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She’d wear holy relics, bath in whatever would keep the monsters away and only come out during the day if that’s what it took, but she needed to know exactly what would work.

But before she found out what else was out there she needed to find out a few things about herself and their merry little house of psychos.

“What’s a Sentinel?” she asked, tilting her head back to give him better access.

He paused mid-wipe as he frowned down at her in clear confusion. “Chris didn’t tell you?”

“No, not really,” she said, wincing when a drop of antiseptic landed on a cut.

“Maybe he didn’t get to it. There’s a lot to cover after all. What exactly did he go over with you so far?”

“That I shouldn’t run away from a werewolf,” she said, trying to remember if he’d gone over anything else.

“Oh, and that I’m a Sentinel, whatever the hell that means.”

For a moment he only stared down at her until she finally had about enough of being gawked at and slowly, oh so slowly, sat up. She leaned back against the bed and took a slow calming breath as she waited for her body to stop shivering. If nothing else, she owed Chris an ass whooping for not only hanging her upside down, but for leaving her there.

“You’re kidding right?” Joshua asked, giving her a funny look that she was too exhausted to even hazard a guess at.

“No, I’m not. The ass**le, as I am now referring to him as, threw me in a car, didn’t tell me a damn thing and then surprised me by taking me to a clearing with na**d men, which wouldn’t have been bad except for the fact that they all shifted into huge vicious beasts and tried to eat me,” she explained, biting back a yawn as she wondered if she’d ever be able to sleep with the lights off again.

“Shit,” he muttered, ramming his fingers through his hair, “no wonder mom’s pissed at him.”

She eyed him warily. “And by mom you mean Madison, right?” she asked, wondering exactly how old Madison really was to have a grown man for a son. She would have guessed mid-twenties, but apparently life spans were different in this household.

“Yes,” he said with a fond smile as he crossed his legs and leaning back against the wall, “she’s my mother.

Jill is my sister and you’ve already met my brother Chris,” he said with a wink. “I also have a little brother named Marc, who’s already in bed, but I’m sure you’ll meet him later.”

Isabella nodded slowly as she took that all in. “And Ephraim is your father?”

“Yes,” he said proudly.

“Okay……,” she said slowly, drawing out the word. “I don’t know what Ephraim is, but I’ve already figured out that whatever he is, Madison is. Chris claims to be a Sentinel, whatever that is. What are you and your sister and little brother then?”

“My parents are Pytes, which I’ll get to in a minute.

Chris is a Sentinel as you are,” he said, holding up his hand in a stopping motion when she opened her mouth to question him, “again I’ll get to that. I’m human and so is Jill.”

“And your little brother?”

His expression hardened as he considered her question, making her feel a little uncomfortable. After an intense moment of awkwardness, at least on her part, he shrugged. “Cheats at video games.”


Clearly the little brother was a subject to stay away from, she realized, which was fine with her, because there was plenty of other things that they needed to go over.

“How old are your parents?” she asked, deciding that maybe it was better if she eased herself into this new world of hers.

“Dad’s into his second century and mom’s in her mid thirties,” he answered with that good natured smile back on his face.

“Okay,” she said as she quickly calculated Joshua’s age with Madison’s and Ephraim’s and when she was done she couldn’t help but feel disgusted. Madison had to have been a child when Joshua was born.


“Wait, before you get all grossed out here, you should probably know that Madison and Ephraim are our adopted parents,” he said with a sheepish grin.

“Oh,” she said, feeling more than just slightly relieved.

She didn’t know Ephraim at all, but she was thankful for saving her life and hated to think the man was capable of something as that.

“Madison and Jill are my biological half sisters,” he went on to explain and she swore she felt her brows inch past her hairline at that little announcement. “Our biological mother wasn’t there for us and Madison raised us, so when Ephraim adopted us she did as well.

She’s always been my mother so it just made sense,”

Joshua added with a shrug.

She nodded absently as she digested the information.

“What about Chris?”

Pursing his lips up in thought Joshua appeared to be thinking it over. “Chris’ mother was, no,” he said, shaking his head, “I’m sorry, is a world class bitch. He grew up in a trailer park about ten miles from here. He was in and out of foster homes until he was about ten.

Then he’d just hideout when his mother got arrested.”

“What did she do?” Isabella found herself asking.

“Everything,” he said with a shrug. “Theft, drugs, and prostitution. No one knows who Chris’ father is. I don’t even think Diane, his biological mother, knows. I thought I had it tough, but Chris,” he said, blowing out a slow breath, “he had a really f**ked up life. He won’t talk to us about anything and I never understood how bad Chris had it until a month after Chris came home from the hospital and Dad took Chris and me into town for ice cream and to pick up a new wheelchair for Chris.


Isabella held her hand up and waved it. “Whoa, wait a minute there, buddy. What do you mean wheelchair?”

“Wow, there is just so much you don’t know,” Joshua muttered, sounding exhausted. “Okay, long story short.

We were invaded by a Master, a vampire leader. She tried to get Dad to change her into a Pyte so that she could have true immortality and could walk in the daylight, but Dad and Chris turned the tables on her.

There was a little shoot out, Chris got shot a few times and landed his ass in a wheelchair, but thanks to his Sentinel blood, operations and a donation of blood or two from another Sentinel Chris was able to walk again.

He was paralyzed for less than a year. There’s more to it, but I’m sure Chris can tell you if he wants to.”

“Okay,” Isabella said numbly.

“Anyway, we were in town and I was sitting on Chris’

lap,” he said, pausing when her eyebrows once again headed north, “um, I was just a kid then,” he explained quickly.

“All right then,” she mumbled.

“He was spinning around on two wheels when his mother walked in the pharmacy. She wouldn’t even look at him,” Joshua said through clenched teeth. “He acted like he didn’t care, but I could tell he was pissed. The thing that really pissed me off was when he tried to wheel himself out of the pharmacy and his wheelchair got caught on one of those racks they kept by the door and blocked the exit. That bitch tried to shove his chair out of the way so that she could leave as she muttered ‘fucking cripple’,” Joshua bit out acidly, his hands clenched into fists.