Authors: Cheree Alsop
The Fae Rift Series Book 2
By Cheree L. Alsop
Copyright © 2016 by Cheree L. Alsop
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 author except for the use of brief quotations in a book review.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are a product of the author’s imagination. Any resemblance to actual persons, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
Cover Design by Dean Samed
Editing by Sue Player
To my family,
For adventures yet to come,
Places yet to be explored,
And a million memories waiting to be made.
To my readers,
Always believe in yourself.
You are the only you,
And that is your unique power.
ALSO BY CHEREE ALSOP
The Silver Series
The Werewolf Academy Series
Book One: Strays
Book Two: Hunted
Book Three: Instinct
Book Four: Taken
Book Five: Lost
Book Six: Vengeance
Book Seven: Chosen
Heart of the Wolf Part One
Heart of the Wolf Part Two
The Galdoni Series
Galdoni 2: Into the Storm
Galdoni 3: Out of Darkness
The Small Town Superheroes Series
- (Through Stonehouse Ink)
Small Town Superhero
Small Town Superhero II
Small Town Superhero III
Keeper of the Wolves
The Million Dollar Gift
When Death Loved an Angel
The Shadows Series
- (Through Stonehouse Ink)
Shadows- Book One in the World of Shadows
Mist- Book Two in the World of Shadows
Dusk- Book Three in the World of Shadows
The Monster Asylum Series
Book One- The Fangs of Bloodhaven
Book Two- The Scales of Drakenfall
Girl from the Stars
Book 1- Daybreak
Book 2- Daylight
Book 3- Day’s End
Book 4- Day’s Journey
Book 5- Day’s Hunt
The Dr. Wolf Series
Book 1- Shockwave
Book 2- Demon Spiral
Book 3- The Four Horsemen
Aleric put a hand on one of the foot-long metal spikes protruding from the troll’s back. His skin burned at the contact with the silver-laced metal. He let it go and stared at the troll. “You tangled with an Archdemon?”
The troll shook his head. “He fight me. Send me here.”
That gave Aleric reason to pause. “He sent you here? After he hurt you?”
The troll nodded.
“Why?” Dartan asked.
The troll met the vampire’s red gaze. “He said tell Aleric Bayne hi.”
Aleric took several steps back. He looked from the vampire to the troll, then back to the vampire.
“Dartan, we’re in trouble.”
Dartan nodded. “There’s an Archdemon in Edge City.”
Nurse Eastwick burst into the Emergency Room. “Dr. Worthen, your daughter’s in trouble!”
Aleric would normally let the doctor handle things on his own, but while Dr. Worthen thought Lilian had been bit by an animal, Aleric knew better. He ran after the doctor and reached the doorway in time to see Lilian under the grips of a full-blown seizure.
“What’s happening?” Dr. Worthen demanded.
“She was bit by a goblin,” Aleric replied.
The doctor stared at him. “A goblin? How do you know?”
Aleric pushed back the bandages on Lilian’s arm. Green streaks ran from the circular bite toward Lilian’s heart. Lilian’s movements stilled and her eyes closed.
“Goblin bites are deadly,” Aleric said. “She needs the antidote.”
“Where do we get one?” Dr. Worthen asked.
Aleric looked at Dartan who had just appeared in the doorway.
“We have to find the goblin who bit her,” Aleric said.
“Do whatever you need to,” Dr. Worthen urged. “Just hurry, please!”
The pair rushed down the hallway to the D Wing.
“Goblin hunting is dangerous,” Dartan said as he pushed the door open to the Dark fae side of the wing.
“I wouldn’t know,” Aleric replied.
Dartan glanced at him. “Didn’t you go wild goblin hunting as a child?”
Aleric shook his head.
Dartan let out a disgruntled sound. “What kind of a childhood did you have?”
“Not much of one,” Aleric said shortly. He grabbed his other clothes so that he could change out of the scrubs. If there was going to be any hope of tracking down the goblin that had attacked Lilian, they needed to start immediately.
Dartan crossed to the boarded up windows and peeked through one of the cracks. He sighed.
“Sundown’s not for another couple of hours. Unless I want to be barbecue by the time we reach Dr. Worthen’s, you’re going solo on this one.”
“I’ve got it,” Aleric told him. “Besides, that troll should come out of surgery soon. He’s going to need a lot of painkillers. By his arm bands, he’s an ironwork troll.”
“I know,” Dartan replied. “No meat or dark, leafy greens.”
Aleric gave him a surprised look. “Why not?”
“High in iron.” Dartan said the statement as though it was obvious. At Aleric’s blank look, he explained, “They’re practically bathed in the stuff since their youth, working at the forges and all. Because of that, they tend to overreact to it in foods, especially heme iron that comes from hemoglobin.”
Aleric’s eyebrows rose. “I didn’t know that!”
Dartan shrugged. “Trust me. I know my hemoglobin.”
“So you’re telling me trolls get that big on a diet of fruit?”
Dartan nodded. “And bread. Trolls love bread. You know what they say; it goes right to the belly.”
Aleric snorted. “I had no idea.” He grabbed his borrowed clothes from the bed. “Do you need any blood before I leave?”
Dartan shook his head. “I’m good for now. The human stuff tends to last a bit longer, and the different blood types each have their own flavor. It’s like fine wine.” He grinned at Aleric. “You should try it sometime.”
“I’ll pass,” Aleric said with a shake of his head. “But thanks for thinking of me.”
Gregory, the red-headed orderly, was waiting for him in a small blue car when Aleric left the hospital.
“How do you know where Dr. Worthen lives?” Aleric asked as Gregory drove them through the chaotic city streets.
Gregory glanced at him. “I drop off the doctor’s dry cleaning once in a while after Tarli picks it up. Dr. Worthen doesn’t leave the hospital much, so he doesn’t have time to do it himself.”
Aleric refrained from asking what the doctor needed dry cleaned if he spent every day at the hospital.
“So, uh, what are we looking for?”
Aleric could hear the hesitation in the human’s voice. Given everything Gregory had seen in the hospital since the Rift a few days ago, Aleric respected him for hanging around. Many fae creatures got injured falling through the Rift, so they ended up at Edge City Hospital. More than a few members of Dr. Worthen’s emergency staff had failed to come in the next day.
Aleric had heard similar stories regarding staff on the maternity floor and in recovery. Edge City had been bombarded by creatures the citizens hadn’t known existed. To be fair, it wasn’t the fae’s fault; they hadn’t known Edge City existed, either. It was a matter of survival for most fae until they could return to Drake City. The problem was that without the banshees, Aleric wasn’t sure how to make that happen.
“We’re looking for a goblin,” he told the orderly. “Do you remember when Daylen, the banshee boy, opened the Rift and the creatures wrapped Dr. Worthen in vines?”
Gregory’s eyes widened. “You mean the ones that look like they’re part gremlin, part spider?”
“You know about gremlins?” Aleric replied in surprise.
Gregory nodded. “I saw them in a movie once; I just didn’t think they were real.”
“They’re very real,” Aleric told him. “Gremlins and goblins are cousins, but you have to make sure gremlins don’t eat after midnight.”
“Because they’ll reproduce as murderous psycho-gremlins who try to kill humans and one will have spikey white hair?” Gregory asked breathlessly.
Aleric stared at him. “No, because they’ll get indigestion and not sleep well. If you’ve ever been kept up by a groaning gremlin, you’ll never make that mistake again.”
Gregory pulled the car over in a small neighborhood near the northern outskirts of Edge City. Aleric climbed out and studied the houses around him. The neighborhood looked like something out of one of the storybooks his mother used to read to him when he was very young. Each house along the street had a well-manicured green lawn, flowers near the doors and walkways, dogs that barked from the backyards, beautiful trees, and the sounds of children and parents resonating inside. The overall feeling was one of peace and contentment.
“I never knew places like this actually existed,” Aleric said quietly.
“Huh, oh,” Gregory replied. “Yeah. You have to get outside of the main city to find these kinds of neighborhoods. They’re costly, but you know E.R. doctors.”
He elbowed Aleric.
Aleric gave him a blank look. “You mean I know Dr. Worthen?”
Gregory shook his head. “No, I mean E.R. doctors, especially head physicians like Dr. Worthen, make a ton of money. Sure they put in the school work, but man, it’s worth it to live in a house out here. They have the best schools, daycares, and playgrounds around.”
“Playgrounds?” Aleric repeated.
Red spread across Gregory’s cheeks. “Sorry, I get a bit carried away. There’s this girl I’ve been interested in. We get along really well, and I guess I like to think about what would happen if we took the next step.”
Aleric followed him to the front door. “So why don’t you?” he asked.
Gregory lifted the planter on the small porch and withdrew a key.
“Well, I need a ring. Something like that takes time. Therese deserves something special. I’m saving up.” Gregory opened the door and led the way inside. “I wish I’d asked Dr. Worthen where we should look,” he said over his shoulder. “I guess we can just mosey around until we see something utterly creepy and terrifying.” The orderly wandered off.
Aleric thought of his conversation with Lilian. He had been emptying the garbage can near the D Wing because he couldn’t think of anything else to do since the fae had returned to Drake City.
“Are you a janitor here?”
The sound of a female voice had caught him off guard.
He met the young woman’s gaze and his heart slowed. She was dressed in the hospital gown of a patient, but she had looked at him with the air of someone who knew something was out of place. Aleric realized doctors probably didn’t empty the garbage cans, and he couldn’t prove his claim as a doctor anyway.
“I, uh, yes, I’m a janitor.”
He didn’t know why he said it. He realized it had been a stupid thing to say, but she had caught him off guard.
Luckily, she had nodded. “I thought so. My dad’s a doctor here. I’ve known most of the physicians since I was young.”
Aleric pulled the bag from the garbage can and tied it. “If nobody changes them, they don’t get changed,” he said, hefting the bag. It may have been the stupidest thing he had ever said in his life. First of all, it was obvious, and second, it was redundant. If Dartan had heard him, Aleric would never hear the end of it. But there was something about her gaze that unnerved him. He felt more nervous than he had facing a room full of vampires.
“You’re right about that,” she replied with a warm smile.
She pushed her black hair back behind her ear. It was then that Aleric noticed the bandages on her forearm. His instincts sent tingles along his skin.
“What happened there, if, uh, you don’t mind me asking,” he had said.
“I got bit by something that was hiding in our cellar,” she had replied. “I didn’t see what it was. Dad told me to come in for some tests to make sure it wasn’t carrying a disease.”
“We need to look in the cellar,” Aleric called out.
Gregory reappeared in another door. He was holding a piece of pizza that had several bites taken out of it.
“What?” he asked at Aleric’s skeptical look. “Dr. Worthen never finishes his leftovers. If Lilian’s not home, he always lets me have a piece if he doesn’t know about it.”
Aleric snorted. “We need to go to the cellar. That’s where Lilian was bit. Do you know where it is?”
Gregory led the way down the hall and stopped in front of a wooden door. Aleric caught the scent of the goblin when Gregory reached for the doorknob. He grabbed the human’s arm.
“Wait. Don’t open it. Goblins are fast and mean. I don’t want you to get bit.”
“I agree completely,” Gregory said. “I feel that the fewer bites I receive in my lifetime, the better for my overall wellbeing, and I’m sure Therese would agree. But how are you going to avoid getting poisoned like Lilian?”
Aleric pulled off his shirt. “Remember when I was tearing through the vines in Daylen’s room? The goblins couldn’t bite through my fur. It’s too thick. I’ll phase before I go down there.”
“Good idea,” Gregory said. “I’ll open the door for you and then check to make sure Dr. Worthen doesn’t have other questionable food he needs me to test.”
“Test?” Aleric repeated.
Gregory nodded. “I don’t want him to get food poisoning. For a doctor, he leaves a lot to the variable digestive power of the human stomach.”
Aleric decided any conversation at that moment was going to lead to further frustration. “Do what you need to, just be ready to bag up the goblin when I find it.”
“B-bag it?” Gregory echoed. “Bag something that gave Lilian a seizure? Do you hear yourself?”
“I’m the one going down to get it,” Aleric pointed out. “And I need to hurry. A goblin can get out of anything it can squeeze its head through. Grab a pillowcase.”
He heard Gregory sputter as he stepped into the hallway to phase. He returned in wolf form carrying his pants in his mouth. He dropped them on the floor near his shirt.
“I’m having second thoughts about this,” Gregory said with his hand on the doorknob.
Aleric rolled his eyes. He wished he could point out that he was the one taking all the risks. He took another step toward the door.
Gregory shook his head. “Just because I have opposable thumbs doesn’t mean I should bank my life on a pillowcase.”
Aleric gave a huff.
Gregory shook his head again. “No way.”
Aleric lifted his lips to reveal his teeth.
“Fine,” Gregory said. He opened the door with shaking fingers. “You don’t have to be so mean.”
Aleric stepped inside. He was about to tell Gregory to leave the door open when it shut behind him.
“I’ll let you out,” Gregory called. “I just don’t want to let the goblin out without you. Scratch the door when you get here. I’ll find something better than a pillowcase.” His voice quieted and Aleric heard him mutter, “Pillowcase, really? Like I’d bet my life on a pillowcase. The things are made of cotton. Maybe where Dr. Wolf’s from, they’re made of something like the impenetrable scales of a dragon. That’s something I’d trust to hold a goblin. He’s got to be mistaken.” His voice grew quieter as he walked away. “I’ll find something even better.”