*Augustin Tereau POV*
I woke up this morning and everything felt different. There is an eerieness in the atmosphere telling me that something major is on the horizon. I glanced out of the window to watch the sun rise only to witness a static gloominess in its place. Dark, cloudy skies and thick, stagnant air left no hope for a breeze—trees, leaves and blades of grass frozen in time anticipating the rainfall, or bloodshed, to water their dry existence. I exhaled a ragged breath without an inkling of what the day would bring. Hopefully today will be the day.
My father has been working incessantly in his private workspace, trying to come up with an incantation or potion that would allow him to both kill his sister and absorb her powers to merge them with his own. It seems that the harder he works, the more outlandish he becomes. He’s been going on and on and on, mumbling under his breath as if no one can hear him talking about the powers that were separated during their twin birth and how he wishes he would have absorbed her in the womb and if he had have done that he’d have no need for any of us now. I let him say whatever he wishes out of frustration, but I make sure to remind him that he better get it right this time or there will be hell to pay.
Jessica stirs in my arms and cuddles closer to my chest, bringing me back to reality. I was so lost in my thoughts I almost completely forgot that she was even here. I wasn’t expecting to see her again so soon after dropping her off with the pack doctor the other day. It’s almost as if my tension and frustration are a beacon that she can’t help but answer to. One minute I’m throwing around furniture and cursing out everyone in a five mile radius, and the next minute she somehow wiggles her way into my bed in an attempt to diffuse the situation. The more stress I take on the angrier I become which in turn causes me to be rougher with her. But she never complains. It’s almost as if she was created for me, but I know it’s not the case because she isn’t my mate and my wolf reminds me all of the time.
She may not be my mate, but she is sexy as hell, smart, and savage enough to play the role if I need her to. Besides, part of this prophecy is that I have to take the princess as my mate to take over the kingdom. I don’t know how she will fair in the long run, but I have mentioned to Jessica that in the instance that the princess doesn’t workout in our master plan, she should expect a promotion in her rank. I am an untamed, ferocious brute of an animal who is planning to overthrow an entire kingdom—I highly doubt that the Moon Goddess would have wasted her time picking out a mate for me. I wouldn’t want to bother with that type of blind, all consuming love anyway. I don’t think I will ever be capable of growing to love Jessica, but the affection that we seem to share will suffice for me as long as she continues to remain loyal and committed to my cause.
I roll out of bed and quickly shower before making my way to check on the ‘mad scientist’, who by the smell of it is still holed up in his lair. I knock on the door that is slightly ajar and receive a grunt as the response to enter. Papers, glass shards, powders and illegible scribbles are scattered across the floor as he hunches over his pilon grinding down yet another concoction.
“Bonjou pitit gason.” He turned and gave me a wicked smile. He wore a crazed look in his eyes that let me know that he was on to something big, and hopefully he had a plan to get it done because frankly I’m tired of waiting.
I lifted a brow at his chipper mood. “Good morning to you too. I take it that you have good news?”
He furrowed his brows in return. “Don’t you feel it? The electricity in the air? The power flowing that’s almost so thick it’s suffocating?” I nod, remembering how I felt the static when I woke up. “Good, because today is the day. I don’t even have to kill my sister to draw the princess’s attention, the stupid girl came back on her own.”
I can’t hide the excitement on my face as my smile begins to match his. This is the moment that I’ve been waiting, training and fighting for my whole life, and now it’s here. “I’ll gather my warriors,” I pause slightly remembering the need for zombies and the lack thereof. “Will this work without the army of zombies?”
“Yes, my boy. We obviously don’t have time to build up a new one. It’s a minor detail anyway. Gather your men, the few zombies we’ve kept in the dungeon and prepare to leave. We’ll all have exactly what we desire very, very soon.”
The flight to Haiti was both quiet and anxious. How do you prepare for the battle of your life, protect your mate, meet and fight alongside her parents who also happen to be the reigning king and queen all at the same time? To say that I was nervous would be an understatement. I found myself kissing Eva’s head and hands for what seemed like the millionth time as if it were a nervous tic since the plane took off.
Even though we had gone over the plan three times, I kept repeating it in my head like a mantra. Once we touch down the plan is to get to the kingdom and join forces with the king, queen and Fabienne. Then we’ll wait for the rogue and the bokor to show up. Fabienne and Romi will distract the bokor and the rest of us will take on any other wolves or zombies that might pose a threat and that will give Romilis a window to corner his son, tell him the truth, and try to get him to on our side against the bokor. That may be easier said than done.
Flying over the country I can’t help but smile at the understanding of why Eva and Michel love Haiti so much. Blue skies made way for immaculate views of lush green mountains, various cities and settlements could be seen, no doubt buzzing and full of life, both human and wolf alike, and hypnotic ocean waters that could compel and convince you to never leave.
Eva sat up tall against me, pulling my arms so that I could wrap them tightly around her. She didn’t speak, but her sigh of contentment let me know that she was exactly where she wanted to be. I watched as Michel and Romi cuddled closer as he began to point places out from the window. She blushed as he kissed her sweetly on the cheek, I’m sure they will be sealing the mate bond as soon as this is behind us. Lena was busy taking selfies, no doubt to probably post them on her social media accounts as soon as we land.
Sitting stoically by himself, Romilis just glared out of the window without saying anything. I whispered my intentions to Eva and got up to sit next to him in his silence. “How long has it been since you’ve been back here?”
He took in a sharp deep breath before answering me. “Well over twenty-five years. A whole life of heritage, tradition and family that Romi never got to experience because I couldn’t keep my shit together.” He dropped his head in his hands and I instinctively patted him on his shoulder.
“Maybe things didn’t work out for you here, but it looks like you created a hell of a beautiful life for her in New Orleans.” He gave me a halfhearted smile and I deemed it best to change the subject. “So you think this plan is foolproof?” Again I felt the air around us thicken as I asked the question that had been nagging me from the beginning.
“Nothing is ever foolproof, but if we stick to what we have I do believe that we can turn this all around and hopefully I can get through to my son, if he’ll have me.”
I could feel the uneasiness in his tone as I turned to steal another glance at Eva who seemed as if she were lost in her on trail of thoughts. Even in a stressful situation such as this, I find my mind wandering off to thoughts of what our life will be like together. Will she move to Miami or will I move to Haiti? How will we both handle our duties and responsibilities with having such different roles? As uneasy as the potential answers make me feel, I know that I wouldn’t want to spend these times with anyone else but her. I already know that I love her, but imagining her in every scene of my future life let’s me know just how in love with her I truly am. She can stand on her own, but I will protect her in this fight at all costs, just to be able to tell her that in the end.
I quickly turned to Romilis as I heard him chuckle and slap his knee. “Well I’ll be damned!” The look of confusion on my face must have amused him even more as he gripped my shoulders and shook me profusely. “I know that look anywhere, son. You are head over hills in love with Princess Eva!” My eyes grew to the size of dinner plates, but I smiled, admitting to his correct accusation. He began to rummage through his duffel bag, finally pulling a small velvet box from the bottom of the bag. “By chance do you know her favorite color?” he asked as he tossed the box between his hands.
“Purple,” I answered, unsure of the turn that this conversation has taken.
He sat back in his seat rubbing his forehead. “I knew it wasn’t for Romi because it’s not her style.” He was mumbling under his breath and I just sat there waiting for him to clue me in on what was happening. “About ten or so years ago I had a very lucid dream that told me to create something special and I’d know what to do with it when the time came. I was shown flashes of a beautiful flower and a pure love blossoming. Everywhere that this love touched, it spread, eventually turning dry dead earth into flourishing and thriving new life. When I woke up I drew what was in my heart and had this made. I’ve been holding on to it ever since. I never knew what it meant until now. The love that you two have for each other spreads, grows and influences new love. I highly doubt that Michel and Romi will be the last two people to find their mates in your presence. Y’all are special.”
He patted my knee and his eyes seemed to light up as he handed me the box. I opened it to find the embodiment of my love for Eva staring back at me. “A dream told you this?!” I whisper-yelled at him to not draw attention to myself. Inside of the box was a platinum lotus flower engagement ring with a princess cut amethyst as the center stone, accented by diamonds and more amethyst along the petals and band itself. I could have searched high and low for the perfect ring for her, but none would compare to this beauty. I closed the box and pushed it down into my pocket as I looked over and shared a smile with the woman who has captured the very essence of my soul in her bright eyes. I take another look around the cabin and gauge the amount of growing love between Eva and I, the new love between Michel and Romi, and the potential of future love for Lena and know that no matter what, we have to come out on top.
As the plane begins its final descent, Maxwell perked up on high alert, prepared to protect his mate at all costs. No rogue is going to destroy what we’re working so hard to build.