Storm God
183 pages
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183 pages
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Description

Raven, is captivated by an elusive force that has followed her every step since she was the age of twelve. Years go by when she discovers Nevar is the Storm God...the one who controls the heavens above. He is the rain, wind and snow, and at first he is physically impossible to touch and hold. Raven finds him arrogant, and lacking emotion, he appears to be ruthless yet full of mystery. Raven's heart breaks with love for him, but wonders, why if he is so heartless, does he keep saving her life? For thousands of years no mere mortal ever captured his attention–until her. Raven is fearless and full of life, determined to discover the truth about her puzzling birth. Her passion and love for family entice him. She melts his frozen heart with her unconditional and undying affection. Raven is the opposite of everything he represents.

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Publié par
Date de parution 06 juillet 2015
Nombre de lectures 1
EAN13 9781771454582
Langue English

Informations légales : prix de location à la page 0,0032€. Cette information est donnée uniquement à titre indicatif conformément à la législation en vigueur.

Exrait

Storm God
Aliens &Gods, Book 1
By
Lawna Mackie
 
Digital ISBNs
Kindle978-1-77145-456-8
EPUB978-1-77145-458-2
PDF978-1-77145-442-1
Print ISBN9781771454445

Copyright by LawnaMackie 2015
Cover art by MichelleLee 2015
Artistic Designs –Storm Cat by Designsbymyriah.com
 
All rightsreserved. Without limiting the rights under copyright reservedabove, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in orintroduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form, orby any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, orotherwise) without the prior written permission of both thecopyright owner and the publisher of this book.
Acknowledgments
My family meanseverything to me and I wouldn’t have been able to write a wordwithout them, but throughout the writing process of Storm God I had a constant furry companion…myAlaskan Malamute , Bandit. Heremained at my side whether I was writing in my office or on apicnic table while camping. He napped and waited patiently while Ifinished a chapter or perhaps three. He kept me company late atnight, and early in the morning. Bandit passed away from anepileptic seizure at the age of four, but he forever lives in myheart and inspires me to write about the loving animal creatures inall my novels.
ChapterOne
The SaharaDesert
 
But I did seeit,” Raven declared emphatically, hands just above her hips, and glaring defiantly up at thenanny.
“That’s enoughnonsense for one day, young lady. Your father would tan both ourhides if he knew you’d wandered away unattended. You know betterthan that.” Ms. Myles turned down the covers on the small cot andmotioned Raven to the bed.
“Why doesn’tanybody ever believe me?” She pouted and stepped ahead, tripping onher long white cotton nightshirt.
Raven snuggleddown into the blankets. She’d been wrong—being twelve years old wasworse than being eleven.
Ms. Mylescrouched down on the carpet that lay in the sand beside Raven’s cot . She pulled the covers upunder her chin.
“My goodness,child, you have the most overactive imagination of anyone I know.Perhaps you had too much heat today.” The woman touched herforehead.
“I wore my hatall day…just like every day. I’m not overheated,” she grumbled,frustrated. “When will Papa be back?”
“I’m not surewhen your father will be back. They are travelling quite a distance today. It’s my guess he won’tbe home until long after you’ve fallen asleep.”
She looked upat the woman who had been her nanny for as far back as her memorywould go. She always pulled her red hair back into a tight, neatlykept bun. Her hazel colored eyes stared warmly down at her.
Raven yawned.“I don’t think I will go to sleep. What if I have a nightmare aboutwhat I saw today?”
Like everynight, Ms. Myles kissed her on the forehead before turning to thezipper on the netting that enclosed her bed from the outsideinsects. “Sweetie, you’re yawning already. You won’t have a nightmare, but if you do, you know my bedis just on the other side of this piece of canvas. And your fatheris on the opposite side. You’re right in the middle. You only needto shout and we’d be here in a second.” She smiled, pulling thezipper down and disappeared into the main room of the largetent.
Raven didn’tcare what they thought. Stormcat was real. She’d already given hima name, certain that she would seehim again. Why wouldn’t they believe her? Well, tomorrow she’dprove it. The only problem would be finding him again, and thatwould depend on the weather. Raven overheard her father’s men say a Haboob was brewing. The Arabic word meant “ strong wind.” Would he jump out of the cloudsagain tomorrow?
She strained tokeep her eyes open, not wanting sleep to come. Stormcat would befriendly…would n’t he? He hadjumped out at her with a growl. With a giant yawn, her eyelidsfluttered shut.
 
* * *
 
“Well,sleepyhead are you gonna stay in bed all day?”
Her father’steasing tone roused her. “Papa, you’re here!” she squealed,stretching her arms up toward him. “I missed you.”
Her fatherpulled her into his embrace for a giant hug. “I missed you too,sweet pea. Ms. Myles tells me you had quite the day yesterday.”
She struggledout of his grasp and sat straight up.
“Papa, I saw agiant tiger in the clouds. He jumped out of them straight at me,”she explained, bubbling with excitement.
He pulled theglasses off his face and frowned, peering down at her. “A tiger yousay. Interesting indeed. He must have been very large to jump down here from the clouds. You knowtigers don’t live in the Sahara Desert. Are you sure it was atiger?”
“I knew you’dbelieve me! Nobody else would. I’ve named him Stormcat. I think helikes the stormy clouds. He was verylarge …as big as a car or bigger!”
He rubbed hischin as he always did when deep in thought. “Well then, you and Iare just going to have to make a trip to go and find him, won’t we?But, I do have one request first.”
Raven sighed indisappointment. “What?”
“I’ll be gonefor half the day, but this afternoon you and I will go findyour…err, Stormcat, on one condition. I want you to stay in the perimeter of the camp untilI get back. No ifs, ands, or buts. It’s only for a few hours. Do wehave a deal?”
“I hate thosetypes of deals.” She whined.
“Yeah, I knowyou do, but those are the terms.”
“Okay, I’llwait until you’re back, Papa.”
His large smile warmed her heart through andthrough. “That’s my girl.” He kissed her on the cheek and exitedthe room.
Raven swung herlegs off the cot and onto the carpet. Running, she followed himunnoticed. She ducked out of the netting and carefully peered outthe door of the large canvas tent so as not to be seen. Her father,the prestigious Professor Hill, stood talking to Ms. Myles. Raventried desperately to hear the conversation, but she only caught afew words of her father’s speech. “…do n’t worry, she’ll listen. ”
She clenchedher small hands into fists. What could she do? She’d made herfather a deal. He may have arranged the idea, but she’d stick toher promise. At least he believed her—didn’t he?
 
* * *
 
The morninghours raced by and lapsed into the afternoon. Raven gave way todisappointment as she realized her father would likely not be homeon time.
She stared downat the live habitat she’d created for the insects she collected.The glass aquarium bustled with life today. The Scarab Beetlesscurried back and forth as if anxious.
A gust of dryhot desert wind teased the rim of her wide sage green hat. She didn’t need to wear it today.The clouds were coming and the smell of rain hung in the air. Raventook the hat off and set it on thearm of the chair. The hat had symbolic meaning for her because itbelonged to her mother. She never went anywhere without it.
The windcontinued to blow and Raven looked up into the sky. On the horizon, grey clouds swirled as they dancedforward to cover the red sun. A storm was coming. Why hadn’t herfather come back? Restless, she jumped off the chair to go insearch of Ms. Myles.
The camp buzzedin a flurry of activity. The men were ensuring the tents weretightly affixed to the ground. She found her nanny closing uptrunks filled with dishes and others with clothing.
“I’m worriedabout Papa, Ms. Myles. He said he would be home by now and a stormis coming.”
The woman bentdown in front of her and smiled. “You have nothing to worry about,Raven. Your father is well accustomed to being in the desert.Perhaps he made a huge discovery. Wouldn’t that be wonderful?”
Raven sagged indefeat. “Yes, I suppose you are right, but I am worried about him.The sandstorm is coming.”
Ms. Myles stoodand continued packing. “You worry too much, my sweet. Can youplease do a favor for me and make sure all your personal belongingsfrom outside are securely put away or brought into the tent? Wedon’t have much time, so please hurry and return here.”
“Allright.”
Raven, exitedthe tent as the canvas flapped viciously in the wind. She peeredway up. A wall of silver gray clouds towered high into the sky bringing the dark wall of sand.Was Stormcat up there? She knew he would be.
She carefullyplaced her aquarium in the metal storage cabinet outside the tent.Shielding her eyes, Raven headed to the door. Men were shoutingorders over the howling storm.
She heard Ms.Myles yelling for her. “Raven, hurry, the storm is almost on top ofus.”
Raven turnedone last time, looking up at the sky, just as her hat flew off thechair and into the air.
“No!” Shescreamed, panicked, and bolted back into the gale force winds inthe direction of her hat. Ms. Myles shouted at her to stop, but shedidn’t care. The hat flew along the desert floor, Raven in pursuit.She was unaware that, with every step, the darkness descended.
She ran untilshe thought her lungs would explode. No longer could she see hermother’s hat. Tears streamed down her dusty face. Suddenly scared,she turned back from the way she’d come only to face the fury ofthe storm. She coughed and fell to the ground. Sand bit her sensitive skin.
“Papa!” Sheshouted into the deafening noise. “Help!”
It was as darkas the night. She buried her nose and mouth into her shirt, tryingdesperately to breathe. Raven remembered the stories she’d heard.Men could die in these dust storms or end up buried alive. Shepushed herself to her feet and stumbled a few more steps only toget knocked to the ground by the wicked force of the blowing wind.She drove herself to stand once more, but, as she stepped, the ground disappeared from underneathher. Raven screamed and tumbled over and over down the sanddune.
When she cameto a stop, she sputtered, wiping at her mouth. She squinted and rubbed her eyes, desperateto see anything. Then out of the blackness, she saw movement fromthe sky.
Orange, grey and white, the large catpounced straight for her with fangs bared. Raven could only scream,“Stormcat!” before coughs wracked her body and darkness consumedher.
 
 
 
Chapter Two
 
Enormous spiralmonsters grew in numbers. Freedom, power, and dominance embedded ineach particle of sand and dust that became who he was—thecontroller of all earthly elements. Born of wind , earth, and water, the planet was hisplayground.
He spun makinggiant spouts in the shifting sand, but stopped when he noticed thelarge creature that had torn himself from the clouds. Themulticolor animal shared his realm in the sky, but had noparticular usefulness.
The animal borea similar shape to what mortals would call a tiger. He stood,staring down at the ground, carefully moving something with hisgiant gray paw.
He needed acloser look and dispersed into the individual blowing units of sandcovering everything in the immediate area.
The tigerpushed at something buried in the sand. Long black strands of hairdulled by the red dust surfaced. The creature continued to pawuntil a small human lay unburied on top of the sand. The mortal wassmall with long dark eyelashes lying against the contrast of herdark skin.
He couldn’tremember the last time he’d been so close to a mortal human. Theyheld no interest for him.
The largeanimal continued to move the being. The mortal flopped from side toside, lifeless. Perhaps it was dead. For whatever the reason, hedidn’t want the tiger pushing her around like a piece of food. Sandgrouped and formed a solid mass and, within a split second, he hitthe tiger sending himbackward.
“Leave it! Youknow the rules. We do not interfere or touch any mortal.”
The tigergrowled and slowly circled the girl from a distance. “I found heryesterday. I want to keep her.”
The windroared, pushing the animal back once more. “Her?” He looked down atthe helpless creature. “Interesting. No, you can’t keep…her.”
The cat snarledin anger and jumped toward the human, only to be cast aside by thespiraling wall of sand that now encased the female. “Stop! I will not say it again!”
Inside thetunnel of swirling sand came a silent calm. He became the gentlebreeze that swept across her body removing the sand from her face. He’d never been so close toa mortal. They were interesting creatures. For thousands of years he’d watched them live, fight,die, and then do it all over again. They were capable of such painand destruction. He bore no sympathy for the species.
Her sizesuggested she must be a child. When she coughed, it caught him offguard. The breeze ceased as he watched her continue to cough . Her eyes slowly opened. She whimperedand cried out the name “Papa.” Her small arms pushed her tiny bodyup into a sitting position. A gasp left her mouth with her eyesstaring at the spiral walls swirling all around her and juttinghigh into the sky.
She spoke whileshaking her head. “Nobody’s gonna believe me…again.”
The girlreached out, touching the moving wall, but yanked her hand backwith a yelp. He could see how the tiger might have been intriguedwatching the human’s actions. He’d made the sand sparkle red, whichsupplied light. She stood and carefully examined the swirling sandwithout touching it. She looked way up, then sank back down on herknees trying to look under themoving wall. He knew she wanted out. Normally , he would oblige but, once again, feltfascinated just watching her. It was wrong, but a discrepancy afterten thousand years should be acceptable. Besides, he made therules.
The girl satand crossed her legs speaking to herself. “I’m sorry, Ms. Myles,you must be very mad at me by now.” She grabbed a handful of sand.He halted. The sand stopped twisting and hung suspended in the air.He flowed through her fingers, feeling the warmth of her hands.
Never in hisentire existence had he ever felt such things…but the warmth of her fingers penetrated every tinyparticle of his immortal existence . He’d made a big mistake. He never should have let himself get so close to the human.
Her voiceinterrupted his thoughts. “Stormcat, please let me go.” A drop ofwater fell from the corner of her eye. Without further thought, hebecame a gentle breeze blowing up into her face and over the tearsliding down her cheek.
Instantly, heknew her thoughts. She was scared, she wanted to return to thecamp, and she hoped her father was okay. She also believed thetiger—or Stormcat as she referred to him— was responsible for her entrapment.
He didn’t careabout the little human. He would just leave her here in the sand.If she survived, so be it. The sand stood still while he gatheredhis strength to leave . The human stretched out resting her cheek inthe sand. Her tears hit him like an atom bomb.
You just hadto go and wreck ten thousand years, didn’t you? He continued tocurse himself. His power shook the ground. The girl screamed as helifted her on a bed of sand and into the air.
He carried herback to where she came from. On the outer edge of her camp, heunceremoniously dumped her out of the twisting cone and dissipated,scattering in all directions.
 
* * *
 
Raven landed onher backside with a thump. The tunnel of sand she’d been held indisappeared faster than she could speak. Stormcat was nowhere insight. Had he brought her here?
Over hershoulder, she noticed the storm had passed and her father’s menwere pointing in her direction shouting.
The strangledcry bursting from Ms. Myles’s mouth left Raven speechless. Hernanny ran faster than her feet would carry her. She almost felltwice.
Raven turnedaround to face her fully. She’d never remembered a time when Ms.Myles had ever looked so devastated and relieved at the same time.She crumpled to the ground grabbing Raven by the waist andsobbed.
“Thank heavens.Sweet pea, tell me you’re okay. I’ve never been so worried in mywhole life.” The older woman’s hands cupped her face brushing awaythe dust.
Happinessflooded through Raven’s body. She was happy to be back in camp,safe, and the fact that Ms. Myles cried over her warmed her heart.Her nanny loved her.
Raven huggedher back. “I’m okay Ms. Myles, really I am.”
The womanpushed her back to an arms-length, looking her up and down toensure no scratch was unattended. When the tender moment ended,anger flashed across Ms. Myles face, preceded by a shake. “RavenHill, you of all people know better than run into a storm. Whatwere you thinking? You could have been killed.”
Raven shrugged,knowing her nanny spoke the truth. She hung her head. “I’m sorry,Ms. Myles. Mother’s hat was caught in the wind and I didn’t think.I just chased after it. I’ve lost her hat,” she choked back thesob.
“I know howmuch the hat meant to you, Raven, but you’re more important than abonnet. What would I have done if something had happened toyou?”
“Did fathercome back?”
“No, he hasn’tarrived yet, but the storm just ended. He’ll be okay, Raven.”
She wanted tobelieve her, but the dreadful thought of losing her father was toomuch to bear.
“Let’s get youcleaned up.”
Raven followedalong, looking up into the sky. What exactly happened outthere?
A shiver ranover her skin. She felt as though somebody had been inside thespiraling sand with her. Her stories were becoming wilder by theday. Who would believe her?
 
* * *
 
As wind andsand, he raced across the desert. To hell with it, tomorrow thishellhole would be a distant memory. The events of today were nothis fault. Stormcat, as she had named the tiger was the one who caused the episodes. Theanimal broke the rules by making physical contact with thehuman.
His angerflared. Shocked by the emotion, he tore up through the sky, hisspeed increasing until he became a blur. Billowy clouds awaited hiscommand, but there was no need. His destination loomed straightahead. He hit Stormcat head-on, tossing the enormous creaturetumbling across the horizon. The tiger roared with rage pouncing across the clouds as if they were stepping-stones .
Used up, thesand slowly drifted back to the desert floor far beneath the ragingimmortals. Now the clouds were the element of choice. He’d becomethe cumulonimbus cloud—towering black with unshed anger. Stormcatwould hate this fight.
Turbulencewithin the cloud tossed the cat back, forth, and upside down. Ofcourse, the tiger’s massive claws swiped through him but never hadany effect. Rain began to fall. The immortal tiger was pummeled with water. The cloudcontinued to throw him violently around in a maze of entrapped wetsoftness.
Finally, theanimal ceased to struggle, and Storm God spoke to the wet fur ball .
“Stormcat…younow have a name.”
Helpless theanimal swiped his large paw oncemore through the air before speaking. “I found her! She’smine!”
Thunder rangloudly through the sky. “She is not yours! We do not interfere withmortals. What has gotten into you?”
Stormcat sat ona cloud licking his long grey orange fur, shaking his head while he spoke. “I’m sick of thisexistence. I’m bored. It’s always the same. There’s nothing to playwith and I’ve decided you’re not much fun.”
This type ofconversation was highly unusual. He reflected on the thousands ofyears he’d spent controlling the storms of this futile world.Stormcat followed every step of the way…even when water became anissue.
The animal hadbecome bored. Immortals didn’t become bored . Did they?
Suddenly, heremembered the small child lying in the sand, watching her try tofind a way out of his spiraling spout. The mortal held himspellbound. Perhaps the time had come to remove himself from thisrealm. He was an ancient God, a rider of the clouds and commanderof the earthly heavens.
Gods did notassociate or interfere with earthlings, so why did he also feel aconnection to the child? He was alarmed at what he’d just thoughtor…felt. He dismissed the impossible notion quickly.
“Stormcat, isthat it? Why now and why her? My boring mannerisms never botheredyou before. Is there something else?” He asked, searching foranswers.
“She’sdifferent.” The tiger’s tail twitched with irritation.
There had to besomething to cause the cat to interact with the human. Immortalanimals had the innate ability to sense oddities about otherbeings.
“How is shedifferent?”
Stormcatstalked back and forth on the large cloud, which had stoppedpouring water on him.
“Never mind!”He snapped back in response.
“Well, nomatter what she might be or not be. We will not have any close contact with her ever again.Got it?”
Stormcat’s mouth pulled back into a snarl…anupset sign of compliance.
“We’ve spentenough time in this desert. Where shall we go next?”
He hoped tohell leaving would be that easy. The only thing he’d been able tothink about since the incident in the desert was the smallchild.
 
 
 
ChapterThree
 
Ten yearslater, Canadian Rocky Mountains
 
Candyman pickedup his feet and carefully placed them on the narrow rooted trailleading to the pristine glacier-fed body of water. Amethyst Lakeglistened in the evening light.
With a gratefulsmile, Raven reflected back on the long day. Nightfall came late inthe Rocky Mountains at the beginning of August. Tonight she wasalone, with the exception of herhorse. And of course Whisper, the secretive Cooper’s hawk who’dbeen her constant shadow for nearly three years. She found the tinybaby abandoned on the trail and proceeded to care for the featheredraptor.
The day started bad . Her research partner, Trent,came down with a nasty virus and was unable to make the trek upinto the Tonquin Valley with her. Their studies depended onreaching the lake tonight, so at the first break of dawn, she couldgather her specimens from there.
Raven had madethis trip alone many times, but she never truly felt lonely.Candyman, her faithful Appaloosa, accompanied her every trip. Anddepending on the weather…so would they . The oddities of whathappened in the Sahara Desert ten years ago followed her everystep.
In particular,the strangeness that came with storms…seemed alive with some kindof life. Raven knew Stormcat followed her across the continents.However, now she also knew something else was out there. Nothingcould harm her, or at least not a storm. Each time dangerapproached in the form of weather, she would be saved. The onlytime she’d come close to dying was a near drowning in the Caribbeanwhen she’d tested her theory.
Darkness ate upthe remaining daylight. Raven and Candyman continued down the pathtoward the lake, hoping her shelter remained hidden and stillstanding. The trail was well used bytourists now and occasionally a rowdy bunch would ride their way upthe track and make a mess of her camp, destroy her shelter andleave it a pile of garbage for her to take back. Itinfuriated her.
The cloudsmoved in, and along with them athick dense fog, which slowly inched down the mountainside tosettle at the base of the lake. The first few drops of rain tickledher nose. They had almost reached their destination. Candyman shookhis head.
“Oh, you’resuch a baby. The rain won’t make you melt,” she teased. “We’ll soonbe in the trees and hopefully unpacked before the downpourstarts.”
Now that thesun had disappeared, the cool temperature descended rapidly.
“Let’s hope wedon’t end up in a foot of snow tomorrow morning,” Raven declaredlooking up at the sky.
Ahead in thedistance, she spied a dense bank of spruce trees. Candyman knewexactly where they were heading. They’d arrived at theirdestination, and luck was on their side. The shelter remaineduntouched.
Soon enough shehad her food secure, cached high up into a tree away from the camp. Candyman munched on greengrass, and the fire outside her shelter snapped and cracked withlife a midst the rain. Raven chewedon the granola bar and the remaining few pieces of dried apricots.It filled the gnawing hunger in her stomach.
The fire wouldneed a bit of extra help tonight to combat the rain. She wandered afew meters away and returned with a large dry tree root, placing it onto the burning embers. Flamessprung to life dancing their way higher into the air.
Raven turned tothe shelter. Her canvas-covered down bedroll looked heavenly. Alarge bolt of lightning echoed through the valley followed bythunder, which as always resembled a deep growl. The fog now formeda solid wall about a hundred feet from the fire. She shook her headannoyed and spoke directly at the greythick formation.
“Why do youalways follow me? You never show yourself, but I know something isthere.” Candyman snorted, looking up with his ears pinned back flaton his head. The horse knew it too. “And, thunder does not alwayssound like a growl! I know you’re up there, Stormcat. Whatever youboth are, I’ve just about had enough of this. Stop followingme!”
Raven swung herlegs around and crawled into the shelter, pulling the canvas flapdown behind her. She turned on her flashlight and began to undress.The cool air felt like winter. Shequickly pulled on her flannel pajamas and jumped under thecovers.
The flames continued their seductive sway,forming shadows over the tan canvas door. The sound of the rainfalling through the treetops and onto the ground relaxed her into apeaceful state. Woofs of powerful wings flapping sounded off in the distance. She knew it would beWhisper. He flew closer and she heard him land in a tree not farfrom where she slept. Knowing she was safe, sleep overcame hertired body.
 
* * *
 
The snap of abranch, the wild whinny and a snort from Candyman brought Ravenfully awake. She knew that noise. Candyman neighed, terrified,sending out another alarmed snort. She heard him paw the ground. Itcould only be one thing. Thank goodness, the fire still burned bright .
She shoved thecovers back and pushed her arms into her coat, pulled on her shoes,and grabbed her bear repellent pepper spray. She rummaged throughher pocket finding the whistle and blew as hard as she could. Thenyanking the pin out of the pepper spray, while continuing to blowon the whistle, she flung the canvas flap open.
The large browngrizzly stood on his hind legs directly across the fire from her.He roared. Raven screamed and stepped to the side tripping over apiece of wood. Shit! The canister slipped from her hand. Thebear dropped to all fours and circled around the side of the fire toward her. He roared and pawedat the dirt, flinging it in all directions.
She shrieked,fumbling on the wet ground desperately searching for the repellent.The bear swatted again at the ground in an act of anger.
This is notgood. Damn it, where was the spray!
She tried tokeep calm, scrambling further backward. Her hand landed on thecanister and she found herself backed up against a large tree. Sheaimed the nozzle directly at the grizzly that now stood a merethree feet away.
She yelled atthe top of her lungs shouting at the animal. “I’m warning you! Backoff!” He swatted the dirt once more and growled loudly at her.
It was thenRaven heard the loud whistle from high above. Something spedthrough the night sky at an alarming speed. An even larger growlshook everything in the valley.
It had to beStormcat.
He fell like acomet streaking through the blackness. Trees snapped and cracked.She covered her head against the onslaught of falling branches.
The groundshook, but he stood beside her, larger than ten grizzly bears puttogether. Electricity arced from between the tips of his ears. Hismouth opened into a large roar.Raven cringed. Fangs protruded from his mouth, at least two feetlong. The grizzly turned to make a hasty escape, but Stormcat’s massive paw swiped at him and sentthe bear crashing far off into the forest.
Raven shooklike a willow in the wind. She could barely stand, her legstrembled so hard. Finally, she took a step away from the scene. Shestared in awe at the creature she knew had existed all these years.She hadn’t seen him in more than ten years.
A large cracksounded overhead. She crouched and looked up a little too late.
The largefalling branch hit her square in the head. She sunk to the ground. Her surroundings spun in avicious circle. Instinctively, her hand reached for her head. Shecould feel the warm wet flow of blood trickling down through herlong hair.
The last thingshe remembered was the taste of blood on her lips. Her vision ofStormcat blurred and became black as she mumbled the words, “I knewyou were real.”
 
* * *
 
“Well, dosomething!” Stormcat bellowed.
As mist, theStorm God slithered toward Stormcat and the woman.
For the pastten years, he’d followed her. She only knew him as The Storm. Whether as rain, snow, water, mist,fog, or wind, he’d followed . Thefascination he felt for her had not diminished. In fact, each dayhe restrained himself from seeking her out.
She’d growninto a woman, no longer the child he’d first saved in the SaharaDesert. Long black hair framed her delicate face. Her large darkbrown eyes haunted him. The lanky child had transformed into thecurvy, long-legged woman now crumpled on the ground before him. Noother mortal held any interest for him. He could care less if theylived or died, but she was different. He didn’t understand what hewas feeling, but he was unable to see her lying there hurt.
He concentratedon the becoming dense particles and slid as fog dispersingunderneath her body. He could feel her heat. In moments, her bodywas cocooned within him. It was almost more than he could bear. Whydid he feel like this? Hell, he didn’t even know exactly what hewas feeling. Emotions were not a part of his world, but whenever hecame close to the mortal, he lost his concentration. Every moleculein his current form moved rapidly and randomly…agitated. Ifcouldn’t control himself he’d drop her. With desperation, he closedhis thoughts. Slowly, she floated off the ground lying on top ofhim.
Every rule astorm god could create, he was about to break or had alreadybroken. Stratolipsis would be the only place where she could safelyheal—his home high in the sky awaited.
They ascendedquickly. He fortified his efforts and summoned the thick clouds tojoin him. One powerful jump fromthe earth sent Stormcat rocketing through the air past him. The catknew where they were headed. He concentrated on wrapping himselftightly around her frail mortal limbs. Humans required oxygen tobreath and the higher they soared the more it became necessary tosupply it for her…an easy feat for one such him, or so hethought.
As a thin trailof mist, he moved over her mouth. He skimmed across her ruby redlips and slid into her mouth. In that instant, everything heconsisted of exploded. Nothing could have prepared him for what hefelt.
That was it.He’d had a taste of how it felt to feel a mortal. Thesoftness of her lips, then flowing inside her wet hot mouth, shattered him.
She fellplummeting through the sky.
He had to getit together—literally. He pulled the large thundercloud his way,quickly melding with it, building his strength, then shot out like a web catching her falling form.She still lay unresponsive. Back up they went. She needed oxygen,but this time he prepared himself for the onslaught of his newfeelings. He entered her mouth once again, fed her the air sherequired.
Stratolipsiswas a black thunderhead hidden from human sight and situatedbetween the mesosphere and thermosphere. His pace slowed as heentered his domain.
Once inside,Stormcat pounced toward him. “Puther in my chambers,” the tiger demanded.
“She will comewith me.” Storm God responded.
He proceeded tomove with her until they came to a place where water trickled downthe side of a large blue chunk of ice. Small wisps of cloud floatedbeside them. The air swirled and rolled forming long thick blackstrings. Strand by strand, they merged, forming the bed. He freedhimself of her body, slowly untangling his being from herlimbs.
The bleedingceased, but the dried blood covering her clothing had run down hertop. Should he dare try to clean her up? He had no idea how hemight feel. He couldn’t believe he’d just thought those words. Howwould he feel ?
“Stormcat, goto earth and find her some human clothing,” he commanded.
“You go,” theanimal stated with an obstinatetone.
“ Go!” Heroared.
Stormcatgrowled in defeat and pounced away.
He whirledaround her upper body, lifted her just enough to push the jacketfrom her arms then laid her back down.
To remove herclothes should be no big deal. To see women without clothing wasnothing new either. Why would it matter if he saw her withoutclothing? Uncertainty annoyed him. He’d remove her top first. Heformed into a thin but firm body of particles. Swirling around thebutton he pushed and it popped open. The second button up respondedthe same way but now exposed her tanned flat belly. He halted for amoment then continued to the next. Again, the button popped open.The see-through blue bra did little to conceal her breasts. Theclasp holding the garment on posedlittle trouble. Her bra popped open. He stopped and watched,fascinated as her nipples puckered. He wanted something, butcouldn’t describe the overwhelming sensation. He pulled the shirtout from underneath her. The bottoms were next. He didn’t want to touch her…or did he? Itwas necessary in order to removethe bottoms .
With her shoesremoved, he slid up and along the inside her leg. Heat scorchedhim. He shot higher without a second thought and found himselfpressed up against her silky thigh. His particles were close to shattering again. If he didn’t dosomething quick he’d be in trouble. He rolled into a ball, taking apiece of the material with him and pulled down, back out the wayhe’d come. The pants were off. She lay exposed to him.
Water, hethought heading to the waterfall. In cloud formation, he sucked upthe water like a sponge and drifted back to her hair. Droplets ofwater fell onto her long hair and left a trail of dripping red. Hepulled the remaining hair out from under her body and continued towash the blood away. The healing properties of Stratolipsis closedher wound.
Once her hairwas clean, he returned to the waterfall confident he would be ableto remove the remaining blood from her body. He started with herface and then slid gently down her neck. Water droplets ran off herchest. Her nipples hardened. In cloud formation, he had morecontrol. He didn’t think he’d have that much control in water form.He rested just above her breast. Her breathing increased with herchest rising and falling in a steady rhythm. Inch-by-inch he movedfurther down her until he brushed over her nipple. He hadn’t beenprepared for the onslaught of chaos he was feeling—he wanted to becloser to her. He pressed up against her breast, glided back andforth across her tender skin.
She respondedwith a moan and pressed deeper into his touch.
It couldn’t be.Could she actually be responding to his touch? He glided over tothe other breast, relishing in the unknown sensations. He didn’tknow what he felt, but he wanted more.
He cascaded aswater down her other breast with the same response, but this time,she reached up to pull him closer. The touch of her hand slicedthrough him sending him bursting like an exploding star in alldirections. Lightning bolts shot through Stratolipsis.
Did mortalsalways feel this way when they touched? He’d watched the couplingof humans, but didn’t understand why it seemed to bring them tosuch a crazed state. He wanted to know why.
To befragmented did not feel good . Hebegan spinning and concentrated on pulling back the molecules ofhis being. The lightening dissipated as the calm settled around himmaking him whole. She would be awake soon. Where had the damn catgone? Raven was her name, but even the thought of saying her namerendered him speechless. What a mistake it had been in the SaharaDesert. He should never have interfered with her destiny.
Now lookwhat you’ve done to yourself . You can’t even keep yourselftogether in one form .
The soft moanshe made caused him to stare. The quietness broke when he heardStormcat enter Stratolipsis again. Immediately, he sent a blanketof soft white clouds over her naked body. Stormcat entered theroom, clothing in his mouth and dropped them beside the girl.
“There,” hesnarled, bitterness in having to obey his commands clear.
“She will beawake soon. When she awakes, it might be best if you were here. Sheknows you.”
“Well, for onceyou’ve said something I agree with,” Stormcat nodded.
“I think weshould call her by name. She’s known for a long time that we’vebeen following her. She may feel better if we call her Raven.”
She whimperedagain and her hands moved towards her head.
“Ouch,” shecried and her eyes fluttered open, while struggling to sit up.Stormcat sat by her side.
He watched hereyes widen and follow Stormcat’s tall body all the way up to hisgiant head.
Her mouth fellopen and she gawked. “Stormcat.”
Stormcat noddedhis head. “Yes, that is what you’ve named me,” he acknowledged.
Her head turnedfrom side-to-side. Where the heck was she?
Alarmed, shesat straight up.
“You should bedead,” Storm God announced.
She let go ofher head, looked around frantically. “Who said that?”
A brief silence followed before he responded. “I’mthe one who keeps saving your mortal body.”
It was then shelooked down and realized she wore no clothing.
“I’m naked,”she shrieked, covering herself with her arms. “Where am I?”
He watched hermouth gap open even further, as she finally took in hersurroundings.
“What is thisplace?” She asked, poking at the thick roped grey cloud she sat on.
He swirled intoaction as mist, grabbing the clothing Stormcat brought. “Here, putthese on.”
“Where areyou…what are you? Why can’t I see you?”
“Since mortalsseem to be partial to wearing clothing, get dressed, then I willsee to answering your questions. Stormcat, get out!”
The catgrumbled and disappeared.
 
 
 
Chapter Four
 
Raven stared indisbelief, wondering if she might still be unconscious anddreaming. The walls were clouds, but much denser. It looked likedark grey cotton. The waterfalloff to her right poured down the side of a large blue icicle. Underneath the floating cotton bedshe sat on were more dark clouds that swirled and churned, mixedwith electrical currents shooting out in every direction. Shelooked straight up into blackness, withthe exception of twinkling starlight.
Her head swamand her stomach did a somersault. She sat perfectly still, closedher eyes, and took a few deep breaths. When the spinning and nauseaceased, she opened her eyes again.
It was notpossible! She paused, deep in thought. Was Stormcat actuallyconceivable? She shook her head in disbelief.
For so manyyears, she tried to convince people that storms followed her, andthat Stormcat was real. Now, here she sat not wanting to believeher own story anymore.
She picked uppieces of her clothing. Extra clothes she’d brought with her forthe trip up to Amethyst Lake.
Memoriesassaulted her. First the bear, Stormcat, the falling branch, herblood, and the blackness. Without haste, she pulled her sweatshirtover her head careful not to hit the wound. She yanked on her pairof blue jeans.
Poor Candyman.He’d be terrified, and Whisper would be searching frantically forher. She had to get back to them, if that was possible.
Now what?
The movement ofa black twirling cloud came towardher and stopped just a few feet away. Through the thickness of thecloud, she caught a glimpse of orange fur. Raven flinched andclosed her eyes when Stormcat took one mighty jump and landedbeside her effortlessly.
“You are inStratolipsis. Your wound was healed here.” A deep husky voiceinformed her.
She didn’t knowwhat to say first, and tried to peer around the large cat, lookingfor the owner of the voice. “Why don’t you show yourself?”
“I am what yousee now.”
She lookedaround, but found nothing except Stormcat. “I don’t see anythingexcept for Stormcat.”
“That is whatmortals would see.” He said sarcastically.
Annoyed, sherolled her eyes. “Well, forgive me, but the only things I seearound me are super strong cottonballs that happen to be grey .”
The dark grey cloud shot above her head andformed a large white billowy shape. “I’m not always grey .”
Blinking,unable to believe what she’d just heard and witnessed, Raven staredup at the shape. “You’re a cloud?”
“I am a StormGod and controller of the elements.” He spoke with a strength and control she would never be ableto describe.
“Yes! I knew Iwas right,” she said with excitement, clenching her fists. “Youwere the one in the Sahara Desert and all those other times when Iinevitably got trapped in a storm.”
“Like I statedbefore, you should be dead, and would be if not for Stormcat. Hadhe not decided to show himself to you, you wouldn’t be herenow.”
Raven swallowedslowly. “I see.” She looked at the enormous cat. “Why did you showyourself me?”
His whiskerstwitched. “I was bored and there is something unusual aboutyou.”
“He broke therules. For thousands of years we have never interfered with amortal’s fate.” The voice boomed throughout the room followed by aroll of thunder.
Well, what doesone say to something like that? “Sounds like a very lonelyexistence if you ask me.”
“Emotions meannothing to us.”
She crossed herarms over her chest, cocked her head to the side and smiled. “So,why have you saved me from disaster for the past ten years?”
Lightening shot through the room. Shit! Youjust can’t shut up, can you?
“Perhaps Ishould let you fall back to the earth.”
The cloudsbelow opened and the wind blew. They were farther up than any jetcould go. Instinct forced her to try to grab hold of the formationshe sat on. It wasn’t much to grab onto. He couldn’t mean to killher after saving her life so many times…could he?
Her hair blewin unruly abandon around her face. She struggled to confine itwithin her hand. That brought the memory back with suddenintensity. Water washed her hair to clean up the dried blood, butsomething also removed her clothing and washed her body. She satperfectly still remembering the feel of him gliding across herbreasts and sensitive nipples…like a piece of silk. Her cheeksheated and her heart pounded with excitement as she recalled thefeeling of the caress. No sponge bath ever felt that good. Whateverhe was, he wanted to touch her. She sensed it. She’d moaned withdesire, tried to pull him closer.
Raven slammedher eyes shut. She tried to forget the feelings from the memory andignore the fact that he now wanted to throw her off his cloud.
Stormcat’s hiss forced her eyes open. “Stop trying to scare her. You know you can’tand I won’t let her die.”
The cloudsclosed and the wind vanished. “Don’t test me,” the voicebellowed.
Finally, shefound her voice. “Can you take me back now?” she asked shyly.
“Raven,remember one thing. Nobody must ever learn about what you’veencountered here today. Do I make myself clear?”
Raven noddedher head in agreement. “Nobody ever believes my crazy storiesanyway. Besides, I’m a researcher. This type of thing is notplausible in my world.”
“Should youever decide to divulge what you’ve learned here today, yourmemories will be removed.” Storm God’s voice never wavered. Sheknew he meant it.
“I get it. Canyou take me back now?”
No furtherwords were spoken. She found herself suspended in a misty cloud,which plummeted to the ground. In a few short minutes, the cloud dispersed and she foundherself sitting in the snow on the ground, near enough to hershelter not to be visible to anyone. A small spiral twister of snowformed a few feet away from her. She couldn’t resist speaking whatwas on her mind.
“I felt yourtouch up there. I remember,” she said in a rush. “You do havefeelings. You touched me because you wanted to and my bodyresponded.”
The vortex ofsnow stayed fixed directly in front of her. She bowed her head,embarrassed by her confession.
“Thank you.”She whispered, turned her back on him, and ran for the shelter inher bare feet.
 
* * *
 
He watched herget safely into the shelter, then he shot straight up into the sky.The snow suited his mood— heavy andwet. What was he going to do? He didn’t understand his behavior,the need to be close to her.
Back inStratolipsis he searched for Stormcat. It didn’t take him long tofind him staring down at the jet plane with his paw extended.
“Don’t eventhink about it, Stormcat. You don’t play with planes…orpeople.”
The tigerlooked up as he approached. “Is she safe?”
“Yes, she’ssafe. What is it about her that is so damned important? She has usboth doing things not part of who we are.”
Stormcat yawnedand stood to stretch. “I have a theory. You probably don’t rememberwhen or where she was born, but I do. The Cayman Islands. Raven’smother appeared to die in order to save one child, when in fact she had two. Twins as humans callthem. You see you are not the only immortal to mess with thehumans. Lasha beat us to it.”
The air inStratolipsis shook with fury and knocked Stormcat sideways.
“She wouldn’tdare!” Storm God yelled.
Stormcat sighedand regained his footing. “Yes, I believe she did. I watchedRaven’s mother go into the sea with Lasha. The human was in labor,but a short time later, Lasha resurfaced with the two babies in herarms. Raven was left on the beach wrapped in her mother’s clothingand the sea witch kept the otherchild, Raven’s twin.”
The cat shookhis large furry head, and swiped a paw over one ear.
“Why did younot tell me? I should have known this.” He roared, unaccustomed tothe anger he was feeling.
Stormcat stood,still looking unconcerned. “You were very busy playing hurricane games, if I recall. And because youhate that type of storm you were a little engrossed. So you see, weare not the only immortals who have decided to play withhumans.”
Hurricanes andtyphoons were not his favorite mediums to work with. He held lessstrength in water form, and a Storm God could not enter oceans orseas. That was the Water Goddess’s Realm. Lasha’s world. Thespiteful immortal definitely had a nasty plan in the works.
Gods were notforbidden to take physical form, but it came with risks and onlythe Universe God could grant the request. Lasha lived as three quarters Lionfish and one quarter human. She’d beenenraged and considered herself disfigured. She desired a human female form complete withher godly powers. She pleaded to Cosmo but he refused her request.Storm God remembered Lasha’s vow that she’d figure it outherself.
So, what wasshe up to? Why Raven’s mother, and why had she only kept one child?More importantly, why had she taken them at all? Cosmo would not behappy.
“I think we’llhave to pay a visit to see the Water Goddess,” he stated toStormcat.
Stormcat shookhis head. “I knew you were going to say that. I hate water morethan I hate you.”
He dispersedthe cloud formation underneath Stormcat, causing the tiger to jumponto the nearest one. “First we’ll make sure Raven gets off themountain. Some miserable weather should take care of that.”
“What makes youso sure she’ll leave?” Stormcat asked.
“Nothing.”
Stormcat lookeddown through clear sky. “It hasnever worked before. She’s too stubborn for her own good . I’m betting she’ll leave when she’sready to.”
“Well, I willjust make it a little more difficultfor her to stay. Snowstorms in August can be a bitch.”
“You really area bastard,” the cat snarled.
 
 
 
Chapter Five
 
Raven jumpedinto the shelter and out of the cold snow. Shivering, she reachedfor her warmer coat, pulled on a pair of socks, dug out another setof shoes and went back outside to search for Candyman andWhisper.
Her head stillthrobbed, but amazingly, the wound had disappeared. Everythinghappened so fast last night. The scientist in her argued againsteverything that had taken place.
Now she knewwhy odd things happened to her especially when it came to theweather. It was his fault.
The snowcontinued to fall in giant flakes covering the lush green foliage.Normally brimming with pink, purple and yellow flowers, a blanketof snow now concealed the alpine meadow.
Raven looked upyelling. “You know creating chaotic weather is not good for theenvironment.”
She didn’t evenknow what his name was, but chaos would certainly fit. Shewalked back along the snow-covered trail that she and Candyman had travelled the day before.
“Candyman, comeon boy, where are you?” she called repeatedly.
Overhead thewhite flakes continued to fall, when she heard the whoosh of wingsand Whisper’s cak , cak cak greeting. Raven stuck her arm out and the hawk landed. Her canvaslike jacket protected her arm from the hawk’s talons.
“There you are,you silly bird. I was worried for you,” she teased scratching the bird’s breast. “Now we just have tofind Candyman. I bet you know where he is.”
Whisper chirpedand flew off her arm. He’d lead her to Candyman and hopefully thehorse would be unharmed. Raven never shackled the horse becausehe’d never wandered far; however, being scared by the grizzly couldhave made for a different story.
Damn weather,she cursed, and continued to follow the hawk. About a kilometeraway, she spotted his brown ears. The horse stared in her directionfully alert. She whistled and called his name one more time. Theloud nicker pierced the silence ofthe valley. Candyman dashed her way in a fast trot, covering theground quickly and closing the distance between them.
“Candyman,thank goodness you’re okay,” she cooed, wrapping her arms aroundhis neck. The horse looked around from side to side. “He’s gonefella. No more grizzly. Come on, let’s get back to camp. I have atreat for you.”
Back at thecamp, Raven dug out a flake of hay for the horse that stoodcontentedly munching on his meal. The lake looked cold andforbidding, with patches of fog hovering over the spring-fedportions of water. Her phytoplankton studies would need to startall over again. Now, knowing what she did about storms, shewondered why she should bother doing the research regardingchanging climate.
The mystery hadvanished…just like him.
She sighed, sadbecause, of course, he was right—the world would be turned upsidedown if anyone knew what she’d just learned. She’d continue herstudies and restart her test trials tomorrow, then leave thefollowing day.
She started afire with the dry cache of wood she had stored away and pulled herfood down from the tree. She hadn’t brought much but it would do.After a quick meal, she grabbed her towel and toiletries and headedfor the small waterfall with Candyman following along like adog.
The path woundaround the side of the lake then off into the trees, leading up hill . The rush and tumble ofwater filled her with happiness. She rounded a few more curves andjust around a large spruce, amagnificent waterfall flowed. Tourists wouldn’t be a problem ondays like today with snow falling profusely.
Raven lookedinto the turquoise-colored water. It would be cold, but she didn’tcare. Clouds hung heavily around the top of the falls, then begansliding down toward the roaring water.
She crossed herarms over her chest with rebelliousness. “This is a private moment.Do you mind?” The heavy fogdrifted across the water toward the edge of the shore.
His harsh voicecaused her to jump. “Raven, you need to return home now.”
She placed herhand on her hip and scowled. “No, I don’t.”
“I wasn’tasking.”
“You can’torder me around. I have work to complete.”
“You can leavenow, or I can force you.”
Anger coursedthrough her veins. She brushed the snow off a large bolder and took her pack off. “I’m going for aswim in this cold ass pond, and then I’m returning to camp to do mywork. I don’t need a babysitter.”
Thundercrackled loudly from above. So what if he was angry. What would hedo if she disobeyed?
Wicked thoughtsraced through her mind, she recalled him sliding over her breastwhen she’d been semi-conscious. Would he touch her again? Try tostop her? She couldn’t even see him. He didn’t even have hands, butsuddenly, Raven knew what she wanted. She wanted him to touch her,and angering him might just cause that to happen. Her face heatedas she acknowleged her sinful thoughts.
“You willlisten to me.” His voice boomed with rage.
“Humph!” Sheundid her jacket and laid it on the rock. From inside the pack, shepulled out her washcloth, towel, and environmentally friendly soap.Next, she bent over, undid her shoes and pulled her socks off.She’d never undressed in front of someone before but she was aboutto now. Experience in the area of seduction had been nonexistent in her life.
Bolts oflightning shot out from low-level clouds concealed by thewaterfall. The trees were no longer visible, only the pond ofwater.
A nicecurtain. Here goes nothing.
Slowly, shereached for the top button of her shirt and undid it, followed bythe next. Her lacy blue bra peaked through the partially opened material.
The thick blackmist almost touched her arm. “Raven, you have no idea what you’remessing with.”
Her hand dippedlower and undid the last two buttons. She slid the shirt off hershoulders. Her nipples formed hard peaks straining against thefabric of her bra.
She undid thebutton on her jeans, pulled her long hair over to one side thenwiggled her pants off. The thick grey , almost black mist surrounded her while she stood,wearing only her matching blue panties and bra. Multiple bolts oflightning charged with electricity snapped around her. She flinchedinstinctively, but continued on her mission and moved forward withsoap and cloth in hand.
One footentered the glacier cold water, but her other remained firmlyplanted on the ground. She gasped and her breath hitched the momentshe felt him wrap around her leg. She closed her eyes and her heartpumped with excitement.
He slitheredaround her lower leg in a slow seductive circle moving higher. Asoft moan escaped her lips, causing her eyes to fully open.
Oh my god,did I make a noise like that? Tremendously embarrassed, Ravenpulled away from his grasp quickly and dove into the water. Shegasped from the shock of the cold water, but it was a welcomereprieve from the fire he’d set burning in her soul.
Of course,why not be attracted to a…Storm God, who didn’t have a body or aname. Way to go, Raven. Scolding herself was ridiculous. Shedove under the water trying todouse the flames that had engulfed her body.
Her firm graspstill held the cloth and bottle of soap while she surfaced. Shetook a deep breath, tried to acclimatize to the cold. She wouldn’tbe able to stay in for long. Her feet touched the rock bottom andshe stood exposed from the waist up. Her eyes searched for him, butthe thin black cloud had disappeared. She knew he wouldn’t be faraway. He’d be watching…like he always did.
With the soapopen, she squirted a small amount on the cloth and purposefully took a long time caressingher arms, chest and belly. Perhaps that would bring him back out.He remained hidden. Raven lathered her hair with cold fingers thendove back into the pool to rinse.
Free of dirtand grime, she made her way back to the shore muttering under herbreath, “Chicken.”
She steppedcarefully. Covered with snow, the stones were slippery. She set thecloth and soap on the rock and grabbed her towel. Her shoesprovided some protection from the cold as she stepped on top ofthem. Her long wet hair sent streams of water trickling down herbody. With towel in hand, she pulled it over her head, and begandrying her locks.
A shrill cryleft her mouth as her body was suddenly lifted off the ground thenlowered just enough for her toes to touch. She found herselfstumbling backward over the snowy rocks back onto the path. Willowsswiped at her bare skin. She let out a choked squawk when her backsmacked up against a largetree.
The thin blackcloud formed into the dangerous wide band of swirling energy.Grasped by the wrists, her arms flung straight up over her head andwere tethered to the spruce. Her chest heaved from built-upadrenaline.
The towel fellto her feet, offering just enough of a reprieve from the coldground as she stepped on the fabric. Her breath came in fastgulps.
Off in the neardistance she heard Candyman nicker. She had to calm him or he’dbolt again. Clearing her voice as best she could, she called out tohim. “Hey Candyman, that’s a good boy, I’m just fine,” she lied,uncertain if she would be okay or not. The horse’s whinny died.
Water dropletscontinued to trickle their way down her body. Through the thickfog, she watched him twirling at the base of her feet. She gatheredenough strength to speak. “Let me go!”
“I warned you.”He growled. His voice was like a drug she could become addictedto.
“You’re noteven real a person, how could I have taken you seriously,” sheshouted pulling on her wrists.
“Let’s find outhow real I am…shall we?” His voicetaunted.
He wound in andbetween her ankles, securing her to the tree. Escape would beimpossible.
Her bodytrembled. She was cold, but also scared because she had no ideawhat he planned to do to her.
Once again, hewrapped himself around the small of her lower leg and beganslithering his way up. His touch generated heat. Raven’s breathcaught in her throat. He’d reached her knees and the onslaught ofhis touch continued. He was like hot silk pushing up against herskin. She flung her head from side-to-side, feeling his warmthslide up her inner thigh.
“Please stop,”she pleaded, but it came out as desire for continuation.
“You shouldlearn to listen.” His voice was smoky and filled with hunger as hecontinued to swirl higher up her thigh.
“You said…yousaid you didn’t feel emotion,” she declared empathetically.
“Maybe I canlearn,” he teased.
Raven tried herbest to calm her breathing, but inside she melted. In all her lifeshe’d never let anyone ever touch her the way he was right now.She’d asked for this didn’t she? Of course, she had. She’d mockedand provoked him to this point. She was wet and wanted whatever hehad to give. The two of them had undeniable chemistry. It wasimpossible to ignore.
When he reachedher blue satin thong panties, her eyes closed and she flung herhead back and forth in wild abandon. To her disappointment, he slidup underneath the thin strap and over to her belly button. Shecouldn’t take much more, but he continued his assault up her flatbelly and between the cleft of her breasts. Then to her utteramazement, his silky touch ended and began with a force of adifferent type.
The droplets ofwater falling from her hair felt thick, like heated oil filled withenergy. She looked down at the long tendrils that hung to her waistnow consumed with electricity that snapped and sparked.
The snowcontinued to fall but each flake scorched her with unspent passion.Each drop rolling over her body sent her closer to the edge ofinsanity, but continued to offer a premise of hope. Teardrops of the warm liquid trickledfrom her throat in a sashay dance over her breasts. They were morethan droplets of water. He pressed into her sensitive skin likeheavy drops of dew on the leaf of a newborn plant. If only herhands were free.
He slippedunderneath the cup of her bra finding her nipple.
“Oh please,”she begged.
Her arms yankedat his hold from above and her legs pulled up desperately, tryingto open for him. She was an inferno of rapture. A wanting victim to his torture. The snow didn’tstand a chance of not melting.
“I can’t takeanymore. Please let me go so I can touch you,” she begged, unawareof the raw passion in her voice.
In that secondeverything stopped.
Breath uponuneven breath Raven fought for composure.
Her wrists andankles pulled again in earnest until he let her go all together . She crumpled to the ground,strength gone. The ecstasy she’d been caught up in had literallybeen destroyed.
Ashamed andembarrassed, Raven forced herself to her feet. Tears formed in hereyes. She’d been through so much in past two days that stopping hertears was impossible. The teardrops drizzled their way down hercheeks. The back of her hand swiped them away while she bent topick up the towel and strode back to the boulder , careful not to slip on the uneven snow coveredrocks.
“Raven….” Hisvoice broke the silence.
“Just get awayfrom me!” she cried.
He didn’t speakfor a moment. “I’m…sorry, but I’m doing things I don’tunderstand.”
She sniffled,listening to his attempt to apologize. “You can’t just mess aroundwith people’s feelings like that. I’ve never wanted anything asbadly as I wanted you just now and I don’t even know what you are,”she sobbed in earnest. “I’ve known you existed since I wastwelve-years-old, but I’m not a child anymore. I don’t even knowwhat your name is. I have feelings. You can’t touch me like thatwithout making me…want you. It’s how mortals are.”
“I think youmade me feel…something. I just don’t know what it is.” Heresponded, his voice hesitant. “I’ve never felt much of anythingmentally or physically.”
Had she really made him feelsomething?
“Do you evenhave a name?”
She grabbed herpants and shirt, pulled them on as fast as possible while shewaited for an answer.
“I have a name.It’s just never been used by anyone other than—well that’s notimportant. There has been no need. My name is… Nevar . Not even the tiger knows or has used myname.”
Raven pulledher shoes on and stood. “ Nevar , doyou know how hard it is to have this conversation with someone Ican’t see? Why did you have to pick me?”
“I didn’t pickyou, Stormcat did. He felt compelled to see you and I made themistake of doing the same.”
She stuffed thebottle of soap into the pack along with the washcloth. “Well, I’msorry I interrupted your existence. It wasn’t my intention.”
His black cloudformed on the ground. The falling snow stopped. “Raven, did yourfather tell you about the day you were born?”
She stoppeddead in her tracks. “Why are you asking me that?” she asked,uncertain.
“I’ve learnedsomething about your birth that I need to investigate.”
Anger coursedthrough her veins…again. “What are you talking about? What about mybirth? Damn it! Can’t you turn yourself into a chipmunk orsomething so I can yell at you in person? There’s nothing special about my birth. My motherdied having me. That’s it, end of story.”
Dirt and snowfunneled off the ground into a churning V-shape.
“There’s awhole lot more to your birth than you’re aware of. I need to beaway for a while so stay out of trouble while I’m gone.”
He started tomove back, away from her. “No. Wait. Don’t go.” She panicked. “Youcan’t just say you know more about my birth, then leave! Where areyou going, can you at least tell me that?”
He stopped.“The Cayman Islands.”
“Take me withyou. I know you’re going because of me.”
“You can’tcome. You must return home.”
“You need tolearn that you can’t keep telling me what to do.” Her anger boiledto the surface again. But she held her tongue from speakinganything further. She knew what he’d do if she refused to listen.Somehow, he’d mange to stop herfrom following him. He was heading for her place of birth. She’dfollow. Telling him a small white lie couldn’t hurt. Could it?
“I’ll returnhome, but not because you’re telling me to. My research has beenruined and my partner will be worried about me.” It wasn’t all alie. Her studies did need to start all over again.
“I’m warningyou, Raven, don’t go against my wishes,” Nevar spoke, his tone icy.
She lifted thepack over her shoulder and onto her back. She’d miss him andStormcat, especially now that she knew Nevar was real. Well almost real; she couldn’t touch himper se, but he could touch her. At least they could have aconversation.
“How long willyou be gone?”
“I’m notexactly sure. I won’t return until I have the answers I’m lookingfor.”
She hung herhead, trying to conceal her disappointment. “I’ll try to stay out of trouble.”
“That would bea first for you.” The wind picked up causing Raven to shelter hereyes with her forearm. “Be a good girl.”
With that lastcomment, he’d departed. He’d take the snow with him. The birdschirped and not far down the path, Candyman stood waiting for herreturn. Whisper flew high above in a hunting pattern. The cloudsparted, leaving only blue sky and the warmth of the sun.
She approachedCandyman on the path. “Hey pal, do you think we can make it downthe trail before nightfall.” The horse nickered. “I knew you’d saythat. I’d say it’s because your oats are back home.” She packedquickly and the three of them were off. Once she made it down fromthe lake, there would still be a five-hour drive to the airport inCalgary. With some luck maybe she could catch a flight to GrandCayman.
She thoughtabout him. Nevar .
A shiver randown her spine as she recalled his threatening tone warning her tostay home. What could he do to her? In less than a split second,she remembered him pinning her up against the spruce tree.Anticipation and warmth surged through her center once more.
Would he dothat again as punishment? She grinned, which turned into a wickedsmile.
 
 
 
Chapter Six
 
Nevar floated aimlessly as a large billowycloud. His thoughts scattered tothe four corners of the world wondering what the hell had come overhim. Raven had come over him; that is what had happened.
Visions of hernaked body dripping with him refused to cease. He hadtouched her, heard her moans of human excitement and passion. Theworst part was that she wanted to touch him and at that moment, he thought…no…felt like heneeded her touch.
He could thinkof nothing else but her. Nevar knew what he needed to do first and whom he had to see. His whitepuffy form erupted into a black churning tornado bursting up intothe sky as opposed to thrusting to the ground. He plunged throughStratolipsis, continued past the mesosphere and thermosphere, and floated as minute particles in theexosphere as humans knew it.
“Cosmo!” Hebellowed. “I need to speak to you now !” Nevar was pushing his luck. Not many would dare speak to Cosmo in such a tone.
A swoon ofbright brilliant stars whirled in front of him. Cosmo’s entrancethrust Nevar backward. “You hadbetter have a damn good reason for disturbing me.”
“Lasha,” heground out.
The starssettled into a quiet state.
“She is notyour concern, but tell me what has the little sea witch done thistime?” Cosmo asked nonchalantly.
“It was broughtto my attention that she made a deal with a pregnant mother whobore twins. The mother and thetwins walked into the ocean with Lasha, but only one of the twin babes returned to earth. Themother apparently disappeared into the sky by a strange beam oflight.”
Cosmo’s silenceunnerved him as the seconds ticked by.
“Interesting,”Cosmo finally answered. “I’ll allow you to find out what she’s upto.”
“Water is notmy realm, you know that.”
Once again, Nevar was thrust in alldirections. It was not an easy feat to gather one’s particles in space, but he did so.
“Do notquestion me, Storm God. Deal with her. Find out what she’s upto.”
Perfect.
“I’ll do it,but I need something in return. You know my powers are virtuallynon-existent in the water. I need a mortal body to accomplish thistask.”
“I’ll grantyour request, with all the powers you need for both realms, butdon’t forget who and what you are. Encompassing a mortal body willmean you also feel what they do. Pain. Anger. Envy. Sadness.Excitement. You will still be a god, but you will also experienceevery emotion. Remember how much destruction they have caused timeand time again. They are a very unstable race, Nevar . Choose carefully with whom and how youshare your emotions. Also, remember…you will return as Storm God.Put Lasha in place. I will grant you the power to do that.”
Cosmo departedas fast as his arrival.
With theUniverse God’s approval, Nevar wasfree to assume a body or bodies. He could mix and match, should hechoose. He could manipulate particles, ions, and in his rebirthtake any form he decided. Images floated through his mind. Heneeded a male body, but not just any male body—one that wouldplease Raven. For many years, he’d heard her talk to friends aboutmen. He learned of her likes and dislikes. He had the upperhand.
He fell backtoward Stratolipsis in search of Stormcat.
“Stormcat, areyou ready to go?” He shouted through the spacious dimension to findthe large cat sprawled out on a cloud.
Stormcatstretched and yawned. “Why do we always have to do things when youwant to do them?”
“Because I’mthe Storm God, remember? I’m the one who gets kicked around theatmosphere when

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