Authors: Jen Wylie
Book three of the Broken Ones
All Rights Reserved
Copyright © 2014 by Jen Wylie
Cover Design © 2014 by Sean Hayden
Cover Photo © 2014 Shutterstock/ CURAphotography
First Untold Press Publication / October 2014
All rights Reserved. This book or any
portion thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without
the express written permission of the publisher except for the use of brief
quotations in a book review.
Names, characters, places, and incidents
are the products of the author's imagination and or used fictitiously. Any
resemblance to actual events, locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely
Published by Untold Press LLC
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PRODUCED IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
To Mom and Dad, and my boys. For their
everlasting patience while I got this book written!
To Sean. For always being there and
every night consistently asking, "Are you writing yet?" You are my
best friend, my partner, and my love, making me the luckiest girl in the world.
Love you all!
Special thanks to fan Ariel Tam, who
suggested the name for Baelan! Many thanks also to fan
who came up with the names for Silas and Raythe!
rainbow hugs to all my fans who, through emails and posts on facebook, have
shown their support and love of this series. You've kept me writing and your
kind words mean more than you could ever know! I love to hear from you!
thanks to my awesome editors, Sean and Lynn, who whipped this book into shape,
and to all my fabulous proofreaders; Donna, Angela, Amy, Deborah, Tambra and
Rayna! You girls rock!
The small fire crackled and popped. A
light breeze sent embers swirling up into the air, each disappearing suddenly
as their little sparks died.
Exhaustion made Arowyn’s eyelids heavy,
but her mind whirled with too many thoughts for sleep to come.
They'd finally returned Prince to
Rivenward, and just in time. The final leg of their journey began the previous
night as the sun set. They’d reached the gates before noon and sent him off
before heading back to the forest. Being awake for a full day didn’t help with
She closed her eyes and tugged her cloak
tighter around herself. The fact Prince was gone didn’t want to settle in her
mind. Part of her couldn’t believe it. The rest just wanted to cry. She missed
him. His absence made everything feel…wrong. Another of her boys gone. At least
he wasn’t dead…and he’d promised he’d see her again one day.
He couldn’t have been any more vague,
and she ground her teeth in frustration.
"Aro, you need to get some sleep."
Her gaze flicked over to Bo, resting on
his side by the fire. "I know. I will soon."
Firelight reflected in his brown eyes as
he watched her worriedly for a moment before letting out a loud sigh. Large
fingers rubbed at the scar on his cheek. "I miss him, too."
With a small smile, she nodded and
ducked her head, not wanting him to see her struggle not to cry. She’d promised
herself no more tears. So far, she’d somehow managed and hoped to keep it that
way. Her life had been too full of tears.
Kei walked into the light, having returned
from checking on the horses. She smiled when he sat down gracefully next to
"You look tired," he said
"I am. I was waiting for you."
He grinned but shook his head. The firelight
danced across his golden skin and brought out the gold in his spikey, light
brown hair. His golden eyes caught hers, searching them to see how she was
doing. Her eyes matched his now, thanks to Fey magic. "Are you…"
"I’m doing fine," she
insisted. "Don’t worry about me."
Shrugging a shoulder, he looked away,
but his lips curved up in a wry smile. "I always do."
She rubbed her tired eyes. It wasn’t
very late, but she needed sleep. They'd borrowed an extra horse from the Were
and would leave early in the morning to return it. She needed to be awake and
on her guard. The alpha, Rhee-En, had taken an interest in her, not
romantically, but still an interest. Alphas wanted strong packs, and though she
was human, she could mind-speak, take the fury from Fey, and now even heal
herself with borrowed Fey power. More importantly, she hadn’t been afraid of
them, or of the Dragos, Damon. The Were appreciated such strength. Or thought
her insane enough to be of use to them.
Kei patted the ground beside him. "Come.
Try to sleep."
She settled down next to him, rolling
onto her side to face him as he did the same. As always, he took her hands in
his to hold between them.
"Have good dreams tonight," he
A deep sigh escaped her. "I’ll try."
He frowned, his eyes searching hers. "Why
so sad? He’s home safe now. He’ll be better soon."
"I know," she mumbled. Elves
were bound to their land and its magic. Being gone so long from Rivenward
almost killed Prince. Her thoughts turned back to their parting. "He
Kei grinned. "We saw." His
brows drew together at her solemn face. "That’s what you wanted, wasn’t
Her cheeks flushed remembering the kiss.
A passionate, frantic kiss that stole her breath away. "I don’t know what
I wanted," she admitted. "I love him. I wanted him to love me, too.
But…I know it can’t work, not with him being a prince, and an Elf, and
immortal." Sighing again, her chest tightened. "It’s not fair to him,
to love me but have to watch me die. I wouldn’t do it to you. I shouldn’t expect
it of him either."
Kei watched her quietly for a while. "Love
is love, Aro. Sometimes it’s all that matters."
"He never said he loved me."
His brows rose in surprise. "He
didn’t? But he kissed you."
"I know." Even gone, Prince
continued to cause her no end of frustration and confusion. They’d kissed once
before, but it hadn’t gone well. He’d said such cruel things to her, and she’d
told him never to kiss her again unless he loved her. "I did remind him."
She grimaced. "He said I know."
"You really should have let me kill
him," Kei whispered harshly, his eyes beginning to glow with a soft inner
"Do you think…" She paused,
sorting out her thoughts. "Do you think he just pretended? That he just
wanted to give me something, to make me happy?"
Kei looked at her like she was an idiot.
"No. He talked to us about you sometimes. How confused you made him. He
didn’t know what to do."
She remembered more than once coming
across all the boys deep in discussion, but stopping when she approached. At
least she knew what they were talking about now. Who knew how many telepathic conversations
they’d had that she never knew about. Having her family bound as a Were pack
and able to communicate with mind speech had its advantages, but it certainly
took some getting used to.
"I don’t know what to do," she
whispered, lowering her eyes.
Kei pulled one hand away and lifted her
chin with a finger, forcing her to meet his eyes. "Don’t be sad. He
wouldn’t want that. Remember him. Wait for him. If you want," he added
with a mischievous smile.
"Kei!" She mock-glared at him
and then sobered. So many worries and doubts circled within her mind it made
her head ache. "What if he doesn’t ever come? What if I should have–"
A finger pressed against her lips,
abruptly silencing her. "You can only run toward the future. There is no
going back. Worrying about what might or might not happen won’t change
She grimaced. There was no point in
arguing with him. "You’re right."
He grinned. "Of course I am."
He slipped his hand into hers again. "Have hope, Aro. Remember, I’ll
always be with you." His eyes brightened. "Even if you two do get
"Oh, he’ll love that," she
said wryly. Kei and Prince barely got along as it was. The Fey probably wasn't
too heartbroken to be rid of the Elven prince.
Kei chuckled. "If he loves you,
he’ll get used to it. I’ll make sure he treats you properly."
"And if not you’ll give him another
"Something like that," Kei
answered, struggling to keep a grin off his face. "Now sleep. We’ve a long
∞ ∞ ∞
Aro leaned against a tree, her cloak
wrapped tightly around her as she stared into the slowly lightening sky. She’d
managed to slip away to the edge of the forest without waking anyone. She
wasn’t far; the sound of Bo’s snores still reached her.
The short sleep she’d gotten had been
deep, which wasn't surprising considering the depth of her exhaustion. If she
dreamed, she couldn’t remember about what. Considering she usually had
nightmares, her lack of memory actually relieved her.
A yawn made her jaw crack. Leaning her
head against the tree, she stared out over the gently rolling hills of grass.
Even with her new Fey eyesight, they'd traveled far enough she couldn’t see the
gates to Rivenward.
Did Prince still sleep? Her emotions
warred within her. She wanted to try to contact him, to see if their pack bond
worked beyond the magic of the wardwall. Fear had kept her from trying since he
left. Fear it wouldn’t work. Fear he wouldn’t answer even if it did. He'd
returned to his world now. She wasn’t naive enough to think things hadn’t
changed for him. For them. Perhaps he’d come to his senses or changed his mind
again. He’d certainly taken long enough to figure out his feelings for her. Trying
to understand how his mind worked was futile. She wasn’t an Elf, immortal, or
She thumped her head against the tree,
trying to knock the downward spiral of thoughts out of her head. It would be
too easy to slip into the darkness, to go back to the despairing person she’d
once been. Things had changed for her, too. She wouldn’t let herself be like
that again. Certainly not over a man. Not for love. Love was supposed to bring
happiness and joy.
Tugging her cloak tighter, as if it were
made of courage, she closed her eyes.
Prince? Are you…
trailed off and she opened her eyes. She could
her mental words
weren’t going anywhere.
Disappointment choked her. She should
have known. Nothing ever came easy, not for her. A surging rush of anger came
next, and she slammed her fist against the tree. It wasn’t fair! The emotion
died quickly as reality set in. Nothing in life was fair.
Weariness overcame her, and she slipped
down the trunk to sit at its base. She was so rotting tired. Of everything.
Closing her eyes against tears of frustration, she slipped into her mind.
The dreary landscape didn’t surprise
her. The fortress she’d built to guard her thoughts and memories remained a
towering structure. She ignored everything, instead searching for the links of
the pack bond connecting her to the boys.
She found them easily enough, faint
glowing strands. Following them, she paused when they began to rise into the
air. Without hesitation, she willed herself up. This was her mind after all. If
she could build a fortress out of nothing, she could certainly move as she pleased.
Having nothing beneath her feet felt
strange, but she continued upward, only to stop again in surprise to see they
rose into a dark churning sky.
"Strange." She’d never
bothered to see where the links went before. Once she’d found them and learned how
to use them, she simply connected to the ones she needed and sent her thoughts.
Continuing upward, the strands wove
haphazardly before disappearing into the dark clouds. Waving her hand, she
willed the clouds to part.
Four stars revealed themselves, their
bright light shining down. A smile grew on her lips as she stared at them. Her
boys. She instinctively knew which star belonged to each. Bo, Kei, Garen, and
Heading toward the light representing
his mind, she cursed in surprise when she suddenly hit an invisible wall.
Finding her bearings, she approached
more slowly, hands out in front of her. Finding the barrier again, she moved
her hands over it, pushing here and there. It reminded her of the actual
wardwall out in the real world. The magical barrier that let no living thing
pass into Rivenward.
She pushed harder but couldn’t break
"Rot!" Floating backward, she
glared at it. The thought of trying to force her way through crossed her mind,
but then she shook her head. Her knowledge of magic was limited.
With quiet longing, she stared at the
star just out of her reach. "One day…" she murmured to herself, a
reminder of his promise.
A thread next to her vibrated with a
voice, startling her.
You are up early. Though I suppose up
isn’t the correct word.
She smiled at the amusement in Garen’s
I’ve been thinking.
There are tears on your cheeks.
She let out a soft sigh. The boys would
all want to talk, sooner or later. They cared for her and worried about her too
I can’t reach Prince,
she admitted to
This is not unexpected.
She turned in
Would you come in? I can show you, and it would be easier to talk.
for a moment, which didn’t surprise her. Garen had only come into her mind a
From above, she watched the area in
front of her fortress, smiling when he finally appeared. As always, the young
man wore only simple pants and a shirt, no shoes.
He did, his dark hair falling away from
his eyes. Every time, the sweet innocence of his human form struck her hard.
For some reason it didn’t quite match with the wolf she knew. A reminder she
had no idea how long he’d been trapped in his wolf body.
Why are you up there?
It’s where the threads went. But
Prince’s is blocked. It feels just like the wardwall.
He tilted his head to the side.
that is what it is.
She put her hands on her hips in
Are you coming up to see?
No, I’ll keep my feet on the ground,