Catnapped – Part 16

I had my assistant repost the previous posts so that if you missed one it is easily found. There are some inconsistencies with the story but I am going to move forward and fix them in the final version. I’m going to pick this up again and try to be consistent. Life seems to be against me lately but I’m going to persevere!

****

Felix nodded toward the cursed items. “I want you to tell me what you can determine about each object.”

“I doubt it will be much.” Jacques stepped closer to examine the objects and clasped his hands behind his back to prevent any impulsive touching.

“Smart not to touch right away.”

A light tingling rippled across his skin when he leaned down. Sitting on top of a strip of red velvet fabric were a small silver box, a gold cross adorned with rubies and a black stone that resembled onyx.

Jacques sneezed.

“I can already tell you’re magical sensitive,” Felix said in an approving tone. “What can you tell me?”

“I can feel a tingling on my skin.”

“Hmm.” Felix hummed. “Interesting. You are extremely honed to magic. Your vampire didn’t tell me if you had any special abilities.”

“I’m a lion shifter but I can’t do magic or anything. I don’t know anyone who can,” Jacques confessed.

Felix’s eyes lit up like Christmas and his birthday had both arrived wrapped together in a shiny gold bow. “Fascinating. I’ve never met a shifter. I wonder if all of you have the same skill.”

Jacques shrugged. “I don’t know.”

“Well that is something to look into later.” Felix shook himself as if coming out of a trance. “Now I want you to pick each up one at a time. Don’t pick them up together.”

“Is it safe?”

“Safe? Well that is a relative term. They are cursed items after all.”

Jacques hesitated. “I don’t especially wish to be cursed.”

“I don’t wish you to be either. What are you doing to my mate, Mr. Underson? I’d hate to think I made a poor decision to let you tutor him.” Nevio’s deep voice sent chills down Jacques spine to join the tingling across his skin.

Felix paled and lost the smug confidence he showed seconds before. “No. Of course not. Nothing that will seriously hurt him.”

Nevio came to stand beside Jacques. “So you know how each item will react to a shifter then?”

“Um. I don’t think it will be different than anyone else,” Felix protested.

“You’d best hope not.” Nevio answered with a sharp-toothed grin.

“I’m sure he wouldn’t bring me anything too harmful.”

“They are simple curses. I would’ve removed them already if I thought they were dangerous.” The sincerity Felix’s face reassured Jacques.

He refused to admit he had a few reservations of his own. “Will you be here for each of my tutoring sessions?”

Nevio shook his head. “Of course not. I just want to make sure you are getting the knowledge that you need. Your online classes start next week don’t they?”

“Yes.”

“Your books should arrive today.” Nevio patted him on the shoulder. “Enjoy your session and tell me if you need anything else.”

“I will.” It took a few minutes for Jacques to get back into the right mindset. Nevio always scrambled his senses. Maybe one day he could be around the vampire without having to actively resist the pull.

Forcing his attention back to his tutoring session, Jacques picked up the silver box. His hand went from tingling to throbbing as if there were a hidden heartbeat in his palm. “What’s this one?”

“What do you feel?”

“It’s like I’m holding a heart in my hand.”

“Perfect. You’ll make a good curator. Inside that box in a voodoo doll. It has been given a shape and a target. What you are sensing is its connection its victim.”

Jacques quickly set it down. “Where did you get it?”

“I found it in an abandoned shack in Louisiana. As I don’t know who the victim is or the person who created the doll I don’t want to destroy it. I could inadvertently kill someone.”

Jacques quickly set the doll down. Creepy. “Do you run across many voodoo dolls?”

“I wouldn’t say it was common but it isn’t unusual to run across items that seek to control others. The trick is to understand when to leave them alone and when to investigate. I’ve run across some soul catchers in different cultures that were created for different things. It is never a good idea to paint all items with the same brush. The reason behind a curse is often just as important as the curse itself. After all a curse without meaning behind it doesn’t exist.”

Jacques thought about Felix’s statement and couldn’t find any fault in it. He nodded his agreement. “But what if the reason no longer exists.”

Felix grinned, a wide delighted smile. “That’s when you break it. Now pick up the cross.”

A quick glance at Felix’s face showed he wasn’t kidding. He set the silver box back where he found it then picked up the cross. “This won’t hurt Nevio will it?”

Laughter greeted his question. “That is a lie spread by worshipers to make them sleep better at night. There is little that will hurt vamps. You’re more likely to hurt Nevio by breaking his heart than injuring his flesh.”

The hard knot of worry dissolved as he blushed over his superstition. “My pack didn’t know much about vampires and I couldn’t find any dependable sources of information.”

“You could’ve asked any of the vampires around you.” Felix pointed out.

Jacques frowned. “I don’t know them well enough to know if they will tell me the truth. Besides how would you react if someone living with you asked what it took to injure you?”

Felix smirked. “You might have a point.”

The jewels on the cross glittered beneath the lights. “It’s pretty.”

Unlike with the box he didn’t feel anything from picking it up. “I don’t feel a curse.”

“Good. It’s the only one that doesn’t have anything wrong with it. I wanted to test your sensitivity.”

“Where did you find it?” He titled it back and forth but nothing stood out to let him determine if it had any other special properties.

“It’s my mothers’.” Felix held out his hand and Jacques gave it to him. “The only thing special about it is that she doesn’t know I swiped it yet.”

Jacques laughed.

“Pick up the stone.”

Forcing back his nerves Jacques picked up the black rock. “Is it onyx?” A spark of blue burst beneath his fingers. With a yelp he dropped it.

A soft thud followed its landing on the table.

“What can you tell me about onyx?” Felix prompted.

Jacques searched his memory about the properties of the stone. “I thought it was supposed to be a soothing stone.”

“Excellent,” Felix praised. “That’s why it’s cursed. It does the opposite. It sends feelings of fear and unease. Whoever created this curse wanted someone to be worried. I’m showing you this one so you can feel what a more subtle curse can do.”

“Huh.” Jacques kept a wary eye on the stone. “Good to know but do you think I’m going to need this knowledge as a curator? Won’t someone like you already remove any curses?”

“Maybe, or you might have an unscrupulous dealer. Best to be able to identify curses even if you can’t break them.”

With that bit of advice they spent the rest of the afternoon discussing curses.

Throwback Thursday!

 

wandmaker

Amazon | Amber Kell Books  | B&N

Cebrus had thought his quest would take him to new parts of the land. He didn’t know it would lead him to the prince of his dreams. When Prince Silvan catches sight of the sexy wandmaker it’s love at first glance. However, it takes a battle, a journey and an encounter with a fantastical beast before the two lovers can find their middle ground.

Silvan is determined to do anything to marry his mate even if he has to go against a king and give up everything to keep the man he has claimed for his own.

Excerpt:

Cebrus Starn strolled down the road with a small pack strapped to his back, a stick of wood in one hand, and a knife in the other. He whittled as he walked, flicking bits of wood behind him like a trail of breadcrumbs. The soft wood began to take shape beneath his nimble fingers as he continued to chip away at the outer bark to reveal the brighter wood hidden beneath. Several minutes later, he stopped by the side of the road to examine his work.

“Perfect.”

The rough column now fit the needed size and shape for a good-sized wand. He slipped his bag off his shoulders and set it on the ground. Crouching down, he opened his pack, pulled out a leather sheath, and slid his knife inside. He’d been taught young the value of keeping tools in their proper place and the harsh penalty for losing one. Small scars decorated his fingers, tiny reminders of his painful learning curve.

Clutching the stick in one hand, he used the other to search the bag’s inner pockets. After a few minutes of feeling through the contents, he wrapped his fingers around a shaping stone. A fond smile curled his lips as he pulled it out. One of a set of three given to him by his father, each piece helped smooth and conform the wood to create a plain, blank wand ready to be bonded to its new owner. It always served him well to have a good variety of wands prepared when he entered a new town.

Pleased he had found the right stone on his first try, Cebrus straightened, refastened his pack, then returned it to his shoulders, the soft sound of wood clattering together followed his movements.

As a wandmaker, Cebrus traveled from town to town trading his skills for food and shelter. Most wandmakers stayed in one place, plying their trade to the locals and merchants who traveled into town for their services. Cebrus’s itchy feet didn’t allow him to settle down in one location, despite his family’s disapproval of his nomadic ways. He tried to make sure he visited them once a year during festival season to help out with the influx of additional customers, but this year he’d miss it. His quest didn’t allow for backtracking or returning home halfway through his travels. If he’d even gone halfway.

He’d never met another traveling wandmaker. A shame since their specialized abilities were needed in every town and there were too few wandmakers to serve everyone. Most places had to use standard wands mass-produced by apprentice wizards and not properly matched with their new owners. Shabby bits of wood that most people didn’t realize were a step below their potential. Only high-level wizards bothered to have their wands correctly bonded because of the time and expense involved in traveling to a wandmaker.

Cebrus had no idea how close the next town might be, but the beautiful weather didn’t prod him to be too concerned about distance. There was no need to hurry, and he enjoyed the journey as much as his possible destination.

The sound of hooves had him looking up from his task to discover a team of five soldiers in full uniform riding toward him. Their large, powerful horses stirred up dust and thundered like an oncoming storm against the dry ground. He didn’t bother to hide his surprise when the men pulled to a stop before him. What could they possibly want? He didn’t have the wealthy appearance of a successful merchant or any discernible luxury about him. Stories of soldiers preying on unwary travelers drifted through Cebrus’s mind. He braced himself for possible confrontation.

“Halt, stranger.” The leader of the group blocked Cebrus’s path with his horse, his face stern and commanding.

“Is there a problem?” Cebrus examined the soldier with great interest. He’d never been stopped before. In general, people left wandmakers alone. Their special jurisdiction allowed them to travel wherever they chose.

“We’ve heard rumors a wandmaker is traveling this road. Are you that man?”

Cebrus looked at the wand in his hand, then back at the soldier and raised an eyebrow.

The soldier blushed, but quickly rallied. “Under the command of the king, I order you to accompany us to the royal palace.”

Cebrus sighed, then shook his head at the soldier. “I’m on a quest. I don’t have time for spoiled royals.”

Stepping to one side, Cebrus moved to go around the soldier’s horse. He grinned when the officious guard pointed his wand at Cebrus and muttered some garbled words Cebrus assumed created a spell.

Of course, nothing happened.

The soldier paled.

Why was it that people were never aware of the primary skill of a wandmaker? Taking pity on the confused man, Cebrus paused to explain. Maybe the soldier could pass on his knowledge to others. People were woefully uneducated these days.

“Magic doesn’t affect wandmakers. You can wave that thing all day, and it won’t do anything to me. Besides your wand doesn’t suit you. Whoever you got it from was an idiot.”

Nothing irritated Cebrus more than people who bought whatever stick someone offered to sell them under the assumption one wand was as good as another. Only a properly trained wandmaker could correctly calibrate a wand. He didn’t blame the soldier for his inferior tool. He likely had nothing else to choose from.

To Cebrus’s surprise, the soldier got off his horse to approach him.

“I’m Trelfan Fairwen, King Minr’s captain of the guard,” the soldier introduced himself.

Cebrus bowed at the introduction. “Cebrus Starn, wandmaker.”

“How can you tell my wand doesn’t suit me?” Trelfan asked.

Cebrus never knew how to explain to someone when they had a bad wand, but he gave it his best try. “Part of my ability is I can see the magical connection between wand and user. It’s a talent of mine.” Most wandmakers shared that skill, but not all. Cebrus didn’t like to brag, but his family considered him the strongest wandmaker ever born into their clan.

“What kind of wand would suit me?” The soldier obviously wasn’t going to let the subject or Cebrus go without a more thorough explanation.

Tilting his head, Cebrus focused entirely on the soldier, he let his power pour over Trelfan and waited for his magic to give a proper answer. Pulling his pack off his shoulder, he opened it again. He tucked his current blank in with the others as he searched around until he found the wand he sought. It was long, heavy, and made out of a grainy hard wood he’d come across during his travels. Perfect.

“This one.”

The soldier gave Cebrus a cynical look. “And what will it cost me to get a wand like that?”

“Your old wand. I would like to give it a home with someone who can use it. I will siphon the absorbed magic from your old wand into your new one and take the empty one with me.” Cebrus hated to waste a wand, and even though the poor quality of Trelfan’s wand offended him, Cebrus could salvage the piece.

Interest sparked in Trelfan’s eyes. “Really? That’s all you’d ask for?”

Cebrus never understood why his fee always surprised people. “My father gave me a bit of advice before I started out on my own. He told me, ‘A man who only asks for what he needs will always be wealthy.’ I don’t need much besides food, the occasional roof over my head, and a bit of coin to replace my clothes when they wear out. I’m a man of simple needs. Now would you like the wand or not? I have a bit more land to travel before I reach my stop for the evening.”

Trelfan’s face took on an even more serious mien. “Yes, thank you. Will the transfer hurt?”

“Why would it hurt?” Where did people get their foolish ideas? Preposterous.

“Because it hurt the first time.” The shadow in the soldier’s face told Cebrus all he needed to know about the other supposed wandmaker’s skill.

“Magic transfer shouldn’t be painful. It is your magic going where it belongs. I’m sorry you had someone incompetent last time.”

“Then I want to do it.” Trelfan straightened his shoulders as if he were still expecting pain despite Cebrus’s reassurance.

“Captain.” One of the other soldiers sounded like he was going to protest, but Trelfan glared over his shoulder and nothing more was said.

“Give me your old wand.” Cebrus held out his hand.

Trelfan handed it over.

“Take your new wand in your right hand and put your left on top of mine.” Cebrus held out his right hand flat while clutching the soldier’s wand in his left.

Trelfan audibly swallowed before taking a deep breath and obeying Cebrus’s command.

“Relax. This won’t hurt, I swear.” Cebrus felt a pang of sympathy for Trelfan. No one should be afraid of their own magic.

Closing his eyes, Cebrus focused on the transfer of power from wand to wand until he felt the connection click in his mind. “Transfer,” he whispered. He opened his eyes and watched the wand in his hand dim and the wand in Trelfan’s hand glow a bright white before turning back to its natural brown color.

“Wow.” Trelfan’s eyes widened.

“We’re not done yet,” Cebrus warned.

He tucked Trelfan’s old wand into his pack before turning back to the soldier. “Put your hands together with the wand in the middle. We need to connect you to your new wand and rebind it with your magic.”

Cebrus placed his hands on the outside of the soldier’s fingers. “Bond.”

The air crackled with electricity, and an intricate tree design worked its way around the wand until the carving covered the entire surface.

A soft chime sounded, and Cebrus released Trelfan’s grip. “There, all done.”

He looked at his work with the satisfaction of a job well done. The wand’s energy now aligned in perfect rhythm with the Trelfan’s magic.

Trelfan turned the wand over and over in his hand. “This…this is my family crest. How did you do that?”

Cebrus frowned. “I didn’t do it. You did. That’s what happens when a wand is matched properly.”

Personal symbols helped magic users identify their stick. How did he not know this? Cebrus couldn’t remember what Trelfan’s wand had looked like before. He just remembered it hadn’t fit the soldier.

The captain shook his head. “No one in the kingdom has any carving on their wands. I’ve never heard of this. Will the magic wear away the engraving?”

“A bit. Yours will last until you either die or you change wands again.”

Trelfan’s forehead creased, and his bushy eyebrows almost met in the middle. “Why would I change wands?”

Cebrus stared at the soldier. “Do you people know nothing about wands? You need to change your wands as you age and fine-tune them as your magic changes. If you don’t re-bond your wand every ten years, your magic will stagnate at that level.” The idea that no one in this kingdom had such essential information changed Cebrus’s mind. He couldn’t let them remain uninformed. It was almost criminal. “I will come with you after all. It’s obvious you people need some instruction.”

He’d have to put off his quest for a bit, but he’d already done it for three years, a little more time wouldn’t make much difference. Besides, the more kingdoms he could enlighten about the importance of a proper wand, the better off they would be. Although his family might not thank him for the additional work bound to come out from Cebrus’s educational tour.

Cebrus rode behind Trelfan on the soldier’s horse. He tried to concentrate on not falling off. He didn’t enjoy horse riding, mostly because horses were evil. They enjoyed tossing off their riders and stomping on them afterwards. He had a scar on his left shoulder from one such occurrence.

Trelfan spent the time enthusing over his new wand. A few of the other soldiers cast Trelfan envious looks, but maybe they figured the captain should receive special services. Cebrus silently vowed to help them later. Everyone deserved a proper wand.

Even on the back of the devil spawn, it still took almost two hours to reach the castle. Cebrus hadn’t realized he’d wandered so close to a kingdom. Generally, he avoided the royals and went directly to the townspeople. Even with protection laws in place, royals always thought they could order wandmakers around. Explaining they were mistaken never went over well. One of these days, he’d end up in a royal’s prison, but hopefully not today.

The soldiers were saluted at the gate and allowed in with only a few curious glances toward Cebrus. Maybe the soldiers brought strangers in often.

After dropping their steeds off at the stables, Cebrus was escorted to the throne room.

“He might be a bit bossy, but he’s a good king,” Trelfan swore.

The first thing that caught Cebrus’s attention was the size of the throne room. He could easily fit his entire village inside the audience chamber. The second thing he noticed was the man sitting beside the king. Tall with pitch-black hair and brilliant blue eyes, he had the build of a soldier and the sex appeal of a man Cebrus wouldn’t mind finding in his bed.

“Your majesty,” Trelfan bowed to the monarch. “I present to you Cebrus the wandmaker.”

“You’re a wandmaker?” King Minr was a big, muscular man who looked as if he could wield an axe with one hand and a sword with the other. His cool gray eyes examined Cebrus like he was an interesting bug who had mistakenly wandered into his court and might need to be smashed at any moment.

“Yes, Your Majesty.” Cebrus didn’t bow. The man wasn’t his king, after all.

King Minr frowned. “I expected you to come to me sooner, but never mind, you can still be of some use. I want you to make me a wand out of heartwood. I expect it ready in two days.” He waved his hand as if dismissing Cebrus to go carry out his request.

“Sorry but no, Your Majesty.” Cebrus gave a respectful nod, hoping to take a little sting out of his rejection. Royals never appreciated hearing no. It never failed to get Cebrus threatened with prison time. Monarchs were a pretty predictable lot overall.

“What?” The king’s shout echoed through the chamber.

Cebrus sighed. “You aren’t suited to heartwood. You would do better with iron wood.”

“I want heartwood,” King Minr insisted.

Damn, royals were stubborn.

“I won’t make an inferior wand. If you want heartwood, find another wandmaker.” It didn’t matter to him what the king demanded. He refused to make something unsuitable.

The king jumped to his feet. “I could have you killed.”

Cebrus pulled out the pendant he had hidden beneath his shirt. He hated confrontation, but that didn’t mean he’d back down. “If you don’t mind losing your kingdom and your life, go ahead.”

He hated bullies.

The king stomped over to look at Cebrus’s pendant. “Well crap, you’re a heritage wandmaker.” He paused for a moment. “So, iron wood, huh?”

Cebrus bit his lip to hold back his smile at the king’s new respectful tone. Curiosity compelled him to ask, “What kind of wand do you have now?”

“I don’t. I lost it while hunting.” The king returned to his throne.

Cebrus gaped. “You lost your wand?”

How was it even possible for someone to lose their wand?

The king blushed.

“Was your old wand heartwood?”

“Yes, and it suited me just fine,” King Minr insisted. If he weren’t a king, Cebrus would accuse him of pouting.

“Uh-huh.” Cebrus didn’t even try to hide his disdain over the king’s previous wand. He probably got it from some charlatan. Opening his sack, he pulled out the iron wood blanks he’d stuffed inside. After some contemplation of their differences, he pulled out the thickest. The king had big hands. He’d need something solid to hold.

“Put both of your hands on your wand.” He pointed where he wanted King Minr to place his grip. A few minutes later, Cebrus had the king bonded to his new wand. He also now knew the king didn’t have much magic since the transfer process took hardly any time at all.

The king stared at the piece of ironwood in shock. “It has my family crest.”

Cebrus rolled his eyes, but refrained from mentioning the king must’ve used a second rate wandmaker for his last wand. He might not like royalty, but he didn’t want to get a reputation for being too rude.

A yawn had him covering his mouth.

“Sorry, it’s been a long day.” And the king was boring, but he kept that part to himself.

The king nodded to the sexy man Cebrus had been eyeing during their entire encounter. “Silvan, escort our wandmaker to the blue room.”

Silvan raised an eyebrow at the command, but didn’t argue. Instead he walked over to Cebrus and offered his arm. Surprised by the old-fashioned show of manners, Cebrus tucked his hand in the crook of Silvan’s elbow. At the contact, a crackle of electricity went through him, and he gasped to catch his breath.

“Mmm, don’t worry, little wandmaker. I’ll take good care of you,” Silvan’s voice, filled with dark promises, sent shivers of need down Cebrus’s spine.

He cleared his throat. “Who are you exactly?” he asked as Silvan led him down the hall. He had no objection to the handsome stranger gracing his bed, and being taken care of sounded like just the thing to make this entire side trip worthwhile. However, he liked to know a bit about his bed partners in case they turned out to be psychotic killers.

“You don’t know who I am?” Silvan stopped in the middle of the walkway and turned Cebrus to face him. As he searched Cebrus’s expression, a look of wonder filled his eyes. “You really don’t know me.”

“Should I?” Maybe Cebrus should’ve known one of the king’s companions was half a load short of a cartful, but he didn’t exactly follow castle gossip in any kingdom. He didn’t like it when people talked about him. Why would he encourage that sort of rumormongering from others? He didn’t really care who Silvan was, as long as he knew what to do in bed.

A wide smile brightened Silvan’s dark features. “I don’t believe it. The fortuneteller didn’t lie. I did meet the one man who didn’t know me.”

Fortuneteller?

“Don’t think so much of yourself. I’m sure there are others who haven’t seen your face before. No one is that famous.” Cebrus frowned at the impudent man even as a dawning suspicion grew. But surely the king would’ve mentioned…

“Ah, you finally figured it out,” Silvan said, a smile spreading across his face.

“You’re the crown prince.” Cebrus was ready to accept his award for dumbest man in the kingdom. Only someone royal would share the throne dais with the king. He blamed the long day of travel for his idiocy. He searched his mind for details about this particular kingdom and drudged up a few facts from his memory.

The prince was known for leading a successful battle against the troll rebellion, for single-handedly negotiating a treaty with the giants, and for being the best strategist in any kingdom. He thought he’d heard a story about Silvan enjoying both men and women, but gossips rarely got those sorts of details right.

“I see you figured it out. I knew you were a bright lad,” Silvan teased. His brilliant eyes glowed with approval.

Winners from the Birthday Bash!

Print Book Winners:

End Street Volume 1:

JEN CW
DARREN CONNELL
YOUNELA
AIBOPALS
KERRY

Dragonmen Volume 1:

AMANDA LOGAN
TERA EDWARDS

 

Print book winners, please email your mailing address to Sheri at authoraccomplice@gmail.com, so we can get your prizes mailed out!

 

Gift card winners:

$10 Amazon Gift Card:

JULIE SCOTT
AMANDA POTTS
VASSMANN
SHERRY GEORGE

$25 Amazon Gift Card:

PAULA HADGRAFT

Please email Sheri at authoraccomplice@gmail.com, to claim your prize!

Ebook winners:

ANGELICA

LOONEY589

Please email Sheri at authoraccomplice@gmail.com, to claim your prize!

 

I will be announcing more winners from the various authors soon!

 

The Banded Brothers are back!

Amazon | Smashwords

Previously Released
Contains:
To Have A Human
To Catch A Croc

To Have A Human

Sometimes it’s the family you choose that loves you the most.

Carey Gale always knew about shifters. It was difficult not to when his best friends could turn into some of the deadliest beasts. To support his band, Carey gets a daytime job at a shifter-owned business, but he doesn’t expect to fall hopelessly in lust with Broden Lyall, the company’s alpha.
Broden has to battle his against his society’s low opinion of humans to remain as leader. But when hunters come after Carey’s friends, Broden learns that not all humans are alike, and he finds he will do anything to have the one slim, blond human who’d shown him that.

To Catch A Croc

Protect those you love, annihilate everyone else.

For as long as he could remember Denton Stills has followed his friend Carey around. When Carey gets a mate Denton starts to consider maybe it is time for him to find his forever man. However the only one sniffing around is an obnoxious puma who seems to think Denton is as good as his. When saltwater crocodile shifters try to move into Denton’s territory he takes a page from Carey’s father “protect those you love, annihilate everyone else. Will Denton be able to hold back a shifter invasion with his friends or will he have to ask for help from the one man who makes him thinks happily ever after might be possible?

Welcome to the Rainbow Advent Calendar Stop!

Thank you for joining me for my Advent Calendar story. I’ve decided to do a short on Quain and Peter since they’re in my latest book Pursuing Peter.  Questioning Quain is coming Decemberish. If you haven’t read Peter then I should tell you Quain is a psychic and has visions…see all cleared up!

If you leave a comment I’ll enter you to win a $10.00 Amazon GC! Winner will be chosen next Saturday!

Just in case you need it: Rainbow Advent Calendar Facebook Group

 

 

It snowed.

Icy flakes spun in circles outside the window. Winter had come in a rush of dingy gray clouds and dropping temperatures. Quain Ilves pressed his nose against the cool glass enjoying the coldness against his skin. The heater hummed a sad background melody to his thoughts.

Quain rubbed his arms. Maybe he should put on a warmer sweater. He had only worn the black one because Peter enjoyed the soft fabric when they cuddled. To bad Peter wasn’t home. He’d been missing since their fight.

It wasn’t even a big one.

A sigh tore through Quain as he reflected on their argument. It had started with Quain being resistant to going to the pack party, and ended with Peter accusing him of trying to distance them both from their pack family.

He traced a heart on the foggy windowpane. Maybe he should’ve mentioned his social anxiety, but he didn’t want Peter to think he was a wimp. Better to have Peter think he was part hermit than that he had issues with crowds. Growing up isolated had taken its toll on Quain emotionally and he’d rather anger Peter than have his sympathy. Something he regretted now.

“Come back to me,” he whispered against the windowpane.

He traced another heart on the steamy glass interlocking with the other one then, in an act of whimsy, wrote their initials inside. The first smile in two hours crossed his lips even as his own heart ached from his mate’s absence.

Peter wouldn’t hold a grudge, would he? Unfortunately they hadn’t been together long enough for him to know for certain. The scrape of a key in the door raised his hopes. Quain stood, but before he could take a step his world went black.

Impatience was the primary emotion rushing through him. He lacked his usual anticipation for a vision. Instead he longed for the ending so he could return to Peter and talk through his issues. Peter had never lost patience with him before and Quain had planned on making sure everything else was fine with his mate before airing his own problems.

Fog swirled in unfamiliar patterns. Quain tried to push through but nothing hurried the experience.

“What’s the rush, young seer?” a female voice asked.

Quain froze. He had half expected Zeus to make another appearance. Despite claiming to dislike mortals the god enjoyed stomping through Quain’s visions with startling regularity.

“My mate just got home. We had a fight and I’d like to talk to him.” It didn’t occur to him to lie to a complete stranger, nosy or not.

“You worry too much, honey,” the female said with warm familiarity.

“Sometimes.” Quain prided himself on knowing his own personality quirks.

“About your mate, more times than not.”

“Who are you?” The fog continued to hide the speaker. A burst of psychic wind swept away the fog and exposed the lady. A white gown swirled around her slim form. All of her was white. Even her skin held little color against her white locks.

“Consider me your fairy godmother,” she said with a wry smile.

“Are you a fairy?”

“Nope.” She giggled, an odd contrast to her previously serious expression.

“And you’re not my godmother,” Quain pursued carefully.

She shrugged. “Semantics.”

Quain waited but she didn’t say anything more. “What are you here for? Peter was coming home and I need to talk to him.”

“And tell him why you’re such a pill?”

“Yeah.” Quain shoved his hands in his pockets. “He needs to know why he has such a broken mate.”

“You aren’t broken, maybe a little chipped on the corners but nothing a bit of love can’t fix.” She pulled a sparkly wand out of the air and spun it around. Gold sparks flew around her.

“Huh.” Quain watched the light show not certain of what to do. Never before had a being entered his vision world waving a wand.

“I know pretty spectacular right?” Her lips formed a smug smile. “In order for your mate to understand you, maybe you should understand him.”

“How? He doesn’t like to talk about his childhood much.”

“There are reasons for that.”

“Is this where you show me my Christmas past?” Quain couldn’t help the sarcastic tone. Trust him to have a fairy godmother cliché.

She giggled. “Don’t be silly. Weren’t you there for your Christmases? I’m here to show you Peter’s.”

With a wave of her wand the scenery changed. Instead of a blank sea of white fog a room materialized. A little boy sat beside a Christmas tree dripping with decorations. Piles of presents covered the area around the trunk, pushing the branches up. The elegance and size of the room indicated they were inside a rich person’s mansion.

“Is this where he grew up?” Quain asked.

“Shh, watch. Isn’t he adorable?” She giggled madly.

A whiff of alcohol reached his nose. “Are you drunk?”

She waved her wand. “Don’t be ridiculous. One little interesting eggnog isn’t going to stop me from doing my job. And if you report me I’ll make all your visions female porn shows.”

Quain rubbed his queasy stomach. “That’s just evil.”

Before she could respond a female voice called Peter’s name.

“In here, Mom,” child Peter replied.

“Are you ready to open your presents?” His mother sat on a chair beside the tree.

Although Quain hadn’t ever met Peter’s father he could immediately see how much Peter resembled his mother. His cheekbones had definitely come from her side of the family along with his dazzling aquamarine eyes.

“Isn’t Dad coming?” Peter asked.

His mother played with the belt on her robe. “He’s not feeling up to it right now.” She didn’t meet Peter’s eyes when she spoke.

“He’s drunk again isn’t he?”

“No he just had a long night, And don’t talk about your father like that,” she scolded.

Peter picked up a present with little interest and began tearing at the wrapping paper. Before Quain saw what he uncovered the scene changed back to the fog.

“See,” she announced.

“See what? We left before we saw what he got.”

She batted his complaint away with her hand. “What he got was a lot of presents with an absentee father who gambled away their savings and an enabling mother. One more lonely Christmas in a childhood of them.”

“Which is why he wants to spend it with the pack,” Quain realized. “Damn, I guess I really do have to go to the party.”

“You don’t have to. You do have free will and all, but I bet he’d appreciate it.”

“Okay, let me wake up and I’ll talk to Peter.”

“Sorry I’ve got to do the entire spiel, it’s part of my Christmas bonus.”

Quain rolled his eyes. “You are the most unhelpful fairy godmother I’ve ever met.”

She twirled her sparkly wand. “Got an entire closet full of us do you?”

A growl rolled up his throat. Surely it wouldn’t be bad karma to strangle the annoying entity.

“Keep your pants on dear.” She flashed him a wicked smile. “Or don’t. How about I give you a quick sneak peak of your future, no seer skills required. I’ll let you handle the present as long as you lie if anyone asks.”

“Deal.” He agreed without hesitation. The odds of anyone coming to him for a fairy godmother employee review were slim. Of course he would’ve said the same thing about one actually appearing before now.

The scene changed, morphing from fog to living room, seamlessly.

“Wait, this is our apartment.”

“Nice to see you can recognize your living space,” she praised.

“How far into the future is this?”

“Hmm.” More wand twirls, as she thought over her answer. “A few years or so.”

Before Quain could interrogate her more Peter walked into the living room. Quain’s mouth dropped open. It wasn’t the sexy suit Peter wore with casual grace, but the baby in Peter’s arms that caught Quain’s attention.

“Where did he come from?” Quain asked.

“Well, when a man and a woman, or a woman and a sperm get together…”

“Shush!” Quain waved her quiet before she continued to ramble and fill his head with worrisome images.

A second Quain rushed into the room and took the child from Peter. “Are you ready? We’ve got to leave soon if we want to drop Elias off at the pack childcare for the night.”

“Elias?” Quain eagerly waited to hear more about this boy. Who would trust him with a baby?

“He’s all ready and I have his bag by the door.”

“Great.” Quain kissed Elias’s head. The little boy tugged at Quain’s tie then mouthed it a bit.

“Don’t eat the tie pin,” Peter warned.

“Like he’s going to listen to you. You know he’s a tiepin connoisseur. Why else would he always steal Anthony’s most expensive ones?”

“I’m going to owe him a new car at this rate.” Peter scowled.

Quain laughed. “It’s worth it.” He lifted the child up to dangle him back and forth. “Isn’t it Elias?”

Elias giggled.

“He’s adorable. Is he ours?” Quain asked his fairy godmother.

“Yes. You two make wonderful parents. Elias is the first of three.”

“Thank you,” Elias said sincerely.

“For what?” She twirled in place on one shoe like a little kid.

“For giving me hope. I never thought I’d get a family.”

“Then you need to stop being a gloomy Gus and tell your magnificent mate about your problems. You really are lucky to have him you know.”

“I know.”

“Good. Now go and give him a kiss for me!” She waved her wand.

Quain jerked back to reality to find Peter cradling him close, a worried expression marred his mate’s face.

“I’m so sorry. I shouldn’t have left you alone,” Peter mumbled. “I wasn’t thinking.”

“Hey, it’s all right.” Quinn cupped Peter’s face in his hands and kissed him with all the passion he had inside. When he let go Peter still had his eyes closed for a few seconds before they fluttered open.

“What caused that? When I left I thought you were mad at me.”

“I was more angry at myself. Let’s sit on the couch and talk.” Quain stood then pulled Peter up after him. “I have some things to tell you about my childhood.”

“Is this going to make me want to hunt down your parents?”

“No. But it explains why I’m reluctant to go to the party.” He flashed back to Peter’s lonely Christmas. “I think we should go to the party, but maybe not stay the entire time.”

Peter’s tense shoulders relaxed. “I can agree to that.”

Quain spent the next thirty minutes explaining his parents smothering followed by years of isolation. The entire time he kept thinking of the beautiful baby and the others to follow.

Peter’s sideways hug pulled him from his memory. “Next time just talk to me. I’ll always want to know if something bothers you.”

“I will. I promise.” He cleared his throat. “By the way, what are your thoughts on having a family? Not anytime soon, just in general.” Quain almost forgot to breathe while he waited for an answer.

Peter smiled. “I’ve always wanted kids.”

“Really?”

“Yeah, I used to dream of having two or three and a beautiful husband to raise them with. At least I got part of it right.”

“Yes, you did.” Quain smiled. He wouldn’t tell Peter about his fairy godmother, who wasn’t a fairy or a godmother. After all the poor man was still getting used to Quain’s visions. Telling him about imaginary people bringing him their future might stretch the bounds of reality too far, even for his accepting mate.

Quain patted Peter’s leg. “Let’s go get dressed and you can introduce me to the people I haven’t met.”

“Sounds good. We even have some fae in our pack,” Peter said.

“Really? Any females?”

Peter paused mid step. “No, why?”

“Never mind.” Quain kissed Peter’s cheek then ran down the hall to the sound of Peter’s laughter.

The past might have been lonely for them both but now they had each other. Quain planned to make this the best Christmas yet for his beloved starting with the party. Tomorrow he would show Peter the extra tools he’d purchased for his garage.

 

The End

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thank you to everyone!

I want to say thank you to all the authors and fans who participated in my month long birthday party!

Any prizes that weren’t chosen will be chosen soon. If you won a physical prize then this is the one time of the year that I will ship things on time 🙂

I’m planning to get a lot more books out in the coming year so if you have a favorite series I am going to work hard in getting some of them wrapped up as you know I have too many out there now. I hate to disappoint my fans over how many open series I have right now.

I will be posting the blog story again in the near future. Stay tuned 🙂