Jalon Carr wrapped his arms around his bare chest and looked out over the sleepy city of Rome. Four stories below him the streets were empty. Soon, though, people would be going about their work as if they had all the time in the world. What would they say, he wondered, if they knew the end of the world as they knew it might occur this Samhain?
“It won’t happen.” The deep voice in his ear made Jalon shiver. Strong faerie hands kneaded his shoulders, and Jalon sighed in pleasure. Months ago, he would have growled at Cian to keep his hands to himself. Now, though, he felt a strong burst of need when the faerie touched him. And when Gelsey was in the room, the desire was even stronger.
When his craving for the faeries had first happened, he’d prayed to the Goddess to deliver him from what he thought to be unnatural yearnings. Then he’d prayed they could complete the triad with Jalon making love with Gelsey, and not Cian. But the Goddess hadn’t answered either of his requests, and the longing had grown by leaps and bounds until finally Jalon knew that, despite his earlier denials, he had to face the truth.
He was part of a triad, one of three magical beings meant to recover and protect the garnet. The sooner the three of them joined as lovers, the more power they’d have. And the more power they had, the better chance they’d have of finding the stolen stone. It still rankled Jalon that dark forces had been able to find the pentagram that was Monk’s prison, much less steal three of the stones.
The fact the good forces had recovered the amethyst boded well for them, but Matlyn and her group had still managed to keep the garnet hidden.
Cian leaned over and whispered in Jalon’s ear, “Do you know what bothers me?”
“What?” Jalon leaned into him, hoping that little sign was enough for Cian, hoping he didn’t have to come right out and ask the faerie to fuck him.
“Stop keeping secrets from me,” Gelsey said. “Or I’ll have to spank you both.” Jalon turned to her, smiling as she moved toward them, her beautifully rounded form barely hidden by a diaphanous gown.
“Promises, promises,” Cian replied. “But we’re not keeping secrets. I was going to discuss with Jalon what I told you yesterday: I don’t understand how the council can know the stone is in Rome, but not know exactly where it’s located. And why the person who found it didn’t recover it then.”
“Only the triad can recover it,” Jalon said, his voice low. “As to the other question, I don’t know.”
Gelsey stepped up behind him, so he had a faerie at each shoulder. Anyone looking up would think they were three lovers meeting the dawn after a rousing night of passion. They would see three people, two men and one woman, each of them with bright green eyes. The men stood tall and firm, one with light blond hair that hung to his hips, the other with sun-bleached hair that hung around his shoulders. The woman was a little shorter, her curves enticing and full, her silver hair cascading down her back. That is if anyone could see the trio, much less the apartment that they’d magically created on top of a building, then guarded with wards. Each morning they gathered on the terrace and joined hands to strengthen the wards so the forces they knew were against them could not locate their lair.
They performed their morning ritual now, clutching their hands and chanting the spells, the power flowing between them like currents on a river. When they were done, Jalon squeezed their hands, and they both squeezed back. They knew he was ready for them, that he’d accepted their duty, but they were waiting for him to make the first move.
He needed to do it, and quickly, he knew. His body accepted the fact, yet his mind couldn’t fully grasp having sex with another man. A little part of his brain told him that it was wrong to feel arousal for another man, wrong to think about being inside him too. Now, when Cian touched him, Jalon’s cock would surge to life, throbbing under his clothing. It was doing it at this very moment, and he thought about telling them they needed to return to bed, to join together and fulfill their destinies.
Before he could open his mouth, though, Gelsey stepped back. “I see it’s up to me to cook breakfast again.”
She held out her hands and a table appeared, fully stocked with toast, eggs, bacon, sausage, croissants, juice, and coffee. Jalon inclined his head and she laughed, nodding at the table. A dish of kippers, beans, and tomatoes appeared.
“Thank you,” Jalon said with a smirk.
“You English,” she said, returning his smirk with one of her own. “Who ever heard of beans for breakfast?”
She sat down at one of the chairs that appeared and grabbed a croissant. Jalon sat down next to her and poured himself a cup of coffee. Cian floated above the table, his legs crossed in front of him. A plate passed from dish to dish, magically filling itself before settling before him.
“Show-off,” Jalon said with a smile.
Cian inclined his head, then used his magic to fill a plate for Jalon and one for Gelsey before digging in. They were silent as they ate, and Jalon tried to find the words to broach the subject of the triad.
Instead of searching today, let’s go inside and fuck.
Cian, would you like to taste my cock instead of that sausage?
Gelsey, sweet one, I want to fuck you while Cian…
His thoughts drifted off. It was the last part he had trouble with. His body craved it, but his mind wouldn’t accept it. He had to somehow find a way to let his body win. As he ate, he mentally thanked the faeries for not bringing up the subject that was on his mind.
Jalon knew they read his mind on a constant basis. Not bringing up the triad showed their strength and their willingness to let him come to terms with it on his own, something that hadn’t happened in the past. At first, Cian had been heavy-handed, trying to kiss Jalon and touch him. It had led to more than one physical confrontation.
They’d grapple until Gelsey stepped in, chiding them both for acting like children. After a month in Rome, they’d settled into an uneasy truce that moved into the comfortable bond they shared right now. They just had to take it all the way now, had to join together to make their triad whole.
“Are you listening to me?” Cian gently punched Jalon’s arm.
“No, I’m sorry. What did you say?”
“I said, we need to search underground, starting today.”
Jalon looked around him in surprise. Images of the buildings and fountains they’d searched floated nearby, the Pantheon, the Ostia Antica, the Coliseum, several museums and abandoned churches, and numerous fountains. He toyed with his coffee cup and stared at the images, which reminded him of their failures.
“I agree that it’s a good idea.” Gelsey took another sip and set her cup down gently. “But from what I’ve read there are more than forty different catacombs under the city. We have a deadline staring us in the face.”
“We all realize that.” Jalon knew his statement came out harsher than he’d wanted it to. He took a deep breath to try and calm himself. “It would help if the person who discovered the stone was hidden in Rome told us how they came by that information, and where it was when they saw it.”
“For once we agree on something,” Cian said. “As I said, the secrecy bothers me. If the powers that be know the stone is here, why don’t they know exactly where it’s located? And if they do know, why aren’t they telling us? Why can’t we talk to the person who saw it? And furthermore, why didn’t that person just pick it up and take it back to England?”
Those very same questions had popped into Jalon’s mind several times. He wasn’t sure exactly why they, as guardians of the stone, were being kept in the dark, but it made him nervous. Especially with Matlyn around. Jalon was sure he’d sensed her two days ago in the Piazza Navona as the three of them had walked along, trying to connect with the stone in its possible hiding place.
He’d stopped, chills running up his spine. He’d scanned the crowded area, trying, and failing, to find her. And then a street performer had approached him, intent on pulling Jalon into his act in an effort to get a tip out of him. Jalon had moved away, and when he had, the essence of Matlyn had vanished. He hadn’t mentioned it to his companions.
“You should have said something.” Cian frowned at him. “That woman frightens me.”
“Don’t read my mind,” Jalon replied, his voice surprisingly calm despite the invasion. He knew Cian was right.
“I only do it when you’re less than honest with us, like now. We can’t work like that. You may deny the bond we have, but you can’t seek to find the stone all on your own. We should have been told.”
“Why? The feeling was there, and then gone. What good would it have done to tell you?”
Cian’s hair started to puff out, static electricity lifting single hairs and holding them out, a sure sign of his anger. “Perhaps the three of us could have found her. Perhaps if you weren’t trying to play superhero, we --”
“Enough,” Gelsey said, holding up her hand. “What’s done is done. Matlyn is the most evil of witches. If she is here, we won’t be able to face her on our own. We’ll need help, lots of help. But her presence reinforces the fact that the stone is in Rome. There would be no other reason for her to be here.”
“Do you forget there is still another missing stone out there? Maybe it’s the bloodstone here in Rome. Or perhaps she thinks the amethyst is here and is trying to get it back.”
“No, Jalon, I don’t think so,” Gelsey replied. “She would send flunkies to look for the amethyst. Plus, she knows it’s basically useless without the other two, so she would concentrate on protecting the two they still have. What you felt in the piazza reinforces what the elders told us.”
The three of them fell silent. Finally, Jalon signed heavily. “We start belowground today. Agreed?”
“Yes,” the faeries said together.
“And,” Cian continued, looking pointedly at Jalon, “we promise to tell each other everything, from the slightest twinge of another magical being to absolute proof. Agreed?”
“It was just the once,” Jalon said. “I swear it.”
Cian ignored his words. “Are we agreed?”
“Yes.” Jalon’s body tingled as Cian and Gelsey joined hands. He took her hand and squeezed, and the current shot to his cock. It hardened instantly, and when he dropped her hand, an ache formed inside him unlike anything he’d ever felt. It took hold of his stomach, moved out from there down to his crotch, and squeezed his balls until he thought they would explode. Then it moved up to his heart and applied the same pressure, with the same response.