Authors: Emma Weylin
An ancient warrior. A timeless battle.
Haven Killian needs help. As the heiress of an ancient organization called the Black Rose, she is charged with keeping alive the line of succession. When she vows to protect a young boy tormented by magic, all she has to go on are rumors of an immortal with the power to save him.
As Battle King of the Undying, Quinn Donovan has the most powerful magic on the planet. Yet, he has waited an eternity to find his lifebond: the one woman destined to be his mate. The moment he meets Haven, he senses she is his. His instincts scream to protect the woman and the boy she guards, and to claim her as his own. But Haven is mortal, and for them to be united, she must become one of the Undying.
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Copyright © 2015 by Emma Weylin
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First Electronic Edition: August 2015
First Print Edition: August 2015
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Roaring power rumbled through Atlantis. Clear, shimmering pools sloshed out of their banks. Crystalline rock fragmented from under perfect mountain waterfalls. Magic of Theron’s caliber, bellowing with anger in the water realm, was a rare occurrence.
She fought the instinct to wilt. Like all pixies of the Avalon realm, her powers had limits. She’d just moved the Undying people on the Gaia realm two thousand years into the future at the behest of Oberon. Destroying one realm while saving another would hinder her cause.
“Laila!” The anguished roar again shook the snowcapped mountains.
She balled her miniature fists, but she knew better than to aggravate Theron further. His power had grown more than even Oberon had predicted. The move had saved many lives, even if the needed action angered Theron.
The next bellow shook the air surrounding her. This time the tip of the eastern mountains started to crumble. Laila blanched. She kept forgetting Theron and his human had reached full maturity.
Laila spread her dragonfly wings, beating them with a blur of speed to carry her up the mountain pass at a rapid pace. It seemed like only yesterday Theron had been a tiny blip of light in the dark pool that had created the essence of the first Undying power source. Fifty-five hundred Gaia, or Earth years, did go by rather quickly when one wasn’t watching.
“Do stop,” Laila said in soft tones as she came upon Theron, who stood next to the Pool of Sight amidst glistening rainbow grotto crystals. “You’ll sink Atlantis.”
A deep animal growl emanating from the altered human trembled the ground as the man housing Theron turned on her. Mercury orbs of glowing light were in place of his irises. His lip curled into a snarl. His large, perfect body was strung tight as if prepared for battle. “What did you do?”
Many millennia had passed since Laila feared for her life. Maybe making a creature so strong hadn’t been the smartest of ideas… but necessity often had one taking risks they normally wouldn’t. Theron was first. His loyalty to her had been unbreakable, but did not extend beyond a mass time teleportation of his people.
“Protected them,” she proclaimed.
He pointed at the Pool of Sight, shimmering inside a pure white marble basin. Images of his people flicked across the water as time on Gaia flashed by. Minutes in Atlantis moved like hours on Gaia. “They are lost! They cannot perform their duty. What have you done?”
“Now, Theron.” Laila flapped her wings to move her wee size up to eye level with the great power in front of her. “My sister tried to pull a fast one. I had to react, or they’d all be dead.”
The mercury swirl of Theron’s eyes burned hot. “Send us back!”
“I can’t,” she said. “Cadeyrn turned out better than either of us hoped. Have faith. I put him where he should find his reward. He will be stronger.”
Theron’s eyes flicked to the pool. An image of a young woman flashed across the water. Soft elven features graced the woman’s face. Her hair was a rich auburn, hanging in loose waves down to her hips. His eyes narrowed on the image in the water. She was worried. There was a boy of his kind with her. Theron’s mighty essence stretched beyond barriers he should not have been able to cross to get a feel on the woman—Cadeyrn’s lifebond.
His glowing eyes returned to Laila. “I cannot complete my task without Cadeyrn. Pray he comes successfully to his bond to life.”
Laila shrank down in size under Theron’s angry stare. His eyes bore into her as if he could already have her diminutive heart in his hand. If anything happened to Cadeyrn, no matter how tiny she was, she knew Theron would find a way to bathe in her blood.
Gaia Realm, Chicago Illinois
Haven Killian paced the emergency exam room. Once again, Bastian had another of his debilitating headaches. The headaches always came after a fight with another boy. She paused by the bed where he lay in a blissful drug-induced sleep. Pain medication had given needed relief fifteen minutes ago, leaving her to wait for the doctor. She leaned down, touched a kiss to his brow, and lightly cupped the side of his face.
“Oh, my Bastian,” she murmured. “How are we ever going to survive this?”
Part of her knew he was one of
. One of those beings who appeared like a human on the outside, but wasn’t exactly one on the inside. Nor did he resemble anything else in the lore her grandfather had taught her. Marcus Killian, her grandfather, was the leader of a secret organization called the Black Rose. Two thousand years ago, a powerful being known simply as Cadeyrn, had created the organization as a sort of supernatural police force.
Intuition told her help existed somewhere for the boy. He couldn’t be one of the nightmares from the stories her grandfather had told her of the creatures out there. Bastian was a sweet and thoughtful boy. At fourteen, he was more considerate than most adults she knew. Even so, he couldn’t help his overly aggressive reaction to violence toward someone Bastian perceived as an innocent. With eerie predictability, monstrous headaches assailed him after a fight. The administrators of the school wouldn’t—couldn’t—understand. Bastian never fought without being provoked.
She’d had no time to find out what triggered him, but it was usually because another boy had a heinous plan for one of the girls in Bastian’s class. While she understood those boys were more than likely only saying the crude words that boys sometimes said, the power growing inside of Bastian hadn’t gotten the memo. She was running out of options for his education. This was the third school in as many months from which he’d been expelled.
An archaic organization run by her grandfather hunting her didn’t help anything. She was supposed to have married her grandfather’s choice in heir. Leadership of the Black Rose would go to her husband. According to her upbringing, an arranged marriage wouldn’t be an issue if the supplied groom was someone she could respect and trust. The darkly terrifying Mason was neither. He could make the ground shake. The monster of a man claimed he was Bastian’s uncle. Mason claimed his rough treatment of Bastian was his duty. Haven didn’t believe either.
When she watched Mason strike Bastian for dropping a pencil, she’d known her existence as a pampered granddaughter of a rich man was over. That same night Haven had cleaned out her personal accounts. She and Bastian had fled the mansion Grandfather used as both a home and headquarters to his global organization that fought against the nastier creatures of the world. Three years of hopping from town to town, school to school, she’d somehow ended up back in Chicago.
The person she needed to help Bastian was rumored to live here. Every clue and every utterance of a shadowy, massive power had led to this city. He masqueraded as a real-estate mogul and entertainment entrepreneur. No matter what she had to do, she would find this Quinn Donovan. There must be a way to make him help Bastian. Bastian couldn’t end up like the dark monster, Mason.
A light knock at the door disrupted her thoughts. A cracking voice asked, “Ms. Killian?”
She jerked her head around. “Dr. Livingston. Have you been able to find out anything else?”
The middle aged, balding doctor came into the room. He pulled the door closed, sat down on a rolling stool, and clasped his hands together. “I understand you’ve declined blood work and any kind of scan. I might be able to help with his headaches, but I am going to be bluntly honest. Sudden behavior changes. Sudden unexplained pain. Those are pointing at a tumor. I can’t do any more for him if you won’t allow me.”
“We can’t afford those tests.” She didn’t lie, but money was not the reason she refused to have them done. Bastian would become a scientist’s next experiment if a doctor looked inside of him. “Is there anything else you can do for him without running some kind of scan?”
Doctor Livingston pulled off his glasses, then rubbed at his temples before putting them back on. “I can put you in contact with an organization that gives donations to many families like yours. It’s possible to get all of his medical expenses paid for, but you have to fill out the paper work.”
Haven closed her eyes and dragged breath into her lungs. “All right,” she lied. This emergency room could never be used again. “If you could get me the forms, I’ll fill them out.”
The doctor smiled as he stood. “We’ll find a way to take care of him, Ms. Killian.”
She smiled as she nodded. Once he was gone, she pulled on a coat so old it no longer battled the cold and slung her tattered purse over her shoulder. She grabbed Bastian’s coat and leaned close to his ear. “You have to wake him up so we can get out of here, but don’t hurt him.” She rarely talked to the strange power she could feel growing inside of him, but it was sometimes useful when they needed to run.
Bastian groaned, and when his eyes opened, they were flashing molten mercury. Bastian shook his head several times and ground his teeth together. “What’s going on?”
“They want to run more tests,” she whispered. “We have to go.”
Bastian swung his long legs over the edge of the bed. He was already over six feet tall. Even at seven inches shorter than him, she moved close to help him walk while he was still groggy. He staggered a few steps. His eyes glowed, but when he blinked, everything was normal. Haven poked her head out into the hall and then acted as if she was helping Bastian get to the restroom just outside the exam room. A nurse smiled at them before going into another patient’s room.