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So in a way, having that phone call come through about thirty minutes ago? Kind of felt like overkill.

Then again, he’d been overdue for some dumb luck, he supposed.

“Here we are,” she said as she got off onto a county road.

The lane took them up to what he was determined to turn the cottage into: A farmhouse that had its trim freshly painted, and its shutters restored, and its chimney stick straight, the whole lot of it sitting pretty in a yard that was well-tended and thriving.

“This is so lovely,” Mae murmured as she turned off the engine and looked out to a meadow that was off to the side. “I’ll bet it’s beautiful when the leaves come out and the grass is green.”

He nodded. And then said, “I can’t feel my legs.”

Immediately, his female was focused on him. “I’ll help you. We’re going to do this together.”

“After all these years . . .” On an impulse, he went in to kiss her briefly. “Thank you.”

She stroked his face. “We’re in this together. Whatever happens.”

They opened their doors at the same time, and that was when he scented the Brotherhood—and the other males who had been in on the infiltration the night before: From out of the garage, the big bodies came, and he was surprised as they approached him with smiles and words of welcome.

One by one, they shook his dagger hand. Patted him on the back.

Greeted him. Or introduced themselves if necessary.

More than one of them said something like, Glad you’re back. Or, We’re going to really need you. Or, Let’s meet at the mansion.

Whatever that was.

And then . . .

“Shit,” he said. “Wrath . . .”

In the midst of all the Brotherhood and the fighters, the great Blind King was unmistakable. Literally nothing had changed about him—except for the dog at his side. He was still tall as an oak, still with the black hair falling from a widow’s peak, still with that cruel, aristocratic face.

“My brother,” Wrath murmured as he came forward. “Good to see you safe and sound. You did the race a great service last night.”

Sahvage swallowed. Was he back in? Was he rejoining?

“I . . . don’t know what to say.”

“Good. Too many idiots with opinions in this group anyway. And yes, if you want back into the Brotherhood, we’re glad to have you.”

Glancing around, Sahvage saw all kinds of nodding faces. And with Mae at his back? Was it possible . . . that the male who could not die had a future he no longer dreaded?

And then he didn’t hear anything anymore.

A diminutive figure appeared in the doorway of the garage.

Everyone stopped whatever they were doing. Time seemed to stop as well.

“Mae?” he said as he reached out blindly. “Mae, I need you . . .”

Instantly, he felt his female’s arm shoot around his waist and she steadied his balance. “I’m right here, Sahvage. What’s wrong? Do you feel sick—oh.”

The crowd parted as the little female came forward, and Sahvage was vaguely aware there was a male hanging in her background. He was young, though. Just out of his transition.

Nothing that could hurt her.

God . . . she looked different. No more the black hair, no more the dark eyes. She was silver now. She . . . glowed now.

“Rahvyn,” he heard himself say.

With a strangled cry, his long-lost cousin launched herself across the distance that separated them. “I am sorry, Sahvage! I am so sorry!”

As she burst into tears and kept speaking in the Old Language, he caught her and held her up.

While Mae held him up.

After he was sure Rahvyn was in fact, yes, actually alive, he set her back down, and a cold shiver of sadness went through him. Her hair was so very different—a gray so pale it was white—and yes, her eyes were in fact silver now, too . . .

In his mind, he went back to that bedchamber. The blood. The violence.

Sahvage touched her face. Even though she was still young in appearance, she had aged a hundred thousand years—and he hated that for her.

As talk bloomed among the Brotherhood, like the fighters were trying to give them privacy, Sahvage cleared his throat.

Before he could ask, she said, “I am alive, yes.”

True enough, but he of all people knew that that term was very relative—and utterly unrelated to respiration and heartbeat.

Was the pain worth it, he wanted to ask. The power you sought, was it worth it?

Instead, he switched into English and said, “Where have you been? I looked for you throughout the Old Country for two centuries. I crossed the globe trying to find you.”

“I was not here.”

“Yeah, I know—when did you get to the New World?”

Rahvyn switched back to the Old Language and dropped her voice so that only he could hear her. “I have been in time, dear Cousin, not location. I have traveled through the nights and days to meet you here, at this moment, in this place. My beloved cousin, my protector, I told you your job is done. I just had to find you to let you know that all was well.”

Sahvage blinked—and realized her mouth was not moving. She had somehow put the thoughts into his mind.

But all is not well, he thought with a shiver.

“You have been reborn,” he choked out. And thought of the headless guards. Of Zxysis. Of . . .

“Yes,” she said. Out loud? Maybe. He wasn’t sure.

“Would you like to introduce us?” Mae prompted. Like he and Rahvyn had been standing there, not talking out loud, for a while.

Refocusing, Sahvage drew his female toward his cousin—and wondered if he had to protect Mae against the female he had sworn to defend. Except that was crazy . . .


He tried to stare through Rahvyn’s eyes and into her soul, but he had never been a warlock. The magic had always been hers, and hers alone, to command.

“This is my Mae,” Sahvage announced. “Mae, this is my first cousin, Rahvyn. I’ve been looking for her for a very long time.”

He felt a little better as Rahvyn smiled shyly and bowed low; it was like some part of her still remained who he had once known.

“Greetings,” she said. “It is my honor.”

As Mae smiled and they started chatting, as if it was a normal first meet-and-greet of in-laws, Sahvage told himself not to worry. He needed to focus on the miracle, not worry about what any of it meant. Or where they were all going to go from here.

And yet . . . as happy as he was to see his blooded relation, he found himself frightened of the female.

Fuck it, though. His nerves were just shot, and why wouldn’t they be. He’d had enough near-misses with bad news in his immortal lifetime, and now that he finally had found his female?

He wasn’t into taking chances anymore.

Glancing around at his brothers, and then staring down at his beloved, he decided . . . well, maybe the universe wasn’t as unjust as he’d thought.

• • •

Off in the corner of the garage, standing apart from the crowd of fighters and females congregating on the driveway, Lassiter frowned. And frowned some more.

As he watched the two females embrace, and Sahvage, the missing brother, looked like he was worried he was about to wake up from a very good dream, Lassiter shook his head and tried to reframe the last week and a half.