Sacrifice (The Gryphon Series Book 3)(2)By: Stacey Rourke
“Remind me again why Kendall doesn’t have to train?” I stared daggers at my little sister. She sat huddled on the floor next to the space heater with Alaina, our ex-Spirit Guide.
At the mention of her name Keni’s head snapped up. Blonde hair, blue eyes, and the body of a dancer. Females everywhere would hate her if she weren’t a genuine sweetheart.
With a smile right out of a toothpaste commercial she beamed. “Because I don’t fight.” She leaned forward and let one ivory wing slide out of her back. Her feathers were impenetrable and had the ability to heal. A fact I relied on, and occasionally exploited, to keep me alive. “I protect.”
“Then why are you here?” I countered.
A flash of hurt shadowed her flawless features. “Moral support. So you don’t have to be out here in the dirty, dusty garage alone. Duh.”
“Conduit, back to work,” Bernard interjected.
I chose to ignore the angry little troll. “And swooning over bridal magazines is your idea of support?”
Alaina looked up guiltily. “That would be my fault.”
She pushed a wavy lock of auburn hair behind her ear. For a chick well over three hundred years old, she didn’t look a day over twenty-three. I assumed that—along with her pin-up model curves—is what drew my brother, Gabe, to her. Unfortunately, their relationship broke a lot of rules adhered to by The Council. (I have limited knowledge of them. To me they’re a group of snobs sent to make the lives of the warriors that fight for them miserable and they are astounding at that.) Because of her relationship with Gabe, Alaina got fired as our guide to all things mystical and her humanity was returned to her. She didn’t take this well. For weeks she wore nothing except her boyfriend’s sweats, refused to leave the couch, and ate ice cream by the gallon. I want to think it was love that prompted my brother to propose to her right around that time, and not his desire to get his sweetheart back into a regular bathing routine, but I can’t say for sure. Whatever his motivation, she said yes. He slipped that pretty little rock on her finger, her funk instantly vanished, and our house turned into Wedding Central.
Alaina flipped through the pages of her bridal magazine. “We’re searching for just the right dresses and I’m afraid it isn’t going well. Kendall agreed to loan me her knowledge of fashion to make sure everything turns out right.”
“Conduit,” Bernard tried again, his tone tight with irritation.
I cringed and smacked my head against the punching bag. “You’re gonna make me wear pink, aren’t you?”
Kendall’s face went blank, her eyes wide. “Of course!”
“You don’t get to ugh.” Kendall jabbed a finger in my direction and her lower lip protruded slightly. “You have a date for the wedding. Ugh’s are reserved for those of us that have to go stag because our boyfriend hit a growth spurt, became the star of the lacrosse team, and cheated on us with that skank Sydney Taylor.”
I pushed off the bag, cocked my head to the side, and raised both eyebrows.
Keni’s face crumbled. “Fine, she’s not a skank. I’m sure she’s a lovely person. A lovely person that made out with Keith during the Homecoming game while I was on the 50 yard line being crowned Queen.”
I couldn’t help but chuckle. Part of my sister’s calling is a creature of love. All her powers and abilities are derived from the unlimited supply of warmth and goodness that bubbles through her. That makes it practically impossible for her to say anything mean or off color about anyone, even when she really wants to.
Our conversation was interrupted when an electric shock struck my left ankle and caused my leg to give out. I squealed and crumbled down on one knee.
“Conduit!” Bernard bellowed, his torturous cane still aimed my way. “Can you at least pretend that your calling is important to you? Perhaps attempt to take this seriously? Your lack of discipline is appalling.”
I ground my teeth together and tried to remember what my mom said about respecting elders. For the life of me I couldn’t recall it right then …
”We’re in the garage and I’m fighting a bag on a chain.” My nostrils flared and I fought to steady my breathing. “I’m sorry I don’t take that as seriously as you’d like. Put an actual demon in front of me and you wouldn’t doubt my dedication for a second.”