Read Haven 5: Invincible Online

Authors: Gabrielle Evans

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Haven 5: Invincible (14 page)

BOOK: Haven 5: Invincible
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Galen grabbed his ribs and fell against Bannon, howling with laughter until he was gasping for breath. Bannon held his mate up and just waggled his eyebrows, giving Torren a loud wolf whistle. “Shake it, darlin’!”

“You’re an idiot.” Torren crossed his arms over his chest and glared, though he was fighting to hold in his own amusement. It had been ages since he’d just joked around and had fun with…friends.

With some shock, he realized that’s exactly what the residence of Haven had become to him. Whether he’d meant for it to work out that way or not, he now had friends—which meant more people depending on him to keep their asses safe.

“Oh, crap, I wish Aslan could see this,” Galen managed to get out through his mirth.

In the next moment, a sleep-tousled Aslan came shuffling in through the fog surrounding the clearing they stood in, rubbing at his eyes and looking totally confused. The moment his gaze landed on Torren, all bleariness fled, and he arched an eyebrow as though Torren was in some serious trouble.

“Aren’t you supposed to be in bed, love?”
. Torren shot a murderous look at Bannon before smoothing his hands over his abs and grinning brightly at his lover. “I have a pretty dress.”

All three men in the circle created by the fog fell on their asses and laughed until Torren though they’d rupture something or possibly pass out from lack of oxygen. Their shared camaraderie felt good, and Torren was happy to be a part of it. Still, they needed to get things moving, and he had no desire for Aslan to be anywhere near Natalie when they did.

Clearing his throat to get everyone’s attention, he motioned for his lover to come to him. Aslan popped up off the ground and jogged across the clearing to stand in front of him. The dress disappeared, replaced by a plain, black T-shirt and a pair of well-worn, faded jeans while a pair of black hiking boots adorned his feet. “Much better,” Aslan purred, running his hands over Torren’s chest. “That dress made your ass look big.”

Chuckling quietly, Torren slid his knuckles under Aslan’s chin and tilted his head up for a kiss. “You can’t be here, Aslan. Don’t argue with me on this one. It’s dangerous, but we’ll discuss why in the morning.”

“It’s because of the voices, right?”

So intuitive. “Yes, and I’m sorry that I haven’t told you before now. I’ll explain everything when you wake up, okay? Can you trust me for just a little longer?” It was asking a lot considering the secrets he’d been keeping, but Torren hoped for the best.

“I’ll always trust you,” Aslan whispered as he took Torren’s hand and placed a kiss in the palm. “Will you come back to bed when you’re finished slaying the wicked witch?”

“You couldn’t keep me away if you tried.” He clenched his fist as if holding onto the kiss Aslan had bestowed upon him and pressed his hand over his heart. It was a sappy and sentimental move, but it matched the emotions swirling inside of him. “Go rest now,
. I’ll be there soon.”

“Don’t make me miss you for too long.” That’s all he said before looking over his shoulder at Bannon, giving him a brief nod, and strolling back toward the edge of the circle. The fog swirled as he stepped through it then rolled back into position, knitting itself back together as Aslan disappeared, taking Torren’s heart with him.

“Are ya ready then?” Bannon asked, pulling Torren out of his melancholy. “Should I bring the witch now?”

“There are at least five witches in this house,” he teased. “I’m here, one just left, and I’m pretty sure that two others are still awake.” Bannon huffed and rolled his eyes. “You’re as bad as Galen, ya are. You’re knowin’ the witch I’m meanin’.”

“Yeah, let’s do this.”

The words were no more out of his mouth when Natalie walked through the fog, her eyes locking on Torren with an understated hatred. Her blonde hair curled in ringlets over her shoulders, her complexion as smooth and flawless as the perfection of buttercream.

No more than five-foot with a willowy frame and narrow waist, many had mistaken her for weak and vulnerable. Her girlish appearance was nothing more than a clever ruse by Mother Nature, intended to hide the vile, cruel nature that wrapped around her soul like a serpent.

“She’s scared,” Galen whispered, his voice too quiet to carry across the distance.

If that was the case, no one would know by looking at her. She held her head high, her shoulders pushed back so that her ample breasts thrust forward. Torren could detect no quivering, nothing to indicate that she wasn’t perfectly in control of herself.

“You know this won’t work,” she called to them, but made no move to come closer. “I know your tricks.”

“She doesn’t know all of them.” Galen once again spoke quietly, the cocky smile evident in his tone.

“Release Hollis Becker,” Torren called back to her.

“I’ve done nothing to the shifter.”

“She’s lying.” Galen narrowed his eyes, his brow furrowed in concentration. “She also knows that you realize she’s lying.”

“Why those pups?” Ignoring the warning bells going off in his head, he took a chance and pressed on, trying to lead her thoughts to where he needed them to go. “You knew they weren’t mine. Why did you think you could use them against me?” Natalie remained silent, but Galen gasped, his hand twitching as though he’d move it to his mouth. He schooled himself at the last moment, though, adopting a look of indifference, but Torren could feel him shaking. He just didn’t know what emotion caused his muscles to quiver as they were.

“She knew they weren’t yours,” Galen mumbled out of the side of his mouth. He swallowed hard, and he sounded a little sick when he continued. “You were supposed to be with her.”

“Excuse me?” Torren managed not to shout the question, but his body burned with rage. “I’m supposed to what?”

“She didn’t want your magic. She wanted—still wants—you.” Shivering again, Galen stared straight ahead, his eyes locked with Natalie’s across the clearing. “You were with the cub’s mother, but it should have been her. She murdered the mom, but something happened before she could get the twins.” Torren wasn’t buying it. She might have known the children weren’t his. She may have even realized that the time frame was close enough that she could trick him into believing otherwise. Whatever she knew or didn’t know, the objective had always been to obtain his magic. But to what purpose?

With a flash of intuition, he realized that it didn’t matter.

Whatever her plan, she had failed. She hadn’t obtained his magic, the pups, or even her freedom. While she’d tricked Enforcer Jonas Tracer into releasing her, Bannon had brought her right back. From this moment forward, she was at his mercy, her fate nestled securely in his hands.

With a confidence he hadn’t felt in a long time, he knew exactly what he needed to do. There was no way she would surrender to him.

Her heart was an ugly black hole, devoid of any emotion resembling compassion. There was just one thing he needed to know before he stepped over that proverbial line into no return.

“Where are the other children?” The paranormal children who had blindly followed her sweet smile and hauntingly enchanted voice to their peril. While they hadn’t died at her hands, she as good as sealed their fates by draining their powers. It was a dark and poisonous magic that should have never been unleashed upon the world.

“I don’t know,” Natalie answered steadily.

Galen frowned and cocked his head to the side. “She’s telling the truth. She didn’t take the missing kids.”

“I never killed a single one of them.” Natalie’s gaze bored into Torren. “You know what I did to them, and I don’t regret it,” she continued arrogantly. “I sent each one of them back to their homes, though.”

“Well, fuck,” Torren spat. That just opened a whole new can of worms that he wasn’t looking forward to dealing with. “Release your spell on Becker.” He knew it was a pointless demand, but he wasn’t looking forward to what needed to be done.

“Make me.” The lilt to her voice and the glint in her eyes that he could see even from a distance said that she looked forward to the prospect.

Though not his first choice, that’s exactly what Torren intended to do.

Chapter Thirteen

The sun was peeking over the horizon when Torren finally dragged his eyelids back and arched against the sofa. Well, at least he could conclusively say that those damn sedative darts worked.

Pushing to his feet and stretching the knotted muscles in his back, he eventually groaned and followed the sound of voices and smell of coffee to the kitchen. Raith and Lynk were there, talking in low tones with Bannon while Galen cut up pancakes for Wren. Aslan was nowhere in sight.

“He’s still sleeping,” Galen said without looking up. “I think he had kind of a rough night.”

Torren nodded, but his brow knitted in concern. Wanting to get to his mate as quickly as possible, he unloaded everything on his brothers in one quick drop. “I think I know where we can start looking for Thane.” All eyes snapped to him, but he ignored them.

“I’m going to have to take Natalie’s magic. I’m not looking forward to it, but this has gone on long enough. We’ll figure out what to do with Phillip when Leader McCarthy gets here. That’s it.”

“Where is Thane?” Raith asked, rising from his place at the table.

“We’ll discuss it later. I need to talk to Aslan.” Turning to leave the kitchen, he paused but didn’t look back. “I want to swear both of you in as Enforcers. The choice is yours, however, so you need to decide by tomorrow night. Halloween,” he emphasized, in case any of them missed the significance of what they were facing.

Without waiting for a reply, he strode out of the kitchen and down the hall to wake his lover. It took no time at all to reach his door, but it felt like the longest journey of his life. Steeling his heart, his courage, and his resolve, he pushed the door open, knowing he’d soon be walking out of it for the last time.

* * * *

They were so closely intertwined that Aslan knew the exact moment Torren had woken from his drug-induced slumber. Pushing up in bed, he rubbed the sleep from his eyes and sat waiting with his back to the headboard. Something was wrong. He could feel it like a heavy weight on his chest—like dark, insidious clouds that tumbled restlessly inside his soul.

When Torren walked through the door of the bedroom they shared, Aslan swore he felt the temperature drop. Cold, bone-numbing fear settled into his heart, freezing his blood and making him quake under his lover’s gaze.

The torment and longing that warred inside Torren at that moment was not only visible in his eyes, but blasted from him in waves, hitting Aslan like an emotional wrecking ball. Whatever the man had to say, it would be nothing good.

When his mate didn’t come to him but moved to sit on the loveseat near the window, his throat constricted, burning as the panic began to claw at him, making it hard to draw in air to his lungs.

“Do you see now? You were only temporary. He doesn’t want

Aslan tried to push the voice away, but it was harder to drown out the litany of noise in his mind when his emotions ran so close to the surface. In fact, the only times he’d been able to completely erase the voices was when he felt confident in his place at Torren’s side. Just then, however, he felt anything but certain.

“You’re hearing the voices again, aren’t you?” Torren crossed one leg over the other and pressed his fingertips together, looking relaxed and self-assured.

Aslan nodded since he was incapable of any type of audible response. His mouth and throat were so dry, his chest so constricted, he doubted he could utter so much as a hum at the moment.

Torren had promised to help him, and in a way he had. He’d still yet to explain anything, and Aslan had been too scared to ask. As long as he could keep the anxiety at bay, the constant whispering and murmuring was easy to ignore. Knowing where those noises came from was unlikely to give him any peace, but whether he wanted answers or not, he had a feeling he was about to get them.

“You are a Limina,” Torren said matter-of-factly, as though Aslan was supposed to know what the hell that meant. He didn’t have long to worry over the definition, because Torren began speaking again almost immediately. “You are a threshold between the world of the living and the dead. During times when the veil between the worlds is the thinnest, such as Halloween, spirits will be able to pass through you from Purgatory and back into our realm.” So, the voices he heard weren’t figments of an overactive imagination and a fragile psyche? He wasn’t broken, damaged beyond repair? He was hearing the ramblings of the deceased. It should have been more of a surprise, but Aslan realized that somewhere in his subconscious, he’d already made the connection.

It was the new voice—the eerily familiar sound of the man who had stolen his son and spirited him away in the night so many years ago. That had been the catalyst that finally pushed him into understanding, but it was such a foreign concept that he’d refused to allow himself to even entertain the possibility.

“So, I’m sure you understand how important it is that we don’t let this gateway open,” Torren pressed on, unaware or uncaring that Aslan was beginning to fall apart. He stared down at his steepled fingers as he spoke, sounding cold, clinical, like a physics professor lecturing his students on subatomic particles. “Raith will teach you some exercises to help you control your magic when you become overemotional.”

“My magic?” Aslan croaked. What the hell did that mean?

Torren studied him for a moment before he returned to the contemplation of his fingernails. “Were you not aware that you are a witch?”

Hell no, he hadn’t been aware! He didn’t have any magic. His father was a witch, but Aslan had never exhibited the gene—a constant source of disappointment on top of everything else. Never in his life had he performed a spell or done anything else extraordinary.

And there were plenty of times when that little trick would have come in damn useful.

“I take it that you didn’t know.” Torren’s stilted, formal speech was grating. Aslan had only heard Torren like this once before, and it had resulted in devastating rejection. Is that what was happening now? Was Torren essentially telling him good-bye?

BOOK: Haven 5: Invincible
3.82Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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