Everything Tristan, Ushna, and Brian have fought for comes down to the moment they face Inanna and Marduk. Before then, Ushna must embrace his destiny and be transformed by Tiamat. But he returns with a fractured mind and will need the help of the new firebird or he'll be lost to the insanity of a primordial God. If he's lost, so is the balance Brian and Tristan sorely need.
Tristan has vowed to care for his ex-Flame, Theo Sullivan, who is doomed to forget more and more with each use of his new ability. When not dealing with his stubborn ex, Tristan must free the warriors stolen by the government and devise a trap for Inanna.
And that's only the start of the challenges, and everything that can still go wrong.
I hated this damn cell; not being able to see the sky and gage whether the sun or moon shone overhead agitated my wolf. I also despised the guards who walked by simply to gawk. They and their opinions meant absolutely nothing to me. Well, unless one of them wanted to remove the enchantment on the doorway, then I would listen to their opinion all damned day. Pride was a luxury I could no longer afford. I’d shamelessly be what my rescuer wanted me to be if it meant I went free.
The guard called Felix slowly passed the cell again. His infuriating smirk taunted me. I’d love to tear the expression from his face, but the clear magical barrier kept me in the cell. Standing taller, I donned my most haughty mask and stared back, silently daring him to grow some balls and confront me. Felix dropped his gaze and moved on. Under my breath, I grunted my disdain. Coward.
I resumed pacing, stuffing my hands into my jeans’ pockets. Earlier, a couple of passing guards had spoken of my transfer to the Detention Center in Bahbelle. Soon transportation would arrive, giving me a couple of days on the road to devise a way to escape. Briefly, I wondered why Shadow Movers weren’t taking me instead, but I refused to second guess my good fortune. The opportunity gave me time to come up with a plan.
Many of those who I’d once called friend now sneered at me, but even here in Tristan’s magically enhanced cell I held power. There were those who owed me a debt, and I wouldn’t hesitate to cash them in. The question was: Would they dare Tristan’s wrath? Although I could handle my little brother, perhaps Tristan wasn’t who they should fear. The resurrected Brian Minoa was the one who concerned me.
Thinking back to my last interaction with Brian, a shiver worked up my spine. After the last argument with Tristan, Brian had paid me a nasty visit. His stony stare and dire promise to make me pay if I ever spoke to Tristan like I had convinced me he made no idle threat. He’d keep his vow and smile while I screamed. Whatever happened to Brian before being resurrected had changed him. He was no longer the carefree youth I remembered. If he caught even a whiff of a rumor that I searched for someone to spring me, I had no doubts he’d find a way to kill me.
A commotion down the hallway disrupted the quiet. I didn’t attempt to look; I wouldn’t have been able to see anyway. All the same, my heart sped up, sure the voices and the noise meant my time on the ranch had come to an end. A part of me wished I could speak to Tristan and Neesie one more time, then I berated myself for the foolish thought. We’d only rehash the same issues, keeping wounds open and sprinkling them with salt. He thought he knew who I was. Perhaps it was better if he didn’t have faith in me. Tristan only spoke to me about superficial things; he didn’t ask the important questions. Even if he had, I didn’t dare trust him with the answers. Perhaps the separation between us was inevitable. In the end, he’d probably sentence me to death, but I wasn’t about to lie down and accept what he shoved at me.
Tristan was no better than anyone else, making assumptions, expecting me to heel when commanded, expressing his disappointment. Though I regretted this rift between us, I wouldn’t allow the turmoil to come between me and my goals. He wasn’t the only one who had shit to do.
“Are you ready?”
I turned to see Juan Ybarra standing outside my cell. The black uniform made his handsome dark looks more striking and gave him a dangerous edge. His expression was unreadable. If he despised me, I couldn’t tell. He held a set of chain-linked cuffs up to the barrier. Without answering, I presented my wrists.
Juan made a motion. A young Magi who stood out of sight came forward to deactivate the barrier. I stood still as Juan moved to snap the cuffs around my wrists. The audible click was immediately followed by a sharp pain racing up my arms. My wolf whimpered as he was magically pushed back, effectively caging him. Wearing the shackles, I wouldn’t be able to change forms.
Gripping my elbow in a firm hold, Juan escorted me outdoors to the waiting vehicle. I kept my spine straight and gaze direct as I met the eyes of the warriors who waited outside the Holding Center. I refused to cower before anyone, for any reason. The back of the van was opened. Benches were set along the walls to the left and to the right. A metal rail was anchored to the floor between the benches. The front of the van was closed off with only a small window within a metal door, allowing the driver to peer into the back. I stepped into the rear and held my hands over the rail. Juan attached the shackles to the bar, pulling experimentally until satisfied they held.