Rachel Caine: Heat Stroke

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Rachel Caine Heat Stroke
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    Heat Stroke
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Heat Stroke: краткое содержание, описание и аннотация

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In Rachel Caine’s tempestuous follow-up to —forecast as “a fun read” by bestselling author Jim Butcher—the Wardens Association still protects the human race from extermination by climatic extremes, when they’re not turning on their own…. Accused of murder, Weather Warden Joanne Baldwin was chased across the country—and killed—by a team charged with hunting down rogue Wardens. Five days later, Joanne had a lovely funeral and was posthumously cleared of all charges. Her human life was over, but she had been reborn into Djinnhood. Now, until she masters her enhanced powers, Joanne must try to avoid being “claimed” by a human. But when a hazard that only a Djinn could sense infiltrates Earth’s atmosphere, Joanne must somehow convince someone to do something about it—or the forecast will be deadly. So who said being all-powerful was going to be easy?

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“No. Yes. Hell. I don’t know, what’s the right answer?”

His hand touched my face and drew a slow line of fire down my neck to my collarbone. “You have to learn to stay in the body, Jo. We can’t exactly do this out in public.”

“News flash. You do this out in public and you draw attention for more than defying gravity.” I tried to sound nonchalant, but it was tough with all the combustion inside me. God. I couldn’t seem to get used to the hypersensitive nature of being a Djinn. It was the little things that got me—the sharp-edged beauty of how things looked, the intensity of how they felt, tasted, smelled, sounded. The human world was so real. Sometimes it was so real it made me weep. I couldn’t decide if it was like living in a perpetual state of orgasm, or being perpetually stoned; maybe both.

The casual touch of David’s fingers on my skin was enough to start chain reactions of pleasure deep inside, and I caught my breath and closed my eyes as his touch moved down, glided over the curve of my breast.

“Come back to bed,” he murmured, and his lips brushed mine when he spoke.

“I can’t.” Literally.

“Maybe it’s that you don’t want to.”

“Oh believe me, that’s so very not the problem.”

His warm lips melted against mine like silk in the sun, and his hands did things that ought to be illegal, and mandatory for every woman in the world to experience daily. Suddenly we were skin to skin, and my mind whited out.

He slowly rotated us until gravity was cradling my back. “You need to learn to stay in the body, no matter what happens. Think you can do that?”

“Try me.”

Oh, that smile. It could melt titanium. “I intend to.”

He kissed me again, and this time there was nothing sweet and nice about it; this was dark and serious and intense, full of hunger and need. Oh, yeah, this was the difference between human and Djinn.


I felt my whole body catch fire, responding, and arched against him. It felt so right, so perfect, and he held me to him with one hand on the back of my head, one in the small of my back as he dropped burning kisses on my neck, my breasts, the aching points of my nipples.

Oh, God.

He whispered something to me in a language I didn’t know, but it didn’t matter; some languages are translated in the skin, not the mind. If living as a Djinn is like being in a perpetual state of orgasm, you can imagine how much better it gets when you approach the real thing.

I found the switch, and we fell back to the bed with a solid, vibrating thump that rattled the headboard.

It was a good start.

* * *

And on the fifth day of my new life, I had a lovely funeral.

Well, it wasn’t really a funeral—you need a body for a funeral, preferably an open casket, and the fire hadn’t left a whole lot for reconstructive purposes. The Wardens Association was too discreet to hold the service in the UN Building—the corporate offices—so they rented a nice big ballroom over at the Drake Hotel and sent out invitations to three or four hundred Wardens. I heard about it because David heard about it, through whatever arcane grapevine the Djinn had in place.

“—but you’re not going,” he finished, as we split a small pot of room service coffee. Some vices never go away, even after death. Coffee. Sex. Alcohol. Hell, if I was a smoker, I figure I would’ve still been lighting up and griping about the price of a carton.

I stirred cream into my coffee. David disapproved of cream; it was obvious from the concerned frown that formed between his eyebrows. “I’m not going?” I echoed it mildly, but his attention immediately shifted from my poor coffee etiquette to what I was saying.

“No,” he said. “And we’re not going to fight about that, right?” His eyebrows went up, then down.

“Of course not,” I said, and smiled as I blew gentle ripples on the au lait surface. We were sitting cross-legged on the bed, sheets draped over sensitive bits more because of hot coffee prudence than modesty. “That’s a classic guy mistake, by the way.”

“Excuse me?”

“Sleeping with me, then thinking you can tell me what to do.”

Those eyebrows, so expressive. They pulled together again, threatened to close ranks across his forehead. “I didn’t—”


“—sleep with you. In fact.”

“Common usage. Did too.”


“Did too.”

He held up one hand, palm out. “Okay, I didn’t mean it that way. I just meant that it’s too dangerous for you to go out among humans right now. Especially Wardens.”

“And therefore, according to you, I’m not going. Because it’s too dangerous.”

“Therefore,” he agreed. We sipped coffee. There’s something oddly relaxing about the smell—rich, nutty, the very essence of the earth—and I breathed it in and just savored the moment. Another great advantage of being Djinn—I didn’t need a shower. No dead skin cells needing to be sloughed, no bacterial processes breaking them down and creating stink. Djinn are clean and whatever smells we have are something we choose, on some subconscious level. Mine, I figured, was a kind of jasmine. Something pale and fragrant, with an undertone of obsession.

David finally sighed and set down his cup with a well-bred tinkle of china. “So therefore you’re going to completely blow off the warning and go anyway, no matter what I say, right?”

I tried to be sober, but my mouth wouldn’t obey me; it curved into a provocative smile. “Figured that out all by yourself?”

He was frowning again. God, he was cute when he frowned. I wanted to lean over and kiss away that crease between his eyebrows. “Please listen to me. I’m serious. It’s too dangerous.”

“Yeah, I got that from the part where you said it was too dangerous.”


“And… it’s still my choice, unless you’re planning on attempting to run my life for the rest of eternity, which I don’t think either of us would like. If you don’t want me to go, you’ll have to be a lot more specific than ‘It’s too dangerous.’ Everything I’ve done since I was born has been dangerous.”

He had saved my life, and there was this very definite relationship forming between us, but I felt it was important to get the ground rules straight. I took a mouthful of rich hazelnut-flavored brew, softened with that creamy edge, and swished it around my tongue. Intense. I felt like if I concentrated, I could follow the beans all the way back to the rich Colombian ground that nurtured them—back to the plant that bore them—back through time, all the generations. Same with the hazelnuts, the water… Even the china cup had memories attached. Good, bad, happy, frightening. I didn’t have to concentrate to sense them swirling like the cream in the coffee.

So much history in the world. So many possibilities for the future. Why was it that as a human I’d never understood any of it?

“Jo?” David. He was staring at me with those rich orange-flecked brown eyes. Had he been talking?

Yeah, probably. I’d spaced. “I’m not talking about physical danger. There’s little that can hurt you now, but just being strong isn’t everything. You have to learn how to use that strength. And until you do, it’s not a good idea for you to put yourself in situations where you might have to…”

“Act like a Djinn?”

He looked relieved. “Exactly.”

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