“I finally get my chance to meet the beautiful Ella,” a voice taunted behind me.
The dying fae didn’t have much time, and my heart ached for him. He was attacked because of me.
Clenching my teeth, I turned around to face the dark fae. I was right. There were three of them, all who were previously Summer fae before they decided to turn to the dark side. They still had their golden tanned skin, but that was it. Every other trace of the Summer Court was gone. It made me wonder what they did or what happened to where they wanted to turn on their court. Sadly, most dark fae I’d come across over the years were just power-hungry bastards.
The main guy had short, bright blond hair and a crooked smile as he raked his gaze up and down my body. The other two guys behind him slowly stepped to the side, flanking me; one had dark blond hair and the other’s was light brown. They were likely decades older than me, but they looked to be twenty-five.
“Who says that’s who I am?” I fired back, unsheathing my dagger.
With gloved hands, the blond reached behind his back and pulled out an iron blade that was just as large as mine, only his was covered in blood. He smirked and stepped closer.
“I just know. Boys, hold her down. I’m going to enjoy this.”
Before his men even moved toward me, Kai appeared behind the blond. “No, I am,” he growled, wrapping his arms around the guy’s neck. He snapped it so fast and dropped his body to the ground.
The man to my right with dark blond hair tried to make a run for it, but I threw my dagger at his back, piercing him through the heart. He dropped into a pile of ash right by the pool.
That left only one man standing.
The fae with the light brown hair held up his hands and glowered at us. “This isn’t over. The final battle is still to come.”
I moved over to Kai and stood beside him. Clearly, the dark fae wasn’t going to say anything else, and I wasn’t about to waste my time on him. He knew he was going to die. So, in one quick move, I reached for Kai’s gun in his waistband and pointed it at the man.
“Don’t worry, I’ll be ready. But there is one thing that’s over.” I rested my finger on the trigger. “You.”
There was no hesitation, remorse, or regret as I watched the bullet puncture his skull. His body landed with a thud on the concrete, and it wouldn’t be long before he was a pile of ash.
After handing Kai his gun, I hurried into the pool house and knelt beside the dying fae. A few seconds later, Kai came in and slid my dagger into the holster on my belt.
“What’s your name?” I said, taking the dying fae’s hand in mine. He coughed up blood.
“Darin. I don’t have much time.”
“I know,” I soothed. “I’m here to help you. The men who did this to you are dead.”
Darin had bright green eyes and a kind smile. “Thanks. I thought I could take them.” He was slipping away.
“Do you know why I’m here?”
A tear slid down his cheek and he nodded. “My father told me about Keepers. You’re here to help me cross over.”
“I am,” I murmured. I glanced back at Kai, who watched me with an unreadable expression on his face. “I have to go,” I said to him. “Meet me back at our place.”
He nodded once. “I’ll wait for you to go first.”
Holding onto Darin’s hand, I waited for the last remnant of his life to leave his body. The warmth of my magic spread through me, exploding into a blast of light. As soon as the light gave away, I was holding onto Darin’s hand in the Hereafter. His eyes lit with wonder as he gazed around at the lake and at the rolling green hills in the distance covered in an array of multicolored flowers. Usually, Merrick was by the lake, but he wasn’t today. It made me wonder if he was still at his private beach.
“Thank you,” Darin breathed.
His death lay heavy on my chest. “There’s something I need to ask of you before I leave.”
Darin’s brows furrowed. “Anything.”
Taking his other hand, I held them both tight. “I need you to forgive me. You wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for me. Those men killed you to lure me out.”
Darin shook his head. “There’s nothing to forgive.” He looked out into the distance and smiled. “I feel at peace here. I imagine this is what the Land of the Fae is like?”