Cadan felt her presence like a wrecking ball to the chest just moments before a scream cut through the silence of the night. He sped toward the noise, racing down the sloping hill from his perch on an outcropping of Arthur’s Seat, his lungs and muscles burning in tandem. He’d waited here all day for Aerten’s vision to manifest.
Finally, it had. But she’d said nothing of attackers.
Terror lanced through him like acid in his veins. The wind tore at his clothes with icy claws as he hurtled down the eastern slope, with only faint moonlight to illuminate the scene below him.
A small figure fled from three taller ones at the base of the mountain, hair flying like a flag behind her. She stumbled and fell, and he swore he could hear a sob burst from her throat. Protect. He embraced the instinct and pushed himself harder, adrenaline singing in his veins.
Almost there. Only fifty yards. The beasts were upon her now, and her terror made a growl rise in his throat. Hurtling over a pile of rocks, he tackled the closest assailant, crashing to the ground in a tumble. The creature, a spindly red demon with eerie feminine features, bucked beneath him, attempting to throw him off. Cadan didn’t hurt women, but this demon was more evil than woman.
Pain tore through his shoulder. He reached back, yanked on the knife sunk deep into the muscle. With predatory grace, he swung around and grasped the demon’s arm and twisted it up behind its back. The crack of snapping bones sang in his ears. Vengeful pleasure seethed through him as he reached up and broke the demon’s neck with his other arm. For her.
A scream caught his attention. Just ahead of him, the woman struggled beneath the last demon. She brought her knees up and kicked the beast off her, then scrambled to her feet. Her gaze locked with his and she gasped, eyes flashing with fear and confusion. Fear dominated, and she turned and fled into the night.
Gods damn it, he was here to save her.
The demon she’d kicked off glanced at her fleeing form, then charged him. Cadan stabbed the beast in the heart, twisted the knife out, and took off after her. The demons’ bodies would sublimate once they drew their last cursed breath, returning them to the hell from which they came.
Must find her. Fear turned the blood in his veins to ice until he felt they would burst. With Boudica’s return to consciousness, someone who wanted her dead knew that she was back. Even now there could be more creatures chasing her.
He headed in the direction that she had run and soon caught sight of her slim form racing across the field in front of him. Damn, she was nicely shaped. Better than nice.
Focus on the task.
When he was only steps behind her, she glanced back, eyes flashing in fear behind scholarly glasses. He leapt, wrapping an arm around her waist, and tackled her to the ground, careful to twist and take the brunt of the fall. She struggled in his arms like a hellcat, all claws and writhing woman.
“Settle down,” he said as she nearly ended any hope of future children. He rolled her beneath him to still her struggles.
“Get off me!” Her voice broke.
“I’m here to help you.” Her struggles caused her soft thighs to part, allowing him to settle between them. He stifled a groan.
Her hair tangled around their arms as he wrestled her wrists above her head, trying to keep her neat but sharp claws away from his eyes.
Finally, he caught sight of her. Little black glasses over angry brown eyes. Sexy librarian glasses. Christ. And lush, pink lips that formed curses far more inventive than he’d expected to come from such an innocent looking face. Close up, her hair appeared to be a pale red.
At first glance, she was nothing like the woman he’d known, who’d possessed a strong, raw type of beauty. Boudica was a blur in his memory now. Had been for centuries.
But this woman was very different. Delicate and soft where Boudica had been strong and fierce. Not a beautiful face, but a compelling one. One from which he couldn’t look away.
Her struggles did nothing but make him more intimately aware of her form. Made his cock more aware of her closeness. He stifled a groan. She was curvier than he’d noticed when she’d run across the field. Too soft to be a warrior. Her panting breaths pressed her small breasts in a tantalizing rhythm against his chest. The feel of her made his heart punch against his ribs, so loudly it echoed in his eardrums.
He recognized her. Not her form, or her voice, but something in her called to him, caused long-dead desires to flood him. After Boudica’s death, women had come in a seemingly endless stream of nothing. Looking at her now drove the wisps of their memories from his mind.
Something in Boudica had connected to his soul. It had been severed when she’d died, and a part of him had died with her.
Nay, this woman was far different from the one he’d known, but it didn’t seem to matter. He’d felt dead for two millennia, but here, lying in the grass atop this woman, his woman, made him feel alive again. He would do anything to protect her. Even if he couldn’t keep her.
She heaved up and head-butted him in the forehead.