Her body was cold and she began to shiver uncontrollably, her teeth chattering against each other in a relentless rhythm. Her stomach was roiling, her head light.
When the seizure hit it was all she could do to keep her sanity.
Jagger shoved his finger down her mouth in an attempt to clear her airway and turned her onto her side. She struggled to breathe through the attack and the panic that punched her hard in the gut.
Was this the end? Is this what it felt like to die by a demon’s hand?
The cold whisper that wove its way through her body left every cell aching and on fire with pain.
Her eyes rolled upward and then she saw nothing.
The only witness to the large man cradling the shaking woman was a lone wailer monkey that had made its way up from the canopy below. It had been attracted to the violence and dark energy in the air.
It paused, raised itself up on its back legs and then slowly slipped into the night, leaving Skye halfway between the dark and the light.
And a jaguar warrior, a man with no religious conviction at all, left holding her tightly, a prayer falling from his lips, the only sound to greet the now silent jungle.
The first light of dawn was just breaking across the jungle when an exhausted Jagger finally stopped his treacherous descent. He’d pretty much used up all of his energy getting Skye down from the summit of Victoria Peak. It had been a long, arduous night but he couldn’t afford to linger.
He needed to get Skye to Monkey River. Surely there would be someone who could help her.
Where the hell was Cracker when he needed him? Jagger gritted his teeth, paused to take a long swig of water before forcing some of the precious liquid between Skye’s cold lips.
Fucking demon! How the hell had he not known what Tag was, back in Iraq? The man’s scent had always been off, but he’d just assumed the bastard was Dani’s lackey. Her bitch-slap boy.
He should have taken them all out when he’d had the chance. Would have, too, if Eden hadn’t been …
Jagger couldn’t finish the thought. He couldn’t go there. Not ever again.
Skye began to twitch violently and he held her tight, knowing the spell would pass. It seemed to be the way of it.
He was frustrated at the lack of knowledge he had in regard to demons.
He knew they existed. In fact several had been purported to be the targets in operations he’d quarterbacked. But the intel that had been gathered was sketchy at best. He’d personally never laid eyes on one before this night.
Jagger sighed tiredly. He had no time to dwell. He needed to get his ass in gear.
His gaze fell on the face cradled so close to his chest.
Skye had been in and out of consciousness for most of the night; her hoarse whispers were in an ancient tongue. She spouted things he couldn’t make sense of and he couldn’t help but wonder at the many layers that lay beneath Skye’s facade.
He closed his eyes, but only for a moment. The face that had haunted him for months was always lurking about. Eden.
Her death was on him. Savagely, he drew air deep into his lungs. Dani had paid for her part. He’d long thought that if he could avenge Eden’s death it would assuage the emptiness that ate at him every day.
But it did no such thing. It was still there, carving more and more trails deep into his soul.
Jagger was cursed and he knew it.
His tired arms pulled Skye in close to him as he secured the heavy satchels that hung from one shoulder. He would get her out of this mess, with the portal intact. He would protect her and keep her safe. She would not become another Eden.
And then he’d disappear.
He continued to move through the greenery on his long legs. He still had a hell of a lot of ground to cover and most likely wouldn’t make it to Monkey River before nightfall.
Added to that was the fact he had a large contingent of DaCosta warriors on his ass, coming at him from the north with God knows how many more soldiers for hire, all of them gunning for Skye.