**Excerpt Chapter from Divinity: Realm of Annihilation: Book Four:**
This unknown paradise planet was just as beautiful the second time around as it had been the first time when Cam brought me here.
The surface of the water appeared to have the sparkling sheen of a newly cleaned violet-colored gem. Its color was enhanced by the prism of soft pink light emanating from the huge crystal that hung in the sky like a sun. The air was pure, crisp, and laced with all sorts of inviting scents.
This time, the one major difference that immediately caught my eye also completely took my breath away.
Nestled among the lush and full fruit bearing trees and plants releasing their natural floral and fragrant aromas, was the front face of a gorgeous, contemporary-style beach house. The wall was made up of full-paneled, geometric-shaped windows all overlooking this side of the beach.
I marveled at it, speechless as Cam’s hands went around my waist and pulled me up against him.
Leaning down, he kissed my temple tenderly.
“Do you like it?”
Finally able to speak again, I took in a deep breath while turning and tilting my head to look up at him.
“Cam, this is amazing. How and when did you do all of this?”
He smiled cockily as if I really needed to ask. Then he gently lifted me up into his arms.
“This is my gift to you. I hope you’ll love the inside just as much as the outside.” He finished before stealing a quick kiss.
His gift to me? Did he mean this home?
He carried me up the lantern lit walkway, which was decorated with small rock fountains on either side. I admired the fully blooming coconut, banana, and mango trees. There were a few bushes with fruit that I wasn’t familiar with and beyond that was a raised garden of succulently sweet strawberry blossoms. Strawberries were barely just budding but some were huge, ripe, and full red in color.
Out of my periphery, I even managed catch sight of a few strange, native creatures chirping while quickly scampering away to hide.
What were the odds of every single one of my favorite fruits blooming richly on some unknown planet far in the distant universe?
I looked up at Cam just as he made it to the ivy draped double doors and opened them.
“Are those fruit trees and strawberries really indigenous here?”
He smiled. “They are now.”
The inside was just as magnificent as the outside. He had gone through great effort, thought, and detail just to put it all together, that much was obvious. Every extra comfort and necessity meshed well with the contemporary, earthy décor that flowed with the whole garden paradise theme he had going.
He set me down allowing me to continue to gape. Starting with the immaculate yet cozy living room, I slowly began to inspect the state of the art gourmet kitchen. Curiously, I noted that the main dining room table sat ten people.
“So, it’s just me and you here, huh?” I commented as I turned to face him.
He gently took my hand and laced his fingers with mine. “And all of our little ones. There’s plenty of room for expansion.” He winked before kissing my hand.
I narrowed my eyes at him playfully and smiled.
“I see. How many little ones are we talking about?”
“Well, we’re both immortal so we can probably fill the entire planet.” He replied smoothly, continuing to hold my hand while allowing me free reign to explore on my own.
I initially shook my head and laughed at his humor but I think he might have been serious about that. Truthfully, that picture wasn’t a bad one at all. I couldn’t think of anywhere I’d rather be right now than here with Cam, spending the rest of my life with him and raising all of our children together. No doubt this gorgeous house was his way of letting me know that it was definitely his plan too.
Ironically, I stumbled across the master bedroom first and I was astounded. Comfort, relaxation, and tranquility were ever present themes in the layout, décor, and furniture. The windowed wall, complete with a futuristic sliding glass door mechanism, opened out to a wide natural wood patio and a bountiful stretch of gorgeous, colorful bushes and flowers lie beyond in the background. I could hear a waterfall and what sounded like birds coming from somewhere in the distance, too.
There was no glazing over the triple king-sized bed that took up the majority of the room either. I could imagine it taking me at least five minutes just to crawl off of it from the middle.
A naughty smile pulled at the corner of my mouth when I nodded towards it and looked up at him. “I didn’t know they made beds that big.”
“They don’t. I hold the patent and we are going to break in every inch of it.” He bit his lip and pinned me with a desirous gaze that made me quiver with excitement.
I giggled with ecstatic anticipation as I stepped over and sat down on it, immediately sinking in and sighing at the extreme comfort of it beneath me.
He followed suit but chose to kneel down in front of me and take the space between my legs as he pushed my thighs apart.
“This is incredibly beautiful, Cam. I love it, all of it. I couldn’t ask for a better or more welcoming retreat to come back to and rest for a few days when we get the chance.”
He pulled me to him and we kissed, slow and deep. I love kissing Cam, it’s always an amazing, sexual experience all on its own.
The warmth of his mouth and his strong hands caressing and stroking the sides of my thighs, feeling the hard curve of muscles along his shoulders, back, and biceps, and the familiar scent of him all quickly stimulated and stirred both craving and lust deep within me.
My rapidly building desire fed Cam like an intravenous line, what with him being an Incubus. Normally, like any other moment, we would have both already been completely naked by now.
When we finally broke from the kiss to take a breath, he stroked my cheek and rested a hand on my abdomen, rubbing gently in a continuous circular pattern.
“What if I’m not willing to take you back to Earth ever again?” He whispered.
I paused, stunned. “What?”
He hesitated, resting his forehead wearily against mine before speaking again.
“I brought you here to stay, Starling. I have to protect you and our children. I won’t allow you the possibility of getting hurt or worse. I can’t.”
I couldn’t believe what he was saying. His eyes tightened and then he closed them as if this was a major decision that he had been struggling with for a while.
“Cam, I . . .”
Pulling his head away from mine, his eyes flew open and he immediately cut me off. “No. My mind is already made up. I’m not taking you back. Whatever you need or want, just tell me and I’ll take care of it.”
Confused, I studied his flawless face through the bangs of his dark hair that had fallen forward and shadowed his eyes. His hair had grown out some since the first time we were reunited and the slightly fringed ends made him even sexier and irresistible to me.
The gold flecks in his gorgeous green and indigo eyes weren’t glowing animatedly the way they usually did. He averted his gaze from me for a moment, turning his eyes down. His long, thick, dark lashes temporarily shielded me from seeing what was really going on past his words.
I gently brushed my fingers across his hair to push it out of the way and caressed his warm, soft cheek.
His hand went to cover mine, moving my hand down to press my palm to his velvet soft lips.
His tone had been serious enough and now his behavior was really starting to alarm me.
“Cam, what’s going on?” I asked softly.
He was silent for a long while before finally cupping my face in his hands.
This time he was studying me in wonder, but the slight indentation of a worry line creasing the space between his brows was something that I immediately caught and could not ignore.
“I love you.” He whispered.
I exhaled. “I know, and I love you, too. Now will you tell me why the sudden need to hold me hostage here? Not that being here alone with you isn’t paradise.” I smiled.
His brows rose and he smiled slightly. “Hostage? You’re damned right.”
I gawked at him in disbelief and attempted to scoot back away from him but he held me firm in place with his hands at the small of my back.
“Are you serious?”
“I wouldn’t joke about this.”
“As tempting as you’ve made it, I can’t stay here permanently right now. We can’t just abandon everyone on Earth. I have a duty and a responsibility to fight, I can’t do that from here.”
“You can’t do any of it in your condition.” He pointed out as he stood up and turned to head out onto the patio.
I could only stare after him dumbfounded, watching as he magically ignited the outdoor fire pit.
The flames leapt to life in a vibrant, warm yellow-orange glow. I hopped up and went after him, moving around to stand in front of him with hands on my hips.
“I can still do many things including fighting. You said if I wanted anything, to ask you. I’m asking you to take me back.”
“Anything except for that.” He bluntly replied.
I sighed heavily. “We still haven’t found Spencer and Lira. This isn’t fair to the others! What about your friends? Don’t you think they need you too?”
He pursed his lips as if catching a snarky outburst in response from coming out. “The relationship between myself and my friends are not the same as with you and yours and I don’t expect you to understand it.”
That answer only made me angrier.
“You’re right, I don’t and I never will understand the every man for himself mentality.”
He sighed impatiently and looked me directly in my eyes. “No, it’s called a faith mentality. Your friends can hold their own. They are warriors too in case you’ve forgotten. I couldn’t care less about the fate of that weak Seraphim, he brought it upon himself. And quite frankly, so did Lira. In fact, her vessel is going to start decomposing if she doesn’t return to it soon so I’ve instructed Macai to take it to the farmhouse so that it’s easier for her to locate her own body if she’s able to do so.”
I flung my arms out in futile frustration, amazed that he could sound so calm and callous at the same time. Though he had a point when you scraped it all down to the bare, cold, hard truth of it, it still didn’t make it right to just give up on them.
“So that’s it? I’m just supposed to hide out here while everyone else is at risk on the front lines?”
There was a hint of irritation and annoyance causing the gold in his eyes to flash this time when he replied. “You don’t have any other choice right now, at least until you give birth.”
I let out a grunt of exasperation. “Do you know how much longer that will be? Because I don’t. I don’t even know how far along I am right now.” I said raising the front of my shirt and glancing down at my bare, distended abdomen.
He paused and we both stared at my growing belly for a moment in silence.
Then Cam spoke again. “We can find that out but it doesn’t matter. You’re going to remain here until you give birth and even then, I’m not sure I’ll be bringing you back to that destructive chaos any time soon. The twins need their mother and I need you.”
I wasn’t sure what else to say. What brought on Cam’s sudden need to make this drastic and extreme decision? I know his heart is in the right place and I understand where he’s coming from but we can’t just disappear right now when so much is at stake.
But I guess that was just it. What was left at stake? Would we alone as warriors be able to keep Earth out of the hands of Morning Star and darkness when there were no longer any rules or Universal Laws?
Cam was extremely powerful and his legion needed him. Even though the others could hold their own like Cam said, I could certainly wreak a hell of a lot of damage and destruction myself.
“So you really didn’t build this place as a gift for me then? You built it to have somewhere to keep me hidden?” I accused with a grimace.
“Why are you making it seem as if I’ve done something wrong?” He challenged me.
“I never said it was wrong.”
Were we having our first fight? Remembering what Edanai told me after my birthday celebration at Cam’s place, I wondered what Cam would do if this did turn into a huge fight. Leave me here? No, he wouldn’t . . . would he?
“Well, what about China and Joel? They’re really gonna be in grave danger now.”
“If she’s smart, she’ll allow herself to be picked up by a sky ark. If she’s unaware, you may want to try and convince her to do it or I can bring her here too. Once the realms completely merge, the Earth will become a dead planet. Those who have been saved are well on their way to other planets like this one to start anew like us. Joel has probably died already anyway so there isn’t anything you’ll be able to do about that, especially since he’ll be at any one of the remaining Halls. As for you, you and I are soul bound, which means that you belong to me . . . as my wife.”
He made sure to clarify that statement with those last three words when he saw the shocked expression on my face quickly turn into a scowl.
He went on, “I am forever bound to you as your husband until the day I no longer exist, and it’s up to me to protect you and my family in any way that I see necessary and fit. There’s no point in arguing or trying to convince me otherwise— and being angry isn’t good for the babies.”
He leaned down to quickly kiss my forehead and then headed towards the open bathroom door on the other side of the bedroom. “I’m going to draw you a warm bath and make you something to eat.”
I glared at him. I couldn’t believe he was being such an asshole right now.
“Bring China here? And how would I explain where here is much less the ginormous crystal hanging in the sky?” I gestured in no particular direction.
This time he looked at me with incredulity.
“After all that she’s seen and been through, not to mention what’s coming, explaining that crystal will be the least of your worries. I think it’s safe to say that it will be a very welcoming and magnificent vision that won’t even warrant a need for questions.”
Cam wasn’t giving in any time soon. Since he was my only way on and off this planet, pushing him to ghost out and leave me here until I cooled off was not an option.
I sat in silence for a few minutes and pouted, hearing the gentle rush of water coming from the spacious bathroom on the other side of the master bedroom. Soon after, the smell of exotic floral oils began to saturate the air with a rich, heady and relaxing effect.
With a heavy sigh, I got up, avoiding him for the sake of not getting into an even bigger argument.
Not long after the metallic clanging of some pots or pans, the smell of searing meat and aromatic spices began to linger in the air.
He was cooking? I didn’t know he could. I always thought it was Rahab’s thing. I wondered why he just didn’t conjure up a gourmet meal. For some reason, it seemed like Cam was trying to mold himself to more of a human way of living, like an actual husband —aside from everything else here, which I’m sure was accomplished using a hell of a lot of magic.
I slowly guided myself around the rest of the master bedroom, perusing the huge closet full of clothes, nightgowns, lingerie, and shoes that were all my style and current size. Like the armoire back at his place in the spirit realm, there was also an entire side dedicated to just maternity clothing.
That was interesting. How long did he expect that I would be pregnant to need that much maternity wear?
Wandering further around the house, I discovered three guest bedrooms and a beautiful sun room facing more flowering trees and bushes that formed a fence around a pool. The entertainment room was complete with state of the art stereo system, 60-inch flat-screen television, comfy recliners, and built in bookshelves filled with all sorts of books and magazines.
Damn, he’s thought of everything.
It was the final room that drew me in hypnotically with unexpected surprise.
It was fully furnished and decorated with two of everything in gender neutral pastel colors of purples, yellows, and greens. Had he done all of this himself? It was absolutely adorable from the cribs, the bedding, the furniture, and even the toys.
The walls were completely covered by one continuous, well-done mural of bright colors in the theme of an animated garden full of flowers, toys, and other baby animals.
On the ceiling, clouds and the sun were painted in a natural sky scape pattern with birds soaring from one corner to the other.
Looking up at them closely, I could see the pale, almost invisible outline of many small stars and a moon. I imagined that he designed it to change into a starry night sky when it was dark.
I smiled nostalgically as I cranked the mobile over one of the cribs. It began to play a sweet lullaby as the stars, moon, and baby angels all began to rotate in a
None of this had fully dawned on me yet and as I placed a hand on my abdomen, I began to realize that maybe Cam was right. I was going to be huge soon and there wouldn’t be much I could do in the line of combat at all.
Putting myself in jeopardy and at risk wasn’t fair and I had no idea what the effects of all I had been exposed to and been through had on them either. Come to think of it, when was the last time I felt a flutter of movement like I’d been feeling every so often before?
Guilt began to settle over me. I suppose I understand why he seems so adamant to essentially hide me from all of the darkness and Morning Star. I wouldn’t have to worry about being hunted, ambushed or attacked here but I couldn’t help but think of what the others may be facing and going through in my absence.
Of course I was grateful that Cam had gone to great lengths to make sure that I was both happy and comfortable. But I couldn’t disregard or ignore the fact that there was definitely something else to this sudden need to build a home and keep me here.
“What do you think? If you don’t like anything about the house or the nursery, we can change it to whatever you want.” He said as his arms gently slid around my waist.
“No, it’s all perfect. You’ve thought of everything.” I assured.
“But you’re not happy. I didn’t think staying here would upset you so much.”
I shook my head and our eyes met. “I am happy. How could I not be? I’m with you.”
He sighed softly, able to read me like a book. “If I had told you that I wanted you to stay before bringing you here, would you have come with me?”
I shrugged a shoulder. “I don’t know. I mean, I do understand your reasons, Cam, but I can also tell that something else is bothering you and I want you to tell me what that something is.”
He pressed his lips and affectionately tucked a stray spiral curl behind my ear, his finger lingering and tracing the curve of my face and chin.
“There’s nothing. My entire existence is all about cherishing every single moment with you. Is that a bad thing?” He flashed that famous gorgeous smile that always tends to work on breaking my negative moods.
He didn’t even need magic to get to me. I was sure it was the lingering charm and effect of having been a former Angel, even if he didn’t believe that in the least.
I didn’t believe his answer.
I was going to have to work on him to get the truth out one way or another.
“Come on, let me wash your hair.” He said, taking my hand, pulling me with him and leading me out of the nursery.
My brows rose and I looked up at him with an inquisitive smile. “You wanna wash my hair?”
A burst of arousal hit me in that instance, forcing a soft wail out of me and the brief pleasurable sensation made me shiver.
I know he did that on purpose.
Leaning down, he brushed my hair aside and pressed his warm, soft lips against my ear lobe. Then he spoke low and seductive into my ear. “Washing your hair —Translation: An erotic prelude to relax you before making thorough, passionate love to every inch of your body, mind, and soul.” ——
Divinity: Realm of Annihilation: Book Four... Copyright© 2015 by Susan Reid
Coming Summer 2015!