My Guardian (Bewitched and Bewildered Book 6)(2)

By: Alanea Alder

When the portal in front of him lit up, he stepped back.

"I can't wait to see Bethy." Declan Lionhart grinned beside him.

Adriel straightened. "We have all missed her." He heard a snort and turned to raise an eyebrow at his oldest friend. "Yes?"

Declan shook his head, his mouth twitching. "Nothing."

Behind them, Adriel heard more chuckles. He turned around to find that Grant Douglas, Etain Vi'Aerlin and Micah Sageson were hiding smiles behind their hands.

"What?" he demanded.

Micah rolled his eyes. "Come on Adriel, we all know you've missed her more than anyone, except maybe her family. Admit it, you've had a soft spot for the accident prone bunny since she asked you to be her valentine when she was four."

Adriel cleared his throat and turned back to the portal. "She is an endearing individual who takes her responsibilities seriously. I respect that."

"And the fact that she became an organizer with her cute little planner, which is her own version of your clipboard means absolutely nothing," Etain teased.

Adriel fought a smile. "Here they come. Look sharp," he commanded.

A dark haired man came through the portal first carrying a black suitcase. He waited and held out his hand. Seconds later, Bethy came through and seemed to trip over nothing. Instantly, the dark haired man helped her to stand upright, and they moved out of the way. Adriel turned to Declan, who looked as shocked as he felt. The vampire was huge. He had never seen another of their race who stood as tall as the man before them.

The next person who came through could be none other than their commander. Aiden McKenzie was easily as tall as the first man, but he carried more muscle. The portal practically disappeared when he stood in front of it. He turned, rolled his bag to one side, and waited.

And waited.

And waited.

Aiden turned to Bethy. "Where is she?"

Bethy shrugged. "How would I know? I came through before you."

Suddenly, a single hand popped out of the portal, waved, and then disappeared.

Aiden sighed, and Bethy giggled.

When the hand appeared again, Aiden grabbed it and pulled the person through. Adriel blinked. This had to be his commander's mate. Gods, she was tiny! Was she fully grown?

The small woman frowned up at her mate. "Rude!"

Aiden rolled his eyes. "It's not a toy, Meryn."

Just when Adriel thought that the portal would close, a tall, slender man of Japanese descent stepped through pulling a large, square, rolling crate behind him. He immediately went to Meryn's side. "I told you he would pull you through."

Meryn shrugged and looked around. "So. Where are we?"

Adriel stepped forward. "Welcome to the fae portal for Noctem Falls. This portal is located approximately one hundred and fifty miles west of Albuquerque in the El Malpais National Conservation Area. From here, we will escort you down into the canyon to the Ledge, which serves as the main entrance for the City of the Night."

"Adriel!" Bethy exclaimed and rushed forward.

The next thing he knew, he had his arms full. He smiled softly. "We have missed you, Bethy."

The man in front of him growled low. "E-liz-a-beth." He drew out her name in slow syllables.

Bethy pulled back and winked up at him before turning. "Gavriel, my love, let me introduce you to one of my oldest and dearest friends, Adriel Aristaios, the unit leader for Eta and the man in charge of running the units here in Noctem Falls. Behind him are Declan Lionhart, his second in command, Grant Douglas, his third in command, Etain Vi'Aerlin, Eta's fae warrior, and Micah Sageson, their witch." The men inclined their heads at the introductions.

Bethy walked over to stand next to her mate. Beaming up at him, she continued. "Gentlemen, this is my mate and love, Gavriel Ambrosios." She turned. "You may have figured it out, but the huge warrior behind me is your Unit Commander, Aiden McKenzie, and the small woman at his side is his mate and my adopted sister, Meryn McKenzie." The men bowed to Meryn who watched them with an untrusting look on her face. "Last, but certainly not least, is Meryn's squire, Sei Ryuu."

The squire crossed his arm over his chest and bowed. "Gentlemen, it is an honor to meet the men Elizabeth has told us so much about."