Authors: Melissa Wright
Tags: #romance, #urban fantasy, #action, #fantasy, #paranormal, #magic, #contemporary fantasy, #mind control, #new adult
The Descendants Series
Copyright 2013 by Melissa Wright
Smashwords Edition, License Notes
This ebook is licensed for your personal
enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to
other people. If you would like to share this book with another
person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If
you're reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not
purchased for your use only, then please purchase your own copy.
Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.
This is a work of fiction. Any resemblance of
characters to actual persons, living or dead, is purely
This one’s for Regina, who continues to
inspire me. Thank you for the years of support and friendship; it’s
been an incredible experience and I’m so grateful to have had you
for it. To Brittany, who makes me a better writer, and Jenn, who
keeps reminding me why this is the best job in the world. You guys
are amazing! And to Mom. Because.
Chapter 1 Wounds
Chapter 2 Watched
Chapter 3 Concealed
Chapter 4 Archives
Chapter 5 Connections
Chapter 6 Confessions
Chapter 7 Outings
Chapter 8 Histories
Chapter 9 Prophecy
Chapter 10 Discovery
Chapter 11 Dragons
Chapter 12 Abandoned
Chapter 13 Found
Chapter 14 Return
Chapter 15 Captured
Chapter 16 Secrets
Chapter 17 The Key
Chapter 18 Threads
Chapter 19 Time
Chapter 20 Breaking
Chapter 21 Morgan
Chapter 22 Fire
It was my birthday. I was eighteen years old,
lying in a hospital bed at the Division, waiting to find out who
had died. This was the life of a prophet.
This was my life.
Brianna,” Brendan said the
moment he came through the door. I was so relieved to hear
something other than the steady
of the monitors, I actually
It was the wrong thing to do.
Brendan took my hand as he sat on the stool
beside my bed. It was too awkward to pull away, and too
uncomfortable to let it pass. I tried to sit up, but he protested.
Instead, he rose to adjust the head of the bed a few inches higher.
When he settled back onto the stool, my hands were resting in my
lap. He took one anyway.
Brianna,” he repeated, and
he was so utterly relieved that I felt a pang of guilt at wanting
to deny him. I liked Brendan, I did.
I swallowed hard, forcing the thought away.
“Who was hurt? Is there anyone I can help?”
Brendan shook his head. “No. No more of that.
You need to recover, Brianna.”
I’m fine.” I stared him
down. “They said I was fine.”
He smiled. “They aren’t lying to you.” His
eyes fell to my side, where the white cotton blankets covered the
hours-old wound. “The cut was clean, and somehow, Aern managed to
miss anything important.”
His eyes came back to mine. The blades had
been my request. I had chosen them specially, and Brendan had gone
out of his way to bring them in time. For my sister. The
I did pull away then, because I could not
share the prophecy. It was all too fresh.
Brendan leaned back, his hands falling to the
legs of his black slacks. I finally got a good look at him then;
his button-up shirt was rolled at the sleeves, wrinkled and
smudged. He was not himself yet. He’d had no sleep.
How many were lost?” I
He took a deep breath. “Too many. Far too
I’m sorry,” I said. “I wish
I could have done better.”
His jaw clenched. “Don’t. Don’t take this on
yourself, Brianna. Everyone knows it was my order. I made the
I closed my eyes. “I’m sorry.”
Suddenly, the sound of a throat clearing came
from the doorway. I opened my eyes to see my sister, fingers laced
tightly into Aern’s.
Emily,” I said, grateful to
see her well. Safe.
Brendan stood, drumming the tips of his
fingers against his leg, and gestured toward the others. “I’ll let
As he passed them on his way out, Emily
wagged her eyebrows at me. But I had to look away, because I hadn’t
told her about the man in my visions. The man who wasn’t
And then guilt struck again, because it was
one more secret I was keeping from her.
How are you?” she asked as
they reached my bedside.
Fine,” I answered, smiling
until my gaze trailed to Aern. He stood beside her, face so
distorted with remorse, shame, and absolute regret that I couldn’t
help but feel sorry for him. When he opened his mouth to speak, I
raised a hand to stop him. “No, Aern. Don’t even say
He uttered the first syllable and I said,
Emily’s lip twitched and her eyes fell to
their hands, both white-knuckled with his grip on her.
Brianna,” he growled,
“Please let me—”
I cut him off. “No. I won’t let you apologize
for something that wasn’t your fault.”
We all knew how the sway worked, and there
was no question he’d done everything he could to subvert Morgan’s
order, to save me by not going for the kill. By missing every vital
But that didn’t stop the torture of guilt. I
stared straight into his beautiful, grief-stricken eyes. It hadn’t
just been me. Aern had lost so many of his men. His friends. His
An apology of my own almost came out, but I
held it back, pushing it into the pit of my stomach where all of
the other guilt lay so heavily. Instead, I said, “It was the only
On the eve of my eighteenth birthday, I was
stabbed. I had known it was coming, but there could be no other
path, and I’d had to accept it. Such was my life. The life of a
So I couldn’t say I was surprised when the
man with the gun appeared in my bedroom.
Don’t make a sound,” he
warned, his voice low, emotionless.
I held up my hands slowly, showing him I
meant no harm.
He flicked the barrel of the
pistol once, indicating I move toward the dresser. I stepped
sideways, never taking my eyes off him. I’d not foreseen this, and
I couldn’t help but be annoyed.
heads-up would have been nice
I tried to remember what lay on top of my
dresser. A decorative bowl, a notepad, a paperback novel my sister
had given me during my recovery. Nothing that would help me
Turn around,” the man
whispered. I swallowed hard against the lump in my throat. The gun
had a silencer. He would be one of Morgan’s men. If I made one
wrong move, he’d wound me. Shoot me in the thigh or the shoulder;
prevent me from trying to escape.
I understand you think you
have to do this,” I started in as quiet of a tone as I could
He took three swift steps toward me, the
barrel of the pistol moving down to aim at my leg.
No,” I whispered, cringing
back as my hands remained palms out.
His eyes narrowed on me and
I nodded, slowly turning toward the wall.
There has to be a way
Some way to convince him Morgan’s
directions were wrong, that they no longer
The barrel pressed into my shoulder blade,
and the metal seemed unnaturally cold, hard, and round.
Wrists,” he breathed, and I
closed my eyes as I slid my hands behind my back. An instant later,
they were zip-tied, the plastic strap cutting painfully into my
arms. “Move,” he said, the barrel pressing harder into my shoulder
to turn me before he pushed me forward.
The window. He was taking me to the window.
Did he have more men outside? Had he killed the Division’s
My eyes flicked to the bedside table, my cell
phone lying out of reach. What did I have in my pockets? A note
from Emily. She and Aern would be gone for a few hours …
There was nothing I could do.
Suddenly, a red pinpoint
light reflected off the glass of the window. It was coming from the
small white box above my door. The alarm system. I faltered, almost
falling to my knees in relief. They knew he was here. Something had
tripped the alarm. Just one more minute, two at the most, and they
would find me. They
to find me.
Go,” he said, shoving the
pistol against my back.
I reached forward, fumbling
purposefully with the lock, and when metal bit harder into my skin,
I slid the window open. The wind took my breath away, and I had to
steady myself before carefully raising a foot over the sill. I’d
worn flats. Slip-on shoes that would not help me run, that would
not be good for climbing. Luckily, I had jeans on. They might
protect me some from scuffs if I stumbled.
But not if he throws me out of the window
. Panic surged at the thought and I tried to force it back. He
wouldn’t do that. He’d need me alive. Morgan would have told him to
bring me alive.
Decorative railings covered the wall six feet
below me, trellises shrouded in ivy and blooms. He couldn’t expect
me to jump. Not from the second story. I turned to look at him, one
leg over the ledge, one dangling above carpet.
He was snapping a carabiner to his vest. My
stomach dropped. Those weren’t holster straps crossing his chest;
they were a harness. He was going to grab me and rappel the two
stories down. We would be there in seconds. My eyes jumped to his.
It was only a few yards to the trees. He had planned carefully. He
would make it.
He had found a way to take me.
The sound of the door crashing open was like
an explosion in the silence of my room, and my heart quit for the
long instant it took Brendan to rush through. His gaze barely
brushed mine before settling wholly on his target, the man at my
The man spun and Brendan slammed into him,
throwing them both hard against the wall beside me. I scrambled to
climb back in, but the man’s arm jerked free, swinging the barrel
of the gun too close to my perch. I ducked, grasping the ledge with
my tied hands, leaning forward onto my leg to keep from falling out
the other side. I pressed my right foot to the siding to lever
myself as the men struggled beside me, and my shoe slipped, falling
noiselessly to the ground below. I couldn’t look, but I could
imagine it landing, imagine it cleaner than a landing of my
I pushed against the inside wall, finally
anchored well enough to find purchase, and the muffled crunch of
breaking bone caused me to turn in time to see the man crash down
onto the window and me. There was nowhere to go, not enough time to
move, and my breath caught as I prepared to fall to my death. But
Brendan’s hands were suddenly on my arm and leg, too tight as he
fought to pull me up past the prone form between us. My eyes found
his, silently pleading he not let go, but I could see the strain
the fight had caused.
And then I felt his hand, slick with blood,
begin to slide slowly off my arm.
I opened my mouth to scream, but he moved
quick, leaning forward and grabbing a handful of shirt to jerk me
headlong through the window. My legs dragged over the man on the
floor—one bare-footed, both trembling with shock—and Brendan pulled
me to him, wrapping his arms around me before realizing I was
Chest heaving, he fumbled anxiously in the
pockets of his slacks, grimacing as his gaze fell to the body by
the window. My attacker. I heard the muted sound of boots hitting
floor down the hallway, and realized Brendan was behind me, using
the man’s bowie knife to cut my hands free. He tossed the weapon
aside and rubbed my wrists. I wanted to turn to him, fall into his
embrace, and cry … but I didn’t.
I closed my eyes tight against the vision,
the man fate had chosen for me. Because that man wasn’t here.
Brianna,” my sister gasped
from beside me. I opened my eyes to find the room full of men;
Division soldiers and the man who had stabbed me.
I’m fine,” I promised
Emily, but my shaking voice betrayed me. She pulled me to her,
squeezing tight as she stared over my back. When she drew away, her
gaze met Aern’s.