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Excerpt for Dimitri: Deadly Obsession by , available in its entirety at Smashwords



Dimitri:

Deadly Obsession











Dimitri:

Deadly Obsession



















Ginger Elinburg











Copyright 2016 Ginger Elinburg



All rights reserved as permitted under the U.S. Copyright Act of 1976. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, transmitted in any form or by any means, or store in a database or retrieval system, without the prior permission of the Author. For information regarding subsidiary rights, please contact the publisher.







This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual events, locales, or persons, living or dead, are coincidental.



Thank you, Lisha, for asking questions, making suggestions and encouraging me to “give me more Wicked books”. You’re a fabulous big sister and a great supporter.







For my girls, Amber, Tiffani and Paige.



Other Works by Ginger Elinburg


Wicked

Wicked Welcome (Book 1)

Beyond Wicked (Book 2)

Wicked: Family Ties (Book 3)

Pantar (Book 4)

Damien: The Guardian (Book 5)

Dimitri: Deadly Obsession (Book 6)

Donovan: Unleashed (Book 7)



Standalone

Hunted by Death

Always Girl

Sharp Edges

Whispered Deceit

Killian's Pass

Draçon

Hunted by Death II

ONE

I have a confession to make.’

Trinity looked up from her keyboard, expecting to see someone standing in her office. Her hand trembled when she rubbed her forehead. “I’m losing my mind.”

Esrah lifted his head and looked at her, his amber colored eyes were heavy from sleep and his body shook when he stretched his legs out along the couch.

Do you want to hear my confession?’

Trinity pushed away from her desk and stood, her eyes wide as she looked at the wolf. “Are you….?” Shaking her head, she laughed at herself and walked over to sit on the floor in front of the couch. Scratching Esrah behind his ear, she wondered if maybe her office was suddenly haunted.

Don’t worry, I’m not a ghost.’

Esrah growled when her hand stilled and she sucked in a frightened breath.

Leave her alone. Can’t you tell you’re frightening her.’

How is it possible that you can hear me, dog?’

Esrah’s growl deepened. ‘Watch yourself, puss, I can take her far away from you and see to it that you suffer without her.’

Trinity wrapped her arms around Esrah’s neck and hugged him close. “Do you hear it too?”

Nudging her away, he jumped down from the couch and walked over to the door.

Sighing, Trinity stood up and picked up the chain leash. After securing it to his collar, she opened the door and let him lead her out into the hallway. The sound of her boot heels echoed off the walls and she wondered if sending her only officer out to pick up food was such a good idea. Pushing open the exit door, she breathed in the smells of the night and shivered as she noticed the way the fog crept from the woods to cover the ground. Unsnapping the leash, she patted Esrah’s rump. “Hurry the hell up, the night feels…. dangerous somehow.”

Esrah hesitated for a few seconds, sniffing the ground around his feet before trotting off in the direction of the woods.

You need to go back inside.’

Trinity uncrossed her arms and lowered her hand to rest on her weapon. “Esrah, hurry up.” To her ears, her words sounded muffled by the fog. Raising her voice, she called out again for her companion and breathed a sigh of relief when he stepped into view. “Let’s get back inside, boy.”

Careful, bébé.’

Trinity’s brows lowered in confusion before her eyes widened with worry as she realized that Esrah wasn’t coming any closer. Walking towards him, she gasped and broke into a run when she noticed the blood dripping from his mouth.

Esrah’s body shook from the will it took him to remain in his true form. He wanted to tell Trinity to run but to shift now would be disastrous for both of them. Sending his thoughts out to Dimitri, he urged him to force her inside.

Get back inside… NOW! Leave the dog and go!’

“I’m not leaving him!” Grabbing Esrah’s collar, she attempted to drag him across the parking lot.

Esrah tightened his leg muscles and refused to be moved. Jerking out of her grip, he pushed against her legs with his head until she started walking towards the squat brick building. As soon as she stepped through the door, Esrah turned and ran back into the woods.

Trinity sucked in a shocked breath and was pushing the door open when the voice in her head spoke again.

Let him go. It’s not safe for you out there.’

“But he’s hurt. I need to get him to the vet.”

He’s fine. The blood isn’t his.’

Trinity cocked her head and stared off towards the woods, her cop instincts finally kicking in. “Whose blood is it then?” Her attention was suddenly drawn towards the dispatcher’s office by the hum of the printer. Pulling her weapon from her holster, she cautiously approached the dark office and flipped on the overhead light. Her breathe rushed out in relief when she realized the noise she was hearing was an incoming fax. “I need to get a grip and stop being so damn jumpy.”

Walking over, she lifted the printed pages and turned them over. Shock covered her body and the papers slipped from her numb fingers. The face that stared back at her was one she’d hoped to never see again, the whole reason she decided to become a law enforcement officer.

Lock the door, Trinity.’

Instead of dismissing the voice, she sprinted from the office and ran to the front of the building. Twisting the lock, she looked out into the dark-filled night and wondered if she were being watched.

You’re safe, bébé. I’d never let anything happen to you.’

“Who are you?” She wiped the moisture away that her breath created on the window when she spoke, and the air stilled in her throat when a tall figure appeared at the edge of the fog.

I’m your mate. Don’t unlock the door just yet.’

“I wasn’t planning on unlocking the door at all.”

Trinity’s heartbeat quickened as the figure outside walked closer. His dark hair shielded his face from view and she pulled her weapon from the holster, holding it down by her side, finger on the outside of the trigger guard.

Movement to the right caught her attention and she stiffened when Esrah stepped into the light. His head hung low to the ground and his mouth was slightly open, and she would swear, if asked later, that she heard his deep threatening growl. Her eyes darted back to the man and she smirked when he stopped walking and slowly lifted his head to look towards Esrah.

I’m not going to hurt her.’

Oh…of that you can be sure. Go away, she doesn’t need you here.’

I’m here to protect her.’

You know as well as I do that the danger has passed. Leave…now.’

Trinity’s hand lifted toward the lock on the door when the stranger took a threatening step in Esrah’s direction. As she turned the lock, her attention was captured by twin beams of light piercing through the fog. She watched the cruiser pull into the parking lot and turned toward the stranger with a triumphant smile. The only one standing in the parking lot was Esrah. The stranger had disappeared just as quickly as he had appeared. Hearing the car door slam, she waited until the officer was at the door before unlocking it and pushing it open. “Did you see a man standing in the parking lot when you pulled up, Joe?”

Stepping to the side, to allow Esrah to walk by, Joe shook his head and held out one of the to-go boxes that he had brought back. “I can’t see shit in this fog. Almost drove off in a ditch twice.”

Locking the door, Trinity searched for the stranger once more before turning and following Officer Joe down the hall.

Entering the dispatcher’s office, Joe sat his to-go box down before kneeling and picking up the paper Trinity had dropped earlier. “Did you see this?” Joe’s lips moved as he read the report on the second page. “Seems we may have an escaped convict in the area. Say’s here, he was arrested for the murder of five people and sentenced to the death penalty.” Joe looked up at Trinity when she didn’t respond. “You okay there, Captain? You don’t look so good.”

“I’m fine, Joe. Just had a little scare earlier.” Motioning towards his desk, she turned to leave. “You should go ahead and eat before the others come in and claim it as their own.”

Trinity was out in the hall when Joe spoke. “Captain?”

“Yeah, Joe.”

“You asked if I had noticed anyone when I pulled up… You don’t think you could’ve seen this Matthew fella, do you? I mean… why would he escape from prison and then runs to the nearest police station?” Joe took a bite of his burger and chewed, waiting for Trinity to reply.

The box in Trinity’s hand shook a little at the mention of the man’s name. “Because, I think he knows I’m here.”

“But why would that ma…” Joe stopped speaking when Trinity slowly turned and looked at him, lifting her chin and turning her head slightly to the right.

“See this scar across my neck?” When he hesitantly nodded, she lowered her head and shrugged. “I’m the one that got away.”

Joe quit chewing, looked down at the paper again and back up at Trinity. “But… you couldn’t have been more than…”

Trinity was the youngest police Captain to ever be sworn into office in her town and she was aware that people didn’t think she was old enough to handle the pressures of the job.

“Eight. I was eight years old when that…scumbag ran a blade across my neck. I probably would have died if not for the wolf that found me laying in the woods.”.

Joe shook his head and laid his hamburger down before picking up the page that showed the man’s picture.

Trinity waited for him to say something and, after a few minutes, she walked back into the office. “What is it?”

“Nothing. I’m just studying every detail of this dickheads face so I’ll know exactly what he looks like. He won’t get near you again Captain, you can bet your badge on that.”

Trinity smiled and walked from the room, smothering a laugh when she overheard Joe speaking to the picture.

“You’re a dead man, buddy. Come on over to our station, I dare ya.”

Dimitri stood at the edge of the woods and waited until the rest of the on-duty officers entered the building before he returned home. He hadn’t been in the living room long when he heard the crash of a glass hitting the tile floor in the kitchen. Rushing across the room, he collided with Donovan.

“Are you okay?”

Dimitri shook his head. “Wasn’t me, sounded like it came from the kitchen.”

“You bitch! You awful, hateful, spiteful bitch!”

Donovan’s eyes widened and he ran in the direction of Bexley’s voice. Entering the kitchen, he watched Bexley pace the room, shaking her fist at the ceiling. “What happened?”

“What happened? He wants to know what happened. Look!”

Donovan looked in the direction she was pointing. “You dropped your bowl of rice… so?”

“Uhhh… you might want to look a little closer at that, dear brother.” Dimitri wrinkled up his nose in disgust.

“That’s not rice, it’s maggots. Hundreds of nasty ass maggots.”

Donovan looked from Bexley to Dimitri and back towards the mess on the floor. “Are you both on something? That’s nothing more than rice.” Bending down, he scooped up a handful and held it out towards them. “See… rice.”

Bexley’s face twisted in horror and she turned away, covering her mouth with her hand. “I think I’m gonna be sick.”

“What is wrong with you people? I told you it’s just ri…” His words trailed off when he felt movement against his palm. His face paled and he ran to the trashcan, tossing the squirming mass of maggots inside before running to the sink and turning on the hot water.

Dimitri whispered a spell beneath his breath before grabbing the broom and sweeping up the now dead maggots, along with the broken bowl, and adding them to the pile in the trashcan. He laughed to himself as Donovan dry heaved while scrubbing his hands with a brillo pad. “Bet you won’t be so quick to doubt us next time, will ya?”

Donovan dried his hands before wiping the corners of his eyes, drying the tears formed by his gagging. “Who did this?”

Bexley looked at him and arched an eyebrow. “Who do you think? It was her. That ignorant, childish bitch that has your daddy.”

“How can you be so sure it was her?”

“Who else could it be? What sane person gets their kicks by…?” Her words trailed off and she cocked her head to the side before walking over to the pantry door and jerking it open. “YOU! You did this?!”

Blake looked up at her before shifting and racing from the room, looking over his shoulder to see if Bexley was following.

Dimitri stared after his little cousin in shocked amusement. “Why would he do such a thing to you?”

Bexley’s hands were balled into tight fists at her side and she spoke through gritted teeth. “Yesterday when we were out in the woods we found a dead rabbit that was covered in those nasty things. I almost got sick and when he tried to eat it, I yelled at him and swatted his little butt.”

Dimitri nodded as understanding set in. “Ahhhh… payback’s a bitch, isn’t it?”

Bexley rounded on him, her face red with fury. “You think this is funny? Acceptable even? He needs to be taught right from wrong before he does something ‘cute’ and hurts someone!”

“Who the hell are you to put your hands on my child?”

Bexley’s back stiffened and she slowly turned to face Christina. “I’m the one who stopped your child from eating a rotten carcass. I’m the one who watches him day and night while you, his mother, goes off and does who knows what for hours on end. And I’m the one who will punish him as I see fit when he is left in my care. You may baby him but I sure as shit won’t” Covering the space between them in one swift step, she poked Christina in the chest. “If you don’t like that maybe you should try actually being his fucking mother.”

Bexley’s head snapped back and the sound of the slap seemed to echo throughout the room. Christina grabbed a fist full of Bexley’s hair, pulling her head up to stare into her eyes. “Don’t you ever speak to me that way again, and you don’t have to worry your pretty little self with my spoiled brat anymore.” Releasing her hold, she pushed Bexley away. “As to me going off every night, I’ve been doing everything in my limited powers to find my husband’s brother so I can bring him home.” Propping her hands on her hips, she looked from one person to the next and tried to force herself to calm down. “Anyone interested in hearing what I’ve found out?”

Donovan handed Bexley an ice pack and glared at Christina. “I understand that you’re angry but that’s no excuse for hitting her.”

“You heard how she spoke to me. She accus….”

“I heard her and I agree that she crossed a line but you still shouldn’t have struck her.” Donovan pulled Bexley’s hand down so he could look at her cheek. His growl of disapproval caused Christina to silently call out to Nicolas.

“Anyone care to explain to me just what the hell is going on here?”

Dimitri was leaned against the island, legs crossed at the ankles and arms crossed over his chest. “Well, it all started when Blake turned Bexley’s food into maggots and it just escalated from there. Aunt Christina slapped Bexley for calling her a bad mother and that got Donovan’s fur ruffled up so…here we are.”

Nicolas wrapped Christina up in a hug. “You okay?” When she nodded, he turned his attention to Donovan. “You can stop all that growling anytime now. All you’re doing is pissing me off and you don’t want to do that.”

“She struck my mate.”

“I’m not your mate!” Bexley shoved against Donovan’s chest until he stepped away from her.

“You are my mate and you may as well start getting comfortable with that fact.”

“I don’t have to get comfortable with anything, you arrogant pri…”

“He’s still close by.”

The room grew silent as everyone turned to stare at Christina.

“Are you sure?” A tired and dirty Damien walked into the room, followed closely by Makena. Her clothes were filthy and she was covering a yawn with the back of one dirty hand.

“What have you two been doing?” Dimitri stepped to the side to let Damien and Makena by on their way to the kitchen sink.

“I’ve used every spell I can think of to gain access to the old tunnels and nothing has worked. I plan on digging my way in, I don’t care how long it takes. I don’t know why we didn’t think to do that sooner.” Damien turned the water on, picked up a bar of homemade lavender soap and took Makena’s hands in his own. He smiled when she sighed as he gently washed the dirt from her skin.

“Why didn’t you call out to us for help?”

Damien glared over his shoulder at Dimitri. “You were a little preoccupied with other people.”

Dimitri returned his glare. “She’s in danger.”

“Yeah? And what? You think Papa is being treated with kid gloves? You don’t think his life is more important than hers?” Picking up a towel, he handed it to Makena before washing his own hands.

“No. I think they are equally important but we can’t get to papa, I can and will keep Trinity safe.” Dimitri pushed away from the wall and stomped over to the bay window. “She’s being stalked by the man who tried to kill her when she was just a child. He was waiting for her outside the police station tonight. If that dog of hers wouldn’t have scared him away, he’d no longer be a problem.”

“Couldn’t you have followed him and killed him anyway?”

Dimitri shook his head. “He didn’t leave a trail that I could pick up. All I could smell was that damned dog of hers.”

Damien dried his hands and searched Dimitri’s memories of what had happened at the police station. “There was blood on the wolf’s mouth, not his though. You couldn’t get a scent from that?”

“Like I said, all I could smell was the dog. I thought the blood belonged to him at first.”

“Then chances are this person is a wolf as well, right?”

Dimitri looked at Makena and shook his head. “There are many reasons why I wasn’t able to scent him out but only one that worries me.”

Donovan arched a brow. “You’re right to be worried. If he’s got the protection of a witch, you may not be able to get to her in time.”

Dimitri turned his attention to Christina. “You said papa is still close; do you know where he’s being held?”

Christina chewed her cheek and hesitantly shook her head. “I haven’t found his exact location yet. I just know he’s not too far away.”

“So, you’re able to feel his presence?”

“No… hers. Which means…” Her words trailed off when she noticed Morgan standing in the doorway.

“She’s using his magic to conceal him but she’s not able to fully conceal herself.”

“That’s a good thing, right?”

Damien sighed and rubbed the spot between his eyes. “Not necessarily. If she’s using papa’s magic, maman should be able to find him. The fact that she can’t means there’s something more going on here.”

“So… what do we do now?”

“We keep searching for him and hope we find him before it’s too late.”

Donovan looked over at Bexley, slumped against the wall on the opposite side of the room. Her eyes followed Christina’s every move and her lip was lifted in anger, reveling the dangerous length of her teeth. “I’d like to go for a run. Bex, you care to join me?”

Her eyes were tinted red when she quickly glanced at him and shook her head.

“Sure you do.” Walking across the room, he gripped her by the elbow and pulled her out of the kitchen. He was smiling when he looked down at her but she shrank away from him as his voice broke into her thoughts. “You stop those growls of yours right now. I understand your angry, hell I would be too, but Uncle Nick would kill you without hesitation if you harm his wife.”

“She will pay for hitting me. And if you don’t let go of my arm…”

“You’ll what? Just calm down! We have more important things to deal with then your hurt pride.”

Bexley lashed out at him, cutting his arm with her claws. Feeling his grip loosen, she jerked her arm free and ran for the front door.

Donovan growled and took a step after her.

“Let her go. Maman wants to talk to us.”

Donovan gritted his teeth and turned to face his sister and her mate. “She has to be stopped before she does something stupid.”

Sasha’s eyes dropped to the bleeding cuts that ran the length of his arm. “Looks like she’s already done something stupid.” Sasha looked up at Blaze and smiled before disappearing.

“Well, shit.”

“Yeah.” Blaze motioned towards the kitchen and waited for Donovan to lead the way.

TWO

Bexley cried out and stumbled back. “What are you doing here?”

“What’s the matter little sister? Did I frighten you?” Annadella looked down at her nails with a bored expression. “I’m surprised mommy and daddy let you run free at all after what that bastard did to you. Guess they care for you just about as much as they do me.”

“Just what the hell is that supposed to mean?”

Annadella’s smile was predatory when she looked up. “You know exactly what it means. They could give two shits about what happens to me and, judging by the concern they’ve shown for you lately, they feel the same way about you.”

Bexley turned away from her and began walking back toward the house. “You’re wrong. You’re still pissed about what you think happened all those years ago.”

“Is that what you think?” With a single thought, she was blocking Bexley’s path. She took a threatening step forward. “I’m right and soon you’ll know just how right I am. He was willing to trade me for a chance to be accepted by the Queen, what do you think he’d do to become closer to the family?” When Bexley remained quiet, she leaned forward as if to kiss her cheek. “You think about what I’ve said, little sister, and I’ll return when you need me.”

Bexley shuddered from the coldness in her voice and watched her walk back to the place where she had been standing.

“Oh, one other thing… I know where your Queens mate is being held.”

Bexley’s eyes widened and she opened her mouth to speak but Annadella disappeared before the words could form.

“Who were you talking to just now?”

Bexley spun to find Sasha standing inches away. Taking a quick step back, she attempted to put some space between them. “I didn’t hear your approach. You scared me a little.”

“Oh honey… I’m about to scare you a lot.” Closing the gap between them, she caught Bexley by the arm to keep her from moving. “I don’t take too kindly to seeing my brother bleeding because you’re throwing a temper tantrum. You want to explain to me why you thought that shit would be okay?”

Bexley tried to jerk away and cried out when Sasha tightened her hold. “Owww, let go… you’re hurting me!”

Sasha narrowed her eyes and leaned in close. “You hurt my brother, I hurt you, it’s that simple.”

Bexley swallowed past the lump in her throat and frantically searched her mind for a way to distract Sasha. “M... m… my sis… sister, I was talking to her. You asked who I was talking to, it was my sister. She claims to know where your daddy is being held.”

Blood trickled from the corner of Sasha’s mouth as her teeth lengthened. “Don’t lie to me, little kitty; I don’t tolerate liars.”

Bexley’s eyes widened. “I… I’m not. She told me she knows where he’s being held, just before she disappeared.” Bexley threw her free arm across her face when Sasha raised her clawed hand. “I’m telling the truth!”

“What’s she talking about?”

Sasha pushed Bexley into the closest kitchen chair. “She claims her sister knows where papa is.”

Bexley looked around the room and slumped forward, relieved that Sasha had brought them back home.

“Which sister?” Dimitri looked at Makena suspiciously.

“Don’t give me that look, I’ve been helping Damien search for him.”

“That doesn’t mean you’re innocent.”

“Oh, for fucks sake! Instead of fighting and guessing, why not ask the girl which sister she’s referring to?” Christina walked over to stand in front of Bexley. “So? Spit it out, girl. Which sister told you that?”

“Annadella.”

“Annadella was here?” Morgan closed her eyes and shook her head. “How is it possible for her to break through our barriers?”

“She didn’t. I found Bexley out near the cliffs just north of here.”

“Is that where the portal was when they took your family, Makena?”

Makena shrugged. “I’m not sure. I haven’t been back that way since we were allowed to come back home.”

Morgan looked at Damien for an answer but he was already shaking his head. Facing Bexley again, she studied the girl’s face and tried to enter her thoughts.

Bexley felt the intrusion and fixed her eyes on Morgan. “Sorry, but no.”

Morgan’s nostrils flared and she lifted her head. “You’re refusing me?”

“I am. I don’t trust anyone and I don’t open myself up to strangers.”

“I am your Queen. You can’t keep me out.”

Standing, Bexley planted her hands on the table and leaned forward, keeping her eyes on Morgan. “Queen or not, you do not have my permission to enter my thoughts.”

“Makena?”

“Yes ma’am?”

“Take your sister from my home. She is no longer welcome here.” Pushing her chair back, Morgan stood and looked at each person in the room. “For years, I have allowed you all to live your life as you saw fit. I haven’t been intrusive and I’ve only ever entered your thoughts with your permission. That ends today… right now. If you have a problem with that, then you can leave too. I’ve been remiss in my duties and it has caused nothing but heartache. But, no more. From now on I will do whatever it takes to protect this family. Damien, as guardian you will also do whatever it takes…” Her eyes stopped on Bexley and she finished speaking. “No matter who gets hurt in the process.”

They all remained quiet as they watched Morgan walk from the room and toward the stairs.

“Get her out of my fucking house.”

Damien sighed and walked across the room. “I’m sorry Bexley but, you heard maman. You have to leave now and you can’t stay on this land.”

“Damien, you can’t mean that.” Makena’s brows were lifted in shock.

“This is my maman’s land and she doesn’t want your sister here. Do not fight me on this, mate, you’ll not win this time.” Damien looked down at the hand Makena placed on his arm and shook his head. ‘Don’t try to stop this, mon amore. We can find her a safe place to stay away from here.’

But she’s my baby sister.’

And she made her choice. I have to do this, it’s my job.’

Makena’s hand fell away and she took Bexley’s hand in her own. “Let’s go get your things and you can stay with us until we find you a place.”

Bexley allowed herself to be pulled from the room. Casting a glance at Donovan over her shoulder, she stiffened her back when she noticed the small smile at the corner of his mouth. Once outside, she pulled Makena to a stop. “I don’t mind leaving, because I don’t trust Donovan, which is why I can’t stay with you and Damien. I’ll find a place of my own, by myself, and I promise to keep in contact with you. But from here… I go alone.” Kissing Makena’s cheek, she pulled her hand free and shifted.

Makena’s heart felt like it was breaking when she noticed a single tear roll down Bexley’s furry cheek before she turned and ran towards the woods.

Battle stood against the stone wall and watched in wonder as Annadella moved furniture around the room. “What makes you so sure she’ll even show up?”

Waving her hand, she changed the bed from a simple queen size to a four poster California King with green and black silk curtains hanging on all sides. “She’s on her way now. I made sure to leave directions in the roots of the tree.”

“You left directions to the castle? Are you crazy?”

Annadella laughed and continued to fill the room with exquisite furnishings. “I’m crazy, yes, but I’m not a complete fucking moron. I left her directions to the next portal. Only those of my blood can enter, so don’t freak out about that too.”

Battle lifted his head and sniffed the air before disappearing from the room.

Opening the front door, he caught Bexley before she could fall inside. “Easy there, sugar. What were you doing leaning against the door like that?”

Bexley’s face reddened and she stepped away from him. “I… nothing.” Clearing her throat, she looked towards the entry hall. “Is my sis… Is Annadella here?”

“I told you she’d be here.” Rushing down the stairs, Annadella wrapped Bexley up in a hug.

Battle slowly backed away and watched the two women, his eyes not believing the change that had come over Annadella. “Ummm… can I get you something from the kitchen?” Glancing at his watch, he decided it was late enough to start cooking. “I’m making steak for lunch, is there any certain way you like yours cooked?”

Bexley realized he was speaking to her and shook her head. “Any way you cook it will be fine. Do you happen to have any whiskey?”

Annadella lifted an eyebrow. “It’s a little early to be drinking, don’t you think?”

Bexley’s laughter seemed to bring life to the dark castle. “I’m not wanting to drink it. It’s for whiskey biscuits.”

“Whiskey biscuits?”

Nodding, she followed Battle into the kitchen, looking back once to motion Annadella to follow. “Blaze, that’s the Queen’s son-in-law, he taught me to make them once I agreed to learn to cook.”

“Tell you what, you cook the biscuits and I’ll do the rest. Any brand of whiskey you prefer?”

Bexley shrugged. “Any will do I guess but I like the one in the purple bag.”

Battle smiled, opened the liquor cabinet and reached inside. “A woman after my own heart.”

The floor rumbled beneath their feet and he shot Annadella a warning look. “It’s just a figure of speech, calm your tits.”

Bexley held her hands up and backed away. “You have nothing to worry about where I’m concerned.”

“I’m not worried; I’m just letting you know he’s off limits.”

Battle handed the bottle of whiskey to Bexley before turning his attention to Annadella. “Are you staking your claim then?”

Crossing her arms over her full breast, Annadella cocked her hip to the side. “Oh, you bet your sexy ass I am.”

Bexley dropped her head and stared at the floor when Battle snaked an arm around Annadella’s waist and pulled her against his body. “Should… should I leave you two alone?”

When no one answered, she turned her head enough to peek to the side and breathed a sigh of relief when she found herself alone in the spacious kitchen.

“What do you mean the Queen made her leave?” Michael shrugged off Addilyn’s hand when she tried to stop him from leaving. “Where did you she go? Did she tell anyone?”

Makena shook her head. “I told her she could stay with me but she refused and then she ran off into the woods. I haven’t been able to communicate with her either.”

Kaia walked into the room scrubbing a towel over her wet hair. “Mama, I think we need to change shampoo. That mess we have…” When she caught sight of Makena and Damien standing by the window she pulled up short and cast a worried look at her mother. “What’s going on? Did they find him?”

Addilyn shook her head. “Bexley left and no one knows where she went.”

“I have a suspicion where she may have gone.” Makena laced her fingers through Damien’s and drew on his strength to tell her family what she suspected. “I’m almost certain that she went to Annadella’s.”

“What?! Why do you think that?”

Damien squeezed her hand and nodded for her to explain.

“She told us that she spoke to Annadella earlier. Annadella told her she knows where Tréan is being held.”

Addilyn threw her hands up in the air and shook her fists in frustration. “But that doesn’t explain why you’d think Bexley has gone to Annadella. Besides, how the hell would she even know how to get there? None of us know where that damned castle is even located much less how to get there.”


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