Teagan grabbed the necessary ingredients from jars and containers in the boxes she had brought with her and took more from the shelves and cupboards about the kitchen and placed them in the pot. Valerian root, sea salt, mandrake, ground eel's gall bladder, blaneberry, nightshade, powdered leech, cinnamon, moonstone or bloodstone as it was otherwise known in its powered form, along with a litre of distilled water cleansed three times through the coals of a Mountain Ash tree.
And they were just the ingredients for the binding spell. The list for the immortality spell was much longer and the process to brew them was much more complicated.
"Mrs P., are you sure you don't mind helping?"
"Mind?" she chuckled, her whole body jiggled with amusement as she rubbed her hands together in glee. "I've been dying to do something like this for years. Just tell me what to do, love."
For the first couple of hours, the aging housekeeper worked side by side with Teagan as Saladin paced the hallways of the Manor having been banned from the kitchen because of his unruly behaviour, as Teagan had called it. For the third hour he'd sparred with Abby, Alex and Alaric down in the gym, but not even beating the crap out of Alex could satisfy his anxiety.
He wasn't worried about performing the binding spell with Teagan, he was looking forward tothat. No. It was the other spell she was brewing a potion for that had his innards tied in knots. Her words kept reverberating around in his mind. The last ingredient for that spell was Essence of the Architect. How the hell was she going to get close enough to Morgan to get so much as a hair from her head, add it to the potion and drink it without giving the evil bitch the opportunity to kill her in the process?
During the fourth hour, Saladin searched out Nadia in the hidden vault they used as a storage room for all the dangerous and powerful artefacts Alaric had collected over the centuries, along with a few sentimental pieces from his past. Not only was it the new home to probably the most evil book in existence, Morgan's grimoire, it was also where Narayan kept the artefact he'd been made Guardian over. The Holy Grail, the cup which had created the first vampire, Alaric. It was also the cup which Ahriman had used to drink Cassie's blood from as part of the process in his attempt to make himself a true immortal.
It skipped Saladin's attention that that cup was no longer occupying the shelf where it normally gathered dust. His focus was absorbed by the young girl who sat on the stool in the centre of the room.
Nadia was oblivious to the fact that she had company, completely immersed in Morgan's grimoire as she flicked through pages, a pile of discarded translated spells crumpled about her feet on the floor.
"Nadia?" he asked gently, not wanting to frighten her. "Nadia?" he asked again more loudly when he got no response. Stepping fully inside the room he made an effort to step more heavily and cleared his throat to get her attention. But still there was no flicker of response as Nadia continued to read through the spells in the book.
Stepping in front of her, Saladin placed a hand on her shoulder.
Nadia almost jumped out of her skin with surprise. "What the….? Where did you come from? You shouldn't sneak up on people like that," she chastised.
"I didn't, I've been trying to get your attention for the past couple of minutes," he advised, unable to hide the agitation in his voice or from his face as he watched a milky cloud fade from her eyes, clearing to become their normal, wholesome grey.
"I don't think you should read that book any more, Nadia."
"Don't be silly, it's just a book," she laughed and waved off his concern.
"Wasn't it you who said earlier that the book was an extension of Morgan, a vessel she could draw power from?"
"But, it's harmless. It's just a book."
"Harmless? That's what the Ukranian's said about their nuclear power plant at Chernobyl. I don't think you should read that book any more young lady."
Nadia's hackles raised at the childish reference. Young lady? She was no child, she was practically an adult. She was eighteen years old.
"If you want your Mate to have any chance of surviving her meeting with Morgan, then I have to read it," she snapped, her native Ukranian accent suddenly making an appearance. "Besides, I think I may have already found what Teagan needs but I should keep reading a bit longer, just to make sure." Her fingers itched to turn the next page.
"What?" Saladin's concern took a back seat to his interest in the piece of paper she waved under his nose. "What's this?"
"I'm not sure, but I think it's what Teagan needs to beat Morgan."
Saladin looked at the words on the page, but that's all they were to him, words. He didn't understand the old Cornish language she'd translated it into. "Why isn't this in English?" he asked.
"Because the words were written in Cornish, they need to be read in Cornish otherwise the spell is useless."
"What does this spell do?"
"I don't exactly know." Nadia's brow furrowed together in thought. "Teagan will know what to do with it," she reassured.
"How do you know this is the spell she needs if you don't know what it does?" he asked, probing her with a questioning look.
"I,…I just know."
"Okay then, let's go find Teagan and see what she thinks," he flustered. "And put that thing back in the lead box where it belongs." His agitation once again pervading his mood as that glazed, milky cloud seeped back into her eyes.
"It's not a thing," she chastised, "It's a book."
"A book is a thing," he corrected.
"This book is not a thing," she told him again, more angrily.
"Yes, I heard you the first time. I also heard you say it is harmless," he bit back with sceptical cynicism. Taking the book forcibly from her hands, he locked it back in the lead box where it belonged, pocketing the key before following Nadia from the vault ignoring her mumbled, angry expletives toward him. A shiver ran up his spine as he spared a last look at the box containing the book as it sat innocuously on the shelf once again.
"Do you have everything you need?" Alaric asked.
"Yep." Teagan answered. "Mrs P.? Remember, when the potion turns from a dirty grey to a violet colour…"
"It's ready to bottle. Yes, love, you've told me that six times. Now, get along with you, I'm sure you have something better to do than stand around here and wait for a pot to boil," she chuckled.
Teagan blushed at the poorly covered up smirks from everyone in the room. It wasn't nearly as embarrassing earlier when she'd explained the process of the binding spell, but now that it was time to perform it, she was regretting the decision to share the information.
Cassie gave Teagan an excited hug as she hitched her backpack over her shoulder and waited for Saladin to gather up the roman torches they'd prepared for the ritual.
Teagan took one last look at the aging housekeeper stirring the huge pot as she walked through the door. There was no one else she would trust to make the immortality potion besides herself, even if her sisters were there to help. All their futures depended on that potion being made to the letter of the instructions. One wrong step in its brewing process and all would be lost. If by some miracle Morgan didn't manage to kill her in their confrontation in oh, about eight hours time, and she died of another cause at a later date, her sisters would be left to continue their family's legacy and carry the curse. None of them would get the long, happy lives they deserve.
Teagan wanted to feel bad that she'd left so much responsibility on Mrs P.'s shoulders but the older woman made it pretty hard since she seemed to be thoroughly enjoying herself.
Focus. Teagan chastised herself. For now she had to concentrate on the binding spell. Once that was completed, she could worry about the other one, but not before.
"Why can't we do this spell in the Manor's gardens? Why traipse all the way to the heart of Savernake forest?" he asked as they reached the clearing around the Elder tree and dropped his armload of torches in a heap at his feet.
"Because, Alaric and Cassie have already had their garden rebuilt twice and this ritual might cause a bit of damage. The forest is protected, it won't be damaged."
"How exactly?" he asked, more curious than cautious.
She smiled wickedly, "Well, because this is one of the more Pagan rituals using the power of all the elements, earth, air, water and fire, performed during the act of sex, naked under the night sky, and things might get a bit,….wild."
"I remember you mentioning the naked part before, everything after that kind of fuzzed out, but I'm really liking the sound of things getting wild," he said, coming up behind her to wrap his arms about her waist and nuzzle her neck, his fangs grazing the pulsing vein and sending a trickle of blood down her neck which he quickly lapped up, and a rush of moist heat between her thighs. "Is there any biting allowed?"
For a moment Teagan couldn't answer. She couldn't think past the sensation of the hard ridge of his cock grinding against her arse or his tongue licking a path along the vein his fangs had just nicked. "Um,…No. Not this time."
"Shame. All this elemental magic is bringing out my primal instincts." Wandering hands explored the soft hills and valleys of her body in search of the sweet syrup he could smell dripping from her core.
"Ahhh. Wow. I'm so into you right now, but we need to focus. We don't have time for foreplay right now," she groaned.
"I want to be inside you. Now." He breathed raggedly against her neck.
"Soon, my love, but first we need to set up the torches."
"Yeah, you know those long poles you carried here. Remember?"
"Vaguely," he breathed against the shell of her ear.
Teagan groaned again as he hiked up her skirt, sliding a hand beneath the rim of her panties, delving a finger through her moist slit to the nectar coating it, instinctively arching into him further, wanting more. Needing more. "Yusuf. Focus. We don't have much time."
Saladin paused in his seduction. The key word to catch his attention was Time. They'd had precious little of it together and there may not be much left to enjoy, not if Morgan got her way. He looked to the clear night sky. Even now the eastern horizon had begun to lighten. They had no more than an hour before sunrise and her spell had to be completed before dawn or they will have missed their chance.
It was their one chance to be truly bonded.
It's all he'd thought about since the day he met her.
He couldn't mess this up.
Teagan quivered from the gliding caress against her swollen clit as he slid his hand from her panties and straightened her skirt.
She stood there for a moment and just stared as he sucked his glistening finger into his mouth, his eyes closing to savour her flavour. Her body hummed with erotic tension, craving more, knowing that the ritual they were about to perform would fulfil that need,…and much more.
Placing the torches in a wide circle inside the clearing, Saladin once again looked to the over shadowing presence of the Elder tree, so tall and wide it blotted out the sky and half the surrounding forest.
"Are you sure about doing it here?" he asked once again. He'd had sex in front of others countless times. Modesty was never an issue. Even performing this sexual ritual in Savernake Forest, knowing that more than likely either Lycans for Nephilim would be witness to it, didn't even raise his anxiety meter above 'whatever', but the idea that the Elders themselves may be watching gave him the willies.
Teagan smiled, understanding his anxiety. "If they didn't approve of us doing this ritual here, they would have sent someone to boot us out already. Besides, how often do you come into this forest and actually see this tree? They don't only keep this tree hidden from common humans, but also from supernaturals, unless they want them to know of their presence."
"Exactly. That's what bothers me. The Elders always have an agenda and I can't help but feel like we're pawns being used in some cosmic chess game."
"Of course we are. Get over it," she answered matter-of-factly.
Saladin snapped his jaw shut. He hadn't expected that answer. He hadn't expected an answer at all. But hey, she was right. Pawn or not, they still had free will and right now his will was pressing painfully against the zipper of his trousers and anxious to bond with his Mate.
Teagan sprinkled sage and halibor on the torches. When lit, the smoke would work to both cleanse and induce a connection between their spirits.
With a wave of her hand the torches flared to life.
Saladin watched in awe, not at the display of her power, but at the vision of beauty before him as she walked the perimeter of the circle, her sensuous hips swayed seductively, her dark wavy hair fell loosely down her back and draped over her shoulders to frame her perfect face, her eyes filled with seductive determination glittered in the fire's light.
"Take off your clothes," she purred as she came to stand before him. He didn't need to be told twice. In the blink of an eye he stood before her as naked as the day he was born. "Stand there and don't move," she ordered with a stern tone. Not that he was going to argue, especially if the mischief in her hungry gaze was any indication of her intentions.
Saladin grinned at the temptress as she circled his body, keeping eye contact with her as far as his neck would twist but didn't move from the spot.
Teagan stepped up behind him and ran her fingertips down his spine. His back flexed.
"I thought we didn't have time for this?" he hissed between clenched teeth when she kept going, brushing over his sculpted arse, continuing down and under until she cupped the base of his erection from underneath. Saladin lowered his head, curling his hands into fists at his sides as he fought for control.
"I changed my mind," she purred.
Liquid heat pooled between her thighs as she fondled him from behind. Stepping closer, Teagan moulded herself to the curve of his back and reached around to take him into her other hand.
"Fuck me," he cried, his voice a raspy whisper.
Blood pumped beneath her grip as she stroked, her fingers barely able to encompass his erection completely. It stood rock hard, throbbing beneath her touch, a fact that gave her a heady sense of power. To have him so responsive to her embrace, to her delicate touch.
She was sick of being delicate. She was tired of letting Saladin take control. Teagan raked her fingernails over the length of him. He groaned through clenched teeth, his voice a husky version of the original.
Teagan stroked his length more rhythmically with one hand, kneading the base with the other, revelling in his reaction.
"Teagan." The hoarseness in his voice was almost as sexy as the man himself. "Stop." But she didn't. She pushed him to the edge, to the brink of orgasm. It felt good to be in control, to feel the power she had over him.
Saladin broke her grip on him as he spun around to face her, the heat in her eyes almost tipped him over the edge into an explosive abyss of pleasure despite the sudden lack of friction on his hard cock. Enough with the teasing, he wasn't willing to wait any longer, and took control once again, lifting her shirt over her head and tossing it haphazardly into the clearing with his own discarded clothes.
A quick slash of his fangs through her bra strap and her breasts sprang free. The firelight danced over the acreage of pale flesh and his mouth watered. Desire to wrap his lips around those ripe red cherries sitting so plump atop, tightening instantly under his gaze, sent a simultaneous shudder of need through his veins.
Locking his gaze with hers, he dipped his head and sucked her beaded right nipple into the wet heat of his mouth as his hands unzipped her figure hugging skirt, pushing it from her waist to pool about her feet and ripping her panties from her in one swift tug. He suckled softly at her breasts sensitive peaks and a sharp spike of arousal shot through her. Teagan wrapped her arms around his neck, writhing against him as sensations pulsated.
Putting the brakes on his libido almost caused his brain to seize. "Where's the potion?"
"Over there," she answered with a panting groan, pointing to the backpack a few feet away.
Teagan pulled the two vials from her bag and held them tentatively, one in each hand. For the longest moment they both just stared at them. This was it, the point of no return.
"Are you sure you want to do this? It's not too late to back out if you want to," she told him, fear of rejection tainting her tone ever so slightly.
Saladin's reluctance had nothing to do with the binding spell, it was the potion itself he had a problem with. He remembered the last concoction she had him drink a couple of years ago when he'd accused her of putting an infatuation spell on him, and it didn't look any better than this one. Silently, he took a vial from her, popped the cork, swallowed it in one gulp and shuddered.
It didn't taste any better than the last one either, he thought as he swallowed quickly a couple of more times to stop his gag reflex from bringing it up again.
"Join with me, my beautiful jewel," he invited. Saladin stepped into the centre of the circle and kneeled down, sitting back on his heels, his hard cock standing straight and tall from his body as he held out his hand with a summoning gesture.
Teagan locked her gaze with his as she too swallowed her vial's contents, his reassuring smile relieving only a fraction of the butterflies in her stomach as she crossed the threshold of the circle and began to recite the spell with a low chant as she approached him, intertwining their fingers together as she stood over him.
The wind started to whip up. Tree branches swayed back and forth as if a huge storm was brewing.
"God, you look pretty, all those creamy pink curves ready for me to feast on. You're about the sexiest damn thing I've ever seen. And your mine. All mine."
Her sex bloomed and opened like a flower just waiting to be plucked.
Saladin buried his face in the paradise between her soft thighs. A hot, wet tongue stroked through her folds, straight to the centre of her pussy, licking the sweet syrup, sucking her inflamed clit, losing himself in her taste and her feminine heat. He rolled her weeping folds between his lips, sucking delicately, tugging on the delicate bundle of nerves between them. Back and forth he stroked his tongue, giving it more direct stimulation, sucking harder as he flicked the tip of his tongue over once again.
He made soft groaning noises, vibrating against that throbbing nub of flesh, until she began grinding that warm wetness into his face as the sensations built.
He continued to use his mouth on her, devouring her greedily.
It was the sensation of his lips moving against her most responsive flesh that made her eyes slide shut in sinful pleasure. She hissed. Her knees going weak.
Sensing the change in her breathing and sudden tension in her muscles, he pulled back, leaving her panting for more.
She looked down, their eyes met.
A sweet ache pulsed between her legs as he dragged her onto his lap so she was straddling him. Her hands clutched his rock hard shoulders for balance as her core came into contact with the rigid length straining between their bodies.
He arched into her, his firm grip holding himself against her hot damp centre. His hard arousal rubbed through the moist slit of her sex, drawing a moan from her plump rosy lips.
One hand speared into his hair to hold him to her as she arched closer, her thighs gripping his hips as the plum shaped head of his cock nudged at her slick entrance. She was so wet, so hot, she felt ready to spontaneously combust.
"You feel like a moist silk fist," he groaned in pleasure as her tight channel sheathed him.
"And you're like satin over marble," she purred as she sank down over him a little more, taking him deeper.
Her chant remained even, in time with her rhythmic rocking motion against him.
The wind whipped harder and the flames danced higher. The sky churned as silvery grey clouds gathered, thickening, darkening, blotting out the thinning night sky behind it. A whirlwind of dust and leaves stirred outside the circle, gaining momentum. The torches flames crackled and popped, rising higher and higher, blending together through the funnel of air that whipped around the circle. It was like sitting in the eye of a tornado, calm in the centre and chaos raging all about them.
A shivery sensation spread from every point of contact between them, electrifying her entire body. His thick stalk burrowed deep within her.
His strong hands gripped her hips and with purposeful movement, slid her intimately along the length of his lethal arousal.
Teagan threw her head back, a fevered gasp escaping her control. He gritted his teeth as the burning centre of her body gripped him. It was a haven unlike anything he had ever known.
The gathered clouds rumbled and sparked and rain began to fall, a light mist of drizzle settled about them, building steadily into a pounding sheet of rain as Teagan's chants became more focussed, faster and intensified with every powerful stroke Saladin drove into her body. He couldn't get deep enough, couldn't move fast enough.
"I need you to trust me," she panted, breaking from her chant.
"I do, completely."
"Relax into me, feel me," she coaxed. And he did.
Saladin locked his gaze with hers, losing himself in her dark brown eyes. Then he felt it. A gentle nudge in his mind. A parting in the folds of reality. He felt detached from his body like he was floating somewhere above it but he felt his connection to Teagan becoming stronger.
Sharp, panting breaths alternated as a low moan dredged up from deep within his chest. Vibration buzzed through his entire body and into hers and flowed back again, pulsing like a live wire as she continued to recite the spell.
Rain poured down over them, plastering her long raven hair to her sumptuous curves and glistening on the lean beauty of her face. It poured between them, magnifying the gliding friction as their bodies moved together with more urgency.
In an instant, he felt her, penetrating not only his mind but every molecule in his body. Soft tendrils of pleasure laced down his spine, curled into his abdomen, settling around his heart. As though a sensual smoke had entered him, his skin began to respond. It tingled, tightened until it felt too small for his body. His blood began to boil, prickling hunger spiralled and intensified.
Teagan's fingernails dug into his back as she held onto him tighter, writhing against the onslaught of sensations which lashed at her. His, hers, theirs. She felt it all. Her thighs quivered and her breasts tightened. Saladin hissed through clenched teeth, building his thrusts into a frenzied rhythm.
The bond intensified, became more demanding as it pooled at the apex between her thighs and swelled inside her. Then it moved. Scorching, pulsing waves of sensation rocked through them both, bathing them in sweet, unimaginable heat. Saladin locked his arms around her as the sensations built, coming deeper, harder, faster. Anticipation throbbed in the air as they teetered on the brink of cataclysm.
Teagan cried out as a powerful implosion took her apart from the inside, expanding outward with an earth shattering wave of power blowing out the torches as one and the sky crashed with one final ear splitting crack of thunder and flash of blinding light, bringing a deafening silence back to the forest.
God she was beautiful, he thought, the words caught on his lips as his own release detonated and his orgasm stole his coherent thoughts as she catapulted him over the edge with her. His vision blurred and every muscle became taught from the intensity of his release.
Saladin dragged in a ragged breath and clutched her to him, resting her head on his shoulder and rocked with her until her breathing slowed to normal and marvelled in what had just happened. It had been far more intense than he had expected, beyond anything he had imagined. As he cradled his Mate, Saladin still felt her closeness. Not just physically, although he would swear he could feel the icy prickles of her power brushing over his skin.
He felt her deep inside himself.
Almost as though the spell had stirred something more than a primitive connection between them, he stilled. He could feel her power running through his own veins. It felt foreign and yet it felt like the most natural thing he had ever experienced.
Only once before had he experienced something similar. The first time he'd made love to Teagan their souls had touched and he'd thought it was the most incredible thing he'd ever experienced, but that had been but a ghost of what he felt now. Now, his Mate had taken up residence inside him, and he inside her. Two hearts beating as one, two minds thinking in unison, two souls no longer separate halves but one complete whole being, existing in two separate physical forms, complimenting one another to perfection.
Teagan lifted her head and looked around. There was no evidence of carnage from the aftermath of the storm she'd created. The forest and clearing looked as pristine as when they'd arrived.
"Where's our clothes?" she asked, noting the orange glow above the tree tops as the sun crossed the horizon. "Oh, I think we had an audience," she groaned. Saladin followed her line of sight to the pile of neatly folded clothes on a tree stump next to Teagan's backpack.
"Fucking perverts," he yelled. Who he was yelling at, he had no idea, the Nephilim, Lycans or the Elders, maybe all of them.