Home > The Rebel Guardian (Outlaw #2)(2)

The Rebel Guardian (Outlaw #2)(2)
Author: Lexi Blake

I’d walked into a time where Myrddin had taken over the supernatural world and turned my best friend into something twisted and evil, where my son was an adult who’d grown up without me and he didn’t call Grayson Sloane Dad, where everything had flipped and I was reeling. I needed my defenses.

“It’s nothing he did. He hasn’t been around a lot in the last couple of years.” Fen’s shoulders shrugged. “I will certainly call him Papa if that’s what you want.”

“Why won’t anyone talk to me about this?” I asked the question quietly because I was worried about the answer. Fenrir had been upbeat the whole time we’d been here. When I’d briefly talked to Trent on the phone, he’d been cagey with me. When I’d asked Lee Donovan-Quinn, he’d changed the subject.

Of course he’d changed the subject by telling me he was a latent vampire. As diversions went, it was a good play.

“It’s complicated,” Fen replied quietly. “Honestly, I don’t understand everything that happened. It wasn’t one thing. After Papa started descending, he changed. He’s not cruel or mean. He’s simply distant, and he’s gone for long periods of time. Trent is my dad. Christopher and Gray have become…helpful male role models.”

Christopher was Fen’s biological father. He’d been accidentally killed when Fen was very young, and no one had suspected he was a latent vampire. When he’d turned, he hadn’t had the king around. Fen’s family had been on the run, and they’d hidden behind wards that stopped Daniel Donovan from sensing the vampire’s rising. So Christopher had turned, and he’d done what almost all vampires did in the first days of a turn. He’d killed. He’d killed his wife and would likely have killed Fenrir if Fen hadn’t run. “He’s still with the primals? You see him from time to time?”

“I didn’t for many years,” Fen admitted. “When we were on the run, we didn’t get back to the Earth plane a lot. When we did, the primals often gave us sanctuary. My biological father is doing well. He’s even taken a companion, and she’s wonderful. I think she’s helped him find some peace with what happened.”

There was a knock and before I could call out, Fen had the door open and Casey was walking through. “I am ready to get back to civilization, my brother.” He slapped Fen’s hand in some familiar greeting before glancing my way. “The primals have the best Internet. It’s hard here. Because we’re in a mountain. Behind twelve million wards. Also, not a lot of Internet connections on the coast of Iceland.”

Casey Lane was a vampire, a young academic who’d become part of my team over the last few years. He’d also been my BFF’s boyfriend when I’d left. My BFF who’d gone Dark Willow on me and seemed to be happily sitting at Myrddin’s side. As a vampire, his appearance hadn’t changed at all.

So why did he look older to me?

“Kelsey, it’s so freaking good to have you back.” He walked right up to me and wrapped his arms around me. “I know I’ve said it a million times in the last twenty-four hours, but it’s true.”

I held myself apart because if I gave up a single brick of my wall, it would crumble to the ground.

Casey stepped back, his expression turning blank as though he knew I couldn’t handle anything else right now.

But then Casey was an academic like my first mentor, Marcus Vorenus, who could always sense my emotional state.

Casey had matured in the years I’d been gone, and it seemed he’d truly come into his power.

“Eddie is almost ready for us to go. You don’t have long to wait.” Casey said the words evenly, and I realized he could feel how close to the edge I was. He wouldn’t have twelve years before. He’d honed his powers in the years I’d been gone. I had to wonder what else had happened to him during that time. “We need to have a long talk. I worried that I wouldn’t see you again, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t kept meticulous records for you. I’ve got a report on pretty much everything that has happened in the last twelve years here on the Earth plane. When we get to Atlanta, I’ll get you a laptop and send them to you so you can read the details, but there’s some stuff that’s personal and you need to hear it from me.”

I nodded, grateful that Casey had been on top of things. We’d already had one debrief, and I was sure we would spend a lot of time talking about what had happened over the last few years. He’d told me that my assistant, Justin, had been killed in the initial attack, but Henri and Hugo had survived. I’d been able to see them the night before.

Henri Jacobs and Hugo Wells were academics who, along with Casey, formed the vampire portion of my team. Justin had been my assistant and I felt bad for him. He’d been young for a vampire. He should have had hundreds of years of life, but Myrddin had taken that from him.

Casey had given me the updates on my mom and brothers, too.

The one thing Casey had avoided talking about was the situation with Liv. I’d let it go the night before because I’d still been reeling, but we had to face the fact that Liv had tried to take the royal group prisoner, and she’d been willing to play dirty to get the job done. But when we got to Atlanta, I intended to have a long discussion about what was going on with my bestie.

Casey glanced over at the backpack I’d set on the bed. “Is it in there?”

Casey was talking about the book, the one I’d brought back from the outer planes. The one I’d nearly died for. I nodded his way.

Fen took a deep breath, filling his nose. “Some of it’s written in blood. And the binding is animal skin, but I don’t recognize the species. It’s not from this plane at all. I suspect it’s never been here. It reeks of witch, but not Earth plane witches.”

I pulled it out of the pack and offered it up to Fen. I knew a bit about the book I’d risked my life for, but I was curious what Fen could ascertain. “It originated on one of the outer planes. A witch plane called Arete.”

Many of the outer planes held incredible supernatural civilizations, places where creatures who hid in shadows on the Earth plane rose up and dominated. On Arete, there were very few humans. It’s a matriarchal society and witches rule.

They also like to collect prophecies, and that was what the book was all about. I hoped that one of the prophecies would lead us to the weapon that could take Myrddin down and place the proper king back on the throne.

And it would be good to not allow Myrddin to open the door to the Hell plane and let demons run wild here on Earth. That was pretty much what we thought he was going to do, and I intended to stop him.

Fen frowned down at the book. “I don’t like it.”

I sighed. “Yeah, it’s got a lot of wards.”

“It doesn’t want me to even look at it,” Casey said, putting a hand to his stomach. “I’m feeling some nausea. I didn’t think I could feel that anymore. How are you touching it?”

I ran a hand over the thick cover, and the book sent out a pulse of warmth. The book liked me. The book wanted to stay with me. “According to experts, the book has something of a mind, or rather a will, of its own. It knows what it’s supposed to do. It also isn’t into dudes. That’s a whole witches of Arete thing. They wrote it and they don’t think much of males.”

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