Guardians of The Demon SlayerBy: Ruby Raine
(Wicked Good Witches: A Legacy of Magic)
AN INTENSE WEIGHT BLANKETED The Demon Isle in an unforgiving gloom. Like a storm building and threatening to let loose a torrential force that might forever change the landscape. Or perhaps it was just the area surrounding White Pines and the Power Source, and the people currently guarding it.
Nerves were prickly and on high alert as the Source continued to be in some apparent form of labor—to what end, none of them had any damn clue. Not even Mathew after returning from conferring with his Elder Guardians.
Stress etched across his features over the fact that the Guardians were worried too. And this fact only ratcheted up everyone's nerves even more, because if Guardians and aged vampires, like William, had no idea what phenomena was happening, this situation did not bode well for any of them. They were walking in virgin territory and that was a frightening thing.
And to confound them even more, Charlie had seen a human hand inside the cocoon-like shell, and they'd seen it a few more times since then, too. But nothing else, just a hand, or sometimes two hands, pressed upwards.
They guessed just one person, not more. But other than a person, they had no clue what was inside the magical cocoon. A normal human? A magical person? Male? Female? Good? Evil? What was their purpose? And why now?
Riley Deane hadn't more than gotten settled in after returning to the Isle from Sorcier, and spent a few hours getting caught up with his brother, Lucas, before his magical gift—feeling—had gotten downright demanding of his presence at the Source that very same day.
He was inside with it now, pacing, sensing this unseen inner clock counting down. But like everyone else, he had no idea to what end, either. Only that he had to be here.
He hoped that like in Sorcier, his gift was going to kick in and show him what his purpose was when the time came. Because him needing to be here made no sense. There were many others far more gifted than him. And far more involved with the Power Source. Hell, it was Howard territory really. Always had been. Protecting this thing had been their duty. And shit, his own ancestors had tried to take control of it and started a war.
So why him? Why a Deane?
The irony wasn't lost on any of them, however, none of them were going to argue with magical gifts, and Riley's needed him here. So he was. And the Howards accepted it without question. It was a testament of just how far they'd come really.
But to top off the crazy pile, tonight was the full moon. Which meant Lizzy Deane's first shift and becoming a werewolf—and to say Charlie was a nervous wreck only gave new meaning to the words.
Even the typically cool-minded Lizzy was showing signs of strain. Her own nerves starting to get the best of her, which only got Charlie worked up even more. And there wasn't any hiding it from each other as their new mating bond was getting stronger with each passing day. Partial mating bond, in reality. As Lizzy hadn't yet bitten and claimed Charlie, which she could not do until after she'd shifted at least once and accepted the wolf as part of who she was.
But what it all came down to on this particular evening, was that Charlie was piling his own freaking out on top of Lizzy's, and if he ground his jaw any harder he was going to crack his damn teeth or break his jaw.
The timing of her first shift was tough, but not impossible to deal with—more like, couldn't be impossible because Lizzy's shift was going to happen whether they wanted it to, or not. But it meant Lizzy and Charlie locked up in the safety of the basement cell in the Howard Mansion, and not helping keep watch at the Source.
Not being with his family to protect the Source went against everything in Charlie's very being. It was his duty, his heritage—his damn job—to protect the Source and The Demon Isle.
But Lizzy was his mate, the love of his life, and the future mother of his children—and therefore, the future of the witch bloodline and future protectors. And he needed to protect and guide her through her first shift, and make sure she didn't hurt anyone during her first time.
And then there was the last part of the mating—where she had to bite him to complete their mating bond. This part, he was looking forward to immensely. And so was Lizzy by the frisky growl she pushed into his mind every time his thoughts wandered to the idea. If she had her way, they'd get a head start on that and practice now.
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