Rite World Series Book Bundle
Rite World Series Book Bundle
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Get the first 9 novels set in the Rite World in this incredible deal!
Plus, receive a bonus novella featuring side characters from the Rite World!
- Fated Mates
- Forced Proximity
- Forbidden Love
- Tortured Hero
- Chosen One
- Good vs Evil
- Vampire, Witches, Wolf Shifters, Fae and more!
★★★★★ "Very good read. It flowed quickly with excitement and intrigue. Also a little mystery, definitely a page turner! I recommend it and looking forward for next one."
★★★★★ "So worth the read! Finished the book in a day and a half. Love the way the story twist and turns and keeps you guessing until the end!"
Love stories like this that have action, romance, solid characters, and bad guys and women you love to hate."
- The Vampire Heir
- The Witch Queen
- The Immortal Vow
- The Warlock Lord
- The Wolf Consort
- The Crystal Rose
- The Wolf Forsaken
- The Fae Bound
- The Blood Pact
The Vampire Heir (Rite World 1: Rite of the Vampire): a dark and mysterious paranormal romance about a vampire and a young woman with a secret.
The Warlock Lord (Rite World 4: Rite of the Warlock): a thrilling and kick-ass paranormal romance about a werewolf and warlock.
The Wolf Forsaken (Rite World 7: Rite of the Wolf): a heat-wrenching tale about a lost wolf shifter and a fae princess on the run.
The Vampire Heir Chapter One
The Vampire Heir Chapter One
I was here. I couldn’t believe it. I had made it.
Around me, the other ninety-nine people took over half the town square. While we waited for the train to come pick us up, they chatted and laughed and speculated how it would be, what we would see, who we would meet.
It was not every day Castle DuMoir opened its doors to the public. In fact, it only happened twice a year, and only one hundred lucky guests were invited randomly from the thousands, millions of requests they received.
And I was one of the lucky ones.
“Isn’t this exciting?” a girl beside me asked. A wide smile adorned her lips as she bounced on the balls of her feet. Her excitement was irritating, if not saddening. “I can’t believe I was chosen.”
“Exciting,” I said, though that couldn’t be further from what I was feeling. If I stopped to think about this, if I considered all that could happen, that would happen … I inhaled deeply, calming my racing heart, willing the shaking of my arms to stop.
“Oh.” She reached over and squeezed my arm. “I see the train coming.” She turned to me, her smile even wider than a few seconds ago, her brown eyes twinkling in the late afternoon sun.
The majestic, shiny black train slowed to a stop beside the small wooden platform that served as a station on the corner of the town’s square. The glass doors opened, and a tall, handsome man wearing a black suit and a burgundy tie stepped out under the wide, dark awning covering the platform. There was a silver cross brooch on his lapel—the symbol of Castle DuMoir.
“Good evening, ladies and gentlemen,” he said, his loud voice carrying over the crowd, shushing the guests. He grinned at us, which made his features even more handsome. “I’m Karl, your host for tonight’s adventure. I have one question for you. Are you ready for the best night of your lives?” The crowd cheered. “Then, please, come on in. Have your invitation handy as I’ll need to check it before you come onboard the DuMoir train.”
The guests hurried toward the train, pushing one another, trying to get in right away, as if the train would depart and leave them behind. Like a bouncer at a popular nightclub, Karl stood beside the door, making sure everyone who came through showed him their invitation.
The girl, still beside me, squealed as we approached the doors. “This is it. So exciting.”
She stopped in front of Karl and flashed her invitation. Karl nodded at her. “Please, come in, young lady.”
Then, I was in front of him. The man was taller up close, harder, more imposing. But his smile didn’t touch his blue eyes. I held his stare as I handed him my invitation, willing my hand not to shake. He plucked the beige paper from my hands and glanced at it. “Thea Harrington?”
I lifted my chin. “That’s me.”
He narrowed his eyes, but I refused to break under his gaze. This was just starting … I wouldn’t break down now.
The penny-sized brooch hidden in the inside pocket of my jacket trembled as he scrunched his nose and leaned away from me.
Karl tsked and returned the invitation to me, as if he was suddenly bored. “Welcome aboard, miss.” He gestured to the doors.
“Thank you,” I muttered, turning away from him.
A long, relieved breath escaped my lungs as I stepped inside the train.
The locomotive was even fancier on the inside. The darkened windows were large and curved upward, taking up most of the ceiling. Two columns of large, black leather armchairs stood on each side of the wide corridor, with touchscreen TVs and folding tables on their backs. Some chairs were turned back and a smooth wooden table stood between two rows.
From the magazines and articles I had read about the DuMoir visit, I knew there would also be a luxurious dining car, a movie theater car, a car with a pool, and even sleeping quarters.
I had started walking down the first car, when a hand grabbed my wrist. “Hey, sit here,” the girl from before said, tugging on my arm gently.
I held in a grimace. This was not the time to make friends. I looked around, but the seats were filling up fast, and what would be my excuse to her? She had already seen I was as alone as she was.
I sighed. “Sure.” I plopped down on the seat beside her.
She offered me her slender hand. “I’m Judy.”
“Thea.” I looked at her once more as I shook her hand firmly. She was probably my age, nineteen or maybe twenty, and she was pretty with auburn hair and tanned skin. I pulled my hand from hers and settled into my seat, looking straight ahead.
The girl, though, didn’t seem to get the hint. “So, how long have you been trying to visit DuMoir?”
I suppressed a groan. “Two years.”
“Oh, you’re lucky.”
I frowned. Was I? “They don’t allow visitors younger than fifteen.”
“True, but my entire family has been trying for years, and finally, I got the invitation.” She tilted her head. “So, why do you want to see Castle DuMoir?”
The golden question. Everyone who was granted an invitation was asked that question. I clasped my hands together on my lap, glad I was shaking less and less, and told her what I had rehearsed for months now. “I’ve lived one town over for most of my life. There’s nothing interesting around here, except the fact that there’s a mysterious castle close by. Who doesn’t want to see it? To know the faces of the lords and nobles living inside it?”
Her grin was so big, I thought it would blind me. “Exactly! I don’t live in Crimson Glen, but my grandparents do. My parents were raised here until they got married and moved away, but we visit often. I’ve always dreamed of seeing the castle in person, to meet a prince, or a lord, or a royal guard, and …” Her cheeks gained a red tint, and she quickly averted her gaze.
Holy crap, this girl thought she was headed straight to a fairy tale. Cinderella going to meet the prince at the ball. Poor girl.
My anxiety and nervousness were replaced by a white-hot anger. Anger for this girl and her dreams. “Well, anything can happen,” I forced out.
She returned her eyes to mine, a small smile on her closed lips. “Anyway, I’m here to have a fun evening. I heard there’s a village outside the castle with actual taverns and inns and stables, like old stuff, you know?”
I nodded. “There’s also a lake and boat rides, and a small winery.”
“And to crown the night, a tour inside the castle and a masquerade party in the ballroom.”
A chill went down my spine. “That’s right.”
“So exciting,” Judy repeated for the tenth time or so. If I had to guess, I would hear that same tone coming from her at least another five hundred times until the end of this visit.
When the passengers were seated and the doors closed, Karl’s voice rang through the speakers. “Welcome aboard, ladies and gentlemen. Please, make yourself comfortable. Fun fact about our fabulous train: It can hit 250 miles per hour, but because DuMoir is only forty miles away and the scenery is beautiful at sunset, we’ll take this trip slow.”
A beautiful woman in a black suit, burgundy shirt and the silver cross pin appeared by my side. With a wide smile, she unfolded each of our tables, depositing on them crystal flutes filled with bubbling liquid.
“Thanks,” I whispered as she turned around and served the guests on the other side of the corridor.
“Please, enjoy a glass of one of our finest wines, produced at the DuMoir estate,” Karl continued. “If you need anything, our attendants can certainly help you. Enjoy the ride. We’ll be at the DuMoir Castle in less than thirty minutes.”
I eyed the flute and the champagne-like liquid in front of me.
I swallowed hard.
Beside me, Judy downed her champagne in one big gulp. With a loud, “Aahh,” she set down her glass and turned to me. “It’s delicious. Drink it.”
From the corner of my eye, I glanced at the attendants nearby. “I don’t really drink this kind of stuff.”
“But it’s great. You’ll like it.”
“No, I don’t want it.”
“Why not? We’re here to enjoy this visit. Here’s the first taste.”
I scrunched my nose. “I’m not—”
Judy exhaled. “Fine, then I’ll drink it.” I gasped as she grabbed my flute and drank the entire thing in less than two seconds. My throat went dry and my heart sped up. Again, I glanced at the attendants, this time not so discreet, but none of them were looking at us. Thankfully, Judy placed my now empty glass in front of me again. “Well, that was even better the second time around.” She chuckled.
“You have no idea what you’ve done,” I whispered, wishing she wouldn’t really hear me.
She shrugged. “This fancy trip is free. I’m eating and drinking and taking everything they hand me. And if you don’t want it, I’ll have yours too.” She grinned, still looking as innocent and cheerful as the girl who first talked to me in the town’s square not twenty minutes ago.
My fingers itched, and even though I didn’t know this girl, a sudden urge to reach out and hold her hand assaulted me, too strong to contain. A small gasp escaped through my lips, but instead of reaching for her, I sat on my hands and looked straight ahead, eager for this night to be over.
For this whole thing to be over.
The Warlock Lord Chapter One
The Warlock Lord Chapter One
From behind the bushes, I spied the herd of deer in a little valley. There were at least a dozen of them, eating the overgrown greens and warming themselves in the last rays of sunlight.
Clueless of the werewolf pack surrounding them.
Everyone ready? I sent my thoughts to the wolves who had volunteered to come with me. When in wolf form, our minds were linked and we communicated via thought. The alpha was able to control this connection, sending thoughts to each wolf or blocking them. However, as the youngest and the first female alpha of our pack in more than two centuries, I was still trying to learn my newfound powers.
And a bunch of other things.
Like controlling a large pack of aggressive werewolves.
Ready. Wyatt was the first to respond, as usual.
But nobody else did.
I swallowed a growl, lest the deer hear me. I could see the other wolves across the valley. Moon be damned, why didn’t they answer me?
Are you ready? I tried again.
A handful of half-assed yeses sounded in my mind.
After we killed this herd and dragged them back to our pack for this damned feast tonight, I would have a talk with these wolves. I was their goddamn alpha. They had to do better than this.
Set, I told the wolves. The ears of one deer perked up. Now!
Teeth bared, I jumped from behind the bushes and—
Startled by the command in Charles’s voice, I skid to a stop right in front of the herd. I glanced around, realizing only Wyatt and I had attacked, and now the herd fled from us.
What are you waiting for? I put as much bite as I could into my words. A few wolves stepped forward, but they were too slow for my taste.
Instead of catching the entire herd in one fell swoop, we only got five deer before the others escaped.
When it was clear that was all we were going to get, I turned around and bared my teeth at Charles. What the hell was that?
Charles strutted out from behind the bushes. He stared me down with his dark brown eyes. Even though he was at least twice my size—maybe more in our wolf forms—I stood my ground. I wouldn’t buck to this big bully.
I’m sorry. I just thought it wasn’t the right time to attack. His voice dripped with sarcasm.
I let out a low growl. Did you forget who I am?
Charles growled in response. Believe me, I have not.
Then you know you have to obey me. Everyone does.
I couldn’t believe he was being this direct. This stupid. And right in front of a bunch of wolves, who now surrounded us. I puffed my chest. I don’t care if you think it’s fair or not. It is what it is. And you obey me until it changes.
How about we change it now?
It was all the warning I got before he jumped on me. I barely had time to move back and avoid his hit and his sharp teeth.
What the hell? I directed to his mind only, but Charles didn’t answer me. He was too busy circling me, preparing for another attack. Charles, stop this now.
Again, he didn’t answer me. Instead, like a bulldozer, Charles ran toward me. I jumped to the side, but not before his paw found purchase on my side. His nails sank into my skin.
I let out a howl as the pain registered.
Shocked. I was shocked. In my year as alpha, I had heard rumors and insults, I had been glared at, but I had never been challenged like this. And I was certain Charles wasn't fooling around.
This was a challenge.
A challenge to become alpha.
Which meant, Charles would only stop once he killed me.
In my stupor, I barely resisted when Charles careened into me. I slammed against the hard ground, and he stepped over me, his sharp teeth close to my neck.
Give up, Luana, he said in my thoughts. Let me win this fight and I won’t kill you. Let me become the alpha then become my mate. We can rule the pack together.
The rumors had been right. Charles didn’t only want to take the mantle of the alpha from me, but he also wanted me as a mate. As if he could decide that. We had stood side by side several times, and the mating bond hadn’t snapped into place. I wasn’t his mate and he knew it.
It didn’t matter, because I would never be his mate, bond or no bond. Charles was a conceited and selfish wolf, who was even worse in human form. And not that handsome.
Finding strength in the depths of my core, I swiped a paw sideways, making Charles lose his footing. I pushed against him and rose to my feet.
I snarled at him. Never.
He showed me his sharp teeth. Such a loss.
Then he attacked again.
I sidestepped him, trying to think this through. As the alpha, I had become stronger and faster, but Charles was probably still stronger, not to mention a bigger and a more experienced fighter. If I wanted to win this fight, I would have to be fast.
Charles turned around and came at me again. He snapped his teeth close to my hind leg, and I jumped forward, putting distance between us.
Stop running from me, Charles said in my head.
Letting him think I was obeying him, I stood my ground. Charles snarled and charged me again. I waited—until the last second. Then I sidestepped him, angling my body. I jumped over him. Off balance, he hit the ground. I pressed my paw down on his snout and snapped my teeth an inch from his throat.
I’m not going to kill you. His eyes widened in surprise. I won’t be that kind of alpha. But be warned. Next time you challenge me, I’ll make an example out of you.
I stepped back and held my ground, afraid Charles would attack me again. To my surprise, he pushed up to his wobbly legs, his head low.
You’ll regret this, he whispered in my mind.
And I believed him.
* * *
I didn’t regret taking down Ulric. He had been an evil alpha with only his pride and power in mind. He had sent me, a young, lower-ranked wolf, on what was supposed to be an easy mission, but looking back, I was sure he thought I wouldn’t survive. He had probably expected me to die when he sent me to spy on the vampires of DuMoir Castle. He never imagined I would have been captured and turned into a blood slave.
My stomach turned. I hated remembering those days, but things got better when I allied with Drake, who was now lord of DuMoir Castle. For a vampire, Drake was a decent man and wanted peace between the vampires and the other races. Because he had helped me and given me a family when my pack had abandoned me, I trusted him wholeheartedly. He and his mate, Thea, the Witch Queen of the Silverblood coven.
No, I didn’t regret killing Ulric, but I did regret becoming the alpha. At first, it had been part of the plan—as alpha, the wolves of the Dark Vale pack would have to obey me during the battle when Drake and Thea retook DuMoir Castle. It had worked, but I wished there had been another way. Maybe if another wolf had been by my side, I could have let him take down Ulric and become the alpha. Then, I could have been his beta and avoided all the hateful glares—the same ones I felt now as I walked out of my cabin.
Since my fight with Charles, we had dragged the handful of deer back to our village, then I disappeared inside my cabin, while the others took care of the feast’s preparations.
Back in human form, I washed the deer’s blood and the dirt from the hard ground from my body, scrubbing the sponge over my skin, as if I could scour away more than dirt. Maybe my fate too?
After the shower, I donned leather pants and a suede vest and brushed my long hair down my back. Then, after a hundred deep breaths, I left the safety of my cabin and faced the wolves outside.
The pinprick of everyone’s hateful glares sent goose bumps down my spine, but I did my best to stay calm, to control my heartbeat and my breathing, so they couldn’t hear just how much I detested all of this—and use it to destroy me.
As much as I hated being alpha, I hated the idea of being killed even more.
I hadn’t even taken five steps before Wyatt showed up in front of me, holding a glass of our artisan beer.
“I thought you might want something to drink,” he said, smiling at me.
I eyed the glass. If it were Charles or any other werewolf, I would think the drink might be poison, but Wyatt was different. He was a teenager, who had lost his parents as a child, and because of that, the pack had raised him. He had had little guidance, but he was a loyal wolf nonetheless. I remembered him from before my mission, and he had always struck me as an upbeat and optimistic kid. Now a young man, he hadn’t changed much.
And he seemed to like me as his alpha.
At least one wolf in the pack did.
I took the glass from him. “Thank you.”
He stepped to my side and gestured down the road. “It’s almost ready.”
I looked around. Since werewolves decided to become more human than wolf many centuries ago, our pack had adopted an old human village with a handful of dirt packed roads and frail wooden houses lining them. With time, the wolves paved the roads with limestones and reinforced and expanded the houses. Despite the many wells for water and generators for electricity, the village still had a pre-Industrial feel to it.
My house was close to the edge of the forest and about eight houses from the center of the village, where a square was located. Following Wyatt’s gesture, we walked toward the square.
If the weight of the stares from the people walking by my house and coming to the feast had been heavy before, it was nothing compared to the moment I stepped into the square and joined the rest of the wolves.
After the DuMoir battle, our numbers dwindled, but we still had about a hundred wolves in our pack—which was a record since wolves didn’t do well in larger groups.
And right now, all the wolves stared at me and silence filled the air.
I cleared my throat. “Enjoy the feast, everyone.” I waved toward the tables set to one side of the square, where the food and drink were spread out.
Slowly, the wolves resumed chatting and laughing. Slowly, everyone ignored me. Slowly, I let out a long breath.
My relief was short-lived as I approached the big bonfire in the center of the square. Logs surrounded the fire, serving as benches, and on two of those logs sat Charles and his band of hateful wolves.
He stared at me, his dark eyes gleaming with the flicker of the fire. He raised his mug of beer toward me, then tipped it back, finishing it in two big gulps. The rest of his group patted his back and yelled, like drunks in a bar.
I shuddered, feeling like a stranger in my pack.
“Luana, my dear pup.” I cringed at Patricia’s voice. She was an elder she-wolf, who thought she was some kind of counselor to the alphas. She was probably the oldest wolf here, over a hundred years old, though she didn’t look a day older than fifty. The old woman stepped in front of me, looking more like a Romani in her long dress and bangles than a werewolf, and she smiled wide, showing off her yellowed teeth. “There you are.” She gestured to the table, where the limbs of the deer were now displayed—most of them still dripping with blood. “Thank you for securing our feast.”
Was she being sarcastic? I could never tell with her. She was the kind of person who smiled even when she was handing out an insult.
“You’re welcome,” I said, unsure what she really wanted. Because I knew she wanted something. She never started a conversation without a clear purpose.
She hooked her frail arm on mine and tugged me forward. I let the old woman guide me through the crowd in the square, because I wanted to hear what she had to say. Probably more gossip and her own reasoning about it. I was so sick and tired of gossip and rumors.
And an unruly pack that looked down on its alpha.
“I heard Charles gave you a hard time,” she said in a low voice. With our enhanced senses, I was sure half the pack heard her. “He can be such a prick sometimes.”
I steered us to the edge of the square, where it met one of the roads, and turned to her. “What do you want?”
She widened her eyes, pretending to be shocked by my tone. “My dear pup, I only want what’s best for the pack.”
I cringed again. I hated when she called me 'dear pup.' One, I wasn’t a pup, and two, I wasn’t dear to her. Not really. “And what would that be?”
She puffed her chest, preparing for a speech. “I believe we can’t live as we used to. Werewolf packs have always been patriarchal, where females weren’t allowed to move up the ranks. Unfortunately, the few female alphas we've had before didn’t last.” Her tone was calm and clear, and I frowned. The two females who had reached the alpha status in our pack had gotten there because they had been mates of the alphas when they died of natural causes. They assumed the position for a brief time—until a male wolf challenged their position and took over the alpha mantle. “But times are changing. I think we finally have one that will change history.”
Still feeling on the defensive, I crossed my arms. Was she really saying what I thought she was saying? “You think I can hold my position?”
“I do, but you might need help.”
And here we went. “And who would help me?”
I blinked at her, sure I had heard her wrong. Wasn’t she just praising the future and the end of male dominance? “What?”
“Think about, my dear pup. As females, we’re naturally weaker than males. A female alpha doesn’t have much of a future, unless she has a strong male as her mate. He’ll help her secure her place. Especially if she bears pups who will strengthen the line of succession.”
I stared at her in horror. She was really telling me to get a mate and procreate. Just like that. “I don’t need a male by my side. I can steer this ship alone.”
She tilted her head, her eyes narrowing. “Do you really believe that? Didn't Charles just challenge you? Tomorrow, it'll be a stronger wolf, and eventually, you’ll succumb.”
My brows curled down at the thought. I wasn’t afraid of losing the alpha position, but I didn’t want to be hurt, or killed, in the process. However, what really made me sick was that most wolves in the pack still thought Ulric had been an amazing alpha. He had been ruthless and cold and greedy. He had brought more comfort and riches to the pack—at the cost of others. No, I didn’t like that. On this matter, I agreed with Drake and Thea. All races could live together in peace. We just needed respect and courtesy.
If I succumbed, if I were killed and another wolf secured my position, then our pack was doomed, and peace with the vampires and the witches would be gone.
I couldn’t let that happen.
I clenched my fists until I felt my nails digging into my palms. “And I bet you have someone in mind.”
She nodded. “Charles.”
What? I picked at my ears, once again sure I couldn’t have heard her right. “I’m sorry. I thought you mentioned the wolf who just tried to kill me.”
“I did,” Patricia said, seriously. “He’s not the strongest wolf in the pack, but he’s strong enough. And half of this pack is under his thumb. If you mated with him, then they would all be under your thumb.”
Even if the idea of having Charles as my partner didn’t disgust me, there was another problem to consider. “You do realize the mating bond isn’t something that can be forced, right?”
Besides, Charles, or any other wolf in this pack, would use me as a pawn. I would hold the title, but I bet that as soon as I mated with one of them, they would steal my power. They would rule instead of me.
“Then find another one,” she said, her voice gaining a slight hard edge. “Search for your precious mating bond among our pack, but do it fast. Otherwise, you’re doomed.”
She spun on her heels and marched back to the crowd. I watched as she joined a group of she-wolves near the bonfire and started talking animatedly. Patricia’s mate had been killed a long time ago, and her only son had mated with a wolf from another pack—a rare event—and moved to his mate’s pack. Patricia was alone here.
It seemed she was now trying to make an ally out of me. What was her real intention?
To her right, three werewolves brought out Spanish guitars and other instruments. In no time, there was music mixed with the chatter and the laughter around the square. There was plenty of food and drink.
Every wolf in the pack seemed happy. Carefree.
It was a shame I wasn’t.
The Wolf Forsaken Chapter One
The Wolf Forsaken Chapter One
The landscape outside looked just like my heart.
Cold, harsh, and buried underneath a ton of snow.
I clutched my mug full of steaming hawthorn tea with both hands and brought it to my lips, my eyes fixed on the view—a small valley and beyond it a mountain chain, with the sun dipping below it, staining the sky with rose and orange tints.
I knew I should have stuck to warmer places, where no one would guess a frost fae was hiding. I tried to. First, I hid in Florida, then Alabama, then Texas. I even tried hiding in Mexico. The heat in those places was too much for me to bear. Even northern California could be too warm for me.
So, over two years ago, I ended up moving north, to Montana, where the seasons were more pronounced, though it never got as hot as the south. But it got cold, too cold for the shadow fae. I was confident that here, deep into a frozen forest, hidden in a small cottage in the middle of nowhere, Prince Lark wouldn’t be able to find me.
I let out a long sigh, tired of being alone, of feeling lonely, but without a choice. If I left this cottage, if I tried to live in a normal town, I would be found.
A knock came from the door.
My heart stopped and the mug slipped from my hand, crashing on the crude wooden floor, and spilling hot liquid everywhere.
Channeling my magic, I positioned myself in the middle of the small one-room cottage. Whoever was here, hadn’t come because they were lost in the woods. They were here because they had come for me.
But how the hell had they found me?
“Open the door, Farrah, before I break it down.”
My magic slipped from my veins.
In four large steps, I reached the door and opened it. Eyes wide, I stared at my brother. “Daleigh.”
I hadn’t seen him in so long, but he hadn’t changed much. His fair skin seemed paler than before, and his white hair was longer, almost at his waist, but his blue eyes remained the same—cold and serious. Though his clothes had changed completely. Before, he used to wear his full armor, but now he wore gray pants, a thick white sweater, and a long white coat. At least the colors continued the same.
“I should give you props for hiding so well,” he said, walking past me, and examining the cottage.
I suddenly felt conscious of the tiny placed around us, and the mess I rarely tidied up. Deciding I didn’t care about his opinion, I puffed out my chest and asked, “How did you find me?”
Daleigh stopped, ran a finger over the dusty countertop of the corner kitchen, and raised his eyes at me. “I’ve been trying to find you since you ran away.”
I averted my gaze, remembering when and why I left everyone behind.
If only I hadn’t taken that dagger, if only I hadn’t made that damned deal. I exhaled, telling myself for the hundredth time that I shouldn’t cry for things I couldn’t change.
I just had to keep on walking.
“So what? You’ve come to take me?”
Daleigh’s hand clenched for a moment, before he opened and wiggled his fingers, trying to contain whatever feeling he didn’t want to show me. “Farrah, I don’t think I need you to remind you of your own deal. The three years are almost up. You have to go back now.”
“I don’t have to do anything,” I said.
I took a step back, putting more distance between ourselves. Daleigh was older than me and a true warrior. I might be a powerful fae, but he was stronger than me. If he decided to take me by force, I wouldn’t be able to win against him.
“Farrah, please, you know what is at stake here,” Daleigh said, his voice low, pleading. “If you marry Prince Lark, he’ll forgive us. His father will let us go back to the fae realm. That’s what we all want, right? That’s what we’ve always wanted.” His shoulders lowered one inch. “Can’t you do that for our people?”
My stomach knotted.
He couldn’t put this on me, damn it.
Long ago, our people were banished to the human world with no way of going back. If I went through with the plan, if I stopped running, our people would be able to return.
“You know it isn’t that simple,” I whispered, wishing my brother would stand with me just this once. “You’re asking me to sacrifice myself.”
But he only hardened. “For our people. Believe me, if I could have made a deal like that, I would have. I would gladly marry a whale if that meant my people and I could return to our home.”
“I’m not you, Daleigh,” I barked, my voice rising with my temper. “Besides, I was pushed away from our people, remember? I was handed to witches and left to die. I don’t care about our people!”
Daleigh flinched. Of course he remembered. He had been the one to send me away. And now here he was, begging me to help him. Pathetic.
“That was a mistake,” he said, his voice low. “I wish I could go back in time and found a better way to deal with all that was happening.”
And I wanted to go back in time and undo the deal I had struck. I deeply regretted what I had done for Luana, the werewolf who was now the alpha of the Starlight pack. Almost three years ago, I helped her steal the Dagger of All Hunting from Prince Lark’s fortress. However, the stealing part didn’t go too well. We ended up caught. Prince Lark, prince of the Shadow fae, whose father ruled the fae realm, had always been very fond of me, so I used that to our advantage. I promised him I would marry him in three years time.
Of course, I never had any intention of marrying him.
That was why I ran away.
That was why I left Wyatt behind.
Sometimes, I wondered how he was doing. Was he living with Luana and Keeran, helping them with the Starlight pack and the warlocks? Had he found a pretty werewolf and settled down?
My heart squeezed with the thought. Though I wanted him to be happy, it hurt me to think he had found someone.
Someone other than me.
I shook my head, sending all those troubling images away. “It’s too late. I’m not going anywhere.”
Daleigh stalked to me, towering me by an entire head. “My dear sister, I love you very much, but I won’t stand for this. You have a few days to change your mind. I hope you make the right choice.”
He started walking past me.
I asked, “Or what?”
Daleigh glanced at me over his shoulder. “Or I’ll take you to Prince Lark by force.”
I gasped. Deep down, I thought, hoped, he would never do that. But looking now at his icy blue eyes, I knew he would.
Without another word, or threat, Daleigh walked out of the cottage, slamming the door behind him.
I put a hand over my racing heart and tried breathing in and out, calming myself down. But my feelings became a turmoil and I had to sit down on the low couch to catch my breath, to process my thoughts.
My own brother would take me to an evil fae prince to save the people that once shunned me away? Was he for real?
I didn’t care about any of that.
I wouldn’t allow myself to be dragged away like that. To be handed to Prince Lark like a grand price.
I waited for about one hour, to make sure Daleigh had really left, then I jumped into action. As fast as I could, I packed some food, water, and clothes, put on a heavy coat over my shoulder, and left the cottage.
Once more, I was on the run.