Home > Gypsy's Blood (All The Pretty Monsters #1)(6)

Gypsy's Blood (All The Pretty Monsters #1)(6)
Author: Kristy Cunning

Anna waves her hand and the back doors of the van fly shut.

“I told you to stop using your powers. It speeds up the disease,” I groan.

Yeah, that’s the other bad thing about Anna. My only friend is a pathological liar who is hurdling herself toward the final stages of her last decay—In short, she’s a dying ghost.

The fun lying will stop when the crazed dementia kicks in. Sometime, after she’s lost all sense of who, where, what, and when she is, she’ll suffer in agony for a final three days before vanishing into the air, leaving nothing behind but a pile of salt.

I keep trying to detach myself from the situation, preparing myself for what happens next if I don’t find a cure that no other more qualified gypsy before me has found.

“Let it. I can’t even tell half the time when I’m lying anymore,” she says a little too soberly, enough to trigger that pang of dread.

Her constant distraction has been one of my many coping mechanisms to keep me focused instead of falling apart like I did the first two months after my mother’s death.

“Give me time,” I tell her from the side of my mouth. “I’m working on a fix.”

“And so far you’ve blown the house up and created zombies,” she says, causing me to huff out a groan.

“No, I haven’t,” I grumble just as the door swings open.

Did I knock?

I forget how to speak when I see the guy in front of me, who leisurely props against the frame, his lips tilted in a barely-there grin.

“Ohhhhh, he’s a yes-please with a side of fuck-me-now and a tall drink of orgasms-galore,” Anna says in an awed whisper.

I take in the man’s open shirt that leads down to the semi-dressy slacks that have the top button undone, along with the loose tie that hangs on both sides of said unbuttoned shirt, dangling in a way that’s oddly mesmerizing. It’s like he’s trying to pose for me, and it’s really distracting, because this is my new favorite pose on a man.

In my entire life, I’ve never met a man quite this…entrancing.

“Are you counting his abs too? Because at least he can’t see me drooling,” Anna says from beside me, causing me to snap my eyes up.

I feel my cheeks burning when he grins knowingly. It’s not like it’s the first time I’ve seen a nice body, so I have no idea why I’m acting like a blushing virgin when his grin turns into a smug, self-satisfied smirk.

“So it’s true. A Portocale is hand-delivering her goods to the families. I’ve seen it all now,” the man with almost blindingly blond hair says in a voice that’s borderline hypnotic.

That hair on anyone else would look ridiculous. But on him? It’s like he wouldn’t be nearly as sexy if it were any other color.

“You remember how to talk, right?” Anna asks when my mouth opens and closes a few times.

Clearing my throat and giving myself a mental shake, I tell him, “Sorry. I’m a Carmine, not a Portocale. I’m not sure why it’s so shocking I’m delivering things. I’m trying to get everything caught up before hiring help.”

With what they’re paying, it won’t take long. But I find it weird my mother barely had enough money in her account to cover the back payments. I had to come before I drained the last of it.

His eyebrows hit his hairline.

“What?” I ask, growing annoyed with the ominous, cryptic responses and mysterious facial tics everyone keeps giving me.

“I’m trying to decide if Marta was brilliant or stupid.” Before I can respond to that, he adds, “Or if you’re faking all this.”

“Faking all what?” I ask incredulously.

His lips do that twitching thing the others have been doing. “Let’s not play coy. You know you’re a Portocale, and Portocale gypsies are notorious for their enemies. I understand why you’d try to hide your name, but…surely you know that’s not always possible or plausible.”

I bristle, wondering how we went from cryptic to just digging right into the meat of things; although some of what he’s saying still sounds a little murky.

“Man, they are really not believing this estranged aunt thing, because you’re a terrible liar,” Anna says from beside me. “But I’m brilliant at it. Tell them you’re a dominatrix with your own dark room under the house...”

Damn you, Anna. Not now.

“Sorry. Again, just a Carmine. I barely knew my aunt. Portocales have enemies because they have a lot of power in their bloodlines. And I’m sure my aunt wouldn’t have left me things in a town where I wouldn’t be safe. Don’t you think, Mr. Morpheous?” I ask.

I’m not sure if I’m pronouncing his odd last name correctly.

“The name Morpheous is derived from Greek mythology, meaning God of Illusion,” Anna tells me matter-of-factly, but it could be utter bullshit.

“Indeed, she would not,” he states as he runs his hand over his smooth, strong jaw in a thoughtful sort of manner. “I can assure you this town is possibly the only safe place for a Portocale…or their estranged kin.”

He adds that last part like he’s mocking my lie.

“Yeah, except for the fact your mother survived for plenty of decades before meeting her demise here after just three months,” Anna points out, causing me to regret all the things I’ve shared with her.

Still refusing to let her ebb away that steely resolve that brought me to this unnatural town, my jaw grinds.

“A little sensitivity would be nice,” I say to her…and then remember I shouldn’t talk to ghosts in front of people who can’t see them.

It makes me look like the crazy one.

“I apologize. I’m sure losing your aunt you barely knew was hard,” he tells me, apparently believing me to be speaking to him.

I roll with it, since it’s out there. “It is hard, regardless of closeness. Especially since I still don’t know how she died, and the sheriff here refuses to discuss an open case that has no suspects, no cause of death, and no murder weapon. Her file is already collecting dust, and I’ve seen how quickly dust can accumulate on things that aren’t being touched. To them, she’s just another dusty, slim folder already.”

We both just stare at each other for a second, though I can’t read anything on his expression or in his eyes. I’ve never seen anyone so well guarded.

“I heard she was stabbed in the heart,” Anna tells me, forcing me to fight off a flinch, because sometimes her blurted lies sting too deep.

Mom wasn’t stabbed. There were no visible marks on her. According to the autopsy I had overseen by my own hired professional, nothing indicated a cause of death.

“You truly have no idea what’s going on around you, do you?” he muses.

Never show how curious you are, Violet. People will use it against you. Be careful who you trust, because their knife may just find your back. Betrayal is the normal in our world. Trust me. Trust your father. Trust yourself.

My mother’s words flit through my head as if to remind me. Dad wants me far away from here and not following the breadcrumbs Mom left for me, so it’s hard to trust one without denying the other.

“I’m not really concerned about finding out what’s going on around me, Mr. Morpheous—”

“I’d rather you call me Damien,” he interrupts, mouth twisting at one corner in a grin.

Starting again, I say, “I’m not really concerned about finding out what’s going on around me. I’m simply here to start the life my aunt afforded me.”

“Liar,” the pathologically lying ghost scoffs.

Salt. Why don’t I ever remember the salt?

His hand comes up so fast I don’t see it at first, and he cups my chin, causing my breath to freeze in my lungs as something dark and exciting stirs within me.

His eyes are so pretty when his pupils dilate like that; I just want to be closer.

I lean forward, mesmerized by the way his eyes seem to turn into changing windows I feel desperate to see inside. The bit of blue in his complicated, beautiful irises seems so much brighter than a second ago. So perfect. So—

“Intriguing little thing you are. Maybe Marta was more brilliant than stupid,” he murmurs. “You’re very different, Violet Portocale.”

It’s like a light comes on behind those dark windows. Images roll through them and into my mind…images of us on a bed as he fucks me like he never plans to love me, shoving my hands into the mattress, as he takes all he wants from my body.

It’s like I can feel him inside me, touching me, caressing me…

A little shudder rolls through me.

Another image pops into my head of me kissing my way up his stomach…maybe even licking…

It’s like my hands move on their own, touching the skin his undone shirt reveals. He hisses out a breath as I run my hand over him, feeling the firm skin as my veins begin to burn in a really good way.

With a groan, he releases my chin and takes a quick step back, causing me to blink rapidly, as a metaphorical bucket of cold water drops over my head, dousing the flames of mortifying stupidity, and allows humiliating smoke to start drifting up.

I think my teeth actually chatter when the unnatural cold settles into my bones.

What the hell?

“Very intriguing,” he says again as he takes the box I don’t remember putting down…and simply turns and walks inside like nothing ever happened.

“You totally just ran your hands all over those sexy abs. In real life! You’re my hero,” Anna states with wide, disbelieving, doe eyes.

My hands feel like ice when I start trying to blow heat into them, quickly walking back to my van. The loss of the warmth generating from his body has left me bereft and too cold from the inside out.

Which is insane.

In less than twenty minutes, another one of my richer clients has turned me into a bumbling idiot. Only this time, I touched him. Without even asking for freaking permission, which I doubt he would have just agreed to.

Mom’s death is seriously fucking with my head, and I can’t seem to figure out how to make it stop and just get better. A stone settles on my stomach when I think back to the powerless feeling I just suffered through.

It wasn’t my grief making me vulnerable. That man wasn’t just a man…

“He did something to me just then,” I warily and quietly tell Anna when we get into my van.

Idly, I think back to Emit Morrigan as well. Maybe it wasn’t Anna; maybe it was him. What the hell is going on right now?

I waste no time getting the hell away from this house, already in the van and gassing it the second it cranks.

“Yeah, he did. He worked his abs. I’d have licked them, but that’s just me. You’re more subtle than I am,” she tells me before she does her feminine roar again.

“No,” I tell her, trying not to second-guess my mom right now, knowing she’d never put me in harm’s way. “It was something else. It was some form of magic.”

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