I’m participating in an awesome flash fiction venture with a group of nine other fantastic writers headed by the wonderful Lori Connelly called Written Fireside!
Today’s the day I post my portion of our free Halloween paranormal romance story, Of The Storm – Part 6
Here are links to the previous installments, if you need to catch up:
So, without further ado… Of The Storm – Part 6. Enjoy!
Amaya pulled her red Acura up outside the dilapidated old automotive-factory-turned-carpark and cut the engine. From it’s graffiti-covered walls and crumbling exterior, this was the last place anyone would consider a suitable portal to the Fae Realms..
Which, of course, made it the perfect choice for inter-dimensional travel.
She faced Brishen, fury constricting her vocal cords. “Dammit, Bri, answer me. Right now or you’ll never get the Torc. Where’s Makani and what the hell is going on?”
Her massive Fae guardian’s shoulders tensed, though his expression remained flat as day old soda. Typical. “There are things at play that you don’t understand, Amaya.”
“Then tell me.”
He turned to her, concern and something else—something darker and warmer and decidedly unsettling—in his gorgeous violet eyes. “I don’t want to put you in any more danger.”
His gaze flickered to her lips before shifting to the rain-covered windshield. Lightening streaked the sky and wind howled, causing the small car to rock drunkenly. “Haven’t you ever wondered about the Samhain Torc? Why it was created? Why you and your sister are charged with its protection?”
She slumped in her seat and crossed her arms. The last thing she needed right now was a history lesson on her twisted family tree. She knew all too well the sting of being different, of being a mixed-blood. Still, Bri seemed intent on ripping open her old wounds anyway.
Amaya sighed. If it would help get her sister back, the guy could blab about anything he wanted. “All I know is we Payton’s have been in charge of that stupid Torc for eight centuries. And yes, Makani and I are the only ones who know the chant to open the portal. What does this have to do with anything?”
“At it’s making, the Torc was infused with the blood of the True Seelie King, binding it forever to those pure rulers of the bloodline.”
“And?” Amaya asked impatiently. The low rumble of his voice made her think of midsummer nights and fertility rituals. If she had to sit much longer beside him, in that tiny little car, she wouldn’t be responsible for her actions.
She squirmed in her seat and pressed her arms tighter against her chest. What the hell was wrong with her? Her sister was missing, her family’s prized artifact had disappeared, and most likely, the world as she knew it was coming to an end—and all she could do was lust after the one man she should never, ever want.
“You know what?” She unbuckled her seatbelt and reached for the door handle. “I don’t have time for this. Makani needs me and—”
Bri caught her hand and held it tight. “It’s you, Amaya. You and Makani. You’re the rightful rulers of the Seelie Court. Not Tasaria.”
Stunned, Amaya tried to pull free, but his grip only tightened. “Listen, Fae-boy. I don’t know what kind of magic weed you’ve been smoking, but that’s ridiculous.” She shoved hard against him. He pulled her closer, locking her against him by wrapping his arm around her waist. The gear shifter dug painfully into her side, but she didn’t care. “Let. Me. Go.”
“No.” His warm breath fanned her cheeks and the scent of fresh leaves and sunshine and mint surrounded her. Her heart pounded loud in her ears. “Please, Amaya. We don’t have much time. You must listen to me. Blaike is not the evil menace you think he is. He’s on your side. He and Makani have been together for weeks now, searching for a way to hide the Torc from Tasaria and her armies. To save the two of you and restore you both to your rightful throne.”
“Rightful throne?” This time when she pushed at him, he let he go. “No. This is wrong. All wrong. Blaike is the Demon King. He’s evil. I’ve seen him in action. And you? You’re on his side?”
She fumbled her way out the door and into the blinding rain. Insane. This whole situation was crazy. Makani. She had to find Makani. If anything happened to her poor, innocent sister because of Bri and his traitorous plans, she’d kill him with her bare hands.
The amulet glowed hot against her chest and she reached beneath her scrubs to pull it out. The thing acted like a homing beacon between the sisters, helping them locate one another over great distances. That meant…
“You must come with me, Amaya.” Bri came around the front of the car to block her path. He must’ve forgotten to do his magical-umbrella spell this time because when he stepped up to her, his long silver hair hung in long dripping sheets. Somehow the effect only made him sexier. He grabbed her arm and headed toward the factory door. “Please come inside and let me explain before—”
Another crack of lightening bolted through the sky and bodies materialized around them.
Warriors. Demons. Blaike. Makani
“Sis!” Makani ran to Amaya and hugged her tight. “Thank the Fates you’re all right! We were so worried about you.”
“Me?” she managed to squeak as her sister squeezed the breath out of her. “You were worried about me?”
“Yes. We were,” Blaike, the Demon King, said. He stepped forward and placed his hand on Makani’s shoulder, pulling her back into his chest. “It’s good to see you, Amaya.”
“Wish I could say the same.” She stared at her sister, scowling. She couldn’t believe the way Makani clung to scumbag Blaike,, the way he stroked her hair, the way the lightning flashed off the ring on her hand. Wait. A ring? What the hell?
“Makani, step away from him. He’s got you under an enchantment. Again.” She kept her voice low and soothing, not wanting to startle her obviously confused sibling. “Come with me. I’ll take you home.”
“I am home, silly.” Makani kissed Blaike and cuddled closer to him. “We’re married.”
“Married?” Her gaze darted from her sister to Blaike then to Bri. She turned to the guardian still at her side, livid. “Explain. Now.”
“I tried to tell you, in the car, but you wouldn’t listen.” He reached for her hand, but she swatted him away. “Amaya, please…”
“No. This is crazy. I can’t believe this. I won’t believe it.”
Bright light parted the ominous clouds above and thunder rumbled the ground. Amaya’s legs wobbled beneath her and she grasped Bri’s arm for support.
“She is here,” Blaike said. The demon warriors surrounding him snapped to attention. “Tasaria.”
“Queen Tasaria to you, filth.” The woman touched down with regal arrogance and fixed her ruby red eyes on Amaya. “Did you bring my artifact?”
Crap. She had no idea where the stupid thing was.
Before she could concoct an answer, Blaike stepped forward, his muscled bulk blocking Makani from view. “You’ll never get your hands on the Torc again, imposter.”
“Really?” the Queen said, her tone as rigid as her posture. “And who’s going to stop me?”
“I shall.” Blaike drew his sword.
“And I.” Bri joined him with two wicked looking daggers in his hands. “You’ve squatted on the throne of Seelie for too long, you heinous toad.”
The pounding march of the approaching royal armies drowned out the booming thunder.
“Such devotion to these pathetic creatures.” A cruel smile quirked the Queen’s thin lips. “Too bad you have failed.”
Faster than a blink, Tasaria sent a bolt of power straight into Bri’s chest, directly over his heart. He convulsed and fell to the ground, lifeless.
Time seemed to slow. Amaya dropped to her knees beside her fallen guardian as Blaike struck out with his sword.
Tasaria countered with another blast of magic. Makani screamed and the Torc ripped from around her neck and flew into the Queen’s possession, along with Amaya’s amulet.
The armies clashed, but Blaike’s forces were no match for the sheer numbers of the Queen’s armies. They wrestled the Demon King to the ground and took Amaya and Makani hostage. As they headed back to the Seelie Court, all she could think of was Bri.
She could see him ahead, his body hoisted over the shoulders of two Fae archers. His face looked pale and gray, his beautiful eyes closed.
He couldn’t be dead. He couldn’t. Not now.
Not when she finally knew the truth.
And how much he meant to her…
Dun, dun, dun!
What will happen to Amaya and Makani? Will Bri survive? Can Tasaria be stopped and the Torc saved? Be sure to check in next Tuesday, October 14th on author Angela Campbell’s Blog to find out!