Read Eclipsed by Midnight Online
Authors: Kristina Canady
Tags: #Literature & Fiction, #Genre Fiction, #Family Saga, #Science Fiction & Fantasy, #Fantasy, #Magical Realism, #Sagas
Lunar Eclipse Series
By Kristina Canady
Text copyright © 2015 by Kristina Canady
All rights reserved.
First E-book Edition: March 23, 2016
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other noncommercial uses permitted by copyright law.
This is a fictional novel. All content, including: names, characters, incidences, and places, are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any similarity to real persons, living or dead, is not intended by the author and is coincidental.
Cataloging-in-Publication Date is on-file at the Library of Congress
Book design/layout by Kristina Canady
Cover design and layout by Sassy Queens of Design
Cover image/painting copyright February 2016 by Kristina Canady
Editing by Cynthia Shepp
This is dedicated to all the thirsty women in the world who rise above and hold it down.
How does one start a dedication or acknowledgment page when over the last three years, I’ve been blessed beyond measure by so many who continually go out of their ways to help me be successful? First, let me attempt a start by thanking my family and close friends who lift me up, support me, and slap me around when I need it. None of this would ever be possible without you. Next, I will attempt to go down the list and pray I don’t forget anyone…
To my Sassy Queens of Design, you three have become like sisters and you don’t let me get away with shit. You keep me on track and I love you for it. Not only do you bring my books to life with your beautiful designs, but you also continually support your authors.
Cynthia Shepp, thank you for all of your hard work under the grind. Thank God there are beautiful and talented souls out there like you who actually like polishing our written rubbish so that it can shine.
My fellow authors, there are so many whom I adore, it is hard to name just a few. Nicky White, thank you for always having a kind word of encouragement and honest feedback. You are a beautiful soul. Michelle Mcloughney and Mandy Lou Dowson, my Irish sisters from another mister, you two are always there to pick a girl up off the ground, throw a pint in her hand, make her laugh, and inspire her, thank you. Eden Elsworth, you really were the catalyst when I was a lost newbie. You brought me in and introduced me to so many wonderful people, which spurred my steep learning curve. I can’t begin to thank you enough. Audra Hart, you are fucking amazeballs and so very strong, you inspire me every day. Bink Cummings, well, you are fucking Bink Cummings, pure awesomeness in one helluva package.
To my bloggers, readers, fans, and street team, I’d be nothing without your love and support for my thoughts made corporeal in the form of letters on a page. Susan Scott, you sassy little vodka-loving minx, thank you for always being there to support me with your endless kindness and wisdom. Zanyalis Martinez, no one loves my characters and their flaws as passionately as you do… not even me… lmao. You are an amazing star shining bright. Heather Witherell, Linda Eason, Amanda Catoe, Louise Hunter, and all my reading assassins, you fucking rock and I wish I could just sit and talk books over wine with you some day. Sabrina Stopforth, Shelley Custer, Nikki Pearce, Sue Ward, Jaime Lynn Russell, Clary Catherall, Sydney Hopke, Teena Torres, Jay Samia, Colette Wills, and Jenny Flores, you all took a chance on me over this last year and since have selflessly pimped and supported me to an amazing degree, for that, there will never be enough thanks. One day, we will all finally be able to meet and you can yell at me for the drama in this book as much as you want… after I thoroughly hug you. Love you all and many more that I am sure I am forgetting to list.
“Trust your instinct to the end, though you can render no reason.”
~Ralph Waldo Emerson
Throughout the entire flight, I have stayed in a catatonic state. Not quite as lifeless as the one I endured after killing Marcos, but damn near close. My mate did nothing but attempt to soothe, assure, and comfort me, but I had to shut him out—until he became spitting mad because he thought I had flipped the switch again. Only then, did I let my barrier down and allow him in just enough to permit his continual monitoring, but not enough to remove me from this self-imposed condition. Think of it as deep meditation on a profound level. Here, my spirit hovers in a removed state from my body. I am allowed to float above and view from a third-party perspective. The ability to control my powers and emotions, while keeping my torrent of thoughts and plaguing fears from getting the better of me is easier here. I can keep this plane full of beings safe from my unruly powers and me. For if I disallow this self-imposed transcendence, we will all go up in flames.
My stomach kicks as the plane begins to lower over the tarmac, and the sound of the landing gear being engaged spikes my heart rate, slowly crumbling away my calm. Rubber screeches as it attempts to grab the asphalt and slams me back into my body, while the gentle bumps and rattles of a successful pairing hammers my heart into my chest wall. As the private jet begins to ease its speed and glide forward, my skin begins to crawl as anxiety and uncertainty seep in. Etienne’s warm, large hand rests over mine, encompassing it with reassurance.
“Mon amour, Je suis sûr que tout ira bien.” His loving eyes urge me to take a cleansing breath.
His attempt is futile. I can feel it—that beast—the coiled snake of power posed on the brink and ready to attack.
Momma bear is not happy. The threat to my sons is palpable, yet it is not an enemy I can slay with my bare hands. And doesn’t that just beat all? Instinct tells me to fight, fight with all I have to protect them. Then, rationale kicks in and reminds me this is not something that can be fought. This is not something I can fix despite my vast powers. In this, I am powerless. Powerless to protect two pieces of my very own heart. What is the point of all the power in the world if I cannot protect my children? Fate, the stupid bitch, has her own plans once again.
Unknowingly, I did this to them. I gave them this… this thing. Etienne doesn’t want me to jump to conclusions as we don’t know anything yet; Naveed has not phoned back to confirm. But, if I am being honest with myself, I’ve known all along. Denial and disbelief clouded what rang clear and true at the wedding and probably well before that. My ability to feel them in my blood has had nothing to do with my part in being their mother and everything to do with our vampire bond. I’ve been able to feel the magic in their blood as clearly as it beacons from all supernatural beings. And they could quite possibly be damned, all because of me.
“Sasha, it is time to deplane. Let us go to them now, Anu.” Etienne’s voice caresses me in its soft embrace as I deftly stand on two weak legs.
Our travel companions file out behind us, all silently offering support while trying not to make matters worse. Guilt and uncertainty wage war on my insides, causing my stomach to buck and sway as we advance toward the black SUV, the moonlight reflecting off the chrome trim. A light breeze lifts around us, carrying the ocean air in on a sudden gust like a greeting from a long-lost friend, yet it adds to my edginess. It’s been way too many years since I have made it back home to my beloved city by the bay. Traveling in general since my transition had proven to be too difficult because of ravenous blood needs. Etienne’s workload mixed with my inability to ask for help didn’t help matters. Now all that seems like a lifetime ago.
I barely notice our chauffeur, my brother from another mother, Erik, waiting patiently by the passenger door.
“Sasha, don’t be so long in the face. Being a fanger isn’t the worst thing in the world,” Erik chortles half-heartedly as he wraps me in a hug.
“Yeah,” is all I can manage, along with a nonchalant shrug. My anxiety is eating at me. I begin to wish like hell I could fly or will my body through space and time to stand before them in the span of seconds to personally assess their physical situation. I need to know they are okay—right now.
“Sasha, take a deep breath and have a seat. We will drive and be there before you know it.” Etienne opens the back door for me.
Drive? Why drive? It is evening, and I know this city like the back of my hand. Screw the waiting game; I did that on the plane ride over. Etienne’s groan is barely audible as I flash away and head full speed, south, toward the Stanford campus. The thirty-minute drive would simply be too long, especially now that my heels have met the ground and I am tied back into the elemental powers. He probably thinks me uncivilized, but I truly don’t give a damn. The only thing that matters is getting to my sons.
The newfound control I have worked so hard for strains under the surge of emotions attempting to break free of the magical confines Koray has helped me to construct. The elements rush all around, begging to be tapped into, desperate to lend themselves to my cause. Etienne, being the faster of us, easily catches up but does not beg me to slow down. He simply stays by my side. Unable to resist the temptation of coursing power, I carefully allow a small surge to pass through me as I lock arms with my mate and will the current to bend the laws of physics. The old saying about necessity being the mother of all invention holds quite true as we now find ourselves standing outside the boys’ dorm in a matter of a few stomach-clenching, mind-boggling seconds.
“A warning would have been nice, ma chérie, for now I am going to need to take a minute to acclimate after that little trick of yours.” Etienne bends at the waist, palms on thick, muscled thighs as he takes a collective breath. Faint tremble of dry heaves threaten the back of his throat.
“Sorry, I didn’t know I could do that. The urge came and I went with it.” I pant as I, too, resist the urge to hurl my guts out. Bending the time-space continuum to travel faster proves some needing to get used to. It was as graceful as traveling through a tilt-a-whirl, kamikaze pseudo blend on steroids. Etienne also being thrown off center is a strange sight for my rarely shaken mate.
Unable to resist gazing up to where I know their room to be, I fight against the trembling in my joints and wipe at the sheen of diaphoretic distress as my insides pitch forward in rebellion of my sudden movement. The red, Spanish tile roof glints back under the glow of the streetlights as I focus on the top corner window where I can feel their presence.
“I think it is time I stop asking why you never tell me the new things you can do and simply, how you say, ‘go with it.’ But, a heads-up will help when you can manage.” He breathes in a winded fashion as he rectifies his disheveled state, promptly straightening the cuffs on his dress shirt.
“Goddess, help me. What do I do? What do I say? They are not expecting me, but I can sense they need me.” My voice is strangled by the emotion in my throat.
“Tell them we thought we would surprise them and drop by on our way to Denver.”
“Yeah, cause that makes sense.” It takes everything I have to resist an eye roll. He hates when I do that.
“True. It is not a typical flight pattern from Europe to Denver, but it is not like my private jet is a secret to them anymore,” he states with a quizzical expression that tells me he doesn’t understand my sarcasm.
“Perhaps. Damn it, how will I know? For sure? What if my presence just makes it worse, like how you set me off?”
“The situation in this case is a bit different. We were fated mates. Whatever might be in progress for them will continue to take its course regardless of our presence.”
“Somehow, that is not comforting.” I harrumph as my patent-leathered heels begin to tap in an accelerated fashion. Etienne’s broad chest comes to rest against my back, the physical contact instantly bringing my heart rate down a few beats. He bends his lips to my neck in a tender display as his arms come to rest around me. Cedar and sweet tobacco tinged with his dominant musk invade my thoughts, draining my anxiety from the moment, allowing thoughts to finally ring clear.
“You already know the answer on the
. Just as you can feel it now.”
“God, this is all my fault. I did this to my sweet boys. They don’t deserve this. They did not ask for this!” Turning into his inviting embrace, I allow myself to weep. The thickened fog that had naturally settled into the city for the evening begins to become denser as electricity crackles around us. My black pencil skirt clings to me as a light rain mists down. The cashmere blend of his coat comes around to encase my shivering body as Etienne moves us to the awning.
“Sasha, look at me.” Etienne’s extended finger lifts my quivering chin to meet his intense gaze. Electric blue with that signature hint of green glows back. Entranced by the hold, my whimpers cease as I bite my lip. “As I have told you before, it is pointless to fret over what simply is. If there is fault to be placed, which there is not, but if it had to be shouldered by someone, it most certainly would not be you or them. We do not always have the benefit of all knowledge when making life decisions… and that is okay. One of the things I admire greatly about you, my love, is that while you may pitch a fit or problem solve in a manner that is befuddling at times, you never give up. You are stubborn once you finally set your mind to something, and you always try to do what is right.”
“Even in my own backward way. Yeah, got it,” I grumble. The sting of wasted years has not lessened despite where we finally stand.
“Do not beat yourself up. That is not the point of what I have to say. The point is, you are a stubborn mule who will do whatever is necessary to take care of your young, and that is all you can do. It is also very admirable.”
“We have company,” I whisper as the energy levels shift to allow entrance to another being. Crisp autumn air taints the ocean-filled breeze.
“Hello, old friend.” Etienne turns to greet our guest in a brotherly clasp of hands.
“Greetings, My Lord, My Lady.” Naveed bows in respect, making me a tad uncomfortable. I still cannot get used to being married to a prince. Technically, that makes me a princess, but I absolutely despise the title. “I apologize for not making haste. There were some matters that rendered me indisposed longer than I care to admit.” I can tell he is steering broad of work-related topics, but I let it go. I have no interest in getting mixed up in that.
“Erik informed me, and it is quite all right. We were just about to head in. Care to see that we are not interrupted?”
“It will be my honor.” Naveed dips his head again before following us in.
Despite the strong hand holding mine, my dastardly pulse begins to ramp up again the nearer we come to the wood panel separating me from the two bits of my heart that live here. Etienne does not allow me to hesitate and promptly issues a knock on the door. The sounds of a wrenching cough echo out as a pair of heavy feet shuffle toward us. As a crack in the doorjamb appears, puffy, red-ringed eyes look back in a startled fashion.
. In an instant, I know the answer to the question I was dreading. Without wasting another second, I push past and wrap him tightly in my arms. Which is a hilarious sight, no doubt, as he easily dwarfs me by a foot.
“Mom? E? What are you guys doing here?”
“Ang said you were sick, so we came to check on you.”
“You flew halfway around the world because Ethan and I got the flu?”
Stepping back, I take a good look at my brave boy, who is shrouded in an oversized, terrycloth robe with a mop of tousled brown hair. My internal gears shift into problem-solving survivor mode. Ethan sleepily props up on one arm from his bunk bed, trying to make sense of what is happening in his sleep-induced haze.
“Can we come in?” Etienne asks, but he does not wait for an answer as he ushers us forward and closes the door. Ethan crawls out of the much-too-small hole he had been cramped in to give me a hug. One that is cut short as he bails for the box of tissues on the nightstand. I pull on my internal bond that telepathically links to Etienne, looking for approval to break the news to them. While we cannot convey direct words, we can communicate emotions and intentions with one another.
“Boys, please sit down.” Taking charge of the situation and assuming my authoritative stance as their mother seems only appropriate. They comply in a bewildered fashion as I sort the words out in my head. “Do you remember when I went away for a few weeks and came back…
different as you said?”
“Yeah? So?” Aiden picks up immediately that this is going somewhere hard as his brow furrows and gaze narrows. The sound of mucous being harshly expelled into tissue rings out and causes me to take pause as I grab the trash can and put it next to Ethan.
“Well, you know how you joked about me being abducted by aliens?”
“Yeah, joked is the key word, Mom.” Aiden laughs, which morphs into a dry hack. It is hard for me to push on when all I want to do is say forget it and tend to them.
“Since the jury is still out on aliens, let’s focus on the hard to believe. The inexplicable. When I went away, I found out that my biological father wasn’t who, or should I say
, I thought.” My tone echoes in an unplanned, creepy fashion in the sudden silence.