Chapter One

Milo drove and I slept in the truck as we tackled the twelve hours back to Hartwell. We hadn’t been home in more than three years because we rarely had a day to ourselves before another assignment came through.

We had taken two days to pack up the furnished apartment, cancel our lease and we left at five am with the two bikes on a trailer and headed back to Georgia and the unknown. Ryder, of course, was happy that we were finally coming home.

“Death for treason.” I opened my eyes and looked over at Milo.

“Clark’s not an idiot Milo. What he didn’t say was that now the Supreme Councils will handle the assignments which means that they decide who’s taken out. There’s nothing stopping them from keeping certain people alive. The Unit wasn’t monitored and we did our own investigations to determine guilt. That’s not going to happen anymore.”

“Greed and manipulation is the order of the day once again.”

“Which was why the Unit was started in the first place, to eliminate all the manipulation and corruption. The order of the day is that the Royal Families everywhere is sticking it to the people once again.” I wiped a hand over my face as Milo shook his head.

“Clark’s going to need intel, good intel. The kind of intel that can get us killed.” I nodded my head in agreement to Milo’s statement.

He was right. We’d be going in deep if we were called up. I didn’t doubt that we’d be called up. We both served in the Unit and we had skills that normal people of our kind didn’t have. We’d be undercover with no backup at all.

“This is messed up.” Echo grumbled in my mind but I didn’t bother to try and understand his rantings.

“We know how to separate the bullshit my brother. You should talk to Dad about the royal family and I’ll contact Elio about mine.” Milo wasn’t stupid and he was gearing up for something that probably would get us killed. Treason.

“We never go in blind, no reason to start now.” Milo and I bumped our fists together as he smiled at me and pulled in at a gas station.

“You’ll be in more danger than me Wynter. I’m somehow getting the idea that your King is behind the dismantling of the Unit. I don’t know why though but before you can blink, you’ll be in the palace where he can use you as an assassin.”

“Screw the King, we’re heading home and I plan on spending the time I have with all of them. Right now though, I’m getting food.” Milo started laughing as we climbed out of the truck.

“You know Mom’s going to go overboard with dinner.”

“I know.” I closed the truck’s door and took a deep breath of fresh air.

We had another four hours on the road ahead of us and we both stretched our arms at the same time. Milo and I were like twin brothers, having grown up together and spending all our time with one another had given us the same mannerisms. We both had the same sleeves on our arms as we kept our fathers’ traditions alive.

As we entered Hartwell I looked over at Milo and we both had stupid grins on our faces. It was good to be home. We wound down our windows and I felt a sense of belonging and home as the gate to the farm opened up.

“Wynter! Milo!” Shae yelled as she ran down the porch steps the moment we climbed out of the truck.

“Hey wild child!” I caught her mid-air as she jumped into my arms and Milo wrapped himself around her from behind.

Shae’s face was in my neck and she squeezed tightly. “I missed you both so much.”

“Holy shit Abby, you got hot.” Milo grunted as I shoved my elbow into his ribs but he wasn’t wrong. Abigail’s pictures didn’t do her justice and she looked so much like our mother, Megan, that it wrestled with the emotions inside me.

“I missed you too Milo.” Abigail grinned and hugged both of us at the same time.

“I hope Dad has a shotgun.” I pulled away and looked at her from head to toe. She had changed a lot in three years.

“Dad has a shotgun, not that I need one.”

Ryder grabbed me into a hug as Milo picked Nova up off her feet, tears flowing freely over her cheeks as she laughed and cried at the same time. We switched positions and I was happy to be home, at last.

“Where’s Ally?”

“She’s at some cheerleader party.” Nova touched my cheek and smiled again as we separated.

“Look at you two, three years since we saw you last. You no longer look like the boys that left here.” Ryder has his arm around Milo’s shoulder.

“We’re not going anywhere anytime soon.”

Nova and I smiled at each other. “Come on inside. I made all your favourites … I hope they’re still your favourites.” Nova smiled nervously as I squeezed her hand.

“We aired out the guest house for you two.” Ryder fished the keys from his pocket and handed it to Milo.

“I’m not complaining but why the guest house?” Milo had a frown on his face as he took the keys from Ryder.

“It took us six months to get Shae to stop saying ‘Who’s your Daddy’.” Milo’s cheeks reddened and he chuckled.

“I didn’t know she could hear me!”

I cleared my throat in hopes to change the subject. “Thanks Dad, we appreciate the gesture.”

After dinner we stayed at the table while Nova and Abby cleared the dishes and started cleaning the kitchen. Ryder wanted to know about training and I had to laugh as he refrained from asking about girlfriends.

Nova picked up her buzzing phone from the counter and looked straight at me. “Alexis just texted for a ride. Why don’t you boys go get her? She’ll be so happy to see her brothers.”

“Come on Milo.” I stood up from the table and my phone pinged with the address that Nova had just sent me.

“I drove for twelve hours, you go.” Milo lowered his gaze from where he’d been looking at Abigail and I gave him a look that said to stop staring at her.

“Fine, unpack our shit.” Milo grinned at me and Ryder shook his head as I grabbed the truck’s keys and left the house.

I looked at the map on the SatNav and drove to where Alexis was. The radio was on and I tapped my fingers on the steering wheel to the beat of the music. It felt different to be home, Milo was more relaxed and we sort of had our own place.

There was a large fountain as I drove up the paved driveway and Alexis stood on the bottom step between two large columns flanking the stone porch. It was a big house, screaming money and she looked up as I parked the truck and lowered the window.

“Wynter?” Her voice was melodic and it stirred something deep inside me that I had no idea what to do with.

Alexis stumbled down the last step towards the passenger side of the truck as I watched her every move. “Are you drunk?”

“I can’t believe you’re really here.” Her smile was sloppy and she started to laugh as her hand touched my cheek.

“Have you eaten?” The scotch was evident on her breath.

“I had a salad at lunch and I’m not that drunk.” Her hand slid out from under her as she pushed herself up on the seat and started giggling again.

“Shit … let’s get some food in you.”

We went through a drive-thru and I ordered her a burger, fries and a soda. I couldn’t take her home yet and something greasy might just sober her up enough to sneak her inside. We were never allowed to drink at that age and I doubted that the rules had changed with them.

I glanced over at her where she rested her head against the window. “Talk to me Ally.”

“There’s this guy I like but I have no clue if he likes me back.” She looked me directly in the eye as she spoke and sounded more sober now.

“I don’t think I’m the right person to give you advice.”

“Because you’re basically a man-slut?” Her question caught me off guard and my eyes widened at her choice of label.

“Yes and no.”

“It’s a yes Wynter. I remember how you and Milo were in high school. Do you still share girls?”

The shock in my eyes were evident as she smiled at me and I realized with a start that she was beautiful. I shook my head as I closed my eyes briefly and exhaled slowly.

“Listen, if you like the guy then act on it. If you don’t ever take a chance on something, you’ll never know and then you’ll have regrets.”

We were quiet for a few seconds, parked off the road about two miles from the farm in a cluster of trees flanked by an open field. The moon and the stars shone down on us, our only source of illumination. I leaned my head back and closed my eyes as Ally took a sip from her soda. Echo was roaring with laughter inside my head ever since she had called me a man-slut.

“Wynter …” Her voice was a mere whisper as she touched my face and my eyes opened as her lips touched mine and she kissed me.

Her tongue pushed into my mouth and danced around my own as if daring me to take control. She shifted and then straddled me, her back against the steering wheel. Her hand snaked down my chest and over the sudden erection in my jeans.

She pulled away slightly and I was out of breath. “Ally …”

Her eyes shone silver in the dark night and I was lost in a trance, frozen as she pulled my zipper down and lifted herself as she pulled me free. Her hand travelled up and down my erection and my eyes closed again as I took a deep breath.

Her fingers went over my piercing and I stifled a groan as she sank down on top of me slowly. My hands gripped her waist and I pulled her down on top of me and I felt her hymen break. She gasped with slight pain and before I could form a coherent thought, she started to move.

I knew it was wrong, but in that moment, I was so lost. I was so far gone and when she kissed me again it felt like home, peace and everything I had always wanted. My hands roamed underneath her shirt up to her breast as she increased her tempo and arched her back. When I felt her clamp down on me, I came with her and the feelings that went through me were as foreign to me as learning a new language.

I was still coming down from that high when she slumped forward and Echo roared with laughter again. She had passed out and I was still inside her and I swore under my breath as I shifted her off me. She wasn’t wearing any underwear and I was officially dead.

“This is hilarious,” Echo said in between his bouts of laughter.

“Go lick your tail or something asshole.” My teeth were clenched as I spoke to him and zipped my jeans back up.

I felt like a pervert as I opened the glove box and pulled out a pack of wet wipes and wiped between her legs. I adjusted her skirt and strapped her in, moving her so she was leaning against the door, almost sideways.

The cab of the truck smelled like sex and I opened my window as realization hit me of what I had really done. I killed the lights of the truck and rolled to a stop in front of the garage. Alexis went over my shoulder with my hand on her ass to keep her skirt in place.

The house was dark and quiet as Echo pushed forward and the room brightened up through his eyes. I took the stairs quietly and reached Ally’s room safely. I tucked her into bed and kissed the top of her head. “I hope you don’t remember this.”

Milo’s head snapped toward mine as I closed the front door of the guest house behind me. He sat on the couch with a bowl of popcorn and wrinkled his nose. “You reek of sex.”

“I screwed up Milo.” I slumped down on the couch next to him.

“When did you even have time to get laid?” He was staring at me in disbelief and I lowered my head into my hands and groaned out loud.

“It was Ally.” Milo’s hand froze in mid-air with popcorn in it and his mouth gaped open.

“It was nice knowing you.” The popcorn was pushed into his mouth and I sighed.

“She passed out on top of me.” The popcorn flew out of his mouth as he laughed almost hysterically.

“During or after?” I shook my head as he stuffed his mouth with more popcorn.

“Her eyes changed and it felt like I was in a trance and then I just didn’t want to stop.”

“She was trying to bond with you. That shit happens automatically for them, which means she loves you and not like a sister loves a brother.”

I had felt her reaching out to me and Echo had intertwined with her. It wasn’t like a physical intertwining but more of like our souls had touched each other. Letting someone have that power of you scared the shit out of me and Echo pulled himself back just in time.

“We probably need to move.” Milo started chuckling and I wanted to slap the shit out of him.

“Because Dad’s going to cut your balls off?”

“Shut up.”

“Can you please go shower because smelling my little sister on you is somewhat disturbing.” Milo pushed me off the couch as he said that and laughed again.


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