FOREVER ANGEL Excerpt:
And so it shall pass that the white angel comes to drive out the dark angel and ease the suffering of the Clans.
You’ll like Julie. She’s a very nice small-town girl from halfway around the world who needs a change of scenery. Promise me that you’ll show her a good time while she’s here, Jax. She knows nothing about our being vampire and since you’re a Daywalker you’re our only hope in keeping her suspicions at bay, though with her sister-in-law Ellie being a true healer she might have a more open mind than most.
That was his ma’s words just one week ago and here he was heading for the airport to pick up that bit of baggage, dutiful son that he was. He snorted in derision, remembering how absolutely unimpressed he was to be the official escort of someone—he almost used the word hick but thought better of it—from Nome, Alaska. And to think he had important plans this week—lord knows time was the one thing he did not have enough of and what little he had certainly did not include chaperoning a Miss Julie Stone through the tourist spots of Luxor. He ran his hands through hair that the sun had bleached to a burnished gold, his azure blue eyes glinting angrily in his tanned face, the chiseled jaw-line tightening from the momentary annoyance.
He pulled up at the gates to the visiting parking area of the airport, yanked a ticket from the automatic dispenser, and drove the black SUV with dark-tinted glass into the designated area. Strolling with incredible innate gracefulness for such a tall, well-built man, he headed for Gate Three. The chit could wait for him. He would not be rushed on her account. He was aware he did not have a much of a capacity for commotion at this juncture of his life. And like one of his favorite quotes-man, Oscar Wilde, he did not suffer fools gladly. The jury was still out on just how much escorting this particular guest would upset his well-ordered life for the next few weeks, but the tautness in his gut was suggesting it would bring more disruption than he was prepared to deal with.
~ * ~
Julie Stone, on the other-hand, unaware she was currently viewed as a liability, was exploding with excitement as the Boeing 747 landed precisely in the middle of the paved runway of Luxor, Egypt, the sound deafening and then easing as the pilot applied the brakes and it came to a full stop on the tarmac. The buzzing sound of the electric Jetway, the bridge between the plane and terra firma, reached out and locked into position at the cabin door.
Finally, after months of begging her mother, she was in exotic Egypt! She could hardly believe her luck. She had wanted to visit her sister-in-law’s brother Aiden and his wife Winter for years, since they were married at a hand-fasting back in Scotland, but it took till now to get the stars lined up to get things to happen. She grinned to herself, happiness radiating from her convivial spirit and causing other passengers to smile in appreciation at her high color and the sparkle in her bright blue eyes, her sleek ebony black ponytail dancing about her shoulders as she began to yank her carry-on down from the overhead bin.
The heavy bag finally jerked free of its confinement and came cavorting down where it almost landed on top of her seat mate whom she had been conversing with since he had boarded the plane at a brief stop-over in New York. He mentioned he wanted to see more of her in Luxor, and even gone so far as to trade business cards and making tentative plans for drinks and a meal in the weeks ahead.
He smiled at her whoops look now, apparently finding her entirely charming as he handed her the offending piece of luggage. “I’ll see you to your relatives, Miss Julie.”
She nodded and they headed off to join the conga line in the center isle of the aircraft. The tired passengers snaked their way to the open cabin door, most restless to stretch their stiff muscles after the long flight. The over-crowded plane was stifling and there had been the usual distractions of crying babies and whiny tired children, but none of it had fazed Julie. She was on a much anticipated adventure and was right in her glory, her intrepid spirit sucking up all the nuances of the journey.
She would refuse to let anything that happened in Nome this past year affect her time in Egypt; this she was adamant about as she pushed away anything but good thoughts to the furthest recesses of her fevered mind. Her normal way of being—hardworking, calm and thoughtful was how she perceived herself, though others might differ in their opinion of her character—definitely not using the adjective calm, had been jettisoned somewhere over the frigid Atlantic. She had even spent time visualizing throwing all the bad memories of the past months off the plane in the short time between conversations with her seatmate who appeared to have sympathy for her plight when she filled him in on her troubles. She was going to Egypt to have a good time, her ex-fiancé Derrick be damned!
At the baggage carousel she almost missed seeing her two bright red suitcases bumping cheerily along the moving track, but managed to jump in just in time to grab them. She and her new friend, moving at the same time for the same reason, collided heads with a resounding thud in the ensuing commotion and literally bounced off each other. No one was hurt and they broke out laughing. Their merriment carried with them on out into the waiting area. Julie was enjoying the attentions of the handsome, richly dressed Egyptian with the wicked sense of humor when she spun around demonstrating a recent dance move she had witnessed on Dancing with the Stars and collided with a solid object on her right that sent her reeling off balance.
The man looked none too pleased at her antics and reached over to grab her to keep her from landing on her keister. Feeling decidedly ungraceful, she straightened herself with his help and looked up into the bluest eyes she had ever seen. She felt a jolt of psychic energy shoot through her at the brief touch. Images raced in an instant through her brain which she had no time to analyze.
“I’m sorry, I didn’t see you. . .” her words trailed off as her eyes widened. “You’re Jax!”
He looked at her with a scowl. He’d be very handsome if not for the frown, she thought, still captivated by how blue his eyes were. She gave a quick decisive flick to her shiny black pony tail and stood up to her full five foot three inches, feeling downright puny compared to his well over six foot frame, she gauged, as she slanted her large, almond-shaped eyes up at him and began to introduce her seat mate.
“Jax, I’d like you to meet Mr. Anton Mubaruk, means blessed one in Egyptian, pretty cool, huh!”
“I know what Mubaruk means.” he replied curly while nodding politely at the man. “Is this all your luggage?” he asked abruptly, effectively dismissing her acquaintance.
“Yes, of course, give me a call, Anton.” she spoke pointedly to her new acquaintance. “I’d like that. You know where I’ll be.” she spoke with more confidence, a deliberate tone that said, don’t you dare say anything, Jax Cameron.
He ignored her words and picked up her two larger bags and carried them with incredible ease out through the automatic doors into the late afternoon furnace that was Luxor’s lot in midsummer. Waves of heat like ghost spirits radiated off the cement and spiraled up into the languid atmosphere. He obviously expected her to follow along after him like a docile sheep and she bit her tongue to keep her temper in check. She quelled her emotions which was not her usual way and followed the insufferable Jax, as she was now thinking of him, down the path to the waiting vehicle. The hot sun beating on her uncovered head felt like a heavy pulsating presence and was a bit of a shock, but she ignored the discomfort, focusing instead on following his broad strides and having to half-run to keep up with him.
He efficiently unlocked the rear cargo compartment and threw her bags unceremoniously into it.
“Careful, I have gifts for everyone!”
He just looked at her with a raised sardonic eyebrow and opened her door and then went around and got in. Well, at least, he was a gentleman, she thought as she climbed into the vast driving compartment of the luxurious vehicle.
“Nice wheels.” she spoke her thoughts aloud as she buckled her seatbelt.
“Not too shabby.” he acknowledged her compliment and took masterful control of the wheel and soon had them on the highway leading to their compound.