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.
“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?”
“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.
It was six am when Milo and I returned to the farm from our twelve mile jog. We had discarded our shirts by mile 5 as we ran straight through Hartwell. We rounded the house and found Ryder on the porch, arms crossed over his chest, clearly waiting for us.“Oh shit, you’re dead.” Milo’s voice came from behind me as I stood with my hands on my hips trying to catch my breath.“You think I wouldn’t notice? You think I’m that stupid that I wouldn’t know what you and Alexis did?” Ryder’s glared cut straight through me.“Dad, I can explain.” Who was I kidding? I couldn’t explain what had happened between us.“Yeah please do. Tell me about you picked Alexis up from a party drunk and then waited for us to go to sleep before bringing her home.”Milo clutched his chest over his heart as he breathed out. “Oh thank the gods.”“Shut the hell up.” My whisper was harsh, even to my own ears.Ryder fixed his gaze on Milo and I could see the lingering question in his eyes. “Thank the gods what Milo?”“N
“Let’s go.” Milo ruffled my hair and I swatted his hand away.“Piss off.”“Come on, we haven’t seen the three W’s in three years.” Milo’s face was inches from mine as he leaned over the couch.“You just want to get laid.” I looked at the grin on his face.“So? You need someone that doesn’t pass out on you.” He ducked his head as my fist aimed for his head.“Low blow asshole.” He chuckled as a smile finally appeared on my face and I knew he was right. We both needed to get out.Half an hour later we parked our bikes in front of G’s. Warner, Wilson and Winston were three brothers who had bought the dilapidated piece of land straight out of high school and opened a bar. They worked the bar themselves and named it G’s, short for their surname Gates.It was off a beaten down dirt road, basically in the middle of nowhere and the best place to hang out. They didn’t check ID’s since Warner bought it when he was eighteen and the liquor license was in their father’s name.I pulled out a chair f
My phone pinged and my eyes opened instantly. It was my Unit phone and that ping meant Clark was making contact. I accessed the messages and laughed softly.Clark – Up for a private?Wynter – SureClark – Sending location for pick up and eliminationWynter – Will confirm tonightClark – Ross Webber, Vampire, Webber Construction, AthensI looked at the two locations that Clark had sent and memorized them both before putting the phone away. I could hear Milo and Mallory in the room next to me and it was barely seven am. I heard the front door open and then Ally’s face appeared in my doorway.“Okay, this is awkward.” She laughed and then stifled it with her hand as Milo started spouting his ‘Daddy’ shit and I laughed.“You should learn to knock.” I stood up from the bed.“Dad sent me to tell you breakfast’s in ten minutes.” Ally’s face was reddening as Milo just got louder.“Hold on, I’ll walk out with you.”I pulled a t-shirt over my head and opened Milo’s door without knocking. Mallory
I knocked on the door of the hotel room that I had quietly left more than twelve hours earlier. Cali opened the door and looked at me for a few seconds. I saw anger and then hesitation in her eyes as I smiled. She finally opened it wider and granted me access.“You just left.”I didn’t really know what to say. “I’m sorry. Last night was … I don’t know …”“Well, I’m glad you’re here. I need to pack and so do you.” She was still talking but I had stopped listening at ‘so do you’.“What do you mean I need to pack?”“We’re bonded halves. Daddy has the King’s ear so you don’t have to worry about being called up. Daddy will find you something to do in the company. We’ll sort everything out once we get to France.” Disbelief were etched onto my features but she didn’t notice as she continued to pack.“Cali, I’m not going to France with you. My family’s here.”“Did you think I was going to stay in Hartwell with you? I can tell that you’re not even a future Sire. You should feel lucky that I ev
Two weeks had gone by too fast. Milo and I didn’t go out; I spent time with my family. Abigail was nervous and in the end Nova and Alexis had packed her suitcase for her. My duffel bag had been ready for six days. We couldn’t take any weapons on a commercial flight but Clark had already been in contact with me.He knew what I knew about Romania and he’d promised me that there would be a drop as soon as I knew where I would be staying. I had given Abigail a burner phone as well so that the two of us could share information if we were separated.I had everything under control and I wasn’t worried. Abigail though would have to calm down and stop acting so nervous. I understood her fear, not knowing what would happen, especially when they discovered her dragon, but Ryder had explained it to her.Three nights earlier we had all sat at the kitchen table after dinner. “They won’t kill you Abby.”“Your dragon is valuable.” She looked up at me as I spoke and I gripped her hand tightly.“The Ki
It was two am when we finally landed in Bucharest. We retrieved our luggage and walked towards the exit. Near the doors were a table with one man sitting behind it, there was a line of five people ahead of us. We had received instructions that we were to report to the man sitting by the ‘Winter Camp’ table.“Name?” The man spoke with a heavy accent and barely glanced at us.“Wynter and Abigail Grey.”He flipped over two pages before ticking off our names on his list. “There’s a bus marked Winter Camp just outside, it will take you to Sinaia and the camp. Keep these identity cards on you at all times. Good luck.”“Thanks.”It was a ten seater bus, very small in comparison to what I was used to seeing back home. Our identity cards were scanned and I led Abigail to the back and let her sit by the window. Twenty minutes later all ten seats were occupied and the bus started.“Hey. Gerard de Yong.” He had turned in his seat and offered his hand in greeting.“Wynter Grey.” I shook his hand a
“Good morning trainees! I trust you’ve all had sufficient rest and time to familiarize yourselves with this camp. As you will see behind us are tents with different coloured flags, please go to the tent that matches your bracelet.” The man standing in front of us was tall, muscular and had an air of authority.“Move! Now!” His voice was loud and everybody started to scatter towards the different tents. I headed towards the Violet tent. I kept to the back of the line as men scanned their bracelets to be admitted and be accounted for.Costin stood on the other side next to another man as they surveyed the group in front of them. My bracelet scanned and then flashed a blue light instead of green as with everyone else. Costin nodded his head and the second man took notice of me too.“These will be your instructors. On the far right we have Emil, Timo and Pavel. Each group will have one instructor. First group will be future Sires with Emil, the second group will be second in command with
Abigail was nervous and her hands trembled as she packed her suitcase. She hadn’t changed much in the weeks since we arrived but I could almost taste her fear. My duffel bag was on the floor near the room’s door and I pulled her into my arms as my hand smoothed over her hair and hugged her.“It’ll be okay, I promise.”“I trust you Wynter but I can’t help feeling like bait here.”“You’re not bait Abby. If I had a choice you’d never even meet the King. The plan was for you to meet him if I didn’t get a way in. I never thought he’d call for both of us at the same time.”“I’m just scared. Scylla doesn’t have a good feeling about this.”“It’s a request I can’t refuse. You don’t say no to the King. I’d die before I let anything happen to you.” I kissed her on top of her head as she squeezed her arms around my ribs once and finished packing.Two Royal Guards were waiting beside an SUV for us. Abigail held my hand all the way to the Country Palace that was a lavish estate. There were guards a