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Authors: Kelly Walker

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Broken Stone

BOOK: Broken Stone
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Broken Stone

Souls of the Stones – Book 3

Kelly Walker

www.kellywalkerauthor.com

This is a work of fiction. Similarities to real people, places, or events are entirely coincidental.

BROKEN STONE

First edition. May 31, 2013.

Copyright © 2013 Kelly Walker.

Written by Kelly Walker.

Also by Kelly Walker

Souls of the Stones

Gifted Stone

Cornerstone

Second Stone

Broken Stone

Watch for more at
Kelly Walker’s site.

Table of Contents

Title Page

CHAPTER ONE | The Powerful and the Powerless

CHAPTER TWO | Honored and Home-bound

CHAPTER THREE | The Exception, Not the Rule

CHAPTER FOUR | Crossing Lines

CHAPTER FIVE | Homeward Bound and Heartache found

CHAPTER SIX | Empty Spaces for Anguished Hearts

CHAPTER SEVEN | I Ask the Questions

CHAPTER EIGHT | The Best Gifts are Those We Don't Expect

CHAPTER NINE | Just One Night

CHAPTER TEN | Thicker Than Blood

CHAPTER ELEVEN | Seeding Hope

CHAPTER TWELVE | Shooting Straight on a Crooked Course

CHAPTER THIRTEEN | Almost Doesn't Count

CHAPTER FOURTEEN | A Bird in Hand

CHAPTER FIFTEEN | Properly Condemned

CHAPTER SIXTEEN | The Enemy You Know

CHAPTER SEVENTEEN | Shifting Perspectives

CHAPTER EIGHTEEN | Lost Invitations

CHAPTER NINETEEN | Fight Fire With Fire

CHAPTER TWENTY | The Pull of Madness

CHAPTER TWENTY ONE | Properly Screwed Up

CHAPTER TWENTY TWO | Is Evil Ever Necessary

CHAPTER TWENTY THREE | Pulled Away

CHAPTER TWENTY FOUR | Take Nothing For Granted

CHAPTER TWENTY FIVE | Looks Can Be Deceiving

CHAPTER TWENTY SIX | With This Ring

CHAPTER TWENTY SEVEN | Beyond Reason

CHAPTER TWENTY EIGHT | Today is Forever

CHAPTER TWENTY NINE | Lessons of Yesterday

CHAPTER THIRTY | Tomorrow Isn't a Guarantee

CHAPTER THIRTY ONE | A Cost Too Great

CHAPTER THIRTY-TWO | Twisted Fate

CHAPTER THIRTY THREE | Out of the Ashes

CHAPTER THIRTY-FOUR | Believe

CHAPTER THIRTY FIVE | Grain of Truth

CHAPTER THIRTY-SIX | Broken Boundaries

CHAPTER THIRTY-SEVEN | Mercy

CHAPTER THIRTY-EIGHT | Deliverance

CHAPTER THIRTY-NINE | Tainted Talisman

CHAPTER FORTY | The First Step Is Acceptance

CHAPTER FORTY-ONE | Famous Last Words

CHAPTER FORTY-TWO | Trophies and Tribulations

CHAPTER FORTY-THREE | Little White Lies

CHAPTER FORTY-FOUR | Full Circle

Epilogue

A Note From The Author

 

For Lucas

With just one ‘L,’ words become worlds.

With just one ‘U,’ dreams became reality
With just one ‘C,’ the tide washed sorrow away
With just ‘A’ song, you sing to my soul

Without a ‘S,’ you can’t have a wish

And my sweetest boy, you are my wish come true.

Everyone needs a little L.A.W.

CHAPTER ONE
The Powerful and the Powerless

Reeve Warren methodically cleaned the blood off of his hands while debating who to summon for assistance. Previously he would have relied on Jaryl, but considering he’d just slit Jaryl’s throat that wouldn’t be possible. Once his hands were washed clean, he stepped into the corridor. His first instinct was to head immediately to Lady Terin’s chambers.

He reminded himself that Mairi could see to her; he had other responsibilities first. Heading in the opposite direction, he strode down the corridor and out of the estate. He needed to ask his father a question, once and for all. The way he felt about Terin... He had to know if it had been the same for his father and mother. By The Three, a dead body lay outside his chamber door and all Reeve could think of was being with Terin. She permeated his every waking thought. He’d just killed a man for touching her. No matter what other duties currently awaited him, he needed to hear his father’s thoughts. He had to know if there was a way to shake free of the iron hold she didn’t even know she held over him.

The glow of a lantern coming from the nearby stable caught his eye. Roel must be tending to a sick horse. Reeve couldn’t worry over that now.

He strode purposefully toward the dungeon entrance, but paused when he saw Mairi step into the courtyard, waving at him. Reeve sighed. If he didn’t want his father discovered, he couldn’t be seen going into the dungeon. As far as everyone knew, it was unused. On the rare occasion when an arrest became necessary, they relied on a central prison outside the estate walls. Reeve remembered his father having it built after the Separatists murdered his mother, Lady Valencia. His father claimed he didn’t want heathens and criminals detained so close to his children.

Reeve went to see what the serving woman wanted.
Why isn’t she with Terin?
“Is Princess Ahlen secure?”

“Yes, Milord.”

“Well what is it then?” Reeve asked, trying to contain his annoyance.

“I um, I wondered what you wanted me to do with her bloody gown? If someone sees it they may question... What I mean is, are we keeping the...the...the incident a secret?” Mairi stammered as her eyes flitted nervously.

Reeve sighed; she had a good point. “I don’t think there is any use trying to keep it secret. Just throw the gown out.”

“Yes Milord. If I might ask, Milord. I, well what should I say if some of the others ask me what happened?”

Reeves eyes narrowed. “Jaryl disobeyed me, and he attempted to assault my bride-to-be. I protected her, naturally. I will not tolerate disobedience or someone laying hands on what is mine.

After tonight, I hope all know it so we might never revisit this evening’s events. We could only wish my father had protected my mother so fiercely.”

Mairi looked as if she wanted to offer a retort, but thought better of it. She tipped her head in a respectful nod and walked away.

Reeve tossed a last glance toward the dungeon before following Mairi up the front steps of the manor house. After the estate rested in sleep, he’d return. He couldn’t shake the anxiety being away from Terin caused. He’d learned over the past few weeks the only cure from it was to be in her presence. The sooner he dealt with the body still lying in the corridor, the sooner he could be near her again.

Stopping outside a heavy wooden door, Reeve paused before knocking. The impending conversation wouldn’t be pleasant. Putting aside his dread, Reeve lifted his fist and pounded.

Alrec Roth opened the door, greeting his nephew with a look of annoyance. “What?” Alrec’s greeting was curt and dismissive, much as he’d been since he arrived with Terin and Khane.

Reeve saw no reason to delay with pleasantries either. “Jaryl’s dead.”

“What the hell have you done?” Alrec’s Roth-blue eyes narrowed.

Reeve kept his chin high. “I slit his throat.”

A look neighboring approval briefly asserted itself, but was soon replaced by contempt. “I didn’t authorize you to do that.”

Anger flared at his uncle’s words. “I am the Lord of Warren’s Rest. And he was being obscene to Princess Terin. Even were I not the Lord of the Rest, I’ve the right to defend what’s mine. Perhaps you should remember that you are a guest at
my
estate.”

Alrec laughed, a deep belly laugh that shook his shoulders and flushed his cheeks. “That may be, but perhaps you should remember I’m the best ally you’ve got. Have you taken care of the body?”

Reeve shifted uneasily. “I didn’t know what to do with it.”

“Well, what would you usually do with a dead body?”

Suspecting his uncle was making fun of him and his inexperience, Reeve didn’t admit he’d never so much as seen a dead body before. Instead, he lied. “I’d make someone else deal with it. The benefit of being a Lord is not having to get my hands dirty, or take orders from anyone. I am sure you wouldn’t understand that, after being employed as a mere guard of Thalmas for so many years.”

Alrec grunted. “Show me where he is. We’ll burn him, like they do in Thalmas. And you’ll be more than willing to use what I know from my time as a guard when you go to try and lead Thalmas.

Now quit sulking like the spoiled brat you are, and come on. You’re worse than that boy prince.”

Seething, Reeve led his uncle toward his own chambers. All the while, he wondered why his mother had insisted he work with his uncle on their plan for uniting the kingdoms. The day he could ship Alrec off to handle Sheas wouldn’t come soon enough for him. Reeve hadn’t taken orders from anyone in at least three years. He didn’t intend to start now.

They’d carried the body to the back of the estate wrapped in a rug from a spare chamber. Reeve balked at burning the rug, and questioned the necessity of being secretive about Jaryl’s demise.

According to his uncle, the fewer questions asked, the better. As far as Reeve was concerned, just because people asked questions didn’t mean one had to answer. Besides, few peopled dared question him.

Alrec thinks too much like a Roth hiding as a weak guard, instead of as a leader who answers to no
one,
Reeve thought as he stood, watching the flames of the pyre.
He knows nothing of leading, all he
knows how to do is take orders. He’s done the bidding of both the Ahlens and my mother. And now he
will do mine. No child of such a supreme bloodline should be selling their services for favor. To think,
a child of the supreme bloodlines, yet he whores himself to the other two.
Reeve couldn’t help laughing audibly at the thought, causing his uncle to turn and stare.

He found it barbaric that Thalmas burned their dead. But according to Alrec, Jaryl deserved the traditional burial of his homeland, despite his dishonorable end. Reeve suspected his uncle identified with Jaryl, having been cast out of Sheas Harbor. If Alrec didn’t learn his place, Reeve would help him identify with Jaryl in other ways, too.

Mother?
Reeve reached into his mind, searching for Lady Valencia’s presence.

Her answer came almost at once.
I’m here. I am sorry you had to do that, but it had to be done.

I’m not sorry. Unlike my father, I will
never
let harm come to one under my protection. Never.

I do not blame your father—

Reeve shut her out of his mind. She might not blame Oren, but she should. Reeve did. His father had failed her, and failed his children in the process. Reeve would be the leader The Three Corners deserved. Now that he’d killed once, he had no doubt he could kill again. Just as he had no doubts he would have to. His mother died in the pursuit of peace. Anyone who dared stand in his way would find the same fate.

Reeve felt the pull tingle up his spine as the fire called to him while he watched Jaryl burn away into the afterlife. Mesmerized, he energized the air, encouraging the flames higher, then lower.

Commanding them, bending them to his will. When he was sure that the fire had finished its task, he squeezed his fingers into a tight fist, attempting to snuff the flame. The fire shrank and cowered, but then it surged once more, defying him. Trying again, Reeve squeezed both hands into fists and this time the fire obeyed, dying out just as Jaryl had died at his hands a few hours before.

Out of the corner of his eye, Reeve noticed his uncle watching him. Satisfaction tugged the corners of his lips upward into a smile.
Good, let him wonder if it is me doing that. Let him contemplate
exactly how powerful I am.
“I’m going to go check on Lady Terin. I’m sure after being assaulted, and then watching a man die, she must be distraught.”

“Checking on her isn’t all you need to do.”

“In due time. Perhaps the way this evening unfolded is a good indication that rushing her to my chamber was not a good plan. Unless she comes to me, it can wait until after we are wed.”

“The sooner you have her with child, the sooner you cement your claim to Thalmas!”

Reeve spun toward his uncle, jabbing his finger toward his face in anger. “I know you are accustomed to having no allies and no friends, and I pity the poor woman who birthed you Khane.

However, if she and I are to rule her land, I find it in my benefit to have my wife not hate me. I will take her to my bed when and only when I decide, and I won’t have you interfere in it again. Do you understand? Had you not ordered Jaryl to bring her to me tonight, he
might
still be alive.”

“As you wish,
Lord
Warren,” Alrec nearly spat the title.

Trying to quell his fury, Reeve started once again toward the front of the estate. Thanks to his willingness to do what needed to be done, he was the
Lord
Warren. With his sister playing right into his plans, things were moving into place. Soon, very soon, he’d eradicate everyone who ever wronged himself and his mother—his uncle, his father, and his sister and her prince included.

BOOK: Broken Stone
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