Authors: Karin Tabke
Falon grabbed the two swords at her feet. Fenrir howled triumphantly, flinging the sword back at Lucien. Lightning quick, Falon hurled the sword in her right hand intercepting Fenrir’s sword slicing it in half before it impaled Lucien. Bellowing his rage, Fenrir shifted then turned on her and like Godzilla crashing through Tokyo, he thundered toward her.
As Falon turned, Rafael launched a hundred-foot evergreen spear at Fenrir. Falon ducked and watched as the timber impaled his belly, the velocity shoving the trunk branches halfway through Fenrir.
Falon tossed the other sword to her right hand, and calling upon all of her power, she leapt for Fenrir’s throat. He flung an arm out and grabbed her by the waist. As he raised his arm to fling her away from him, she stabbed the sword into his neck. His red eyes flared, furious.
“Why, when I would have given you the world?” he asked, frothy blood bubbling down the blade.
Falon pulled the sword out and stabbed it deep into his throat again. “Because I despise what you have done.”
Lucien grabbed the sword from Fenrir’s neck and hacked off the arm holding Falon. The beast screamed dropping to his knees. Rafe hacked off his right foot.
The delimbed monster floundered in the dirt.
Let’s get the hell out of here,
Lucien shouted, pushing her away.
she cried, grabbing the sword from him.
There is only one sword that can kill him and this isn’t it.
What do you mean?
When we’re safely away, I’ll explain.
Fenrir snarled, raising his slowly regenerating arm.
the three said in unison, backing up.
Wait! We possess the power of the three
! Falon threw down her sword and grasped Lucien’s right hand and Rafael’s left hand. Immediate power pulsed through them. Chin raised, staring Fenrir straight in the eye, Falon raised their clasped hands in the air toward him. Brilliant red and gold sparks illuminated their auras. Each of their hearts stuttered, stumbled, and then restarted, beating as one. United with their combined powers.
Holding Fenrir’s glare, Falon dared him to come closer. “Accept defeat, Fenrir.”
“I am immortal!”
The ring on Rafael’s hand flared red hot, the heat thrummed through each of them fortifying their stance.
Fenrir snarled, shifting to his terrible wolf, his body intact.
Rafe raised his fist and pointed at Fenrir. “I command you to return to the ring!”
Falon gasped. Was it possible?
Oh, my God,
she mouthed when Fenrir’s flanks began to shake like he had a case of the rickets. He dug his front paws into the earth churning it to mud as his body was invisibly pulled toward them.
“Now!” Rafael shouted.
Throwing his head back, Fenrir snarled, his hot breath raging around them, deafening in its roar. The beast’s eyes burned like fanned coals, his furious aura flared red and black. The cacophony of his rage singed Falon’s hair and skin. His body twisted, resisting the command.
The power of the three stood united as the firestorm raged around them. The heat became unbearable. Falon’s skin was burning. She could smell it.
Lucien wrapped his body around hers protectively, while at the same time shielding Rafe with his left arm and shoulder.
And then, the heat was gone.
When the air settled around them, Falon let out a long relived breath. They had survived the wrath of Fenrir.
“What just happened?” she asked.
“I’m going to guess we scared the shit out of that wolf,” Lucien said, unwrapping himself from around Falon.
Looking up to Lucien to thank him for protecting her, the words caught in her throat. “Luca, you’re burned!” The skin on his back and forearm was raw and bleeding.
Shaking off her concern, Lucien pointed after Fenrir who had run deep into the thick cover of forest.
“We may not have been able to force him back into the ring but we threatened him enough to make him run,” Rafe said.
Falon looked at Rafa who was unscathed. “How are you without burns?”
“Lucien’s arm, and what he didn’t cover, the ring did.” Rafe looked at Lucien. “You’re burned up pretty bad.”
“I’m okay. Let’s get out of here.”
“We’re not going after Fenrir?”
“No. We’re too evenly matched.” Lucien looked past her to where the wolf had disappeared. “The next time we come face-to-face with him, we’ll have the advantage.”
“The sword you spoke of?”
“Yes. And we have no time to waste. Let’s go.”
“Luca,” Falon said, reaching out to his raw shoulder. “Allow me to heal you before we go.”
He looked past her to his brother. “I’m fine.”
Falon smiled softly and said to Rafe, “Rafa, would you give us a few moments alone. Please.”
He opened his mouth to deny her, but instead he nodded and started for the bluff they had leapt from.
“Come over here,” she said, drawing Lucien carefully by the hand to an undisturbed patch of earth along the timberline.
He eyed her warily.
“Why are you looking at me like that?” she asked.
Blinking like an owl, Lucien just stared at her.
“Lucien, what are you thinking?”
“That you’re going to run back to Rafe.”
Her heart pounded for this proud man. She touched his chin. “I love you.”
“But you will return to him.”
“I don’t want to have this conversation right now, Luca. When you are stronger.”
“I’m stronger now. Tell me.”
She looked past his shoulder to see Rafael standing on the bluff, almost one hundred yards from where they stood. His intense gaze locked and held hers.
“I have some things to sort out, but, please, Lucien, believe me when I say I want to be with you. Just give me some space right now.”
“You carry my child. I will not let you go.”
She looked into his flaring golden eyes. “If I wasn’t?”
“I still wouldn’t.”
She smiled. “Good.”
He let out a long breath, and winced as she raised his arm. “These are bad, Lucien.”
“I’ve lived through worse.”
“I’m sure you have, but with burns, infection is what will do you in.”
Facing him, she gently placed her hands on his forearms. Soothing warmth immediately radiated from her to his skin. He hissed. “I’m sorry, but the pain will ease soon.”
She healed him inch by inch with her hands. His more severe wounds she gently licked. His body steeled beneath her lips.
“Yes you can.”
He slid his arm around her waist and pulled her hard against him. “How can I relax when all I want is you in my arms and my brother hovers over us like a vulture over roadkill?”
Falon smiled softly and ran her fingertip along his bottom lip. He caught her finger in his mouth and sucked. Hard.
Oh, Lucien, how you tempt me.
His arm tightened around her waist until she was smashed against his chest.
“Tell Rafe to take a hike,” he said against her lips.
Her blood warmed despite Rafael’s audience. Maybe more because of it? Tipping her head back, Falon licked her dry lips. It was all the invitation Lucien needed. His lips crashed against hers in a breath-stealing kiss.
Oh, she wanted to move into him, taste him, touch him, be filled by him. But she could not do this, not now. Not here.
She pushed off his chest. “Luca, no, not here, not now.”
His arms circled her waist. “Yes, now.”
His eyes blazed possessively. She felt herself waver, but—
He growled low, pressing his forehead to hers. “You make me crazy, angel face.”
Smiling softly she pressed her lips to the side of his neck where the skin was still raw from the fire. He hissed in another breath when she lightly laved it with her tongue. Feeling his swelling erection against her belly, she did her best to ignore it.
“Angel face,” he breathed. “I need you.”
She moved around to his back and admired her healing handiwork. His skin was almost as good as new. There was just one more spot, on the edge of his hip. Dropping to her knees, she gently grasped his thighs, and slowly licked the spot. Carnal fire flared in both their blood.
“Jesus,” he moaned.
Her body was not immune to the call of his. Whenever she touched Lucien, especially as intimately as she did now, her muscles loosened and that wondrous spark of desire flashed inside her. But she resisted it. She had to. Because before there was going to be any lovemaking there had to be an understanding, and as she saw it, the survival of the nation required that the three of them remain inseparable. Their combined powers were formidable. Separated, even with two of them united, they would be defeated.
She’d made up her mind the night the three of them were in the pond. Come hell, high water, or Armageddon, she was going to have both of these stubborn alphas as hers and there wasn’t going to be a damn thing they could do about it. Because she was prepared to play hardball to make them see things the way she saw them. That included seducing them singularly and together, until they understood what she had long known to be true: they were meant to be together as three, and three together they would be.
Convincing two proud brothers of that was going to be more of a battle than the one coming less than six weeks from now. She smiled as she licked one last time across Lucien’s sensitive hip. She might lose a few battles but she would win the war, and to her the victor would go the spoils.
She nipped Lucien’s hip and as she stood, gave him a hearty slap on the ass. “Let’s go, Mondragon.”
Shaking his head, Lucien looked at her with shock, but underlying that was the heat of his desire.
AS THEY APPROACHED a scowling Rafe, Falon curbed her impulse to run to him. For her plan to work, he would have to come to her. She could not tell him he could not live without her even as a threesome, he needed to come to that realization himself.
“Since we are so powerful as a trio, we must stay together,” she announced. “I’m safer against Fenrir with the two of you than just one of you.” She bit back a smile as she looked at the two scowling alphas. “Do you agree?”
“It will take the three of us to raise the Cross of Caus. So until then, we’ll have to make the most of it,” Rafe said, none too happy that his brother would be tagging along.
“Lucien?” Falon asked, looking up at him expectantly.
His fierce gaze told her his position if his words had not. “I’m not leaving your side.”
She smiled. “Good, then it’s agreed.” Their scowls deepened. “Oh,” she added nonchalantly. “I want both of you to give me your word that no matter what, while we’re together, there will be no fighting between you as you are now or as wolves.”
“I can’t promise that!” Lucien said.
“You ask too much, Falon,” Rafe agreed.
She put her hands on her hips and threw a hardball. “Then I go it alone.”
“The hell you will!” Lucien snarled, stepping toward her.
As exhausted as she suddenly felt, Falon raised her hands, pushing him away from her.
“Do not push me away,” he whispered, his voice deadly.
Apprehension skittered through her. How far could she push without having it blow up in her face?
When Rafe made a move toward her, her resolve galvanized. The only way to get what she wanted was to stay her course. Falon raised her hands again. “Don’t, Rafa. I’m not in the mood to deal with either one of your egos. Agree, or I go it alone.”
They stood side by side, her two alphas. One her dark and decadent lover, the other her bright shining knight. Oh, how she loved them both. Falon fought back a smile. They were like two petulant boys at the moment, both wanting the same toy and refusing to share. But share they would.
She quirked an eyebrow.
“I will agree not to disable Rafael,” Lucien said grudgingly.
Rafe looked at his brother and scoffed. “As if you could.”
“I can and I have.”
Rafe shook his head and looked hard at Falon. “I agree not to disable Lucien.”
Her smile escaped. For now it would do.
Rafael’s aqua-colored eyes flared. “I know what you’re thinking, Falon. It will never happen.”
“Never say never, Rafa.”
He scowled and mouthed the word,
Lucien gathered up their swords, and put them in the leather scabbards, then slid them across his shoulders. “Let’s shift and head south. We need to hunt and find a place to regroup and borrow some clothes and provisions.”
The sudden exhaustion that had settled in moments ago overcame Falon. She was so emotionally depleted; she could barely form another coherent thought. “I don’t want to hunt,” she mumbled, her legs shaking. “I just want to sleep for a week.”
“We don’t have a week.”
Rafe looked at Falon. “Can you run?”
“I think so, but can we find something close?”
He nodded. “I’ll find something.”
As they shifted and ran south, Fenrir’s mournful howl filled the air behind them. The hackles on the back of Falon’s neck rose, and for one brief moment she stumbled, feeling a pang of pity for the wolf no pack would accept. But the reality of what he’d propagated over the last eight hundred years, drowned out every emotion except vengeance.
For hours they ran. Putting hundreds of miles between them and Fenrir. But finally, time and stress caught up with Falon. She dropped, unable to take another step. She had not eaten or drank since they left Vulkasin days ago. Rafael and Lucien moved toward her at the same time. Her eyelids felt like concrete.
“Please, don’t fight over me. You promised . . .”
Rafael swooped her up into his strong arms. Immediately Falon’s anxiety left her. She melted into the safe protective cocoon of his body. It was like coming home.
I’ve missed you so,
she whispered, then fell asleep in his arms.
* * *
FALON WOKE TO the savory scent of roasting meat in a big soft warm bed. Stretching, she winced as her tight muscles bunched into knots before finally loosening. The cut on her back was tender. She would ask Lucien or Rafe to tend it—or not. It would set off a jealous jag of posturing and snarls. Geez—would they ever just get along?