Guardians of The Demon Slayer(9)

By: Ruby Raine


Fuck.

Fuck.

Charlie's jaw ground hard, his features flattening, focusing right, then left. He caught his brother doing the same. Charlie allowed his wolf hearing to reach outward, but the new vampire beat him to the punch.

"I hear evil little whispers riding the leaves," Courtney snarled darkly. "We're not alone anymore."

Charlie's silver stare reached upward over the darkening treetops and he found himself begging whoever might be listening to let this all end before the moon rose. Somehow, he got the feeling no one was listening or able to grant his wish.





CHAPTER 3





IT NEVER STOPPED SURPRISING Melinda Howard, just how such a short amount of time could change things. In this case, three days. But as she stepped through the magical portal from just outside of the Power Source, and straight into her backyard, she reveled in this one big change that had made their lives easier and far less stressful.

Lizzy and Michael had managed to set up the magical portal just over a day ago. They now only needed to step to the backside of their yard behind the mansion, and step right to the entrance of the Source.

A-freaking-mazing, Melinda thought as she sauntered into the mansion. No more thirty-minute drives across the island to get there. Just seconds to step back and forth. It made bathroom breaks that much easier too. No more hiking it into the woods or holding it until her bladder was sure to explode—and there had been a massive coffee intake happening.

But the changes didn't stop at the magical portal. In the last three days, she'd broken up with Riley. The Source had gone into labor. William had returned home. And so had Emily, sort of, but not of her own volition. And tonight, Lizzy would become a real werewolf and Charlie would be a mated werewolf.

Melinda wondered if they intended on getting married too, or just mated? They hadn't talked about it. Then again, there hadn't been much free time to do any such thing. And it wasn't like they had to get married. But knowing that Charlie had found his one true mate in Lizzy was—so many things. But mostly it just made Melinda happy for her brother, and hopeful that both she and Michael would find the same thing.

But it wasn't going to happen this minute for either of them.

Time and change.

Just about the only damn thing that was guaranteed in this life.

Oh, and death, of course. At least for humans, perhaps not vampires.

The tension Melinda had expected with Riley hadn't happened. Mostly because he was spending every waking hour inside with the Power Source, and not with her standing guard outside. But the few times she'd seen him they'd been friendly encounters, without too much awkwardness.

Mainly acceptance lined with a bit of sadness and a touch of regret and wondering just what the hell their relationship had been about, or for, or...it just didn't make sense as to why they'd fall for each other.

But even Melinda had to admit that what Riley had given her, in some ways, gave her the strength to admit what she really wanted, even though that wasn't him. But what did Riley get out of it? Was his gift so sick that it would make him fall for a woman in order to teach her a lesson?

Regardless, Riley was needed. For something incredible. Perhaps that's what it had all led to in the end. But it had been an insane road to get there.

It also helped that William wasn't spending much time at the Source as he was deep in research mode. Seeking out anything from the old family journals and numerous books at his disposal, for some clue as to what might be happening.

The one thing they all agreed was happening: change.

Because everyone could feel it like it was riding the very air seeping into their lungs.

Good change? Bad change? Who the heck knew?

But something was coming, something big and life-altering. And they'd be as prepared as possible for whatever madness it brought with it. Although, after the summer they'd had, it couldn't really get any crazier, could it?

She laughed at that. Because of course it could. Crazy always found a way, just like time and change.

Melinda was just stepping into the mansion when she paused for a moment, stalling. She had a choice to make and it suddenly settled in her heart as decided.

She wasn't able to ignore the pull a minute longer. Didn't want to. Her own thoughts had given her the information she needed. And with everyone preoccupied, the Howard Mansion was magnificently quiet. And she didn't need any special hearing to know exactly where William was at that moment. Because he was exactly where he belonged, in his study. She supposed more than anything, the comfort this brought with it was a bit of old habit mixed with relief, in knowing he was there. This was something she never wanted to change.