Sunday, 9 June 2013

Tears of the Fallen Ch 08 Teaser

“Try not to move, Reasa.  I know it hurts but Mallen will be here soon. Once he puts your shoulder back in place the pain will subside. I won’t lie to you; that’s going to be more painful than the original injury, and then you’ll have to face Rafe over your actions. You’ve just made life a whole lot harder for yourself.”

Reasa opened her eyes long enough to look at Dayton, trying to ignore the agony shooting through her body. Every nerve felt like it was on fire and she wasn’t used to suffering like this. Injuries had always healed instantly when she was still a vampire. Now her vision was blurred and it was hard to concentrate.  “And for your mate.”

He gave her a rueful smile, stroking a hand through her hair because he didn’t like seeing anyone in pain. “That’s par for the course with Freya. Believe me; she’ll give herself a harder time for this than Rafe will. He’s Alpha, so he’ll factor in that the safety of the pack was in jeopardy, and that will be the priority with him. As for Freya, she’ll see it as a personal failure regardless of the circumstances and react accordingly.  It will make my life a little bit more difficult, but we’ll work through it.”

He paused, sitting back on his heels and tilting his head towards the door. He could hear Mallen approaching and let out a slow breath before turning back to the human. “The main danger is Liam finding out.  We have to avoid that happening at all costs. We don’t want a repeat of what happened up at the Praetorian Compound.”

Personally, she didn’t care at the moment. All that was registering was the agony flowing through her body and the fact that it wouldn’t stop. It wouldn’t be her problem, anyway, even if he did find out and lose control. She was human now and wouldn’t be aware of anything. Her fragile mind would implode instantly.

“Let me get near her, Day.” Mallen knelt down beside Reasa, his gaze intent as he quickly catalogued her outward injuries with a practiced eye. Since she was human, he realized he would have to be more careful with her than his usual patients, but he was confident in his ability to do so. His hands gently ran over her body and he was relieved to determine her shoulder dislocation was the worst wound. She would have some bruising, aches and pains; once he set the shoulder, she should be fine.

“How bad is it?” Rafe growled out the question, entering the room with Freya in tow.

“Not too bad,” Mallen answered, glancing quickly at his Alpha. “She has a dislocated shoulder and some bumps and bruises, but apart from that she’s fine.”

The Alpha nodded, turning his gaze on Freya and Dayton. He wasn’t surprised to see his beta had automatically come to stand beside his mate when she’d entered the room. He would have done the same had it been Lacey who’d made a mistake. “Do we know who she got the call out to?”

It was Freya who met his gaze and answered him, her tone emotionless, and her expression neutral in the face of his displeasure.  “I destroyed the phone, but if I were to hazard a guess, I believe it was to her former coven.”

Her answer brought a frown to Rafe’s face. “Why would she do that? She’s human now. They wouldn’t be the least interested in her.”

You’re right; unless she didn’t tell them she was human,” Dayton mused, running a hand down Freya’s stiff back. He could read her body language so well and knew she was working hard on maintaining her control. “If they think she has gathered intelligence of events which directly endanger the Covens...there’s a strong possibility they’d show a great deal of interest.” He was relieved the Alpha was concentrating first on the pack security issue. If he was assigning more importance to that, then maybe he’d cut Freya some slack.

“I overreacted and forgot both my strength and Reasa’s vulnerability. I failed in my duty, causing harm to her instead of keeping her safe. You must remove the human from my care, Rafe.  I am clearly incapable of performing this task or keeping my word to Liam.” Freya moved away from them to stare out the window, her posture rigid.

Rafe shared a glance with Dayton, raising an eyebrow.  His Beta was always the best barometer when it came to dealing with the volatile vampire. The fact that his expression displayed concern wasn’t a good sign. Once more, he found himself in the position of having to deal with an issue that wasn’t as simple as it appeared. Yes, Freya should have thought before she reacted. Realistically though, with Reasa being so much weaker as a human, the same thing might have happened regardless of whose care she was in.

“There’s nowhere else to place her, Freya, not that will appease Liam anyway. The only reason he’s content to have her here is because she’s with you. There’s no denying this situation shouldn’t have happened. Reasa shouldn’t have had the opportunity to get access to a cell phone and allowances should have been given to her frailty before corrective action was taken.  However, it’s happened and we have to learn from today so it doesn’t happen again.”

She spun around to look at him, fury in her eyes. “The best way to ensure it does not happen again is to remove her. I am incapable of ensuring no harm comes to her. I allowed her access to my phone and I broke my word to Liam.”

“Then I am just as culpable here too,” Dayton interjected, his tone pragmatic. He raised a hand to halt Freya’s automatic denial. “No, if you’re intent on applying blame, Freya, then let’s look at the big picture. How did Reasa get access to the phone? What diverted your attention enough that she could take it in the first instance?”

Her angry gaze bore into his, her expression turning hard. “Don’t try to manipulate me, Dayton.  The error occurred because I didn’t stop to consider that she would even try to get access to a phone. It has nothing to do with you arriving home and distracting me. You didn’t leave your phone out and you didn’t overreact to the situation.”

“When you guys have finished beating yourselves up over who is responsible, do you think one of you could give me a hand here?” Mallen asked dryly, interrupting the volatile situation. “I need someone to brace Reasa so I can pop her shoulder back in.” Three heads turned to survey him, but it was the vampire who moved first.

“I am the strongest.” Freya swept past her mate and Alpha, moving into position as Mallen relayed his needs. She supported the other woman against her body, listening intently to the doctor’s instructions.

As they worked together, Rafe turned to Dayton. “Do we know where Liam is?”

His Beta let out a sigh, his gaze never leaving his mate’s rigid face. “He went for a walk with Elina earlier. I think they took off into the forest. With any luck, he’ll be out of hearing distance and none the wiser.” A loud popping sound filled the room as he finished speaking, followed a split second later by a harsh scream. Reasa’s body went rigid with pain, her eyes rolling back in her head, the colour draining from her face.


Liam increased his pace to enable him to catch up with his cousin. His wolf was unsettled, urging him to return to the compound quickly. There was no real reason for it, so he was perplexed by his animal’s behaviour. It appeared he would be struggling with his wolf the entire time it would take him to claim his mate. He wasn’t used to that, having always been in harmony with his wolf from a very early age.

“What?” Elina’s voice broke the silence as they entered the compound, her eyes alert as they ran over his face.

“Something doesn’t feel right.”

A loud scream rent the air and Liam stiffened in shock for a moment, every muscle in his body going rigid. Then a loud snarl erupted from his chest and he took off at supernatural speed towards his aunt’s house.

 “Liam!”  Elina flew after him, catching the front door as it tried to whip shut in her face. “Kallum, help!”

Liam was barely aware of his cousin at his back, though he heard her call to Kallum. His wolf was howling in fury, his mate’s screams echoing in his mind as he raced down the hallway and into the room where Reasa was. Images assaulted him in a microsecond, Reasa lying on the ground with Mallen and Freya beside her. Rafe was in the room as was Dayton, but all he could see was his mate, her body twisted in agony.

“Liam, calm down.” Rafe’s tone was full of Command, pressing at his wolf to obey him as Alpha.

It worked for a moment, the beast calming a bit, but then his vampiric side rose up to counter it. If he hadn’t been so focused on getting to his mate, the savageness of his feral side would have brought him to his knees. As it was, all he could think about was getting to Reasa, to keep her safe from those hurting her.

Liam knocked aside Mallen with one hard swipe of his arm. Glowing amber eyes turned to his aunt, molten lava running through his veins. “What did you do?” The rage within was at crisis point, his mind chaotic as his emotions peaked. A wave of solid air exploded from him, radiating out like a shockwave, knocking everyone from their feet.


Freya rose slowly, her gaze never leaving her nephew, her body poised for attack. She could see no sign of the boy she loved, but she recognised the monster that lurked in his eyes. She had seen it many times before when looking at her own reflection. It was something she’d never dreamed she would have witnessed from the gentle soul of her nephew.

Raising her hand, she motioned for everyone else to stay back. They couldn’t have reached them anyway. Whatever Liam had done had placed a barrier between the three of them, and the rest of the room. While her eyes were riveted to Liam’s face, the logical side of her mind catalogued the effect and recognized its similarity to what Annie had done at the Praetorian Compound.

“She stole my phone and made a call to someone outside the compound. I had to stop her, Liam.”

“You hurt her.” The hard edge in Liam’s voice was chilling.

“It was an accident, nephew. I didn’t consider her fragility when I intercepted her call. I erred and I am sorry for her injury, but it is not life threatening. She will heal.” Freya kept her tone cool and rational, knowing it was the vampire who was listening as opposed to the wolf. To calm her nephew down she had to appeal to his logical side.

“You hurt her.” Another blast of rage knocked her back down to her knees as the same cold tone resonated from his lips.”

Mallen cried out, his hands coming to his head as he curled up in agony. “Liam, stop!”

The room erupted in a sea of sound with all of the Vârcolac crying out in one mental voice, trying to break through Liam’s barriers as they ran towards the house. Elina was already in the room, casting out her mental shields in Mallen’s direction, attempting to connect with his mind in a way she’d never tried with a non-hybrid before.  She managed to slide a block in place, countering the worst excess of Liam’s emotional backlash, but she knew it wouldn’t hold for long. He was too strong, too out of control.

Elina sank to her knees outside the barrier. As she watched her cousin turn his full attention on her mother, she realized there was only one person who could derail his need for destruction “Thereasa, stop him! You’re the only one who can reach him right now. Talk to him!”

Her words brought no reaction from the other woman who remained curled up in a ball, her eyes staring vacantly ahead. “REASA! Hear me now! If he does this, he will implode and destroy everything. If we can’t contain him, everyone will die, men, woman…our children!  You have to stop him, Reasa. You have to let him know you’re okay.”


Reasa heard a voice calling to her but it seemed so far away. All around her there was nothing but agony, a pain so intense she wanted to pass out to make it would go away. The voice persisted though, calling her name, imploring her to pay attention when she didn’t want to.

“No.” The word whispered out so quietly she wasn’t sure the voice would hear her, but it did.


“No!” she cried out the word, rolling over to stare up at the ceiling. Her vision was blurry and she realised it was from the tears streaming from her eyes. There were many new people in the room but they appeared to be far away, as if they were down a distant tunnel.

“You have to! Move! Now!”

It was the female hybrid, the one she’d fought with. She was commanding her to do something but she didn’t know what. The air felt thick around her and her head hurt from a pressure so intense it made her eyes water more. Struggling to her hands and knees, Reasa heard a shrill scream and focused on the sound.

Freya was on her knees before her, a large hulking shape looming over the Ancient. To the side, the doctor was immobile, curled up in the foetal position. Down the tunnel, she could hear voices shouting in terror, two louder than the others.



He was there in the room, the abomination. He was the looming figure, his voice a shard of ice as he towered over the vampire. “You hurt her.”

Reasa moaned, breathing through the pain, her thoughts beginning to clear as the situation registered. Dear God, he’d lost control again and everyone was helpless in his wake. She had no idea why her mind hadn’t exploded, but she understood the threat level surrounding them. If he crossed the line and killed his aunt…there would be nothing anyone could do so stop the destruction that would follow.

“Liam, hear me.” Reasa forced out the words both verbally and mentally. “I’m safe.” There was no response from the huge male and a muffled sob escaped her as the pressure in the room escalated higher mirroring his rage. “Liam! I need you! Listen to me, please!”

Crawling forward, Reasa pushed her way in between Freya and Liam, collapsing against the other woman as her strength gave out. The other woman automatically supported her, whispering in her ear, “Move aside.”

“No! He won’t listen to you, Freya, but he will listen to me. Stay quiet.” Her lips barely moved as she whispered the words out but she knew the vampire heard her. Gazing up into blazing amber eyes, her breath caught at the sheer beauty of the male above her, so vicious, so uncontained, so volatile.

“Did you forget everything I showed you before, hybrid? You’re leaking emotions everywhere and damaging your pack. Attend to me now!” Appealing to his wolf hadn’t achieved any results. Maybe appealing to the vampire would.

“Take up that loose strand, Liam, and weave it into the one beside it. Do it before you destroy everything you love. Do it for me, hybrid. If you truly believe I am your mate and you go insane and have to be put down…what will happen to me?”


The fury was everything, a living breathing thing flowing like lava through his veins. It was heady and exciting, a power so strong he felt invincible. Everything else was inconsequential; the people around him nothing but vermin to be eradicated. He knew he was saying the same thing repeatedly to the female vampire, but he had no concept of why because the words were meaningless.

All he wanted to do was to kill; he wanted to reach out and rip the head from the vampire’s body, to feel her hot blood flowing over his hands and know that she had been fittingly punished for her failure. Everyone present in the room would see that punishment and none would ever defy him again.

A soft whisper tickled in his mind and he paused to listen as it echoed along his synapses. It was a glorious sound, so hard and unyielding, insistent that it be heard. As soon as he acknowledged it, the floral scent of wildflowers and a chocolate caramel fragrance washed over him, an intriguing contrast to the hard words.

“You’re not doing it correctly. Why are males so stubborn? You’ve lost your shields, Liam. Fix them now as I showed you before. Feel the strands, see how nimble you can be. Thread them together one at a time, ensuring they are flexible enough to withstand the pressure. That’s it…keep going. If you want to call them clouds then do so, just keep weaving.”

The beautiful voice was so bossy, so fascinating. Liam wanted her to keep talking, wanted her to stay in his mind, so he did as she ordered, pulling at the soft strands within his mind and proudly displaying his prowess as he weaved the shields she wanted. His mate shadowed him closely, inspecting his movements, instructing him when he messed up so he could repair his error.

She was so perfect, her presence in his thoughts a soothing balm as the monster retreated and his wolf moved forward, helping to balance him. Soft hands were running down his arms, stroking his skin and sending shivers through his body.  “Reasa…”

Liam focused on her face, his eyes tracing every feature with adoration shining from them. “I did it.” He smiled at her, wondering at her frightened expression. It seeped into his happiness, causing him to frown as he muttered, “What’s wrong?”

Memories were starting to return and his gaze shot to the woman behind his mate, his aunt’s cautious expression suddenly registering in his conscience. His eyes widened as dread slammed into him so hard he let out a pained gasp. There was blood on his aunt’s clothes, though she had no visible wounds. However, memories of his fingers digging into her skin and ripping at her flesh flooded through his mind...

Freya carefully extracted Reasa from her nephew as she moved to stand before him. She placed her hands on his cheeks as he stared at her in horror. “Stay here with us, Liam. Do not sink back into the place you have just visited. Look at me, and hear my words. I have been in that same dark place, more times than you will ever know.  You cannot change what has happened, you can only learn from it and strive to ensure it doesn’t reoccur. I am well and suffer no lasting harm. Reasa is well and suffers no lasting harm.”

His gaze slid to Reasa’s and then Mallen. Elina was at his side, helping the doctor sit up as he shook his head to clear it. “What did I do?” The words were a tortured whisper as he swung back to look at his aunt. “Freya?”

“Anyone who doesn’t need to be here, please leave.” Rafe’s voice echoed over the room as he took control, jerking his head to the doorway. “Kallum, take Mallen over to the medical centre so he can be checked out.” He was striding over to help the doctor up as he spoke, concern in his eyes as he inspected his pack member.

“I’m okay, Rafe. Whatever Elina did, kept me protected from the worst of it.” He shook his head again as he tried to pull off a weak smile, despite his disorientation. “Guess that proved I had the weakest mind in the room today.”

“Rafe, maybe we should stay…” Kallum motioned to the other Vârcolac hovering in the doorway with concerned expressions.

The Alpha shook his head. “Your presence here didn’t help earlier. Only Reasa was able to get through to Liam, so let’s clear out as many people as we can. Cassia, are you able to administer pain relief to the woman in Mallen’s absence, or do we need to request someone to come over from the medical centre?”

The eldest Romanov sister appeared startled at the request, but her expression cleared and she nodded her assent. Everyone else filed out leaving Liam, Cassia and Rafe in the Alexander home with the family.

“Freya, are you okay?” It was taking all of Dayton’s strength not to cross the room to his mate and shake the living daylights out of her. To be trapped behind Liam’s barrier had been an agony he couldn’t express in words. To watch his mate stand there and do practically nothing to defend herself against her nephew’s attack…that was something they were going to discuss later. Liam needed her right now so he held himself rigid, letting his eyes reassure him she was safe, but he wasn’t happy with the situation and his mate would know all about it.

“I’m fine, Day. He really didn’t hurt me very much. Some part of him remained intact; otherwise, he would have had my head from my body before I knew what was happening. I know you’re angry with me, but please trust that I knew what I was doing. I would have defended myself had I felt the need strongly enough. This isn’t something you would understand; it is something intrinsic, purely vampiric. To react with aggression would only have escalated the situation further.”

“We’ll discuss it later, Freya, believe me, we will more than discuss it!” Her resigned expression almost made him smile, but the image of her blood was still too fresh in his mind. His mate had to learn that sacrificing herself because she felt responsible was not the right course of action to take, even if the threat was to come from someone she loved, like Liam.

Dayton headed over to them slowly, not wanting to make any sudden moves that may concern Liam. “I need to help Reasa onto the bed so Cassia can attend to her.” He spoke the words in general but they were for Liam’s benefit.

The Vârcolac’s head turned in their direction and pained eyes ran over the human woman. “Is that okay with you, Reasa?”

She nodded in response, her gaze wary as she surveyed him back. He appeared to be once more in control, the danger point having passed. The more pressing concern for him now was the aftermath of what had just happened.  The overwhelming guilt in his eyes was something he couldn’t hide and she couldn’t help with. He needed to have that conversation with his pack but his rebuilt mental defences should be strong enough to cope without any intervention from her.

She allowed the wolf to pick her up gently and place her on the bed. She tried to ignore the fact it was another of the abominations who sat beside her. The blonde woman ran careful hands over her body before turning to search inside the doctor’s bag for the components she needed to prepare a solution in a syringe. Reasa closed her eyes and shut out the rest of the room, trying to ignore the fact that her circumstances remained the same and she was still trapped in the pack.

Cassia prepared the pain medication carefully; afraid she would accidentally overdose the woman lying on the bed. Obeying her Alpha was instinctive, but she’d expected her wolf to put up some kind of fight because they were being asked to help the woman who had damaged their mate. The animal was quiet though, curious as its eyes ran over the other woman.

Why wasn’t it protesting? Surely it should have been questioning her actions? Its quietness confused her, making her wonder if Pietro truly was her mate.

“This will only hurt for a moment,” she said, keeping her voice quiet and soothing as she injected the liquid medication into Reasa’s caramel skin. She swabbed the area with a sterile wipe, keeping a sharp eye on the former vampire’s respiration to ensure she didn’t exhibit any signs of distress. As she watched her, her thoughts drifted back Pietro.

He must be aware by now that something had happened to his abductor. What was he thinking? Was he tempted to come and see what was going on for himself, or would he stay hidden in her aunt and uncle’s home? The need to check on him was strong and Cassia knew she would end up heading in that direction once everything calmed down. She had so many unanswered questions and Pietro was the only one who could help her with them.

Breathing a sigh of relief when the strain ebbed out of Reasa’s expression, Cassia turned to look at Liam, all the while her thoughts dominated by a certain vampire with long dark hair and a scar running down the side of his beautiful face.

Sunday, 2 June 2013

Chronicles of a Vampire - Freya

So as today is my birthday and I have had such an amazing amount of love and well wishes from everyone, I thought I would knock up a little treat for you all to celebrate the day.

It's quite short and only a little glimpse into this event, but it was something that I have been asked for by a number of readers so I thought I would answer those calls.


“Dayton…I think it’s started.”

The words had barely issued from Freya’s mouth before her mate was sitting bolt upright in bed, his eyes glowing obsidian blue in the darkness.

“Are you sure? Are you okay? We shouldn’t have left the compound. We need Mallen here.” Dayton was already springing from the bed, turning on the light even though there was no real need for it. They performed the human rituals so that they would never slip up in human company, not that they lived in human society, but there was often a need to be there.

Another shaft of pain speared through the vampire’s body and she sucked in a deep breath to prevent an involuntary moan escaping. The pain was a novelty for her, the whole motherhood thing something she had never dreamed she’d ever experience. Until Dayton, it hadn’t been anything she’d wanted to experience, but now it was as important to her as it was him. She wanted to make him proud and that meant she couldn’t be seen to be weak and give into the pain.

“Has your water broken?” Anxious eyes met hers as her mate hopped into his discarded jeans from the night before. The inch long grey lock of hair had escaped the leather thong he’d tied his hair up with and fell across his eyes.

Another waft of sharp pain, so unexpected she had to grit her teeth. “No, I regularly lie in a soaking wet bed. It’s my favourite pastime.”

“Fuck, if your water’s broken you won’t be able to move to the compound. The baby will have to be delivered here.” A hint of panic crossed Dayton’s face and it was enough to dampen the sharp rise of irritation that had overcome Freya.

“Day, come here.” Holding out her hand, she breathed through the next wave of pain and kept her emerald gaze locked squarely with her mate’s as he took her proffered hand.  “I believe your mother successfully birthed six children, not to mention so has our Alphas, pack mates and other hybrid mated couples. I am fairly certain that though this is a unique experience for me I will be equally as successful.”

Her words brought him up short and he managed a rueful smile. “I know that, honey, but it’s not quite the same when it’s your own mate giving birth to your first born. It’s a bit hard to be objective. And…you’re the first female vampire to give birth to a child in god knows how long.”

He had a valid point and she squeezed his hand in acknowledgement before swinging her legs over the side of the bed. “Why don’t you let Rafe know and he can alert Mallen or just call Mallen direct, whichever is easier.”

“What do you think you’re doing?” Dayton’s hissed words came out barely a second after her own.

“Uhm I don’t know about you but I don’t relish lying in a wet bed until this baby is born. I’m getting up.” Freya sucked in another breath as her mate supported her. Another wave of pain crashed over her and she waited for it to pass before with a quick flick of her talons, her nightdress pooled to the floor and she was shooing him over to the bureau for a new one.

“Rafe, Freya’s in labour and we’re up at the cabin alone. Can you let Mallen know to get up here ASAP? Her water’s broken so she can’t be moved.” The beta wolf used his direct mental connection with his Alpha, pulling out a fresh nightdress.

“I want a shower first.”

“Freya, you’re in labour!”

“I want a shower and I don’t want to wrestle you for one. Labour or no labour you know I’ll kick your ass if I have to go through you.” The deadly intent in her voice was enough to make him back down. He tossed the nightdress onto a chair in the corner and helped her into the adjoining en-suite.

“Why aren’t you fazed by this?” Dayton was puzzled by his mate’s easy acceptance of going into labour. He’d expected her to panic that their child was coming but instead he was the one who was panicking. “Did you do something?” Suspicion crept into his voice.

The guilty expression on Freya’s face had him frowning. She had been insistent yesterday that they come up to their retreat for a few days before their daughter’s imminent birth. He had tried to talk her out of it but eventually conceded because he could see she needed to get away from the compound for a while. It was always wise to heed his mate’s ever fraying temper as an early warning sign that the shit was about to hit the fan and react accordingly.


“Oh, alright. I didn’t DO anything though Elina may have let me know that she was ready to be born.” Freya held her multi-coloured hair away from the shower spray to allow the lukewarm water to slide over her aching body. Her daughter moved inside her and she doubled over with a long hiss.

Cursing, Dayton scooped his mate out of the shower and wrapped a towel around her. “We are going to have a long talk about this later, woman.” The words growled out though his hands were gentle as he patted her dry.

Freya allowed him to fuss, smiling at the juxtaposition of his words and his actions. She had been suffocating at the compound and afraid of what she might do as her daughter’s birth came ever closer. It had seemed prudent to take herself out of the situation, so she was willing to listen to whatever lecture her beautiful wolf wanted to mete out as long as she was having her child where it was safe for everyone.

Her acute vampiric hearing heard the wolves approaching before he did and she sneaked a quick kiss to soothe him a little. “They’re coming.”

Dayton’s head whipped back towards the bedroom and he cursed again. “Stay here.” He hurried to grab the abandoned nightdress, returning to drape it over her head. It mattered naught that Mallen was a doctor and about to see far more of his mate than any other man ever should. Dayton could tell there was more than just the doctor arriving so he wanted his woman decently covered.

“Let them in, Day. I’m fine for now.” And she did feel fine, the shower seeming to soothe her daughter a bit and there being a slight lessening in the spasms wracking her body.

Of course, her Alpha, the doctor and the others let themselves in as Dayton was helping her to sit in the armchair before the fire.  Freya was surprised to feel the sting of tears in her eyes as her brother Nors entered the room with his mate Ashleigh and their young son peeking out from behind his father’s long auburn hair. The family looked remarkably awake for the early hour.

“Liam woke us,” Nors smiled crossing to her side and touching her hair gently. “He said Aunt Freya was hurting and it was all Elina’s fault?” He quirked an eyebrow at his sister’s startled expression, his own full of query.

“Liam?” Freya’s voice was tender as she raised her arms out to take her nephew gingerly onto her lap. Neither she nor Dayton had told anyone what they were going to name their daughter. They had decided to wait until she was born before imparting that information.

“It wasn’t me,” he whispered, concern on his little face. “I didn’t talk to her Aunt Freya, I promise I didn’t. Elina talked to me but with words.”

Staring at her bump, the vampire gently stroked her belly, reaching out with her senses to her daughter within. She knew exactly what her nephew meant, Elina didn’t think in word concepts but more in emotions. To date, she had thought that she was the only one that could hear her.

“What did she tell you,” she coaxed the anxious child, soothing him with her other hand so he knew he wasn’t in trouble.

“I think she wants to meet me,” he answered, his expression breaking into a shy smile. “I think she likes me.”

“I’m sure she will love you as much as we all do, Liam,” his aunt answered with a smile though she could feel the pain was welling up again and motioned for her brother to quickly remove Liam as she let out a loud gasp.

“Okay, everyone out except for the father-to-be and Lynn. We don’t need an audience for this.” Mallen shooed every out of the room, with the exception of his nurse and Dayton. The nurse freshened up the bed quickly and they helped the mother-to-be back into it.

“I think you’ve got a ways to go yet, Freya. Your daughter may not be in as much of a hurry to come out as you think she is. If you could please refrain from biting me during the process, I’d appreciate it. Try to remember neither Lynn nor I are immune to your venom.”

The doctor’s dry humour brought a bark of laughter from the vampire’s lips quickly followed by a groan of pain. Dayton was at her side immediately, holding her hand and pressing his lips against her temple.

“Let it out, honey. You don’t have to be brave when the pain comes.”

“I will not shame you, Dayton.” It was important to her that she never see any shame or disappointment in her mate’s eyes. She loved him so much and always wanted him to be proud of her.

Ignoring the doctor and nurse, he slipped an arm around her shoulders and gave her a kiss full of the love he had for his amazing woman. “You could never shame me in a million years, Freya Eriksson. And it’s okay to give vent to the pain. I believe my mother swore like a sailor during all her birthings.”

That prompted another bark of laughter from the vampire, as she tried to imagine gentle Charlotte Alexander cursing. A cry of pain escaped her, and the need to push was suddenly overwhelming.

“Okay, looks like your daughter may be about to prove me a liar. Don’t push until I say so, Freya. I know you’ll want to but fight the urge until I let you know it’s the right time.”

Freya gripped Dayton’s hand hard, groaning as another wave of pain rushed over her. “Please, please prove the doctor wrong, daughter of mine. So I don’t forget myself and bite him in a moment of madness.”


In the living room of the mountain retreat, Rafe Hanlon smiled as he watched Liam playing with some building blocks before the hastily lit fire. The winter was cold and the cabin hadn’t been used for a few months so would take a while to heat up. Ashleigh was in the kitchen area making tea and coffee while glancing over at her son every now and then to make sure he wasn’t tempted to get too close to the flames. Not that her Alpha or mate would allow any harm to come to her child but it was force of habit just to keep one eye on him at all times.

Rafe and Nors were sitting on the sofa, talking quietly and trying to ignore the muted sounds coming from the back of the dwelling. They had been where Dayton was themselves, and knew that feeling of excitement suffused with rage that their mate was in pain during childbirth and there was nothing they could do to help. The result was always worth it, but it was hard to wait for their children to be born.

“So, Liam had some kind of discussion with the baby?” Rafe was curious about what this new information may mean for the growing Vârcolac children being born into the pack. He was curious as a man but also as the Alpha of the pack.

“I don’t think discussion is the right word for it, not from what Liam told us,” the vampire beside him answered, smiling at his mate as she set down the drinks in front of them and curled up beside him. He automatically looped an arm around her shoulder and drew her close.

“A couple of days ago he started talking about someone called Elina and saying she wanted to come play with him. To be honest we thought he was talking of an imaginary friend. It wasn’t until he mentioned Freya tonight that we put two and two together.”

“Was it just Elina he mentioned or did he say anything about Rayne and Gard’s child?” The impending delivery of the first child born to a mated Vârcolac was only a few weeks away and the Alpha was interested if there would be any forewarning to that child’s birth too.

It was Ashleigh who shook her head and answered. “Just Elina. Liam is very close to Freya so that could be the reason he sensed their baby on such an intimate level.”

The Alpha looked at the toddler for another moment and then smiled and relaxed as much as he could. There was no point in interrogating the child and from the sounds of things in the bedroom, Baby Elina was going to be born into the world very soon. A new life in the pack was always a wonderful thing, but this birth was that bit more special, as it would hopefully help Freya become more integrated with the pack.

The sharp wail of a child’s cry and the rustle of a presence in his mind, told the Alpha that Elina Alexander was now part of their world, his newest pack member, another precious soul that was his to protect.

“Elina’s noisy,” Liam laughed, his brown eyes shining brightly as he looked towards the closed door separating them from the baby.

The adults looked at each other and smiled, sharing in his delight, before they rose to head towards the new arrival. If she was as empathic as Liam and able to communicate mentally at such a young age, it would be wise to have enough positive reassurance surrounding her as she began the next stage of her life.

A small hand tugged at Rafe as he went to enter the back of the retreat and he hung back motioning Ashleigh and Nors to precede them. He bent down to be of a height with Liam, whose little face held a solemn expression. “He isn’t happy like Elina was, Rafe.”

The sombre words sent a chill down the Alpha’s spine as he looked into eyes that were far too old for a child of such tender years. “Who isn’t happy, Liam? It’s okay, you can tell me. I’m the Alpha and I’ll take care of anything that needs taking care of.”

“The other one,” Liam whispered, his voice trembling and tears welling up in his eyes. “He doesn’t think nice things. He thinks mean things about making people bleed. He makes me scared, Rafe. Don’t let him hurt his mommy. He loves her like I love my mommy but he’s thinking of hurting her.”

“I won’t, Liam, I promise I won’t.” Rafe gathered the trembling child against his chest, soothing him on a physical and psychic level even though his own heart was racing fast at what the child was saying. “Can you tell me his name, so I know who it is I need to be helping, Liam?”

“Kothi.” The name whispered out.

The name meant nothing to Rafe but there was only one other Vârcolac who was due to be born. It appeared Liam hadn’t mentioned to his parents about Rayne and Gard’s child, even though he had been in some form of communication with the child. Rafe knew would need to speak to them and find out if they were experiencing any problems with the pregnancy. Possibly Liam was wrong, but he certainly was afraid of whatever mental touch he’d experienced.

“Can we go see Elina now?” Liam was suddenly all smiles as if relieving himself of his burden to his Alpha was enough to wipe away his momentary fear. The trust the child displayed in him made Rafe all the more determined to ensure nothing bad happened to anyone within his pack.  

“Sure, let’s go see your cousin.” Picking him up, the Alpha strode into the back of the cabin.

Freya was smiling, something that was unusual to see for the most part but was becoming a bit less rare the longer she was mated with Dayton. The smile on her face as she cradled her dark-haired daughter was nothing short of beatific, and the open adoration on her face stunned Rafe. So much so, that he had to pause to suck in a deep breath at the beauty on display.

Of all his pack, Freya was the most volatile and yet, in some ways, she was the one he cherished the most. No one, with the exception of her mate, had walked a harder path than the vampire who had just given birth, and that journey struck a chord in him and strengthened their Alpha bond because he could relate to how hard she had fought to make it this far.

“Beautiful,” he breathed out the word, setting Liam down at the foot of the bed. Freya’s bright smile turned to her Alpha as she proudly displayed her daughter.

“She’s perfect,” the vampire sighed, a hint of moisture in her eyes which suddenly hardened. “She will not be overprotected like those silly twins are doing with their offspring though. She will grow up being free to be her own person, Rafe. I will have issues with anyone who tries to coddle her.”

The Alpha laughed, feeling relieved to see the old Freya glaring at him and then at her mate who was frowning at her words. He held up his hands in mock surrender. “She will have to the same level of protection as the other children. I will hear no argument with that rule, Freya, but I will not interfere with your raising of your child as long as the pack is always protected. I will leave it up to you to discuss any other child rearing topics with your mate.”

Her mate gave a long sigh and rolled his eyes. “And I thought going through childbirth was the hard part,” he chuckled gathering his family close and kissing his woman on the top of her head. It was plain to see the love between them, a love that was automatically shared to the new life cherished within her mother’s embrace.

“Elina is happy,” Liam laughed, bouncing on the bed and scooting forward so he could have a closer look.

“Yes, she is,” his aunt smiled, as she allowed her nephew to touch one tiny hand and hold it gently. She smiled up at her mate, her love shining in her eyes as he leaned down and dropped a quick kiss on her lips. “We are all happy,” she added, turning to look at her family and finally feeling that one perfect moment of being connected completely with the pack.

It was a long time coming but Freya knew in that moment that no one would ever hurt her family, and that family was not just the people in this room but the entire pack who now laid claim to her as one of their own. Every member would lay down their lives for her precious daughter in her arms. She could do no less but be willing to return that same sacrifice.

Rafe nodded, stifling a yawn as he said his goodnights and started to head back down the mountain to his own sleeping mate and sons. Liam’s words came back to his mind and he shivered in the cool air as he turned to glance back at the cabin. He hoped those words were merely a child’s flight of fancy, but he had a foreboding that they were a portent of some disaster waiting to come.

Shaking off the sombre feeling, Rafe continued on his way, feeling along his Alpha bond to share in the love radiating from the mountain cabin. He smiled, luxuriating in the joy he felt, and then he made a mental note to talk to Gard and Rayne as soon as possible…just in case.

The End