The sheets were drenched, the world a violent place filled with tremors and waves of
agony. Patrick twisted, trying to drive himself up, away from the sea of bites that covered his
skin. He groaned when skeletal hands reached up from the depths to pull him back down. No. He
wouldn’t go back.
“Bébé. Bébé, you are a fighter, aren’t you? So strong.” The voice was soft, melodic,
welcome. It had a lilt to it that pleased him, soothed him.
“Sing to me?” That voice could draw him up.
“Oh, bébé. I haven’t been asked that in a long, long time.”
“Please.” He couldn’t see the face that went with the voice but he knew it. Hot golden
brown eyes, a strong jaw, wicked mouth. Hair like a raven’s wing. It made promises of things
that were simply phantasms, but the sounds… Oh. The voice began to sing, a simple French
lullaby, but so sweet. His tortured brain held onto the song, the melody a salve.
The grasping, bony hands clawing at him withdrew, and a kinder, warmer pair of hands
began stroking his skin with a cool, wet cloth.
“It will be better soon, bébé. Mark my words.”
“They’re trying to drown me. I won’t let them.” Not when he could stay here. “Don’t
“You are safe from drowning, mark my words.”
“Am I?” He laughed, but the sound was dry as dust.
“I swear to you, by all I hold holy.”
Patrick opened his eyes, relieved to see the face matched his memory, blurry as it was.
“You’re Mister Remy.”
“I don’t feel well. I feel awful and guilty somehow.” He felt as if he’d gone and done
something wicked and evil.
“Guilt is not for men like us, bébé. Let it be gone and you will feel better.” Remy stroked
the cool cloth over his burning skin again.
“Is it so easy?”
“No, but then again, it doesn’t need to be difficult, either.” The cloth disappeared, and
Remy held a glass of water to his lips. “If you practice, it becomes easier.”
The cool water eased him, splashed deep in his belly. He breathed deep for the first time
since he’d awakened. “Better.”
The cloths were changed, the cool rags making him gasp. He clenched and unclenched
his hands, trying to adjust.
“I know, bébé. I went through just this before I left San Francisco. Unlike you, I did it to
“Why? Why would you?”
“I was feeling guilt. You see? Totally useless emotion.”
“Indeed. Guilt is…” He had so many reasons for it—Henry, Caroline, his father’s eternal
“We’ll work on it together. After you heal.”
“Soon? How long can this linger?”
“Not long.” Remy smiled, one hand resting on Patrick’s chest. “Not as strong as you are.”
A tingle made his muscles twitch and he pulled away from the wicked thoughts the dark
hand on his chest drew forth.
“Did I hurt?” Remy asked, concern clear.
“No. No.” No, that was a comfort, down deeper than skin.
“Ah, good.” Remy began to hum again, that voice smoothing over every rough nerve.
The peace made him blink, made his eyelids heavy. All he did now was sleep and dream,
but he was so tired. Remy was there watching over him.
“Be at ease, bébé.”
“You help.” The words popped out, and he tried not to worry about saying them.
“Good. I want to, hmm?”
“Thank you.” He blinked again and again, but couldn’t focus, so he finally let his lashes
fall since they were so heavy.
“Easy. Easy, bébé. Breathe.”
“Stay with me.” He shouldn’t ask, but he did. He needed Remy with him.