Published by: eXtasy Books
Word Count :40252
Publication Date :2019-09-20
Series : Storyteller#4
Heat Level :
- Product Code: 978-1-4874-2547-0
The future is history that has yet to be written…
Shadow and her children are in grave danger just by existing. Purebred elves fear she may be the one who will destroy the purity of their race. A contract is put out for them. How many will die so Shadow and her twins may live? What price is too high to secure freedom for half-elves? Will 001 be able to save them?
When her twins vanish, Shadow is heartbroken. As usual, she cannot rely on Ghost. He has disappeared once again, leaving Shadow to question their relationship. With Cowboy’s help, she throws herself into her training, although her human friend is unaware he may be a danger himself. Dodger seeks to relieve her pain, but does he have more than friendship on his mind? An impending storm of colossal proportions threatens to complete the devastation of the world.
Will Raz find the answers they seek in The Old Writings? Is Ghost a help or a hindrance? If the Prophecy is true, then perhaps Shadow is indeed their salvation.
Shadow stormed into the living room. “Who swiped my knife?”
Ghost raised his hand. “Me.”
“Because I think it’s time to get on with your training. I’m willing to bet you can’t take me down in a serious wrestling match.” He headed downstairs.
She stormed after him. “Stop pushing my buttons.”
“I’ve got to see this.” Raz chuckled from behind her.
Ghost called back to him, “That’s my Shadow.”
“You set that challenge to make me hostile, didn’t you?” Shadow glared across the training room at him.
“It worked, didn’t it? I knew if I kept pressing your buttons, I’d get you mad enough to at least try.”
“Why haven’t you even tried in the last several months?”
“I have, nothing worked, until now. You said the next time I tried to get you in here, I’d have to do something really dumb to make it work.” He held out the small blade. “Come and get it.”
“Taking my blade wasn’t dumb. It was petty.”
“But you’re here, so it worked.”
“That’s because I’m tired of being aggravated.” Shadow shifted stances. “I made my mind up the last time that if you ever asked again, I was going to come down here just to prove a point to you.”
Ghost tossed the blade out of their reach. “What’s that?”
“That I’m no good. Why not target practice?”
“You aced it four months ago.”
“Draw and fire?”
“Aced that last month. This is the last thing you’re down to, love.”
Shadow charged at Ghost, stopped just out of his reach, and lost her footing.
Ghost wrapped an arm around her waist, pulled her toward him, then shoulder-rolled to the floor and back to his feet. “Rescuing you is getting to be a habit.” He steadied her, turned her loose, and stepped back. “Care to try again?”
“Why? So I can fall this time?”
“You didn’t even try. You got scared, which made you slide while attempting to stop. I don’t mind rescuing you. What do you think I’m here for? Put yourself into it, though. Defend yourself.”
She turned her back to him. “I can’t.”
He stood in front of her. “Since when does my dreamer think about reality?”
Shadow stared at him with her heart pounding wildly. She shrugged, feeling at a loss for words.
“Reality is not your style, my love.” Ghost held her gaze. “I know what you did to Bethany at the bar that night.”
“I have ways of knowing things even you’ll never understand. I know the whole story. Thank you.”
“For taking out the one person I wanted to, but never did.”
“You’re welcome. I think.”
He retrieved the knife and returned it to her. “When you’re ready, let me know. Until then, I’ll stay by your side and protect you. Agreed?”
Shadow nodded. She went to the bedroom and returned the blade to the top drawer of the dresser. She hadn’t carried it since that day with Fixer. She’d replayed it over and over in her mind during every spare moment. She became exhausted from the anguish of trying to lock her memories away only to have it break out and torment her again. Eventually, Shadow buried it in the back of her mind and closed the door on it. It no longer haunted or scared her. The memory didn’t cause her pain now, because she had managed to seal it away. Even when she opened that door, it had no control over her. She smiled. The men had helped by rebuilding her self-confidence and self-worth. Only one area had never been healed, and that was her ability to take care of herself against a man in hand-to-hand.
* * * *
Ghost leaned against the kitchen wall corner. “I’m not sure how to win this.”
Raz touched his shoulder. “Give her time.”
“A night away from here might help,” Dodger suggested.
“Sounds good to me.” Ghost went back the hall and tapped on their open bedroom door. “How about going out with me tonight?”
Shadow nodded. “When and where?”
“Now and dinner.”
“Let me get dressed and kiss the kids goodbye. Tell Althea.”
“Deal.” He shut the door and joined the others. “She’s getting ready. I told her we were going out for dinner.”
Raz nodded. “Sounds good. I’ll even buy.”
“You’re on,” Dodger piped.
“As long as it’s elven,” Cowboy added cheerfully.
“Done,” Raz agreed.
“Let me tell Althea.” Ghost went to the nanny’s door and tapped on it.
He opened the door. “We’re going out tonight.”
Morgan and Michaela scrambled from their toy pile to their feet and toddled to him. “Dada,” they called in unison.
Ghost scooped them up, hugging them as they hugged him. “I love you two.”
Shadow joined them. “Pass the kids. Who’s first?”
Morgan almost leaped into her arms.
She kissed his cheek. “I love you, little man. Daddy thinks Mommy needs dinner out, so this is an early goodnight. Listen to Aunt Althea and go to bed when she says.” Her son nodded, showing her he understood. She rewarded Morgan with another kiss on his cheek before handing him to Althea, then she took her daughter. “Mommy and Daddy are going out, so listen to Aunt Althea. I love you, little girl.” She kissed Michaela on the forehead and placed her beside her brother. She watched as they played with their nanny and smiled. “Goodnight, Althea.”
Ghost nodded and closed the door behind them. “Food.”
* * * *
When they were all ready, they headed into town to enjoy dinner at the finest elven restaurant, then stopped at the hitter’s bar for a few drinks afterward. When midnight rolled around, they headed home.
The men pulled into the garage and shut down their bikes.
Cowboy climbed off the back of the blue war machine. “I really hate riding with you.”
Dodger kept a straight face. “Why?”
“All those turns you make on the straight roads and all those turns you don’t make on the curved roads. You’re trying to kill me.”
“Nah, just trying to scare you.”
Raz snickered. “Riding with me would be twice as bad.”
“Twice as bad?” Cowboy scoffed. “I’d already be dead.”
* * * *
Shadow laughed. “I’m going to check on the kids.” She went inside and knocked on the bedroom door. “Althea?” Silence compelled her to open the door. She froze when saw the nanny on the floor. “Althea?” She rushed to her side and shook her but received no response. “Cowboy!”
“What is—” Cowboy scooped up the unconscious Althea, moved her to the bed, and checked her pulse.
The quiet triggered a wave of horrifying panic. Shadow pushed past the entering men and raced to the nursery. She checked the small pink crib. Empty. She dashed to check the small blue crib. Empty. Her mind reeled as fear devoured her. “No, no, no!”