn chill that pervaded our small cabin. We’d soon need to use the wood-burning stove to heat up our small abode. “Besides,” I said, looking over my shoulder, “Smoky Badger is such a small quiet town, nothing will go wrong.”
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