Broken Promises – Chapter 35

Chapter 35

The dead body at the bottom of the stairs stopped Damien just inside the doorway. Outside he could hear Colin begging for his life. Blaming Caius for every vile act he performed. That his so called Emperor had ordered him to use any means at his disposal to break Kara. With each word, the sun dimmed and the wind gain in speed as the angel’s anger grew. Trees groan in protest, the windows of the house rattle as the gale force winds beat against the house.

Inside it was deadly quiet.

Knowing that the dead body at the bottom of the stairs was probably not alone, fear spiked through Damien as his eyes slowly moved to the top of the stairs. There was a hand dangling over the last stair that lead into the darken hallway above, proving him right. Pushing away the thought that Brynn had been too late, that Sapphira had not been awake to defend herself from the mortals, Damien allowed his power to breathe through the house, searching for any life. Before he could reach too far, pain lanced through his head driving him to his knees. The relief when he saw Gideon hovering in the air, every bit the avenging angel Damien knew he was, disappeared. They may have their memories back, but the chains were still firmly in place. That meant that whatever Gideon did to the two idiots outside would rebound on Kara tenfold.

“Shit,” Damien hissed pushing to his feet.

Grabbing the fallen blaster beside the dead male, Damien took the stairs two at a time, trying to be as quiet as possible. It was obvious Brynn had taken care of at least two threats, but it never hurt to be cautious. Blaster held before him, two-handed, Damien looked over the edge of the floor into the hall. There was the body at the top of the stairs and another further down the hallway where it had crumpled, neither of them Brynn. Stepping gingerly over them, Damien heard voices up ahead. One Brynn’s, the other female and they seemed to be arguing.

“We need to leave,” Brynn snapped.

“Kara is perfectly safe. I will not allow anything to harm her.”

“I can see by the bodies that you can take care of yourself, Selene. But those are mere mortals. Caius is not mortal in any sense of the word.”

“Caius would not harm me or my daughter,” Selene growled.

“What about Malphas?”

There was silence.

Screams of agony from outside ended any further argument. Agony that sent a shiver of remembered pain down Damien’s spine. It was as if Colin was having his flesh peeled away from his bones, ripped apart and burned all at the same time. A cruelty Gideon would have never imagined if it had not been for the overconfident female in the room with Brynn. Time to take that confidence down a few notches.

Damien stepped into the doorway and breathed a sigh of relief. Sapphira lay on the bed curled on her side facing him, sleeping peacefully. Seeing she was safe for the moment he scanned the room, his eyes narrowing when he saw one of the culprits sitting in the rocking chair in the corner, gently rocking back and forth as if she had not a care in the world. When his eyes narrowed further in anger, she looked away, unable to keep her calm façade up any longer. Good. She should be scared.

“He’s rather peeved,” Selene mused, her eyes on the open window where the screaming drifted through.

“I wonder why,” Damien said, his voice flat and angry. Taking the few steps to the bedside, he reached down and brushed the back of his hand across Sapphira’s cheek. Outside the screaming continued as the smell of burnt flesh began to waft through the open window.

“What is he doing to them?” Brynn frowned.

“Probably best not to know,” Damien answered grimacing. Turning that grimace into a scowl, he looked at Selene…or who he now knew was Godiva. A true goddess, but not in the way that Brynn thought. “Why isn’t she in pain?”

“Because I am blocking the necklace from sensing what Gideon is doing,” Godiva answered with a small smile. “There are benefits of being the creator of all that is.” She waved her hand to encompass the room and probably all that was outside it.

“Yet with all that power you could not see what was happening right in front of your nose,” Damien snapped. Moving so he loomed over her, he snarled, “Did you even know we were here, or did you turn a blind eye to what that bastard was doing to her for some twisted need of revenge?”

“What are you talking about?” Brynn asked not liking what Aden was insinuating. “What revenge?” When Aden did not answer, he took a step towards the two powerful pissed off beings and growled, “Aden! Answer me!” Was that ten kinds of stupid? Probably, but this was his wife they were talking about and he wanted answers.

Damien stood back, his anger filling the room. “We are not who you think we are. My name is not Aden. It’s Damien. Kara’s real name Sapphira and she is my mate, the other half to my soul. Literally. This creature,” his eyes narrowed on the female in the chair who had the sense enough to cower, “is Godiva. For all intent and purpose, our daughter.” He turned to Brynn. “To make this as simple as possible, Sapphira and I are the beginning of everything. We were the first sentient beings to come into, well, being. Long story short, Godiva and her brother Satan needed to learn a simple lesson. That life is precious and that our choices can create or destroy that life. That we, as old and omniscient as we are, must be very careful with how we use that power. Because they chose not to understand this and did not care what the consequences of their actions were, Sapphira and I created what we call trials. They were to create a universe of their own and keep it spinning, keep it balanced between good and evil, life and death. The demon, Malphas, was from one of those very first trials.”

“One they obviously failed,” Brynn added quietly. While the thought that the creatures before him were the creation of all was mind-boggling, if not downright insane, Brynn could feel some truth to what the being before him was saying.

“One of many,” Damien said, his eyes once again narrowing on Godiva. “Where is your brother?”

“Satan is on his ship, currently under the influence of Malphas,” Godiva answered brushing her robes, smoothing some unseen wrinkle.

Damien froze.

“Caius is Satan?” he snarled.

Godiva was out of her chair and behind it before Brynn could blink. “You must remember, Damien. You were not supposed to be here this time. You were only supposed to watch from a distance. We had absolutely no idea Malphas had pulled you into this trial or put you in the place of the players we had already established.”

“Bullshit!” Damien spat. “You have learned nothing.”

“That is not true!” Godiva shouted. Her anger overriding her common sense, she stepped out from behind the chair to face the enraged being before her. “We followed your rules. We cared for every creature as if they were our own child. We allowed them free will and we kept the balance between good and evil. We did not invite Malphas into this universe. He broke in.”

“However, it was you who created him,” Damien reminded his voice cruel.

“It was you who allowed him to continue living when he should have been destroyed,” she yelled stepping another step forward in her rage. “Don’t blame me when your high and mighty ideals come back and bite you in the ass!”

Brynn watched from the other side of the room as the two immortals stood nose to nose, glaring at each other. He could feel the power build, pressing down on him, making it hard to breath. A part of him, the sane survive at all cost part, screamed at him to leave before they imploded and took him with them. The bigger part of him that stepped in front of a blaster to save those he loved moved a little closer to his wife. He did not care who they said they were, he was not leaving her alone while she slept unawares of the danger in the room. A movement from the corner of his eye drew his attention to the bedroom door. Tanis…no, Gideon was standing at the threshold frowning at the two snarling beings.

“Did I miss something?” he asked calmly. When no one answered, or moved, he turned his gaze to Brynn.

Taking a deep breath and letting it out in a huff, Brynn said, “From what I understand, Aden, I mean Damien, is angry with,” he paused frowning, not remembering what Selene’s other name was.

“Godiva,” Gideon provided.

“Godiva,” Brynn repeated suddenly remembering, “because of who Caius really is.”

“And that is?” Gideon prompted the two immortals again, turning his eyes back to them. Whatever the answer was, by the look in Damien’s eyes he was not going to like it.

“I think she said his name was Satan,” Brynn answered.

“Come again?” Gideon asked not quite sure if he heard Brynn right, his voice a calm that his worst enemy would cower from. Since the mortal did not know him or what that name meant, he had no reference to warn him that being in the room was probably detrimental to his continuing health.

“You heard him,” Damien snapped turning his attention to Sapphira, completely dismissing the goddess who still stood fuming behind him. Carefully sitting down on the edge of the bed, he brushed the hair that had fallen into Sapphira’s face away. Smiling and making happy humming noises in her sleep, she rolled over onto her back, revealing the necklace around her neck. Whatever calm Damien had gained by touching his mate disappeared as he stared down at the piece of filth that was effectively their chains in this universe. Looking closer he hissed, a distant memory surging to the surface.

It was early in the trials. Maybe the hundredth attempt, a small number when you live forever, yet Damien was beginning to lose hope his children would ever learn. Deciding to not participate in this particular trial, he watched from the safety of the orb room as they struggled to maintain balance as the universe spun ponderously towards its inevitable end. While for him it would take what the mortal’s calendar paced as a few months, to those inside the orb it would be millions upon millions of years.

In staying on the outside looking in, Damien could not interfere with what was going on within. Something that was becoming increasingly difficult as he watched his mate struggle through the horrors their children heaped upon her and her guardian.

“What are they doing to her this time?” a low familiar voice asked with a weary sigh.

Damien looked up towards the door at the imposing figure standing their frowning at the swirling colors in the orb. Dark as the abyss black hair that reached his shoulders, well over seven feet tall and built for battle, Fallon sauntered into the room, the tight leather pants creaking with newness as the long sleeved white linen shirt billowed around him. As the images in the orb became clearer, his frown deepened. Damien had to smile at the impressive male beside him because he looked more pirate than avenging angel, even with bare feet and no weapons. Fallon was one of two who had been created as his and Sapphira’s sentinels after they realized their children, their first creations, could not be completely trusted. Over the centuries the two had become much more than mere guards to Sapphira and himself. They had become close friends, confidents, lovers. While he and Sapphira could protect themselves, one of the angels were never far from their sides.

“It’s not the children,” Damien answered, his eyes moving back to the orb, his smile slipping away. “It’s the demon. Malphas. Somehow he has figured out who Sapphira and Gideon are and is trying to capture them so he can use them to escape the confines of this,” he gestured towards the orb, “universe into ours.”

“Can he do that?” Fallon asked his eyes wide with shock.

Damien slowly shook his head, one arm going around his waist so he could rest the elbow of the other on it while he rubbed his fingers over his lips, his eyes narrowing in thought. “I don’t know,” he answered softly.

“Explain?” Fallon prompted frowning when Damien would not elaborate.

Glancing at Fallon, his eyes went back to the orb. “Technically, the beings from one universe cannot break the barrier that divides the other universes from it and enter.”

“Technically,” Fallon repeated warily.

“Yes,” Damien said looking at his friend, his eyes showing his worry.

“What is different about this time?”

“This time, Godiva and Satan trusted too blindly, and they gave the wrong person too much information in the form of a prophecy. That information has fallen into Malphas’s hands. As convoluted as prophecies can be, he has figured out the hidden meaning behind this one. That there are multiply universes, and the veil that separates them can grow thin with time. If you know what to look for and you have enough power, you can cross through those thinnings.”

“Which is why he wants Sara and Gideon,” Fallon finished once again looking at the orb. “But how did he find out who they were?”

“That I don’t know, and that troubles me. What is worse is he has created a device that may bind Sapphira to him.”

A huge sword with an intricately carved metal handle that fit around his hand making it more of an extension of his arm then an deadly accessory suddenly materialized in Fallon’s hand. “That cannot happen,” he growled.

“Easy, my friend,” Damien soothed placing his hand on the wrist of the hand that held Fallon’s sword. “You know the rules. We cannot interfere.”

“Who made up that stupid rule?” he snarled.

“I did,” Damien answered flatly, his eyes narrowing at the insult.

Fallon grimaced at him. “Why?” his voice clearing telling the immortal that he was ten kinds of an idiot for doing such a thing. It was one of the drawbacks of becoming so familiar with each other. It was also one of those times Damien longed for the good old days when Fallon and Gideon did as they were told without questioning the reason behind it.

“Because if we kept interfering when things went sideways, nothing will be learned,” he growled.

Wisely, Fallon clamped his mouth shut. Although his eyes said everything he wanted to. Ignoring him, Damien turned back to the orb. “We just have to pray that Sapphira and Gideon remember who they are before it is too late.”

While they had managed to keep the powerful demon from escaping his own universe, they hadn’t been able to stop him from enslaving Sapphira and Gideon. It had taken Godiva and Satan years before they were able to free them and return to the safety of their plain, but the cost had been great. And now the bastard had the cursed necklace around Sapphira’s neck once more. The difference this time was Damien was here. Frowning, he looked at Gideon.

“Where is Fallon?”

“Good question,” Gideon answered his eyes going to Godiva. “I assumed he was Caius.”

“I have not seen him,” Godiva frowned, her eyes going distant as she wracked her brain for any sign of the angel she could have mistaken for something else.

Gideon’s looked back at Damien. “Maybe he wasn’t pulled in?”

“No, I remember him grabbing onto me. He has to be here somewhere.” Damien looked back down at the necklace. “I need to figure a way to remove this accursed thing.” Standing, he reached down and gathered Sapphira into his arms before turning towards Gideon. “You and Godiva look for Fallon. I’m going to take Sapphira someplace safe and try to break the spells around us.”

“How will we find you?” Gideon asked.

“As soon as the necklace is destroyed our connections should be reestablished. You’ll know then it is safe to come.” With a flash he was gone.

Gasping, Gideon fell to his hands and knees.

“What’s wrong?” Brynn asked moving to kneel beside the angel.

“The rules of this universe still bind us. Here I am one of Sapphira’s mates, or as you know her Kara. To be apart is….” Tightly closing his eyes, Gideon hissed in pain, his fingers curling into fists as he rode out the spasms that wracked his body. “Painful,” he squeezed out.

“How are you supposed to look for your friend if you cannot function without Kara?”

“Good question,” he whispered just before he collapsed onto his side, unconsciousness.

“Well, that is problematic,” Godiva huffed.

Sparing the female a glance that told her exactly what he thought of her and that comment, which wasn’t much, Brynn’s eyes moved to the open window. An idea forming that might just save all their lives.

Chapter 34
Chapter 36

Copyright © 2019 Heidi Barnes

Broken Promises – Chapter 34

Chapter 34

Brynn sat on the top stair of the porch staring at nothing in particular. He was too lost in memories long forgotten to notice the sun moving across the sky, marking time passing since they last heard from Aden.

There was a lot that his family did not know about him and his time away. All they knew was someone by the name of Colin had kidnapped him at the age of fourteen and taken him off planet, but they did not know what had happened after that. That he had been forced into service as one of his soldiers, and in order to survive he had trained hard to become one of his best most trusted assassins. They knew that while he was away he had met Kara, who was from a different planet that was a lot like theirs and married her. They did not know that Kara and Brynn had lived on the run for two years, hiding from bounty hunters and various viscous warlords enticed by the large bounty on their heads before he and a very pregnant Kara returned to his home. They never knew the amount of blood and pain it took to get here, or the nightmares that plagued them for years afterwards. Of the instances where they had barely escaped with their lives. It was not until Colin had kidnapped Kara the second time that Brynn had told them of how dangerous Colin was, what he wanted Kara for.

Looking down at the blaster he held loosely in his hands, Brynn wondered what his life would have been like if he had not gone on that hunting trip. He guessed it did not matter now, and truth be told, he would not trade any of the horrors that followed because it brought him Kara and his children. Tightening his grip on the blaster, his eyes went back out to the garden and the beauty before him. Maybe today he would finally be able to exact his revenge on the bastard that had uprooted their lives more than once.

It had only taken a few shots for Brynn to remember how to use the blaster in his hands. Over the years, he had kept up his hand to hand combat skills, making sure his children knew how to defend themselves beyond their magical abilities, but nothing on this planet could match what was in his hands. What was coming today.

When they found out Kara was pregnant in some backwater dingy motel they were hiding in, they had made a pact that once the baby was born, if either one of them were captured the other would not come looking for them. That the safety of their child came first and foremost. When Kara’s horse had come back without her one morning and his world crashed down around him, Brynn realized how stupid that promise had been. Yet he had kept it and raised their son with the help of his family. That did not mean he had not looked for Kara by calling in every favor they had made over their years of running. What he found out had chilled him, and once the Emperor had her, he knew there was no way he could bring her home.

When she had returned to him six years later, and he held her in his arms, it was the first time he had taken a full breath in years. Now the bastards that had started their nightmare were back to claim what was not theirs. Brynn could not lose her. Not to them, not again. Today he would make sure they died a very slow and painful death.

A noise behind him brought Brynn out of his musings. Looking up, Tanis dropped next to him on the stairs, staring out into the garden his face pale.

“How is she?” Brynn asked putting the blaster in the holster at his thigh. When Tanis did not answer him, Brynn’s concern rose. He and Kara had been upstairs talking for the last, Brynn looked at his watch and hissed. It had been over an hour since Aden had left. Looking back out at the garden, his eyes searched for any sign of movement. Where the hell was he? He turned back to the man next to him who still had not answered his question. “Tanis. Kara?” he pushed.

“She’s sleeping,” Tanis sighed rubbing his face wearily.

“Then why are you so pale?”

“We just spend the last hour and a half going over the…finer details of what Malphas has done to her, and before him, Colin.” He took a shuddering breath. The easiest way for them to do that was for Kara to show Tanis what had happened. The upside was he would understand better what she had gone through. The downside was that he understood a little too well what she went through because with those images came what she felt at the time, emotionally and physically.

“Aden said he hadn’t told us everything,” Brynn said warily.

“No, he didn’t,” Tanis answered quietly looking down at his hands. “I knew Malphas was a monster. I just never thought …. And Colin,” Tanis did not finish his thought. Closing his eyes tightly, he tried to will the images out of his head. After a moment, he opened them again, staring out at the garden, trying to replace the ugliness in his head with its beauty. “Have you heard from Aden.”

“No,” Brynn growled.

“What’s wrong?”

“I’m not sure,” Brynn answered slowly as he scanned the area before him. “I can feel Colin is out there, but why hasn’t he shown himself. The better question is, why hasn’t Aden called us with an update?” He held up the communicator that had been sitting on the porch next to him. “It’s been over an hour.”

Tanis regarded Brynn for a moment, sizing him up. Along with the other information, Kara shared the time when she and Brynn where fighting to survive in a universe that was unfriendly at best, and downright hostile to what it considered lower life. Which was what Kara and Brynn had become in order to stay hidden. He also knew there was no love lost between Brynn and Aden, something Tanis understood all too well, but he also knew Aden. He would never put Kara in harm’s way if he could help it.

“As much as I hate to admit this, in this lifetime Aden knows Kara better than either of us,” Tanis said quietly.

“That is not entirely true,” Brynn growled. “She has been with me just as many years as she been with him. Some of those were when Colin had us imprisoned and the time after we escaped.”

“But not in the years after Colin and broken her, when he had used her mercilessly. And not when Malphas had sunk his claws into her.” Tanis answered quickly when Brynn opened his mouth to disagree. Slamming it shut, he glared at Tanis. “Those years she never told you what was done to her and what she had to do to survive.” Brynn looked away, but not before Tanis saw the haunted look in his eyes. It was the same look he saw every time he looked in the mirror. “Listen, I’m not exactly happy about it either, but if it wasn’t for Aden, Kara would have died a long time ago.” Hesitating as painful memories assailed him, he continued in a much softer tone. “After we found her in Malphas’s room, I couldn’t reach her. Only Aden could. Even after what we saw this afternoon I still don’t understand how or why, but I can no longer deny that they are closely connected. Whether we like it or not he is a part of this, and I know without a doubt he would risk his life for hers.”

“Then why did he allow Malphas do those things to her?” Brynn asked angrily, glaring at the demi-god.

“For the same reason I allowed it,” Tanis whispered.

Brynn’s look of utter shock turned into a glare as those words sunk in. “Allowed it?” he snarled.

“If we tried to stop him, or refused to do as he ordered, the punishment would have been far worse for all involved.” Tanis paused, trying to find the words to explain what he had come to realize. “I don’t think Colin finding Kara was chance.”

“What do you mean?” Brynn frowned.

“Since the beginning of time there has been a set course for the universe. A master plan, if you will. Kara, Caius and I have been a major part of that master plan, as have the mortals that bear our children, such as you and my wife.”

“And who decides this master plan?” Brynn asked. Something about the thought of some being deciding their fate, deciding that Kara go through the horrors she had rubbed him wrong.

Brynn’s words pulled at something in the back of Tanis’s mind. A thought or memory trapped by some force he did not quite understand that desperately wanted to escape. Frowning, Tanis asked, “What did you say?”

“Who decides the master plan? Who is so powerful that they can dictate what happens in the universe? Who dies and who lives? Why do they believe they are above the rest of us?”

“Because they have to learn,” Tanis whispered. It was all that would come forward. That there was a lesson that had yet to be learned. Pain exploded inside his head. A bright white light blinded him as he cried out, clutching his head. From the open window above them, Kara’s scream pierced the air.

Someone did not want them to remember.

“What’s wrong?” Brynn asked catching Tanis as he slumped over onto to him.

“Memories. Trying to…break free,” Tanis squeezed out just before another piercing pain shot through his head. It was as if someone were taking a knife and driving it into his brain. Unable to stop himself, he screamed along with Kara.

Looking from the man in his lap to the doorway into the house, Brynn did not know which to help first. From what he learned, whatever Tanis was trying to remember, if it was something Malphas did not want him to remember then he and Kara would be punished.

“Whatever those memories are, stop trying to remember them!” Brynn commanded.

“Too late,” Tanis hissed.

A scream pierced the air and Brynn was on his feet ready to take a step towards the door when a chilling voice froze him mid-step.

“Well, well, well,” a voice sneered with delight. “If it isn’t our little thief.”

Turning around, blaster drawn, Brynn sought out his target only to find that target was not alone. Ten men fanned out behind Colin with their weapons pointed at him and Tanis. Knowing no amount of training would win this fight, Brynn slowly put his hands up into the air, finger far away from the trigger.

“That’s a good little servant,” Colin praised wickedly as five of the men broke formation, guns still trained on Brynn, and quickly walked up to him.

“Come down the stairs and on your knees,” one of the males barked, his gun never wavering.

Brynn hesitated for a moment, glancing down on the now unconscious Tanis who lay on the porch, before very slowly walking down the three steps to the grass below. The men moved so two were beside him, one lowering his gun only long enough to yank the blaster from his hand, throw it across the yard and once again train his gun on him. The other shoved him forward so they could flank him. Completely surrounded, Brynn glared at their leader. A man he once called friend. He knew what Brynn was capable of and was taking no chances.

“On your knees, hands laced behind your head,” the leader snapped.

When Brynn refused, his only response a narrowing of his eyes, one of the males behind him kicked the back of his knees forcing him down.

“Lace your fingers behind your head,” the leader barked again.

Grimacing, Brynn slowly did as he was told, not wanting to make any sudden moves. Part of him was smug in the knowledge that they feared him enough to take this kind of precaution. The other part knew if Aden did not show soon, or Tanis did not regain consciousnesses, they were all screwed, and Kara would be back in the hands of the sadistic bastard that was sauntering between the guards to stand arrogantly before him.

“It is good to remember one’s place,” Colin sneered.

Now that he was closer, Brynn saw time had not been kind to the male. Making quick calculations, he figured Colin had to be in his seventies by now. The grey hair did not compliment the grey complexion. The clothes, as always, were expensive, but no amount of money can hide a decaying body. Unfortunately, an old body did not mean an old mind, nor did it mean Colin was any less dangerous.

“I was never your servant,” Brynn growled.

“And I suppose Kara was never my slave, but we all know a lie when we hear one,” Colin countered.

“This one is unconsciousness,” one of the guards reported.

Colin frowned at the man behind Brynn. “Do not take any chances with that one. He is more powerful than even he realizes,” he ordered before turning to the man who had been barking orders, his gun still trained on Brynn. “Find her.” With a nod the man motioned for three men to follow and they disappeared into the house.

“Kara is not yours,” Brynn growled, glaring at Colin.

Colin turned his eyes to Brynn, his smile dimming. “Oh, I do believe she is,” he corrected his tone as if he were talking to a child. “I am the one who found her, broke her, there for she is mine. Just as you once were,” he reminded.

Brynn bristled. “Leave, before you regret stepping foot on this planet.”

“And who is supposed to chase me away? You?” Colin scoffed. “You are good, but you are not that good. As for that one,” he waved his hand at where Tanis lay, “right now he is useless to you, and Kara knows better than to disobey me. As for your so called dark sorcerer.”

From one of the many paths that disappeared into garden, Anthony walked into view. When Brynn saw who followed and what they were carrying he ground his teeth in frustration. Their situation had just gone from dangerous to deadly.

Once he was even with his father, Anthony motioned the two men who carried Aden’s bound and unconscious body to drop him at his feet. Once they did they moved back with the others, their weapons drawn, adding ten more men to the others.

Oh goodie, a party, Brynn grimaced. And the main attractions are out cold.

“This one must not be as powerful as everyone claims if mere mortals and a low class wizard can bring him down,” Anthony spat in disgust. He looked around him. “Where is Kara? I want to make sure she is alright. God only knows what the Emperor has done to her.”

The Emperor? What about what Anthony had done to her. Brynn was on his feet before he or anyone else realized what he was doing, a wicked looking knife that had been hidden in his hand. This was the bastard who had taken advantage of Kara when she was at her weakest. Pretended to be a friend, to help her, when all he was doing was using her. Killing him was too merciful, but under the circumstances it would have to do.

“He is mine,” a voice hissed through the air.

The men and their guns that had been yelling for Brynn to go back to his knees turned those guns to something behind him. Just as quickly they dropped to the ground.


Colin and Anthony’s eyes grew wide as they staggered backwards in terror. Brynn had a feeling he knew who was behind him, but he was not ready for what he saw when he turned around.

Hovering just above the stairs with huge white wings spread out behind him was Tanis. Yet at the same time it wasn’t. Brynn could not quite put a finger on it, but there was something very different about the male, aside from the enormous white wings.

Shots from above brought both their attention to the bedroom window.

“Go,” Tanis said when his and Brynn’s eyes locked. There was no hesitation. Reaching down to grab a blaster as he raced by the dead men, Brynn leaped the three stairs and disappeared through the door; the screen slamming shut behind him.

Tanis, no. Not Tanis. Gideon, one of protectors of the heart of the universe, fierce warrior and thoroughly pissed off angel turned his attention to the two males still breathing before him. An issue he was about to remedy. The worry that the spells the demon had wrapped tightly around them, that he still felt lingering within him, made him hesitate.

Do not worry, I will protect her, a female voice breathed through his mind.

And I am supposed to believe you after all you have done? Gideon scoffed. You’ve gone to far this time, Godiva.

The sigh from the female was long and weary. You have a right to be angry, Gideon, but please believe me when I say we did not plan for this to happen. None of you were to be a part of this universe. That was His doing.

We will figure out who is to blame later, Gideon snapped. First I must take care of a few loose ends. Then we will deal with your…mistakes.

As you wish, the female responded humbly.

Humble. That was new. Maybe this time they had learned something. Returning his attention back to the two cowering mortals before him, the wind began to whip around the small garden as Gideon floated down the stairs. Anthony and Colin stumbled backwards, not wanting to be anywhere near the avenging angel.

“It’s not possible,” Colin whispered. “Angels don’t exist. You’re not real.”

“Oh, I can assure you, I am very real,” Gideon smiled. It was not a pleasant smile. “And you have much to atone for. Lucky you, I have an opening in my schedule.”

With a blinding flash, the twenty dead men lying on the ground vanished. The male Anthony thought to be Aden began to groan, his hands suddenly free. Colin and Anthony did not even take notice when he pushed himself groggily to his knees holding his head in pain. Their eyes were glued on Gideon as he glared down at them with eyes filled with fire and black as coal. He was now hovering seven feet above the ground, the ones below him having difficulty holding their feet in the hurricane force winds.

Damien regained his senses enough to dodge a small tree flying through the air, hitting Anthony and knocking him to the ground, pinning him. Staring at Anthony while he groaned in pain then at Gideon in the air, murder in his expression as he glared at Colin, it only took Damien a second to realize he was in the wrong place. Pushing himself to his feet, he staggered towards the angel.

“Where is Sapphira?” he demanded.

That one name and Gideon knew who he was talking to. “In the house,” he answered, his eyes never wavering from his prey. “Brynn and Godiva are with her.”

“Good,” Damien snarled heading for the house. “I could use some stress relief. Beating that female within an inch of her existence would help immensely.”

“Save some for me,” Gideon called as Damien disappeared into the house. His eyes narrowing on Colin, the grin on his face turning Colin’s blood cold. “Now, where were we?”

Chapter 33
Chapter 35

Copyright © 2019 Heidi Barnes

Broken Promises – Chapter 33

Chapter 33

This was not the first time Aden had done this. There were many times Kara could not cope, and so she receded into herself, hiding from the pain. Where Tanis knew the immortal woman Kara had become, he did not know the human woman she had been before. Aden did, so he knew where she might be hiding, how hard he could push, where the holes would be. Once inside the first wall of defense he began to search.

There were many barriers, some easier to break than others. Some Aden navigated around, knowing by the feel of them, the flavor, he did not want to enter that particular memory, or he would be lost in her torment, unable to escape. What felt like hours later, he finally found Kara’s consciousness, her true self, in the dark recesses of her mind. Surrounded by thick black walls. Finding no way in, Aden took a calming breath, closed his eyes and bowed his head in concentration as he gently placed his hand onto the surface. With delicate care he began to push his way through the sticky surface designed to keep everything hurtful out. But he was not here to hurt her, and on some level she recognized that he was not a threat. It did not mean she wanted to see him. Humiliation and fear of rejection assaulted him as he slipped inside, the wall inclosing him in darkness, suffocating him as her fears were suffocating her. When he finally pushed through into the room beyond, he found her huddled in a corner, whimpering. Frowning, he realized that she still was covering in blood and bruises from Malphas’s rape. A testament that while her body healed, her mind had not. She was still trapped in the hell that had become her reality.

Steeling himself for her reaction to him being there. Aden approached her cautiously.

“Kara?” he called softly crouching down before her. “Kara. Can you hear me?” Reaching out he gently touched her hair, freezing when she cringed away from him in terror. “I won’t hurt you,” he promised his heart in his throat, the pain evident in his voice. “You know I would never hurt you.”

“You would if he commanded you to,” she countered, her voice barely above a whisper.

Aden pulled his hand back knowing she was right. If Malphas commanded him to harm her, he would have had to obey, or Kara would face far worse. He tried to refuse once. Only once. Aden shied away from that memory. It was Malphas’s favorite punishment, because every time Aden was forced to hurt her it almost killed him. Evidently he would have to once again earn her trust.

“He didn’t send me,” Aden assured. “Tanis did.”

Kara’s low moan echoed around them. It held so much anguish Aden shrank away from her, covering his ears. Through slitted eyes, he watched her tighten her arms around her knees and begin to rock back and forth.

“He can never know. Can never see. If he knew….” A sob escaped her lips.

“I know what he did,” Aden whispered hoarsely, slowly lowering his hands.

Kara stopped her rocking to stare at him fearfully through her tangled hair. Something in his eyes told her he was telling her the truth. That he knew everything Malphas had done to her. Forced her to do to him. It was the agony that mirrored her own that convinced her. Only that level of agony could come from the horrors she had lived in that week.

“How?” she breathed.

“When we found you…tied the way you were…the things we saw in the room. Evidence of what he had done on your body.” Aden closed his eyes swallowing hard to keep the bile down. Opening his eyes, he looked deep into Kara’s frightened ones. “Once you were safely in your room with Tanis, I went to Malphas intent on killing him.”

“No!” Kara cried moving to her knees. “Aden, no!”

“Shhh,” he soothed cupping her cheek with his hand. “I am…alive. As fitting punishment for my betrayal, he decided I should know exactly what he did to you. Every act…every emotion he felt…you felt.” Aden shuddered looking down. Taking a moment to calm his own rioting emotions, he looked to Kara’s horror-stricken face. “I’m only telling you this because you need to understand that you’re not alone.” Aden moved to his knees so they were only a few inches apart, his hand still on her cheek. “I will help you through this, Kara. Tanis will help you, if you will only allow it.” The words burned on Aden’s tongue because he knew once he brought Kara out of her prison Tanis would once again try to keep him away.

“I can’t,” she whispered. “I can’t face him.”

“You can’t hide here either,” Aden countered showing his frustration. “Your body is dying. If you don’t go back, we will lose you. I can’t lose you.”

Kara sat back on her heals so he no longer touched her; her eyes locked with Aden’s frighten desperate ones, trying to decide whether she was strong enough to do this.

“Some of the…memories are too painful,” she finally said her voice small.

“I will help you block them until you are ready to tackle them one by one,” Aden promised. “We will do this together. I will not leave without you, Kara.”

For the first time Kara smiled. It wasn’t a very big smile, but a tentative frightened one. Aden would take it. He reached up to cup her cheek again.

“That’s what I wanted to see,” he encouraged, returning her smile.

Taking a deep breath, he took her hands in his and they both closed their eyes, beginning the long torturous journey back to reality.

*    *    *  

The world still spinning around him, Aden came back to himself with a gasp. Closing his eyes tight, he clung to the tree desperately trying to regain his equilibrium. It had taken hours before he and Kara finally surfaced. Hours of pain and horror. They had been utterly spent, and there were things Aden had learned along the way that left him cold. Things Kara made him promise never to tell anyone. Things that….

Aden stopped breathing, his eyes snapping open. With sudden clarity he remembered what had been nagging him since that day. Deep within her, there had been memories locked away that were…different. Memories of someone who did not look Kara yet seemed to be her at the same time. Of a room filled with orbs, thousands of them, all swirling different colors, all filled with life. Of the two of them standing in the middle of that room, watching an orb that sat on a pedestal, colors swirling within its glass walls. Words being said that felt familiar. Words they had uttered a long time ago.

“Do you think they will succeed this time?” the female asked,

“I don’t know,” he responded moving so he was behind her, wrapping his arms around her and pulling her against him. Resting his cheek gently against her hair, he too watched the orb. “I shudder to think what they have planned for us if they don’t.”

Reaching out, the female gently stroked the orb with her fingertips. In response the colors swirled faster. As she pulled her fingers away, the colors followed. Sticking to her like a spider web sticks to its prey. A feeling of malevolence followed turning the multi-rainbow colors into vibrate red and inky black. The more she tried to pull away, the tighter they wrap around her hand, pulling it back towards the orb.  

“It is hungry for you,” he frowned taking a hold of the female’s wrist, pulling her hand away from the orb. The colors slithered over the female’s hand, reaching for his. Once the strands touched his skin they burned as they bound the them together, once again pulling them towards the orb.

“For us,” the female breathed as they both fought not to be pulled into the orb. Her eyes traveled to the far corner of the room where the orbs were covered in thick dust, muting the colors within. On the floor lay shards of broken glass. A shudder ran through her body.

Two males entered the room, their expressions hardened, weapons in their hands. Wings flared out behind them. One set so pure in its whiteness they glowed. The other the color of the darkest night, glossy as black satin. At once Aden recognized them, the shock of who they were, what they were, reverberating through his body as he finally understood what he was seeing. The woman was Kara, only her true name was Sapphira. His true name was Damien. Together they were reason the universe kept spinning. That the realities in each orb kept moving towards their destinies. They were the beginning of it all. They were creation. They were life. The two angels, for that’s what they were, were Gideon with the white wings and Fallon with the dark. Their most trusted protectors, their brother’s in arms, their closets friends. They were who Aden knew in this reality as Tanis and Caius.

Within the orb before them were their children, and each orb that lined the walls was a representation of a lesson that had yet to be learned. Looking at the broken shards in the corner, Aden/Damien realized that one of those lessons, one of the very first and most dangerous, had escaped.

“We felt evil intent oozing from this room,” Fallon snarled. Then they saw what was happening with the orb.

“Shit!” Gideon hissed. As one they moved to the other side of the orb, glaring at it. Gideon reached for it.

“No!” Sapphira hissed as they struggled not to be pulled in. “It will only ensnare you too. You know what will happen once we fall into their reality. We will forget who we are. What this evil is. We will not able to fight him until it is too late.”

“We will not allow you to go in alone,” Fallon reminded, his eyes narrowed in anger that she dared to even suggest a thing. “We follow you wherever you go, remember.” His eyes looked up at Damien. “Both of you. That was our vow to each other. I will not break it now.”

“Even if you may be of better use out here?” Damien asked the strain of keeping them from being sucked in and the pain as the evil that had ensnared them burned their hands evident in his voice.

“Yes,” Gideon answered.

Damien looked at his friend and saw in his expression there would be no arguing with the angel. With a sigh that went down to his toes, he said, “If you must.”

Both Gideon and Fallon smiled a smile that held more evil intent then good as Fallon answered, “We must.”

At the same time, both angels took a hold of Damien and Sapphira’s hands and together they were sucked into the orb. As with all the other realities, their memories of who they were locked away until they broke free of their restraints and remembered. When the time came where a choice had to be made. To live in harmony, or to destroy what had been made and start over again. Except nothing was ever destroyed. Life of any kind was too precious. That was what the orbs were. Realities that had not taught their children what they needed to learn. Tucked away on dusty shelves to live out their existences as they deemed fit, and now one of those realities had been set loose.

Aden…no Damien, blinked against the harsh sunlight. They had been sucked in too soon by an evil that was intent on destroying the delicate balance of their core existence, and in turn destroy them all. An evil that was named Malphas. He must warn the others.

Using the tree for support, Damien struggled to his feet. Once the world stopped spinning, he realized he was no longer alone.

“It’s not very often one catches a dark sorcerer such as yourself unawares,” a smug voice purred.

Damien froze as the business end of a blaster leveled itself with the side of his head. Still reeling from the what he had just learned, all he could do was raise his hands out to the side to show he had no weapons drawn. Although, he needed none. Just as he was about to send these insignificant players into the next realm, he remembered something Selene had said when she was nursing him back to health.

“There are more players in this game then you realize, my lord. Each one as important as the next. Anthony is one of them. You must allow him to capture you. What happens as a result is the only way Tanis will remember who he is. When they will all remember and break free of their restraints.”

Shit, Damien snarled. The last thing he wanted to do was allow this bastard to overtake him. Not when he needed to warn the others of Malphas’s true intent. Realizing he had no choice; Damien decided the best course of action was to play his part until the truth was revealed.

“I wonder what could have captured the great Lord Sahen’s attention so thoroughly that he forgot the most important rule?” the voice sneered in his ear.

“And that is?” Damien asked as if the conversation already bored him.

Anthony slowly moved so he was standing directly in front of Damien, his blaster still leveled at Damien’s head. “Never forget that your enemy is never far behind.”

“That would insinuate that I had an enemy that I feared enough to care, which I don’t,” Damien smirked. “Although I will say I’m a bit surprised to see you here. How did you manage to break through the wards?”

“With a little help from my mother,” Anthony answered. There was some sort resentment in his voice Damien did not quite understand. “You remember my mother. Queen Maura.”

Ah. That would explain it, Damien thought as a small smile spread across his lips. The last time he had seen the queen she was begging him for mercy. A mercy he had no intention of giving. “Yes. I remember her. How is she?”

“Better since we rescued her from the dungeon her replacement put her in. She is not very happy with you, Sahen. In fact, she asked us to bring you back to her so she can repay you for your…attentions,” he practically snarled the last word, his eyes glowing with his anger.

Damien’s smile faltered. “There is nothing you can do to me that the emperor has not already done.”

“Oh, I’m sure I can think of a few,” Anthony said slyly. “And once we are done here, we will go back to our home planet and take back what is rightfully ours,” he finished with confidence.

Damien would have laughed at the misplaced confidence, but the men surrounding him with blasters persuaded him it would probably not be his wisest idea.

“And what is it you are here for?” Damien asked keeping his voice casual while someone from behind him removed his belt where his communicator and blaster, among other weapons, were kept.

“I’ve come to claim what is mine. What you took from me,” Anthony answered making his voice sound just as causal. If it were not for the blasters you would think they were two old friends chatting in the woods.

Damien’s eyes narrowed, “She does not belong to you.”

“And I suppose because you were the one to take her from me, you have claim to her?” his voice growing angry again. “I was there for her when she needed protection, when she needed rest. She loved me!” he said slapping his chest sharply. “You show up and decide she belongs to your Emperor and you think that gives you claim to her?”

“You don’t understand what you are talking about. You don’t understand what the emperor….”

“To hell with your fucking emperor!” Anthony roared stepping forward, placing the end of his blaster between Damien’s eyes.

It would have been a simple thing to remove the blaster from Anthony’s hands and incapacitate the rest of the men, but not without injuring himself, and he had no idea where Colin or Maura were. With the restrictions Malphas had put on Tanis…no Gideon, and Kara, who he now knew was Sapphira, he was not sure they would be able to fend off an attack without his help. A warmth filled Damien as he realized that the connection, that feeling of one he felt every time he was near Sapphira was because they truly were one. Refocusing on the boy in front of him, Damien continued his role as Aden.

“If you think the Emperor will allow you to take his pet without consequences, you are a fool,” his voice low and menacing. “You play with a fire that will utterly destroy you and your world. Walk away why you can, Anthony. Your life is not worth a woman who does not love you.”

“I suppose she loves you,” Anthony spat.

Yes, his voice growled in his head. Damien closed his eyes taking a deep breath. As much as he wanted to say that one fact out loud, scream it to the heavens, he knew he could not. They were still bound by the chains Malphas had wrapped them in. Voicing the way Sapphira felt for him would only bring the demon’s wrath down on them both, and he would not do that to her.

“Sapph…Kara is not mine.” Not completely, he amended knowing that it was true. Gideon and Fallon may have started out as their protectors, but through the millennium they had become much more. “She belongs to beings more powerful than you or your mother could ever imagine. If you do this, if you take her away from them, you will have the wrath of the Gods rain down around you.”

“I don’t believe in your Gods,” Anthony spat. With a nod of his head, Damien’s hands were roughly pulled behind him and bound. “I don’t even believe you are as powerful as you claim.” He moved so he was nose to nose with Damien. “I think it is time you feel the sting of your own weapon.”

Something hard was rammed into the back of Damien’s skull and fire exploded through his body. The pain was so sudden and so intense he did not even have time to cry out before he crumpled to the ground unconscious.

Chapter 32
Chapter 34

Copyright © 2019 Heidi Barnes

Broken Promises – Chapter 32

Chapter 32

Aden stood in the same spot he had only a few months ago watching the peaceful farm. This time his mission was a much different one. To keep Kara’s family safe from a male intent on using every means to own her. Even threatening to kill her children. Aden smiled at that. Colin had no idea who he was dealing with now. Kara was not the frighten mortal who did not know her own power. If she had not been already weakened by that damn necklace, she would be here protecting her own children. Instead she had to rely on those who would give their lives for her. Those who protected her.

Something in the back of Aden’s mind nagged at him. Something important he needed to remember but kept eluding him. There were too many painful memories around the thought. Ones that the demon had forced on him when he had tried to kill him. Memories he had tried repressed but refused to stay buried. Assailing him when he least expected it. Bringing him to his knees at the most inopportune times, leaving him weak and vulnerable.

Like now.

“Noooo,” he groaned through gritted teeth. “Not now.”

Using the tree as support, Aden slid to the ground as he lost the internal struggle. The world swimming before him, the day they found Kara in Malphas’s room resurfaced with a vengeance.

Rage overtaking his common sense, Aden had gone to kill Malphas. The fact that he would also kill Caius, the only father figure he had ever known, did not enter his mind. All he could think of was exacting revenge for the female that lay battered and bruised in her bed. Instead, the demon had shown his true strength. Within a blink of an eye, Aden was in one of the white rooms that Malphas had used to torture them time and time again. Hanging from chains in the middle of the room, Malphas had taken great pleasure in forcing Aden to relive every excruciating minute of pain it forced on Kara in vivid detail. The pleasure caused by that pain because that is what Malphas enjoyed. The utter humiliation because of her curse, the one where strong emotions of others overwhelmed her own, she had enjoyed every minute of what the demon had done to her. His powers bound, there was nothing Aden could do or say to stop the onslaught.

However, the demon was not satisfied with Aden reliving the horrors of the previous week. No. He forced Aden to relieve all the horrors Kara had endured over her existence, the most horrendous being that of this lifetime. Not just once, but over and over for three days without reprieve. Years of torture crammed into a few days, and there was nothing Aden could do to stop him. When Malphas was satisfied that Aden had been taught his place, he was left hanging limp in his chains broken, alone. It had been Selene who had gently released him from his prison, flashing him to his room where she stayed with him until he was able to at least pretend to be sane. In truth, he was barely hanging on.

Aden was not the same man when he finally emerged from his chambers. The tight hold he usually held over his power, his emotions, was brittle at best. Everyone could feel his anxiety and did their best to not draw Aden’s attention as he made his way to Kara’s chambers.

Paying them no heed, Aden had only one goal. To see with his own eyes Kara was all right, was still alive.

Tanis stood when the door slid open, his eyes narrowing as Aden walked into the room. He too looked as if he had had no sleep in the last few days. That added to the strain of being away from Kara for the week and Tanis did not look much better than Aden.

“She’s sleeping,” Tanis informed him coldly.

“Don’t lie to me,” Aden cautioned softly as the door hissed shut. Anything louder and he could not guarantee his fragile control would crack.

Tanis stiffen, his hand coming up as if he wanted to strangle Aden, but then he saw him. Really saw him. The pale complexion, black circles around Aden’s eyes, the haunted look of them. The normal pristine clothes rumpled as if he had slept in them, his hair looking as if he just ran his fingers through it in a vain attempt to control it before it dried. Then he had seen the slight tremor that ran through Aden’s body and his anger evaporated.

“What has he done to you?” Tanis whispered, a touch of fear showing in his voice, his hand slowly lowering.

“The question is, what hasn’t he done,” Aden answered unable to keep the small tremor out of his voice. His eyes slid to the closed bedroom door. “To either of us,” he whispered. Closing his eyes, Aden released a shuttering breath, his entire body following as it swayed.

Tanis’s eyes widen in horror. Aden had disappeared for five days. Had Caius been torturing him the entire time?

“Oh, my Gods,” Tanis breathed, his eyes darting to the closed door between them and Kara

Aden felt Tanis’s panic, knew why he felt it. What had Caius done to Kara? What could he still be doing? Unfortunately, those emotions fed into Aden’s and pushed at his already brittle control. Closing his eyes tightly, Aden struggling to regain control as his power breathed through the room, blanketing everything, making it hard to breathe.

“I need to see her,” Aden whispered desperately, his eyes pleading.

“I can’t allow you in there this out of control, Aden,” Tanis said softly, careful to keep his voice as neutral as possible.

Neither of them had the control or will to keep the other out completely, so Aden heard Tanis’s thoughts. That he considered him a bomb ready to explode, and Tanis was afraid he would take the entire ship with him.

“I would never hurt her!” Aden growled stepping forward, shocked that Tanis would even think such a thing. Again, his power filled the room, this time with a touch of anger that sent little electrical shocks over Tanis’s skin.

“I know,” Tanis assured calmly clearly not wanting to push Aden over that precarious ledge he was desperately clinging too. “I know you would never intentionally hurt her. But right now your emotions are out of control, and she is in no condition to protect herself.”

“What do you mean?” Aden asked, his anger draining away to concern.

Tanis hesitated before answering. As if gathering himself. “Ever since we rescued her from the demon’s room she has done nothing but lay on the bed staring at the wall. I’ve tried everything to reach her, but nothing works. It’s as if she’s shut down, hidden deep inside herself where nothing can touch her.”

Aden squeezed his eyes shut as he once again swayed on his feet, understanding all too well why she would hide.

“You know,” Tanis breathed his voice accusing. “You know what he did to her.”

When Aden opened his eyes to look at him, Tanis stepped back, the color draining from his face as his worst fears were confirmed. The evidence on Kara’s body that was so overwhelming of what Malphas had done to her that he could no longer ignore. Looking at the closed door that lead to their bedroom, the rage that consumed him pushed back Aden’s power and shoved him into the wall, pinning him there.

“I will kill him,” Tanis snarled, his voice low, echoing throughout the room with his power.

“I already tried,” Aden gritted, trying to push Tanis’s hold on him back enough so he could at least breathe.

Tanis looked at him, his eyes as black as the deepest pits of hell. A single thought and he was in Aden’s mind before Aden could stop him, shuffling through his memories. Gritting his teeth, Aden pulled what little reserved he had and pushed Tanis out before he could find what he was looking for. Growling Tanis stepped forward pushing harder.

“If she wanted you to see, she would have let you in,” Aden hissed, his eyes tightly shut with the effort it was taking to keep Tanis out.

After a few moments more of pushing, Tanis finally released Aden.

Aden dropped to his knees, falling forward onto his hands gasping, a fine sheen of sweat covering his body as it shook, black spots dancing before his eyes. Gods that hurt, and while Tanis may not have understood what he was seeing, Aden did. Going down memory lane was not what he needed right now. He was barely holding it together as it was. Using the wall for support, Aden climbed to his feet, waiting until Tanis’s eyes bled back to their normal color before he continued.

“You may not be able to reach her because she is trying to protect you. I already know what he did. She might let me in.” Hesitating, he swallowed hard, unused to showing vulnerability in front of anyone save Kara, he tried to make Tanis understand how desperate he was. “I just need to know she isn’t…,” Aden stopped, choking on his words.

“That she isn’t lying in there bleeding,” Tanis whispered. After a moment of silence, where Tanis studied Aden, he final took a deep breath and released it slowly, his body relaxing. The two of them fighting was not going to help Kara. Finally, Tanis stepped out of Aden’s way.

Hesitating only for a moment, Aden started for the door. Tanis grabbed his arm as he went by, stopping him. Aden stared into the other man’s pain filled eyes.

“Bring her back to me. To us,” he said quietly.

“I’ll try.”

Tanis nodded and released Aden’s arm.

Once the door slid shut behind him, Aden leaned heavily against it. He was weak, very weak. The walk here while trying to keep his powers under control had taken its toll, as did that little power struggle with Tanis. They may have had their differences, but for the love of the woman lying in the bed before him, both men would do anything to protect her. Something they had failed miserably in. Clenching his fists, he closed his eyes willing the memories to go away. Wishing for the strength to put walls around them so he would not see them every time he thought of Kara. Taking a few deep breaths and releasing them slowly, Aden opened his eyes and looked at the bed.

Kara lay on her side, her knees slightly bent, facing the door. A sheet covered her from her breasts down, showing she wore nothing but that cursed necklace. Aden felt his body relax when he did not see any of the blood he feared. Her body was whole. Her mind was another story. Wishing Tanis had not tried his little mind rape that had weakened him further, Aden tentatively reached out once more, trying to connect with Kara. There was a flicker of recognition, but nothing more as Kara continued to stare vacantly. She was in there, somewhere. Now how to find her without losing them both.

Stumbling in his exhaustion, Aden went to the side of the bed, falling to his knees so he was level with her face.

“Kara?” he called softly as he gently stroked her hair. “Kara, can you hear me?” There were dark circles, almost purple, around her eyes. Her face was pale, drawn from lack of food and sleep. Taking one of her hands in his, feeling how frail it was, he brought it to his lips, gently kissing the back of it. “Kara, love, please look at me,” he begged softly, looking into her eyes. “Please see me.” The panic he was keeping at bay roared to the surface when she would not respond, threatening to overwhelm him.

She has gone deeper into herself than either of us realized, he thought. There is only one way I can reach her, but he will not like it.

With a wave of his free hand, his eyes never leaving hers, Aden locked the door. He did not want anyone entering the room and taking advantage of what he was about to do, because he would be helpless to defend either of them.

Removing his clothes, Aden carefully slipped under the sheet behind Kara, pulling her back against him so he touched as much of her as possible. Wrapping his arm around her waist holding her tightly to him as he curled around her, he closed his eyes and allowed his mind to go where it willed. All the excruciating pain he had been forced to endure assailed him at once. Tears sprang to his eyes as he buried his face in her hair. How long had it been since he held her this way? How long had it been since they had been able to make love? Yet they were both so broken neither one of them could finally give in to the need that tore at them every second of every day. A need to be together, to love each other as they wanted, to finish a ritual that would cement their bond for eternity.

Gritting his teeth, he allowed the pain wash over him until the tidal wave began to ebb and he was able to think coherently. This was not the time for wishful thinking. If he could not bring Kara back then they were lost. He was lost.

“Please Kara,” he whispered in her hair desperately. “I need you. I cannot live without you. Please come back to me.” Then, very carefully, he began to push gently at the walls Kara built around her mind.

Chapter 31
Chapter 33

Copyright © 2019 Heidi Barnes

Broken Promises – Chapter 31

Chapter 31

The launch bay was chaotic. Technicians running back and forth trying to clear the cramped space of illegal merchandise. Spaceships of all different shapes and sizes were maneuvering to leave. Everyone was running and Kara still did not know from who.

“Who is this person that is causing so much panic?” Kara whispered from the doorway they were hiding in. It was an obscure place in the back corner of the bay that lead to a side hall rarely used.

When Thomas didn’t answer right away, Kara glanced up at him. The considering expression was back again. Kara could feel he was warring with himself about how much he should tell her.

“Thomas?” she prompted suspicion thick in her voice.

Sighing, his shoulders slumped in resignation. “You know it is not fair that you can read me so well,” he protested gently.

“It’s a gift, or curse,” Kara shrugged. “Depends on how you look at it and what day it is.” She was rewarded with a small chuckle.

“Everyone is in an uproar because it’s the Emperor’s emissary that is coming for you.”

Kara could only blink at him in response. The emperor? The most powerful, dangerous being in the universe was looking for her?

“My lady? Are you all right?”

“Why would he want me?” she asked hoarsely. Suddenly running away with Anthony sounded like a much better idea then giving herself over to someone who might be far worse than Colin.

“He has always wanted you. It’s the reason Colin fetched you in the first place. Originally he was supposed to take you straight the emperor, but because he became greedy, you managed to escape him. When he finally recaptured you, instead of taking you straight to the emperor as he was ordered he decided to keep you for himself. We’ve been keeping one step ahead of the emperor’s scouts ever since. Until now, that is,” he frowned looking out at the large doors and space beyond.

In the distance something moved. The stars seemed to swirl for a moment then suddenly there was a large cruiser that dwarfed their ship hovering over them. The silence in the landing bay was sudden and disorienting. Kara held her breath, for not only was the ship impressive, the sudden materialization of armed men in the middle of the bay was even more impressive. It took a moment for the workers to realized they were no longer alone. Once they did they dropped whatever they were carrying and scattered. Soon the only ones left where the five figures dressed in red flight suites with long red capes and boots that reached their knees, and helmets that covered their heads. Each held a long staff that crackled and snapped with some sort of energy.

In the middle of them was another figure dressed completely in black. Except for his hair. That stood out like a beacon amongst the darkness surrounding him, and when he looked directly at Kara as if he knew where she stood, his sky blue eyes pierced her down to her soul.

Suddenly it was hard to breathe. Putting her hand over her chest, Kara gasped for air as she desperately tried to break the hold the dark sorcerer had on her. How did she know what he was? The answer came with a clarity that sent her spinning. She knew because with that one look everything about him was laid bare to her soul. With the same clarity she knew that everything about her had been laid bare to him, and what he saw enraged him.

“Kara?” Thomas called, taking her arm and gently shaking her. “What is happening?”

“I don’t know,” she whispered still entranced by the stranger. No, not stranger anymore. His name was Aden Sahen, or at least it was in this lifetime, and she knew him. Not from anywhere she had been, or anything she may have seen on a news monitor or paper, but from another time long ago. One filled with pain and anger and…. The last she could not quite put a name to. It was strength and peace and a love so profound it took what little breath she had away. With that one look from across a vast distance, Kara was irrevocable his as he was hers, and there was no force in any universe or reality that could break a bond that had been forged before what was known to be the beginning of time.

Without taking his eyes off her, Aden’s lips moved and the men around him slipped away into the surrounding bay. It was only then the fierce predatory expression melted into one of awe and wonder. So entranced by him – were those wings behind him? – Kara did not hear the fighting around her, did not understand the danger until she took a step towards Aden and a hand clamped down over her mouth while an arm slipped around her waist, slamming her against a hard body.

“You are mine!” Anthony hissed in her ear right before he dragged her away from her destiny.

*   *   *

Kara’s eyes opened to see the white shiplap boards of the farmhouse ceiling. Around her tension was high as Brynn and Tanis tried to digest what they just saw. What they could no longer deny.

“What happened after Anthony found you?” Tanis asked quietly.

Resettling herself so she sat up in the chair and could see the two men around her, Kara sighed. “He tried to reach his ship so he could escape with me, but Aden’s men had it surrounded. So he took me back to the command deck where Colin was trying to negotiate his way out of the entire ship being destroyed for betraying the Emperor. He was talking with Aden’s second in command and had no idea Aden was already on the ship.”

“You said you were given a choice as to whether to stay or go with Aden,” Brynn said moving so he sat on the edge of the couch, his elbows resting on his knees as he frowned at Kara. “I felt what you felt when you saw Aden. There was no choice, was there.”

Kara shook her head, her eyes downcast. There was no guilt or regret of what happened that day, only guilt over lying to Brynn.

When she looked up into Brynn’s eyes, she begged him to understand. “I could no more walk away from Aden as I could willing walk away from you.” She turned her eyes to Tanis. “Or you. In that split second we were one.”

“But it is different than it is with us,” Tanis said, his voice unhappy.

“Yes,” Kara answered her eyes not leaving him.

“It’s…more,” he added.

This time Kara only nodded.

They sat staring at each other for a moment, different thoughts, images, racing through their heads as Tanis sifted through her memories and Kara allowed it. With a sigh that reached his toes, Tanis closed his eyes and rubbed his face wearily. Dropping his arms onto the arms of the chair heavily, he blinked up at the ceiling, gathering himself, then sat forward on the chair, mimicking Brynn’s pose.

“Mother said we must remember, but I still don’t understand what. What was is so important about yours and Aden’s connection?”

“I think it was the feeling of knowing him,” Brynn suggested. “When I bonded with Kara, I knew we belonged together, but I didn’t feel as if I knew her. That the connection between us was somehow…preordained. Does that make sense?” he frowned.

“Strangely yes,” Tanis answered thinking through Brynn’s words. “Where our connection is old, and we come together every two thousand years because it is, as you say, preordained. Their connection seems much older. Their souls are not two souls coming together, but one that had been ripped apart and is once again made whole.”

“So what does that all mean?” Brynn asked more confused than he was before.

Tanis looked at Kara, as lost as Brynn. “I don’t know. I really don’t know.”

Brynn turned his attention to Kara, what he had to say next making him uncomfortable. “While what you showed us helps us understand your and Aden’s connection better, it does not tell us what Malphas did to you that Aden does not want to relive.”

Abruptly Kara stood and paced away, unable to meet either of their gazes. “I don’t think it is necessary to show you. Brynn already knows most of it, and Tanis….”

Arms circled her waist, gently pulling her back into a warm body. “Will not judge you,” Tanis breathed in her ear, placing a gentle kiss on her neck. Holding his arms to her as tightly as she could, Kara tried to stem the tears that suddenly fell with abandonment. “Hey!” he called turning her so she faced him. “No more tears,” he coaxed brushing those that fell away. “We have cried enough tears for that bastard. We will give him no more.”

A sudden sharp pain lanced through Kara’s abdomen, buckling her knees.

“Kara!” Tanis cried out catching her before she hit the ground.

“What happened?” Brynn demanded, on his feet and next to them as Tanis reached down and picked Kara’s legs up.

“I don’t know,” Tanis answered walking to the couch and carefully lying her down on it. Taking her hand, he sat down next to her.

“The wards have been broken,” Aden answered from the doorway. Both men looked to see him leaning against the door jam, white with pain. “They are connected to Kara so in the chance she decided to leave their safety Caius would know. Colin must have finally broken them and now he is attacking her in order to weaken her.”

“That means he’s on his way here,” Brynn said, worry lacing his voice. “Do you know where they were broken?”

“By the farm,” Aden answered grimly.

“The children,” Brynn hissed heading for the door.

“No,” Aden said putting up a hand to stop him. “I’ll go. You may be powerful in your own right,” he responded to Brynn’s glare, “but there are two of them and the gods only know how many men with weapons.” Grimacing as he stood straight, Aden locked eyes with Brynn. “I’ll protect them with my life, but I doubt he will go for the children. They have waited to long to find her, and Anthony’s obsession will only see the end prize. Not what lays in-between.”

“Colin is not so shortsighted,” Tanis reminded. “And by the look of you, you are as compromised as Kara. Which brings a question to mind. Why are you affected where I am not?”

“If I told you the answer, you would not like it and Kara is in enough pain. She does not need your or Brynn’s anger to add to it. Besides, I’m still upright and Colin is no match for me even at my weakest,” Aden grimaced as another stabbing pain shot through him. Kara moaned on the couch, her hand squeezing Tanis’s as she writhed in pain. He turned his attention back to Brynn. “Kara needs you here. Chris and I will take care of the others.” Pushing himself off the doorjamb, Aden moved towards Kara, stopping short when Tanis was suddenly in his way.

“I don’t care what Mother or the prophecy says, or what happened on that damn ship. Kara is not now or never will be yours,” Tanis hissed.

Aden’s frown turned into a scowl, but he kept quiet. They did not have time to fight amongst themselves. Not if they wanted to survive.

“You are here because evidently we cannot do this without you,” Tanis continued, his fury barely contained. “While you are here, you will keep your distance from my wi…from her. Do I make myself clear?”

“Perfectly,” Aden answered calmly, a small smile on his lips. It satisfied him that Tanis could not claim Kara as his wife. Aden knew it had taken a great deal for him not to say it with Brynn so close. The only male here who could truly make that claim. And there was one little piece of information that Aden knew was irritating Tanis to no end. He was not strong enough to keep Aden away from Kara. Not anymore.

When had it come to this? Aden thought. The three of them having to feel as if they needed to fight for her. Aden realized it became that way the minute they were all together. As Tanis turned to Kara and picked her up in his arms, heading for the stairs and the rooms above, a flash of jealousy scorched its way through Aden. Clenching his teeth and fists he turned towards the door to see Brynn watching them. When Aden drew near him, he could see Brynn was having the same difficulties he was seeing Kara in Tanis’s arms by how tightly his fists were clenched. Aden stepped next to him, his eyes going back to the stairs and Tanis’s disappearing feet.

“It seems we have something in common,” Aden murmured.

“What could we possibly have in common?” Brynn asked through clenched teeth, not looking at him.

Aden glanced at Brynn with an amused expression. “We both love what will never be ours alone,” he said quietly.

Brynn turned his glare towards Aden. “You have no claim to Kara, sorcerer.”

“After what you have seen, what you felt, you know that is not true.”

Brynn was taken aback by how unhappy Aden’s voice sounded. He had not realized how deeply Aden’s feelings truly were until this moment. It still did not change anything.

“Stay away from her,” Brynn repeated Tanis’s warning.

Turning so he faced the door, Aden leaned in towards Brynn. “She has not told you everything,” Aden whispered. “And I didn’t show you everything,” he added looking at Brynn. This time Aden’s smile was pained as he looked into Brynn’s shocked eyes. “You and Tanis cannot even begin to imagine the horrors she has been through. Neither of you were there to pick her up off the floor when the Emperor tortured her for days on end, barely clinging onto life. Neither of you were there to pull the men off her because the emperor decided to give her to an entire garrison to use however they pleased.” He watched with satisfaction as the color drained from Brynn’s face and he staggered backwards, grabbing a chair for support. Aden leaned in, his voice a hiss, “You may be her husband, the father of her children, and Tanis may have some cosmic claim to her, but do not think for one moment that I will release my claim on her heart. On her soul. Whether or not you want to accept it, she is bound to me and she loves me. It may not be the love she has for Tanis, or the love she has with you, but it is mine.”

“Maybe what you say is true,” Brynn responded, his voice strangely detached as his mind reeled in shock from the horrors Aden had just told him, “but she will never yours alone.”

“No. She may never be mine alone. But I will not give up the part of her I do have,” Aden responded, his voice filled with his conviction. Without another word he walked out of the house, stiff with anger. He needed an outlet, and that bastard and his son who was coming for Kara was the perfect target.

Brynn followed Aden to the doorway, watching as the male jumped the steps and began to run towards his home, thinking about what he had learned today. With a sinking feeling in the pit of his stomach, Brynn knew Aden was right. Kara did belong to him in a way Brynn could not comprehend, but what did that have to do with this prophecy or Malphas. What was it Kara’s mother wanted them to remember? According to her they needed to figure that out sooner rather than later. Turning back into the house, Brynn headed upstairs. While they had the time, he needed to talk to Tanis and figure this puzzle out before it was too late. For all of them.

Chapter 30
Chapter 32

Copyright © 2019 Heidi Barnes

Broken Promises – Chapter 30

Chapter 30

Where to begin. One would think at the beginning, but which one? No need to go back to the original beginning where she Tanis and Caius first met. Nothing there would help them in this situation, and they did not have that kind of time.

Brynn was with her when Colin first found her, and as Tanis had reminded her, he knew those memories almost as well as if they were his own. Kara saw no need to relive the horrors of what was done to her in a bid to break her to his will, or what she had done with Anthony to keep her sanity. How she had allowed herself to fall into the trap that was her curse. To allow another’s emotions become her own. She was not proud of what she had done, and she did not want to risk alienating Brynn by showing him the truth of those years she had been taken from him. He was struggling enough with what his imagination was conjuring to fill in the empty spaces between what she had already told him.

Her mother and Chris had said that Aden was a vital part of what was to come. That they must all remember. The question was, remember what? Maybe the best place to start, then, was when she had met Aden for the first time. Kara shied away from that idea. She had not been in a good place when Aden found her. Broken in spirit, bruised in body, addicted to the desire, the false peace Anthony brought her, Kara was a shell of herself. A wanton creature who would do anything to escape the horrors Colin inflicted upon her. There was also the danger of falling into those memories, back into the addiction. With Anthony so near, that was not what Kara wanted to chance.

I will be with you, Aden’s voice breathed through her mind. I will not allow you to become lost to those memories. Remember, I am your new addiction, he teased.

“What’s so funny?” Tanis asked when a giggle escaped Kara’s lips.

“Nothing,” she smirked. Aden had been careful to keep his thoughts only for her. Smart boy.

“Hmmm,” Tanis murmured, not believing her for a second. Louder, so it could be heard through the open window. “Out of her head, dark one.” A nickname Tanis used for Aden because he knew it irked the male. “We don’t have time for your games.”

“No idea what you are talking about,” Aden’s innocent voice floated through the window from outside.

“What’s going on?” Brynn asked looking from Tanis to Kara, who was still sitting back in her chair, eyes closed. Although she could not quite keep her lips from twitching upwards. Something was amusing her, and it seemed he and Tanis were not invited in on the joke.

“Are we through?” Tanis asked.

“Yes,” Kara answered quickly, settling more into her chair. With a deep sigh, she relaxed her body and her mind. Opening it up to those who were nearest. Once the link between them was solidified, she sifted through her memories until she came to the one she wanted. Praying that Tanis and Brynn would not judge her too harshly, she allowed the memory to play….

*   *   *

“Kara! Kara! Wake up!” a voice hissed in her ear.

Groaning in protest, Kara rolled over in her bed away from the annoying snake. That alone should have told her something was not quite right. They were on a spaceship somewhere deep in space. There were no snakes. Unless they happened upon some strange creature that resembled a snake that they had never heard of. The gods knew that had happened once or twice.

“Kara!” it called more urgently.

The lights blared to life. What the hell! Crying out in protest, Kara threw her blankets over her head and snuggled in deeper under them. Blessed darkness. Why was someone trying to wake her up so early? Yesterday, after she had collapsed during the interrogation of a spy they had found among the command deck crew, Colin had promised her extra sleep today. The communications officer that had been with them since Kara had been recaptured six years ago seemed harmless enough. He had blended in seamlessly with the crew, making friends easily. A perfect undercover position for someone who needed to get messages out to his employers without being discovered.

How he was finally caught Kara did not know. What she did know as his mind had been protected by someone far more powerful than she was. When she had collapsed from sheer exhaustion, only Anthony’s interference, and strangely the spies, had kept Colin from dragging her to her feet and forcing her to continue. She should have known Colin would not keep his word. He never did when it came to her. She was a tool to use, or abuse, at his digression. Her wellbeing was not of importance.

The covers she hid under were suddenly yanked off her, exposing her nude body to the cold room and her sensitive eyes to the blaring lights. Although her room was spacious and comfortable, heat was not a luxury Colin afforded her. The room was not freezing, only warm enough to keep the cold of space at bay.

“Ayeee!” she cried out grabbing for the missing blankets and the warmth they provided.

“Kara! Get up!” the voice she now recognized as Anthony’s snapped.

Something soft smacked her in the face. Catching them in her arm, the other one was holding her up, she cracked her eyelids open to see it was her wrinkled clothes she had left on the floor by the bed.

“Anthony…,” she began in protest.

“We don’t have time to argue. We have to leave the ship. Now!” he interrupted before she could argue that she had only, what? Kara looked at the clock next to her bed. One hour of sleep! Normally when woke suddenly and told to move she obeyed immediately. It only took once to teach her that to argue only lead to pain. It did not mean she went along meekly with every order Colin gave. Some of the things he asked of her went against everything she believed in. But to argue for a few more minutes of sleep was not worth a day of enduring whatever new horror Colin devised to punish her.

Anthony was different. Usually his patience with her was infinite. Today not so much, which meant something was very wrong.

Rolling so her feet were over the side of the bed as she sat up, Kara fumbled with her clothes. Space was cold, so the clothing was made from a special material that kept them warm while being light and breathable. As Kara held up the crimson halter top to the matching leggings she wished for some of that clothing. Or at least more of it. There was a tunic that went over all of this somewhere in the room, but even that material was sheer. It made it very dangerous for Kara to walk the halls alone, which was probably the reason Colin dressed her like this. Unless she had an escort, she stayed hidden in her rooms, and even then it was not a guarantee that one of the many addicted warriors on this ship would not try to break into her rooms.

“What’s going on?” she asked dropping the leggings on the bed next to her. Straightening what material there was of the halter, she slipped the strap over her head and pulled the front down over her chest. While she was not large by any means, the halter was designed to emphasize what she did have in a way of a chest while showing as much skin as possible. The only reason she stayed in the damn thing was because of the straps that crisscrossed in front, keeping the material from sliding sideways. After she lifted, shifted and wrangled her breasts in place, she grabbed her leggings.

“We figured out where the spy came from, “Anthony answered hitting the button that opened her closet.

“Who?” she asked shoving one foot into her leggings and yanking the tight material over it.

“Someone we’ve been hiding you from,” he answered absently throwing shoes out onto the floor. “These will have to do” he grunted. “Don’t you have any…?” Anthony had turned around to catch Kara as she shimmed into her leggings, her hands holding the waist up around her ribcage, elbows out, hair in disarray from the little sleep she had managed. It wasn’t the sexiest pose, but even though she had material on her body, the tightness of that material left very little to the imagination.

When the wave of lust washed over Kara, she froze. Looking up she found Anthony frozen in place, his eyes dark with hunger, his breaths coming in small pants. Kara recognized what she was seeing all too well. A reaction to who she was, or what she was, that lead to her on her back lost in the desire of those around her. The way Anthony had just been acting, Kara did not think they had any time to feed his addiction.

Slowly lowering her hands, she began to carefully back away from Anthony. If she was lucky and made no sudden moves, she just may avoid what came next. Stopping after taking one step back, Kara had a dangerous thought. One that could massively backfire if she was wrong. What if whoever was looking for her could help her escape? Maybe that was why they were coming. To rescue her from Colin.

The sound of her shoes hitting the floor brought her attention back to the hungry male slowly advancing upon her, and the danger he posed. It was then she realized that even though she felt his lust pulsing at her in waves, she was not falling victim to the emotions, drowning as his need became hers. That should not have been possible as weak as she was. Not that she was questioning this miracle by any means, but how was that possible?

Anthony left her no more time to think about the why. With a deep growl, he advanced on her like a hunger panther advances on its prey. Quickly glancing around the room, Kara spotted her clock. While not very big, made from a rare type of rock found on one particular planet, it was heavy. A present from one of the warriors who was always gentle with her, taking her into his room not to have sex, but to allow her some reprieve from the others. Tending to her wounds, helping her crawl out of the onslaught of desire with his own sense of calm and control. She had kept it to remind herself that there was still mercy and kindness in the universe. Now it would serve to help her escape from the hell that he had desperately tried to save her from.

“Anthony,” Kara called in a vain attempt to break through the lust filled haze that she knew surrounded the male. Reaching back, she picked up the heavy clock. “I thought we needed to leave.”

To her dismay Anthony stopped in his tracks. Fists clenched at his sides, he tightly closed his eyes, shaking his head trying to clear it. No! Kara screamed inside her head. Today could not be the day he decided to fight what he felt around her. She needed him out of control so he would not realize what she was doing.

“Yes,” he croaked clearly fighting some internal battle. “I…need to.” He shook his head again. “We need to get to my ship, before….” It was then he made the mistake of opening his eyes to see Kara standing before him. “I need to…,” he whispered.

“What?” Kara whispered back, putting a little seduction in her voice.

“I need….” This time his voice was so soft that Kara could barely hear him. “You.”

Before Kara could react he was in front of her, reaching for her. When her body slammed against his, he groaned as if he had just tasted the best delicacy that the universe could devise. Then his lips were on hers and there were no more sounds. This close, skin touching skin, usually Kara was lost. So when her hand came up with the clock and smashed into the side of Anthony’s head, she was not sure who was more shocked. Him or her.

With a cry of pain, Anthony lurched sideways, his hand instinctively going to the side of his head that was in pain. Kara did not wait. She hit him again as hard as she could and he dropped like a stone.

“What’s going on in there?” a voice demanded from the other side of the door.

Staring at the door in horror, the now bloody clock still in her hand, Kara froze.

“My lord?” the voice called. “I know you told us not to come in, but if you don’t answer soon we will enter.”

Spurring into action, Kara quickly hid the clock under her pillow. Kneeling next to Anthony, she checked to see if he was still breathing. Relief washed through her when she felt the hot hair coming from his nose. She may want to escape him, but she did not want to kill him. A little voice in the back of her head quipped that she might regret that decision later. Standing, she glanced around her.

“Help!” she called when she saw the ballet type slippers where Anthony had dropped them. While not ideal for space travel, like he had said, they would have to do. “Hurry!” she called again quickly picking up the shoes and moving out of the way. “Anthony is hurt!”

The doors swished opened and two very tall, very imposing males rushed into the room. Kara gave them enough of her attention to see that it was the only two twins that Colin had in his employ. Memories of what they had done to her on nights when they caught her alone or were on guard duty outside her door sent a shudder through her body. Sadistic to the core, their favorite thing to do was to tie her up and double team her. One of those nights had left her incapable of going with Colin on an important diplomatic mission. He had lost a lot of money that day, and in retaliation they were forbidden to go anywhere near her. A punishment Kara wholly agreed with. Why Anthony had chosen to bring them with him was beyond her.

“What happened?” the one called Drey demanded kneeling down next to Anthony’s unconscious body.

“It happened so fast. He was coming towards me and tripped over these shoes.” She held up the shoes in her hands to show them. “He hit his head on the side of the bed and now he won’t wake up,” Kara explained putting as much worry and panic in her voice as she could. The panic was not really all that hard. Especially as she noticed the older of the two was watching her with the same expression as Anthony had been.

“He’s still alive,” Drey announced with a fare amount of relief. “Bastian, go fetch the healer.”

“Fetch him yourself,” Bastian growled, his eyes never leaving Kara.

Drey was on his feet pushing his brother out the door so fast, Kara barely had time to track it. “Fetch the healer, Bastian!” he snapped. “If we allow Colin’s son to die because you could keep your head out of your pants, we’ll be next.”

“Fine!” Bastian huffed.

“And if you can’t be of help here, stay away,” Drey called down the corridor.

There was some response that Kara did not quite catch but was sure was some obscenity.

With a sound of utter frustration, Drey turned back into the room and froze when he saw Kara and what she was wearing. With visible effort, he forced his gaze away and moved to kneel next to Anthony. “You better put something else on, witch, before the others return or we will have more casualties than the young lord,” he ordered hoarsely.

Good idea, Kara thought quickly slipping her shoes on, she grabbed the black sheer tunic that was draped over a nearby chair and slipped it on. Once it fell to where it touched the floor, the sleeves coming to a point at her hands, she went to her closet and pulled out a thick black cape. Laying it over her shoulders, she hooked the front closed at the neck with a plain silver clasp. She had just pulled the deep cowl over her head, hiding her face in its shadows, when they heard voices. Pressing herself up against the wall near the doorway, Kara tried to make herself as invisible as possible.

“My Lord,” the healer gasped when he saw Anthony lying in a growing pool of blood. Another guard followed him in, both of them completely ignoring Kara in the worry about Anthony. “What happened!” the healer demanded of Drey as he knelt next to Anthony, opening the bag he had brought and rummaging around in it.

As Drey began to explain what Kara had told him, she quietly slipped out the door into the hallway. Looking both ways to make sure no one else was lurking, she quickly made her way down the hall towards the landing bay. Her reasoning was whoever was coming would have to land their ship there and then make their way up to Colin’s receiving room not far from her rooms. Unfortunately, that put her room was the furthest way from said landing bays. It meant Kara had a long way to go without being caught. That was if the males in her room did not realize she was missing. Otherwise her freedom would be short lived. It was a miracle that the hallway was this deserted. Usually there were at least two or three people coming and going. As she rounded another corner to find no one in her line of sight, Kara was starting to wonder if the same reason Anthony’s emotions had not overwhelmed her was the same reason the halls were strangely empty. Unfortunately, she had lost her faith in miracles a long time ago.

For as long as Kara had been held prisoner, there was only one way she knew how to get to the landing bay at the back of the ship. As she neared it, she realized why the halls were so deserted. Everyone was here scrambling to ready themselves for some sort of fight. Luckily they were too intent on their tasks to notice the cloaked figure making its way as discreetly as it could through the chaos. At least that was what she thoughts until an iron grip clamped down on her arm and pulled her into a storage room.

“What are you doing down here?” a familiar voice hissed in concern.

It was her gentle warrior that had found her. Thomas. The wave of relief that shot through Kara was short lived. He may have refused to join in with the others and their sadistic ways, but it did not mean he was completely immune to her curse. Being careful to keep herself covered with her cloak, she looked up at the tall well-built male. While not has handsome as some of the others, his kindness made up for any flaws that others might see as repellent.

“Thomas,” she gasped, struggling to come up with a valid excuse as to why she was this far away from her rooms. “I had to escape. In the chaos of what is happening, Drey and Bastian broke into my rooms.” She did not need to explain more.

“What?” he snarled, absently tightening his grip on her arm. “I’ll kill them!”

“No!” Kara cried putting her hand on his. While he was a fierce warrior, he was no match for the twins. “I just need to hide until I can tell my master what they did.”

“You really think that bastard would care?” Thomas spat. Treasonous words that frightened Kara.

“Don’t say things like that,” she cried quietly.

Thomas’s eyes searched her face, his expression melting from anger to consideration before relaxing into something that frustrated as much as terrified her. Somehow he had figured out the real reason she was down by the landing bay instead of trying to find Anthony or Colin.

Damn him, Kara thought. He’s too smart for his own good.

Looking at the door, his grip still firmly around Kara’s arm, he seemed to come to some sort of decision.

“Come on,” he said pulling her towards the doorway. “If this is to work, we need to make sure he finds you before Colin does.” Punching the button next to the door, it slid open. Poking his head out, Thomas made sure no one was looking in their direction before pulling Kara out of the storage room.

“He who?” Kara asked doing her best to keep up with his long strides.

“The one who has been looking for us, or more importantly you,” Thomas answered.

“I don’t understand. Who has been looking for me?”

“You’ll see,” he answered cryptically dropping her arm. “If we are to make it to the bay unhindered, you need to walk ahead of me.”

Knowing that was all she was going to get out of him for now, Kara moved so she walked in front Thomas as he escorted her to the landing bay. For the first time hope soared inside her. Today could be the day she finally escaped.

Chapter 29
Chapter 31

Copyright © 2019 Heidi Barnes

Broken Promises – Chapter 29

Chapter 29

It had been a long painful afternoon mentally and physically, but it was nothing Kara had not been through before. She was starting to think that everything she had endured was so that she would be able to tolerate the pain it caused her to be in the same room with this much anger and distrust. The icing on the proverbial cake was the jealousy that coated the air like thick molasses. There was a time Kara could shield herself from other’s emotions, but with the necklace and spells Malphas had weaved around her limiting her powers she no longer had the strength. Not with Brynn pacing the floor in front of her while Tanis hovered behind her. She had purposefully chosen an arm chair in the spacious great room. Part of the remodel that had been done on the old farmhouse before they moved in. So there was plenty of space for Brynn to pace. Sitting in the arm chair meant that there was no room for someone else, therefore she did not have to choose, and it was one less fight she had to deal with.

On the other side of the coffee table in front of Kara, Chris was perched on the edge of the couch, angrily watching his father. They had been arguing for the last fifteen minutes whether or not Chris should go back to the farm to keep an eye on his sister and younger cousins. Tanis was agreeing that he should leave because he was too young. That he had already proved he could not follow orders and how could a mere boy know anything about a centuries long battle waged by the gods. The rising tension was only adding to the mounting headache that was threatening to explode within Kara’s head. Someone had to give soon, or she would be comatose again from the pain.

Glancing at the back of the room, Kara tried to latch onto the only calm in the boiling sea around her. With a deep frown, his eyes tight with concern as he watched her, Kara could feel Aden’s presence swirling around her. He was trying to block some of the emotions, but like her, his powers were bound tight. It did not help that her anxiety was bleeding all over him. Out of the four men bound to her, Aden was the most susceptible to being overwhelmed by her feelings, as she was to his. Since that avenue was out, Aden had tried to help by pointing out to the others how much their emotions were hurting Kara to only be told to mind his own business. That he was not wanted here, so why did he not leave. Since there was no way that was going to happen, he had stood silently in the back of the room, holding up the wall, doing his best to shield Kara from the worst of the pain, which Kara was grateful for.

 “Jamie is old enough to take care of them herself,” Chris argued. “I would be better off here helping you.”

“And if Colin decides to use them to force Kara into surrendering to him?” Tanis asked. While what happened upstairs with Chris had shaken him, his exhaustion was making him reckless. The gods only knew what would happen if Chris was truly angered. If angered enough, what entity would emerge instead of the twenty-one year old mortal sitting in front of him. Unfortunately, at the moment Tanis did not care. He only cared about protecting Kara, and that there were too many males in the room staking claim to what was his. While a small part of him argued that Kara had never been truly his, another voice that was much louder kept telling him that it was time for that to change. That if there were less people there would be less pain and far more peace in their lives. That their child would be safe.

“Don’t underestimate my sister,” Chris said turning his angry eyes to Tanis. When he saw the immortal’s frown and his focus seemed to be on something internal and not on him, Chris’s anger slipped into confusion. Why keep arguing he should leave if he did not seem to care one way or the other. “She may surprise you,” Chris finished absently. What was going on?

“Maybe so, but she can’t fight everyone by herself,” Brynn pointed out, bringing Chris’s eyes and focus back to him and the argument. “Colin will not be alone. He’s always come heavily armed, and with Anthony they are a force to be reckoned with. She will not be able to keep her focus on the young ones if she is fighting multiple fronts.”

When Chris opened his mouth to argue more, Aden finally spoke up.

“Chris,” he called quietly, bringing the young man’s angry eyes to him. “Your father is right. Jamie will need your help, but that is not the only reason he asks you to leave. They need to know everything that has happened in the last six years in order to understand what must be done. Don’t ask your mother to voice her nightmares in front of her son. I’m sick enough as it is that you saw what I showed your father. Think of what it will do to her.”

 Clamping his mouth shut, his eyes going from the dark sorcerer, to his father than finally his mother, who looked beyond exhausted and pale, he realized Aden was right. Lowering his head and taking a calming breath, he stood and walked around the coffee table to kneel in front of her. Taking her hands in his, he said only loud enough so she could hear, his eyes locked with hers, “Don’t let them push Aden out. He is a vital part of this. A vital part of you.”

“I know,” Kara smiled wearily. Resting her hand on his cheek, her smile brightened. “I want you to know how proud I am of the man you have become, and that I love you with all my heart.”

“I love you too,” he breathed, his smile at her declaration threatening to split his face open.

Leaning forward, Kara placed a gentle kiss on her son’s forehead. “Now go,” she urged. “I will talk to you and your sister later. I promise.”

Nodding, he stood, his mother’s hand still in his, and turned to his father. “I’ll call Uncle Gavin and Aunt Delia and tell them what is going on. We’ll protect the little ones.”

“Thank you,” Brynn smiled, patting his son’s shoulder.

Turning his head, Chris locked eyes with Tanis. “Your job is to protect her, Angel. It’s always been to protect her. Don’t forget that.” Without waiting for Tanis to respond he turned to Aden. “There is a reason you are so connected to her. A reason you feel what each other feels, sees what each other sees far more intensely than Caius or Tanis. Why being apart harms you more than them. Remember and you will finally understand why.” They stood staring at each other, some knowledge passing between them that Tanis and Brynn did not understand. Frowning, Aden’s eyes glanced at Tanis before he nodded at Chris, some sort of understanding forming between them. Smiling one more time down at his mother, giving her hand a light squeeze, Chris turned and walked out the door.

“He is not,” Tanis began, unsure how to voice his concern about who and what Chris was.

“He is what he needs to be in this moment,” Aden answered, his eyes on the front door, the frown still in place.

“What is that suppose to mean?” Brynn asked, the father in him rising up to defend his son.

Sighing with a weariness that went bone deep, he was so tired of all this jealousy, of everyone distrusting him, Aden rubbed his forehead with his thumb and forefinger. “Everything that has been happening,” he looked at Kara, his hand pointing towards her, “all she has endured is for a reason. The universe is unbalanced. If we don’t fix that balance, and soon, it will implode. Chris has been trying to tell you this all afternoon. You two,” he moved his glare from Brynn to Tanis, “refuse to listen because you are spending more energy on being angry I am here and not enough on what is going on around you.”

“And you think you are the key to balancing the universe. You with Kara?” Tanis said his eyes narrowing in suspicion. “Very convenient don’t you think?”

Sighing in a way that said it was a wonder he had not ground his teeth to dust, Aden was so weary of this fight, he glared at Tanis, snapping, “We don’t have time for this.” When he saw Kara flinch, he softened his voice, his eyes apologetic as she looked at her. “I’m sorry, my love.” Ignoring the growls from the other males, Aden gathered as much calm around him as he could. Moving his gaze to the front door, he continued, “I am already well aware of what Kara is going to tell you.” His eyes drifted to a memory that seemed to be extremely painful. Closing his eyes, shaking himself back into the present, Aden looked at Kara again, “I know how hard this is going to be. If you need help explaining, just ask.”

“She needs nothing from you,” Tanis snarled.

“Tanis! Enough,” Kara scolded glaring up at him. “What is wrong with you? You have never been this territorial. This will be hard enough without you snapping and snarling at each other.”

Clamping his mouth shut, Tanis gave Aden a look that said they were not finished before moving to the other empty armchair next to Kara’s and plopped down.

Realizing this was the closest she was going to receive in the way of a truce, she took a deep breath to steady herself. “The best way to tell you is to show you.” She looked up at Brynn. “Why Aden has shown you some of it, if you do this with me, you will not only see what is happening, but feel what I felt. It is a very…intimate experience and I fear may change your opinion of me. I will understand if you wish not to be a part of the sharing.”

Brynn knelt in front of her, taking her hands in his, kissing the back of them gently. Then he turned his eyes to her, looking into them intently so she knew what he would say was truth. “I will not abandon you when you need me most. Just tell me where you want me and I will be there,” he vowed.

“You are where Chris gets his strength and bravery,” Kara smiled.

Returning her smile with one of his own, Brynn leaned in and tenderly kissed her on the lips. The tension in the room rose every so slightly before settling into a calm that was missing from the last few hours. Much like water settles into a calm after a wave disturbs its surface. Still filled with gentle waves. When Brynn moved back his expression was full of love. Lightly squeezing her hands once more, he released them, stood and moved to sit on the couch across from her.

Bracing herself for what might be waiting for her, taking a deep breath Kara turned her eyes to Tanis, who was watching her with a frown. There was a confusion in his eyes that she did not totally understand. She tried to see what it was that was bothering him, but something blocked her from entering his thoughts. That was strange. She was usually able to see glimpses of his thoughts. Instead, nothing. Glancing at Aden, who slightly shook his head he did not understand what was going on with the immortal any more than she did, she turned her attention back to Tanis..

“Mother says you need to know everything or else you will not be able to break the bonds that Malphas has woven around you,” she began. Frowning herself, she looked down at the back of the couch. “I don’t know if that is true, and the last thing I want you to see is the horrors that I have lived.”

“Kara,” Tanis breathed moving around to the side of the chair to kneel down beside her. “I have lived more lives than I care to count, have shared horrors with you that would turn the bravest male into nothing more than a sniveling coward.” He took her hand, absently thinking that the others had done so too, and it seemed cliché, but he needed to touch her, reassure her that whatever she was about to show them it would not change the way he felt about her. “Nothing you show me will change the way I feel about you.”

We shall see, she thought grimacing. Out loud, “Then maybe you should sit down. Aden was,” she hesitated, her eyes moving to the tall imposing figure standing a few feet away, his expression stricken, “shaken after what he was forced to endure.”

Both men looked at Aden. They saw what Kara saw. A strong man whose color had completely drained from his face; his eyes haunted, his hands trembling. A man who had been broken by what he was forced to witness over and over and over. Nodding, his own expression grim, Tanis moved back to his chair.

Kara’s eyes moved to Aden’s. There was a wealth of words said between them in that one look, but no words were spoken. There was no need. It was a look of shared horrors that both of them had lived, and desperately did not want to live again. Of course, the Fates had other ideas. Didn’t they always? Why let sleeping lions lay when you could stir up the entire den by dropping an injured gazelle in the middle of them. In the frenzy that followed a few lions would be wounded, but it was the gazelle who suffered the most as they ripped it to shreds.

“I will go outside and guard against any intruders,” Aden said his voice choked with an emotion that the others could not name but somehow understood. With another frown in Tanis’s direction, Aden followed Chris out the door, gently closing it behind them.

“Shall we begin?” Kara said settling back in her chair.

Glancing at each other, apprehension thick in the air, Tanis and Brynn followed Kara’s lead and settled back in their seats.

Her eyes on Brynn, because Tanis knew what to do, Kara instructed, “Close your eyes and relax. You will feel my presence in your mind and maybe a little pressure. If you do not fight it and just allow the images to flow it will be easer for both of us.”

Nodding, Brynn did as Kara asked. There was a slight pressure, as if someone was pushing at his mind. He immediately recognized Kara’s presence and allowed her in. That was the easy part. The hard part was not to shy away from the images that flooded his mind and filled his body with fear, pain and desire. So much desire. For the first time since he had locked eyes with his wife, Brynn wondered if he really knew who Kara was. What she was. What she was not, in any shape or form, was human.

Chapter 28
Chapter 30

Copyright © 2019 Heidi Barnes

Broken Promises – Chapter 28

Chapter 28

Tanis sat by the bed at the edge of the old wooden rocker with his elbows on his knees, his face in his hands, exhausted. He had done everything he could to save the baby for nothing. The moment he had cut the umbilical cord, the squalling infant had vanished from his hands. Where he was relieved the abomination was gone, he was not sure how he was going to break the news to Kara when she woke. If she ever woke.

Three days ago the impossible happened. Kara’s mortal husband and one of her eternal mates stood in the same space and time as she did. The universe had warned him to stay away, but, like the others, the shock that Colin had been mere miles away and they had not sensed him had unsettled Tanis and he had misread the signs. Something they had paid dearly for.

Tanis had felt pain before, but what had slammed into them in that meadow was a kind of pain no words in any language could come close to describing. It was as if the moment he and Brynn touched Kara the universe exploded within her. Since then Tanis had used every means at his disposal to find her. It was small solace that her body still breathed when her soul, her essence, had vanished completely from all the realms of existence. Without nourishment, it would not be long until her body followed. Tanis shuddered at that thought. If the universe had to wait another two thousand years for them to re-emerge, the gods only knew what kind of havoc Malphas would wreak on it.

“Anything?” a quiet voice asked.

Tanis looked up to see Brynn standing in the doorway, his hands in his jeans pocket, his eyes just as exhausted as Tanis’s. The two of them should have never met, yet here they were. Both fighting for the same woman’s life that they desperately loved.

“No,” he sighed looking at Kara’s sleeping form. “I’m starting to fear she will never return to me…us,” he amended after a pause.

Brynn watched Tanis in silence for a moment. He understood the haunted look in the male’s eyes. He had held that look for many years, but since the meadow he now understood something he had not before. That his time with Kara had passed. While she still loved him, she had a very important job to do, and his job now was to protect their children so the universe continued to silently spin. Something he would have to learn to do without her. The thought brought a pang of sadness to his heart, but it was tempered with the knowledge that she was never far from them. Not really. As he watched Tanis gently take Kara’s hand in his, close his eyes and bow his head in concentration, Brynn knew the male was not feeling the same assurance.

Chris had explained to him that not only had Kara fled from the excruciating pain, but her soul was nowhere to be found. Not here on the planet or in the heavens. Even the universe was empty of her presence. She was simply gone. If that was so, then why was her body still breathing? There had to be something they were missing because the Kara he knew would never willingly leave those she loved behind. So, what were they missing? Better yet, who, or what, in the universe was strong enough to hide her from them?

A familiar voice at the front door talking with Chris caught Brynn’s attention, bringing him out of his unsettling thoughts. Frowning, he looked down the hall trying to place it. Once he did, the growl of anger that escaped his lips alerted Tanis that something was wrong.

“What is it?” Tanis asked looking up at Brynn.

“Aden,” Brynn growled. “You stay here. I’ll go see what he wants.”

Tanis stood as Brynn disappeared down the hall and walked to the open window that overlooked the front of the house. Nothing seemed amiss outside. No guards or ships in the field. It must only be Aden then. Tanis wondered if Chris had somehow called him even though they had expressly told him not too. It was puzzling since the wards around them should have dampened Chris’s powers as it did theirs. If not, the boy was far stronger than Tanis had given him credit for, and something to take a closer look at.

The voices downstairs began to rise as tempers did.

“You should go down there before Aden does something he will regret,” Chris said calmly from the doorway.

Tanis looked at the young man, his eyes narrowing in irritation. “We told you not to call him.”

“And I told you we needed him,” Chris responded as calmly as he could. The immortal’s stubbornness to see what was right in front of him was beginning to grate on his nerves, not to mention probably get them all killed. Ignoring Tanis’s glare, Chris continued. “The rules have changed, Tanis. Aden is a part of this whether you want to admit it or not. If you would take your head out of your ass long enough to understand it you would know this and remember,” he snapped his own temper rising.

“I am tired of your riddles, boy,” Tanis hissed striding across the room until he stood toe to toe with Chris. “You have one role to play in the game and that is to have children to make sure the line continues. You have far overstepped your boundaries. See that you don’t do it again.”

“If it means saving every known and unknown reality, then I will step where I damn well please,” Chris growled moving so they were chest to chest. Tanis was taken aback at the determination and strength in the boy’s voice. Very few males, let alone boys, dared to stand up to him like this. “What Malphas did to my mom was the last straw. Now more than ever Aden wants to destroy who he sees as his master. If you turn him out he will do one of two things. Take Mom with him and do everything in his power to make sure you and Caius will never find her or go back to try to kill Malphas. You do not understand the power that demon wields. Unless the four of you combine your powers, break the barriers that keep you weak, keep you from remembering and face him together you will lose.”

“Aden wants something he cannot have!”

“He already has her, Angel. It is you who refused to see that,” Chris snapped, his voice echoing.

Tanis blinked in surprise at the power behind the mortal’s voice. There was something foreign, some inflection of the speech, that was different from his normal tone. And why did he call him Angel? It did not sound like an endearment, but a name, or maybe a title. Watching as Chris closed his eyes and took a deep breath to calm himself, Tanis wondered just who this boy really was.

Raised voices thick with anger floated through the open window. Aden and Brynn had moved the argument outside.

“Just go and keep them from killing each other,” Chris sighed waving the general direction of the window. “While my father may not be important to the continuation of this universe, he is important to me. I do not wish to see him killed because of your senseless jealousy.” Closing his eyes and turning he head away, Chris put his hand up to stop Tanis from saying whatever nasty retort he had to Chris’s command. “Just go,” he gritted out.

Clamping his mouth shut, Tanis glared at the boy before glancing down at Kara, his expression softening as he was unwilling to leave her alone.

“I will stay with her,” Chris promised.

After a moment’s hesitation, Tanis nodded then left the room. Chris waited until he could see all three males were outside arguing before turning back to his mother.

“It’s safe,” he whispered sitting down in Tanis’s vacant chair and taking her hand gently into his. Chris closed his eyes searching with his senses for his mother’s spirit. He felt it flicker on the edges of his consciousness. “Please come back to us. We need you. I need you.”

A tear ran down Chris’s cheek. He was so tired of having to be the adult in this fiasco. What he wanted more than ever is his mother to hold him like she did when he was a boy and tell him everything would be alright. That the monster under his bed was just a figment of his imagination. A child’s dream that he was far too old to believe in anymore. Now he knew the monster was very real, and if he did not somehow coax him mother back into the here and now, they were all doomed.

Chris opened his eyes when the hand he was holding gently squeezed his and was greeted by his mother’s warm smile.

“Mom,” he breathed throwing himself over the top of her and hugging her as best as he could.

Kara hesitated for a moment before she tightly wrapped her arms around him. They lay that way until they heard the screen door slam shut and someone take the stairs two at a time.

“That didn’t take long,” Chris smiled pulling away from Kara who smiled back. They looked to see Tanis standing in the doorway staring at her as if he thought he was seeing a ghost. Chris scrambled out of the way as Tanis rushed to the bed and pulled Kara into his arms.

“I thought I had lost you,” he breathed into her hair as they clung to each other.

“You almost did,” Kara answered sadly. “But she was very persuasive”

“She?” Tanis asked backing away so he could look Kara’s in the eyes.

“I have much to tell you.” She looked at Chris, her expression grim. “All of you.”

Chapter 27
Chapter 29

Copyright © 2018 Heidi Barnes

Broken Promises – Chapter 27

Chapter 27

Kara felt as if she was floating. She wasn’t cold and she wasn’t hot, and she wasn’t frightened. She even knew where she was before she opened her eyes. It was the same place she had been brought to before the demon had ripped her out of bed and dragged into hell. A secret she had kept from those who would ask questions she could not answer.

Slowly she opened her eyes, already knowing what she would see.

“Mother,” her voice flat.

“Hello, Kara,” Selene smiled down at her, although the smile did not reach her eyes. There was a weariness in them that Kara understood all too well. “You have suffered much and for that I am truly sorry. I only wish I could have foreseen how much.”

“Why? You told me there was nothing you could do to stop what was to come, only warn me in an attempt to prepare me. I hate to break it to you, Mother. Nothing could have prepared me for what that bastard did to me,” Kara snarled sitting up and swinging her legs over the side of the bed so she could glare at her mother.

Selene bristled under Kara’s contempt. “It does not matter what you had to endure as long as the end result was obtained, otherwise all would be lost. You know this, Kara,” she snapped.

“The end result was a demon bastard,” Kara spat.

“The end result was that you and Caius bonded and all three of you are now stronger for it. I will not apologize for helping you.”

“Helping me!” Kara shrieked slipping off the bed so she could stand nose to nose with her mother. “Malphas raped me, Mother. Brutally and repeatedly. Nothing you did ‘helped’ me escape what you deemed as my destiny.”

“Your destiny was to bond with Caius,” Selene said stepping back from her raging daughter, her voice low and even as she tried to rein in her temper. Kara’s reaction was expected and understood considering what had happened to her. Even though Selene’s initial reaction to Kara’s disrespect, she knew in this moment she deserved her hatred. Maybe even her contempt. The sadness returned, blanketing her anger. After all this time, everything they had gone through, she still was not worthy enough. Swallowing back the tears that thought brought, Selene said as calmly as she could, “That one moment when Caius broke free from his cage, when you were able to complete the ritual, that was your destiny. Now you must complete the circle.”

“I don’t even know what that means,” Kara snapped, turning away. She could not look into that woman’s hurt eyes and keep her anger, and that was puzzling. Selene deserved her rage after what she had done. “What circle?” Kara asked turning back towards Selene when she was a safe distance away.

“You, Tanis, Caius and Aden, of course,” she answered as if this small piece of information was obvious.

Even though Kara hated to admit it, once Selene voiced those names she had known what she meant, but what she was asking was impossible. Sighing, she shook her head. “That will never happen if Caius and Tanis have a say in it. They will not leave Aden and I alone long enough to say hello to each other, let alone have sex.”

“Then you need to make them understand,” Selene suggested, her anger returning a notch.

Kara snorted. “I’m afraid that is easier said than done. To them Aden is the enemy, not the ally.”

“Then the universe will come to chaos and ruin,” Selene sighed with a fair amount of resignation.

“Why is Aden so important? Maybe if I understood his role better I could convince them otherwise. I know who I am. I am the Key. The glue between good and evil, between Caius and Tanis, that keeps the universe moving forward instead of spinning into chaos.”

“The universe is always in chaos, no matter which reality we are in” Selene corrected.

Kara frowned. Reality? “If that is so, why are we here?” Kara asked.

“Because a very long time ago mistakes were made, and in order to fix them lessons had to be taught and learned, choices made. Until those three things were accomplished there would be no end. No peace,” Selene answered the last said so softly Kara almost missed it. Placing her hand gently on Kara’s shoulder, her expression almost holding a desperation that Kara could not understand, Selene said, “We thought we had it right this time. That you would be so proud of us and we could finally rest.” She dropped her hand, her expression growing weary and sad. “We should have known it would not last. It never lasts.”

Before Kara could respond to her mother’s strange words and odd behavior, Selene’s eyes grew wild. This time she grabbed both of Kara’s shoulders, gripping them painfully.

“You must find a way to defeat Malphas before it’s too late. In a bid to own you, to rule everything, he will take everyone you hold dear and destroy them. You must not let that happen! You must come together or all we have endured will be for nothing!”

Putting her hands on her mother’s arms, Kara tried to reason with her. “I can’t fight him, Mother. None of us can. Not while I am wearing the necklace and bound by his spells.”

The wild look turned into one of pure rage as Selene’s eyes shifted down to the cursed necklace around her daughter’s neck. “Aden can remove that blasphemy piece of metal,” she snarled. “He always could but lies and fear have stayed his hands and you both have suffered for it.” She shifted her eyes back to Kara. “But first you must break Tanis’s chains for there is another danger that will soon be upon you, and your protector needs to be free to defend you.”

“My protector? Danger? Mother, you are not making any sense. How do I break Tanis free?”

With an abruptness that shocked Kara into stillness leaving her blinking, Selene released her shoulders, stood tall and completely calm before her.

“You must tell him,” Selene’s somber voice answered in the stillness. “His anger over what he found, and your condition was not enough to break the spells. He needs to know everything the demon has done to you. Only then will you truly understand who and what you are. Only then you will understand.”

“I can’t,” Kara breathed, her hand on her chest, the thought of Tanis knowing what she had done, how she had responded with eagerness and wanton to the demon’s touch making her ill all over again. “It was bad enough Caius and Aden know. That Aden can love me, still bear to look at me when I cannot even look at myself, amazes me. I could not bear it if Tanis turned away from me.”

“Then all is lost,” Selene said with a shrug of her shoulders. It was as if she no longer cared.

“You are not making any sense!” she cried out in frustration.

“Tell him, and you will find your answers,” Selene repeated as her body began to fade into mist.

“Don’t you dare leave me like this, Mother!” Kara yelled grabbing for her only to catch nothing.

“Go back and tell them. All of them. Only then will you understand,” Selene’s voice floated around her, drifting away on the wind.

“I can’t,” Kara breathed. “I came here because I could not handle the pain of Tanis and Brynn touching me at the same time. I felt as if I was drowning in it.”

There was no answer. Her mother was gone and Kara had more questions than answers. Bowing her head, she knew she had no choice. She could not allow the demon inside of Caius tear apart what they had fought so hard for. She also could not leave behind those she loved to fight alone. Not like this. Already she could feel the strain her absence was having on them. On her.

“Very well,” she whispered. “I will do as you ask.”

“You are strong enough for this, my child,” Selene’s voice assured, her voice floating all around Kara like a caress. In a way it comforted her. “When you go back the baby will be gone. Malphas knows something has happened, but even with all his power it will take him time to reach you. It will give you time to regain your strength and figure out how to defeat him.”

“But at what cost? Everything has changed. So many innocents are involved. It was never supposed to be this way.”

“That is where you are wrong, my lady,” Selene breathed, her presence once again fading. “Remember, or all will be for naught. All will be lost.”

Chapter 26
Chapter 28

Copyright © 2019 Heidi Barnes

Broken Promises – Chapter 26

Chapter 26

Chris paced restlessly across the small meadow, his route mapped out by the flattened grass and wildflowers. He knew he shouldn’t have sent out a call, but it had been two weeks since his mother had returned and there had been no sign of her coming to find them. So Chris took it upon himself to go to her, or at least meet her halfway. It was why he chose this meadow. Surrounded by tall trees, it was open, sunny and place almost directly in between their two farms. He had come here before, hoping just his presence might bring her, but that had not worked.

The moment Kara had stepped through the wards they knew she was home. It was like a weight they had not known they were carrying was suddenly lifted and they could breathe easier. Because she was so young when their mother had been taken from them, Jesse wasn’t as affected, but his father. It had been a long time since Chris had seen his father smile without his eyes remaining haunted, or even laugh out loud. It seemed that even though his father knew she probably would not remember him, or even want to see him, the fact that she was home was enough. Yet as time pushed on and there was no word, or even a glimpse of her, that smile started to fade. Still, they waited patiently.

Yesterday he had found his father staring in the direction of his mother’s house with such loss that Chris’s patience had ran out. Not only did he want to watch the light fade from his father’s eyes, he had so many questions bouncing around his head that needed answers, and the only way he would get them answered was to ask his mother. He also had to warn her of the danger before it was too late. Hopefully she would come soon because he was running out time before his father realized where he had gone. The downside of being magical is the link between parent and children. It was really hard to get away with anything when the parent could hear your every thought.

One more turn across the field and still no sign of his mother. A sudden thought brought him to a halt, anxiety shooting through him. She had to be at least six or seven months pregnant, and he had no idea how the pregnancy was progressing. Since she was carrying something that was part demon, there was a good chance that the baby might take more from her than a normal baby. His eyes snapped to the direction of her house. Maybe this was too far. Maybe he should have chosen something closer. Closing his eyes, he groaned, slapping his forehead with his hand at his stupidity. Gods, he was such an idiot. That was why she had never come to them, and now that he had pestered her into finally meeting him it must be taxing what little strength she had left.

“I have to tell her not to come,” he said turning to move back into the center of the meadow. A figure standing just inside the tree line at the far side froze him. Too far into the shadows, Chris could not make much out, just that whoever it was was of medium height and of slender build. Yet, there was something about it, something familiar. When the figure took a step into the sunlight, Chris forgot to breathe. Never had he seen such a beautiful creature, nor had he felt such power. It overwhelmed him, brought him to his knees, demanded to be worshiped for the goddess she was. Long auburn hair drifted in the breeze around her, hints of red, orange and browns glinting in the sun. With a blink of her extraordinary hazel eyes, the power receded, and Chris could once again think clearly. That was when he noticed the swell of her belly.

“Mother?” he whispered.

“Hello, Chris,” she greeted, the warmth of her voice reaching her smile and eyes.

“You remember me?” he asked.

“Of course I do,” Kara cried, her hand going to her chest. “You are my child. I could never forget you or your sister. You are a part of me.”

“When you didn’t come…. We were told….” Chris swallowed this heart back down where it belonged, pushed all the questions and thoughts into the background so he could think coherently and began again. “I wasn’t sure you would remember. The prophecy,” he stopped when her smile turned into a scowl.

“Prophecies do not always speak clearly. They are riddles that we must muddle through and pray we come out on the other side relatively whole,” she spat. “Do not treat them as destiny set in stone.”

Apparently it was a sore subject with her, so Chris vowed he would not to bring it up. At least not today. “I’m sorry,” he apologized, his voice careful. Why was he so afraid of her? This was his mother. She would not harm him, would she? Still, there was a difference about her. A regal bearing that she never held before. The feel of age that was ancient, powerful, timeless, and tired. So very tired. The power he had felt a moment before spiked then just as quickly diminished. Grimacing, Kara placed her hand on her stomach, her eyes uncertain. A fleeting glimpse of the female he remembered peeked through the façade of the immortal giving him the courage to push to his feet and take a step forward, asking, “Is something wrong with the baby?”

“He is not happy that I came. He is,” her frowned deepened as she tried to find the right word. When she did, her eyes widen in surprise. “He is jealous of you. He feels your connection to me and how I feel about you. My love for you and he does not like it, so he is trying to chase you away by showing his own power.”

Chris smiled, the thought that she still loved him enough to voice it out loud warming him to his toes. “Why would he be afraid of me. He is, after all, my little brother.”

Kara blinked at him, the thought that her grown son and unborn child were siblings something she had never really given thought to. It wasn’t a pleasant thought since she knew this child was born of evil. The young man before her was not evil. Powerful, but far from evil.

“Biologically that may be true, but this baby is not your brother,” Kara corrected sadly. “He is our doom.”

“I don’t understand,” Chris frowned walking forward, stopping a few feet from his mother.

“It is hard to explain in the short time we have today, and I do not wish to waste it on something that is out of our hands,” Kara answered her smile returning. “You have questions for me.”

Blinking at the sudden change of subject, Chris supposed it shouldn’t have been a shock that she knew what he had wanted. She was his mother, after all, and there was that pesky link.

His face screwed up in a grimace, making Kara chuckle, Chris said in a voice that spoke of frustration and disgust at the same time, “About that. I have tried to figure out how to block Dad from hearing my thoughts, but he always seems to be able to break through my defenses. How do I keep him,” he looked at Kara’s amuse face and lost his thread of frustration, his smile ruining his indignation, “you from hearing everything I’m thinking? A man has to have some privacy.”

“A man,” Kara sighed, moving to close the distance between them. Reaching up she cupped her son’s face, her expression soft and full of love. “I have missed so much. I still see you as the thirteen year old boy that so valiantly stood between his father and a powerful sorcerer, defending his mother’s honor. Or what there was of it,” she murmured the last, her eyes downcast.

“I knew Aden would never hurt you, and if he had a choice he would have left you with us,” Chris said, putting his hand over hers on his cheek, bringing her eyes back to his. “I also knew the price if you did not obey Malphas. It was a price he did not understand, and one neither of us wanted to pay. As much as I hated it, I had to make him understand that we had to let you go.”

Kara’s smile returned along with a swelling of pride. “You were always so brave. Even as a small child, you would face whatever the universe threw at you with your head held high.” The sadness returned. “I wish I had been there to help you through those times. No child should have had to go through what you did or carry the knowledge you do. For that I am truly sorry.”

“It is not your fault, Mother,” Chris said, tears in his eyes.  Pushing his doubts away, he moved closer, wrapping his arms around her, holding her gently. After a moment of hesitation, Kara wrapped her arms around him, holding him fiercely. “I have never blamed you for what you had no control over,” he whispered. “And I have never stopped loving you. None of us have.” Kara stiffened in his arms. Frowning he took a step back. “What’s wrong?”

“Because of who I am, I have hurt your father deeply. I cannot believe that he can still love me after all I have done.”

“Then you believe wrong,” a deep familiar voice said into the silence.

Chris did not miss the flash of fear as his mother’s eyes shot to the man standing behind them. Closing his eyes and saying a little prayer that this would not all go sideways, Chris turned, stepping to one side of his mother, to see his father standing just inside the clearing. The uncertainty, the longing, in Brynn’s eyes brought tears to Chris’s. How do you make this reunion that should have never happen any easier, or less awkward? When Brynn’s eyes moved downwards, Chris knew the moment they saw his mother’s extended belly because they hardened into something he had never seen on his father’s face. Pure rage. Again the power spiked, but it had a different feel to it. Fear.

Placing her hands protectively over her belly, Kara whispered, “Brynn.”

Brynn’s eyes shot back to hers, his expression once again uncertain as he took a step towards her. The silence deepened until all that was heard was the song of a nearby bird.

“I…,” Kara began, her voice as uncertain as his expression. How do you greet your husband that you should not have remembered when one of your immortal soulmates was only a short distance away waiting for you and you carried the child of the other? Brynn answered her by striding across the meadow, taking her head in his hands and kissing her as if she were the air he needed to breathe.

The memories, the love of this male surge forward and with a small groan, Kara wrapped her arms as best as she could around him and kissed him back. Again the power surged as the baby inside Kara tried to break through the jumble of memories and emotions swirling around Kara and Brynn and break them apart. It wasn’t until Chris, who was stand a few steps back with his hand clasped behind him rocking back and forth from the balls of his feet to his heels, cleared his throat and said awkwardly, “Uh, guys. Son standing right here beginning to become nauseous because his parents are making out in front of him.” Nothing. “Yoo-hoo!” he called waving his hand close to their faces. “Hello? Going to puke here.”

Kara and Brynn broke apart laughing.

“Oh, thank the gods,” Chris sighed dramatically. “Thought I was going to hurl there for a moment. Seriously, get a room!”

Resting his forehead on Kara’s, his arms sliding down around her, Brynn smiled. “Not a bad idea,” he agreed huskily.

The power surged and the baby kicked, hard, making both Kara and Brynn wince. It also brought them back to the reality that there would be no room, no reunion. That there was not eons of time and distance between them. Brought home that Kara no long was Brynn’s alone. Stepping back enough that he could no longer hold her, Brynn’s eyes once again went to her belly.

“How long?” he asked, his voice flat, emotionless.

Her hand once again on her belly, Kara frowned. The warmth and happiness she felt a moment ago in Brynn’s arms vanishing as realty returned. “A month. Maybe less,” she answered.

 Brynn turned away, one hand over his mouth as he tried to digest that his wife was pregnant with another’s child. A fact he knew but was driven painfully home now that he saw the proof in person.

“Will you leave after the baby is born?” Chris asked. He had just reconnected with his mother. He did not want to lose her so soon.

“No,” Kara answered with a small smile, her hand reaching out to rub up and down Chris’s arm as she felt his anxiety. “I will stay here as long as I am hidden from those who wish to destroy this child, or take me.”

Brynn turned around, his expression one of disbelief. “This child was born of violence. Is part demon. How could you want to keep it?”

“I know what Aden and Tanis believe, and yes there was violence. What they don’t know is that the child is not Malphas’s. It is Caius’s.”

Brynn and Chris looked at each other in confusion. It was Chris that asked what Brynn could not voice. “We saw what Malphas did to you. He was in possession of Caius’s body at the time.”

“True, but it was still Caius’s body, and there was a time that he was able to fight to regain control. When the baby was conceived it was Caius, not Malphas, that was present. It was also when we completed the binding ritual.”

Brynn turned with a sound of disgust.

Kara’s anger spiked. “I may hate and distrust the prophecy we are bound to, but there is one binding truth that has always been. There are three entities that keep the universe from spinning into total chaos. I am one of them.” She took a step towards Brynn, moving her hand from Chris’s arm to his, bringing his attention to her. Her voice softening, she continued. “I cannot change who I am, what I was created for. What I wish I could change is how much I have hurt you. If I had a choice, I would have never left you.” She looked at Chris. “Either of you. Just once, I would have liked to watch my children grow up. Helped them through their life lessons.” She turned back to Brynn, “Grown old with you.” Tears began to course down her face. “Don’t ever think that because Tanis and Caius have been my immortal soulmates since time began that it means I love you any less. You are the father of my children, my mortal soulmate who had followed me throughout the ages, just as they have. You have been and always will be a part of me.”

Looking down at the hand on his arm, Brynn thought about her words. Somewhere deep inside him, some primal instinct, knew she was right. That they had been together far longer this this lifetime. Taking her hand in his, he brought it to his lips and held it there, his eyes closed as he tried to calm his racing heart. Kara was still his in a way, just not his alone.

“If that is true, then what about the part about you not remembering us once you met Caius or Tanis?” Chris asked.

“A safeguard, if you will. Something that helps me be able to complete my task without distractions until the next time we meet.”

“Why is it different now?” Brynn asked moving their hands to in between them, but not letting go of hers.

“Because there is a new player involved. One that does not belong in this timeline.”

“Malphas,” Chris said flatly.

Kara nodded. “I can’t explain it because we don’t know exactly how he came here, or what exactly he wants, but it feels as if this scenario has played out before. In a different place. In a different time.”

“According from what Grandmother has told me, you, Tanis and Caius fight a battle every two thousand years to keep the universe in balance. It would seem right to think this has all happened before,” Chris frowned.

“Grandmother? Selene has been here?” Kara said with a fair amount of suspicion.

“She comes from time to time to teach me how to use my powers. Or at least how not to destroy the fabric of the universe and everything in it,” he answered ruefully.

“I see,” Kara murmured angrily. She was about to call her mother so she could give her a piece of her mind about her meddling again when there was another power surge, this time from an outside source, hit her. One that brought Kara to her knees. Both Brynn and Chris cried out, jumping forward to catch her as she collapsed to the ground. It was a forceful reminder that she was to stay hidden. Inside her head, Tanis called to her, feeling her distress.

“That felt different,” Chris said his voice breathy. Apparently Kara was not the only one who had felt it.

Grimacing in pain, her eyes tightly shut, Kara nodded she agreed.

“What do you mean different,” Brynn asked looking between the two as he cradled Kara in his arms.

“Before it was the baby warning me off. This time it was more…powerful. Malevolent,” Chris shuddered. Looking down at his mother, he asked, “Was it Colin?”

Both Kara and Brynn’s eyes snapped to their son’s in alarm.

“What do you mean Colin?” Brynn demanded.

Frowning in confusion, Chris answered. “He and Anthony have been trying to break through the wards for the last two days. Haven’t you felt him?” he asked looking at his mother.

“No,” she whispered.

Suddenly there was another presence in the meadow, and it was not happy.

“What do you mean Colin is here?” Tanis demanded striding towards them.

“I thought you already knew?” Chris answered his confusion deepening.

“Our powers are restricted,” Tanis said in disgust as he dropped to his knees next to Kara. “Although I would have thought that bastard would have thought ahead and at least allowed us this one small advantage.”

The moment his fingertips touched Kara’s outstretched hand; everything began to spiral around her. Having both her mortal and immortal mate touching her at the same time should have never happened, and the universe did not take kindly to the unexpected. Kara stiffened. Powerful forces as old as time itself screamed in outrage as they engulfed Kara as a tsunami would engulf the beach it slammed into. They crashed against the bonds the males in her existence had weaved through her soul, threatening to tear them to shreds. Unwillingly, she took Tanis and Brynn with her on her spiraling decent into hell.

Kara wanted to keep falling, wanted to be engulfed by the darkness where the crushing pain could not reach her, but Tanis would not allow it, because if she went under so would he and they would both be lost. This was why they could never go back. Why it was forbidden to them. To be in the same place as two soul mates would tear them apart from the inside out. Malphas did not understand the danger had he put them in, or his unborn child, because he was not of this reality.

Don’t you dare leave me! Tanis ordered panic stricken.

Let me go, Kara begged weakly.

NO! Brynn cried. Not again.

If you don’t we will all drown. Let go.

Kara, please. Don’t ask me to do this, Tanis pleaded with her.

The pain and terror she felt coming from him tore a fresh hole in her already shredded heart. She did not want to leave him. It was too soon, but she also needed to disappear into the darkness. The pain was too much for her to bear.

Reluctantly, knowing it was the only way to stop the pain yet hating every second of it, Brynn allowed his grip on Kara slip away.

Let go, she urged Tanis gently.

Tanis still hesitated, unsure if it was the right thing do to. Once together they had never been totally separated until death. This was not death but a separation from the source of her pain. Kara’s body would still be living, but her spirit would be somewhere away from the pain, and he was not sure he could pull her back once she was gone. She begged him once more to release her. As Brynn had done, Tanis slowly released his grip on her spirit and allowed her to slip away, feeling as if half of him were being ripped away cell by cell.

When he became aware of his surroundings he was on his hands and knees gasping. Kara lay on her back in the grass unconscious. Brynn was lying next to her staring at the blue sky gasping for air.

“What…happened?” he asked.

“You…me…all of us here. Together,” Tanis spat. “None of this should be happening!”

“Mom?” Chris whispered.

Tanis looked up at the boy’s terrified eyes, his own fear mirrored in them.

“She is breathing but I…I can’t feel her. It’s as if she is gone.”

Tanis was at her side in an instant, brushing the hair from her face. It was small consolation when he felt the weak pulse on her wrist, because like Chris had said, he could not feel her.

“Nooooo,” he groaned burying his face on her chest.

“What’s wrong?” Brynn asked pushing himself up so he was sitting. “What is wrong!” he demanded when no one would answer him. He saw the grief Tanis was in, the terror in his son’s eyes, but most of all he too could no longer feel Kara’s presence. It was as if the void in his heart had open into a chasm.

“It was too much for her,” Chris answered his voice shaking, tears running down his face. “Having you both here. It’s never happened before so no one knew what would happen.”

“Where is she?” Brynn whispered staring down at Kara’s peaceful expression.

“I’m not sure,” Chris choked.

“We have to bring her back.” Tanis’s voice hoarse with the strain of staying conscious. “We have to find her and bring her back.”

“How?” Brynn asked. This was beyond him and his limited power.

“I don’t know,” Tanis whispered staring at Kara’s pale face. He felt so lost without her. It was hard to think, to feel, to breathe.

Brynn wasn’t fairing much better. When he had felt Kara out here with Chris, he wasn’t sure if he wanted to come or not. But the pull had finally been too much. To know she was so close and not hold her in his arms was becoming too painful. So he gave in to the pull and followed his son’s footsteps. Holding Kara, feeling her melt into him, kiss him back, was a heaven he thought he would never experience again. Then Chris had mentioned the male that had made their lives a living hell for so long and Tanis had appeared. When the excruciating pain began he could barely think straight. Now she was gone, the black abyss she had slipped into to loomed before him and it took everything thing he had not to follow her.

“We should move her inside,” Tanis rasped.

“Your place is closer,” Brynn said moving to his knees with more effort than it really should have taken.

Moving to his feet, Tanis tried to pick Kara up, but it was as if his strength had left with her. With a deep breath, Brynn scooped Kara into his arms, cradling her gently and with Chris’s help pushed to his feet. Taking a moment to enjoy the feel of her once again this close, he turned his attention to Tanis who, also with Chris’s help, stumbled to his feet. There was a mixture of emotions flitting across the man’s face. Brynn understood that feeling all too well. The confusion of anger and desolation as they warred with each other. It seemed like too many times he had watched either Aden or Anthony take his wife away from him. However, Brynn was not taking Kara away, he was going to help this man – his wife’s bond mate from eons past and present – find her and bring her back to them. Then they would figure out where they would go from here.

“The weakness will pass,” Brynn said. “The pain….”

“I have lost her more times than you can comprehend, mortal. I know it will pass,” Tanis snapped pushing Chris’s helping hands away.

“Maybe,” Brynn said, his eyes and voice still showing his sorrow. “But I doubt you have had her ripped from you so completely it was as if you have lost half of yourself.”

Tanis froze then looked at Brynn more closely. No, he had not lost her this completely because their spirits were never very far apart no matter how far physically they were. But this time he felt…nothing.

“Time for this later,” Chris reminded. The two men looked at the young man. “We need to move her inside where it is safer and contact one more to help us bring her home.”

“Who are you talking about?” Tanis asked.

“Aden,” Chris said plainly.

“Never!” Tanis hissed as at the same time Brynn snarled, “No!”

“He can help us,” Chris growled. “He’s connected to Mom, just like you and Dad are….”

“He will not touch her!” Tanis snarled. “I will talk about it no more,” he snapped when Chris opened his mouth to protest.

“Enough Chris. The subject is closed,” Brynn added firmly as he walked past him towards the farmhouse.

Snapping his mouth shut, Chris looked between Tanis, who was glaring at him to his father’s receding back. Why wouldn’t they see reason? If they were to bring his mother back and survive what was to come, they needed all the help they could get.

“Fine,” Chris snapped after a moment. If they would not listen to reason, then he would take matters into his own hands. First he would see his mother was settled, then he would figure out how to bring Aden here himself.

Chapter 25
Chapter 27

Copyright © 2019 Heidi Barnes