It’s the season of giving, and since I’ve been having some down time, my characters have been acting up to get my attention, and none of them more so than Hartt from my Eternal Mates series. So, while watching snow falling, I decided to indulge him and wrote this short… it gets a bit dark, but if you know Hartt, this won’t surprise you… and yes, this is a set up for his romance. I hope you like it!
The neon sign that was normally bright against the red-brick warehouse in London was off, barely visible in the dark alley. Below it, the double doors had a note tacked to them.
Closed for a private function.
Through those heavy steel doors, Hartt could feel the vibrations of the music, could hear it clearly and knew if he dared to open them, the volume would hurt his sensitive ears.
How could she live in this place?
How could any of the immortals who called the nightclub their home, or frequented it, bear the noise?
Hartt shifted foot to foot, his eyes on those twin doors, the nerves he had managed to wrangle into submission threatening to rise again as he fought with himself, torn between leaving now and braving stepping into the building.
One where he wasn’t welcome.
Gods, he wanted to see her again though.
Seeing her a few months ago had delivered a blow he had never quite recovered from, one that had left him off balance.
Now, with Fuery reunited with Shaia, Hartt was finding it impossible to keep his mind off the female elf.
One he had been engaged to once, many centuries ago.
He had done his best to push her out of his mind, to go on with his life as he had been since she had left him, but work running the assassin’s guild in the free realm of Hell wasn’t holding his attention, and with Shaia taking care of Fuery now, he had even more time on his hands.
Time his mind seemed intent on using to think about Iolanthe.
Fuck, how many centuries or millennia had it been since she had run away and left him without a bride on their wedding day?
Back then, he had been besotted with her, overjoyed that her parents had chosen him out of all her potential suitors, and crushed when she had fled and disappeared.
Over the centuries that had passed since then, he had gotten over her. Hadn’t he?
Seeing her again had sparked something inside him back to life, and he needed to set eyes on her again so he could understand what that feeling was before it destroyed him.
Hartt tugged the hem of his obsidian dress shirt up, slipped his hand into the pocket of his black fatigues and palmed the box, a small wooden one that had been in his possession for longer than he could remember now. He took a deep breath, using the feel of it to bolster his courage as the sound coming from the nightclub grew in volume, voices rising as the music quietened.
It was now or never.
He used a fraction of his telekinetic power to open the doors before him and slipped inside just as the fifty-plus occupants of the room finished counting down.
A cheer went up.
Hartt stood in the shadows, frozen in place as his gaze zeroed in on the slender, tall female near the bar as she was swept up into the arms of a muscled sandy-haired male. He couldn’t tear his eyes away as she wrapped her arms around his neck, tilted her head and captured his lips in a kiss that sent a cold sort of fire sweeping through Hartt. Pain followed it, a fierce prickling that skittered across every nerve-ending and burrowed deep into his heart.
His chest grew uncomfortably tight as the black-haired beauty pulled back from the male.
Happiness swam in her violet eyes as she gazed down at the jaguar shifter, her black leather corset and trousers a contrast against the male’s white shirt that stretched tight over his arms and shoulders as he clutched her to him, holding her as if she were precious and he didn’t want to let her go.
Would she have ever grown to look at him that way—as if he was her whole world?
Could she have ever come to love him the way he had loved her?
Hartt palmed the box again, a gift he had wanted to give to her to celebrate the dawning of a new year. It was an event many species celebrated, but one that was special to elves like them. It was the biggest day of the year, marking the turning point in the seasons, when life began anew.
Only he was no longer sure why he had come.
To torture himself with the one thing he could never have?
There was nothing for him here, and if she noticed him, things wouldn’t go the way he desired in the very depths of his heart. He was being a fool all over again. She had shown him the last time he had come here that she would always choose her mate over him, and who was he really to expect anything different?
He wasn’t her fated one.
He meant nothing to her.
She had proven that by running away when she had been given the chance.
Still, he couldn’t convince his feet to move, or his portal to awaken and whisk him away from her. He couldn’t bring himself to leave. He stared at her, lost and a little broken, yearning for her to notice him even when he knew he needed to leave before she did.
Before the jaguar did.
The male would kill him if he saw him, and gods, Hartt might just let him do it, wouldn’t have the heart to fight him in earnest while Iolanthe was cheering her mate on.
He managed to take a step back towards the exit, deeper into the shadows.
Where he belonged.
He didn’t belong here, in this bright mortal world, filled with life and laughter.
He belonged in the shadows, wrapped in darkness, in his world of death and devastation.
He willed his portal, calling the power to the surface, and silvery light rippled over his body, chasing back the shadows. As the darkness swallowed him, sweeping him away from her, she glanced his way, her eyes landing on him for the briefest fragment of time before he disappeared.
His boots hit cobbles, not the black ones that formed the road that curved across the front of the guild, but brown and beige ones interspersed with pale grey. Ones belonging to the square of a bustling fae town in a cavern beneath mountains and a mortal town in the heart of Scotland. People packed the square, knocking against him as they sang and celebrated.
Hartt stood in the middle of them, unmoving, silent, his mind hundreds of miles south. He pulled the small box from his pocket, brushed his thumb over the delicately carved wood, feeling the swirls and leaves, and then flicked it open. He stared at the silver ring nestled in the black velvet, and the bright amethyst clasped in tiny claws and wings of the dragon that formed the band.
A ring that had been in his family for generations.
One that should have adorned her hand.
He huffed, snapped the box closed and used his powers to send it back to his apartment in the guild.
He was being weak. A fool.
He hadn’t thought about her for centuries, hadn’t felt the familiar pain in his heart for millennia, and it was time he pushed her back out of his thoughts and his heart, and moved on once and for all.
It was the dawning of a new year.
A chance to walk a new path, to lead a new life, one free of her.
This contract would be the start of that new life.
Fuery hated it when he took on a job, but he needed this. He needed something to focus on, to consume his time and his mind in order to purge Iolanthe from his life again, so he had picked the most challenging, most dangerous contract they had on their books and he would see it through to the end.
He scanned the crowd as they jostled and jeered, pewter mugs clacking as they toasted the new year, a mixture of fae, witches, demons and other immortals.
His violet gaze settled on a lone female standing still and silent on a raised path at the other end of the square opposite him, her wicked curves wrapped in burgundy leather that complemented her flame-red hair and golden eyes.
Something in the region of his stomach sank slowly towards his boots even as fire ignited in his veins.
Hartt had the feeling that taking this contract had been both a good and a terrible idea.
She was a beautiful distraction.
But he was going to have to kill her.
I hope you liked this slightly dark little piece about Hartt and that it has given you some insight into his character and what he’s going through, and a hint of his story…
My comments are always open and I would love to hear from you, so shout if you enjoyed this and want to know more!