Read The Scarlett Legacy Online
Authors: K.N. Lee
Tags: #Fiction, #Fantasy, #Paranormal, #New Adult
WESLEY’S FACE HEATED
at Avalon’s words. He hadn’t expected that.
So much for being discreet.
That red-headed bastard,
Wes drank his wine until the glass was empty, and then wiped his mouth. That was his fourth glass of the night. The effects started to make his sight a little blurry.
He supposed he would tell Avalon the truth.
Some of it.
“We both know he killed my father,” he said.
Avalon lifted a brow. “That can’t exactly be proven now. Can it?”
Rolling his eyes, Wes leaned forward. “Listen, we can end this blood feud now. We are the last two male heirs of our families.”
Avalon looked doubtful. His green eyes were too bright to be human. They were wide as he looked at Wes, his brow rising, skeptically.
“Yes. I believe we can. I want to restore you to the life you lived before your family sent you off.”
“You mean before your father snitched on my father’s
business? Why couldn’t you settle matters like real men? No, you always want to get the law involved. Like cowards,” he snarled. “Or even better yet… what about the experimental drug you gave my mother? The one that killed her?”
He should have known that Avalon would be bitter. He would have felt the same way if he’d lost his family.
Torn between guilt and a sense of duty, Wes wondered if what he had done was the right thing.
They had killed his father.
All to settle a score.
Wes’ jaw hardened. He gazed into the flames, his father’s portrait hung above the fireplace. It was almost as if Edward watched him.
“I apologize for what my father did to yours. They were friends. What happened wasn’t his fault.”
“Sure it was. What’s the town going to do without a proper crime boss now that our fathers are gone?”
“Live in peace.”
Avalon pursed his lips. He looked into his glass.
“Peace,” he repeated. “Is such a thing even possible?” He spoke so softly that Wes barely heard him.
Avalon drank the rest of his wine. He looked at Wes in earnest. “What are you proposing?”
Wes folded his hands in his lap. “I bought Prince Manor. I want to restore Prince Manor to its former glory. It’s yours.”
Wes had actually purchased it so that he could have it converted into a hotel that he and Olivia could run together. Now, he simply wanted to show some good faith and hopefully appease Avalon. It was a small price to pay for peace.
Avalon’s eyes widened. He looked genuinely surprised. “You didn’t.”
Wes nodded. “I did.”
Watching Avalon’s expression almost made him feel sorry for what he had done to his brothers.
Could Avalon really be innocent?
Maybe he should just let it all go. The sins of their fathers could be laid to rest with them.
Woodland Creek might finally be free of corruption and organized crime.
“Thank you, Wes,” Avalon said. “I don’t know what else I can say. That is kind of you.”
Wes shook his head. “It’s nothing, really. It’s all yours, free and clear. You can move back in whenever you want.”
“Are you serious?”
Avalon was silent a moment as he seemed to think over what Wes had proposed.
When he looked up at Wes, Wes once again felt an unusual sense of dread. Something about Avalon made him unwary.
He was hiding something.
“You swear that you don’t plan to kill me?”
Wes gave a single nod. “As long as you keep to your side of Woodland Creek and swear to leave my family alone.”
Avalon nodded. “Aye. I can do that. But you have to do something for me.”
“What is that?”
Avalon stood. His face seemed to darken as the light from the flames cast his shadow behind him on the stone walls.
“I’ll leave your family alone,
. Just hang yourself from that weeping willow tree in the front of Scarlett Hall.”
Wes’ face paled as he watched Avalon’s expression turn to one of humble gratitude to that of unadulterated hate.
Avalon narrowed his eyes into thin slits. “You really think I need
from you? You’re a petty criminal, a murderer, and I will make you pay for it with blood.”
Wes stood, ready to strike.
“And then I will make that sneaky wife of yours pay as well.”
Wes’ mouth twitched at the mention of Olivia. He was seconds away from tearing Avalon apart.
“Was I supposed to let it go that your father killed mine?”
Avalon shrugged. “Was I supposed to let it go that you felt the need to do the same to my brothers?”
Wes balled up his fist. This was not how he imagined this meeting going at all.
He contemplated killing Avalon right there where he stood. All he needed was to lift a finger and blast him out the back window.
It would be loud.
But it would end this for good.
Avalon saw Wes’ index finger, ready to strike. He ran his hand through his blood-red hair.
“Go ahead and try it, Wes,” Avalon said. “I know all about you and your measly power. But you have no idea what I can do.”
Wes blinked. “What?”
Avalon nodded. “You heard me. I’m not afraid of one
Wes’ shoulders tensed.
“I’ll keep Prince Manor for myself then.”
Avalon chuckled. “That’s rich.” He clapped his hands in jest.
The sound infuriated Wes.
“How dare you laugh at my offer? I was being generous.”
Barely a second passed before Avalon flew into Wes, sending such a powerful blow to his chest that his body slid across the floor and crashed into the far stone wall.
It took a moment for Wes to register what had just happened.
Avalon could fly.
Everything stung as Wes pushed himself up to his knees. He coughed.
“You think I need you for anything? You’re weak. Pathetic.”
Avalon seemed to tower over Wes as he struggled to come to his feet. Lights flashed behind his eyes from his head hitting the wall.
“You can keep Prince Manor, Wes Scarlett. I’ve already bought the old Albrecht Mansion. I don’t want to relive those memories from Prince Manor anyway.”
Avalon took a step forward. His eyes narrowed.
Wes resisted the urge to flinch. He lifted his hands and Avalon beat him to it. Avalon sent a gust of wind into Wes’s body, pinning him to the polished marble floor so that he was unable to move his arms or legs.
Wes bucked, trying to sit up. It was useless. His eyes widened in terror.
“What kind of wizard are you?”
“Wouldn’t you like to know?” Avalon knelt down beside Wes’s body. “You weren’t actually going to try to put a spell on me?”
Wes tried to stand. Avalon put a thumb on his forehead.
“No. I didn’t say you could get up.”
A jolt shocked Wes’ body at the touch of Avalon’s thumb to his flesh.
“What are you doing? What do you want?” Despite what Avalon had said, Wes tried with all of his strength to get up. He needed to do anything to protect himself.
“I already told you. I want you to kill yourself. What part didn’t you understand?”
The hate in Avalon’s eyes mimicked his own.
“You’re a murderer. Why not die by your own hands?”
“I will not do that.”
“I figured you’d say that.” He stood and shook his head as he looked down at Wes’ body. He walked toward the doors that led to the main hall of Scarlett Hall. He paused in the entryway.
Still unable to move, Wes watched from his spot on the floor.
“Evie. I want Evie,” Avalon said.
Wes felt his cheeks heat.
“What about her? Evie has nothing to do with any of this. She is innocent.”
Avalon grinned. “I don’t care. I’ll take her in exchange for your life. You have one week to make your decision or I burn your entire life to the ground. You have no idea what I am capable of.”
“No. I won’t allow it. What could you possibly want with my sister? She doesn’t know what we’ve done.”
“I already told you that I don’t care. But what I do know is that you love her more than anything. And so I want her. I want to take her away from you.”
Shaking his head, Wes fought to free himself. He had to stop Avalon.
“That curse won’t be lifted until I get what I want. So… you can enjoy watching your body deteriorate for the time being.”
Eyes wide, he watched Avalon leave. His mind raced with worry, fear, anger, and a slew of emotions he couldn’t control.
He had to protect Evie. He had to warn her to stay away from the man that in one evening proved to be their greatest enemy.
It felt like an eternity before he regained use of his body, and when he did, he knew he was cursed.
Avalon Prince was definitely going to be a problem.
Quinn said as Evie checked out at the cash register.
Evie nodded with a smile as she rung her up. “I know. But I promised Parker I’d go to New Town with him today.”
Quinn twisted her mouth into a scowl. “But we never miss movie night. Not in the last two years!”
“Come on, Quinn. Is it so wrong that I want to hang out with my boyfriend for once?”
“It is if you abandon your best friend on
Quinn folded her arms across her chest and pouted.
“You’re ridiculous,” Evie laughed. She handed Quinn her bag of books. “I promise I won’t miss movie night next weekend.”
Snatching her bag, Quinn rolled her eyes. “Have fun, Evie. Maybe I’ll call Wendy and see if she wants to go with me instead.”
“You do that.”
Evie shook her head as she watched Quinn walk to the exit.
Quinn glanced back and looked her up and down, her face still disappointed. “You look cute, by the way,” she said. “I want to borrow those leggings sometime.”
Evie smirked. “Of course. Thanks, Quinn. Love you.”
“Love you,” she said and left the bookstore.
The scene outside Carter’s Books and Gifts looked dry.
High Street was bustling already, and it wasn’t even noon. A slew of students looking for entertainment walked the sidewalk in dense packs. Everyone already started wearing their costumes even though there was still another week until Halloween. Evie couldn’t wait for Parker to arrive so they could go out to Nightmoon Creek.
The store was quiet, with only one older woman browsing the recipe book aisle. Evie pulled her phone out of her skirt’s pocket and checked the time. She smoothed the purple skirt’s layers over her black and purple leggings. She wore a white collared blouse with a black tie and a purple headband in her hair with a large bow.
She looked cute and knew it. She just hoped Parker thought so as well. She couldn’t help feeling an incessant fear that he’d realize she was too much trouble and leave her one day.
The door opened.
Evie’s body straightened when she saw Avalon step inside.
Avalon was silent as he walked in wearing a buttoned up shirt under an evergreen sweater, slim black jeans, and loafers.
She adjusted her glasses as she watched him. “Avalon,” she said. “Can I help you with something?”
He nodded, his eyes scanning the shop. “You can. When are you off?”
Why did he care?
“A few minutes.”
“Great. I’ll just chat you up until you’re a free woman. If that’s okay”
Evie pursed her lips. She looked past him, knowing that Parker would soon arrive. She didn’t need him questioning her about the new guy in town.
“Of course. My boyfriend will be here to pick me up soon, though.”
Avalon clasped his hands before him as he stepped closer to the front register where Evie stood.
He leaned against the front counter, staring her down with those enchanting green eyes of his. “I was hoping to take you up on your offer for a tour of New Town.”
She couldn’t move when he looked at her like that. The intensity was thinly veiled behind a look of admiration as he held her gaze.
“We can go another time. I have plans for today.”
“That’s too bad,” he said, fingering through the stack of clearance books on the counter.
She swallowed, still unable to move. “Why is that?”
He shrugged and stood directly in front of her. The only thing that separated her from him was the counter.
Evie gripped the counter. Her heart rate seemed to rise, and her entire body felt warm.
She tried to keep her face clear of emotion, but she knew what he was doing. He was trying to work magic on her.
The idea frightened her beyond anything she’d feared. He was good. It would have worked if she hadn’t sensed it in time and countered the act by shielding her thoughts.
Evie tried to replace her true thoughts with those that were boring, plain, and wouldn’t reveal anything of importance.
“Because I have something for you. A gift.”
“What kind of gift?”
“It’s a surprise. You’ll have to come with me to find out.”
“I see.” She looked around the store. She wasn’t sure if she liked surprises, especially those that came from a strange man from her dreams.
Nina, the owner of the store came in from the back and dusted a few crumbs off the front of her floral dress. She glanced from Evie to Avalon, her eyes brightening.
“Can I help you with something, sir?”
He put his hands in his pockets. “I’m just waiting for the young lady to get off so I can take her out.”
Evie felt her cheeks flush. Now Nina would think she was cheating on Parker.
“He’s a friend of my brother’s,” Evie quickly added. She looked to Avalon. “He just needed directions. Parker will be here to get me in a minute.”
“Oh,” Nina said, nodding. “Are you new in town?”
“Not quite,” Avalon said. He reached a hand out. “Avalon Prince.”
Nina’s eyes widened. “Hugh’s son?”
He nodded. “Aye.”
Both he and Nina looked at Evie.
“I’m sorry for your loss,” Nina said.
“Thank you. What’s done is done, right? He lived a long life.”
“Right,” Nina said. She cleared her throat and looked to Evie before glanced around the store to see that it was practically empty. “You can leave, Evie. There’re only about five minutes left in your shift.”
“Thanks,” Evie said, wishing Parker would hurry and get her out of that awkward encounter.
She didn’t have to tell Evie twice. She clocked out on the cash register, grabbed her purse and headed out the front door while Avalon stood there watching her.
“Good to see you, Avalon. Enjoy your day.” She quickly held the door open, hoping to escape before he could offer to take her out again.
“You haven’t spoken to your brother yet, have you?”
Evie paused. Something about that statement made her uneasy. She looked over her shoulder.
Avalon walked from the register and out the door she held open. Standing before her, he cracked a grin.
He reached out and brushed her cheek with his thumb. “God, you’re beautiful.”
She cleared her throat, trying to keep her cheeks from flushing.
“I’ll let him tell you,” he said, his minty breath warm on her ear as he leaned over to whisper. “It’ll be much more fun that way.”
Evie didn’t know what to say. Having him near made her feel lightheaded. The attraction she felt was dangerous. It could ruin everything.
As if he had read her mind, his grin widened. That’s when she realized that he did read her mind.
So much for hiding my thoughts.
He chuckled, rubbing his chin as his green eyes took her in once more.
She watched him turn to walk away, her cheeks turning pink with embarrassment for having her thoughts read.
“I’ll be waiting,” he said without turning to look back at her.
She watched as he crossed paths with Parker.
“How odd,” she whispered to herself as Avalon strolled down the street, his hands in his pocket as he seemed to window-shop.
He glanced back at her, giving her a wink.
Parker broke her gaze as he stopped in front of her. He smiled and waved his hands before her eyes.
Evie nodded, but inside she shook with fear.
What she saw in Avalon’s eyes made her blood turn cold with dread. There was a pain, lust, and cruelty in his eyes. Only someone with her power would even notice.
She quickly sent a text to Wes, questioning what Avalon had told her.
His return text came back almost as if he’d been waiting for her to ask him.
As she read the words on her phone’s screen, her face paled.
Stay away from Avalon. He is dangerous. I’ll tell you more when you come home.
Evie put her phone in her purse as she looked up at Parker. Normally he could calm her in any situation, but Wes’ text left her rattled. She wrapped her arms around his waist and held onto him tightly.
She was afraid.
What Wes had said confirmed her fears. She was sure of it now.
Avalon was going to seriously complicate things.