Despite our connection not being fully in place, I hoped I could get a sense of her nearness just through the bond of being mates. I’d realized shortly after finding out Amaia was gone that something in me had known. I’d sensed she wasn’t there anymore, just as I did when she was near.
Suddenly, Braeden appeared in front of me, bringing me to a skidding halt so I wouldn’t bowl right into him. “Let’s go,” he said right before he took my arm and teleported.
We landed in the dimly lit parking lot of a twenty-four-hour convenience store. I was about to ask Braeden what the hell he’d brought me here for when, through the heavily falling snow, I barely spotted Stephan darting around the side of the building into an alley. He was followed closely by Ren and Jareth, so I took off after them.
What’s going on? I asked my brothers.
Ren answered, We found her. She came in to use the phone and walked right into a fucking nest.
Fuck. My legs worked harder as I darted around the corner of the building.
There’s another girl, Jareth added. Amaia managed to free her before escaping, but the nightwalkers are just about to close in on them.
When I exited the alley into the area behind the store, I saw Stephan and my brothers engaged in a fight. Braeden ran into the fray to help. I swept my eyes over the scene until they landed on my beautiful consort. Amaia was huddled between two dumpsters with a terrified girl hiding behind her. Any time a nightwalker came close, she flicked droplets of holy water at them. That’s my girl.
Knowing she was as safe as she could be for the moment, I shifted my focus to the fight. I went after the leech closest to the girls, and when the vampire jerked out of the path of the projected poison, she stumbled toward me. Then I grabbed her shoulder, spun her around, and shoved my stake into her heart. She burst into flames, and I didn’t wait around to see her ashes blow away with the snowy wind.
Another vampire had jumped onto Braeden’s back and was trying to twist his neck. I started toward him, jabbing my stake into a nightwalker who lunged at me along the way. Braedon saw me coming, and I tossed him the small wooden cross from my belt. He caught it and pulled out his own before pressing them against the nightwalker’s forearms. He screamed in agony as the crosses burned and charred his skin.
He loosened his hold on Braeden, who was then able to throw him off, making sure to aim my way. The evil bastard hit the ground and rolled, using the momentum to get back on his feet. Except, he stood up directly in front of me. With a smirk, I thrust the stake in an upward motion, going under his ribs and into his heart.
I fought off two more nightwalkers and glanced around for another threat. But Ren plunged his stake into the last one that I could see. After the pop and flicker of flames, we waited for any to come out of hiding, but it seemed we’d destroyed them all.
Stephan, Braedan, and Rex walked into a huddle to talk while Jareth and I approached the frightened consorts.
“Amaia, my darling,” I said as I dropped to my knees and pulled her into my arms, burying my face in her soft, dark hair. “Don’t ever scare me like that again.”
“Wha-a-a-...um...what the heck just happened?” a shocked and horrified voice stammered from behind Amaia.
I stood and moved out of the way, taking comfort in the fact that Amaia didn’t try to break from my hold. Instead, she held me tighter. Sighing, I tried to calm myself with the feel of her body reminding me that she was unharmed and safe. She was shaking a little, so I lifted my head and tucked her into me, resting my cheek on her crown and rubbing soothing circles on her back.
Jareth had hesitantly approached the other woman, and he crouched down to be at her eye level. “What is your name?”
“Why would I tell you?” she snapped suspiciously.
Keeping his voice gentle, he responded, “Because we’re here to help, and I don’t want to call you ‘miss.’ So, let’s start again. I’m Jareth, and you are?”
She chewed over her next move for half a minute before answering, “Narkissa.”
“It’s nice to meet you, Narkissa. In answer to your first question, those were nightwalkers, or evil vampires intent on destroying you,” he explained.
“What? Are you crazy? Vampires don’t exist! And why would they want me? I’m nobody!”
My brother shook his head. “You are everything to someone.” Then he gave her a very brief overview of her destiny as a consort. Narkissa’s eyes had gone wide and as round as saucers, but they were plagued with disbelief.