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“He can’t hear, feel, see, or smell you Ariya. So please pay attention now. Tristan isn’t very patient either, like me, and he’s been dying to get back at James for killing his brother.”
Tristan’s teeth glistened at that remark, and I became truly afraid. Tristan’s brother must have been Devon. That’s the only death on James’s hands, besides Emma, that I knew about. Unless this has nothing to do with me and has everything to do with some other part of James’s extremely long life. The thought seemed unlikely, though.
“What do you want?” I questioned, trying desperately to make my voice sound stronger than I felt.
“I want you to come with me. Tristan is here for persuasion, should we need it. Tristan?” She turned to him, and he lifted the stake he had carried in, twirling it in his hands, and stepping in front of James.
“Stop it!” I hissed. “Don’t you dare touch him!”
The woman held up her hand to Tristan. “When I wake you up, I want you to walk back into this living room and out the door with us. You cannot touch James as you leave. Either you come with us willingly, or Tristan destroys him, and we take you by force. The choice is yours, but if you cooperate, he’ll live.”
My heart stopped and a pit formed in my already churning, upset stomach. This was like Emma all over again. James would feel betrayed that I left, but what choice did I have?
Leave quietly or he dies. That’s the ultimatum.
His death was not something I would be able to handle. I needed him alive, and if I did leave quietly, he’d be alive to find me. I know he will be able to. There was no other choice but to go with these new monsters and hope that James could find me quickly.
“Come with us quietly, Ariya,” the woman said to me again.
“Wake me up and I’ll do whatever you want, but please, please back away from him,” I begged.
Teaser #2 – Used to announce the winner of the Book 2 Get Your Name as a Character Contest!
James smiled, almost proudly. “Marik was born only days before my grandfather was turned. My grandfather sent him and my grandmother to the states when whispers of threats to the bloodline began spreading. America was as far away from Germany as he could get. It was dangerous for them to travel without my grandfather, but perilous to stay lest they be discovered. When the Great Battle was over, my grandfather was the sole surviving Protector. Your ancestor had saved him, and after that, he knew he had to save her in return. He knew he had to take her away and there couldn’t be a trace of her, or she’d be in danger. When he could, he reunited with my grandmother and Marik, bringing your ancestor along with him.”
I was always in awe of James when he spoke of the past. The way he opened up and his willingness to teach me about the long shared history between our ancestors made me feel closer to him. “Where at in America?” I questioned, not wanting him to stop.
He flicked his eyes towards me, his smile spreading at my obvious enthrallment. “They started off in Jamestown. My grandfather and grandmother raised your ancestor as their own. Her name was Cianna. She and Marik grew up close. Apparently, they were practically inseparable even with a five-year age difference. They all moved to Colorado when Marik was a teenager to begin training. There were others that my grandfather had begun turning by then, trying to rebuild the Protector legacy.”
James usually referred to his father as Marik. While I loved listening to the history, he made his father sound like just another part of the story, like someone he didn’t even know. The thought made me sad, and I noticed James had stopped talking.
“Cianna is a pretty name,” I commented, trying to distract him from any negative thoughts.
“Stern, Protector look?” he smiled and leaned into me, wrapping his hand in my hair and kissing me.
“Mhmm,” I managed to get out before leaning back to explain. “You shut yourself off from feeling anything. I can see it. But here, you’ve been open. Letting me in.”
James paused and watched me as I spoke before shaking his head and turning his attention back to my mouth. “I’ve never let go before,” he sighed, brushing his fingers gently over my lips.
He leaned down and placed his mouth over mine, claiming me like I was his own personal property. Fine by me, I thought smugly, reveling in the fact that my own personal GQ model was gracing me with his presence in bed. He really did belong on magazine covers so the whole world could appreciate his beautiful face, not in small towns watching out for me.
I barely turned the knob on the front door when Caroline froze. Her head jerked to the side. “Get inside the house.” She hesitated only a moment longer before turning and pushing me through the door. She stepped inside behind me and locked the door, then whipped out her cell phone. “Damn it,” she said under her breath as she shoved her phone into her back pocket.
“What’s wrong?” My heartbeat steadily started increasing. Caroline seemed concerned and James and Nick were still out there somewhere.
She didn’t answer me but turned towards the large windows in the family room. She looked around for a moment longer before shoving me toward a bedroom adjacent to James’s. “Get to that room, now. Lock the door and do not come out.”
“What? No, come with me. What’s going on?”
“Ariya, go. Please don’t argue. I’m fine, but I can’t worry about you if I’m going to handle this shit.”
“What do you mean handle this? I’m not leaving you.” I walked closer to her as I spoke.
“You will cause me to be distracted and that will put me in danger. Do you understand?” Her voice startled me, and I turned, heading for the room I hadn’t been in yet. I peeked back over at her as I got to the door. A noise at the front of the house made me jump.
“Now,” Caroline whispered urgently. She stood as if she was ready to pounce on something. “Not a word, Ariya, I mean it. And shut the door.”
Before I obeyed and shut the door, I heard a terrifying sound. It sounded like fingernails scraping down a chalkboard. Caroline’s body jerked from the front door over to the living room windows as a voice sounded from somewhere outside.
“Come out, come out wherever you are,” called the voice from outside. Frightened by the malice of the voice, I quickly shut the door I was hidden behind and locked it as instructed. Caroline is fine, she’s a vampire. Whatever that is, she can handle it. I tried convincing myself of her safety, but I was terrified. I could feel panic welling in my gut, creeping up into my chest and making my breathing erratic.
Outside the door, I heard glass shatter followed by a snarl. Oh please, please let Care be okay, I prayed silently.
The noises outside the door increased. I could hear banging, growling, and tearing. I didn’t want to know what the tearing was. I was caught between wanting to do something to help and not wanting to put Caroline in danger by trying to intervene. It sounded like a warzone outside the door. It couldn’t be good. Where were James and Nick?