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What started as a relaxing camping trip quickly took Dakota Pyne’s world for a spin, leaving her with heavy doubts of who she was. She finds herself being hunted as she’s thrust into the journey of discover, unraveling the mysteries of her past, learning of her destiny, realizing that nothing was ever as it seemed and yet exactly as it should be.

After that night, Dakota knew life wouldn’t be the same, that her path would forever be altered. But no amount of preparing could have readied her for what was coming.

Other worlds, dimensions, portals, vampires, and other creatures of the night… they were never folklore, never simple bedtime stories. They were the tales of the past, of the real world, told to her so that if she was ever discovered, she would be ready to accept the truth.

She’s a Half-Breed.

Want to help me create some buzz???

Follow me on Instagram at “MJTACKLESLIFE” and subscribe here. Once you have done both, send me a message on Instagram and I will send you the first 10 chapters of my Novel “The Half-Breed” to preview.

All previewers will be entered for a chance to win a free, signed hardback copy of my book!

The Half-Breed : The Beginning Of The End

I turned to walk away. “He is your son, you know.” I stopped just as the darkness of the corridor blanketed my face. “The child she bears? He is yours. And he will be afflicted.”
I felt my stomach curl into a ball. “What do you mean” I spat out between gritted teeth.
“The little boy is special. He will inherit from you both… if he lives.”
“He’s gonna be a jaguar and a wolf?” I’ve never heard of such a thing happening.
I turned and watched as she sashayed towards me. “And his body will be too weak to make it through childbirth. His heart will not be strong enough.”
“So he’s gonna die.”
She nodded slowly as she came chest to chest with me. “But he doesn’t have to. I could save him.”
“Perfect. And what do I have to do?”


November 30th– A Sunday




If I get a chance, I’m gonna kill her. Maybe run a stake through her heart. Or drown her. If I watched more horror movies, I could figure out something more creative. I heard a man sigh and my eyes dragged themselves to the culprit.

I’m not sure which one I want to kill first. Her, or her boyfriend, the sun-tanned vampire. Didn’t she get that his ability to walk in the sun made him that much worse?

And what kind of name was Stone, anyway? Sounded like a nickname.

We sat around my fireplace and sipped coffee. At least Stone was good at faking enjoyment of the aromatic drink. He closed his intensely large eyes. “I love coffee.”

“Can you even taste it?” I asked, sipping mine thoughtfully.

Tammy turned to me and scowled. Her long black hair was so loose in that bun that strands toppled over her face with the movement. “Do you mind not being an ass?”

I ignored her. Mainly because I was pissed off, also because I know it drives her nuts. Stone smiled. “Yes, I can taste it. Not everything tastes like it used to, although I don’t really remember what much of anything tasted like anymore. Still, coffee is one of the few things that tastes the same dead or alive, from what I hear.”

“You don’t know from personal experience?”

He smiled. “I wasn’t alive when coffee, as it is known today, was initially discovered. I had my first taste of it from a traveler when I was young, but then it wasn’t called coffee, and the man didn’t roast them. But I do know vampires that were around when it became this,” he lifted his cup, “and many of them are addicted to it. They claim that it feels like a bridge to their former life.”

Tammy gave me a droll stare. “Satisfied?” Her dark eyes sparkled with amusement.

I turned back to Stone. “So why are you two here?”

He glanced at Tammy before turning back to me. He adjusted his posture and sighed. “That’s for Tammy to tell you. Not me.”

“Okay, so let me ask, why are you here, Stone? Why my sister?”

“Hawthorne, I swear to the gods—”

“I’m sorry, am I not allowed to ask my sister’s boyfriend questions? That’s against the rules now?”

“What’s your problem? I thought you’d at least appreciate me coming out to the middle of fucking nowhere to come see you.”

“Normally I would be, but not like this.”

“Like what?” My gaze roamed to Stone. “Oh, you racist asshole!” Tammy stood up and stormed out of my cabin, slamming the door so hard that it flew back open.

Stone grinned. “And I thought I was good at pissing her off.”

I stood up and looked towards the door. I should go after her. I should at least try to have a conversation with her. But I had a right to be angry with her. She has no idea how dangerous it is for Dakota to be around Vampires. She should have known how I would react. I’m Dakota’s bloodline guardian. Of course I’m gonna react badly.

But I’m Tammy’s brother, too. Should I have been more supportive? Maybe. I would have been if she were dating a Zeotheon, but no. She was dating a fucking vampire. I looked back to Stone. “Don’t touch anything. And if you so much as step foot off my property, I won’t hesitate to run a stake straight through your fucking heart.”

He seemed amused by this whole ordeal, which just irritated the hell out of me. “Wouldn’t dream of it, Thorn.”

“Don’t call me that. The only ones that can get away with that are my siblings.” Not that I liked it even then.

When I stepped out, I knew exactly what she had done. She shifted into her Hawk. She always did when she was angry.

Damnit. I really didn’t want to shift. I suck at conjuring clothes. I rubbed my face and growled before changing and taking flight.

It didn’t take long for me to find her, either. She was sitting in her human form, fully clothed, about a mile from my cabin. She looked like our little sister far more than I did. I still held the same features that showed my family came from the indigenous people of this land, but those two looked like they were full-blooded Haida.

I changed several yards away from her and attempted to conjure some semblance of clothing. They looked like they had been sewn by a toddler. I don’t think I’ll ever get a handle on clothes. I walked towards her loudly to allow her time to steel herself.

Instead, she got up and started walking away. “Tammy, will you please stop?”

“Screw you, Thorn.” She stopped and turned towards me. “How dare you tell me who I should and shouldn’t love!”

My mouth dropped. I stopped several feet from her and just stared. “You love him?”

She looked startled for a moment then rolled her eyes. “That’s not what I meant. You know what I’m saying. You of all people should understand that.” I took a deep breath and looked around nervously. Was there anyone out here? Anyone that might have heard that? “Oh, give it a rest. I didn’t say anything to expose your secret. And no one’s out here. No one’s gonna find out you’re gay.”

She said the last couple of words with the exaggeration of any irritated sibling. “You know, I love you, Tammy, but sometimes you can be a real ass.”

“Yeah, well, you started it.”

“You brought a vampire to my home, Tamara!” I pointed angrily behind me. My anger increased at the fact that he was there alone because Tammy had to react like a child.

She gasped. “Don’t you dare use that name!“

“What, your real name?”

“Fuck you, Hawthorne. And he’s not just any vampire. He’s helping me with Dakota.”

That made my hackles rise. “Why? What’s wrong with Dakota?” Gods, I’m gonna have to do some damage control, I can feel it.

Tammy looked up into the trees. “There’s a rumor.” She turned her head to look at me. “Okay, don’t freak out” Yeah, that phrase is gonna make me relax, “but… I think the vampires want her.”

How did she know that? How did she find out and how much information did she know? I had a sudden jump in my heart at the idea of Moiragetes hopping in right now and giving me some cryptic warning about keeping my mouth shut.

Tammy’s face scrunched up awkwardly. “You already knew that, didn’t you?” She pointed at me like a mother scolding her child. “You already know what’s going on!”

I know how this is gonna play out. She’s gonna want me to spill my guts, tell her everything I know. I put my hands up in defense. “Don’t Tammy. Please. I can’t tell you.”

She rushed me and punched me hard in the arm. “Tell me. Now!”

“Tell me what you know first.” I fought the urge to cringe and simply rubbed the soreness out.

“Why should I?” She folded her arms across her chest and scowled.

“Because I can’t tell you anything, Tammy. I just can’t.”

“Why, because Moiragetes told you not to?” She gave me a repugnant huff and rolled her eyes.

“No, because Dakota’s safety depends on it.” I half expect Moiragetes to show up by now, but he was nowhere to be seen. I can’t tell her what I know.

Especially if she’s screwing a vampire.

“Her mother is a goddess.” She paused and watched my response, which was lacking to say the least. “Which means she’s a key to the gateways. If the vampires get her, they’ll hand her over to Victoria and then she’ll have free range to go anywhere in the known galaxies. Am I right so far?”

Shit. “Yes.” I closed my eyes and tried to shake the feel of dread from my head. “That’s why I don’t want any vampires around her, Tammy.” I opened my eyes and stared at her. She just didn’t get it. She didn’t understand how dangerous it was for our little sister. “If he can be in the sunlight, that means he’s a direct descendant of Victoria, and she can control him. How do you know she’s not controlling him now just to try and get to her?”

She looked worried now, which was what I needed. I need her to understand how much danger our little sister was in. She swallowed hard. “Because he’s looking for the legend, so he can learn how to protect himself from her. Because he knows all of this and still they haven’t gotten her yet. If he was working for her, Victoria would have already taken her.”

There’s a reason why they call her the legend. He’s gonna be searching for a very long time, if he was really looking at all. He could be just telling Tammy that to throw her off. And who says they’re not waiting? They could be making sure that she is the one before they go and abduct her. Victoria has had a few mishaps lately trying to get off this planet. If I were her, I wouldn’t want to waste a bunch of energy on something that won’t pan out. And with how well Tammy’s taught Dakota to control her emotions, it would be hard to actually see any proof of what she was. “I don’t trust him, Tammy.”

She was desperate. I could see it as clear as I could see that birthmark on her neck. “Just try, Hawthorne. Try to not judge him before you get to know him.”

I took a few cleansing breaths and tried to see it from her point of view. “I will try. But if I think for a second that he’s gonna hurt her, I won’t hesitate to kill him.” And he wouldn’t be the first one I’ve killed on her behalf.

She smiled. “I know. You wouldn’t be able to stop yourself if you tried.”

That was, sadly, very true. “So, why are you here?”

She groaned and laughed. “Ah, our favorite god told me to be scarce for a couple weeks. I was obliged to listen, only because I thought he might wipe me out of existence if I didn’t.”

“Why? Does Dakota know you’re gone?”

“Nope. Told me that I needed to be gone so that she would run into someone, blah blah blah.” She sighed and twirled in the air. “Apparently her and her boyfriend are about to have a falling out and I can’t be there to comfort her when he breaks her heart.” She tried to act as if it didn’t bother her, but I knew better. Because anything that bothered me, bothered her, too.

“You want me to go check on her, don’t you?”

“Of course I do. Because I can’t go anywhere near her without little Moira getting his panties in a twist.” I swear, she has a death wish.

“Go back to the cabin, I’ll be back in a minute.”

“I don’t mean for you to go right this minute!”

I couldn’t help but chuckle. “I just need some alone time for a minute, alright?” I needed to calm down to be honest. My senses were on edge. I needed nicotine.

“Fine, you go do your loner thing, I’ll go spike my coffee.”

And she would, too. She started to walk away when I grabbed her arm. “Sis?” She looked at me and lifted a brow. “He’s pretty cute… for a vampire, at least.”

She smiled. “He is pretty adorable. He’s got the whole ‘pouty lip’ thing going for him.”

“And did I detect a slight dimple on his cheek?”

She laughed. “Yeah, you did. It’s hot isn’t it?”

“Is Stone his real name?”

She shook her head. “No. Victoria gave it to him when she met him as a little boy.” My confusion was obvious. “I don’t know the whole story, just that his family had been shunned from his home, this place that’s now part of South Korea, and his Dad used to make fake papers or something. I don’t know, but they escaped to Japan and his Dad would send him to the docks to try and sell fake family stones. The way he described them sounded kind of like family crests with the English.”

“Weird. So she changed his name to Stone?”

“She said she didn’t like his real name.”

“Why does he go by Stone? Why not his real name?”

Tammy sighed. “Because he fought her on the name so much that she put a curse on him. Now he can’t say his real name, no matter how hard her tries.”

That would make me hate her, too. Maybe he really is looking for the legend. “I’ll give him more of a chance, alright?” She kissed my cheek and thanked me before heading back towards my cabin. “And I better not walk into anything disgusting when I get back.”

She didn’t respond but I knew she heard me. I looked around, got my bearings and then headed to my hiding spot. A small shed that once used to house hunters in this area a long time ago. They didn’t come around anymore, thanks to me. I grinned at that.

Reaching inside the tiny shed, I grabbed a pack of cigarettes I hid for days that I was flying and wanted a smoke break. I grabbed the green lighter and lit the end.

“Never took you for a smoker.”

That deep, Scottish voice had me practically jumping out of my skin. “Zander, I swear to the gods, don’t sneak up on me like that!”

The man was way too adorable for his own good, and he knew it. “Sorry, love. Didn’t mean to startle you.”

He didn’t look sorry. He looked amused. I took a hit of my cigarette and blew the smoke out slowly as my mind raced with possibility. “How long have you been out here?”

He leaned against the tree behind him and smiled wide. Why wasn’t he wearing a shirt? He even had a little spattering of that strawberry blond hair right above his very low sitting pant line. Why did he have to be so hot? “Long enough to learn quite a bit about you and your sisters.”

I felt my heart race. I glanced around, seeing if Moiragetes was gonna pop out of nowhere and condemn me to a life of servitude. Either that, or some bad shit was gonna happen because of this. “Zander, please. Whatever you heard, you can’t tell anybody.”

“Which part? The part where your little sister is part goddess, or the part where you’re gay?”

My heart stopped. “Both.”

He seemed pleased by that. “I had a feeling you were in the game, ya know.” He mimicked swinging a bat.

I frowned. “You date women, I thought.”

Zander shrugged. “I date who I like, male, female… even an alien or two. Well, ’date’ is a bit of a stretch.” He pushed himself up from the tree and walked over to me. He seemed extremely… excited.

“Why are you grinning like that?”

“Because I wanna play.”

Play what? And if it’s what I think it is, why would he want to play with me? “Um… I can’t. I, I got this thing. With my sister. I need to go check on her.”

“Road trip?”

“No. Just me.”

“What if you try and do something stupid and I have to bail you out?” He was enjoying this. I could see it in his fantastic smile.

“You’re the irrational one, not me.”

“So not true. I’m wild, not irrational. You tend to let emotions control you, which is far more dangerous.”

“I do not.”

“Oh, really?” I nodded. “Then why haven’t you come out yet?” I looked away, wishing I could tell him all about my past, that he would understand. You can tell me on the road trip.

I whipped my head up, shocked.

What the fuck? Nobody could get into my mind. Not even my siblings. How could he not only speak to me telepathically, but also hear my thoughts? “Maybe if you’re a good boy on our trip, I’ll tell you.”

He turned around and headed towards my house. “Where are you going? And you’re not coming with me.”

We are going back to your cabin. And yes, I am.” I just shook my head and followed behind him. He’s gonna cause me a lot of grief.

December 2nd



“You okay?”

Of course I wasn’t. “Yeah, I’ll survive.” I didn’t turn to look at her. Didn’t have the stomach for it.

“You’re not Fine, Sage.”

“No, but I will be.” I stared thoughtfully at the carving Hawthorne had started. Nothing but chipped wood at this point. A beautiful pine that smelled like Christmas. Sorrel loved Christmas, which always confused me, considering our Christmases usually consisted of whatever wild life I could catch and stories or songs I would make up to entertain my siblings.

I felt Denni moving closer to me. It made me extremely uncomfortable. “Talk to me, Sage.”

I laughed more venomously than I had intended. “Shouldn’t you be talking to Corey?”

“Sage, that’s not fair.”

“None of this is fair, Denni.” Not a damn little bit of this shit. “None of this should have happened.” I didn’t want to think of Sorrel anymore. I wanted the pain to go away. I wish I could switch off my grief. I cleared the lump in my throat as best I could. “So, how are you gonna find out who the father is without Corey knowing?”

“I can talk to Eric, see if he has some kind of potion or something that can—”

I turned to face her, cut her off before she said more than I was willing to deal with. “Don’t bother.”

“What do mean? Don’t you wanna know if you’re gonna be a father or not?”

“Not really.” That wasn’t an entire truth, but she didn’t need to know that. “Corey would be a better father than me, anyway. The kid’s gonna be better off raised by him than me. Your other kids would be better off with him, too.” Not to mention that Corey had always dreamed of a big family, had the chance at having one now, and was madly in love with Denni.

She looked like she had just bit into a lemon. “You don’t want to know if the baby is yours?”

Of course she wouldn’t understand. Hell, I didn’t even understand completely. “Denni, I just lost one brother, I’m not gonna lose another.”

“So you’d rather risk losing your child?”

“Ignorance is bliss. Isn’t that what they say? If you never tell me differently, I’ll never know, I’ll never be missing anything, will I?”

We stared each other down for a while. At least, it felt like a long time. The night had settled around us, causing the cat inside of her to peak through her eyes. Flickers of magic danced through them, and I knew then that her jaguar was pissed. “Wow. I would have never guess when I met you that you would be such a little pussy. Guess I picked the right brother, after all.”

That cut deep; deeper than I thought was possible. “Fuck this. I don’t need this on top of everything else that’s going on, Denni! My twin brother and his wife were brutally murdered only three and a half months ago, my nephew is traumatized and may never recover, and you choose Corey over me. So, what do you want from me? You want me to fucking cry about it?! I have worse shit to cry about than losing you.”

“We were never dating, remember? You had too much on your plate and didn’t want a relationship.” She looked away, steeling herself. It somehow made her petite frame larger when she did that. Maybe it was the jaguar. She looked back at me. “I didn’t choose him over you, Sage. You told me we would never be more than casual lovers. You encouraged me to go on a date with him! I can’t help that I ended up falling for him, alright? It wasn’t in the plans. Neither was me getting pregnant, but it happened.” The magic in her eyes died and I saw sadness take its place. “I want to know that you’re actually dealing with this instead of stuffing it all down like you normally do.”

I turned to head deeper into the forest. I just didn’t have it in me to deal with this shit right now. I just couldn’t.

“Sage, don’t walk away. Let’s talk about this. Please.”

“Just leave me alone, Denni.” Please. Just leave me alone. That’s all I’m asking for right now. I can deal when I’m ready.

She stopped following me, heard my thoughts clearly. Good. I had grown tired of talking. I’ve grown tired of a lot of things.

I wasn’t sure how long I stayed out there. Time seemed to be nonexistent as I sat there, forcing myself to hold back tears. I had found a place to sit and think, which was really the last thing I needed to do.

At one point, I thought I heard Hawthorne’s brother, James, screeching loudly into the night. Another time, I thought one of my fellow wolves had come out to check on me and left shortly after. Eventually, I decided to walk some more, walk deeper into the forest where I had never trekked. Somewhere that no one would find me.

That was when I came across something so magnificent, I thought maybe it had been a mirage. It was a pond, surrounded by lightning bugs and overgrown weeping willows. Deep purple and gold and blue flowers filled the bank of the pond and sparkled under the light of so many of those majestic insects. Despite the darkness around us, the pond seemed to glow, as if it had its own internal light. It was the strangest thing I had ever seen.

I waltzed through the flowers and brushed my hands against them. For a moment, thoughts of my troubles, of the overwhelming pain I felt, seemed to fall back, deep in the recesses of my mind. It was amazing to have a brief moment of peace.

I had made a full circle around the pond when the image of a woman formed in front of me, made of a multitude of tiny crystal blue lights. She was tall, with strong, sharp cheek bones and what I could only assume was dark brown hair. She wasn’t really there, just an image of a woman made by the energy of the gods. I knew that well enough.

All gods were intimidating, but she had something else that I couldn’t place. It felt worldly, earthly. She reached out to me and touched my forehead, and I could hear her in my mind. Close your eyes, Sage. I want you to see me.

So, I did. I could stay there and wallow in self pity and grief, or I could take this moment to let go, allow this goddess to help me, however she felt was necessary. I closed my eyes and felt myself drift into a blissful, comatose state. I was fully aware of the world around me, of reality, but I suddenly found myself in another dimension. A different state of being.

It was dark and light at once, life and death. The ying and yang that held the universe together. It was the energy of all things. And it was so overwhelming that I felt as if I might throw up. The darkness became clearer to me then. Dark, shadowed caverns all around me with minimal light in the form of small torches that were spread too far to make it comfortable. Two corridors lay before me, neither one more welcoming than the other.

A shadow moved inside the corridor to my left. It was brief and indiscernible, but it left me cold and curious. I steeled myself as best I could. “Man up” as they say. I stepped into the darkness, allowed the dim light at the end to guide me. I had to use the damp, chilled walls to keep my balance from time to time since I felt as if I were tilting side to side ever time I took a step.

Thankfully the corridor wasn’t as long as it seemed. I rounded the corner rather quickly to find myself in a large expanse of a room. A woman knelt over a large plant, stroking the leaf with tenderness and whispered kindly to it before turning to another plant, even larger than the other.

I had a feeling the entire room was full of plants, although I couldn’t be quite certain, as the only light was from the torch on the wall behind me. And that left me with another question: how they could grow in this environment?

“They grow because I give them life.” The soft cadence of a voice echoed in the cavern around me. She stood slowly from her knelt position, lifting her hands to the ceiling and stretching them wide as a white orb formed above us. It brightened the room so much that i had to squint. Logic hadn’t escaped me. I was fully aware that I wasn’t in reality, but it didn’t stop my eyes from aching at the intensity of it.

Once my eyes adjusted, I was able to fully appreciate the room I was in. The ceiling was far too high to be touched by the light from her orb. Large trees and plants, bushes and even a stream flowed through the cavern so naturally, it seemed as if they had always been there. It reminded me of an oasis, but with plants from all over the world.

I thought I had heard birds, perhaps even a squirrel or two, but I wasn’t sure. I didn’t see anything moving within the miniature forest. I figured it would take several long minutes to walk through it all. “It’s far more than you see.” I didn’t even realize she had moved until she was standing next to me. She was tall and slightly curvy, with a gown so sheer that it left nothing to the imagination. I tried hard not to think of her breasts.

I forced my eyes onto her face. Her skin was golden and her hair a dark, chocolatey brown. Her eyes, they shimmered like liquid gold and amber. Her cheekbones swelled with a kind smile. I cleared my throat. “Um… nice show.” As soon as I said the words, my mind went south and I about choked on my tongue. “I mean the light. It’s neat. Not your breasts. Not that I was looking, I just didn’t want you to think I meant that.”

“Hush wolf.” Her voice was soft and dreamlike and she stepped closer to me. “I have felt your pain. You hide in the forest to release it.”

I stepped back. “I’m not hiding. And I’m not trying to release anything into the forest.”

“But you are. I feel your pain every time you go to the forest. You’re afraid of being seen as weak, but we are all weak, Sage. In one way or another, we have our weaknesses. Your weakness stems from your parents.” I watched her slowly, not agreeing or disagreeing, although I knew she was right. No. I just wanted to watch her, to follow her with my eyes and notice the subtle way her body moved and flowed.

She began walking through her miniature forest, marveling in her creations. “The world is old, Sage. Far predating your kind. The Zeotheons are old, but they are nothing compared to the age of others. The god that created you predates time itself. In a brief moment of nothingness, he could see the potential of the atoms. Of the protons and neutrons. He did not create all that you see, but he most definitely helped guide us all in creating it.”

She stopped and knelt between two bushes. She held her hand out and encouraged a large red flower to grow before her. She closed her eyes and whispered something to the plant. I believe I caught her saying something about a sacrifice before the flower and half of the stem fell softly into her open hand. She kissed the pedals and stood back up. “Do you ever take the time to think about your own sacrifices? What you have given up in order to protect those you love?”

“No. I just do it. I do what others won’t.”

She stood and walked towards me, still holding the flower in her hands. “You do what your parents failed to do, right? You play the mother, father, big brother, caretaker. Do you ever want to be happy?”

“Who says I’m not?”

She smiled and I found it wickedly seductive. “You cannot fool me, Sage. I, too, have given my happiness away for the happiness of others.”

“You’re a goddess of the earth, aren’t you?”

She nodded. “I am Pachamama,” the gold in her eyes lit up as her face grew more serious, “And you are here because I want you to help me.”

“And how could I possibly help you?”

“I cannot leave this place. I have bound myself here to protect those that I hold dear. Because of that, I cannot protect what is mine.” She handed me the flower. It looked like a mix of carnation and rose with a long, wiry stem and crooked leaves. “You protect mine, I will hold yours.”

“What do you mean by that? Protect yours? Hold mine?” I didn’t mean to sound frustrated but I certainly did. It irritated me that she was talking about my sacrifices and now she wanted me to add another one. “How about I decline? I’ve had enough shit happen.”

I turned to walk away. “He is your son, you know.” I stopped just as the darkness of the corridor blanketed my face. “The child she bears? He is yours. And he will be afflicted.”

I felt my stomach curl into a ball. “What do you mean” I spat out between gritted teeth.

“The little boy is special. He will inherit from you both… if he lives.”

“He’s gonna be a jaguar and a wolf?” I’ve never heard of such a thing happening.

I turned and watched as she sashayed towards me. “And his body will be too weak to make it through childbirth. His heart will not be strong enough.”

“So he’s gonna die.”

She nodded slowly as she came chest to chest with me. “But he doesn’t have to. I could save him.”

“Perfect. And what do I have to do?”

Her eyes sparkled once more, burned with their internal light. Her expression was severe as she reached up and graced my face. “You just promise me. Promise me that you will take care of my blood, and I will take care of yours.”

This could end bad for me. Most things do. “And who is it that I’m supposed to be protecting?”

“You will know when it’s time.”

I swallowed hard and closed my eyes tight. This just can’t be happening, can it? On top of all the other shit going on, now I had to make this decision. A decision I wouldn’t have thought I would ever be able to make.

Did I want the child to survive? Did I want the hassle of it all? “What if I think we will all be better off if he doesn’t survive.” I opened my eyes and looked up at a face ridden with sympathy. “What if I don’t want to deal with what might happen afterwards?”

“Do you want to be the cause of this child’s death?”

“I wouldn’t be the cause! He’s a afflicted, remember? That’s not on me, don’t try putting that on me!”

Her eyes flashed with magic. “You have a chance to save his life. If you choose not to accept, you will blame yourself forever. That’s not a threat. It’s reality, and you know I speak the truth, Sage.”

I wanted to scream. Maybe lay on the ground and throw a real tantrum just to express the emotions that were coursing through me. “And what happens if I agree, and I don’t keep my end of the bargain? Will the child die?”


“Will I die?”

She stepped close and touched the stem of the flower. “Once an oath has been made, those matters are out of my hands. Fate decides.”

“Decides what?”

Her eyes blazed with a harsh honesty. “Fate will decide whose blood will be spilled to satisfy the oath.” Oh, this isn’t good at all. It’s so fucked up, I don’t even know what to think. I could die, my family members could die, or the baby could die. A baby that will die during birth.

A baby that Corey will be completely and madly in love with by then, who will be heartbroken at the death of the child he believes to be his.

Tears started to fall down my face, tears I hadn’t shed since the day I found Sorrel massacred on his living room floor. “Well, here’s hoping fate is kind and kills me if I fuck up.”

She smiled so wide it looked almost painful. Then I felt something sharp rake across my fingers. I looked down and released the flower that was in my hand and stared in awe while it floated in mid air and my fingers bled from a cut it had obviously given me.

Pachamama reached out and grazed her fingers along the leaf and slit the tips of her fingers. “It must be bound with blood.” Then she took her left hand and interlaced it mine so abruptly, it almost knocked me to the ground. “Now we pledge to each other, Sage.”


I woke up on the ground, next to the pond. The lightning bugs had settled down and the sun was just starting to find its way above the horizon. I stood and dusted myself off before looking around to try and find my way from this sacred ground.

I’d had enough gods for the night.

As I started to leave, I looked down at my fingers and saw tiny cuts that were already healing. I fingered them with my thumb thoughtfully. I had a really bad feeling about all of this. I was already regretting it.


Chapter 13 – THE BOOK – Dakota


I think I sat there for about an hour, at least, on the ground, surrounded by a ton of flowers that had decided to come and visit me, while I absentmindedly pet Rex. The little boy inside needed me. I could feel it, and I wasn’t sure how I could feel it. The same way I could feel it with everyone else lately. Everyone I came across, I could feel pain. I could feel their need for love and affection, for healing. It was just too much, too many people. Even that James guy needed me, although he seemed to want to protect me more than anything. I hated that my powers were coming in. I felt like I was in puberty all over again. It took everything in me to not freak out. Like the other night when I wanted some candy and Sage had the audacity to tell me I needed to stay fit. Then the house shook. I knew that had been me. And I’m pretty sure it was the earth shaking, not the house.

I felt James close, still watching over me. I needed a friend right now. I needed him to not be so distant with me. I swallowed hard. “James?” Silence ensued. I closed my eyes and pulled Rex closer to me. He went willingly. “James, please. I just… I need someone to talk to.” I sat like that for a few minutes before I felt a drop on my head, then a tear fall down my cheek. That was when he came to me. Still unkempt and aloof, but far more open than he had ever been before.

Still clad in pretty basic clothing, he came to sit beside me. He was within arm’s length but wouldn’t get much closer. I turned to him and smiled. “Thanks.”

To my surprise, he smiled back. “No problem.”

We sat like that for a while, in silence while Rex slowly fell asleep. When he did, he turned into a little boy. A handsome little boy with brown hair and golden skin. “I didn’t know that Zeos changed when they sleep.”

“They only change from the shape they’re in if they feel comfortable. If we fall asleep in our animal form, when we don’t feel comfortable or safe, we’ll stay that way.”

“So he trusts me?” I turned to James and beamed at the idea. This little guy, this boy who was so terrified that he hadn’t changed since his father’s death, had finally felt comfortable enough with me that his body allowed him to change. “That’s the most amazing thing I think I’ve ever done.”

James gave a strained chuckle. “See, you can do more than just make grass grow.”

It brought me back to the reality of it all. “I haven’t told Sage this yet, but…” he sat there waiting for me, knowing I would say it when I was ready but not seeming to be in a hurry to hear it. I didn’t know if it was because he didn’t want to know or he was afraid of the outcome. “I can feel things. From the people I meet.”

“What is it you’re feeling?”

I shrugged and looked away. “It’s like a part of me is able to see what they need, or feel it. I know when someone is hurting inside and, to be honest, it scares the shit out of me. I know my powers are growing. I can feel them. But I don’t know what it means, what I’m supposed to do with it.”

“I can’t help you with that part, Dakota. What I will tell you is that, from what I have witnessed, helping people will become a compulsion for you. You’ll crave it.” James gently wiped the tear away and turned my head towards him.

“You need me, too, James. I can feel your pain.”

He smiled solemnly. “I know and I’m sorry for that.“ He took a deep breath and looked towards the path that lead to the house. “Your abilities are gonna be more than any other Guardian in history, Dakota. I know that for a fact, which is why it’s so important for you to hone them now. Those men, they want you. They’re not gonna stop until they have you, either. So, even though it’s scary, and the path seems too hard and unforgiving, you need to work towards control. You need to be stronger than they bargained for.” His lip quivered. “They won’t expect you to be strong so fast. Let those bastards underestimate you.”

“So you’re saying I should jump off that cliff?” I asked with dry sarcasm.

James laughed an almost genuine laugh. “No. I would kill Sage if something happened to you.” I don’t know why it felt so good to know he cared that much, but I felt a girlish squeal rise up that I had to fight to squash. He leaned against the the fallen tree behind us and relaxed. “But Just try, okay?”

“Can I try in a couple hours?” He nodded but didn’t look at me. I leaned against the tree with him. “James?” He hummed a recognition. “Can you just…” I didn’t know how to articulate what I needed, or why I was allowing myself to be so vulnerable around him. James felt safe, he felt like love, the kind that makes you feel protected and cared for.

I didn’t have to tell him what I needed. He reached around and pulled me to him. His thin body was surprisingly comforting and I found myself nuzzling into his embrace. I sighed and whispered a thanks.

“Dakota?” I opened my eyes and looked around. Rex was in wolf form, staring at me curiously while James was looking down, trying to get my attention. I squinted up at him. “You fell asleep. Sorry, but Rex is hungry, I think, and so am I. Are you ready to head back?” I almost protested when my stomach gurgled loudly. He laughed. “I’m taking that as a ’yes’. Come on.”

Something was different about James, I realized as we headed back. The weight he always carried with him seemed a little less, and I even caught a smile from time to time. “You gonna come in and eat with me?” I asked casually while secretly praying he would agree.

“I don’t know about that, Dakota.”

He needs to eat more than anyone here. And I really didn’t want to stop being around him. “Oh, come on. Don’t leave me to deal with Sage all alone. Please? I’ll let you bite him if he pisses me off.”

He laughed. “I’m a Hawk.”

“Okay, fine. You can peck his eyes out.” He laughed again and that time it seemed to actually reach his eyes. “Is that a yes?”

He glanced over at me as we continued our long walk back. “Okay, I’ll eat with you.”

Chapter 13 – THE BOOK – Sage


“I’m not doing that.”

“Come on, Dakota. You can’t say that to every suggestion.” I rolled my eyes.

She laughed. “You’re seriously gonna roll your eyes right now? You literally just told me to jump off a cliff… and meant it!”

I couldn’t help but smile. “Yeah, well, either result would make me happy.”

Okay, that pushed a few too many buttons. She stood up with her lips pressed tightly together and poured her ice cold fucking water all over me. “You asshole!”

She turned and walked quickly away, towards the forest. Not surprising. “Dakota stop.” I went after her while trying to shake some of the water off of me. “It was a joke. Why are you taking it so seriously?”

“Why?!” She practically screamed back at me as she kept walking. “You’re not the one that everyone keeps staring at, the one that everyone is expecting to do some magic trick like I’m some freak!” I saw Rex running towards her. She didn’t even flinch. She knew he was there for her. That he would probably bite me if he thought she wanted him to.

Another body came from the trees, bounding down the path. His wild hair and unkempt look seemed to make his malnourished body even more intimidating, not that I’d ever admit it. He walked past her and stopped in front of me. “You’re done here.”

I ground my teeth and stopped. “We need to work.”

He stepped closer to me and that was when I realized that he had actually bathed. “You will leave my sister alone.” He said the words softly, yet with such firmness that I actually did take a step back. “She’ll be back when she’s ready.”

I looked up at the sun. It was still pretty early. I had worked her pretty hard yesterday evening and I had made her go for a jog this morning before we started going through the notes that Denni had left for us. “Fine. But I would like to try something today.”

“When she’s ready, not you.” He turned and walked away, slipping soundlessly into the trees. “I’ll take good care of her Wolf. Now leave.” The last words filtered through the dense woods and I had to stand there for a moment, fighting the urge to follow.

“Fuck.” I tapped my fingers rapidly on my leg, then turned and walked back to the deck. Denni and Corey stood there waiting for me. Their heads tilted curiously. “She needed a break.”

“From what?” Corey asked as he sat down with coffee and a handful of papers.

“From me.”

Denni and Corey both started laughing. It wasn’t that funny. “Big shocker. Are you trying to big brother her or fuck her?” Corey sat down and grinned as his question resonated in my brain.

“What?!” I asked with disgust. Denni smacked him upside the head, but not without laughing herself.

She looked at me innocently. “Oh, come on. You rarely have a middle ground. You try to control everything and everyone.”

“I do not.” I clipped the words bitterly as I sat down to go through more notes. “Just help me figure this shit out.”

“Actually,” Denni started as she sat the baby monitor on the table, “I was thinking about that. What if what Moiragetes meant was to use more than one element?”

I pursued my lips in thought for a moment. “You think that’s it?”

“Could be. Not to look too deeply into that cobra, but maybe…” she stopped and looked around before leaning in to whisper, “maybe it means exactly what we think it means.”

“A God?”

“Goddess, you mean?” Corey interjected. We both looked at him. “Well, we know Hawthorne isn’t part God, right? And that’s how they’re related, through their father, so it would have to mean that her mother was either a Goddess or part Goddess.”

I thought about that, wondering, if Corey was right, which goddess out of the hundreds it could possibly be. But Dakota did have something unique about her. Her eyes. Her amber eyes were so intense, you would think they had their own internal light. Only one time in my life have I seen eyes like that. Damn. He might just be right. “She’s gonna freak out if you tell her that.”

“Tell her what?”

We all turned around to see Jerome standing at the edge of the deck. He had his face clear of wild hair, while still leaving a slight shadow, and his clothes looked new and far more stylish than usual. “Hey there. You going on a date tonight?”

He looked at me and smiled. “Nah, I just decided to clean up a little. No sense in letting this nice package go to waste.” For a man that’s supposed to be more in tune with earth and all that crap, he sure was pretty quick to boast about his good looks.

“Careful, Bear. One day, someone’s gonna come along and deflate that little bubble.”

“It’s a pretty big bubble to burst, Sage.” He gave me a malicious stare and sat down at one of the empty tables. “So, I hear you’re trying to figure out this whole ‘unlock her powers’ thing. Any luck?”

“Yeah, not really. Every time I suggest something to her, she shoots it down.”

“Maybe you should try this little thing called ‘finesse’. Works for me.” He laughed and then leaned forward, glancing at the notes that Denni had made. “Where’d you get all this information from?”

“Moiragetes, himself. Gave it to Dakota to give to me.” He looked up at me and I knew then exactly why he had dressed up. He wanted her. I felt my jaw clench. “I was taking a nap, Moiragetes showed up and gave her the book. Interesting, huh?”

“You two were napping together? How cute.”

“They weren’t napping together,” Corey explained with a loud chuckle. “He was pissing her off again and Moiragetes came around and knocked his ass out so he could have a talk with her.”

“You’re really good at pissing her off, I hear.” I began tapping my fingers again, harder this time. Jerome laughed. “Alright, let’s just take a step back and go over what we know. How about you three fill me in on where we’re at.”

Discouragement and Courage

I’m finding it increasingly difficult to not get discouraged. My weight loss has slowed down a lot, and that need for instant gratification tends to weigh heavily in my mind. I catch myself wanting to find some cure all pill, or an extreme weight loss diet in order to shed an extreme amount of weight in a short time. And why? I think I might be getting addicted to the attention I have been receiving. I want people to see me. I want people to be proud of me. Is that because deep down I’m still not proud of myself? Am I stuck on a boulder in the path to self love? It’s how it feels. I feel stuck. I feel self hatred coming back full force in my mind. I am becoming increasingly dependent on the opinion of others to keep me going. I need to stop it, but I don’t know how. I started an Instagram page to document my progress, this life altering journey I am on. Today, I noticed that I had lost 8 followers in the course of an evening and I got extremely upset. I began to wonder what I had done wrong to make them leave? Was it the post about watching “The Greatest Showman”? Was it because I posted one too many selfies? Were my photos not professional enough? I wanted answers desperately this morning. I wanted to know what it was that I needed to fix in order for those people to come back. Then it dawned on me… WHAT?!?!?! My inner voice began talking at this point, and this is what she said:Excuse me, you’re upset about what? Because some complete strangers that you don’t even know who they are, where they live, what their life is like, decided to stop following you? You literally know nothing about them, and you’re ready to jump off the fucking deep end in order to impress them?! What is that going to accomplish? How is that going to make your life richer? How is that going to make you happy? You still can’t even look in the mirror without finding something to criticize. Do you think that these people value you? That they will improve your self worth? No, they won’t. This Instagram page wasn’t meant to be about how many followers you got, or how many likes you received. This was supposed to be for you. A virtual journal that you could look back on, and something that you hoped would one day inspire someone else to make those positive changes in their life, too. You are not responsible for their happiness. You are responsible for yours. Stop looking at those likes, or how many followers you have. Stop worrying about being liked by others and get back to learning to like yourself. One day, you’ll find that the self love that you were seeking will be there, because of your own strength and determination, not because of strangers on the internet. Get back to why you started this in the first place. Get back to learning how to love yourself. She was right, on all accounts. My inner voice is a very strong woman. I think I need to let her talk more often. So starting today, I’m gonna work on posting pictures that I like, not ones that I think others will like. So what should that be? 🤔Eh, I guess we’ll find out!

The Relique – Part 1 – Excerpt

So this story is within the same world as “Devil’s Breed”, but only a little over a year before. It’s a vast world with many possibilities, which is why I love writing it. I love to create something, to take bits and pieces from some of my favorite works and creating another world altogether.

This is probably the fourth re-write of this story. When I first started it, I was naïve about how extensive the plot should be. As the characters grew and the plot thickened, I found myself going back tot he beginning and rewriting many scenes that lacked depth. The characters in this excerpt are originally part of another storyline within this world called “The Half-Breed”. In that story, Tammy is definitely a supporting character, one that doesn’t show up until late in the story (although she is talked about often). She is a very strong female character, with a loud mouth and a taste for whiskey. I felt that Tammy needed a little more time in the spotlight, but that wasn’t going to happen with “The Half-Breed”, so I decided to give her a bigger role in this story. This is a scene between her and her boyfriend, after receiving a visit from Moiragetes, the God of Fate.

Chapter 8

8:00pm – Friday Night

Tammy tapped the counter anxiously as she waited for her drink. “How long does it take to make a fucking margarita?”
“Babe, relax. You don’t even like margaritas.”
She turned and glared at Stone. His eyes were an unnatural hazel and his dark black/brown hair seemed to almost glow. It was eerie sometimes when she actually thought about it. “I’m trying to look less threatening.”
“By ordering a margarita?”
Tammy shrugged and looked back at the bartender. “If I start taking shots of whiskey, I think I’ll look more intimidating. They may be more willing to talk around me if they see me as just some dumb chick.”
“And you think drinking margaritas and wearing a pink wig is gonna work?” Tammy fingered the hot pink strands thoughtfully. “Baby, I know you wanna find out what’s going on, but this isn’t the best way to do it. These are not good guys. If you start pokin’ around, they’re gonna think something is up, and if they start looking into you, they might find Dakota.” He leaned in closer, “Let’s go see your brother, like he said. Hawthorne would love to see you.”
“We will!” she spat out, then turned back towards the bartender. “I thought that bartenders paid closer attention to slutty girls. Where’s my fucking drink?!”
“Show him some cleavage.” The words were meant to be rhetorical, but Tammy obviously didn’t catch that. She leaned over on the bar, pushing her breasts up high in the tight, purple dress and motioned for the bartender. He caught her attempt and stuck his forefinger in the air before turning towards another patron.
“That bastard. If I wasn’t trying to not be myself, I’d go over there and kick him in the dick.”
Stone laughed as he began rubbing her back affectionately. “Baby, this is a different kind of bar. They cater to the vampires. The bartender is probably one himself, or he knows what goes on here, and he probably gets a lot of ass so he doesn’t need to work for it.” Tammy sat back onto her stool and sighed while Stone began fishing for something in his wallet. He casually lifted his hand in the air while a twenty dollar bill nestled itself casually between his fingers. The bartender looked his way, smiled, and came over. With a kind smile, he shook the man’s hand and dispersed the bill. “Would you mind taking care of my date here? She’s feeling a bit dehydrated. I believe she ordered a margarita.”
He passed a glance to Tammy and quirked a lip, “Of course. Is this your first date, sir?”
Stone almost wanted to cringe at the words. He smiled despite his aversion. “Yes, it is.” He knew Tammy could hold her liquor better than just about anyone. It made him wonder if every Zeotheon could hold their liquor.
The bartender, with his abnormally golden eyes, winked and turned to start Tammy’s margarita. She yelled out a thank you, then requested a cute umbrella. Stone simply shook his head, but the bartender seemed to find it quite amusing. Once Tammy had her drink in hand, she turned towards Stone, her brows furrowed. “What was that about? Why would he only serve you?”
Stone tapped the counter repeatedly as he thought of how to explain it. He glanced over to the bartender, who had made his way back to the other side of the bar. “First off, when the bartender here sees that you’re a vampire, and you have a hot young chick with you that no one knows, they assume those women are going to be food for the vampire later on that night. The vampire you’re with calls the shots. That’s how it works. His way of letting you know who has control.” Stone pointed to himself. “Second, they want to make sure they give the girl the right amount of alcohol. The more drunk a girl is, the easier it is to hypnotize her.” He stopped and looked into her eyes and gave her an honest, shameful smile. “When the bartender asks us if it’s our first date, that’s the sign to make the drinks a little extra strong.”
She nodded slowly. “So, he put a bunch of alcohol in this drink?” Stone nodded as he adjust his finely trimmed jacket. “And you just decided on your own that I would be okay with that?”
Stone froze, his eyes narrowing with an unspoken warning. “Baby, none of this am I okay with. You’re the one that wanted to do this shit. Live with the consequences.” He could see her natural desire to retaliate biting at her like a rabid beast. Instead, she turned away and sucked down half of her margarita. Stone closed his eyes and shook his head as he mentally prepared himself for the evening to come.

“Seriously, Tammy, did you have to drink five margaritas? He probably put triple the normal amount in them.” Stone had his arms tucked under Tammy’s as he attempted to drag her to one of the private rooms. “You know, I realize I’m a vampire,” Tammy stumbled again, causing Stone to topple forward slightly, “but you dragging your feet is fucking exhausting.”
She clumsily tapped her finger to his lips. “Oh, stop it. You just…” she stared blankly at his face for what seemed like an eternity, while he fought to keep her upright. “You know, you have pretty lips.”
“What?” He pulled harder on her until her feet were back on the ground.
She touched his lips again and smiled as the hot pink strands of her wig fell over her face. “Your lips, they’re all pouty… kissable.” She leaned in and smiled, “Are all Asian men so kissable?”
Stone couldn’t help but laugh as he dragged her closer to the booth. “Depends on the region, the country… Most of my ancestors had the ‘pouty lip’, as you call it.”
“You were from Japan, right?”
“No. My family originated in an area called Gaya. It was of the Southern most part of Southern Korea, closest to Japan. We left because—”
“Stone!”The suddenness of his name in front of him made him stumble slightly, losing a bit of his grip on Tammy.
Stone turned towards the voice and stiffened. “Hello, Gerald.” By the entrance of the private room he had purchased, the man stood in a finely tailored, cool green suit with an easy smile and bored expression. He had his right elbow bracing himself against the wall while his other hand casually brushed the suit jacket aside to tuck gracefully into the pocket of his form-fitting pants. Stone gave a slight bow as he began pulling Tammy closer. She looked up and gave the man a sloppy smile as she attempted a seductive stance. He shook his head and turned back to Gerald. “Apologies for my date, sir. She chose not to heed my advice when I told her two of the ‘first date’ drinks were enough.”
Gerald laughed, “The easy ones never do.” A couple of dark strands fell out of his low-sitting ponytail as he nodded towards her. “Would you like a little assistance?”
“Thanks. That would actually be nice.” Gerald pushed himself from the wall and grabbed Tammy by the waist. She looked at him and smiled before her eyes started to drift. They moved themselves into the room and stopped as Stone took in the furnishings. A long, half-oval couch in pure white fit perfectly along the curved walls with matching, oversized chairs adjacent. A thick, black marble coffee table sat in the middle with a red-violet vase filled with white and black roses. The walls matched the color of the vase, giving the room a seductive feel when coupled with the elaborate lights that fit snug against them. They actually reminded Stone of antique candelabras. He swallowed hard as he and Gerald slung a limp Tammy onto the couch. Sighing heavily, Stone looked around and squinted curiously. “White furniture? Really?”
Gerald smiled. “Try not to get too messy.” Stone hated what was going to happen next. “Do you mind if Keegan joins us?”
Just then, the other owner of the bar stepped in. Dressed in a smooth black suit ad golden colored shoes, the man was the epitome of elegance. His hair was dark brown on the sides, cropped short with highlights on the long, wavy lengths that rolled together on top to create an intricate pompadour. “Hello, Stone. It’s been a while.” His green eyes danced with curiosity as he glanced between Stone and Tammy. He tugged thoughtfully on the lapels of his jacket, then the cuffs. “To what do we owe this pleasure?”
Stone didn’t miss a beat. He shrugged, sat on the couch next to Tammy and pulled her towards him. He dark chocolate eyes were hazed over with alcohol, but he could see that she was lucid enough to understand what was happening. “Sometimes you just need a change of pace, one that won’t get back to your girlfriend.”
The two men smiled and slowly sat down in the chairs. Crossing his leg and leaning back, Keegan answered, “don’t worry, discretion is of the up most importance here at ‘Dreamers’.”
“Yeah, I never did ask you how you came up with the name?”
Gerald laughed, “There wasn’t much thought to it.” He glanced over to Keegan who smiled mischievously, “I mean, how many of us mythics aren’t ‘Dreamers’?” He turned and stared at Tammy who had currently laid her head against Stone’s shoulder. “Plus, it makes Dreamers more comfortable showing up here. A place just for them. And if one of them ends up missing? Well…” Gerald shrugged as if it was the difference between having a sandwich or not.
“The cops don’t give you shit?”
Keegan stared mischievously into Stone’s eyes. “They’re too scared.” He then lifted his hand and gestured towards Tammy. “Bon appetite, my friend.”
Stone knew he wouldn’t get far if he didn’t do what was expected of him, what all vampires did in those rooms. He turned to Tammy, who looked up at him with wondering eyes and smiled. He brushed the soft pink strands from her face and kissed her lips. When he pulled back, he made sure to use his powers to persuade her, even if he knew it might not work. Although, her inhibitions were definitely down. “Let me see your neck, beautiful.” She grinned ear to ear and sloppily tilted her head back. Watching the pulse skip down her neck, he found himself tracing it with familiar interest. It was that way each time he fed. But, this time it would be from Tammy, and he had never fed from her before. Sucking up that feeling of guilt, he leaned forward and licked her skin. The taste of it made his beast arise, awakening him from his slumber. He took in a deep breath and felt his eyes turn to that swirling silver as his teeth protruded just slightly.
Before he could talk himself out of it, he plunged his teeth into her skin. He felt her inhale sharply before that euphoric trance took over. Then her blood began slipping into his mouth, warm and sweet, with the bite of that Zeotheon blood… and something else he hadn’t prepared himself for. Thoughts ran through his head, making it difficult to hold back his irritation. He’d just have to talk to her about that when they were alone.
From his peripheral, he saw a black cloth dangling in the air. He reached out and pulled it from Gerald’s grasp, swiping his tongue along the wounds, tidying up after himself. Pulling away from her neck, he used the black napkin to dab at the blood around his mouth and the tiny droplets that had escaped and were currently running down her neck. He caught her glance, a glazed weary glance that held understanding within them. He leaned toward her instinctively and kissed her lips. “Thank you for the napkin, Gerald.” He gave a lazy nod of the head while Stone took the drowsy Tammy and gently laid her head on his lap. “I didn’t take a lot. She should be fine soon.”
“Even so,” Keegan smiled, “there’s orange juice and other provisions in the small refrigerator in the corner.” Stone glanced around curiously, surprised he had missed it. He finally saw it, black and hidden in the corner, to the other side of the white chairs. “So, Stone, we haven’t seen a lot of you lately. We usually only see you when you’re making deals.”
Stone shrugged, “I do a lot of dealings with the Fae. They’re a shady bunch of assholes, and I prefer not to be the next vampire in one of their experiments.”
“They have to work on their craft. It’s how they make money.” Keegan explained as he rubbed his fingers against the hem of his pant leg that was draped over the other knee.
“Yeah, well, they can experiment on another vampire.” Gerald and Keegan both smiled knowingly at each other. Stone grew more uncomfortable by the minute, but he’d had 1,500 or so years to perfect his poker face. “In fact, the last time I was here, I was meeting up with some Fae, they had tried taking a chick from the bar and I ended up in a fight with them behind the club. Happened to see someone I hadn’t seen in ages.”
“Oh yeah?” Gerald furrowed his brows. “Who would that be?”
Keegan pursed his lips and squinted his eyes, mocking true thought. “Hmmm…. You’ll have to be a little more specific. I mean, I do know of the Greek God, but I don’t recall him being here.”
“I saw you two talking to him.”
Keegan’s eyes then turned to a swirling mercury. “You must have been mistaken.”
Gerald cleared his throat, “Can I ask… why are you so interested in what Hypnos is doing?”
This was when Stone would have to be clever with his words and he knew it. He glanced between the two, determining which path he should take. “Is he going against Victoria?”
Their expressions never faltered as they stared him down for a moment. Keegan finally spoke, “Are you Victoria’s little lap dog, Stone? Coming to check and make sure no one is misbehaving?”
Stone snarled his nose at him. “Fuck no. I try to stay as far away from her as possible.”
“Then why are you worried about whether Hypnos is trying to create problems for Victoria?”
“’Cause if he’s starting shit with her and it leads back to you, I need to hightail it the fuck out of this state. I’m not interested in Victoria suddenly remembering me and using me as one of her little drones.”
“You’ve made it this long. You have to have some kind of resistance to her, don’t you?”
Stone shook his head, “Only distance makes it weaker. The closer she is to me, the easier it is to control me. So tell me, what did he want with a couple of club owners?”
Keegan stared thoughtfully at him, searching his eyes for lies. “How do I know I can trust you?”
“How do I know I can trust you?” Keegan spoke slower that time, biting his teeth at the end as his teeth began to elongate.
“I think what my associate is trying to ask you is, what information do you have to give us?” Stone looked questioningly at Gerald who responded with a laugh. “You obviously want to be in the loop with what’s going on, but information isn’t cheap. We have plenty of money, so the next logical thing you can barter with is information. Do you have any information that we might be interested in?”
Stone had to bite back the desire to growl at them. Leaning against the solid white couch, he fingered Tammy’s wig with careless caresses. “Okay, fine. You want some juicy information that you can sink your teeth into?” The both hummed in recognition. “How many vampires do you think Victoria can control at once?”
Gerald huffed audibly. “I fought under her during the Battle of Seminara. I saw her control over two hundred vampires and the minds of almost a hundred human soldiers.”
“Exactly.” Stone rested his arm against the back of the couch. “Now, tell me you aren’t scared shitless of that woman and that you aren’t even the least bit interested in finding out how to keep yourself from being controlled by her?”
“She doesn’t do it lightly. It takes a lot of energy out of her.” Gerald stiffened and began to shuffle nervously. Stone fought the smile that tickled his lips as he watched him move uneasily. “But let’s say there was a way… How come nobody else has figured it out before now?”
“Do you remember the legend?”
Keegan curled his lip, “Of course we do. I’ve been around longer than you have little one.”
Stone nodded slowly. “Right. And what would you say if I told you that she wasn’t a legend?”
Gerald and Keegan both laughed loudly before Gerald sobered and tucked the loose hairs behind his ear. He leaned forward and rested his elbows on his thighs and squinted curiously at Stone. “Are you trying to tell us that there is truth to the Maiden of the Dead?”
“Yes. The only vampire to ever resist Victoria’s control. And her name is Mia-Ka.”

Once Stone had Tammy secured in the car, he got behind the wheel and headed to the mountains of Northern California. “What the fuck was all that about?” Tammy’s speech was stronger, more clear now. It made him wonder if she had even been drunk at all or if she had been faking it.
“What are you talking about?”
She slapped the console in between us and began to pull the pins out of her hair. “I’m talking about you giving them all that information on Mia-Ka! That was for us! That was to help protect Dakota, not use as a bargaining chip to get information on a fucking God that may or may not be pissing off Victoria.” She groaned angrily, tossing the pins onto the floor.
Stone cursed at her. “Do you mind not throwing those on my floor?”
“Are you even listening to me?” She finally had it loose and pulled it from her head, tossing it into the back of the car. Stone threw out several more obscenities before she continued. “If they find her, they could direct Victoria to her, or worse? Use her for themselves.”
“Seriously, Tammy? You think a woman that has been around for nine thousand plus years is going to be controlled by a couple two thousand year old vampires? You know the legend. Mia-Ka was the only reason why the French didn’t succeed. If it wasn’t for her, Victoria would have taken over Italy.”
“Then where is she now? Victoria’s obviously up to something.”
“Of course she is. She lost her latest pet fifty years ago and wants him back.”
“Exactly. And if she finds him?”
“I don’t know. Nobody knows much about him, but rumor has it that he’s the first vampire that didn’t die in order to be made. If that’s the case, I wonder what he is, exactly. If she successfully turned an elf, or some other light mythic, we’re screwed.” Silence fell between them as thoughts filtered through their minds. “Speaking of which, what exactly are you?”
Tammy turned to him, the light of the dashboard illuminating her strong features, making her look regal. “Excuse me?”
Stone shrugged, “Your blood. You’re not full-blooded Zeotheon.”
“Oh.” She leaned back in the chair and sighed. “My real father was a Thilatheon Guardian. My Guardian side is really strong.”
“Wow. I didn’t know that about you. What about your other siblings?”
“Just Hawthorne… and Dakota, of course.” She stared off into the night’s sky which turned a meek burgundy against the city lights, hiding away the wonder of the stars above. “James, Mike, and Julie are all our Dad’s kids. Hawthorne and I were both Lewis’ kids… biologically, anyway.”
“You’re the oldest and Hawthorne’s the youngest.” She nodded. “But your mom and Kevin, they were married?” Again, she nodded. “So…”
“Yeah,” she breathed heavily, her nostrils flaring with idea. “My mom’s a slut, what can I say?” Before Stone could even think to stand up for her mother, she turned with an outstretched finger as anger filled her gorgeous features. “My Dad committed suicide, and then she has the audacity to not only bring the leader of our flock, Elton, into the family as if he could be some kind of replacement, but she tries to act as if Dad meant fucking nothing to us, and then, when they found out Hawthorne was gay, they kicked him out of, not just the family, but the entire flock! And she stood by and let Elton do that! How could she?!”
“What about your other siblings?”
She snarled a lip. “Mike is just as bad as Elton. He can fuck off, too. Julie? She’s too co-dependent on my mother, so she’ll never stand up to her. And James…” she bit her lip and looked away. “He hasn’t been the same since he came home from war.” She shook her head slowly as she thought of her brother, sadness overwhelming the small area they were confined to.
“What war was he in?”
“He was off-world. Elton’s idea. He sent James to Gar-Ag Olk. They’re cruel people, and they hurt my brother. They hurt him in ways that I can’t even begin to think about without my stomach turning somersaults.” She closed her eyes as a tear fell down her cheek. Stone reached out and held her hand, knowing too well how violent the Olkeans could be. “I don’t think he’ll ever be the James that used to drive me nuts as a kid, who always tried to act like he was a tough guy but deep down, he loved everyone more than they deserved.”
She turned towards Stone and sighed. “James, when he finally got strong enough, left. He’s in Hawthorne’s pack, technically, but he’s a recluse. He doesn’t talk to anyone, he doesn’t touch anyone. The only one that he’ll let close to him is Hawthorne. He’s the only person he trusts.”
“Well, at least they have each other, right? I mean, James isn’t alone.”
“What do you know about Zeotheons?” He shook his head stiffly, signaling his lack of information. Tammy looked out of her window and sighed. “We need love, affection… physical touch. I don’t know if it’s the animals inside of us or what, but the longer we go without it, the more reclusive we get, the more our soul sort of… dies.” Her voice had slipped into a whisper, mental thoughts that had escaped through her voice… a crack in the facade of the strong woman she always let everyone see. “I don’t know how long James can last like this. How many more years can he go, hiding away in some cave and refusing any sort of touch before he eventually…” A tear slipped down her cheek, then another, and another until a river of tears slid down her cheeks onto her purple dress. “What if he commits suicide, too?” She covered her mouth as a sob escaped.
Stone pulled the car over on the side of the brightly lit highway, cars passing them quickly in the early hours of the morning. “Hey, look at me.” She turned slowly towards him, her eyes rimmed in red from the tears, her lip shivering with the drops she held back. “There’s gotta be a way we can pull your brother out of this, okay? I’ll look into it. I know people, and maybe I can—”
“Wait, are you talking about a fae potion or something?”
He shrugged, “It’s an option.”
She shook her head, “No. I don’t want you owing them, Stone. It’s bad enough that you do business with them.”
“It wouldn’t be a favor. It would be a business transaction, Tammy. You never want to owe a favor to the fae. I’m not that thick.” He smiled wide at her pinched expression. “But that’s not the only option. There’s a rumor that a wizard lives in Seattle, pretending to be homeless. Apparently he’s really good. I could go see him first, see if he has something that can help him.”
“You’d do that for me?” Her eyes widened with surprise. “You’d help me save him?”
Stone smiled, “I just risked my neck with two of the most notorious vampires on the west coast, and now I’m going out to the boondocks with you to visit your little brother despite the fact that I may be thrown out on my ass when they smell me and realize I’m a vampire, so yes, of course I would do this for you.”
Her expression grew solemn as another set of tears fell down her cheeks. “Thank you, Stone.”


Devil’s Breed – Excerpt

Xatka situated her armor meticulously as her eyes bore daggers into her youngest brother, “I really should have drowned you at birth.”
“I would have survived, remember?” He made a strange motion with his hands against his neck. “Besides, everybody loved me when I was a baby.”

I really do enjoy writing stories. I especially love writing character disputes. Not just “good vs. evil” battles, but of simple personality clashes between two important, and equally loving characters. I love writing Anstend and Xatka together. Their personalities clash so much, yet there’s an obvious love between them. In this exerpt, you get to see the first time that the main character/narrator, Ambriel, is not only introduced to Xatka, but also of the oil and water relationship between these two.


I stepped through the doors of the castle, the walls around me welcoming me back to its bosom. I inhaled deeply, the familiar scent of elf enticing my blood lust. I was upset. The blood lust always got harder to control the more emotional I got. Fjærlette stopped and sighed. Curious, I turned towards the hallway and listened closely as we walked. The faint sound of an argument floated towards us. “My gods, can’t those two ever be in the same room without acting like juveniles?”

I looked over at her and laughed, “You say that like an irritated big sister.”

Her eyes widened, “Thanks for reminding me that I’m actually related to them.”
I laughed and held Lys’ hand as we walked towards a large open door where the familiar blue glowing orbs of light lit the room. Anstend’s voice was raw from the tears he had shed. “What the hell is your problem with me now? Damn Xatka, every time I see you, you just rip my fucking head off!”

“And I don’t have to justify my feelings, you little twerp!”

“Ooh, so vicious.” He mocked his sister as we stepped in through the door, “Maybe next time you might cross over and call me a butt head!” He lifted his hands in false fear before catching us standing there. He straightened, pressing his hands to his side, “Oh, hey.” He smiled sheepishly before stepping back.

Xatka was beautiful. She had intense blue eyes just like Anstend, and warm sun-kissed skin. She had strong cheekbones that made her look almost regal, but the scars that racked her face marked her as a warrior. She didn’t look much like her mother, other than the grey-violet hair, which was identical in shade to the tall, overbearing man beside her. Now he looked like Lys. He was taller than me, same bright blue eyes as Anstend and Xatka but he held himself like a man of refined taste, of royal bloodline, instead of the warrior stance that Anstend and Xatka currently donned. He must be Melo.

Xatka’s mouth hung open in surprise as I walked through with Fjærlette. I cleared my throat, “You must be Xatka and Melo?”

Xatka looked to her twin brother then back to me, “Yes, we are.” She came to stand in front of me, that familiar tug to my soul I had felt before, “Is it true you don’t remember us?”

She stood like a soldier, not that it wasn’t evident with her attire. She was fitted with armor, a metal that held a strange yellow-green color. It seemed dull yet shimmered against the light of the orbs. “Yes,” I began as I sat down. “I’m afraid my mind isn’t what it used to be.”

“Oh, look who was telling the truth. Who was it now?” Anstend stood thoughtfully for a moment, “Oh yeah, that was me.” He pinned her with an angry stare before taking a seat to my left. Lys sat beside me on the plush couch as Melo, Xatka and Fjærlette took the couch parallel mine. They moved in even closer, enough so that I could see the bright blue eyes of Melo and Xatka. They were quite breathtaking.

Xatka situated her armor meticulously as her eyes bore daggers into her youngest brother, “I really should have drowned you at birth.”

“I would have survived, remember?” He made a strange motion with his hands against his neck. “Besides, everybody loved me when I was a baby.”

“That’s because they didn’t know what a jerk you would turn out to be.”

“Okay, enough, you two!” Lys sat up straighter. She had her mom face on which I found highly amusing. “If I have to separate you two, you will feel my wrath like you’ve never felt before. This is not about your ridiculous bickering.”

“Yes ma’am.” They spoke in unison.

I coughed in my hand, trying to hide the chuckle that escaped. Lys glared at me before turning back to her children. Trying to ignore the feeling that I was going to get lectured after this, I turned back to the three on the couch. “Okay, so, I am under the impression that I used to be rather close to all of you. At least, my gut tells me that. Not knowing anything about anyone has essentially been driving me nuts over the last few days. So, maybe we can start by telling me some things about yourselves?”

Fjærlette turned to her siblings, “How about I start the introductions since you three can’t seem to open your mouths without insulting each other?” Xatka went to protest but Fjærlette cast her sister a warning stare. Turning back to me she cleared her throat.

“Okay, so let’s start by telling you what we all do for a living. Me, I work with mother in Scotland, looking over the land there. Usually I tend to the animals and the forests to try and protect them from the viciousness of men.” Melo made a sound of protest but she ignored and continued on. “Personally, I’ve never had much use for humanity of any kind. I prefer animals over people. For now, though, while mom is tending to the matters here, I’ve been taking care of her duties, which include watching over the mythics that live there. She governs over Scotland, England, Ireland and Wales. Xatka is a warrior, as evident by her attire.”

“I didn’t have time to change.” She explained leaning forward, “And for the record, I’m a real warrior, unlike others.” She passed a glance to Anstend and smirked.

“Oh great, here we go again.” Fjærlette sighed and leaned back in her chair.

Anstend leaned forward, “Excuse me? What the hell does that mean?”

“You know exactly what that means.”

He laughed sarcastically, “Actually, no Xatka, I don’t. Do you mind enlightening everyone?”

She sat up higher, “Fine. You wanna know?”

“Please do, big sister. Your wisdom is all that I crave.” His sarcasm could have drowned an elephant.

She leaned in front of Melo, angling her head towards Anstend. Melo leaned back and laughed. “I became a warrior because I wanted to do good in this universe. I wanted to protect those that needed protecting, to serve those who needed help. You became a warrior, for what? To impress a General?”

“I didn’t decide to become a warrior because I wanted to score with the General, Xatka. I did, however, choose to become the best fucking warrior in the twelve known galaxies for that very reason. My decisions for why I did what I did has nothing to do with you. You’re just bitter because I’m a better fighter than you.”

“I’m bitter because I do what I do for the good of those twelve known galaxies while the only thing you give two shits about is getting your dick wet.”

My eyes shot up, as did everyone else’s. I turned around, trying to hide the smile on my lips. Anstend did the same thing. As soon as we looked at each other, we both broke into laughter. “Damn, Xatka. I can’t believe you just said I wanted to get my dick wet.”

She huffed, crossing her arms, “Yeah, well it’s true. It’s all you care about and you don’t care who you hurt in the process.”

“What in the hell are you talking about?”

“I’m talking about Delyna!”


She laughed loudly, “Of course you don’t remember her. She was my best friend until about a month ago when you slept with her and then never called on her again.”

“Are you talking about Del? That girl I hooked up with on Torg last time I came to visit you?”

“Yes, you asshole! That’s my best friend. Or at least was my best friend, until you broke her heart.”

He laughed, “Okay, let me get this straight, I come to visit you, and your best friend Delyna comes onto me knowing full well that I’m only visiting and then gets upset when I go home? Then she takes it out on you and you, in turn take it out on me. I got that right so far?”

Xatka’s eyebrows furrowed, “Yes.”

“So… what, am I supposed to never get laid on the off chance that the woman may very well be a friend or potential friend of yours?”

“It’s just…” She threw her hands in the air, “You do this every time! You always sleep with my friends! Why do you have to do that?”

“Because you have hot friends, and I need the exercise.”

She gasped then growled as she pulled a pillow from the couch and threw it at him. “I hate you so much right now!”

Anstend laughed harder, grabbed the pillow and stood. He went to his sister and knelt before her. “I’m sorry, Kloke kriger.”

“You might not want to be this close to me. I may have left my sword at the door, but I have plenty of throwing knives at my disposal.”

Anstend cast the most charming grin I had seen yet, “Kloke, I promise I will behave.” He wagged his brows at her, “And I promise I will try and do better about not sleeping with your friends.”

“I’ve heard that before.”

“I swear to the general herself.”

I eyed Lys with amusement as Xatka considered what he said. Finally she huffed, “Fine. But it doesn’t change the fact that I lost a good friend.” He stood up, plopping himself across his sister’s lap, draping his legs along Melo’s. Melo tried to slap them away but it didn’t seem to phase him. “Anstend, will you get off of me? You weigh a ton. Stop eating.”

“Sis, let me tell you something.” She stopped squirming and looked up at him, “If that was all it took for her to not be your friend, then she wasn’t really a good friend. You’re the best warrior I know, and you are the kindest person I know. Your friends should feel half as lucky being your friend as I feel being your brother, because if they did, they would never leave your side. You deserve better than that bitch.”

For the first time since I walked in, I saw love for her brother as she looked up at him. “Thanks Anstend. I love you, too, you twerp.”

“Aw, you’re so sweet.” He leaned down and kissed her cheek. “You know, if you need help finding some better friends, I could help you with that.” The tender moment was broken as she shoved him to the floor. We all broke into laughter as Anstend laid on the floor at our feet. “See, she really does love me. If she didn’t, I’d have one of those throwing knives in my side right now.”

She kicked him in the ass as he moved to slide back into his chair. “Okay, now that you two have gotten your quarrel out of the way, let’s move on to Melo.” Fjærlette turned to him and smiled, “Melo is a diplomat for Staerlania. They’re rich in several types of herbs and minerals that you can’t find in other places. He’s the one that goes in to try and negotiate with them on a political level.” Fjærlette looked at him and smiled, “He’s done very well.”

He smiled at me, “My goal is to one day hold the seat of house representative on Atlantis.”

Anstend went to say something then stopped. Then he seemed to not be able to help himself, “Melo, I really wish you wouldn’t hang out with those assholes.”

Melo turned to him, “Anstend, you know why I’m there.”

He met his brother’s gaze. “They’re never gonna accept you as one of their own. They’re assholes that only like pure-bloods. You should know this better than anyone. Why do you do this to yourself?” Anstend seemed genuinely concerned for his brother, but Melo didn’t seem to notice. Instead, he crossed his arms over his chest, choosing not to speak. Anstend leaned forward, “I just don’t wanna have to go kill anyone that fucks with you. That’s all.”

Melo chewed on that for a moment, then finally chuckled, “You would, too, wouldn’t you?”

“You know my feelings on the Atlanteans.” Anstend turned back to me, “He’s the best politician there. He’s done more for that stupid place than anyone had been able to accomplish in over 1,000 years on Staerlania. But still, he’s held the same position on their Senate for over 400 kyers.”

I looked around, puzzled, “Sorry… kyers?”

“A euphemism for Kullarna years.” Ah. Okay.

I turned to Melo, “Well, I am kind of on the outside here, because I don’t know the entire situation, but it seems to me that if you have made such progress there and those dicks still refuse to give you your due diligence. I say fuck ‘em. I say tell ‘em to shove it up their asses and move on to somewhere that will appreciate your skills.”

His mouth quirked up just a little bit, “I was offered a quite prestigious position on Staerlania, working with the royal family of the Phroas continent.”

“Are you considering it?” I asked, leaning in closer.

He looked up, his trimmed grey-violet hair falling against his brow, “I don’t know. Maybe.”

Anstend seemed suddenly excited. “What’s the position?”

Melo smiled thoughtfully for a moment, “Ambassador to the queen in extraterrestrial affairs.”

“Ambassador as in you’ll be running everything? You will be the leader?” Lys piped in, just as intrigued as Anstend. Melo nodded with a shy grin. “Oh my gods, Melo, that’s amazing! That’s even higher standing than House representative in Atlantis.” His smile faded, looking at his hands. “Melo, look at me.” Lys stood, directing Xatka silently to trade her seats. She sat beside her son and pulled his hands into hers. His gaze met hers hopefully. “I know how badly you want to be accepted by the Atlanteans. I know that was something you needed, deep down, to feel closer to that side of your family. And you are closer to them, but you don’t deserve to be treated as some lower-life citizen. You are strong and smart. You would be an asset to the Atlanteans, but they fail to see it.”

There was silence that fell before them, and I could sense there was a conversation going on between them. Although I had a feeling I could listen in on their conversation, I didn’t feel that I wanted to find out anything else that might send me over the edge. If they were speaking telepathically, there was a reason.

I looked to Anstend who had his eyes set on Fjærlette, both staring at each other in amusement. Fjærlette finally cleared her throat, “Um, Melo, I wonder if you could, uh… clear something up for the rest of us.” He turned to her and frowned. “Is it true that you were caught necking with the queen’s youngest granddaughter?”

Melo’s eyes widened, his face turning deep red. “What? Why would say that? Who told you that?”

Anstend laughed loudly as Fjærlette raised her hand to her mouth, “Oh my gods, Melo! She was set to go into the ministry when she turned 40. She was a virgin!”

“And she still is. We’ve not done anything that would take that away from her.” He straightened, pulling his regal coat straighter, “We just… got caught up in the moment. That’s all. Nothing more.”

“Melo,” Xatka interjected, “You don’t think that’s why the queen wants to appoint you to Ambassador?”

Lys turned her head sharply, searing her daughter with irritation, “Xatka! She offered him that position because he is the best at what he does! Nothing more. How could you possibly put those fears into his head? You know how he blows things out of proportion.”

“Thanks mother.” Melo countered dryly.

“I’m sorry,” Xatka began, “it’s just that it’s well known that Queen Sava has been pretty adamant about not wanting her to go into the ministry. There’s some type of prophecy on their planet and the Queen is obsessed with the idea that the prophecy is of her granddaughter. If she and Melo were to end up having sex, it would make her ineligible for the ministry.”

“Can we please not talk about my sex life right now?”

“Or lack there of?” Anstend thought his question funny until he had four sets of bitter eyes his direction. “Hey,” He shrugged, “I’m just saying, you’re kind of obsessed with your work. Maybe getting laid would do you some good.” A long list of profound obscenities rushed from four mouths, bashing Anstend. “I’m just trying to help my brother, here, alright? He hasn’t had a girlfriend since Dad disappeared.”

There was a subtle but distinguished change in the air around us. Everyone quietened down, staring at Anstend as memories seemed to flash through their eyes. After a couple of moments, Anstend ran his hands through his hair, clearly disturbed by whatever had just happened and stood up. “I think I’m going to bed. I have a long day ahead.”

“Anstend, wait.” Lys stood up to follow after him.

He stopped at the door and held his hand up to his mom. “It’s fine, mom. Really. I just… I’ll be better in the morning.”

“Søtnos, I was really hoping that all of us could stay in Fjærlette’s cabin tonight. It’s been ages since we were all together, and with Feppert’s death…” She trailed off has her voice broke.

Anstend pulled her into a deep hug, “Of course, mamma. We’ll get up early and talk Xatka into making breakfast.” They all laughed somberly and it was then that I noticed they all had started crying again.

Slowly, the rest of Lys’ children stood, giving me and Lys a tight hug. They let us know that they would save the master bedroom for us before heading out. She seemed sad now, as they all left the room. “I’m sorry about that. When his father disappeared, it was really hard on him. I don’t know that he’s ever quite recovered from it. Honestly, I think that’s why he’s so afraid of commitment. And why he’s obsessed over a woman that’s unattainable.” She looked up at me, trying to shake off the sorrow. “He just needs to sleep it off. And we need to sleep as well. We have to get up early in the morning. It’s a full two day journey to the Valkyrie.”

“Wait, we’re leaving tomorrow? What about Feppert? Aren’t we having a funeral for him?”

Her face turned to stone, “Tomorrow evening they will give his body back to Kullarna. And we’re going to get this Sephora shit taken care of so I can focus on killing that bitch, Victoria.”

Again, this is such a fun group of characters to write about. I really do enjoy their banter. I am hoping to have this book out by August of this year. It’s a very complex plotline, so there’s a lot of attention to detail that I need to adhere to. Also, there are two other storylines that not only coincide in the same universe, but have intertwining timelines and characters, so there’s a lot to watch out for when writing these stories. I will try to add an excerpt of the other two storylines within the next week, just for fun.