But I can’t yet, it’s too soon! Arrrgh!! But it’s a “no news is good news” kinda thing, if you catch my drift – I’ve been working my butt off on book 5, which is also why I have been TERRIBLE at blogging and posting updates etc.

So I can’t give you news, but I can give you a snippet!

And ooooh it’s a rare subchapter from Alexi’s point of view 😀 (As always, beware spoilers if you haven’t finished reading the current books, blah blah blah…)

Wringing his hair out in the bathroom sink, Alexi prayed to any god who might listen that the hotel suite stayed empty but for Emma and Fern. Gods, he was tired. Fatima had healed him, but there was only so much she could do with the extent of his injuries.

He’d been bleeding internally, not to mention the fluid on his brain, which he’d known about, and the blood-clot making its way to his heart, which he hadn’t known about. Fern suspected; Emma knew, he couldn’t hide it from her.

One day, she would lose her cool and “freak out,” as Fern might say, like a normal human, but that day was not today. Instead she’d taken command of the situation with Seshua, diverting him completely so that Alexi could conserve his energy for healing himself.

Sleep. He just needed a little sleep.

He wrapped a bath sheet around his waist. Wrung his hair out one more time, and then squandered the metaphysical energy on willing it dry. He was so tired he could barely see, but he made it to the bedroom in slow, measured steps without kicking any furniture and making an ass out of —

He stopped. Blinked. All the air went out of him in a rush.

Emma and Fern were in the bed. Boots and jeans and sweaters on the floor. They’d each taken a side, so the only place for him to lay was in between them.

Emma propped herself on one elbow and met his eyes, her gaze serious, her mind calm even though he felt how hard her heart tripped. That fierce heart. It was all he needed to be well again, to feel her incredible heart beat against him.

“You need rest,” she said. “Come to bed.”

Ah, her voice. She had no idea how much power there was in the sound of her voice. It wasn’t obvious; her power hid itself, humble and unhurried, and by the time one realized how strong the compulsion was, one was already lost.

She gave an impatient wave. His entire body tightened. Her hazel eyes sparked with mirth, and he forgot almost everything he’d ever had to endure as his spirit hummed with a love so crystalline it felt like terror.

She patted the mattress. “Come on, Fern has an idea.” Her eyes widened. “Not that kind of idea.”

“Well,” said Fern.

“Ha ha.” Emma pulled a face at him, and the Aranan smirked back. Warmth, laughter, affection all fluoresced through the bond between them, but Alexi was bound to Emma in a different way, and his telepathy was far more sensitive. He caught the undercurrent of sadness that tugged at her heart.

Oh, she masked it so well.

I must be insane, Alexi thought, shielding from them easily. He was more afraid of what her feelings for Fern would do to her, than he was for her safety when the Captain of the ravens took her.

Enough with that. Alexi climbed onto the bed. Fern’s idea would save him hours of healing. If it hadn’t been for the concussion, he likely would have thought of this particular idea himself.

He heard Emma swallow a small gasp as he shucked his towel. Breathe, he reminded himself. Just breathe.

He slid beneath the covers. Emma tucked herself against his arm, her cheek warm against his shoulder. He bit back a hiss of pure possession. Then Fern reached across him and drew Emma’s arm across Alexi’s chest.

“The more contact, the better,” Fern said. Emma’s breath came a little faster, and Alexi kept his mind in careful neutral.

Fern draped a leg over Alexi’s thigh. A moment later, Emma followed his lead and did the same. There was some more shuffling and adjusting. Alexi was on the verge of either going up in flames or passing out from the sheer relief of no longer needing to remain upright. Then Fern and Emma reached for each other, mind-to-mind, and merged.

Their power flooded him, washing over him like a dark tide, peaceful and deadly and vast. It felt like pure, all-encompassing rest after centuries of striving and killing and hating and surviving. He heard himself cry out and made only a half-hearted attempt to quiet himself. Gods, he was so fucking tired. And this…

Fern reached through the merge with Emma and took hold of Alexi’s physical systems, his touch deft and utterly sure. Oh, he was far better at this than Emma knew. Fern had his secrets. But they would not hurt Emma, those secrets, so Alexi let them be. He let everything be. He let Fern pour strength into him through Emma, gave himself up to them, and let them heal him.