Authors: Brianna Merrill
Night Writer Publishing
Daughter of Earth
Tales of the Guardian
©2011 Brianna Merrill
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any means without permission in writing from the publisher, Night Writer Publishing LLC. Printed and bound in the United States of America. Published by Night Writer Publishing LLC. Second Edition.
Cover photography and design © 2011 Ben Mecham
Custom Keyhole (cover ) Peter Tims – White Mountain Jewelers
To my five wonderful children, never forget how special you really are. Watching each of you grow has been my greatest privilege in life but, you will always be my babies.
A special thanks to the many people who have helped with this book, and series. So many people have contributed to making Son of Eden and Daughter of Earth a reality.
Heather Fuller, Cherilyn Halls, Courtney Lewis, Debe Cambell, Ben Mecham, and also Peter Tims from White Mountain Jewelers for the beautiful custom keyhole featured on the front cover.
The silver stallion symbol was all Emily could see in her side view mirror. The black Mustang tailing her inched up beside the vehicle so closely a collision would surely result if either were to make the slightest mistake at the wheel. She pushed her foot down on the pedal forcing the speed gauge to a frightening level. Rehearsing in her mind the steps Alexander taught her, she tried to remain calm. She needed to get a little further up; creating distance from the Mustang to perform the maneuver she’d been shown. There was no questioning how to do it, but this time was different from the others. She’d never tried it at this high speed and never without Alexander beside her.
When she felt the distance between the two cars was acceptable, she took a deep breath. The most optimal location to spin the car around was quickly approaching, the added space of the four way stop not only provided more room but more escape routes as well.
Emily slammed on the brakes.
The tires squealed and smoked and then she felt it—the moment when she could sense the car’s weight shifting. This was the moment to crank the wheel and spin the vehicle around. With the right amount of pull, she turned the wheel, and violently yet effectively flipped around to face the opposite direction. Immediate acceleration sent her car into a fish tail, but she gently rolled into the swerves to get the BMW back on a straight path.
She was not sure if it was excitement or fear making her breathing more labored. The two emotions were increasingly harder to separate lately. Glancing in her rear view mirror, she wanted to see if she’d successfully eluded the Mustang. For a moment it appeared she had, but the black car soon flew through the smoke created from the friction between rubber and asphalt.
“Why can’t I shake him?” she asked herself aloud.
The black car closed in and was soon on her bumper once more. Clearing her mind became as challenging as the driving, as it clouded with frustration and doubt. “I pulled the best move I know and still I can’t get away! What now?” Emily’s thoughts were turning negative, something Alexander had warned against but reality was old habits were hard to break.
The last few months had been surreal, to say the least, but she had experienced tremendous growth in a very short time. The growth hadn’t been initiated by any desire of her own; rather it had been forced upon her. What Emily had discovered and come to terms with was something teenagers only read about in books and saw in movies. In what seemed like a flash, she had gone from having a fairly normal life to being thrown into a not so normal environment.
After a visit a few months ago from one of Alexander’s governing elders, preparations for Emily began almost immediately. Although she’d yet to visit the Guardian Realm, Alexander had begun schooling her in things he felt would be beneficial until it was time to enter Eden. Lessons on maneuvering a car and eluding unwanted company seemed like a good place to start, just in case she ever needed to flee a scene again like the night in the parking garage when they had been attacked. She appreciated the added measure of knowledge. It was refreshing to know this was now one less area in which she required Alexander’s constant supervision and support. She’d grown confident in her newfound abilities. Although she still had doubts with her driving, the fact was there was a marked improvement in her skill behind the wheel.
But this new found confidence faded with each inch that was closed between her and the car she was trying to elude. While her mind wandered, the black car suddenly shot past her.
“What on earth?” she questioned. But, before she had time to process the consequences of letting the other vehicle pass her, the Mustang spun around so it was now facing her.
She slammed on the breaks and veered to the right, hoping there was enough space between the fence on the roadside and the Mustang. But, her opponent seemed to be a step ahead and quickly had her pinned. The only choice was to flip her car into reverse and start backtracking until she had a chance to turn around. But she was tired. She didn’t want to play cat and mouse anymore. Defeat already felt so imminent. Why not just give in now and save some anxiety and a possible car accident?
Emily squeezed the steering wheel tightly, giving her surrender one last thought. She let out a long sigh, put the car into park and turned the key to shut it down. She heard the Mustang’s engine rev a few times, as if challenging her to keep going, but she ignored it.
Looking up she saw the car door open. A large figure stepped out and began approaching. He strode forward, his long legs closing the distance with ease. The bulky build of his body did not hinder the gracefulness of his motions. He moved like every part of him knew exactly what it was doing and was perfectly synchronized. His purpose was to get Emily and she prepared herself for what she knew was bound to happen next.
Slowly, she placed both hands on the door handle. As the figure reached the perfect spot she pulled back the lever and then pushed the door open with as much force as she could muster. The door hit her target perfectly, causing him to fly backward. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough to knock him completely off balance.
Anxious to see if she’d done any damage, Emily jumped out of the car and peered over the door. Of course the only real damage that might have been done would be to her car.
Alexander’s laughter rolled through the air. “What was that for?” He breathed between chuckles, holding his gut, only pretending to be injured.
Emily knew very well he was in no way hurt. “That is for never letting me win!” She gave into laughter as well. Alexander playing hurt was too cute.
“You could’ve gotten away if you kept going. You’ve turned into quite the skilled stunt driver.” He praised her as he approached with open arms. A signal he was ready to make amends.
“Humph,” she muttered. “Obviously not skilled enough.” She wrapped her arms around his firm waist. No matter how frustrated she was with him she could not resist an open invitation to be in his embrace.
“No, really, I thought you lost me on that sudden flip. I had a hard time spotting you with all the smoke. A four way stop is a great place to do that, it gave you options.” He squeezed tighter and kissed the top of her head. He was proud of her, and wished she didn’t look so defeated. He hadn’t meant to make her feel that way. He was just challenging her, pushing her to get better; he really was impressed with how quickly she’d picked up on things. Yet no matter how many times he told her how remarkable her learning curve was, she always became skeptical.
“So, I take it you want to call it a day?” Alexander questioned even though he knew the answer. He saw it in Emily’s eyes. She’d reached her limit.
“Yeah, I’m tired. And I cut it pretty close back there, almost put a nasty dent in my car.”
“Which car do you want to take back then? Yours or your father’s?”
“My dad told you, that car is yours. He got it from the liquidation auction for you. When are you going to accept it?” Emily did not understand why he refused to call the car his own when her father had repeatedly told him he got it for the two Guardians to use.
“Oh, probably never,” he teased. “But if it really means that much to you I will try. So, do want to take your car or mine?”
“Yours. I’ve had enough driving for one day and the trip back into town is long. I want to relax, if you don’t mind.” Emily knew Alexander actually preferred to drive. He enjoyed every minute of it and, frankly, so did she. She never felt completely safe when she was behind the wheel but that was never a worry when he drove. Alexander’s abilities seemed endless. He could command a hundred fellow Guardians in war tactics or use his astounding strength to fight off six armed men by himself, it didn’t really matter. Emily felt like he could do it all. At first this was a very intimidating thing and still was to some degree, however she had learned to appreciate all of his many talents and supernatural powers because they came in handy, even with something as simple as driving.
“Alright then.” He turned toward the Mustang and gave a wave as they began to walk toward it.
The passenger side door immediately opened and Xavier popped his head out. “Does this mean it’s my turn? Right on! Me and the trusty silver bullet!” He expressed his excitement as though he were some 16-year-old who just obtained his license.
“Yep.” Emily couldn’t help but smile. She always enjoyed his consistent enthusiasm.
She tossed the keys in his direction; he was quick to make up for her poor throw and caught them before they went over his shoulder.
“Excellent, race ya home!” Xavier challenged as he swiftly ducked into the BMW. In a few seconds he had it roaring to life. The slight click could be heard as the transmission shifted into drive, the tires squealed for a moment and he was gone before anything more could be said.
Alexander walked Emily to the car’s passenger side and closed her door after she got in. It was easy to grow accustomed to his gentlemanly qualities. It just never made sense to reach for the door anymore. In fact, she was becoming quite spoiled. The times she was without him—which were few and far between—she found she paused or hesitated before reaching for any door handle, like Alexander might appear and open it for her.
The feeling of being pampered and coddled was always present when she was with him; in fact it was something which added to the feeling of instant attraction when they first met. Truthfully, it was difficult not to fall head over heels in love with someone who never failed to express respect and chivalry. It was one charming attribute she knew Alexander had perfected over the hundreds of years of his existence. Time may have changed a lot of society’s views on social etiquette but time had not changed Alexander and she loved it.
After the car door shut, a sudden ringing in Emily’s ears caught her off guard. But then came the familiar muffled noise and she knew exactly what was happening.
Alexander got into the car and was saying something but she couldn’t make out his words. It sounded as though she was underwater and the only noise penetrating her hearing was the soft, chiming of a bell. Closing her eyes she tried desperately to concentrate. She tilted her head to the left, as though moving it in a certain direction might act as an antenna and she could tune into the correct station.
After a minute the sensation passed and Emily’s full hearing returned. She glanced over at Alexander. He was waiting patiently.
“Was Athos trying to call you again?” he asked as he turned the car around and started in the direction leading them home.
“Yeah, the bell sound is getting stronger. It’s the second time today I’ve felt it.” She shook her head in an effort to fully clear the mist which always seemed to linger in her mind after such an experience.
“Felt it? Did you feel something this time?” He was curious about how things were progressing with this fairly new development.
“No, I guess I used the wrong word….
would have been a better term. I haven’t felt anything, not yet.” Her voice carried a fleck of disappointment.
“Don’ t worry, it’ll come, and when it does there will be no mistaking it.” He grabbed her hand and kissed it, offering reassurance with his touch. “This is new for Athos, as well. You are the first human he’s ever attempted to call to Eden. It is just as unfamiliar to him as it is to you. It’s going to take time for him to perfect the call, and for you to receive it in its entirety.”
“I know, I just can’t tell if it’s him or me,” she sighed. “I try clearing my mind and focusing on the ringing but it never turns into my name like you said it would. I’m sure it’s me. I don’t possess any amazing abilities like Guardians.”
“Not so. Remember, Aldara said you have great potential. You are special. You just have to believe it.”
It had been four months since Aldara had visited the pair. That night in Emily’s room she’d delivered a startling message, one which permanently altered Emily’s life. As if things weren’t already strange enough, it was made clear there truly was some divine purpose for her, even a prophecy pointing its very finger in her direction. The outcome of some event or even events, were completely dependent upon her and Alexander’s actions. Although everything Aldara said was completely unbelievable, Emily could not deny it felt right. Since that night she began to feel a side of her growing. A part of her was gaining strength. Yet, it was still a part she felt she couldn’t fully access. It was too hard to adequately describe these sensations with words. After stumbling over her sentences like an idiot, she’d given up trying to convey this new and strange awareness to her father and Alexander.